Washington County Public Schools

Washington County Public Schools

The district believes that literacy is key to student success and aims to improve literacy through 21st century skills such as problem solving and teamwork.

State: Maryland Number of Students: 8,790
School Type: Public School District
Free and Reduced Lunch: N/A
Grade Level: PK-12 English Language Learners: 0.2%

School Context

Funding: Washington County Public Schools received $675,000 in 2013 from the Digital Learning Innovation Award to support the iWrite project. The project aims to improve literacythrough 21st century skills such as problem solving and teamwork. Funding was used to purchase iPads and other technologyfor two schools. E. Russell Hicks Middle School will have a 1:1 environment, and South Hagerstown High School will provide20 teachers with iPad carts. The grant will also support PD and the purchasing of curricular tools such as digital e-books andsoftware.

CCSS Alignment: Washington County has worked hard over the past three years to ensure that all staff are trained inunderstanding the Common Core and that all curricula are aligned to the standards.

Long Live Literacy: WCPS believes that literacy is key to student success and therefore has provided literacy PD for teachers.Additionally, WCPS teachers in all four core content areas are expected to incorporate literacy into everyday learning.

Strong Teachers: WCPS aims to attract and retain high quality teachers. The county piloted a new observation and evaluationsystem in a few schools, which is now being used in all schools.

Turn-Arounds: WCPS is focused on turning around their lowest performing schools through providing additional staff,programming and other support for students and teachers.

State of Technology

iWrite on iPads: Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts & Technologyprovides every student in grades one through five with an iPad. Thisinitiative is part of the iWrite Project, which aims to improve literacy forall students through building 21st Century skills. The school also won anApple Distinguished School Award (2013-15) for innovation, leadership andeducational excellence. As part of the process, Doub submitted an ebookabout their iPad initiative to Apple. The ebook is now available for free oniTunes. With the grant money from the Digital Learning Innovation Award,Washington County expanded the initiative to E. Russell Hicks Middle Schooland South Hagerstown High School.

STEM Academy: WCPS has a number of magnet schools, including the STEMAcademy at Williamsport High School. The goal of the STEM Academy is toprepare high school students for careers or college-level education in STEM areas. This preparation involves STEM-related coursework as well as hands-on work using the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) model. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides programming including curricula, professionaldevelopment, and partnerships to over 6,500 schools in the U.S. During thefirst two years at the STEM Academy, students take core coursework thathelps them better understand the five pathways available to them. The fivepathways are: Aerospace Engineering, STEM Math, STEM Science, MechanicalEngineering and STEM Hybrid (which combined multiple pathways). At theend of their second year they choose one of the pathways to focus on.

*Content From 2015

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