The March 2018 Edition: MSDE Education Bulletin

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

March 2018

MSDE Education Bulletin Banner

MSDE Home - Newsroom - School Improvement 

Image Dr. Karen Salmon State Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools

Statement to the Maryland State Board on School Safety by Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools

February 28, 2018

The horrific events of February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL have impacted each and every one of us across the country.

Our prayers and support are extended to the students, families, school system and community in the wake of this tragic loss of precious lives.

I want to reiterate that student safety is my priority and the priority of the State Board. We are fortunate in Maryland to have the Maryland Center for School Safety, a legislated body whose Executive Director and Governing Board stands ready and is committed to working with all of our public school districts, public and private schools, law enforcement agencies, fire and rescue, school administrators, school staff, parents and governmental officials to ensure all schools in Maryland remain a safe and supportive learning environment.

I serve as the Chair of the Maryland Center for School Safety Governing Board and called an emergency meeting to discuss and review our current school safety practices. Much was discussed by the Board including currently scheduled trainings that are posted on our website. The importance of emergency preparedness drills and the need to focus on mental health supports for our students and staff were also emphasized by the Governing Board.

Additionally, the Center discussed the need for a Statewide school safety meeting in Annapolis to discuss the key elements of school safety and responses to an active shooter. This training will be held on March 22 and will consist of a team from each Local School System to include the school safety/security director, central office, school mental health representatives, local law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency management.

It should also be noted that weekly calls are facilitated by the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for School Safety, Ed Clarke. Yesterday, this call included many members of the Governing Board who were able to hear from 20 of the 24 local school systems as well as many private school security personnel as they shared their current safety issues and best practices. This is a very valuable and essential network of safety experts.

We must not only focus on improving safety and security in our schools, but we must also leverage local and state resources to intervene early as well to provide supports and counseling to troubled students. We must implement and improve threat assessment procedures that include teams that rely on experts in counseling, school administration, instruction and law enforcement.

The Maryland Center for School Safety, the State Board of Education, and myself are placing the highest urgency on actions to improve school safety.

Our students are counting on us!

Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D.

Image Dr Karen Salmon State Superintendent of Schools- School Safety Statement Video

Maryland Safety Preparations

Click the link above to view a video message from Dr. Karen Salmon regarding school safety preparations in Maryland.

Image logo MSDE Connections Data Summit


MSDE, in partnership with Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory, is hosting the 2018 Maryland Connections Summit. This summit brings together education professionals and highlights the vital role data plays in education decision making. 

We are currently accepting proposals for presentations, click the link above to submit! 

Image logo Best of Maryland Arts Education Festival

Best of Maryland Arts Education Festival!

The Best of Maryland Arts Education Festival celebrates the impact of arts education. On April 20, 2018, select solo artists and small ensembles from all 24 Maryland school districts will present performances and artwork in historic Mt. Vernon in Downtown Baltimore for the day! 

For more information, or for student presentation submissions and volunteer opportunities, click the link above!

Image Maryland State Board of Education

State Board Actions

February 27, 2018

The following actions were taken at the February 27, 2018 State Board of Education meeting:

  • Granted permission to publish the promulgation of new COMAR 13A.12.01.08-1 Adjunct Certificate, with clarifying language that the Adjunct Certificate can only be issued to a part-time employee and that the local school system provide either side-by-side coaching or co-teaching with a professional certificated teacher.
  • Granted permission to adopt proposed amendments to COMAR 13A.07.08 Incentive Program for Certification by the National Board for Professional Teacher Standards (NBPTS) to align with NBPTS requirements and clarify existing language in the following sections: .02 Definitions, .03 Eligibility Criteria, .04 Selection Procedure, and .06 Costs. 
  • Granted approval of a request from Baltimore City Public Schools to open schools on the Monday after Easter (April 2nd) as an inclement weather make-up day for the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Granted approval of the following recommendations and next steps related to findings of the Prince Georges County Public Schools (PGCPS) Independent Audit to include:
  1. Request that PGCPS provide a monthly progress report on the milestones in the Corrective Action Plan.  The monthly report should include changes made in protocols, process, and procedures and how these changes promote a culture of compliance in PGCPS.  
  2. Request that PGCPS respond to the questions raised by the State Board that were not previously addressed and those posed in MSDE’s analysis of the audit findings.
  3. The MSDE will dedicate a full-time employee, over the course of the year to monitor PGCPS’ implementation of and compliance with the Corrective Action Plan, as well as its grade changing and student attendance policies as they relate to earning a Maryland high school diploma. The monitor’s role will include a review of the internal random audits conducted by PGCPS to check for the scope, integrity, and results of each audit.
  4. An additional independent third-party audit conducted once PGCPS has completed the implementation of the Corrective Action Plan.

The following Opinion and Orders were rendered: 

  • Sepeideh K. and Paul C. v. Anne Arundel County Board of Education  – school transfer – Opinion No. 18-06 – affirmed decision of local board
  • Susan Ballinger v. St Mary’s County Board of Education – teacher termination – Order No. OR 18-01 – dismissed for untimeliness
  • Lee Thomassen v. Baltimore County Board of Education (II) violation of GINA – Order No. OR 18-02 – affirmed decision of local board

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

The next meeting of the Maryland State Board of Education will be held on March 20, 2018 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.


    March is National Nutrition Month!

    Image March is National Nutrition Month

    National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign celebrated annually in March. This observance was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

    Key Messages:

    1. Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
    2. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
    3. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.

    Visit the link above for the National Nutrition Month Celebration Toolkit.

    Maryland Students Set New Record for Advanced Placement Success

    Image logo for Advanced Placement Test

    Maryland student success on the Advanced Placement (AP) test set a new record in 2017. At the same time, participation in the rigorous exams also increased to its highest level.

    The percentage of Maryland seniors who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams reached 31.2 percent in 2017, up from 30.3 in 2016. That placed second to Massachusetts, with 32.1 percent of its students earning a score of 3 or better.

    Continue Reading

    Hogan Administration Lifts Freeze on Child Care Subsidy List

    Image of children being happy

    Governor Larry Hogan last month, announced that the administration has lifted the long-time freeze on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Child Care Subsidy program list. The Child Care Subsidy Program, which is funded through a combination of state and federal sources, provides financial assistance to help eligible working families afford child care costs by issuing vouchers. 

    Continue Reading