COVID-19 Response & Continuity of Learning Success - Issue 3 Update

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Issue 3   |   May 29, 2020

Message from Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools

As we head into the final weeks of the school calendar, I want to thank the leaders in our local systems, as well as our principals and teachers for truly pioneering continuity of learning in Maryland.  

And to our parents, a special thank you for everything that you are doing at home – now more than ever, you are true partners with your teachers in your child’s learning experience.  We know what our teachers and parents are juggling – we know you have been handed a monumental task, and you are doing your best. 

I empathize with the impossible situation we are experiencing on many levels - personally and professionally. As a former full-time special education teacher and mother of two daughters - I well understand the demands on parents during the best of times, let alone during this current pandemic crisis.

While every family and household may face different challenges - it has been said that we are in different boats but weathering the same storm. Please know that all decisions are being made with the safety of children and staff as the first priority.  

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

Let’s make these last few weeks of the school year meaningful together! Thank you!

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*BCPSS Distributes Laptops in Support of Distance Learning

(Courtesy of Andre Riley, Director of Communications)

Working collaboratively with central and school-based staff, the district is in the midst of a comprehensive device deployment strategy to loan Chromebooks to families who need them. The process was designed to support seniors and juniors in reaching their college and career aspirations, incorporate principal feedback, leverage school-based knowledge of students and community, and meet the needs of ALL students with an explicit focus on equitable approaches to distance learning.

Deployment started with high schools the week of April 13th, followed by K-8 and middle schools the week of April 27th. Each school had a two-day distribution window, with times scheduled to reflect a sensitivity to the needs of students and families. Schools were provided with PPE and detailed social distancing protocols to guide the process. As of mid-May, 12,000 devices have been distributed.

The district is now in the planning process for a second round of distribution to reach families that have not yet received a device. The second round will begin in the coming days.


*A previous version misidentified the article “BCPSS Distributes Laptops in Support of Distance Learning,” under a header of Baltimore County Schools; this updated version correctly identifies it as Baltimore City Schools.  We regret the error.


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Dr. Monica Goldson Discusses The Digital Divide on ABC News

Prince George's County CEO

CEO Dr. Monica Goldson joined ABC News to discuss the digital divide! The "Pandemic: What You Need to Know" segment is part of special coverage examining socioeconomic disparities in education stemming from COVID-19.

View the Story

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Garrett County Enhances Connectivity with Added Hot Spots

Garrett County Public Schools (GCPS) continues to expand Wi-Fi and recently announced the addition of six new hotspot locations to increase connectivity and access throughout the county.  The County partnered with several organizations and businesses that have agreed to allow students, parents, and staff to access GCPS-installed Wi-Fi from their parking lots.  In their communications, Garrett County issued a reminder that this Internet is filtered, and is for instructional use only.

Examples of new locations include Bloomington Fire Hall, Backbone Tavern and Lee’s Corner Market.

View the updated list of all GCPS hotspots

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Be The Best You! 

St. Mary's County Public School students created a video series by students for students. Each topic focuses on giving secondary students tips on how to be a successful student.

View the Video

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Calvert High NJROTC Captures Regional Title



The National Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) of Calvert High School was named the 2020 Most Outstanding Unit in Area Five, which consists of 57 schools in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Dr. Daniel D. Curry, Superintendent, said, “Indeed, they deserve this honor.”

The award of Most Outstanding Unit (MOU) is awarded annually in each NJROTC area. The Calvert High unit will now compete with other winning area units for the national title. To earn the MOU title, the unit had the best results based on the End of Year Report, which is calculated on a points-based system analyzing performance in academics/professional development, community service/citizenship, and unit participation.

The NJROTC program fosters the development of citizenship and leadership skills and teaches cultural awareness, college and career preparation, physical fitness, time management, and many other skills that enhance success in school and beyond. Extracurricular activities include teams for air rifle, academics, athletics, drill, and orienteering. As a distinguished unit with honors, the instructors have nominations to be awarded to those seeking an appointment to the United States Military Academy, Naval Academy or Air Force Academy. Additionally, cadets have opportunities to earn ROTC college scholarships.


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Calvert positivity


Calvert Positivity Summit

Join the Virtual Positivity Summit, hosted by Calvert High School. Each day, 3-4 speakers from the school and community will post a video message of hope and positivity. The online event includes a few challenges and activities, as well. Participate a little, or participate a lot!

Register to receive email updates about this event

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Hickory Elementary School Focuses on Finding Balance, Learning New Things, Walks and Working On Our Mental Wellness!



In a newsletter, Hickory Elementary School addresses boredom, and encourages students to try new things!  From Principal Stinar exploring art to features on students hiking and gardening, this great newsletter explores ways to keep minds engaged and busy!

"Trying something new, Mrs. Stinar has encouraged me to explore famous works of art! This artwork by Grant Wood spoke to me for obvious reasons, and inspired our attempt to recreate it! I learned that the lady in the painting is the farmers daughter, not the farmers wife, as most people assume. During the Great Depression the painting was viewed as celebration of America’s strength and spirit. I hope you are inspired to learn more about something new, and we would love to hear about it! When we learn more about new things, we learn more about ourselves! We are all works of art indeed!"

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Five Maryland Students Named U.S. Presidential Scholars



U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos last week announced the 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields. Five of those elite students are from Maryland!

Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,600 of the nation’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations, and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Congratulations to Maryland State Presidential Scholars:

Maria Christina Hancu, Poolesville Senior High School  

Nadine Meister, Centennial High School

Pranav Tadikonda, Boyds - Richard Montgomery

Bill Tong, Atholton High School

Robert Wachen, Winston Churchill High School

View the complete list of 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars

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MPSSAA 2020 Minds In Motion Scholarship Recipients

The MPSSAA is pleased to announce the eighteen winners of the 2020 Minds in Motion Scholar-Athlete Scholarships!  Two student recipients were chosen from each of the MPSSAA's nine districts.  Each recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship thanks to the generosity of  The Allstate Foundation.

In its thirteenth year, The Allstate Foundation recognizes students who have excelled on the playing field and in the classroom.  Applicants must be seniors with a minimum 3.25 unweighted overall GPA and have participated in interscholastic athletic activities sponsored by MPSSAA during their high school careers.

Each student was recognized by a visit from MPSSAA and received a yard sign.

View the List


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The Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line Remains Active

May in Mental Health Month: Report School Safety Concerns Such as Cyber Bullying or Students Struggling Emotionally During COVID-19 Crisis

As a result of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic response, school buildings are largely empty, and schools have transitioned to online learning environments. With families isolated at home and students unable to physically attend school, Maryland students are facing new and diverse challenges. During this time, the Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line becomes an increasingly vital tool to ensure the safety and well-being of Maryland students.

Whether students are experiencing cyberbullying or are concerned about one or more students capable of self-harm or violence, the Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line, which is administered by MCSS, is anonymously accessible 24/7 by phone at 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233), online at, and by downloading the free app via the App Store or Google Play



Learn more about MSDE's COVID-19 resources: