St. Mary's Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Smith Named Superintendent of Schools

The Board of Education of St. Mary's County has selected Mr. James Scott Smith as the Superintendent of Schools. The announcement came during the Board's regularly scheduled meeting held today. Mr. Smith is currently serving as the Interim Superintendent of Schools and is responsible for all Divisions of the St. Mary's County Public Schools serving almost 18,000 students and employing over 2,000 staff members. As Superintendent, Mr. Smith will continue to lead St. Mary's County Public Schools, focusing on the impact great teachers and leaders have on the lives of children.

Mr. Smith has been with the St. Mary's County Public Schools for over 23 years, serving students and staff as an English teacher, assistant principal, principal, director, executive director, and assistant superintendent. He holds a Bachelor's degree in English Education, a Master's Degree in Human Resources, and is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree from the University of Maryland at College Park. He is certified to teach English 7-12 and holds Administrator I and Administrator II and Maryland Superintendent Credentials.

Mrs. Karin M. Bailey, Chairman of the Board of Education of St. Mary's County said, "Over the last few months, we considered the available options regarding the selection of the new Superintendent. Throughout our numerous discussions, we came to the conclusion that Mr. Smith embodied the qualities that we had identified as integral for our next Superintendent. Therefore, we are pleased to appoint Mr. Smith as the Superintendent of Schools and look forward to continue building our relationship with him. We are confident that he will inspire the best for our students and ensure that St. Mary's County Public Schools are successful in educating the future citizens of our community."

"It is an unparalleled privilege to work on behalf of our students and staff," stated Mr. James Scott Smith, Interim Superintendent of Schools. "In a school system where 93% of students graduate on time, we know we are doing things exceptionally well and will continue to do so. Our best work has been done when we fully see the child in front of us and devote ourselves to their success, without exception. This will not change. I look forward to being your Superintendent for the next four years."

Mr. Smith's appointment has been approved by State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lillian M. Lowery, and becomes effective July 1, 2015.

St. Mary's County Public Schools to Host STEM Expo

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) EXPO will be held on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center. The STEM EXPO is an opportunity for parents, students, community members, and anyone else interested in St. Mary's County Public Schools' STEM Academy, to ask questions and talk with current STEM students and teachers. Student work samples and exhibits will be on display during the EXPO. In the event of a snow day, the make-up day for the EXPO will be Monday, February 23, 2015, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

For more information on the STEM Academy, please visit or contact Mr. Jason Hayes, Supervisor of Science & STEM, at 301-475-5511, ext. 32135.


St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) high school students are graduating at a record high rate, according to newly released data from the Maryland State Department of Education.

The four-year cohort graduation rate continued to climb this past year as 93.5 percent of the class of 2014 - students who entered school in the fall of 2010 - graduated on time. The new rate represents an increase of 10.7 percent over five years. At the same time, the four-year cohort dropout rate fell from 10.98 percent in 2010 to 4.44 percent in 2014. Both measures outpace the Maryland State Average.

"Our teachers, counselors, administrators, and support staff never give up on our students," said J. Scott Smith, Interim Superintendent of Schools. "This graduation rate is a testament to their effectiveness and the persistence of our students and their parents."

High school graduation numbers are calculated in what is commonly called the "cohort rate." The four-year adjusted cohort rate is the number of students who graduate with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. For any given cohort, students who are entering 9th grade for the first time form a cohort that is later "adjusted" by adding students who transfer in during the succeeding years, and subtracting those who transfer out.

Overall SMCPS Progress:

-- 93.46% is the highest recorded on-time graduation rate for SMCPS.

-- SMCPS has increased the graduation rate 10.7% in the past five years.

-- SMCPS outpaces the Maryland Average by 7% and the Nation by 13%.

-- The dropout rate for SMCPS has decreased by 6.54% over five years.

Four Year Trend Data

Graduation rates for all demographic groups have improved as well.

-- 90.43% of African American students graduated on time, an increase of 17.74% over five years.

-- 94.34% of Hispanic/Latino students graduated on time, an increase of 10.56% over five years.

-- 93.63% of White/Caucasian students graduated on time, an increase of 8.68% over five years.

-- The graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students has increased 14.86% over five years.

-- The graduation rate for special education students has increased 12.16% over five years.

Each high school has shown improvement with the four-year cohort graduation rate, with the greatest increase at Great Mills High School - rising nearly 17 percentage points over the last five years.

The new graduation data is now available on Maryland's Report Card website, A video tutorial on the cohort graduation rate is available at

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