COVID-19 Response & Continuity of Learning Success - Issue 8 Update

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Issue 8   |   July 2, 2020

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

Thank You: A Special Message to Maryland’s Teachers

View the video message here.

As we conclude this unprecedented 2019-20 school year, this is a special message to you: our teachers and educators.  First and foremost, it is my greatest hope that you and your families remain healthy and safe as COVID-19 continues to present an extraordinary and historic global challenge.

Thank you for everything you’ve done – and continue to do — to keep Maryland’s students engaged, healthy and safe. 

In mid-March, as we started navigating the impact of COVID-19, we prioritized the health of students and staff. We closed schools. We provided nutritious meals, immediately realizing the significant numbers of children cut off from that critical need. And then we began negotiating our biggest logistical learning curve: remote teaching environments. This was possible only through your ingenuity, creativity, adaptability and most of all your love and dedication for your profession and your students. You bravely met the challenge posed by COVID-19 head on – not allowing it to threaten the ideals that we hold most dear: that every child, everywhere, deserves a quality education grounded in equity and excellence. You led an entirely new education campaign, moving learning from physical school buildings and classrooms to an all new, unchartered, virtual domain.

And YOU did this while living the pandemic’s challenges just like the students and families you serve.   

  • Some of our teachers suffered the devastating loss of family members to COVID-19;
  • In other cases, some experienced the loss of colleagues and friends, cared for stricken family members, and battled the infection
  • At the same time, you took to the frontlines, coordinated and delivered meals and supplies to the homes of students really struggling.
  • YOU invested hours climbing through phone trees trying to help students gain internet access
  • AND YOU transformed dining rooms into whiteboard walls; kitchens into science labs, creating dynamic video content and teaching students new material;
  • And in SOME cases — recorded those videos while cradling a young child and a camera.
  • YOU devoted countless hours teaching each other how to use technology’s tools for Distance Learning.
  • YOU celebrated students through neighborhood parades, posting yard-signs, and special deliveries;
  • YOU gently guided students facing mental-health challenges to the right resources, while also living and struggling through the racial and social challenges plaguing the world.
  • YOU are breaking down racial barriers and bridging divides in your own school communities -
  • and the list goes on.

YOU define amazing; we are truly grateful for your service.

And I personally so appreciate your work, your commitment to our State, to our students, to equity, to our future. I see you, value you, and your outstanding contributions to our students, schools and communities.

The task of educating every child in Maryland is as complex as the world they will face.  It requires the combined efforts of parents, students, teachers, administrators, government, business and stakeholders.  Together, we must inspire, improve, empower, elevate, build, protect, and support.  Thank you for doing just that.



Cecil County Public Schools (CCPS) Engages Students with Summer Resources!

With the unexpected closure of schools in March, many families have looked for engaging resources that help students continue to grow outside of school. CCPS provides summer resources that connect students and parents to learning opportunities that will help students improve skills and prepare for the upcoming school year. With options customized for students in Pre-K through high school, these resources provide students interesting and challenging options for continued learning throughout the summer. Most of these resources are online; however, there are several that offer printable activities. Cecil County Public Schools (CCPS) compiles these resources here:

Cecil County Public Schools (CCPS)  Summer Learning Opportunities



MCPS Elementary, Middle and High Schools Offer Summer Program Experiences in Online Model

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) schools will offer a variety of online summer experiences. The goal of these programs will be to keep students engaged and learning during the summer months, address the learning gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a variety of specialized opportunities that are of interest to students. Learn more:



New Market Elementary School Student Takes Home History Bee Crown

Congratulations to New Market Elementary School student Morgan Barclay on winning the 23rd Annual Frederick News-Post History Bee🐝. Barclay, a New Market Elementary School student, was all smiles after she won the 23rd annual Frederick New-Post History Bee — and the first ever News-Post virtual history bee.

Read more in this Frederick News Post article:

Morgan Barclay, center, celebrates Friday after winning the Frederick News-Post Virtual History Bee



Garrett County Student Laura Huelskamp, Gold Medal Winner

Congratulations to student Laura Huelskamp from Northern Middle School in Garrett County for taking home the gold medal in the Junior Individual Exhibit category at National History Day! Her project was titled "Aren't Lights Grand? Breaking Barriers with Rural Electrification."

Garrett County student Laura Huelskamp, Gold Medal Winner



Rock Hall Elementary School (RHES) Presented the “Yarn Bomb”

Rock Hall Elementary School (RHES) presented “Yarn Bomb” graffiti displayed on their fence on Sharp Street!  Featuring Chesapeake Bay-themed creatures, RHES students, families, and community members contributed to the yarn bombing with crabs, fish, turtles, mermaids, and more!!

Rock Hall Elementary School (RHES) presented the “Yarn Bomb” graffiti


Worcester County Public Schools Virtual Fine Arts Festival

Worcester County Public Schools released its Virtual Fine Arts Festival video. Check out some of the amazing artistic talent in Worcester County!

Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) Virtual Fine Arts Festival 2020


2021 Music Educator Award Quarterfinalists Announced

More than 215 music teachers from 199 cities have been selected from nearly 2,000 initial nominations for the annual honor presented by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum, with support from the Ford Motor Company Fund.

The award was established to recognize current educators - kindergarten through college, public and private schools - who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

Congratulations to the five Marylanders recently named as quarterfinalists for the Grammy Music Educator Award!

2021 Grammy Music Educator Award


Governor Hogan and Superintendent Salmon Announce $210 Million in COVID-19 Relief for Remote Learning and Targeted Tutoring

Resources Will Help Local School Systems Address Learning Gap and Digital Divide, Expand Rural Broadband In Total, Governor Has Committed More Than $255 Million in Federal Resources to Help Students Affected By COVID-19

Statewide Education Funding Announcement

—Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent Karen Salmon today announced $210 million in additional funding to help Maryland schools and students most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding, allocated through the federal CARES Act, will be used to ensure that more students have access to remote learning, and expand targeted tutoring initiatives for at-risk students.

“For six straight years, we have provided historically high state funding for our schools, while fighting for more accountability for Maryland parents, teachers, and taxpayers, and working to achieve better results for our children,” said Governor Hogan. “Education has been, and will continue to be, our administration’s highest priority. While many states have already seen significant cuts and layoffs, in Maryland, we are going to do everything we possibly can to level-fund K-12 education.”

“Long-standing gaps in educational opportunity and access have been further exposed and widened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Superintendent Salmon. “Our goal with these resources is to give local school systems the support and flexibility to help ensure that students most impacted during the crisis receive intense focus and priority in our recovery efforts. I want to thank the governor for recognizing the importance of these initiatives as we work to support our students, educators, parents, and community partners.”

In total, the governor has now committed more than $255 million in CARES Act funding for education priorities.

Remote Learning Enhancements: $100 Million

To address the digital divide, Governor Hogan and Superintendent Salmon have allocated $100 million to be made available to local school systems to ensure that students have access to the most up-to-date devices and connectivity. It is estimated that student devices need to be replaced when they are over four years old. Local school systems must also take into account having the staff necessary to deploy and maintain devices. Having this infrastructure in place is critical to the state’s long-term recovery from COVID-19.

Targeted Tutoring Initiatives: $100 Million

In order to deal with learning loss due to time away from direct instruction and teacher intervention, Governor Hogan and Superintendent Salmon have allocated $100 million for local school systems that implement tutoring and learning programs designed to help students in need. Research has shown that the rate of learning gain can be improved with intensive tutoring. At-risk students are most often identified based on math and reading scores that are significantly below their grade level.

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. In total, the governor has now committed $20 million in CARES Act funding to expand rural broadband and an additional $5 million for urban broadband.


The 2020 Census is Underway, and We Want Every Marylander to Have Their Voice Heard.

Census 2020


The Census is conducted every ten years and helps shape important decisions for the decade to come. Census results help determine how much Maryland receives in federal funding for programs such as:

  • Construction of new schools
  • Free or reduced-price lunches
  • Special education program
  • Teacher Training
  • Title 1 grants for schools

Did you know it’s estimated that every Marylander counted in the census equates to almost $20,000 in federal funding over 10 years? Taking the Census ensures your community receives its fair share of federal funding.

Opt-in to receive information for Marylanders about the 2020 Census, how your responses are used to help your community, and how you can help encourage others to complete the Census too here: [Opt-in to Updates


Learn more about MSDE's COVID-19 resources: