Involving parents in schools with help of World Wide Web Computer initiative to be announced today

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Maryland's public school students will be taking another step into the computer age as federal and state officials are expected to announce today plans for helping parents get more involved with their children's schools through the World Wide Web.

Starting this fall, parents in Maryland should be able to look up their child's school lunch menu on the Internet, check on after-school activities and give feedback to school officials through a network of customized Web sites for each school district.

The state will be the first in the country with such a network of Web sites for public education, and the first to join in a Clinton administration "partnership" for boosting family involvement in schools.

U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley is scheduled to join Gov. Parris N. Glendening at Baltimore County's Eastern Technical High School in Essex today to announce the program, which is being underwritten by a $400,000 grant from AT&T.;

Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools, said last night that she hoped the Web-site network will get parents more involved and "empower them to be able to have a better relationship to their schools."

She noted that with more parents in the work force today, "school isn't always available to them as it was when many parents weren't working."

Grasmick said Maryland's family involvement partnership has enlisted support from businesses and federal agencies. The Woodlawn-based Social Security Administration, for one, is expected to pledge 10,000 to 14,000 used-but-still-usable computers to schools over the next three years, Grasmick said.

The free Web sites are to be developed by Family Education Co. of Boston. More than 200 schools already are building Web sites, according to company information on its Web site (http: //familyeducation.com).

Pub Date: 5/05/97

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