COVID-19 Response & Continuity of Learning Success - Issue 11

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Issue 11   |   July 24, 2020

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

Earlier this week, Governor Hogan held a COVID 19 press conference, and invited me to speak about the opening of schools. With the state firmly in recovery, local systems will have the flexibility to determine, in consultation with their local health officers, how they will open, and which groups of students and staff will be able to re-enter buildings. Some systems have begun to lay out a path to begin the year all-virtual, and some plan to move forward with a ‘hybrid’ approach. Our job is to help systems succeed and keep staff and students safe with established guardrails, regardless of which path they choose.

First, all systems must follow CDC guidelines for schools, which stress the importance of handwashing, physical distancing, and cloth face coverings. Face coverings must be worn by all staff and students, particularly when physical distancing is not possible.

Second, all school systems must adhere to protocols instituted by state health officials for addressing an outbreak.

Together with the Department of the Health, we released specific guidance for face masks and response to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools, child care programs, and youth camps.

They are posted online at the links below:

Guidance for Use of Cloth Face Coverings in Schools

Response to a Laboratory Confirmed Case of COVID-19 and Persons with COVID-19-like Illness in Schools, Child Care Programs, and Youth Camps

Third, all school systems before reopening must meet a series of benchmarks, the 13 requirements that are included in Maryland’s Education Recovery Plan.

I also provided information on the federal funding available to local school systems. Specifically, these funds ensure that more students will have access to remote learning and the expansion of targeted tutoring initiatives for at-risk students. Our goal with these resources is to give local school systems the support and flexibility to focus on and prioritize students most impacted during the crisis.

Again, we will rely on every available resource to ensure that Maryland’s children have full access to the quality, effective and safe education they deserve.

We are Maryland strong, and we will continue moving forward together.


Project Waves to bring free WIFI to families in West Baltimore

Photo by: Matthew Paul D'Agostino


Diana Flores Winters Mill High School Carroll County 2020 Student Champion of the Year

Diana Flores, a senior at Winters Mill High School, has been selected as the 2020 Student Champion of the Year by the Children’s Mental Health Matters! Campaign for her commitment to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma of children’s mental health. Congratulations!






English Language Learners – Two Teachers Featured in Education Week

Congratulations to Pamela Mesta, Supervisor of ESOL, and Olga Reber, ESOL Resource Teacher, who were highlighted in a recent edition of the national publication Education Week. Read the blog at

Pamela Mesta, Supervisor of ESOL, and Olga Reber, ESOL Resource Teacher



Somerset County Public Schools Secures 1,500 Brand New Laptops

Thanks to grant funds received from the CARES Act, generous County Commissioners, and the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund, Somerset County Public Schools (SCPS) has a device for every student for the 2020-2021 school year!

The Somerset County Public Schools IT Department is hard at work formatting and imaging our 1,500 brand new Hewlett Packard laptops for students in grades 6-12!

Students in grades three through five will be issued existing school laptops when the year begins, and in October they will be replaced with brand new Chromebooks. Pre-K through 2nd grade will also be issued Chrome Tablets in October.  The October delivery is due to devices being on back order.

Somerset County Public Schools 1,500 Brand New H.P. laptops


Somerset County Public Schools Unveils New Website

Somerset County has a new website for parents, teachers and child care providers with children birth through kindergarten! Check it out!

Somerset County Public Schools new website


A Very Special Send-Off!

Dr. Sherry Sutton, Supervisor, Elementary Math, Gifted and Talented, Title IIA, New Teachers/Mentors, PDS and Grown Your Own (yes she did ALL of that) wrapped up 31 years with TCPS and 44 years as an educator. To say she will be missed is an understatement! Thank you Dr. Sutton for all that you have done for TCPS staff and students! Enjoy your well-deserved retirement!

Dr. Sherry Sutton, Talbot County Public Schools Send Off



Announcing the Digital Divide Campaign!

Help the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation provide internet connectivity for local families to level the playing field and provide equitable access for all TCPS students.

The Education Foundation is urgently seeking donations to help local families connect to the internet so that they have equitable access to digital learning platforms. "As TCPS develops various scenarios for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, students will continue to need technology and internet access. TCPS refuses to allow the Digital Divide to widen the achievement gap for our students," explains Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent, Talbot County Public Schools. "The Education Foundation's Digital Divide Campaign will help to level the playing field with equitable access to a quality education for ALL." We are so grateful to the TCPS Education Foundation for launching this important initiative for our students!

For more information go to:

Talbot County Public Schools Raising Money to Close Digital Divide for Students


Virtual Maryland Summer Workshop Addresses Conversations on Equity

Alysia Lee, education program supervisor for fine arts education for the Maryland State Department of Education

Recently featured by the Baltimore Sun, Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Program Supervisor for Fine Arts, Alysia Lee discusses a new summer program that teaches educators how to address equity and justice in the classroom. Alysia Lee, a graduate of the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, is teaching the courses “Arts Education Digital Engagement,” “The Creative Process,” and “What Is Equity and Justice.”

The program's goal is to support arts educators in developing the skills, knowledge and dispositions needed to lead quality arts-based instruction for 21st century learners.

Alysia hopes that the course on equity and justice will help start conversations about equity and education justice.

“I want educators to feel confident and competent with language on this subject,” she said. “We are hoping people will come out, and we are hoping to see a lot of educators show up to work on this together."

See the article here:

For more information on the Maryland Centers for Creative Classrooms Summer 2020 Virtual Professional Learning, go to:

Maryland State Department of Fine Arts



Maryland Career & Technical Students Shine At FBLA National Leadership Online Experience

Record Number of Maryland Competitors Finish in National Top Ten

Maryland’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) delegation brought home 26 medals from the National Leadership Online Experience (NLE), recently held online after the current health emergency canceled the in-person conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.  A team of the state’s most talented Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school students showcased their skills in 72 CTE competitive events. Demonstrating exemplary CTE training, Maryland students challenged 8,378 other student champions from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and several international countries.

FBLA is a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) that prepares students for careers in business and assists them to become better prepared for the world of work. FBLA helps students develop leadership abilities, prepares them for entry into business-related occupations, and offers a setting where members compete at regional, state and national levels in business and technology curricula.  Maryland FBLA has a statewide membership of 3,600 middle and high school students. Members have consistently demonstrated their expertise and professionalism while participating throughout the year in a variety of leadership and competitive conferences as well as community service projects.

The following students placed in the top 10 during the national competition:

Maryland FBLA National Top Ten – 2020 National Leadership Experience

2nd Place in Broadcast Journalism:  Emily Lim, Julie Lawler, Keya Shah, Marriotts Ridge High School

2nd Place in Entrepreneurship:  Ellen Li, Lynzee Louden, Mount Hebron High School

2nd Place in Management Information Systems:  Adi Gupta, Love Patel, River Hill High School

3rd Place in Banking & Financial Systems:  Pranav Bolla, Nicholas Venginickal, Nick Snyder, Mount Hebron High School

3rd Place in Partnership with Business Project:  Michael Shutt, Blake Wanner, Thomas O’Brien, South River High School

4th Place in Sports & Entertainment Management:  Tom Michaels, Vikas Reddy, Prakash Balasubramanian, Mount Hebron High

4th Place in Business Financial Plan:  Caroline Finn, South River High School

5th Place in Computer Game & Simulation Programming:  Steven Zhang, Allen Chen, Saimadhav Sakhamuri, Dulaney Senior High School

5th Place in Spreadsheet Applications:  Brandon Brooks, Manchester Valley High School

6th Place in Personal Finance:  Mary Samokhvalova, Applications and Research Lab

7th Place in Business Etiquette:  Makaela Shomo, Plum Point Middle School

7th Place in E-Business:  Tyler Kempton, South River High School

7th Place in Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure: Vivian Yao, River Hill High School

7th Place in Organizational Leadership:  Nathan Goturi, River Hill High School

7th Place in Partnership with Business Project:  Haley Lawson, Sophia MacDonald, Lucy Ramos, Northern High School

7th Place in Publication Design:  Erica Metheny, Audrey Litman, Peyton McDonald, Allegany High School

8th Place in Computer Applications:  George Trout, Chesapeake High School

8th Place in Elevator Speech:  Catherine Polo, Plum Point Middle School

8th Place in Insurance & Risk Management:  Leanne Rupp, Northern High School

8th Place in Local Chapter Annual Business Report:  Andrew Roberts, Ryan Kosinski, North East High School

8th Place in Personal Finance:  Sarah Foerster, Manchester Valley High School

8th Place in Spreadsheet Applications:  Melanie Carter, Boonsboro High School

9th Place in Accounting II:  Bradley Rodsk, Manchester Valley High School

9th Place in Global Business:  Arianna Boja, Anoushka Sarin, Saniya Mahate, Mount Hebron High School

9th Place in Network Design:  Lloyd Bolodeoku, Charles Murphy, Martins Okorie, New Town High School

9th Place in Website Design:  Kathy Yao, Dulaney Senior High School

For more information about FBLA, please contact Kent Seuferer, Career Programs and Student Organizations, Division of Career and College Readiness, Maryland State Department of Education at or 410-767-0536.

Additional information can also be found on the Division of Career and College Readiness website ( or the official FBLA Maryland website (

Maryland’s Future Business Leaders of America logo


Maryland State Board of Education Invites Live Public Comment to Virtual Board Meetings

The Maryland State Department of Education invites live public comments in future meetings of the Maryland State Board of Education beginning with the next virtual meeting scheduled Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Members of the public are encouraged to submit comment(s)/feedback to the State Board of Education to share their views on issues pertaining to matters under Board authority and the administration of State public school systems.

Though the meeting still will be hosted as a virtual teleconference, via the Cisco application WebEx, the public will have the opportunity to call in and speak live during the usual three-minute time allotments offered.

“We want to continue our commitment to transparency and open communication,” said Brigadier General Warner I. Sumpter, USA, Ret., President of the Maryland State Board of Education. “As we transition from focusing on emergency measures addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to more regular agenda items, we again invite the public to participate and provide comment in real-time by telephone access.” Since March, members of the public were asked to submit their comments in writing to the State Board for distribution to all members.

The public comments will be conducted via phone only, and require the participant to dial in to a meeting, use a passcode, then wait until called on for comment by the Board President. Comments are limited to three minutes per speaker, monitored by staff. More details regarding the new procedure for public comment is available online: Maryland State Board of Education Public Comment Guidelines and Procedures For Virtual Meetings

Registration will close at 3 p.m. on the last business day preceding the Board meeting date. A person who desires to speak to the Board must register with the Office of the State Board of Education by calling 410-767-0467 and leaving a voice mail message or by submitting a written request to prior to each State Board meeting for distribution to State Board members. Written submissions emailed to the State Board should indicate “Public Comment” in the subject line and reference the meeting date (i.e. SUBJECT: Public Comment for Month/Day/Year”).

Sign-up for public comment is limited to 10 speakers. Registration is first-come, first-served. The first 10 speakers will receive confirmation of registration, along with the call-in number, passcode to join the meeting, and the guidelines and procedures for public comment.

Questions or comments should also be sent to

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Learn more about MSDE's COVID-19 resources: