Open Forum: ‘Always exciting’

Posted: August 24, 2013

Frederick County Public Schools will welcome approximately 13,100 students back for the start of the 2013-14 school year on Monday. The start of a new school year is always exciting, but there are many more things to get enthused about regarding Frederick County Public Schools.

Our students and staff are achieving at high levels and are being recognized at the local, state, national, and international levels.

In June, more than 900 students received diplomas from our three high schools, and more than half of the diplomas awarded were for Advanced Studies. In addition, the members of the Class of 2013 earned more than $4.2 million in scholarships, to include academic, athletic, and service academy awards.

Frederick County Public Schools is also one of the state’s leaders when it comes to the number of industry licenses and certifications being earned by students. During the 2012-13 school year, our students earned more than 1,500 licenses and certifications in a variety of areas. That represents a 29 percent increase over the number earned in 2011-12.

Clearly, our schools are doing an outstanding job of preparing students to be productive, engaged citizens, whether they continue their education following high school or enter the workforce.

As students and staff members continue to enjoy great success, the School Board and Board of Supervisors are working together to plan for the future needs of our community. Currently, renovations and additions are being completed at Bass-Hoover, Evendale, Redbud Run, and Stonewall elementary schools. These additions will position the school division to begin offering full-day kindergarten beginning in the fall of 2014 as well as to handle future enrollment growth.

Meanwhile, work to design a replacement Frederick County Middle School is underway, and the board is edging closer to securing property on which a fourth high school will be built in the future.

Although the projects noted above often draw the biggest headlines, it’s important to remember that what takes place inside our classrooms is the most important thing. Teaching is a very important and challenging profession. Our community’s students, teachers, administrators, and schools need the support of parents and the community at large.

Parents play an especially important role in the educational process and can positively impact their child’s school experience by taking an interest in their schoolwork, participating in school activities, maintaining an open line of communication with teachers and school staff, and volunteering to help with school events.

Our schools are a vital part of our community that have a direct impact on the quality of life we enjoy. As the new school year begins, I invite you to connect with our schools and see firsthand the great work being done by our teachers and students.

In addition, I encourage you to consider how you can help to make a difference for our students and schools by giving of your time and talents. Each of our schools can benefit from volunteers and additional support. In order to get involved, simply contact the school’s principal to learn how you may be able to make a difference.

Our community is fortunate to have outstanding schools, exceptional teachers and staff, and successful students. By working together as a community, we can help make each of our schools even stronger.

Stuart A. Wolk is chairman of the Frederick County School Board.