Welcome Back To School!

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Welcome back AACPS students, parents, guardians, teachers and staff! I am truly excited to serve you on the Board of Education and wish you a fantastic 2019-2020 school year. Let’s talk about some back-to-school resources, as well as my priorities for this school year.

BUS SCHEDULES
The latest bus schedules for all schools can be found at www.busstops.aacps.org. For questions or concerns about bus schedules, call the AACPS transportation division at 410-923-7890 and ask for your school’s transportation specialist.

SCHOOL HOURS
Start and dismissal times for all schools can be found at www.aacps.org/schoolhours. You’ll notice that for the 2019-2020 school year, Folger McKinsey Elementary School starts at 9:40am and dismisses at 4:05pm (five minutes later than last year). Shipley’s Choice Elementary School starts at 9:00am and dismisses at 3:25pm (15 minutes earlier than last year). All other schools in Severna Park, Arnold, the Broadneck peninsula and Millersville retain the same start and dismissal times as last year. For questions or concerns about school hours, please contact the superintendent at 410-222-5304, option 2, or the AACPS transportation division at 410-923-7890.

Both school hours and bus schedules are under the purview of the superintendent. The Board of Education did not vote on or receive prior notification of changes to school hours or bus schedules.

STUDENT RESOURCES
Our teachers, principals, vice principals, school counselors and psychologists are ready to help your child. To find school contact information, visit www.aacps.org and click on “Select a School” at the top, right-hand corner of the screen. Every school has a webpage containing school-specific information and contact details.

The “Special Education” page can be found at www.aacps.org/specialed. There you can find valuable information about assessments, special education services offered, parent resources and more.

The “Student and School Support” page of the AACPS website also has a wealth of information including school safety, school performance, 504 services, and more. Visit www.aacps.org/page/1085 to learn more.

2019-2020 BUDGETARY PRIORITIES
There are far too many budget priorities to list them all; I’ll touch on just a couple of my top budgetary priorities for this year.

As you probably guessed from my August 2019 column, healthy and safe school hours are on my mind. For far too long, our high school students have been driving or walking to school or a bus stop half asleep before dawn, and increasingly our youngest learners are returning home at dusk. Neither scenario is acceptable. This board has hired a transportation consultant to review the operations of our transportation division and will report their findings this winter. Additionally, a report regarding the extremely late starting elementary schools will be presented to the board during the November 6 meeting. Please know that I am working hard to find solutions for children at all grade levels and I welcome your input.

Teacher pay and equity also remains at the top of my priorities list. While I am delighted that our teachers finally have some relief after years of asking for back steps, our work is far from done. Our veteran teachers who were docked up to three experience steps when they joined AACPS still need to be made whole. As of July 1, 2019, this practice is no longer part of AACPS teacher contracts. Retention is far less costly than recruitment, and we need these teachers to stay at AACPS and continue to educate our children.

POLICY PRIORITIES
I continue to serve on the policy committee and will tackle policies on a variety of subjects including redistricting, bullying and bias behavior, school clubs, the Citizen Advisory Committee, recess and start times in addition to the regular schedule of reviewing policies to ensure all stay up to date. Policy changes often come from new state laws or the Maryland State Department of Education but are also suggested by members of the board, teachers and the community.

As always, I welcome your input and can be contacted at dschallheim@aacps.org.

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