June 2017 Edition: MSDE Education Bulletin

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June 2017

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MSDE Home - Newsroom - School Improvement 

Image Baltimore City Teacher of the Year
Justin Holbrook, Baltimore City Teacher of the Year, recieves his Teacher of the Year Certificate.

Welcome 2017-2018 Teachers of the Year!

Maryland's 2017-2018 Local Teachers of the Year were our guests of honor in May! The Teachers,who were accompanied by their local superintendents and board members, principals, and family members, came to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) from all 24 school systems in Maryland and were applauded by the Maryland State Board of Education. 

Maryland has celebrated its Teachers of the Year Program and participated in the National Teacher of the Year Program for over 27 years.  In the last 11 years, Maryland has had five national finalists with three of them going on to become National Teachers of the Year. The National Program is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The Maryland program is sponsored by MSDE along with its Presenting Sponsors: Comcast, the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, McDonalds Family of Greater Baltimore and Northrup Grumman; along with Platinum Sponsors: BGE, Lockheed Martin, NTA Life and Whiting Turning Contracting. 

Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors and our Teachers of the Year! We are so proud of all the accomplishments of our Teachers of the Year who represent thousands of teachers across the State.

For more information on our Teacher of the Year program contact Dr. Darla Strouse, Program Director, at  darla.strouse@maryland.gov. To see a highlight video of this year's ceremony click the link below.

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Image Michele Gay Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools
Michele Gay, Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools, gives a parent's perspective on lessons learned from the Newton, CT massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Lessons Learned: 2017 School Safety Retreat

MSDE last month sponsored the 2017 Directors of Student Services and School Safety/ Security Directors Retreat. The two-day event focused on partnering for school safety and featured various presentations and seminars. One speaker that stood out was Michele Gay. Michele Gay is the Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools, an organization whose mission is to empower communities to improve school safety.  For Michele this mission has a very personal meaning; her daughter, Josephine, was one of the 20 children lost during the tragic attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.

On December 14, 2012, 26 adults and children were lost during a devastating mass shooting attack on the Newtown, CT Elementary School. While most would understandably crumble from the weight of this catastrophe, Michele and her team at Safe and Sound Schools have used this event to launch an organization and turn it into something that reaches far past the boarders of Newtown, CT., it has turned into a nationwide movement to unite school safety efforts across the country.

Instead of dwelling on the unfortunate and horrific details of the Newtown massacre Michele Gay has used the events of this tragedy as an example of lessons learned and steps that can be taken to strengthen school crisis responses. During her presentation she chose to view the events of the day from a policy standpoint and used it as a call to action for schools to re-think what they teach their students about safety.

In Michele’s opinion the simplest things can drastically change a situation in a crisis. Whether it be taking an alternate and safer route when evacuating a building or having an AED Machine on site—the smallest preparations could mean the difference between life and death. Taking these small steps to prepare for a crisis ties into Michele’s idea that no one is exempt from a tragedy. Often entire towns and school systems fall into the “it can’t happen here” mentality, which can end up being detrimental.  According to Michele, everyone becomes an emergency responder in a crisis situation, and with so many groups and individuals affected it is important to develop a widespread support system. This is key to rebuilding after a tragedy in her opinion.

Although almost five years have passed since the events occurred at Sandy Hook the tragedy still greatly affects the people of Newtown, CT. With the help and growth of movements like Safe and Sound Schools, the path to healing is clearer. To learn more about Michele Gay and her team at Safe and Sound Schools click below.

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Image of Sandy Point National Park
A beautiful view of Sandy Point National Park during our 8th Annual Maryland Green Schools Youth Summit.

Honoring Maryland Green Schools and Youth!

The Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) and the Maryland State Department of Education teamed up to host the 8th Annual Maryland Green Schools Youth Summit. The event was held at the gorgeous Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis and honored Maryland Schools that have gone above and beyond in order to make their schools, staff and students more environmentally conscious. Approximately 3000+ parents, students and teachers attended the event for a day full of learning and celebration.

 In addition to the beautiful landscape Sandy Point offered, participants also enjoyed hands on learning activities hosted by various Maryland based environmental groups and heard from representatives from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Department of the Environment. Additionally, MSDE’s Dr. Carol Williamson, Chief Academic Officer, was there to honor Maryland’s Green Ribbon Schools; William Tyler Page Elementary School and John Poole Middle School. Both schools are located in Montgomery County.

To close out the event the Youth Summit featured two student keynote speakers, Claire Wayner and Mercedes Thompson, who have created a youth-led initiative called Baltimore Beyond Plastic. The mission of their organization is to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in Baltimore City, with a focus on city schools where Styrofoam trays are used on a daily basis.

The 8th Annual Maryland Green Schools Summit clearly highlighted some of the most innovative and environmentally friendly members of the Maryland school system. We are so proud of our green schools and the steps they take toward environmental advocacy. Well done green schools and congratulations to our Maryland Green Ribbon Schools! 

Maryland capital done with the Maryland flag design behind it.


Image of Maryland Seal of Bi-literacy

Maryland's New Seal of Biliteracy Makes Its Debut in Washington County

Top language students in Washington County were the first Maryland students to receive the State’s new Seal of Biliteracy.

The seal was awarded for the first time this spring to Maryland graduates who have demonstrated high levels of proficiency in English and one or more other world languages. The seal becomes part of the transcript and diploma for qualifying students at graduation.

For more information about the Maryland Seal of Biliteracy program, click below: 

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Image Maryland State Department of Education Logo

We Need Your Recommendations: Innovative School Scheduling Survery

MSDE was charged by the State Board of Education to explore the use of innovative school schedules and develop recommendations for schedules that may increase academic gains for students in low-performing schools. 

As a result, MSDE convened a work-group to explore and make recommendations on innovative school schedules that have the potential to increase student academic achievement, with a focus on expanding the school day and year. 

MSDE and the Innovative School Schedule work-group is requesting feedback on recommendations. You can provide feedback by completing the survey and find more information at the links below. Please note that all responses are due no later than June 19th!

Image Click Button to link to survey
Image Click Button to link to more information on school scheduling

Student Art Spotlight

Have student artwork you would like MSDE to see? E-mail a picture to Samantha.Foley1@Maryland.gov and your student's artwork could be featured in the next edition of the Education Bulletin or on MSDE's social media! Please make sure all artwork has necessary permissions and consents before releasing photo!   

Image Art Work by a Prince George's County Duval HS Student
An impressive use of colors and contrast in this artwork by a Duval High School student, Pince George's County.
Image Student Artwork Broad Ford Elementary School in Garrett County
Life-like details are captured in this artwork by a Broad Ford Elementary School student, Garrett County.