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Carroll County Public Schools to detail recovery plan for struggling students at Wednesday meeting

Dates, times, locations and operational plans for summer learning are included in Carroll County Public Schools’ drafted plan for academic recovery.

The detailed, 10-page plan is on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Carroll County Board of Education. Academic recovery has been a discussion at the last few board meetings after student performance has drastically declined due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A timeline in the plan that starts in February shows what the system has done to address recovery and its plans for the future.

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Directors and school staff started identifying students and staff for the summer program as well as what sites to use in March. And summer recovery meetings took place throughout March and into April.

On April 17, an email will be sent to the parents of students invited to summer recovery asking if their student will participate and if they will need transportation. The form is due May 1 and summer recovery will begin July 6. Compensatory and Extended School Year Service will start July 12 and both programs will end Aug. 6.

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Students will attend five days a week and will have 3.5 hours of instruction each day. They will also be tested at the beginning and end of the program to measure the summer recovery efforts.

Students in the English for Speakers of Other Languages program, or ESOL, were identified as a group disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of learning. The plan elaborates what those recovery efforts look like.

Carroll County's Board of Education is shown during its Nov. 18 meeting.
Carroll County's Board of Education is shown during its Nov. 18 meeting. (Kristen Griffith)

“Targeted [English learners] in grades 3-8 will participate in a two week, full day summer outdoor enrichment experience,” the document states. “STEM-based, hands-on educational experiences that incorporate real-world skills and application will be the curricular focus. Topics include project-based learning, technology skills, container gardening and environmental science.”

There will also be an emphasis on social-emotional support and strengthening family partnerships. The two-week programs, which will take place at the Outdoor School, are expected to continue for the next few summers and will include 30 to 40 students per year with students mostly from the Westminster region “as this is where a majority of our English Learners reside,” the document states.

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The elementary school sites are Taneytown, Ebb Valley, Hampstead, Winchester, Friendship Valley, Mechanicsville, Carrrolltowne, Eldersburg, Parr’s Ridge, Mount Airy and Elmer Wolfe. The middle school sites are Northwest, Shiloh, West, Mount Airy and Oklahoma Road. The high school sites are Francis Scott Key, Manchester Valley, Winters Mill and Century. Carroll Springs is also a site location.

Free meals will be provided. Teachers, instructional assistants, student support assistants and nurses will receive a premium hourly rate.

School officials estimated the cost of academic recovery, which would require teachers and school staff working during the summer, would be millions of dollars. The recovery plan states the estimated investment would be $6-8 million over the next year, and recovery is expected to last at least two years.

Board members have requested county government to revert back to its original spending plan created prior to the pandemic that gives the school system $11.4 million more, or a 5.7% increase from last fiscal year. The Board of County Commissioners’ recommended budget calls for the school system to receive $204.6 million, sticking with the 3.13% increase, but budget process is ongoing.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. and can be live-streamed via the CCPS website.

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