Contact Us
FAQs Career Profiles Monthly Column Contact Us


What are Smaller Learning Communities and why are we implementing this project?

The Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) grant is a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to Anne Arundel County Public Schools to restructure five high schools into smaller units, or Smaller Learning Communities. The goals of the project are to enhance academic achievement, increase academic rigor, and create a better school climate.  Fifteen years of research proving the superiority of smaller schools over larger ones is inspiring schools all over the country to reorganize into smaller formats.

Click here for a detailed information sheet (PDF format)

How do the SLC grant goals fit with the overall goals for the Anne Arundel County Public School system?

The goals of the Smaller Learning Communities grant project are to:

  • Enhance academic achievement

  • Increase academic rigor

  • Create a better school climate

These goals are directly in line with the overall goals for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools.  The Smaller Learning Communities’ aim is to change instruction, not the curriculum. In other words, the Smaller Learning Communities schools will focus on how something is taught, not change what is taught.

Click here for a detailed comparison of the AACPS goals and the grant’s goals
(PDF format)

What activities will be conducted under this grant program?

Many of the activities already available at AACP schools, such as

  • Extra-Help

  • Twilight School

  • Teacher Advisory Programs (TAP)

Click here for a complete list of the strategies that are being used at all five schools
(PDF format)


What are clusters?

Career clusters are broad categories of job and occupational titles that are used by federal and state governments to segment America’s economy for the purpose of developing career education and preparation programs.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools has identified five clusters; these are general categories in which to organize learning and practice activities.  The Smaller Learning Communities are organized around these five subject-area clusters:

Click here for a printable information sheet on Clusters
(PDF format)

Click here for a Career Profile of a community member in the Business, Management and Finance cluster 
(PDF format)

Which schools are participating in the Smaller Learning Community (SLC)?

The senior high schools implementing this project are: Arundel, Glen Burnie, Meade, North County and Old Mill.

How will students figure out which cluster they want to be in?

A variety of methods will be used to help students chose the cluster that is closest to their interests:

  • Eighth grade students study career-related curriculum in middle school.
  • Ninth grade students will take an online interest survey before registering for their 10th grade classes.  Students can take the assessment again if their interests change.
  • Each year during the registration process, counselors will advise students on which courses will provide them with a sound base for pursuits beyond the high school experience.
Can a student switch clusters?

Yes, absolutely. 

Guidance staff and teacher advisors who are familiar with the Cluster system will work with students to help them make decisions during the school year.  Changing clusters is always an option because core courses remain the same in each cluster (i.e., the core curriculum for math is the same in each cluster, only the examples are drawn from different contexts to match the different clusters).

What can community members do to help?

There are two primary ways to help:

  1. You can help teachers identify examples from real-life situations to explain concepts in the academic curriculum; this kind of teaching is called “Blended Instruction.”  If you would like to provide input, you can do so as a member of a Cluster Resource Board, which may meet several times per year to develop these “blended instruction” examples.  If you cannot attend meetings but would still like to help, you can put your name in as a resource person to be consulted by telephone or e-mail when a teacher is looking for great ideas.
  2. You can volunteer from one to six hours of your time to help students explore careers in your industry.  For example, you can host a one-hour tour of your business and answer questions; you can speak with a small group of teachers and students over lunch about your career path; or you could host a teacher or student who spends time in your facility learning about your industry.   For a list of these kinds of opportunities and the estimated time commitment for each, see the list of Community Involvement Opportunities
    (PDF format)
Human Services
Health/Life Sciences
Business, Management, Finance
Art, Communications