Term: 4 Years
QUESTION: What one thing would most improve the quality of education offered by the county school sytem?
Susan J. Cook
Sandra H. French
Susan J. Cook
6508 Spelling Bee, Columbia
Homemaker involved in school activities; president, Oakland Mills High School PTSA, 1988-90; president, Dasher Green Elementary School PTA, 1986-88; president, Owen Brown Middle School PTA, 1984-86; leader of parental involvement seminars presented at National Middle School Association conferences and at Chesapeake College; member, Oakland Mills Drug and Alcohol Task Force; lobbyist before County Council, state Department of Education and state legislature on safety and budget items; initiated "Seats Available" program at high-school level; worked to help restore $775,000 in funding for middle-school staffing in 1986; community activist; mother of three, with two children currently enrolled in public schools. A.
Teachers are the one thing that would most improve the quality of education offered by the county schools. Quality is in the hands of the teacher dealing with individual students. When getting down to the basics -- without modern buildings, quality textbooks and equipment -- we discover that the teachers, students and parents are the heart of the system. Fortunately, we have the finest teachers in Maryland. However, we may lose them to more competitive employment if we do not entice them with fairer compensation and additional paid after-school staff development. This will afford teachers the opportunity to keep current across the spectrum, interact with peers and brainstorm on innovative and stimulating curriculum for the average, remedial and gifted and talented students. Honest, human qualities in teachers, such as compassion, dedication, commitment and interpersonal skills, are critical to the success of every student. We realize that no one improvement by itself can effectively alter the entire school system. A system must be well balanced and fiscally managed to be highly successful.
Sandra H. French
12249 Carroll Mill Rd., Ellicott City
Age: 47 A.
Substitute teacher, Howard County Public School system; former English teacher, Anne Arundel County Public School system; president, Parent Teacher Association Council of Howard County, 1986-88; vice president for legislation, Maryland State Parent Teacher Association, 1988-present; volunteer on 12 Howard County education committees, 1985-90; two children in Howard County public schools; AB, Muhlenberg College, 1965; master's equivalent, 1971, Maryland State Department of Education; National Parent Teacher Association Honorary Award, 1990; Governor's Volunteer Service Recognition, 1988; Howard County Unsung Hero Recognition, 1988; Outstanding Maryland Volunteer, 1984 and 1986; president, Glenelg High School Parent Teacher Student Association, 1989-90. A.
What will most improve the quality of education offered by the county school system is our response to the new education standards established in the Maryland School Performance Program by State Superintendent Shilling and the State Board of Eduation. Implementation must be flexible, multifaceted and child-centered, not just an increase of teacher paperwork, student testing and statistics gathering. Parents and educators must maintain high expectations and a cooperative commitment to the right of every child to learn equally rigorous content. End student learning fragmentation by emphasizing higher-order thinking skills through cross-curricular connections and writing in all subjects. Stress hands-on science, computer usage and exposure to technological advancements. Pursue values-based strategies to increase attendance and self-motivation and decrease dropouts, drug usage and teen pregnancies. Offer evening school. Emphasize the principal's role as instructional leader more than as building administrator. Delegate responsibility and subsequent accountability for each child's educational success to local school councils composed of parents and educational staff.