OCEAN CITY – The SEED School of Maryland is reaching out to the Eastern Shore to provide students with a supportive structural academic environment.
The school is located in Baltimore and is a five-day-a-week boarding school. It was opened through the SEED Foundation, which opens and supports college-preparatory, public boarding schools that provide a 24-hour-a-day nurturing environment designed specifically for children who would benefit from SEED’s comprehensive model and the opportunities it provides.
According to the Head of the School Jerry Kountz, the SEED School of Maryland provides an opportunity for students who may not be achieving their potential in their other school.
“Opportunity is the key word because certain circumstances that are preventing them to be the best that they can be and by coming here we can help them overcome whatever obstacles they are experiencing and reach their full potential,” said Director of Student Life Anna Williams.
Kountz explained that the SEED School of Maryland is a public school that works in conjunction with the Maryland State Department of Education. Therefore the school utilizes the Maryland State Curriculum of objective standards that all the kids in Maryland have to master.
“We believe that all of kids can be successful so besides doing remediations we also do acceleration because we know that they have potential and we believe with the right kind of support regardless of where you are academically you can be successful and gain entrance and success in college,” Kountz said.
The school provides the traditional courses, such as English, Math and Social Studies that build the foundation of learning but once the student is remediated to their class level they will be introduced to advanced placement courses to prepare for college.
“In courses, we look pretty similar to most schools in the state and in the country but we accelerate it,” Kountz said. “We enrich it, we get our kids to be deep thinkers, we know that there are a lot of kids that are deep thinkers but can’t produce a product in their regular school, but they can do it here because they have more time and more support and we are really focusing on maximizing their potential.”
Williams added that the SEED School of Maryland also provides smaller class sizes, no more than 15 students per teacher. Students also have support at night through homework assistance and tutoring.
Through extracurricular activities, the school exposes students to different cultural experiences. The campus provides activities such as clubs, sports, drama, newspaper, debate and cooking.
“Any of those activities that kids are interesting in as well as exposing them to new things and as a school we take a variety of trips,” Kountz said.
He said that all the students have seen an opera and have visited museums. The school also focuses on students visiting multiple colleges to experience college life.
“They are sort of living it now by living in our dormitories and walking around campus,” Kountz said. “They are translating those skills that they are developing now to what they will be doing in college.”
The Seed School of Maryland is a college preparatory school. By the time students hit eighth grade, they are already thinking about college life and what college or university they would like to attend.
Many SEED staff members live on campus full-time. Students eat all of their meals and snacks on campus, and SEED works with students to help them live active and healthy lives.
“The staff spends a lot of time teaching them life skills, club time, we have character education, and we have basic core values on the campus that we look at and practice on a daily basis,” Williams said. “There is no television, there are no cell phones, there’s no Facebook or videos or anything of that nature so it is very structured program where there’s very little down time.”
The school opened in 2008 and will add one grade per year and grow to enroll 400 students in grades 6-12.
“Because we are a growing institution, right now we have 240 students,” Kountz said. “We will eventually grow to 400. We have plans to build more dormitories…we are always in the change mode adding more facility’s to meet the needs of our students.”
Kountz believes shore students have a great opportunity with the school.
“There is geographical diversity, it’s happy here, people are sharing,” Kountz said. “They [students] are very content, they feel very safe, they are learning a lot, and kids who were not successful are reaching new heights in their academic success. Kids who may have had personal relationship issues are dealing with that in much more productive and sound way. Parents are happy they have seen great growth in their children. Last year we saw a 100 percent re-enrollment rate…so we figured we are doing something right.”
Kountz said that the school is excited to have more kids join from the shore.
“We do have a few kids that live on the other side of the Bay Bridge…they would be delighted to have more company on the bus,” he said.