COVID-19 Response & Continuity of Learning Success - Issue 7

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Issue 7   |   June 26, 2020

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

With the 2019-20 school year now closed, I hope that our students, teachers, parents, administrators and staff enjoy time to recharge as we close the unprecedented 2019-2020 school year.  Together we redefined education – moving classrooms from brick and mortar settings to the virtual sphere.  Thank you for your outstanding adaptability, as we as educators and administrators gained new skill sets to deliver continuity of learning in a remarkably short amount of time.  We proved again that we are #BetterTogether!

As we pivot to summer learning opportunities, we also are actively focusing on plans for the fall.  Local systems are drafting local recovery plans, forming stakeholder groups, and communication plans.  I’ve been happy to see some local systems conducting surveys for parental feedback.

MSDE developed a new decision tree that outlines how decisions about schools have been, and will be, made throughout the different stages of the Governor’s and the Department’s recovery plans. We thought that this was an effective way of visualizing how we have been progressing through each stage as it relates to reopening schools. It will give all of our stakeholders an idea of how that methodology will continue as we move through stage two and eventually into stage three of recovery. The tree shows that we will be continually monitoring conditions and making decisions in concert with available data and guidance from the State Board of Education, the Governor’s Office and health experts. Our goal, is of course, to return children to school buildings as soon as safely possible to continue our mission of equity and excellence as we deliver the top quality academic and the social and emotional support our children need and deserve. Announcements about the fall will occur later this summer.

In the meanwhile, please enjoy a wonderful, safe summer!




Mountain Ridge High School Seniors are Recognized for Receiving Several Awards

  • Chase Connor and Lily Johnson are the recipients of the Valley High School Alumni Award. Chase will attend Frostburg State University in the fall, and Lily will attend Penn State University in State College, PA.
  • Salee Blank received the Averey Rhyan Bridges Scholar Athlete Memorial Award sponsored by Averey’s Change Up Foundation. She will attend Allegany College of Maryland and has been accepted to the nursing program.
  • Dillon Kaschenbach is the recipient of The Reverend James Williams and Mrs. Harriet James Carter Williams Memorial Ecology Award given by Dr. W Leon Stertz and Dr. Linda DeHoyos. Dillon will attend the University of Maryland.
  • Jenna Green received the Enordo “Moose” Arnone Scholarship sponsored by the Arnone family. Jenna will attend Frostburg State University in the fall.



Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Class of 2020 Earned the Highest Scholarship Amount in a Decade!

This year’s graduating class features 2,079 students receiving either a diploma or certificate, and a record number of scholarship offers totaling nearly $125 million.

To view each school’s amount, head to

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Class of 2020 earned the highest scholarship amount in a decade.


C. Milton Wright Graduate Kylie McCarthy Has Sights Set on Congress, Ultimately the U.S. Presidency

C. Milton Wright Graduate Kylie McCarthy plans to major in business at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and she might go to law school afterward.

“I eventually want to become a politician,” she said. “That’s the hope and dream, that I would become [a member of] Congress. My major goal would be president of the United States.”

See full story here:

C. Milton Wright High School Class of 2020 graduate Kylie McCarthy



Prince George’s County Honors University of Maryland Incentive Awards (IAP)!

Prince Georges County Reaction

Eleven Prince George’s County Public School graduates were recently accepted into the University of Maryland Incentive Awards Program with full scholarships, academic guidance and mentoring — and their reactions were caught on video! The program covers full cost of tuition and room and board for all four years.

View recipients:



Class of 2020 Chorus Students From all Three St. Mary’s County Public High Schools

Class of 2020 chorus students from all three St. Mary’s County Public High Schools combined for this amazing performance of "From Now On" as part of Commencement. Bravo to the talented Class of 2020 students from Chopticon, Great Mills, and Leonardtown!

St. Mary's County Public School Choir


BCPS Seniors Participate in Virtual Independent Research Symposium

Baltimore County Virtual Symposium

Students at Franklin, Hereford, Parkville, Perry Hall, and Western School of Technology high schools were selected to participate in the Independent Research Seminar elective course this year, based on their commitment to following an advanced research process to conduct in-depth original research. Student researchers worked collaboratively and independently under the guidance of their library media specialists, faculty advisors, and expert mentors.

The symposium showcases original research conducted by students at five BCPS high schools during the 2019-20 school year. During this spring’s closure of school buildings due to the pandemic, students have engaged in remote learning facilitated by their library media specialists to create and record their research presentations at home. Students, parents, staff, and community members interested in supporting these students and learning more about the Independent Research Seminar course are invited to view the Virtual Symposium.

Students used the process and resources provided in an online research framework to generate a research question, conduct a literature review, write a research proposal, and synthesize their findings to create a presentation for an audience. Research topics address a variety of subjects and are based on the students' own areas of interest. High school administrators, counselors, and library media specialists interested in offering the Independent Research Seminar at their schools will find implementation resources available online.

The 2020 BCPS Independent Research Seminar students and their research topics are:

  • Rebecca Angin, Grade 11, Parkville High School, “Elitism in Education”
  • Lena Bell, Grade 11, Franklin High School, “De-extinction of the Thylacine”
  • Kaitlyn Beyer, Grade 11, Hereford High School, “Genetic Engineering: Medical Marvel, or Medical Mistake?”​
  • Kaitlyn Crowley, Grade 12, Hereford High School, “Motherhood: To what extent are societal pressures placed on women to have children and what are the effects of these pressures?”
  • Linna Cui, Grade 12, Perry Hall High School, “Music Therapy for Behavior and Cognition: Effects of Classical Music on the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease”
  • Falon Gustin, Grade 12, Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, “LGBTQ+ Representation in School Curricula and Media”
  • Max Harris, Grade 11, Franklin High School, “A Look Into Topology with a Theory on the Square Peg Problem”
  • Ethan Jacobson, Grade 12, Hereford High School, “Potential for Serotonergic Psychedelics in Assisted Psychotherapy”
  • Hafeez Mustafa, Grade 11, Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, “The Role of Social and News Media on the Stock Market”
  • Matthew Rubinstein, Grade 12, Franklin High School, “Reforming the United States System of Campaign Finance”
  • Mahnoor Sarfraz, Grade 12, Perry Hall High School, “How can the United States government implement regulations which will decrease the cost of prescription medicines for Americans?”
  • Jeffrey Thewsuvat, Grade 12, Western School of Technology and Environmental Science, “Exploring the Subatomic World: Quantum Teleportation”


41st Annual Hugh O'Brian Youth Maryland Leadership Seminar Nominees

Congratulations to Kylie Zimmerman from Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, Nashaun Sheffield from South Hagerstown High School and Lucas Michael from Williamsport High School MD, who have been nominated to attend the 41st Annual Hugh O'Brian Youth (HOBY) Maryland Leadership Seminar June 19 - 21, 2020. This three-day virtual seminar brings together a select group of students (HOBY Ambassadors) to interact with distinguished leaders in business, government and education to discuss relevant present and future issues.

41st Annual Hugh O'Brian Youth Maryland Leadership Seminar Nominees


Listen to the Amazing TCPS “Virtual Ensemble!

A special shout out to teachers Ray Remesch (who mixed and edited the video), Amy Effler, CJ Henry, Laura Spies, Maura Thompson and Chris Flaherty for orchestrating the remote project!

Listen here:

Student Virtual Ensemble Participants:

Sydney Lanier, Mikayla Gibson, Louisa Kalinski, Brooke Kozak, Allison Curry, Sara Chapple, Caroline Baker, Sammi Tibbitt, Makayla Moore, Haley Nestel, Claire Weedon, Sophie McGee, Tori Gomez, Taryn Cummings, Reagan Wibberly, Nick Grassini, Molly Fullerton, Max Brennan, Kyla Mullaney, Ella Murphy, Caroline Trice, Carly Gill, Avery Brown, Armonie Cooper

Talbot County Public Schools - TCPS Virtual Ensemble


Wicomico Fun Summer Activities

Looking for Fun Summer Activities? Come check out free activities with the Wicomico Summer Fun!, which launched Monday, June 22nd! The web site:

Wicomico Summer Fun! will include engaging, fun, hands-on activities you can do with your student over the summer break! There's something for everyone from art, music, cooking classes, fitness, Destination Imagination instant challenges, science, reading, math, virtual field trips, exploring our world, mindfulness, and more! Families won't be sitting in front of a screen all summer...our activities are designed to get students outside, get creative, and get moving.

Activities are grade level appropriate for first-eighth grade students and will be updated weekly all summer, so be sure to put it on your calendar and come check us out on Monday!

Wicomico County Summer Fun


Governor Hogan Announces Over $45 Million in Education Funding to Help Students Affected By COVID-19 Pandemic

Initiatives Include K-12 Technology Funding, Workforce Development Programs, Rural and Urban Broadband

Governor Hogan Announces Over $45 Million in Education Funding to Help Students Affected By COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Larry Hogan today announced the commitment of more than $45.6 million in additional education funding for K-12 technology improvements, community college workforce development programs, rural broadband initiatives, and other priorities in every jurisdiction in Maryland, particularly those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act gives governors the flexibility to provide direct funding to education priorities.

“I believe very strongly that every single child in Maryland deserves access to a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in,” said Governor Hogan. “That is true now, more than ever, and especially for those students significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many states have already seen significant cuts and layoffs, in Maryland, we are committed to doing everything possible to level-fund education. We will continue to maximize federal resources in order to provide critical funding for the students and communities that need help the most.”

K-12 Technology Funding: $10 million

The Maryland State Department of Education surveyed all twenty-four local school systems to identify any barriers to implementing remote learning. The feedback from these surveys along with consultation with local school systems led to Maryland’s determination that K-12 technology funding is critical to the continued success of education processes during the state’s recovery from COVID-19. 

Community College Workforce Development Programs: $10 million

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is in regular ongoing communication with the state's Institutions of Higher Education to discuss specific COVID-19 related issues with respect to assuring their students can continue their programs. Based on these deliberations, the state’s community colleges are the most effective delivery method for constituents to improve their employment opportunities and for the state to improve workforce development. Funds to community colleges will be utilized to immediately expand existing training and educational programs in locally relevant sectors and to develop new in-demand training programs for post COVID-19. Funds will also be utilized to market these programs to employers and prospective students, including recently unemployed Marylanders. 

Competitive Innovation Grants: $10 million

The Competitive Innovation Grants will be awarded to educational institutions that present a unique or innovative approach to engage students, teachers, and school communities while working to address academic accessibility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects can focus on implementing unique ideas at an individual school, feeder system of schools, or school system. Priority will be given to programs that address at-risk students. 

Rural Broadband: $10 Million 

The Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband will construct a wireless education network for students’ use in Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, and on the Eastern Shore. This network will initially be constructed in the areas that currently lack broadband service, but could be expanded to cover other areas of the state where access may be limited for other reasons. The state is proposing a wireless, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network using frequency provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for educational purposes, or available unlicensed frequencies. 

Urban Broadband: $5 Million 

Maryland’s wireless education network for students will also be available in urban centers, where access to the internet can be scarce for underprivileged populations. The state plans to use a phased, targeted approach to ensure the populations who lack access will be connected first.

School for the Deaf, School for the Blind: $657,990

The Maryland State Department of Education will provide grants to the Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland School for the Deaf to assist in the implementation of remote learning for staff and students. The funds will be used to purchase devices, including assistive technology and adaptive equipment for staff and students, implementing appropriate security tools, and providing professional development. MSDE anticipates distributing funds on a per-pupil basis. 


School Lunch


BALTIMORE (June 26, 2020) – The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has announced revised Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) for free and reduced-price school meals. The guidelines are set by the federal government and adopted by MSDE. The IEGs are used to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meals in child nutrition programs for the period of July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual adjustments to the IEGs are required by Section 9 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. The guidelines are intended to directly benefit those children most in need and are revised annually to account for changes in the Consumer Price Index. The IEGs were established by multiplying the 2020 federal income poverty guidelines by 130 percent to determine the household income levels for free meal eligibility and by 185 percent for the reduced-price meal eligibility income levels. The income levels are rounded upward to the next whole dollar.

Household size and income is the most common way to determine eligibility. For example, a child from a family of four is eligible for free school meals if the household’s current annual income is below $34,060. If the family’s annual income is between $34,061 and $48,470, the child is eligible for reduced-price meals.

Meal Benefit Applications will be available at the beginning of the school year. Parents and guardians should complete applications in their entirety and submit it to the school; schools cannot approve incomplete applications. United States citizenship is not required to be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Schools will inform households whether children qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Parents and guardians may speak with school officials concerning disagreement with the school’s decision or appeal the decision and request a hearing with the school district’s administrators.

Children enrolled in Head Start, Even Start, certified as homeless, migrant, runaway, foster, or children living in households that receive Food Supplement Program (FSP) or Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefits are eligible for free meals and do not need to fill out an application. Some FSP and TCA households will receive a letter from the school informing them that children in the household are eligible for free meals.

FSP and TCA households that do not receive a letter by the beginning of the school year should fill out an application. Other children who may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals include children in households participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Parents and guardians of these children should complete an application.

Parents and guardians may reapply at any time during the school year and are encouraged to do so if the household size increases, parents and guardians become unemployed, income decreases, or the household qualifies for FSP or TCA.

School Meals includes: School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program, After-School Care Snack component, and Special Milk Program. The School Meals programs are administered in Maryland by the MSDE, and must meet nutrition requirements set by the USDA. Visit for additional information regarding the Child Nutrition Programs operating in Maryland.

Individuals who want more information concerning schools or facilities that participate in one of the Child Nutrition Programs should contact a Program Specialist at 410-767-0219.

Income Eligibility Guidelines
(Effective July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021)

Household Size

Free Meals

Reduced Price Meals




Twice per month

Every Two





Twice per month

Every Two Weeks


























































































For each additional family member add






















The Maryland State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are equal opportunity employers and providers.



Learn more about MSDE's COVID-19 resources: