Worcester County celebrates its 150 years of operation

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Worcester County Public Schools 150 year logo.

Photo courtesy of worcesterk12.org

Worcester County Public Schools 150 year logo.

 

Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) celebrates its 150 years of operation during the 2018-2019 school year, ranging from years 1868-2018. Ranked one of the most successful school systems in standardized testing in Maryland, and home to numerous Blue Ribbon schools, the administration has created an exceptional system with the formation of students and staff. 

Throughout many years, the Worcester County Public School System has updated their schools, assuring that it exemplifies and facilitates academic achievement. Ocean City Elementary School, Pocomoke High School, Worcester Technical High School, and Snow Hill High School were remodeled with extensive renovations. Future projects include a new wing of Stephen Decatur Middle School and the building of a new Berlin Intermediate School.  WCPS has also begun constructing a larger school for Showell Elementary due to the overpopulated fourth-grade class. Other improvements such as new roofing and air conditioning units are being addressed in several facilities throughout the county as well.  

Worcester County consistently improves its curriculum, while modernizing with current and emerging technology. New implements such as school-issued laptops and learning targets have been added to each school. Chief Academic Officer Dr. John Quinn has been part of the Worcester County Public School System since 2013 and has helped the county stay on track with up-and-coming technological opportunities.  

Teaching Initiatives have been integrated to ensure achievement within the county at the classroom level. Art Integration, Authentic Learning, Digital Conversation, Health and Wellness, Integrated Literacy, and Minority Achievements are some of the topics that the county is instituting.  

Arts integration, also known as Arts Immersion, is described as, “an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area, and meets evolving objectives in both” (worcesterk12.org). Different grade levels incorporate Arts Immersion in their classes to teach college and career readiness by introducing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) multi-school projects.   

Authentic Learning is an initiative used to incorporate real-life tasks, while helping students acquire new concepts and skills necessary to succeed in college and adult life. Worcester Technical High School utilizes this technique in the Biomedical Science Program by introducing students to Autodesk Revit software to design 3D-models.  

Digital Conversion allows students to engage with technology, giving students time to shift phases between teacher interaction and technology time. School-issued laptops allow students to create their own paths to success and to have all-day access to knowledge and education.  

Integrated Health Literacy Program (IHLP) is introduced to primary grades one through five to apply the Integrated Health Literacy initiative. Worcester County’s websites describes the initiative’s mission by stating, “to obtain, process, understand, utilize, and apply basic health information, allowing an individual to make appropriate health decisions.” Integrated Health Literacy is implemented in activities in which different grades will regularly partake such as kindergartners learning basic handwashing skills. 

The Minority Achievement initiative confines the achievement gap with minority students, including African-American students. The staff and community help improve the academic performance of minorities making learning engaging and obtainable.  

According to Superintendent Louis Taylor, he “convened a 150th Anniversary Committee, co-chaired by our Chief Operating Officer Dr. Annette Wallace and our Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs Ms. Carrie Sterrs. This committee has been busy brainstorming ideas and activities for our 150th anniversary celebration.” Future events include, a time capsule, a ribbon cutting ceremony for the display of artifacts from the original Worcester High School, and an art contest for the new WCPS logo. “This is just a few of the upcoming events, but there are several others the Committee is still vetting for logistics,” he told The Hawk. 

Marking the 150-year anniversary of operation for Worcester County Public Schools, new tasks are still ever-present for the exemplary school system. Elected Board of Education member from District 3 Sara Thompson describes WCPS as, “a good school system. It’s one of the best in the state. We were ranked with some of the highest scores on our state testing. We are well-thought of, and people come around here to see how we’re doing things.” Even though many years have passed, the fourteen schools in Worcester County have never been better, showing Maryland pride through high achievements, excellency, and, most importantly, consistent improvement.

Below is a timeline of the formation of Worcester County Public Schools (Miles & Chandler- Miles, 1996):  

1868 Pocomoke’s original High School was built. 

1900 Pocomoke City’s one room school house was built, also known as Sturgis One Room School.  

1914-1917 Ocean City School was used as a summer institute for teachers. 

1917-1954 The state allowed the Ocean City School to be used as Ocean City High School which consisted of grades K-12.  

1930 Pocomoke City’s high school was built.

1930-1978 Years in which Berlin’s Buckingham High School was in operation.  

1930 Three identical school buildings opened in Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke City. 

1940 A primary school was built for Pocomoke City, serving grades 1-2. The building is now used as part of the Worcester County Health Department.  

1953 Worcester High was built.

1954 Stephen Decatur High School (SDHS) opened, causing Ocean City’s High School students to relocate into SDHS, allowing Ocean City High School to close. 

1957 Pocomoke High School was built, consisting of grades 9-12.  

1957 Snow Hill High School was built, consisting of grades 9-12. 

1964 The first Ocean City Elementary School was constructed.  

1968 Berlin Intermediate School was built, consisting of grades 4-6. 

1970 Pocomoke Middle School was built, consisting of grades 4-8. 

1970 Snow Hill Middle School was built, consisting of grades 4-8.  

1972 Pocomoke Middle School was constructed in southern Worcester County. 

1976 Pocomoke Elementary School was built, consisting of grades PK-3. 

1976 Showell Elementary School was built, consisting of grades PK-3. 

1978 A new building was constructed for Buckingham Elementary School, consisting of grades PK-4. 

1979 Snow Hill Elementary School was built, consisting of grades PK-3. 

1985 Cedar Chapel Special School was built in order to provide quality education for special needs students, grades PK-12. 

1998 Stephen Decatur Middle School was built, consisting of grades 7-8.     

2005 Ocean City Elementary School was rebuilt, consisting of grades PK-4. 

2008 Worcester Technical High School was built, consisting of grades 9-12.