ACCPS set to welcome record number of students

More than 83,000 students – the most ever – are expected to fill seats in schools across the county when the 2018-2019 school year begins for most students on September 4.

With the exception of five schools that will open one day late due to planned construction projects, the first day of classes for students in first through fifth, sixth, and ninth grades will be Tuesday, September 4. The staggered openings of secondary schools will give sixth- and ninth-graders a chance to get acclimated to their new surroundings before the remaining students return to class on Wednesday, September 5.

Kindergarten, prekindergarten, and ECI students will also start school on a staggered schedule. Parents should see the school calendar located on the AACPS website for details.

Delayed openings

Planned construction projects and moves will necessitate a one-day delay in the opening of five schools. Staggered start schedules will be moved by one day to accommodate late openings at Corkran Middle School and Brock Bridge, High Point, Richard Henry Lee, and George Cromwell elementary schools.

Central Special School, Marley Glen Special School, and Ruth Parker Eason Special School will open for all students on Wednesday, September 5. Parent conferences at those three schools will take place on Tuesday, September 4.

No staggered start

Students at the Mary Moss at J. Albert Adams Academy will not utilize the staggered start. All students at the school will begin class on Tuesday, September 4.

Temporary homes

Richard Henry Lee Elementary School students will find themselves in a new home for the next two years as the revitalization project on their school is complete. Richard Henry Lee students will attend classes in dedicated space at Corkran Middle School.

Arnold Elementary School students will spend their second year in space at Severn River Middle School while construction is completed on a new Arnold Elementary.

New educational opportunities

Joining the AACPS family of schools this year will be the Carrie Weedon Early Education, the county’s third such facility. The former Carrie Weedon Science Center has been renovated to house prekindergarten students in a full-day program in Galesville.

This fall also brings with the expansion of the highly successful Enhancing Elementary Excellence (Triple E) program to elementary schools in the Annapolis cluster. The program, now in place in six clusters across the county, offers students an additional area of study with lessons designed to spark creativity and teach students to approach problems with an open mind. It also provides elementary teachers with precious additional planning time.

Back-To-School Events

All schools have scheduled Back-To-School Nights to provide parents with a chance to learn more about the instruction their children are receiving and the teachers who are providing that instruction. Detailed information on dates and times for every school can be found on the AACPS website.

New faces in new places

Compared to this time a year ago, the nine-member Board of Education will have two new faces when the school year opens and will add a third shortly afterward.

Josie Urrea, a senior at Severna Park High School, is the 47th student member of the Board of Education to represent students across the county. She is serving a one-year term and is the only student member of a local Board of Education in the country with full voting rights.

The School Board Appointment Commission (SBAC) of Anne Arundel County appointed Sidney Butcher of Hanover in February to fill the vacant District 32 seat on the Board of Education. The SBAC is planning to conduct hearings in September to pick a replacement for the District 30 seat formerly held by Maria Delores Sasso. Mrs. Sasso resigned July 31.

There also are new principals at 21 schools across the county. Eight of those schools – Annapolis and Glen Burnie High Schools; Belle Grove, Bodkin, and Brock Bridge elementary schools; Carrie Weedon Early Education Center; Ruth Parker Eason School; and Monarch Academy in Glen Burnie – will be led by first-year principals who were assistant principals in the county last year.

Technology updates and expansion

AACPS’ Technology Division performed an incredible feat over the summer, replacing approximately 18,996 Chromebooks as well as adding 3,581 new Chromebooks, laptops and other computers to the inventory. Personnel in the division also cyclically replaced 8,176 existing leased laptops and desktop computers as part of AACPS’ refresh program, helping to ensure that students and staff have top-notch technological power at their fingertips in all schools and offices.

Possibility of significant calendar changes

The school calendar approved by the Board of Education in May contains an important possibility about which parents should make sure they remain aware.

As was conveyed to parents last spring, while the calendar notes June 14, 2019, as the last day of class, it also designates June 17-21, 2019, as days on which schools could be open for students if the number of days needed for inclement weather closings surpasses the three built into the calendar. Legislation passed by the General Assembly allows school systems to build in up to five days past the June 15 mandated closing date to be used in the event of excessive inclement weather provided those days have been designated by the Board.

The Board-approved calendar builds in two days for inclement weather and designates March 5, 2019 – currently a parent-teacher conference day – as a third day if needed. Conferences would be canceled, and schools would open for students only if the school system has had to close schools for inclement weather on three or more days before March 5, 2019.

Student immunizations

It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that their child’s immunizations and records are both up to date and on file with the school. Students who do not have documentation of required immunizations will not be allowed to attend school when the school year starts. Parents who have questions should check with their child’s school.

A list of required immunizations can be found online here.

ParentConnectxp to go live, attendance calls to begin September 17

ParentConnectxp, the online portal that allows parents to see their child’s assignments, grades, and attendance records, will be available across the school system on Monday, September 17, 2018.

Parents can sign up online for ParentConnectxp here.

Automated attendance calls for students who are absent and whose parents have not previously notified the school of that absence will also begin on September 17.

Security reminder for visitors to schools

County schools are equipped with A/I phones which allow office personnel to communicate with visitors to determine the nature of their visit before allowing admittance to the school office. Parents, community members, school system employees, and others planning to visit schools are reminded that AACPS security procedures require all visitors to show a government-issued identification card (such as a driver’s license) to be admitted into a school. The ID card is scanned through a system that cross-references visitors against sexual offender databases.

Visitors must not hold the front door of a school open to allow other visitors not in their party into a school.

Fueled up and ready to go

This year, nearly 652,000 hours will be spent driving approximately 800 buses nearly 10 million miles to transport students to and from schools.  On a daily basis, approximately 60,000 students are eligible to use county school transportation services.

Bus services are offered to students living outside designated walking areas at each school. Prekindergarten and kindergarten students who live greater than one-half mile from school, elementary school students who live greater than one mile from school, and middle and high school students who live greater than one-and-one-half miles from school are eligible to receive transportation services.

Routine bus evacuation drills will be conducted throughout the school year.

Complete school bus schedules and procedures can be found here.

Fuel for achievement

For the fifth consecutive year, the cost of school meals for students will not increase. School breakfasts will cost $1.50, with lunches at elementary and secondary schools costing $2.75 and $3.00, respectively. At all schools, reduced-price breakfast is free and reduced-price lunch is 40 cents. The cost of milk will remain at 55 cents per bottle.

In addition to unlimited choices of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, AACPS offers a variety of nutritious meal options to ensure students are properly fueled for the school day.  Forty-seven schools will offer free breakfast to all students as part of the Maryland Meals for Achievement program. Nine schools will allow students to purchase breakfast and eat with teachers and peers in the classroom as part of the Breakfast with Class program.  In addition, 49 sites will serve free early evening meals to students through a federally-funded initiative aimed at supporting good nutrition and combating youth hunger.  The school system also served approximately 125,000 meals to young people over the summer.

Students who wish to apply for free or reduced-price meals must complete a new SY2018-2019 Meal Benefit Application, available here. Applications are accepted throughout the school year.

For the 10th straight year, AACPS is utilizing an enhanced computer system, MyPaymentsPlus, to make meal purchases faster and easier. Students whose parents deposit money into an account can use their six-digit student identification number to make purchases. Parents can register to receive emails when balances are low and can monitor their child’s purchases. Questions about the prepayment programs should be directed to the school a child attends.

AACPS menus will feature additional healthy options for all students. Choices include additional fresh fruits and vegetables, more whole grain options, and more lean protein and low-fat dairy options.

Last year, AACPS served more than 5.8 million lunches and 3.7 million breakfasts in schools. The system receives no county funds to operate lunch and breakfast programs. Revenue for the program comes from federal reimbursements (58 percent), food sales (38 percent), and state funding (4 percent).

Complete details about breakfast and lunch programs can be found on AACPS’ Food and Nutrition Services program website.

Notices of emergency closings and delays

Changes to school schedules caused by inclement weather or other emergency conditions are announced through Connect-ED via telephone, email, and text message; posted on the school system’s website (www.aacps.org), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/aacps), Twitter page (@AACountySchools) and Instagram page (aacountyschools); posted on all individual school Twitter pages; and announced on major area radio and television stations, including AACPS-TV (Channel 96 on Comcast and Broadstripe, and Channel 36 on Verizon; HD broadcasts on Channel 996 on Comcast, Channel 496 on Broadstripe, and Channel 1961 on Verizon).

Board meetings on TV and website; Board votes online

Meetings of the Board of Education, which typically occur on the first and third Wednesdays of most months, are broadcast live on AACPS-TV and on Livestream on the Internet.

Links to Livestream broadcasts and archived videos of Board meetings can be found here.

Voting records of Board members are categorized by meeting date can also be found online.

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