Watch CBS News

Anne Arundel County Public Schools superintendent lays out plans for new school year

Anne Arundel County Public Schools superintendent lays out plans for new school year
Anne Arundel County Public Schools superintendent lays out plans for new school year 03:08

BALTIMORE - WJZ sat down with Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell for our Back-to-School series.

He laid out his plans for the upcoming school year as school officials and students prepare to return.

Bedell said he has a promising outlook for the upcoming year but said recruiting remains a top priority.

"I was surprised with the number of vacancies when I arrived last year," Bedell said.

Bedell was named Superintendent one year ago and said Anne Arundel County Public Schools is no different than area school systems battling vacancies.

"When I think about a school district that would be considered suburban, urban and rural pockets within this county, I was shocked we were starting the school year off with 300 vacancies," Bedell said.

While the hiring situation shows improvement it is still a problem impacting the most vulnerable groups.

"We got hit the hardest with special education and then science teachers, which were two of the bigger issues where we took heavy hits," Bedell said.

It's a complicated issue that staff and administrators have been working to address. However, he says there is still a lot of parents should be happy about, specifically with transportation.

"It was a big problem last year, we had 72 vacancies last year around this time, we're at 20 right now, but we also initiated this alternative vehicle model to transport students where we are now utilizing vans," he said.

Bedell said another area of focus taking shape is a renewed emphasis on core subjects.

"We're introducing a new math curriculum that has been receiving some really good reviews called reveal and we are in the process of transitioning to becoming a science for reading school district."

Superintendent Bedell also reflected on the lessons he learned after the controversial flag ban that could limit the types of flags that can be displayed in public schools.

"It just taught me a lot about how divided we can be at times on our positions and what I'm trying to get everyone to understand is, it's okay for people to disagree," Bedell said.

Bedell said he is hopeful about what lies ahead.

"Just starting off in a much better position from a staffing standpoint will allow for us to open up this school year with high morale," Bedell said.

More coverage

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.