MSDE's COVID-19 Response & Continuity of Learning Success: Issue 1

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Issue 1   |   May 13, 2020

Maryland School Status and
A Look at the Future

On Wednesday, May 6, I announced the closure of schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic school year. After extensive discussions with the Maryland State Board of Education, the Maryland Health Department and additional health experts advising the Governor, I am convinced this is the appropriate decision for the health and safety of our students, educators, staff and all members of our school communities.

I cannot say enough about Maryland’s outstanding education professionals – our superintendents and principals for their leadership and forward-thinking and our wonderful teachers for their hard work and flexibility as they provide daily instruction and a touchpoint of normalcy to more than 900-thousand Maryland students. Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and I thank you for your service, every week, every day.

Although we will not see students and educators return to the classroom before the scheduled end of this school year, online and distance learning opportunities will continue.  Though virtual platforms cannot replace daily interactions with school staff and students, our education teams are rising to the challenge of delivering effective distanced instruction.  This weekly newsletter will capture a sample of Continuity of Learning success stories around the State, as learning continues to thrive.

We face an extraordinary challenge, but we are all in this together and we will all get through this together. 

- Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D.

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Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education

To guide school systems and school communities on the path forward, the State Department of Education has released a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The “Maryland Together: Maryland's Recovery Plan for Education” was drafted in collaboration with the State Board, local school superintendents, and with input from a wide array of stakeholders throughout our State. This document lays the groundwork for the coming months as we maintain and improve upon online learning opportunities and identifies methods for recovering any lost instruction time that has occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The plan also establishes the foundation for Maryland school systems as they begin to consider how they will bring students and educators back into school buildings once they are able to in a safe way.

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Maryland is Supporting Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020

As a member of  the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Maryland is supporting Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020.  See a message to Maryland's Class of 2020 from Dr. Karen B. Salmon on their website.

Visit the Graduate Together Website

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Fun Family Activity

Join Patrick Rowley, the Science on a Sphere facilitator, as he uses the SOSx mobile app to gather information from satellites, ground observations and computer models. The JER Science Center website also has at-home activities for families to work on together. 

Check Out the Science Activities 




The Arts: Wicomico County Virtual Concert

This year, three elementary music teachers collaborated to start our first All County Elementary Choir. They were all set for their first performance and unfortunately, it was one of the first events that had to be cancelled. Despite the difficult circumstances, these amazing teachers took it upon themselves to gather these students virtually and create a mini concert. This video is just one example of the passion and energy that teachers are sharing with students and speaks volumes about their willingness to find alternative ways of showcasing students’ work during these challenging times. The teachers are John Wixted, Pemberton Elementary School; Dr. Nancy Richerson, Beaver Run Elementary School; and Victoria Oberdick, Pinehurst Elementary School.  The students are listed in the credits at the end of the video.

View the Virtual Concert


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Queen Anne’s County's National Recognition


Queen Anne’s County Public Schools (QACPS) has been recognized as tone of “the 2020 Best Communities for Music Education." The award program honors districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. QACPS) was one of only six districts in Maryland selected.

View the List

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Scholar of the Week: Jeremy Kiggundu, DuVal High School

After participating in an internship in the 2019 Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics ASPIRE program, Jeremy was invited to present his research at the 2019 Integrated STEM Education Conference at Princeton University. Princeton conference organizers were so impressed that they published Jeremy’s research, a dive into how the developing complexity of cyberspace has provoked the need for increased security methods to protect users and information, with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

With a job offer from the U.S. Department of Defense already on the table, a future in engineering is just around the corner. Jeremy, who’s also interested in computer science, imagines a career in public service working for the United Nations or serving as an advisor to a future U.S. President.

Read the Article

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Sharing Virtual Teaching Tips!

Carroll County teacher, Kara Goff, a math teacher at Century High School shares some of the tools she uses to improve instruction in her Google Classroom, including one that allows her to embed video of herself in the lesson to better interact with students.

Learn more here. 


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Talbot County Middle Schooler Takes COVID Matters into His Own Hands

An Easton middle schooler decided to take matters into his own hands, as he was concerned about his parents contracting COVID-19, with his mom working at a hospital and his dad working as a police officer. Matthew Svhela reached out to the Superintendent of Talbot County Public Schools for help in creating N-95 masks with a 3-D printer. Each mask takes up to 10 hours to make, and so far they’ve been distributed to the hospital and police departments in the Easton area.

Read more here


Learn more about MSDE's COVID-19 resources: