Profiles in Education: The Country School with Neil Mufson

Country School headmaster Neil Mufson, with a 27-year tenure in that position, has approximately 17 more years to go before he matches the record of his predecessor, headmistress Dorothy Startt, in running the kindergarten to eighth-grade private school in Easton. And while he is never indicated this has been his goal, he did from the very beginning of his appointment want to continue and maintain the high standards that Ms. Startt instilled in the small preparatory school where the relationship between student and teacher, as well as younger student and older student, continues to be one of the primary values and mission of the Country School.

Starting 82 years ago, the Country School, and the parents that founded it, took inspiration from another school in Maryland, the Calvert School in Baltimore, as a model for their new undertaking in Talbot County. And while the relationship between the schools was never a formal one, there remains a strong legacy that encourages small classes, individual attention, and an appropriate level of challenge for each of its students.

The Spy spent some time talking to Neil not only the history of the Country School but how it is now preparing its students for a complicated world as they graduate and move into high school and beyond.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the Country School please go here.

Remarks: Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution David Skorton at Chesapeake College

Editor’s Note: Dr. David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, gave the commencement address in Wye Mills yesterday.  We have reprinted his remarks in their entirety.
Thank you for that introduction, Dr. Viniar (Barbara). I’m not surprised that you’ve been such a successful and innovative leader here at Chesapeake College, given your earlier successes, including your excellent track record leading the Institute for Community College Development when we were colleagues at Cornell. Thanks for inviting me to be here today.

It’s my pleasure to be here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for this auspicious occasion. Go Skipjacks!

And let me share one of many congratulations to the 2017 graduating class! Well done!

As I thought about what I wanted to share with you and your families and friends today, the state of the world brought to mind a particularly relevant phrase: “May you live in interesting times.”

Supposedly a Chinese curse, there’s no evidence it is actually a curse, nor that it’s Chinese. Perhaps we can think of it as an early example of fake news.

If you are predisposed to thinking of our interesting times as a curse, you would certainly have justification to do so. This graduating class will have to contend with the effects of climate change. You will face a job market which is likely to become increasingly uncertain because of the proliferation of automation. And we are all living through a hyper-partisan era in which our elected officials seem less likely than ever to seek common ground to find solutions.

Given the realities on the ground, it is all too easy to become discouraged if not cynical.

However, I think these really are interesting times in the truest sense of the word. They hold great promise for the future. We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us, if only each of us and all of us grab hold of it.

I believe that wholeheartedly, because when things have been at their bleakest—wars, depressions, existential crises—the American people have always found a way to persevere and thrive. And I believe that we can and will do this again.

Despite your achievement today, it is understandable that you may feel somewhat anxious about your future or even be unsure what you want to do next. But the fact that you’ve taken on this challenge shows you have the fortitude to be successful in life. It’s true whether you arrived fresh out of high school or came later to continue your education; whether your next destination is the workforce or a four-year school.

So, before you feel the urge to rush out and prove my optimism right—or at least to get out of these robes and celebrate somewhere—I’d like to tell you why I feel so good about our collective future.

As the Secretary of the Smithsonian, I get to see what smart, dedicated people do every day. Not just the 6500 employees who work for us, but also the 6300 volunteers who work at our 19 museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo.

In many ways, museums, like institutions of higher learning, are going through a massive transformation. Much of that is due to the pervasive influence of technology, from interactivity to communication to outreach. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the explosion of connectivity brought about by the internet and the ubiquity of smartphones.

Author Clay Shirky has written extensively about the kinds of active and engaged networks of people that social media can enable. In a TED talk, he called our internet-connected age, “the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.”

I see a lot of that expressiveness from the Smithsonian’s digital volunteers. Outnumbering our on-site volunteers, this army of 8700 people around the world transcribes Smithsonian documents and data online. They are critically important to our mammoth effort to digitize much of our collection of 154 million objects. In this way, technology is helping us reach people globally with our collections. But it is also enabling the people who help us to do so.

The power of social media also becomes obvious when groups pool their money to accomplish goals that don’t receive enough funding through traditional means. This crowdfunding can take the form of philanthropy like the viral “ice bucket challenge” that raised 100 million dollars in a month for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis—ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. That money led directly to researchers identifying a gene associated with the disease, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatments.

The Smithsonian has also been the beneficiary of people’s collective generosity. The National Air and Space Museum had a successful Kickstarter campaign to preserve the spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore during his historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Technology is also increasingly giving hope to the underserved around the world. In developing nations, solar power, microloans, and clean water are lifelines to modernity.

Bringing technology to underserved populations has made huge differences in people’s ability to care for, educate, and feed their families. For instance, between 2011 and 2014, the explosion in mobile technology in developing nations led to a twenty percent drop in people who didn’t have bank accounts. This is a crucial development since, as World Bank

Group President Jim Yong Kim said in 2015, “Access to financial services can serve as a bridge out of poverty.”

The tools of the digital age also allow people from a large variety of backgrounds to engage in what has become known as “citizen science,” collecting data on a massive scale and giving the naturally curious the ability to experience first-hand the scientific method. One such program that our Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute takes part in is the

Global Amphibian BioBlitz. Its aim is to observe one of every amphibian in the world and create a database to study and protect them. So far, more than 16,000 amateur herpetologists have participated.

My outlook continues to be optimistic because so many of these technologies are being deployed by people for the benefit of their fellow human beings. Technology is a powerful tool, but ultimately it is only as important and effective as the people who wield it. The collective power of people to do good is so frequently underappreciated. Working toward a common goal, people can topple dictators, help cure disease, and change the course of history.

Making our individual voices heard is still one of the most powerful aspects of the United States. That truth is at the heart of our democracy. It is why people from around the world still aspire to the American Dream. I’ve had the good fortune to meet many of them at our National Museum of American History, where each year many people from distant shores come to be sworn in as new citizens in naturalization ceremonies. As someone whose father was a Russian immigrant and a naturalized citizen, the annual event is always a moving experience for me. I challenge anyone who meets these people and hears their stories of how they got here to question their patriotism. Seeing America through their eyes is to truly appreciate the ideals this nation embodies.

Immigration has always been important for the diversity it has brought to our nation. When people talk about diversity, they usually mean ethnicity, gender, or background. That is certainly important, for what is the American Dream but the notion that all have an equal opportunity to succeed? Thankfully, younger generations are already on board with a more diverse society.

But just as critical for the dynamism and innovation that drives the U.S. is a type of diversity that author Scott Page identifies in his book, “The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies.”

He addresses the value of “cognitive diversity”—the differences in how people think. Everyone sees the world a bit differently, everyone has different strengths, and these different perspectives facilitate problem-solving.

In fact, his research showed that the most diverse groups consistently outperformed the most talented groups.

And here is another reason for you to be optimistic today: education is still the greatest predictor of earnings in the workforce.

According to the Department of Education, college graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn 66 percent more than high school graduates. Over the course of a lifetime, that translates into a 1-million-dollar gap between a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree. And in three years, approximately two-thirds of job openings will require postsecondary education or training, including associate’s degrees.

Colleges like Chesapeake play a critical role for their students, their communities and the country. That is why I have for decades admired and worked closely with colleagues in community colleges in Iowa, New York State, and beyond.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, associate’s degrees awarded increased from 634,000 to more than 1 million from the 2002 school year to the 2012 school year, a jump of 59%, more than the rate that bachelor’s degrees rose.

And an associate’s degree provides tremendous value. The College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges found that the average 2016 tuition of a community college is about a third of a 4-year in-state public school. And it’s about a tenth of a 4-year private university.

Even more impressive is the value an associate’s degree can provide once you hit the workforce. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workplace, about 30% of Americans with associate’s degrees earn more than those with bachelor’s degrees.

It is why there is a push to make community colleges free of charge, as the state of Tennessee recently did for all adults without a college degree or certificate.

Another encouraging and quite important aspect of community colleges is their forward-looking devotion to a robust emphasis on the liberal arts. According to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicator Project, the share of humanities-focused associates’ degrees grew from 25.8 percent in 1987 to 38.9 percent in 2013.

The liberal arts are a big part of the curriculum and culture at Chesapeake College, which I think is so important today. You know that the arts and culture enrich individuals and communities intrinsically and practically. That understanding is reflected in the college’s vision, “to prepare students as independent learners who are intellectually competent, technologically proficient, and who share the responsibilities and privileges of global citizenship.”

Those are the very skills that the arts, humanities, and social sciences help provide. They improve our ability to think critically, analyze, synthesize, and communicate. They provide a historical and cultural perspective. All of which can benefit scientists, society, and employers, so I know that you are prepared for the next phases of your lives, no matter what comes your way.

This past Earth Day, I stood on a stage not too different from this, looking at a large gathering of scientists, environmentalists, thought leaders, and students not too different from you.

They were there as part of the Smithsonian’s first Earth Optimism Summit, a conference of people working on one of our most critical challenges, the environment.
If there is something that should be daunting, it’s the state of our planet. Increased floods and droughts, dwindling natural resources, increased opportunity for pandemic disease—all seem like intractable problems with no easy solutions.

But the people who work on these very real problems weren’t intimidated. They were engaged. They were energized. And, yes, they were optimistic. They knew that nearly every problem has a solution, that every challenge is also an opportunity.

As I looked over that crowd, I was encouraged and hopeful, just as I am standing here today.

So, before I leave you today, as a long-time educator I would like to give you one last assignment in a few parts.

First, imagine the world as you would like it to look in five years. Ten years. Then figure out how to get there.

Second, don’t let life’s inevitable challenges dissuade you from making a difference. Author Dr. Angela Duckworth has written about “grit,” the perseverance and passion toward achieving one’s goals, that her research shows is more essential to success than talent. You need to be possessed of that if you want to go as far as you can.

Third, be adaptable. Life is likely to throw several curveballs at you, for good and bad. Having agility of mind and spirit will allow you to roll with the punches and come out ahead.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t become cynical.

 

Talbot County High Schools Listed Nationally as “Most Challenging”

The Washington Post’s Education Columnist Jay Matthews has released his annual ranking of America’s Most Challenging Schools reflecting how well the nation’s top high schools challenge their students. Easton High School is ranked #1471 in the nation, and Saint Michaels High is #2245!

U.S. Department of Education statistics indicate that there are 26,407 public secondary schools and 10,693 private secondary schools across the United States. This means both Talbot County high schools fall in the top 6% of all high schools in the nation according to this ranking.

The ranking is determined through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. According to Mr. Matthews, only about 12 percent of U.S. high schools qualify to be ranked.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for both of our high schools,” said Dr. Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, “ and a direct result of the commitment of our district to give all of our students the opportunity to experience the rigor of college level courses before they graduate.”

Schools System Proposes Report Card and Grading Changes

Talbot County Public Schools presented proposed revisions to the elementary student report cards and the grading system for grades 3 -12 at the May Board of Education meeting.

TCPS established a grading committee during the 2015-2016 school year comprised of three subcommittees, Early Childhood (PreK-2), Elementary (3-5), and Secondary (6-12). Each subcommittee included teachers, administrators, curriculum staff, and parents. All schools, along with a cross section of content areas were represented.

The impetus for establishing the grading committee was two-fold:
• Examine and reflect on current grading practices in light of College and Career Readiness
• Answer the question “Is there a better way to do this?”

The work of the committee was guided by the belief that grades must represent what students know and are able to do. “Our primary role as educators is to promote learning; and therefore, our grading practices must support student motivation to learn,” said Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.

The Early Childhood subcommittee is recommending revisions to the report cards for PreK-grade 2 so that they are more aligned with the Maryland State Standards and the curriculum currently taught. Each proposed primary report card includes the same major headings for curriculum areas in addition to a personal/social development component. The key for levels of proficiency is also the same for all of the primary grades with a 1-4 level designation, as compared with the current three levels. Each grade level report card also includes a place for teachers to write comments specific to student progress.

The Elementary subcommittee is recommending three changes to the proposed report card for grades 3-5. This includes the addition of the personal/social development skills. The second change is the inclusion of a text box for teachers to include specific feedback on individual student progress. The third change is the reporting of student progress as a letter grade rather than the current percentage grade system.

The Secondary Grading subcommittee is also recommending the shift from percentage grades to letter grades on report cards. The committee concluded in their research that percentage grades, while appearing precise, are impacted by many factors, which can include the point values assigned to a specific task, the number of assignments recorded, and whether an assignment is a formative or summative.

Currently TCPS is one of only two counties in the state reporting percentage grades. With the proposed change to letter grades, parents and students would continue to see percentage grades in Power School, but interims, report cards, and transcript will report letter grades.
A= 90-100%
B= 80-89%
C= 70-79%
D= 60-69%
F= 59% and below

Final grade will be calculated using quality points (0-4)

The next steps in the grading committee process will be to determine how these changes would be reflected in 9.25 Student Progress Report to Parents-AR; identify additional policies and ARs that would be impacted; and continue to gather feedback from parents. Questions regarding the proposed recommendations or feedback should be directed to Dr. Einhorn at heinhorn@tcps.k12.md.us or (410)822-0330 ext. 120.

Easton High Students Share Research at Annual Science Symposium

Students in the Biological Innovations and Advanced Placement Biology courses at Easton High School presented their research projects at the annual Science Symposium in the school media center on Wednesday April 26.

After conducting research in a scientific area of interest, students invited their mentors, parents and guardians, school administrators and the general public to an evening event that included a poster session along with formal electronic presentations.

Easton High students Peyton Elzey and Ian Stanley discuss their science research projects with Board of Education member Susie Hayward during the Annual Easton Science Symposium.

Research topics ranged from the medical field to the environment, including such titles as “The Effects of Personalized Medicine on Treatment Protocol of Cancer Patients”, “Smartphone Use and Effects on the Human Body”, “White Nose Syndrome in Bats”, “The Biochemistry of Taste and Smell”, “The Effects of Plastic Debris on Aquatic Life”, “Use of Viral Immunotherapy”, “Raising Awareness of Breast Cancer on the Eastern Shore”, “Schizophrenia: Nature vs. Nurture”, “Understanding Eating Disorders”, “Oyster Restoration” and “Dental Health and Alzheimer’s”.

Teachers Cheryl Overington and LeeAnn Hutchison organized the Science Symposium to celebrate the accomplishments of high school students in the area of scientific research, and to recognize the importance of scientists and health care experts as mentors, and an integral part of the TCPS science program.

Washington College Graduates 292

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, encouraged graduating Washington College students to keep an open mind to the constant question of “what comes next,” while knowing that their education has given them the strongest footing from which to answer it throughout their lives.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, addresses the Class of 2017 at Washington College, May 20

“Saying ‘I don’t know’ is one of the hardest things to do in life,” Lagarde told graduates, families, faculty, and alumni during the college’s 234th Commencement on the Campus Green, May 20. “We have all been trained from a young age to have an answer at the ready. But the reality is that the answer is not what matters most—it is knowing how to find the answer that is key. Your education—this wonderful, complex, classical, liberal arts training—has given you the foundation you need to begin to solve the puzzle of ‘What comes next?’ ’’

Although the future these graduates face is one where technology, automation, and artificial intelligence may take over the tasks now managed by humans, Lagarde said that the problem-solving skills, empathy, and perspective inherent in the liberal arts will become even more critical as time goes on.

“Many of the founders of this country, who were lawyers, businessmen, and farmers by training, could also recite orations from Pericles by heart. Those polymath skills not only gave their revolution historical context, it informed the society they hoped to build,” she said. “Your school embodies their vision and has instilled in you a love of knowledge. Success for your generation requires a commitment to life-long learning and an understanding that today is a milestone in your education, but it is not the end. The truth is that college has taught you how to learn, not what to learn.”

“By choosing Washington College, each of you has stood up and said that public service is important in your life. The values of this institution come directly from Washington himself; his example serves as the inspiration for your honor code. You have made a promise to help others and now you must follow through,” she said. “Think about what matters most to you—is it climate change? Homelessness? Improving education? Whatever it is, fight for it.”

Read the complete text of LaGarde’s speech here.

Before the address, President Sheila Bair awarded Lagarde an honorary doctor of laws.

Along with conferring degrees upon 292 graduates, the ceremonies on the campus green included multiple awards and citations:

  • James Allen Hall, associate professor of English and the director of the Rose O’ Neill Literary House, earned the Alumni Association’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.
  • Alex Aiello Roberts, a math and computer science major, philosophy minor, from Bel Air, Md., won the George Washington Medal and Award, given to the senior who shows the greatest promise of understanding and realizing in life and work the ideals of a liberal education.
  • Anna Elizabeth Inserra, a chemistry major from Dix Hills, N.Y., won the Clark-Porter Medal, given to the student whose character and personal integrity, in the opinion of the faculty, have most clearly enhanced the quality of campus life.
  • Alexandra D. Kurtz, of Lancaster, Pa., a political science major with minors in economics and Spanish, won the Louis L. Goldstein ’35 Award, for a graduating senior who, in the opinion of the faculty, has demonstrated unusual interest, enthusiasm, and potential in the field of public affairs.
  • Erika Louise Koontz, of Woodbine, Md., an environmental studies major with minors in Spanish and biology and a concentration in Chesapeake regional studies, earned the Eugene B. Casey Medal, given to a senior woman voted by the faculty to be outstanding in the qualities of scholarship, character, leadership, and campus citizenship.
  • Patrick S. Ginther, of Harleysville, Pa., a double major in chemistry and biology with concentrations in biochemistry and organic and medicinal chemistry, won the Henry W.C. Catlin 1894 Medal, given to a senior man voted by the faculty to be outstanding in the qualities of scholarship, character, leadership, and campus citizenship.
  • Two students won this year’s Jane Huston Goodfellow Memorial Prize, which goes to the graduating senior majoring in science who has an abiding appreciation of the arts and humanities and has shown scholastic excellence. They are Laura Elizabeth King, of Rising Sun, Md., a double major in biology and Hispanic studies, and Ryan Manning, of Chestertown, an English and chemistry double major and creative writing minor.
  • The Gold Pentagon Awards go to one senior and one alumnus, faculty, or friend of the College, selected by the Omicron Delta Kappa Society, in recognition of meritorious service to Washington College. This year they are Madeleine Morrissette, of Arlington, Mass., a biology major with a minor French studies, and Edward P. Nordberg ’82, former chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors.
  • Catalina Righter, an English major and creative writing minor from Manchester, Md., won the Sophie Kerr Prize, given to the senior who shows the most promise for future literary endeavor.

Profiles in Spirituality: St. Peter and Paul’s Father James Nash

The idea of being the leader of Saints Peter & Paul Parish could easily strike urbanites as the equivalent of being the classic country priest, whose time is spent leisurely ministering to a small flock of the faithful in a beautiful rural setting. But it didn’t take long for Father James Nash to dispel that myth very quickly from his modest office on Route 50 in Easton when the Spy caught up with him a few weeks ago.

In fact, Father Nash oversees an enterprise that is counted as one of the largest employers in Talbot County and includes an elementary school, high school, and three churches with membership in the thousands. And each week, he not only faces the normal challenges that come with any man of the cloth, but must manage over one hundred employees, fundraise for substantial building projects, and administer a $6 million annual budget during his spare time.

And yet none of this seems to weigh too heavily on the priest who left a successful accounting practice to find his real vocation within the Catholic Church. In our Spy interview, Father Nash talks about the business of St. Peter and Paul, but also about the timeless beauty of his faith, the teachings of Pope Francis, and his humble philosophy of leadership in caring for his parish.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Saints Peter and Paul Church and School, please go here.

 

Washington College Journalist Wins Kerr Prize

Catalina Righter has won the 2017 Sophie Kerr Prize at Washington College. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the award.

Catalina Righter – winner of 2017 Sophie Kerr Prize at Washington College in Chestertown, MD

Righter is an English major from Manchester, Md., who served as editor-in-chief of the Elm, the student newspaper. Her portfolio combined journalism, a travel essay on New Orleans, and a selection of her poetry.

In addition to editing the student newspaper, Righter was a poetry screener for Cherry Tree, the national literary journal published by the Literary House Press. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Douglas Cater Society of Junior Fellows, Sigma Tau Delta (the English honor society), and was active in the sailing and dance clubs. After graduation, she plans to look for a newspaper job, she said in an interview with the Spy when she was chosen as a finalist.

Poet Elizabeth Spires announced the award Friday night at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the nation’s largest undergraduate writing award, this year valued at $65,768. The cash award totals more than the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Penn Faulkner prize combined, according to Professor Kathryn Moncrief, Chair of the English department and Sophie Kerr Curator.

Accepting the award, Righter thanked her family, saying that “that my most true and unwavering sense of self comes from you.” She also thanked her teachers, and her friends and fellow writers, “especially anyone who has trusted me to read a piece of that work.” Finally, she said,  “Thank you for anyone who came today because you love someone enough to tell them to continue to write.”

Catalina Righter rises to accept award as finalists Allison Billmire, Ryan Manning and James P. Mitchell, and Washington College president Sheila Bair applaud.

“Catalina has an eye for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. She brings to bear on her poems a reporter’s objectivity and a journalist’s sense of what makes a story both memorable and beautiful,” said James Hall, Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House.

“Catalina’s writing evinces her remarkable ability to capture both the outrageous and the mundane, and to find surprising humor and beauty in both,” said Moncrief.

The ceremony, which drew a large crowd to the college’s Hotchkiss Recital Hall, showcased the five finalists reading from their work, which covered a range from poetry to political commentary.  (See more photos below article.)

Catalina Righter accepts Sophie Kerr Prize. Poet Elizabeth Spires looks on.

Spires, a faculty member at Goucher College, began her teaching career at Washington College in 1981. In a speech preceding the announcement, she reminisced about her days at the college, with memories of fellow faculty members Bob Day and Bennett Lamond, and offered advice to the finalists. Among her tips were learning from rejection slips and resisting the temptation to lose themselves in the online world.

The Sophie Kerr award is named for a popular writer of the early 20th century, Eastern Shore native Sophie Kerr, who published 23 novels, hundreds of short stories, and even a cookbook. When she died at 85 years old, she bequeathed the College a half-million-dollar trust fund, stipulating that half of the annual earnings go to a graduating senior who shows the most promise for future literary endeavor. The other half funds student scholarships, visiting writers and scholars, and library books.

Catalina with friends at reception after presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gunston Competes in Academic Team National Championships

For the first time in school history, Gunston’s Academic Team competed in the in the National Association of Quiz Tournaments national championship tournament, held in Chicago at the end of April. Drawing many of the strongest academic secondary schools from across the country, the NAQT tournament is the premier academic quiz bowl tournament in the United States. The Herons finished 20th overall in the Charter and Private division. The team initially qualified for nationals at the Johns Hopkins Winter Tournament, and were led by Seniors Abigail Miller (Easton) and Sutter Phillips (Stevensville), Sophomore Phineas Howell (Chestertown) and Freshman Andrew Amygdalos (Dover, DE).

Pictured left to right: Phineas Howell, Headmaster John Lewis, Sutter Phillips, Abigail Miller, Andrew Amygdalos.

Gunston’s academic team coach, Headmaster John Lewis, said, “The team has worked incredibly hard all year, and it was fun to match wits with some of the best students in the country. They worked well as a team, and though we will miss Sutter and Abby, we look forward to heading back to nationals next year.”

The performance of Freshman Andrew Amygdalos was especially impressive. In a field typically dominated by 11th and 12th graders, he ranked as the 35th overall individual tournament scorer, making him one of the strongest 9th grade academic team players in the country.

Committee Selects Architect for New Easton Elementary School

The Board of Education approved the recommendation made by TCPS Facilities Manager Kevin Shafer on behalf of the Easton Elementary School Project Steering Committee to pursue a contract for engineering and design services for the project with Noelker and Hull Associates, Inc., a firm based in Frederick, MD.

The Project Steering Committee was comprised of representatives from the Talbot County Council, the Board of Education, the NAACP, TCPS Staff, school administrators, and parents.

Noelker and Hull is one of three firms asked to participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) Process.  Each participating firm submitted a 50-page proposal.  Each firm’s design team subsequently went through a 50-minute interview process.

Through that process committee members ranked the three firms using a matrix of criteria.  Once the ranking was complete, each firm’s fee proposal was reviewed.  Noelker and Hull was selected based on both the fee proposal and the committee’s rankings.

The two other firms that participated in the RFP Process were Becker Morgan Group, Inc. and Grimm and Parker Architects.  “All three firms were represented well in the process,” said Shafer.  “The committee’s decision was difficult because of the quality submissions by all three firms.”