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Providing Opportunities for All Students

As our students go back to school, there are more opportunities than ever for our children to succeed, through signature programs, magnet schools and charter schools.

It’s that time of year again: More than 77,000 students will be entering the classrooms of Anne Arundel County Public Schools in just a few days!  We believe every individual is valuable and should have the opportunity for a sound education.

Our schools have an obligation to serve all of our students, and with an ever-increasing enrollment, this is no small task. However, our talented teachers, administrators, and support staff throughout our system team with the Board of Education to address the needs of all of our students. In recent years, our implementation of magnet and signature programs has provided more choices than ever before for students and their parents.

Each of our 12 comprehensive high schools is responsible for developing a signature program.  This is a theme chosen by a school and its surrounding community, designed to connect classroom instruction with real-world situations and workforce-relevant skills. The signature programs are designed to bring together educators with local business and community leaders to make classroom instruction relevant, rigorous, interesting, and challenging for students. They also provide critical opportunities that connect to the workplace.  We have six new signature themes that will be fully implemented into the academic experiences for students at Annapolis, Broadneck, Chesapeake, Northeast, Old Mill, and Southern high schools this year.

We are also expanding our magnet programs, which support Superintendent Kevin Maxwell’s Programs of Choice vision to offer students and families choice in their education.  Students who are accepted into a magnet program attend classes at their magnet school, located at one of the public schools in the county but not necessarily the student’s home school. 

This is the first year for our high school Performing and Visual Arts magnet program, which will be located at Annapolis and Broadneck high schools.  The BioMedical Allied Health (BMAH) magnet program at Glen Burnie High is in its second year.  North County and South River high schools host our STEM magnet program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). 

Our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) will expand to Hebron-Harman and South Shore elementary schools, bringing to five the number of elementary schools that offer PYP. Annapolis and MacArthur middle schools and Old Mill Middle School North offer the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP) and Annapolis, Meade and Old Mill high schools offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma program for students in grades 11 and 12 and the MYP for students in grades 9 and 10. 

We are continuing to support our Centers for Applied Technology, which allow students to develop technical skills needed to excel in the competitive work place.  These programs include, but are not limited to, automotive technology, baking and pastry, cosmetology, dental assistant, graphic design, HVAC, plumbing and welding.

The county’s two charter schools are also expanding. Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School will serve students in grades 6 through 11 this year, while Monarch Academy will have children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Anne Arundel County is incredibly diverse, and the diversity of our student population grows daily. We are committed to addressing the needs of every student, and have worked hard to implement a variety of avenues and opportunities for students to pursue as they seek to realize their dreams. 

This post was written by Amalie E. Brandenburg, who was appointed to a five-year term on the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County in July 2011. She is a resident of Severna Park, and she and her husband have 4 children, two current Benfield Elementary students, and two future students. The youngest arrived just two months ago. Welcome Baby Tait!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

G-Man August 23, 2012 at 01:49 PM
My question is if we are doing so well, why can't our kids pass college entrance/placement exams? Most of the kids going to AACC and other colleges around the state struggle with placement exams in math and english and cannot place high enough to enter in a credited college algerba or english class? We are failing somewhere in the process.

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