The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) will hear a presentation about the importance of high school student capstone projects and discuss three new proposed courses at their meeting scheduled for noon on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. The meeting will be held in the Board Room at the Parham Building, located at 2644 Riva Road in Annapolis, and is open to the public, although the space is subject to normal limitations.

Capstone projects are a culmination of multifaceted bodies of work, serving as academic and intellectual experiences for students. As part of their projects, students gain hands-on experience to think critically and creatively and solve challenging, relevant, and authentic problems in the world around them while growing their personal and professional confidence and independence.

During the meeting, the Board will also discuss the impact on the school system of the Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposed by Steuart Pittman and now being considered by the County Council. The complete agenda for the meeting can be found here, and more information on agenda items will be posted on the AACPS website in the Board Docs section under the Board of Education tab.

The Board will also meet in a public session at 10 a.m. for the sole purpose of voting to immediately go into closed session. During that time, the Board will discuss confidential matters as permitted by the Maryland Open Meetings Act, including but not limited to legal advice, personnel, and negotiations. Closed sessions are not open to the public.

Public testimony will be heard from up to 10 total speakers per agenda item (excluding personnel items, reports, and recognitions) during a single public comment section in the early portion of the meeting. The link to register to testify before the Board will be published at at 3 p.m. on the Friday before the meeting. Those wishing to provide testimony must register through that link. Speakers may sign up for no more than two agenda items but only once on any individual agenda item.

For any item with more than 10 registered speakers, the Board will employ a lottery process to select the speakers. Registrants who secure a slot to speak will be notified by email at the email address they provide when they register. All speakers will be allotted two minutes and must address the specifics of the agenda item for which they signed up.

Written comments on agenda items can also be submitted through an online form at beginning at 3 p.m. on the Friday prior to a Board meeting. Comments can also be dropped off at the Parham Building by noon on the day prior to a Board meeting. Those who require the services of an interpreter to offer comment to the Board or who need other accessibility accommodations for Board of Education meetings should call 410-222-5311 to make those arrangements.

The AACPS Board of Education’s committees will hold upcoming virtual meetings according to the following schedule. The meetings will not be broadcast, but those wishing to listen to the meetings can access them by telephone through the codes listed below:

Policy Committee: 3 p.m., May 9, 2023. Call 301-960-3676, enter the Conference ID 900 011 435#. Budget Committee: noon, May 22, 2023. Call 301-960-3676, enter the Conference ID 332 967 862#. Equity Committee: 3 p.m., May 23, 2023. Call 301-960-3676, enter the Conference ID 107-046 284#.

The general session of Wednesday’s Board meeting will be broadcast live on AACPS-TV, which can be found on Channel 96 on Comcast and Astound, and Channel 36 on Verizon. High-definition broadcasts can be seen on Channel 996 on Comcast, Channel 496 on Astound, and Channel 1961 on Verizon. The meeting can also be viewed live on AACPS’ YouTube channel, and archived videos of Board meetings can be found online.

According to AACPS Superintendent George Arlotto, capstone projects are an essential part of a student’s academic experience, allowing them to showcase the knowledge and skills they have gained over the years.

The three proposed courses that will be discussed at the meeting include an environmental science course, a cybersecurity course, and a course on race, ethnicity, and culture. The environmental science course will focus on the study of environmental systems, including the impact of humans on the environment, while the cybersecurity course will teach students about the fundamentals of cybersecurity and how to protect themselves and others online.

The course on race, ethnicity, and culture will allow students to explore the complex issues of race, ethnicity, and culture in our society. According to the course description, students will “examine the historical, social, and political contexts that have shaped our understanding of race and ethnicity, and explore the challenges and opportunities that arise when we confront these issues in our lives and in the larger society.”

The proposed courses are a part of AACPS’ ongoing effort to provide students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for college, career, and life success. By introducing these courses, the Board hopes to provide students with a broader range of learning opportunities and promote a deeper understanding of important societal issues.

The AACPS Board of Education is committed to providing high-quality education to all students, and the upcoming meeting is just one example of the Board’s dedication to this mission. By discussing the importance of capstone projects and proposing new courses, the Board is working to ensure that students are prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. The meeting is open to the public, and all members of the community are encouraged to attend and participate in this important conversation.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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