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Baltimore County Now

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photo of high school girlsStay on Track

It’s that time of year again: the sun sets a bit earlier, the weather gets a bit cooler, and “back-to-school sale” ads are constantly running on television and in our news feeds online.

School has become the focus for kids and families everywhere, including me, as I start my junior year of high school next week. Stores are packed with shoppers, and students are rushing to complete the homework packets they were supposed to work on all summer long. A little switch turns on inside students and parents alike, making us shift gears from leisure mode to work mode for the next nine months.

Tips for Students

With the new school year comes new ideas, new people, new challenges, and new experiences. Here are my back-to-school tips for students. And actually, most can apply to grownup endeavors too! Head back with a new attitude and challenge yourself with a new routine. Set goals like keeping organized, creating study guides for every test, accepting a few more AP classes, and even expanding your group of friends or challenging the status quo. This can keep your ideas fresh, help you stay on track, and create a sense of accomplishment that will last the whole year.

Suggestions

My suggestions include:    

  1. Get plenty of sleep. Students need lots of rest to stay alert and focused in class. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep a night to help you perform your best each day.
         
  2. Stay organized. Organization is important for having a successful year. Classes can become overwhelming sometimes, but if you keep a neat locker and organized binders, school will flow more smoothly.
        
  3. Set goals. This will keep you on track and focused throughout the year. As American author Earl Nightingale put it, “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” Let your goals be your guide.
       
  4. Manage time effectively. Time management of academic life and social life can be difficult, but it’s the key to good grades and a great school year. In other words, do your homework and limit your daily social activities as needed. Managing your time well helps you meet deadlines and stay on track.
       
  5. Start your daily routine in advance. Going back to school can be a shock to your system after a few relaxing months off. Ease back into things by getting up early and starting your morning routine a few days or even a week before school starts.
        
  6. Remain positive. Writer Anthony J. D’Angelo once said, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your sunshine.” With intense classes and tons of homework, school can get a little stormy. Everything may not go your way all the time, but staying positive will help you push through the year with confidence and success.
       
  7. Establish a close rapport with your teachers. Participate in class and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Teachers are there to guide you with advice and encourage you to succeed. Also, don’t forget about those all-important colleges recommendations!   
        
  8. Make new friends. High school is the perfect opportunity to form lifelong friendships. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, speak up and reach out to new people. In the words of Italian Renaissance writer Francesco Guicciardini, “Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them.”
        
  9. Prepare the night before. Mornings can be hectic. Choose your clothes and pack a lunch the night before for a stress-free start to your day. And of course, make sure to eat a healthy breakfast!
        
  10. Create a homework zone. A well organized, spacious area at home is essential for a getting your homework done. Designate a quiet, well-lit spot to help you do your work thoroughly and efficiently. 

Sure, this time of year can certainly feel like a hassle, but laying down some smart ground rules and challenging yourself with new goals will get you back into the swing of things at school in no time flat. The best part is, you’ll return wearing a confident smile. Now that's how to go back-to-school in style!    

Rashi Pachino, Intern
Baltimore County Office of Communications


child getting a shotAnnual Immunizations

As the lazy days of summer come to an end, many parents with school-age children are beginning their back to school preparations. If you’re among them, be sure to include your child’s pediatric check-up or annual immunizations on your list.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a list of recommended vaccinations your child should receive—as well as when they should receive them. Newer additions to the schedule in the State of Maryland are specific vaccinations for children who are entering kindergarten and seventh grade. As of last year, the law requires that students entering kindergarten this fall must have two varicella vaccinations. Meanwhile, students who are entering seventh grade must have one Tdap (Tetanus-diphtheria-attenuated pertussis) and one meningococcal (MCV4) vaccination.

Protect Children's Health

Immunization is a key part of protecting your child’s health. Millions of lives have been saved and untold cases of diseases have been prevented because of people getting vaccines to help them develop immunity to serious infections.

Diseases that used to affect many people, such as polio, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), and meningitis, now are rare thanks to vaccines. It’s important to note that the germs that cause these illnesses continue to exist; so continued immunization is critical to the health of your child.

Additionally, immunization isn’t just good for your child’s health; it’s also good for those around him or her. When you immunize your child, you help protect the health of others including those who are too young to be vaccinated, those who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons, and those for whom a vaccine may not be effective.  

As you enjoy your final days of summer and begin your back-to-school shopping, please include your child’s health among your plans. Here’s wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe school year!

Back-to-School Immunization Clinics

To assist parents in getting their children immunized before the start of the 2015 to 2016 school year, the Baltimore County Department of Health will provide recommended vaccines at no cost for children up to age 18 who are eligible under the Vaccines for Children program. Learn more about the clinics held August 4 to 19, the Saturday clinics and the daily walk-in clinics at the health centers that are being offered in August and September.

Linda Grossman, M.D., Chief, Bureau of Clinical Services
Baltimore County Department of Health


Fourth Year in a Row

For the fourth year in a row, Baltimore County is ranked among the top 10 counties in the nation in terms of aligning technology initiatives with executive strategic priorities to provide vital cost savings and administrative efficiencies, according to the Center for Digital Government’s 13th annual 2015 Digital Counties Survey in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo).

This award is considered one of the top measures of government technology performance and we are proud and delighted that we are, once again, rated among the best of the best throughout the country in terms of using technology to make government work smarter,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This award really spotlights the remarkable skill and dedication of our technology staff and our employees throughout County government as we work to enhance our efficiency and deliver excellent service and smart government to the people of Baltimore County.”

Among the nation’s counties that participated, Baltimore County’s Office of Information Technology earned the 7th place ranking in the category for counties with 500,000 or more population. NACo and Digital Government leaders have emphasized that this award testifies to the success of counties’ use of technology to serve citizens.

High-Ranking Factors

The County’s high ranking was based on a number of factors, including these highlights:

  • enhanced citizen engagement through responsive and intuitive design of the County’s home page to help the website’s 4.6 million annual visitors easily find what they need
  • active social media outreach that provides real-time information
  • the County’s Operational Excellence initiative that fosters continuous improvement of business processes through technology
  • centralizing data to enhance security and functionality
  • providing technology platforms to improve field operations
  • coordination of technology assets between the County government and public library system
  • development of the “One View” public school security and surveillance system

About the Digital Counties Survey

The Digital Counties Survey is hosted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. This organization also provides government, education and industry leaders with decision support, research and educational services to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. This survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments.


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