of Maryland’s 24 public school systems are back in session for the 2015-16
academic year -- with Worcester County set to re-open after the Labor Day holiday.
time all schools open their doors next week, more than 865,000 K-12 students
will fill classrooms and another 250,000 children will be involved in some form
of pre-kindergarten, Head Start, or licensed childcare program.
Leon Langley, MSDE’s Director of Pupil Transportation, discussed bus safety with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” as students headed back to school.
moments are more exciting than the first day of school—for students, as well as
teachers and parents. We look forward to
a safe and productive new school year," said Governor Larry Hogan. "Strong schools and classrooms lead to a
this fall begin the third full year of implementation of the Maryland College
and Career-Ready Standards and the second administration of the new PARCC state
assessments—online tests for grades 3-8 and high school, aligned to the State
in Maryland public schools appears primed to break the record of 869,113
students, set in 2004. After hitting
that mark, public school enrollment went on a five-year decline before reaching
843,861 by 2009. Since then it has
rebounded, reaching 866,169 students last school year.
student population also has experienced major demographic changes over the past
20 years. Maryland has educated a
majority-minority student population for nearly a decade. White students represent nearly 40 percent of
the student population, followed by African-American students, who make up 35
percent of the student population. Both
the White and African-American student populations have been in decline as a
percentage of the student body in recent years.
students represent 14 percent of the student body, while Asian students account
for approximately six percent.
Percentages of Hispanic and Asian students have been steadily
rising. Also increasing is the
percentage of students identifying themselves as two or more races, which is at
the rise in the State’s schools is the percentage of students coming from
circumstances of poverty. Last year, for
example, 50.4 percent of Maryland elementary students were eligible for free-
or reduced-price meals, the federal proxy for poverty. Ten years earlier that tally stood at 37.1
percent – a dramatic increase over the decade.
round-up of school openings and closings can be found here.
Maryland State Board of Education last week accepted with regret the
resignation of Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D, State Superintendent of Schools, who
will become President and Chief Executive Officer of FutureReady Columbus, an education non-profit corporation with an initial
focus on early childhood education, public policy, and community engagement.
State Board President, Guffrie Smith, expressed the sentiment of the Board.
losing an extraordinary leader, a talented State Superintendent of Schools,” President
Smith said. “Dr. Lowery led Maryland
through a time of tremendous transition and progress. She positioned our State
as a national leader in preparing students to be college and career ready.”
her tenure, more Maryland students graduated high school than ever before. At
the same time, dropout rates fell to a new low. She focused on the importance
of educating students for careers as well as college, initiating a Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) plan and a statewide Computer Science
Initiative to provide students with more opportunities to acquire in-demand
skills in career pathways that address the needs of local employers and the
recently led the development of a youth apprenticeship design team of state
partner agencies, private industry partners, nonprofits and philanthropic
organizations to create genuine career-readiness opportunities for youth. Among
her many awards, the National Association of State Boards of Education this
year named Dr. Lowery the “Policy Leader of the Year” in recognition of her
many contributions to education.
State Board has appointed Jack R. Smith, Ph.D., as Interim State Superintendent
to serve the remainder of the term, until June 30, 2016. Dr. Smith is currently
the Deputy State Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, and Chief Academic
Officer at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). He has provided leadership since August 2013
for the work of five MSDE divisions: Early Childhood Development; Special
Education and Early Intervention Services; Curriculum, Assessment and
Accountability; Career and College Readiness, including Juvenile Services
Education Schools; and Library Development and Services.
the Superintendent of Schools in Calvert County for seven years and the
President of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland in
2011-2012. He started his career as a teacher in Richland, Washington and also
served as a school principal in Japan and Thailand.
Smith received his doctorate in Instructional Leadership for Changing
Populations from Notre Dame of Maryland University. He also received a master’s
degree and bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University.
State Board expects that the transition will be a smooth and seamless one, and
expressed confidence that Dr. Smith will carry on the legacy of excellence that
has been Dr. Lowery’s hallmark, and the hallmark of MSDE and the Maryland
public school system.
Lowery will be joining FutureReady
Columbus on September 14, 2015.
State Superintendent of Schools
Lillian M. Lowery
As many of you know-- and as the
accompanying piece notes -- I have resigned as Maryland’s State Superintendent
of Schools. I will be leaving later this
month for Ohio, where I’ll be leading FutureReady
Columbus, a public-private partnership designed to strengthen schools in that
It has truly been an honor to work
with Maryland educators and students for the past three years. I had heard many wonderful things about
Maryland education before coming to this state, and had admired the system from
afar. That information proved accurate:
this state has some of the best schools, most creative teachers, most committed
leaders, and most active parents I have witnessed in my nearly 40-year
career. Maryland schools are great
because of that collaborative effort.
It has been a pleasure to work with
the outstanding Maryland State Board of Education, State Leaders in the
Executive and Legislative branches of Government, Maryland's Federal
Delegation, Maryland PTA, educator groups, and the community at large.
Dr. Jack Smith, a longtime Maryland
educator and current Chief Academic Office, has been appointed by the State
Board to lead MSDE while a national search takes place. There is no better choice.
Maryland embraced me when I moved
here in 2012, and that support never wavered.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve our State’s children.
* * *
One of the many things I’ll miss
about Maryland is the annual Teacher of the Year gala. Once again, we have seven outstanding
finalists for the State award.
are: Dr. Stephanie Marchbank,
County; Jennie Merrill, Anne Arundel County; Ryan Kaiser, Baltimore City; Amanda Portner, Frederick County; Stephanie Geddie, Howard County; Barbara Southerland, Queen Anne’s County; and
Sally Irwin, Washington County.
about these outstanding educators can be found here. The 2015-2016 Maryland Teacher of the Year
will be announced during a gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West in
Baltimore on October 9. The winner will receive cash awards, technology
equipment, national travel opportunities, and a new car valued at more than
$25,000, donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association.
Board News - July 28, 2015
Maryland assesses, and makes changes to PARCC. Chief among them: a shorter test. More than 50% of licensed child care providers now have registered with Maryland Excels. And the Board celebrates new members -- all in Board News July.
September is Attendance Awareness Month
September 14-18 - Homegrown School Lunch
September 22 - Maryland State Board of Education meeting,
9 - Teacher of the Year Gala, Baltimore
Keeping Students Safe on Buses
ABC's Good Morning America
Editorial - Caution: Children on Board
Maryland Teachers Get Schooled in the Chesapeake Bay
ACT Testing Grows; Scores Up in Maryland