Arundel High School welcomes largest freshmen class

Arundel High School welcomed its largest freshman class in history Sept. 4 when 573 ninth grade students entered the Gambrills school.

The overall student population is 2,145, with more students enrolling daily. Arundel High’s band welcomed freshman on the patio as they entered the school for the first time.

“First freshman attended an assembly where they signed a contract to graduate in 2020,” Principal Gena Davenport said. Students then received their first item of spirit wear, a free T-shirt in AHS colors with 2020 on it and this year’s school slogan: “All In.”

The Class of 2018 donated the shirts.

“The new students then saw all their classes, had team building exercises and ended the day with ice cream sandwiches in the cafeteria,” Davenport said. “On Wednesday, all students returned in great spirits, they were happy to be here. We’re embracing the Superintendent’s Strategic Plan of ‘all means all.”

The goal of the strategic plan is ensuring every student meets or exceeds standards as achievement gaps are eliminated, according to the Anne Arundel County Public School website.

The school’s ‘All In’ theme is a play on a poker analogy.

“We’re using the poker analogy which players only go ‘all in’ when they know they have a winning hand,” Davenport said. “We believe all our students are winners and we’re willing to put all our resources in to support students.

“We’re working on attendance so that students take advantage of all we have at Arundel. We hope every student takes full advantage of the resources we have here. Education gives people options. The more they get out of us the more options they have for the future.”

This year, all freshman will take the ‘Community Citizen’ class.

“This class teaches students to learn about themselves, who they are and what their values and strengths are,” Davenport said. “They also learn about the school community and use old AHS yearbooks to see how the school has changed from a rural farming community to the technological triangle of Annapolis, Baltimore and Washingto”n.

Freshman will also learn in the Community Citizen class about the diversity of the community, not using stereotypes, and how to serve our community, Davenport said.

“It’s the second year we’ve taught this class and we’ve received great feedback from students and teachers,” Davenport said. “We will continue to build on it.”

This year’s graduating class will be required to have one of three experiences in the community to show the skills they have learned at Arundel.

“Seniors can get a work-based internship, successfully complete a course from Anne Arundel Community College, or complete a social action project for a cause in the community they care about,” Davenport said.

All students will learn about the ‘Formative Five’ created by Thomas Hoerr. They are empathy, integrity, embracing diversity, self-control and grit, Davenport said.

“Students will be getting opportunities to build on those skills in all of their classes,” Davenport said.

Students returned this year to a repaved driveway and parking lots. New blinds were also installed in all first floor classes for climate control and security reasons.

“We’re creating a double entrance vestibule for security that will be done this fall into winter,” Davenport said. “We’re also working on our HVAC system. Last Thursday, all students were dismissed early at 11 a.m. due to a failure in the air-conditioning system.

“The system failure was because the air-conditioning was only working at a small percentage. We relocated the affected classes but were concerned more and more classrooms would be compromised as the heat rose.”

Davenport emphasized the importance of parent involvement for a successful school year.

“We ask parents to attend events and follow our Twitter postings, it’s a great communication tool,” Davenport said. “Parents are also updated on the week’s events every Friday in their email.”

“I would like parents to be involved as much as possible. Be proud your children go to Arundel High School.”

Upcoming events for parents are Back to School night Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. and ‘Coffee with the Principal’ Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. Coffee with the Principal is held once a month throughout the school year in the Media Center.

“Everyone is excited for the new school year,” Davenport said. “We’re off to a great start.”

Police Community Relations Council

The Anne Arundel County Western District Police-Community Relations Council will meet at its headquarters Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. Former Commanders, Capt. Jeff Silverman and Major Katie Goodwin will be in attendance to welcome the district’s newest Commander, Capt. Daniel Rodriquez. This month’s meeting is ‘open discussion’ with no guest speaker. The western district headquarters at 8273 Telegraph Road in Odenton.

Master gardeners

The Anne Arundel County Master Gardeners will hold a free workshop at the Crofton Community Library Sept. 15, 10 a.m. to noon. Master Gardener Pat Shema will detail how to achieve successful flowers and vegetables from spring to fall with smart planning and planting. The library is at 1681 Riedel Road in Crofton.

Women of faith

Beginning Sept.18, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church will spend eight weeks detailing the importance of women of faith. There is no cost for materials and free babysitting is available. Prince of Peace at 1657 Crofton Pkwy in Crofton. For more information or to sign up, call 410-721-2313 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon or email at church.office@popchurch.org.

Author discussion

The Forum welcomes Andrew Och to discuss his new book, “Unusual for Their Time,” Sept. 20 at noon. Och writes about the public and private lives of America’s First Ladies. The Forum meets at Osaka’s Grill and Buffet, 633 Crofton Center.

Library shred event

The Crofton Community Library will hold a free community shred event Sept. 22, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Families are allowed to bring up to four banker-sized boxes to be shredded. The library at 1681 Riedel Road. No registration necessary.

Melissa Driscoll Krol can be reached at aroundcrofton@gmail.com and on Facebook at Around Crofton.

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