To the Staff, Parents, Stakeholders, and Citizens of Garrett County,
Last evening at the Garrett County Board of Education, I presented on the status of RISE Strategic Plan.
The RISE plan was prompted by a request from the County Commissioners for a long-term capital strategic plan from the Board of Education. My overarching goal is to provide well rounded, high quality educational opportunities for every student in Garrett County Public Schools.
Committee work will continue moving forward to explore the opportunity of changing the grade band alignment to PK-6 & 7-12. The footprint may look like the following:
- Northern Garrett High & Southern Garrett High would house grades 7-12.
- Route Forty, Grantsville, Friendsville, Crellin, and Yough Glades would house PK-6.
- Southern Middle would be renovated as a PK-6 educational space to house the Broad Ford community. Accident Elementary community would shift to the Northern Middle facility. In these two facilities, there would be space for Special Education, Head Start, Judy Center and other birth to 6th grade support & programming.
- Swan Meadow will be open and the grade band configuration will be further researched.
I am committed to retaining all our community schools. There is no discussion of closing schools or consolidating schools beyond the configurations mentioned above.
The following options are removed at this time:
- One comprehensive high school - This is a ten year project & requires much more work outside of the scope of this RISE Plan.
- Grade banding PK-2, 3-6, & 7-12 – This alignment has not received favorable initial research by the committee work thus far.
- Regional grade bands – Having a different grade band alignment in the North vs. the South is not what is best for kids in Garrett County.
I cannot stress enough that no decisions have been made. Work continues on research, collaboration, and fact-finding for the future of Garrett County schools. As stated in the presentation last night, this is a capital funding issue. While the operating budget can be used for maintenance, we have to ensure that our operating budget is focused on instructional priorities first and foremost.
Another update will be presented on October 29th at Southern Garrett High School at 4:00 pm.
Barbara L. Baker
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