The Baltimore County school board approved Tuesday a magnet program in technology for Cromwell Valley Elementary School, which will reopen next fall.
The curriculum will relate computer technology to traditional elementary skills in mathematics, language, science and social studies and will focus on hands-on projects. The school will have a video production studio, a greenhouse and a science laboratory. Through computer-assisted programs, children will be able to progress at their own pace.
Located on Providence Road, Cromwell Valley closed in the early 1980s and was converted to administrative offices. The administrators moved out this week.
The school will draw students from Hampton, Hillendale, Oakleigh, Villa Cresta, Rodgers Forge, Stoneleigh and Pleasant Plains elementary schools, as well as children living within the old Cromwell boundaries.
Cromwell Valley has room for about 500 students and is intended to ease crowding at nearby schools and change the racial balance at Hillendale, which has mostly black students, administrators say.
Magnet programs give parents and their children more educational choices and help integrate schools.
Although Cromwell's building will be renovated, some of the office-space arrangements will stay. Classroom space is being called "nontraditional."
Board members were lukewarm to the Cromwell idea and asked for further study when administrators presented the proposal in May. The initial proposal would have made Cromwell a year-round school with students on staggered schedules.
That part of the proposal has been dropped for now, though the school system is still studying the possibility of a year-round school.