The following letter from Washington County Schools Superintendent Clayton M. Wilcox was written for Back in Session: A Herald-Mail Special Section:
As Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) kicks off the 2011-2012 school year, the Washington County Board of Education (BOE) members and staff of WCPS are ready to continue the important work of providing high-level, rigorous educational opportunities for the more than 22,000 students in the public school system, and we are committed to build upon a rich history of success.
While student achievement remains a top priority in WCPS, we continue celebrating record-setting accomplishments across a broad spectrum of activities. Our students are excelling in the classroom and in academic competitions, mastering the fine and performing arts, and succeeding in a host of athletic endeavors and competitions. Other academic and social indicators reflect impressive performance and suggest a promising future for our students.
For detailed information about the school system’s performance or the performance of any school in Washington County, please visit the Maryland Report Card website at www.mdreportcard.org.
Beyond the data captured in our “report card,” we are proud to announce:
Newsweek magazine consistently names WCPS high schools to the list of the top high schools in the country based on number and quality of Advanced Placement classes offered and taken and our International Baccalaureate programs.
- WCPS was named a “Best Communities for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants.
- WCPS is recognized consistently among the top Maryland public school systems for high attendance rates.
- WCPS is fortunate to have athletic programs and individual athletes with a history of winning state championships — several in the past year alone.
- WCPS routinely has medal winners in the National Skills-USA Championships, competing against more than 5,000 students.
- WCPS and Associated Builders and Contractors continue a great partnership to provide practical training, education, and job experience for students interested in the trades.
Our historic and current successes are certainly worthy of praise, and we are fortunate to have drawn strength from many areas, including community support, dynamic teachers, committed administrators, and strong support team members who have helped Washington County’s young people succeed in the classroom, in extracurricular school activities, and beyond. It is my expectation that we will build upon our history and continue to provide our communities with great service and work to ensure an even brighter future. Even with challenges to manage, such as continued financial cuts to education spending, emerging academic standards to meet, and technological advances to navigate, we must continue finding successful, innovative ways to prepare students for colleges and careers in a rapidly changing 21st century.
To that end, as a parent, guardian, or citizen, your involvement is critical to a child’s success in school, and WCPS provides many avenues for you to be engaged in the educational process.
First and foremost, we hope you will spend time talking with students about the school day, classroom work, and homework, as many of the assignments children will be asked to complete will benefit from your experience and expertise. We know from experience that interest in a child’s success in school is a positive motivational force and sends a clear message to children that you value their education.
Additionally, we hope you will consider volunteering at one of our schools, which is another way of showing children that you care about their academic success.
Volunteering in schools and supporting the work of teachers and administrators can provide an extra boost that is proven to turn good schools into great schools.
Also, we invite you to become involved in your school’s PTA, PTO, school improvement team, or the Citizen’s Advisory Council, which is another great way to affect change in the community and school system.
Finally, the BOE maintains advisory committees which welcome parent and citizen membership. Throughout the year additional systemwide committees and study groups also seek community participation.
The process to apply and learn more about these committees and groups is posted on the school system website and will be shared through local media outlets and schools throughout the year.
On behalf of the dedicated and committed WCPS team members, and as the new WCPS superintendent, I am honored to say thank you for allowing us the privilege of serving your family and the community.
Our doors are always open to you. If you need additional information or assistance, please contact your child’s school or call the Public Information Office at 301-766-2809.
Clayton M. Wilcox