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Schools are Ready to Open for the 2018-2019 Academic Year

Enrollment Expected to Set Another New Record

BALTIMORE – Maryland public school systems begin re-opening next week, as another new record number of students is expected for the 2018-19 academic year.

“The beginning of a new school year is full of excitement and opportunities for students, teachers, and parents alike,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “I believe that every Maryland student should have access to a world-class education, and our administration is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that all students, teachers, and families have a safe and successful school year.”

Maryland school enrollment hit a record 893,689 students in 2017-18, with another 250,000 children involved in some form of pre-kindergarten, Head Start or licensed childcare program. Those numbers are expected to rise again this year.

Schools this fall begin the fifth full year of implementation of the stronger academic standards.

“More Maryland students are graduating with an improved foundation for success in career or college,” said Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “Our goal is to continue on this track, never satisfied until all of our graduates are prepared to compete on the world stage.”

Noteworthy This School Year:

Enrollment & Demographic Trends

o Maryland public school enrollment is poised to break the 900,000 student threshold for the first time in State history. Enrollment in Maryland public schools has increased every fall since 2008, when it stood at 843,861. In the 10 years since, statewide enrollment has grown by approximately 50,000 students.

o Statewide enrollment grew by 0.8 percent last year – nearly 7,500 students. Enrollment grew in 13 of Maryland’s 24 school systems.

o Maryland’s student population also has experienced major demographic changes over the past 20 years. Percentages of Hispanic and Asian students have been steadily rising. White students represent nearly 37.3 percent of the student population, followed by African-American students, who make up 33.7 percent of the student population. Both the White and African-American student populations have been in decline as a percentage of the student body in recent years. Hispanic students represent 17.4 percent of the student body, while Asian students account for 6.6 percent. Also increasing is the percentage of students identifying themselves as two or more races, which is at 4.6 percent.

o More information on Maryland school demographics can be found on the Maryland Report Card website.

New Schools Are Set to Debut this Fall

As more students enter Maryland schools, school systems are building new schools. Others are being replaced or undergoing significant renovations.

o Six completely new schools will open in Maryland this fall, including three in Frederick County. Other new schools are scheduled to open in Baltimore, Howard, and Montgomery Counties.

o Thirteen replacement schools will also open their doors this coming school year. Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Frederick and Wicomico Counties, as well as Baltimore City all have replacement schools welcoming students in the next few weeks.

Safer Schools, Safer Students

Safety and security in our schools is extremely important. The highest urgency has been placed on actions to improve school safety. The General Assembly passed and Governor Larry Hogan signed into law the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018. The law restructures the governance system for overseeing school safety policies and grants, calls for staffing guidelines regarding adequate law enforcement coverage at all schools, and includes an expanded role for local school systems in coordinating students’ mental health services. Significant State funding will be provided for school facility related projects and local law enforcement support.

o The Maryland Center for School Safety this month welcomed more than 200 school system staff and law enforcement officials to Annapolis for its annual summer conference, which included a presentation by St. Mary’s Superintendent Dr. J. Scott Smith and his team. The summer conference followed the State’s first School Safety Summit this Spring, the largest gathering of its kind in State history.

o The School Safety Subcabinet and Advisory Boards have completed initial meetings. The School Safety Subcabinet consists of the State Superintendent of Schools; the Secretary of Health; the Secretary of State Police; the Attorney General; the Secretary of the Department of Disabilities; and the Executive Director of the Interagency Committee on School Construction. The State Superintendent chairs the subcabinet and the Executive Director for the Maryland Center for School Safety provides staff.

o The School Safety Subcabinet Advisory Board is established and includes a broad array of more than 20 stakeholders, to advise and assist the subcabinet in carrying out its duties.

o Governor Hogan this spring announced a series of new school safety initiative, including a $125 million effort to accelerate and enhance safety improvements in schools and an additional $50 million for new school safety grants. The Governor also provided additional funding for the Maryland Center for School Safety.

o For more information on school safety, see the Maryland Center for School Safety website, http://safeschoolsmd.org/

Strengthening Accountability, Achievement

o The latest revision of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been in place for two years. The revised law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides a long-term, stable federal policy that gives states additional flexibility and encourages states, local school systems, and schools to innovate while at the same time holding all accountable for results. The Maryland State Department of Education, working with its broad-based ESSA Stakeholder Committee, developed Maryland’s ESSA Plan, found here. The plan was approved by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos early this year, setting the stage for Maryland educational improvement for the next several years.

o Results from the fourth year of the current State assessments will be released for grades 3-8 and high school next week. The state assessments are aligned to the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards.

o MSDE is developing a new and improved MdReportCard.org website, designed to help educators and parents gain easy access to the information they need regarding the success of schools and school systems. The new site is scheduled to debut before the end of the year.

Expanding Career and Technology Education (CTE) Opportunities to Students

Maryland has made the expansion of career oriented programs a priority. For example:

o Two new P-TECH programs are launching this school year. Dundalk High School in Baltimore County and Clarksburg High School in Montgomery County will both welcome their first cohort of P-TECH students with the opening of the 2018-19 school year. The new programs join programs at Paul Laurence Dunbar and Carver Vocational Technical High Schools in Baltimore City, Allegany Career and Technology Center in Allegany County, and Frederick Douglass High School in Prince George’s County. P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools) are innovative early college programs that create clear pathways from high school to college and careers for young people from all academic backgrounds. In six years or less, students graduate with a high school diploma and a no-cost associate’s degree. Each P-TECH school works with industry partners and a local community college to ensure an up-to-date curriculum that is academically rigorous and economically relevant. The program also includes one-on-one mentoring, workplace visits, and instruction on the skills needed for the industry and paid internships and first-in-line consideration for job openings with a school’s partnering companies.

o The new school year is the first time in which Maryland school systems can implement the Apprenticeship Maryland Program (AMP). Coordinated through a partnership between MSDE and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), AMP is a program for students 16 and up based on a partnership involving employers and mentors, school districts, students, and parents. Eligible employers (Approved by the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Council through DLLR) hire high school juniors and seniors to work in eligible occupations primarily in the manufacturing or STEM industries and provide fair competition—thus creating an “earn and learn opportunity.” Students also receive training in employability skills, interpersonal skills, and a general knowledge of work. The program consists of at least one year of related classroom instruction and a workplace component of at least 450 hours. Frederick and Washington County Public School Systems piloted AMP last school year, with the goal of expanding the model throughout the State.

New Charter School

There is one new charter school scheduled to open this fall, bringing the total to 51 statewide.

o This year’s new school is Chesapeake Math and IT Academy (CMIT), opening for 400 students in grades K-5. This is the fourth CMIT school in Prince George’s County.

o Charter schools are projected to enroll 22,930 students throughout the State in 2018-19.

Keeping Students Healthy

Maryland’s Department of Health is requiring new immunizations for children for the 2018-19 school year. Specifically:

o All students entering kindergarten and first through fourth grade must have had two varicella vaccinations before the first day of school.

o All students entering seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth grades must have had one Tdap vaccination and one meningococcal (MCV4) vaccination before the first day of school. They must also have a single dose of Meningococcal (MCV4) vaccine prior to entering school.

o There are medical and religious exemptions to these rules. For more information, see the MDH immunization page.

School Start Dates

Opening dates for Maryland’s school systems:

• August 27 – Garrett County and the statewide SEED School
• August 29 – Allegany County
• September 4 – All other Maryland Counties.

Please note that some individual schools and grades have different start dates. Check with your local school system for more information.

MSDE’s round-up of school openings and closings can be found on the MSDE website.


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