Wilde Lake High's principal offers optimistic report on improvements; Address to parents notes better SAT scores, lower suspension, dropout rates


In his state-of-the-school address last night, Wilde Lake High School Principal Roger Plunkett told parents of improvements in academics and discipline at the once-troubled school.

During the last school year, overall SAT scores at Wilde Lake were second best in Howard County, Plunkett said.

He told parents that no student has been suspended since school began Aug. 30, and attendance is hovering around 96 percent, up from 94 percent last year and 92 percent the year before.

Now in his third year at Wilde Lake, Plunkett said the number of dropouts is falling and reductions in class sizes are continuing.

He said Wilde Lake's goal is to have all students reading at grade level.

"We want everybody to focus on reading at all levels," said Plunkett, noting that elective courses, such as physical education, now require more reading.

"We know that if students read well, it helps them improve at all levels," he said.

He added: "We are at the heart of Columbia. We are Columbia. We have a lot to stand on the rooftops and shout about."

Plunkett and the school's PTSA invite parents to a state-of-the-school address about twice a year, briefing them on new academic and discipline programs, and sharing other information with them, such as how many staff members have doctorates.

Wilde Lake, Howard County's oldest high school, was known for its academic success.

By 1995, test scores had fallen and disciplinary problems were on the rise. It has begun to recover in recent years.

Plunkett said that although the academic year is young, he believes Wilde Lake will continue to improve.

"This is probably one of the best years," he said. "There's a total focus on academics and there's unity among the staff. There's consistency."

After last night's meeting, Paul and Susan Watson, whose son is a senior at Wilde Lake, said they were "very excited" about the school year.

"I was really impressed with both the leadership of Mr. Plunkett and [his support staff]," said Paul Watson. "They're taking charge. They're not waiting for things to happen."

Pub Date: 9/23/99

An article published Thursday in the Howard County edition of The Sun incorrectly stated that Wilde Lake High School is the oldest high school in Howard County. Wilde Lake High is the oldest high school in Columbia. Howard High School is the oldest high school in the county. The Sun regrets the error.
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