Spofford Wins VFW Auxiliary Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition

Easton High School Senior Katie Spofford has won top honors in the VFW Auxiliary Voice of Democracy scholarship competition.The VFW established the Voice of Democracy program (VOD) in 1947 to provide an opportunity for students in grades 9-12 to express their thoughts and ideas about democratic principles.

The contest included submitting a typewritten essay along with an audio recording of the contestant reciting it.  Spofford won first place at both the local post level (Post 5118) and at the district level (District 4) and was awarded a $275 scholarship.  She went on to compete at the state level against 10 other districts for a bid to the national competition, where she placed 5th and received an additional $325 scholarship.

Katie is the daughter of Dr. William Spofford and Dr. Cynthia Gosser Spofford and resides in Trappe.  She is currently serving as Easton High School’s student representative to the Board of Education, and was elected Governor of the 2017 American Legion Auxiliary Maryland Girls State. She plans to attend the College of William and Mary and hopes to pursue a career in Politics.

Avon-Dixon Insurance Supports TCPS Education Foundation

Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, donated $2,540 to the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation. The money donated was raised through “casual days” at Avon-Dixon Agency. Employees contribute money each week to dress casual on Friday. At the end of the year, employees offer suggestions on which organization or charity they would like to donate the funds to and a vote is held to select a recipient of the donated funds. The Avon-Dixon Agency has held this tradition for over 25 years.

Pictured L-R: Richard Marks, TCPS Education Foundation Advisory Board; Rich Trippe, President & CEO of Avon-Dixon; Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Talbot County Public Schools; David Short, TCPS Education Foundation Advisory Board; Rebecca Firth, TCPS Education Foundation Advisory Board.

The Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation was established in 2016, in partnership with the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Its mission is “to engage and utilize community resources to provide Talbot County Public Schools students and teachers with otherwise unavailable enrichment opportunities that will enhance the TCPS educational experience and produce exceptional graduates.” Accomplishments to date include, conducting “Year-End Appeal” at the end of 2016 and 2017, forming committees, launching the Honor a Teacher program, and developing a grant application process.

To learn more about supporting the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation, contact Debbie Gardner, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs at dgardner@talbotschools.org.

For more information about Avon-Dixon Insurance Agency, visit avondixon.com.

Film Festival Showcases TCPS Students’ Work

The 2017 Chesapeake Film Festival showcased four films created by students in the Interactive Media Production pathway at Easton High School.  The showcase included the winning submission from the 3rd annual Easton High School Film-In, as well as other student works.

The Film-In is a highly anticipated and popular event with Easton’s Interactive Media students, in which they are challenged to make a film that is completely storyboarded, shot, edited, and presented within 6 hours (one evening), and which incorporates a surprise genre, prop, line, event, theme, and actor, as well as other twists as the evening progresses. The 2017 winning team, “The Buds,” comprised of Easton seniors Nathaniel Trice, Catherine Blizzard, Alexis Miller, Nick Covey, junior Justin Copper, and sophomore Seth Wagner, will be at the pane to talk about their winning film Revelation. The film follows a student through a spiritual and enlightening experience.

Teacher Matt Stroka attempts to wake Nick Covey from a meditation in “Revelation”

The Chesapeake Film Festival is on the advisory board for Easton High School’s Interactive Media Production pathway, and one of the major supporters of the annual Film-In. Advisors work with students throughout the evening, as well as serve as judges at the end of the event.

Other student films that were showcased at Chesapeake Film Festival included senior Jack Stevens’ film Inspire, which tracks the passion and evolution of a filmmaker from smart phone to digital SLR and beyond. Also showcased was Silence, a short voiceover film by Easton High School and Interactive Media pathway graduate Joel Flora; and a PSA challenge for Talbot goes purple that was filmed in one continuous shot by Junior Ruby Grant.   The showcase was followed by a film panel discussion with students.

Mrs. Garnette Hines, who teaches the Interactive Media Production pathway at Easton High School, was thrilled for students to have the opportunity to showcase their work at the festival this year. She says, “The Interactive Media Production pathway is built upon the concept of a “real-world” application of skills. Each year I look for new opportunities for students to create media that is visible in our community. Students strive to create professional—looking films, and they are editing using industry-standard Adobe software. The Chesapeake Film festival has been a huge supporter of our young filmmakers, and the partnership has grown each year. The festival is an incredible opportunity for them to be recognized.”

Biomedical Science – Project Lead the Way Program Receives Recertification

St. Michaels Middle High School’s Biomedical Science – Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program received their initial certification on December 18, 2012.  Schools that adopt the PLTW program sign a School District Agreement requiring them to begin the process of certification by the beginning of their second year and to renew every five years after that. The purpose of certification is two-fold: to ensure implementation of a high quality PLTW program and verify college credit eligibility for select PLTW courses.

The three-step certification process involves: a self-assessment, site visit and final certification report. PLTW certification standards are outlined in the self-assessment document and demonstrate schools meet PLTW quality standards in: professional development of teachers and counselors; implementation of curriculum using required equipment and software; and the formation of a Partnership Team, among others.

From L-R: Pamela Clay, Career and Technology Education Curriculum Supervisor; Marcelina Castleberry, student; Katie Stang, student; Robin Werner, Science and CTE Teacher; Caroline Lenkiewicz, student; Sincere Taylor, student; Tracy Elzey, Saint Michaels Middle High Principal

Certification Minimum Requirements

1. A teacher who has successfully completed PLTW Core Training teaches PLTW courses.
2. Classroom equipment and software meets or exceeds the PLTW specifications.
3. A partnership team that supports the program and meets on a regular basis with a specific agenda and goals to accomplish.

We are proud to say that St. Michaels Middle/High School’s Biomedical Science program has met the requirements and has been recertified for 5 more years.  High school students completing a four-course PLTW sequence at a certified high school have access to the biology college credit at the Affiliate Universities nationwide, according to the terms and conditions of each individual credit process at each affiliate university.  In Maryland, Stevenson University awards the college credit for students successfully completed the program of study.

“We are very excited about this important achievement for the Saint Michaels Middle High Biomedical Science – Project Lead the Way program and the opportunities it presents for our students.” said Career and Technology Education Curriculum Supervisor Pamela Clay.”  More information about Talbot County Public Schools Career and Technology Education is available through the Easton High School and Saint Michaels Middle High School guidance offices.

Board of Education Approves Calendar Changes

The Talbot County Board of Education held a special meeting this evening to approve changes to the 2017/2018 calendar.  As of January 17, 2018, the school system had used all four inclement weather days built into the calendar, as schools were closed on January 4, 5, 8, and 9. “It is extremely rare for TCPS to use all planned inclement weather days in the first semester of the school year, as historically most weather-related closings have occurred in February,” said Dr. Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.

The approved 2017-2018 calendar reflects the final day for students as June 13, the last tenured teacher day on June 18, and the last day for first year teachers on June 21.  This includes four snow days built in as required by Section 7-103 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.  With these four days already used, and in an effort to be proactive, the Board approved a conditional waiver request to be submitted to the Maryland State Board of Education which would allow schools to be open on Presidents’ Day, February 19, 2018.  The State Board of Education will make the final decision as to whether or not TCPS could use this day for school if needed at their January 30, 2018 meeting.  Schools would only open on Presidents’ Day if additional school closings are required prior to February 16.

In a further effort to ensure the ability to meet the requirements of COMAR, the Board approved amending the 2017-2018 approved calendar to change January 26 (Transition Day) from a day off for students and a work day for teachers to an early dismissal day for students.  This change will not require State Board of Education approval, so families should plan accordingly. “This would allow for an additional day and still allow teachers the required negotiated agreement time to complete grades,” explained Dr. Einhorn. “We are grateful for the flexibility and support of our students, staff and the community as we work through this challenging situation.”

Katelynn Cherry Earns Multiple Choral Honors

Saint Michaels Middle High School junior Katelynn Cherry has been selected for All-State Chorus and All-Honors National Ensemble, and will be performing in the Honors Performance Series in New York City next month.

Katelynn performed as Soprano 1 with The All-National Honors Ensemble on November 26-28, 2017 at Walt Disney World, having been selected through an audition by the National Association for Music Educators.  As part of this process she was required to have recommendations and to have participated in All State Chorus the past.  She also auditioned and was selected for the Honors Performance Series mixed chorus as Soprano 1, which will take place in New York at Carnegie Hall February 1-5.

On March 11 she will perform with All-State Chorus where she is Soprano 1 with the mixed chorus, and she will sing with the All-Shore Chorus as Soprano 1 in April.  She will also compete in the Solo and Ensemble competition on February 7th at North Dorchester High School.

Katelynn has been studying voice for 9 years, beginning with Gail Aveson in Easton. She has also studied with John Wesley Wright from Salisbury, and taken Master Classes with Badiene Magaziner, Bob Marks and Rachelle Jonck from New York. She spent the summer of 2017 at Boston University Tanglewood Institute studying voice and music at the Young Artists Vocal Program and earned six college credits. She currently studies voice at Peabody Preparatory with Alina Kozinska.

Cherry’s ultimate aspiration in music is to become a professional Classical singer, however she loves all musical genres, including rap, jazz, bluegrass, oldies, and rock & roll. In addition to her school related chorus endeavors, Katelynn performs with Soli Vocal Ensemble from Howard County and often does solo work locally.She also has numerous achievements to her credit aside from her music.  She is finishing her year as Miss Maryland/Miss Delmarva Fire Queen and she is also a Girl Scout and a member of 4-H. She has earned her Diamond Clover award with 4-H and will finish her Gold Award with Girl Scouts this summer.  She is the daughter of David Cherry and Karla Wieland-Cherry and resides in Trappe.

Nominations are Being Accepted for TCPS Teacher and Support Staff of the Year

Talbot County Public Schools is excited to announce that the process to select the 2018 Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year has begun!  Is there a teacher or member of the TCPS support staff who is truly outstanding, has made a significant impact on your family, and/or goes above and beyond in their commitment as a professional?  The Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year programs are a fantastic way to recognize educators who exemplify this year’s theme:  #TCPSUnlimited.

Anyone within the school system or any member of the community may nominate a candidate to apply to be Talbot’s Teacher of the Year or Support Staff of the Year.The nomination forms, process and procedures are available in any school main office, are linked below, or may be found on the TCPS website (www.talbotschools.org).  Nominations for both Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year are due by Friday, February 2nd.

To nominate a deserving teacher for Teacher of the Year, please seek their approval first, then follow the procedures outlined on the on the nomination form and submit it to the nominee’s building principal for signature and final submission.  Support Staff of the Year nominations must be approved by the immediate supervisor as well as the site administrator and submitted to Mrs. Lynne Duncan at the Talbot County Education Center.

Nomination forms for Teacher of the Year and Staff of the Year can be found using this link: http://www.tcps.k12.md.us/index.php/2017-18-news/2018-teacher-support-staff-year

Easton High “Warrior Chorale” Invited to Finals of Choral Competition

The Easton High School Warrior Chorale has been invited to compete in the finals of the Easton Choral Arts Society High School Choral Competition. The competition began by inviting any public or private high school within an approximate 120-mile radius of Easton and with a minimum of 12 singers to submit two recordings for blind auditions. A panel of judges reviewed each submission, and nine choirs were invited to participate in the finals.  It was somewhat like the first round of The Voice but for choirs instead!

On March 3, 2018, in the EHS Auditorium, the Warrior Chorale will compete against the other finalists for a chance to win a $5,000 in prize. The prize funds will go directly back to the winning choral program and would help offset the cost of purchasing new music, hiring accompanists, and reducing the cost of the end of the year performance trip. Each finalist will perform three selections, from a different major musical time period (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, etc.). The competition will be adjudicated by a panel of three highly accredited judges and winners will be announced that evening.

The Warrior Chorale, shown here performing at the Talbot Hospice 2017 Festival of Trees. Photo credit: Randy Bachand Photography.

The Warrior Chorale is an auditioned ensemble comprised of Easton High School students in grades 9-12.  The ensemble rehearses daily and performs a wide variety of music from traditional choral music to popular music to musical theatre. Its members are Laurie Alltop, Haley Anderson, Samantha Bonnette, Madison Cordle, Sabrina Davis, Madelyn Hancock, Eleanor Brett Hutchinson, Tah’Jay Jenkins, Matthew Keeler, Sophie McGee, Haley Nestel, Natasha Panduwawala, Michaela Russ, Jonah Sanders, Josiah Sanders, Neil Siegman, Jessica Smith, Noah Thompson, Alison Todd, Eve Van Horn, Richard Seth Wagner, Claire Weedon and Emily Wittman.

Mrs. Andrea Stewart Davis, B.M.E., M.M. directs the EHS Warrior Chorale and is a Theater Arts Instructor at Easton High School. Mrs. Davis made her international performance debut in July, 2017, at Lake Como, Italy, and recently conducted internationally at the Delaware Choral Academy in Aix-en-Provence, France. Her choirs are praised for their musical nuance and their energy and enthusiasm as an ensemble.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 3, 2018, and come out to hear the EHS Warrior Chorale bring down the house.  Additionally, the EHS Warrior Chorale and Women’s Choir will present their Winter Concert in the EHS Auditorium, on Tuesday, January, 23, 2018, at 6:30pm. The Warrior Chorale will follow up their performance in the ECAS Choral Competition with their spring concert on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 6:30pm. They will conclude the 2017-2018 year with a performance at the Night of the Arts on Thursday, May 10, 2018, in conjunction with the EHS Warrior Band and Fine Art Department.

The Warrior Chorale also wishes to acknowledge Les Lentz of Les Lentz Sound Productions for his dedication to the EHS choral program.

EHS Students Kick Off Chick-fil-A Leader Academy™ 2017 Programming

Students from Easton High School joined forces to pack 100 meals which were sent to the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore.  This service project was organized as part of the students’ participation in the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy™, a national high school leadership program that not only teaches students leadership skills, but also empowers students to put their skills into action.

David Salyers, Vice President of Brand Activation at Chick-fil-A Inc., says students have an immediate and direct impact through the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy when they pack meals for those in need.  “We are excited to partner with high schools across the country with the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy to provide opportunities for the next generation of leaders to strengthen their communities,” said Salyers.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation offers financial support to the impact projects and local Chick-fil-A Franchisee Operators sponsor the program for the schools in their community and often serve as mentors to the students involved. The Easton High program is being sponsored by Matt Gibson, owner of the Easton Chik-fil-A, in partnership with the Easton High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club, which is led by their advisor, Mrs. Jennie Peitz.

Each month, the FBLA club meets and completes the activities planned through the Leader Academy.  “At the October meeting, Matt Gibson was there to introduce himself and give an overview of the program,” said Mrs. Peitz. “As an added bonus, he brought sandwiches for all of the students!”

Students are expected to learn leadership skills and apply them throughout the school year to plan and implement their impact projects. The students don’t just learn about leadership in the classroom, they also get out in the community to put what they learn into action, making an “Impact through Action” in their community.

Learn more about the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy at www.chickfilaleaderacademy.com.

Easton High School Students Selected for MD General Assembly Page Program

Kristin Ketterman (left) will serve as Page and Katie Spofford (right) will be the alternate.

Two Easton High students have been chosen to represent Talbot County in the Maryland General Assembly Student Page Program this year.  Kristin Ketterman will serve as Page and Katie Spofford will be the alternate.

Kristin Ketterman has been active in Junior Statesmen of America serving as Easton High Chapter President, is Vice President of the Human Rights Club, and is a member of National Honor Society. She has also been a member of the Easton High Varsity Cross Country Team. This past summer she attended the Gettysburg College Campaign and Elections Academy.  She has held internships in both the Talbot and Caroline County Public Defender’s Offices, and has volunteered as a Lab Assistant and Tour Guide at Horn Point Laboratory.  She has also been a volunteer at The Talbot County Democratic Headquarters as well as the Friends Helping Friends Soup Kitchen. Kristin plans to major in Political Science in college.

Katie Spofford is currently serving as the Easton High School student representative to the Board of Education.  She is a member of the National Honor Society and National Latin Honor Society of which she was elected Secretary.  She volunteers as a Juror for Teen Court, and holds the office of Student Government Secretary.  She has been a member of the Varsity Soccer and Indoor Track Teams, the Chesapeake All Star Cheerleading Team, the High Voltage All Star Dance and Cheerleading Team and the Talbot and Bay Country Figure Skating Teams.  She held several offices at the 2017 ALA Maryland Girls’ State, including Governor. She has also volunteered at the Talbot Interfaith Shelter and the YMCA and has been a National Honor Society Tutor, a Bay Bridge Run volunteer, a service dog trainer, and she was an intern for Congressman Andy Harris.  Katie hopes to pursue a career in politics.

Maryland high school seniors have served as student pages for members of the state legislature since 1970. Each year 105 pages and 36 alternates from across Maryland are selected by their local school systems to represent their schools and Counties.  Each selected page serves two nonconsecutive weeks in either the Senate or House of Delegates.  During the thirteen weeks of session, which run from the second week in January to early April, each page serves one week during the first eight weeks and returns for a second week during the last five.  The duties of pages are driven by the schedule of the chamber to which they are assigned.

Requirements include being a high school senior, residing and attending a public or nonpublic high school in Maryland, having an interest in government and history, a record of good conduct, scholastic achievement and being outgoing, courteous, reliable and efficient.  Interested students should apply through their schools in September and selection is completed by October 1st of each year.