by Geoff Fox
It seems like it was just yesterday that schools were letting out for the summer and kids were looking forward to having fun with no school. But it was June when schools let out and the new school year is set to begin on Monday, August 28, for Washington County schools.
As students head back to class, there’ s going to be some new faces in the classrooms.
At Hancock Middle-Senior High School, Alexandra Cartwright (English Language Arts), Jonah Smith (Social Studies), Alicen Galanis (English), and Rachel Blickenstaff (Math).
Hancock Middle-Senior High School Principal Jennifer Ruppenthal said there are no new policies in line for the school or for Washington County Public Schools.
Ruppenthal did say in an email there is a change in an existing policy when it comes to grades.
Ruppenthal said marking periods and final grades would be translated into letter grades starting this year.
“We are very excited about the start of a new year,” Ruppenthal said.
“The school goals are to continue to improve attendance and student achievement.”
Ruppenthal added that students will be challenged to “Lead By Example” this year and it’s “extremely important” for students to embrace all opportunities.
It’s important for educators, students, and families to work together to ensure every student is a success, she said.
There will be a Back to School Tailgate event on Wednesday, September 6, from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. at Hancock Middle-Senior High School students and their families are welcome too.
There have been several projects over the summer at the high school.
Both the community and large gyms have been painted, new carpet has been laid in the Media Center, and other projects are still ongoing.
“We are working to ensure students have a conducive, inviting learning environment,” Ruppenthal said.
The staff at Hancock Middle-Senior High School are committed to enduring students are provided with standards of high-quality instruction in every classroom with deep care, she added.
The school is also ensuring students are in school daily by enlisting the support of families.
“Even with improvement in our chronic absenteeism we need to focus in this area and ensure students are in attendance every day,” Ruppenthal said.
Across the street, Hancock Elementary is “laser-focused” this year on increasing student engagement and achievement through building a culture of hard work, high expectations, and by providing daily educational opportunities for students to advance.
“This year, we are excited to utilize a core reading resource called CKL A that promises to excite and engage students in literacy through its rich use of high quality literature and content reading, its focus on writing and vocabulary development, and its specific and targeted skill-building in the primary grades,” Principal Jennifer Scarberry Price said in a newsletter to parents.
The school will also be working on modeling and reasoning in math as they enter year three with the new core math resource, Illustrative Math (Bridges in Pre-K).
Students will also be working on showing and explaining their math thinking and solution plaths. Application and transfer of learned concepts is key for students to demonstrate what they know and what they can do independently.
Scarberry Price said Hancock Elementary students have phenomenal potential and the teachers and staff can’t wait to tap into all their strengths and talents to help them succeed.
“We know that your support at home is critical to your child’ s success and we cannot do this without you!” Scarberry Price said. “We look forward to the partnership that we will build this year as we help our students succeed and achieve.”
There will be a Meet the Teacher night on Thursday, August 24, from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. where students and parents can visit classrooms where teachers will be sharing expectations and information about the upcoming school year.
Everyone is to report to their child’s classroom when they arrive. Class assignments can be found on the ParentVUE website.
One new thing at Hancock Elementary this year is fully transitioning to Chromebook laptop computers.
Last year, students in first through fifth grade transitioned to the Chromebooks beginning in late winter.
This school year, all students will utilize Chromebooks when devices are needed.
If students and parents have not had a chance to get their supplies for school yet, WCPS has lists for both schools at https://wcpsmd.com/news/wcps-schoolsupply-lists-2023-2024 and click on the appropriate school.