Wednesday, September 03, 2008

REMINDER: What Counts Forum Tomorrow Night

What do you think counts in education? The Board of Education wants to know.

"What Counts" is the topic for discussion at a community forum set for Thursday, Sept. 4, 7-9 p.m., in the Maurice J. McDonough High School cafeteria. McDonough is located in Pomfret.

Invitations have been sent out to a cross-section of county residents to ensure well-rounded participation, but the public is invited to attend and participate as well.

The goal of the forum is simple. Board members want to learn what Charles County residents think counts in education and explore how the effectiveness and quality of public schools should be measured. The Board hopes to engage participants in small round-table discussions about what the community wants from its public schools.

Col. Donald Wade, chairman of the Board of Education, said, "The forum is to hear everyone who has opinions on what their expectations of schools are, especially in these times of high accountability and state-mandated testing. Beyond high test scores, what do people think makes a good school system? Is it college matriculation, advanced courses, small classes, quality facilities or advanced technology? We hope to find out during this forum and to use this information as we set our direction for the next three to five years."

Participants will be asked to fill out a handout listing quality school characteristics and be placed in small groups of six to 10 people. After each person has made their individual selections, a facilitator will ask participants to share their rationale for their selections. Each group will have to decide on the top eight most important indicators, with a rational for each.

Following the forum, a summary report will be provided to each public school and each participant. Additionally, the Board will share the report with local leaders and business owners and post it on the Charles County Public Schools Web site.

Anyone who would like to participate in the forum should call or e-mail Kessandra Stubblefield, executive assistant to the Board, at 301-934-7224 or

"We hope people will join us and let us know what counts," Wade said.

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