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Schools consider refining hours; By tweaking schedule, $231,000 may be saved


Some children in Howard County may be heading to the classroom earlier -- or later -- if the school board approves adjustments to next year's school schedules.

The school system is anticipating tweaking opening and closing times for some schools to accommodate the opening of a new school and expansion of the county's Technology Magnet program, and to save money.

According to a report presented to the board last night, the school system would need $231,000 for seven more buses if the proposals are rejected.

Robert S. Lazarewicz, executive director of operations for the school system, said the opening of Lime Kiln Middle School, the temporary relocation of Ellicott Mills Middle School to the new Bonnie Branch Middle School and other factors demand a slightly altered schedule.

"In addition to money, the timing of this situation is important so we can get kids to school on time and get them home on time," Lazarewicz said.

The proposals include:

* Ellicott Mills Middle School: current, 8: 20 a.m. to 2: 50 p.m.; proposed, 8: 30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Hammond Middle: current, 8: 35 a.m. to 3: 05 p.m.; proposed, 8: 15 a.m. to 2: 45 p.m.

* Murray Hill Middle: current, 8: 25 a.m. to 2: 55 p.m.; proposed, 8: 40 a.m. to 3: 10 p.m.

* Lime Kiln Middle, a new school, 8: 30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* Atholton Elementary: current, 9: 10 a.m. to 3: 40 p.m.; proposed, 9: 15 a.m. to 3: 45 p.m.

* Gorman Crossing Elementary: current, 9: 05 a.m. to 3: 35 p.m.; proposed, 9: 15 a.m. to 3: 45 p.m.

* Hammond Elementary: current, 9: 15 a.m. to 3: 45 p.m.; proposed, 8: 45 a.m. to 3: 15 p.m.

* Waterloo Elementary: current, 9: 05 a.m. to 3: 35 p.m.; proposed, 9: 15 a.m. to 3: 45 p.m.

Lazarewicz said principals of the schools have been notified of the possible changes. School staff will continue refining the changes and report to the board in April.

Also last night, the board recognized two teachers who became the first in Howard County to receive National Board Certification. Mark Coates, an art teacher at River Hill High School, and Connie Conroy, a staff development facilitator, completed the rigorous process, which identifies superior instructors.

Coates and Conroy are two of 13 Maryland teachers who voluntarily went through the certification process last year.

Coates also was recently recognized as a national art educator of the year. He said the process involved lengthy assessments, extensive writing, offering samples of student work and being videotaped while teaching.

"This is a very, very significant milestone," said Superintendent Michael E. Hickey, adding that 10 other Howard teachers will try for national certification this year.

Coates said certification simply reinforces good teaching. "It really makes you rationalize the things you do in the classroom," he said.

The board also approved the schematic design for the extensive renovation of St. John's Lane Elementary School.

The project will cost about $3 million and includes a new music room, a new reception area and improvements to the cafeteria, gym and classrooms.

It is expected to be completed in August.

Pub Date: 2/12/99

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