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Worcester students heading back to school

Superintendent of Worcester County Public Schools Lou Taylor dances with students from Cedar Chapel Special School during the second annual Back to School Pep Rally at the convention center on 40th Street on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer

(Aug. 30, 2018) More than 6,700 students are expected to return to Worcester County’s 14 public schools on Tuesday, Sept. 4, when the 2018-19 school year is scheduled to begin.

“We’re excited to welcome all 6,700 back on Tuesday,” Lou Taylor, superintendent of Worcester County Public Schools, said. “It’s a partnership with this entire community, our board of education, our staff at the school, and our elected officials who support our school system and provide the means that we can do things to ensure our kids can do their best.”

Taylor said enrollment was slightly higher than last year, when 6,663 students were enrolled.

The 180-day school calendar runs until Thursday, June 13, with three cancelation days factored in for inclement weather. The last day of school will be adjusted if the county school system does not use the days or exceeds that number.

While students spend 180 days in class, the teachers must work 188 days. Some of those are professional days, which gives time off for students, but requires teachers to report for a full day. This year, four professional days are scheduled at the end of each marking period.

“It’s always an exciting time, because teachers and students and community members get to do what they do best, which is to learn and work together and grow,” Pocomoke Middle School Principal Matthew Record said. “The beginning of the school year is always a special feeling. We’re really excited to have those things on Sept. 4 this year.”

Several new developments occurred during the past year, including the latest phase of the digital conversion process. The four-year development was designed to supplement instruction and allow students to become more adept at using technology as a tool to enhance their learning. Currently, 1,591 iPads, 3,076 Chromebooks and 2,142 laptops have been made accessible throughout the 14 schools.

Construction of the new Showell Elementary School is also expected to begin in October, with the $47 million school expected to be finished in time for the 2019-20 school year.

“You walk into the first day of school and you never know what it’s going to be,” Caitlin Evans, a teacher at Worcester Technical High School, said during a back to school pep rally on Tuesday. “You get new kids every single year. You’re always excited. The rooms are ready, we’re ready and I loved the speaker today. She gave us a lot of encouragement and tools to use.”

2018-19 School Holiday Calendar:

Oct. 19 – Maryland State Education Association Convention

Nov. 5 – Professional day

Nov. 21-23 – Thanksgiving break

Dec. 24-Jan. 1 – Winter break

Jan. 21 – Martin Luther King Day

Jan. 24-25 – High school exams, half-day for all students

Jan. 28 – Professional day

Feb. 18 – President’s Day

March 29 – Professional day

April 1 – Professional day

April 19-22 – Spring break

May 27 – Memorial Day

June 12-13 – High school exams, half-days for all students