August 2017 Edition: MSDE Education Bulletin

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August 2017

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MSDE Home - Newsroom - School Improvement 

Image Partnership for Improvement Kick Off Event
MSDE joined leadership teams from Baltimore City’s lowest performing schools in a year-long partnership designed to jump-start academic improvement.

Partnership for Improvement: Baltimore City Schools & MSDE

This month the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and Baltimore City Public Schools convened leadership teams from Baltimore City’s lowest performing schools in a retreat to kick-off a year-long partnership designed to jump-start academic improvement.

The three-day Intensive Partnership for Improvement focused on creating turnaround strategies to improve problem areas within the schools. A passionate and energetic group of school leadership teams completed comprehensive needs assessments and developed intervention plans with evidence-based strategies, intended to raise the quality of instruction and strengthen student academic achievement. The teams, consisting of a principal, assistant principal, and teacher leader from each school, worked with several MSDE staff members and other experts that provided customized support to each team.

For the 2017-2018 school year, 23 priority schools from Baltimore City were identified. Priority schools are the lowest performing 5% of all Title I schools; and/or have graduation rates below 67%; or are schools that receive Title I school improvement funds under the Federal School Improvement Grant Program. After participating in a myriad of interactive activities and programs, each leadership team presented their own specialized strategy at the end of the three-day retreat. Each school targeted their goals on a range of improvement strategies; from increasing attendance, to boosting morale, to increasing graduation rates and creating a personal relationship with each at risk student. Each team received constructive and helpful advice and criticism on their strategies to take back with them to their schools.

The MSDE and Baltimore City priority schools Partnership for Improvement Retreat created a support system for city schools in need. The holistic approach to improving individual schools and the positive reevaluation of leadership strategies this program has provided to Baltimore City priority schools is sure to set the stage for improvement!

Image Maryland State Board of Education

State Board Actions:

July 18, 2017

The following actions were taken at the July 18, 2017 meeting of the Maryland State Board of Education (State Board):

  • Held the annual election of officers and re-elected Andrew R. Smarick President of the State Board and Dr. Chester E. Finn, Jr. as Vice President for a second term.
  • Introduced new State Board members Dr. Irene M. Zoppi Rodriguez (in absentia) and Kyle Smith
    (student representative).
  • Approved Baltimore City Public Schools’ school calendar waiver request to waive the post-Labor Day school start date and June 15 school end date for four schools for the 2017-2018 school year. Schools include:
    Harford Heights Elementary School; James McHenry Elementary/Middle School, Mary Rodman Elementary School and Commodore John Rodgers Elementary/Middle School.
  • Approved proposed revisions to the Procedures for Removal of Professional Assistants and Special Appointments policy. This policy was adopted on January 25, 1995, and has had only minor revisions since that time. The new changes provide more time to conduct a fair and thorough investigation in cases involving misconduct or performance deficiencies, while also preserving the added due process provided to professional assistants.

The following Opinions and Orders were rendered on July 18, 2016: 

  • Rodney Hudson v. Prince George’s County Board of Education – employee termination Opinion No. 17-26
  • R.L. v. Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners – student suspension Opinion No. 17-27
  • Gregory Sutton v. Somerset County Board of Education – employee termination Order No. OR17-08
  • Susan Twigg v. Montgomery County Board of Education – teacher termination Order No. OR 17-09

Meeting materials, Opinions, and Orders can be found at:

The next meeting of the Maryland State Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at the Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building, 200 West Baltimore Street, 7th Floor Board Room, Baltimore, Maryland 21201.

Appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request. Eight business days notice prior to the event is required. Please contact Charlene Necessary at (410) 767-0467 or TTY at (410) 333-6442 so arrangements can be made. 

Maryland capital done with the Maryland flag design behind it.


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ESSA Accountability Survey: Response Deadline August 10th!

We are still seeking feedback on our proposed ESSA accountability plan. Last day for responses is August 10th! Give us your thoughts by clicking the link below!  

Image Click Button to link to survey
Image Maryland Summer Meals

Maryland Summer Meals Program!

Although the end of Summer is quickly approaching there is still time to find a Maryland Summer Meals site near you! 

The Summer Food Service Program provides free, nutritious breakfasts and lunches to children and teens in low-income areas during the summer months when they are out of school! 

To find a Summer Meals site near you, click the link below! 

Image Click here for link

Student Art Spotlight

Have student artwork you would like MSDE to see? E-mail a picture to:

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 Leonardtown MS Student Art
Beauitful contrast and colors in this abstract artwork by a Leonardtown MS student, St. Mary's County.
Image Salisbury MS student art
Stunning artwork by a Salisbury MS student, Wicomico County.