2023 State of the Wicomico County Public Schools

First Shore Presenting Sponsor

The SACC hosted the Annual State of the Wicomico County Public Schools Luncheon, presented by First Shore Federal Savings and Loan and Comcast, at the Wicomico Civic Center, on April 25th.  The event was attended by over one hundred business and organizational leaders, educators, and local elected officials.

The luncheon started with a welcome from SACC President/CEO Bill Chambers and Board Chair Greg Reddell. Following, Gene Malone, Chairman of the Wicomico County Board of Education and Vice President & Regional Commercial Loan Officer First Shore Federal, introduced Superintendent of Schools Dr. Micah Stauffer.

Dr. Stauffer gave an up-to-date overview of the system, its successes, and challenges.  Dr. Stauffer began his presentation with a few statistics.  Systemwide enrollment is nearly 15,000 students; English-speaking as second language students are at an all-time high, representing 11% of total enrollment; about 60% of students come from families in poverty; and 10% receive special education services.

In addition, 65% of the student population are At-Risk as they live in poverty, receive special education services, or learn English as a second language.  This percentage has grown significantly in the last ten years.

Dr. Stauffer also shared some highlights of the system, commenting on last year’s graduating senior class and the more than 26 million dollars that class received in college scholarship money representing 286 colleges and universities.

“I am humbled by the success of our students and look forward to this year’s class moving the needle forward on scholarships.  Graduation rates are moving in the right direction, with CTE graduation rates at 98% and the general graduation rate up to 85%,” Dr. Stauffer shared.

“These are all good indicators that we have moved past Covid, and student learning is on the right path.”

The system is working through including poverty, specifically looking at the “neighborhood poverty index” when analyzing poverty’s significant impacts on students.  Stauffer added’ “These students are likely to struggle; they are at-risk students and more likely to drop out of school eventually.” He also touched on local crime’s effects on the schools and how working with community partners might mitigate the impacts.

“What happens in our community ends up in our schools, impacting attendance and graduation rates,” Dr. Stauffer explained.

Looking ahead, Dr. Stauffer stated he was encouraged by the support for the FY 2024 budget, which addresses the impact of inflation on the school system and the addition of new School Resource Officers.

“I want to thank County Executive Julie Giordano for her support of the 2024 budget, which allows the system to stay whole while addressing the needs of the entire school system.”

A portion of the presentation addressed the “Superintendents Entry Plan Feedback,” which entailed discussions with elected leaders, community leaders, faith-based leaders, staff, and students.  Points of emphasis included: schools’ safety, effective leadership, expansion of learning opportunities, student and staff morale, parent engagement, and mental health support, to name a few.

The SACC wishes to thank Dr. Stauffer, Presenting Sponsors First Shore Federal and Comcast, and sponsors The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Salisbury University, and the Wicomico County Board of Education.