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 researchproving 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
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:
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
What activities will be conducted under this grant
Click here for a complete list of the
strategies that are being used at all five schools
Many of the activities already available at AACP
schools, such as
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.
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
Click here for a printable information sheet on Clusters
Which schools are
participating in the Smaller Learning Community (SLC)?
The senior high schools
implementing this project are:
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
Can a student switch clusters?
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:
- 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
- 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