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The Baltimore Sun

County school system ranked in exam prep

Anne Arundel County Public Schools has been ranked 10th out of 28 school systems in the Baltimore-Washington region for preparing its students for college-level exams, according to the Washington-Area Challenge Index published by The Washington Post.

It is the second consecutive year for the school system to make the top 10.

The index ranking looks at a school's efforts to challenge graduating seniors through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and other college-level exams.

The number of Anne Arundel students taking AP exams increased by 18 percent in 2007-2008 over the year before. That is a second consecutive double-digit increase, after a 22 percent rise in 2006-2007. In the past three years, the number of AP exams given to AACPS students has risen by 48 percent.

A school's rating is calculated by dividing the number of AP, IB and Cambridge tests it administers by the number of graduating seniors.

Ten of the county's 12 comprehensive high schools, two more than last year, earned ratings of 1.0 or higher, placing them in the top six percent of high schools in the nation. Severna Park High School earned the highest ranking among county schools, placing 21st on the 166-school index. Other rankings were: Broadneck, 37th; Annapolis, 54th; South River, 62nd; Old Mill, 63rd; and Southern, 87th.

Meade High made the biggest jump of any county school, moving up 59 spots to 94th on the list. Chesapeake moved up 24 spots to 99th, and Severna Park, Arundel, North County and Glen Burnie also made double-digit gains.

CareFirst through 2011

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education has extended its employee health care agreement with CareFirst for two years in a move that will save the school system more than $2 million in fees from 2009 to 2011.

The current agreement had been set to expire in December 2009. By extending the agreement, the school system will save $737,000 in both 2009 and 2010, and $568,000 in 2011.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment for our school system to be able to incur this cost savings at a time when health care costs are spiraling and the fiscal picture is getting tighter by the day," said Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell. "We are going to be able to offer enhanced disease management services to our employees, while simultaneously saving money for the taxpayers of our county."

The extended agreement calls for an expansion of the current disease management program to include depression and comprehensive back pain management, plus enhanced benefits support to employees.

Board of Ed meeting

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the administration building, 2644 Riva Road, Annapolis.

The superintendent's recommended Fiscal Year 2010 operating and capital budgets will be presented.

The meeting is open to the public and citizen comment is encouraged.

Information: 410-222-5000.

Nominating commission

The School Board Nominating Commission of Anne Arundel County will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Parkway, West Campus, Cade Building Room 219.

No public testimony will be accepted during the administrative meeting.


Severna Park charity

The Severna Park High School varsity and junior varsity boys basketball teams are collecting pledges from supporters for each foul shot made during home games in December to donate to the United Nations Foundation's program, "Nothing But Nets."

The group is providing malaria nets to the people in the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. The nets are treated with a repellent that allows for safe, mosquito-free sleep.

Supporters can sign pledges online at Click on "Join A Team" and enter "SPHS Falcon Hoops Netraisers."

The Falcons have home games Dec. 17, Dec. 19 and Dec. 22.

'Talon' honored

The Severna Park High School student newspaper, The Talon, recently received a gold rating in the Maryland School Press Association's 2008 Publications Contest.

The Talon was one of 10 publications among schools with a population of 1,200 students to earn a gold rating.

The 25-member staff is led by editors-in-chief Brendan Cooley and Laura Frost.

"I am so pleased that the efforts of this dedicated, talented staff have been recognized in this prestigious contest," said faculty adviser Lea Trimble.

The Talon follows South River High School's gold rating in September from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association from Columbia University for its literary magazine, Etchings.

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