Radcliffe Creek School Launches Founders’ Fund with $1 Million Goal

In front of an enthusiastic audience attending its Fall Soirée on Friday, October 20, Radcliffe Creek School  announced the establishment of The Founders’ Fund and its goal of raising $1 million to create an endowed scholarship for students  needing financial assistance.

The Founders’ Fund honors the final year of Radcliffe’s Founding Director, Molly Brogan Judge, as well as the other dedicated original  advisors and investors of the school. Opening its doors 22 years ago with 13 students in grades one through seven, Radcliffe’s goal has  always been to create a learning environment where bright children, who learn differently, could succeed. The school today thrives under  Judge’s visionary, dedicated leadership and with the support from a committed group of staff, parents, grandparents, and friends the  vision continues. The kindergarten through eighth grade program currently enrolls 82 students, while Little Creek, Radcliffe’s preschool,  serves 52 students from infancy through pre-kindergarten.

Radcliffe Creek has truly changed the educational landscape of the Eastern Shore, and beyond, with students traveling from seven  different counties in Maryland and Delaware to attend the school. Many students come to Radcliffe unsure of themselves not just as  students, but as individuals. Because of the small class sizes, compassionate teachers, and hands-on learning, these students leave  Radcliffe Creek with an understanding about what it takes to succeed. And succeed they do.  Radcliffe alumni go on to college, the  military, graduate school, and beyond. Many alumni point to their Radcliffe Creek School education as the turning point in their  academic career.

“This is the most significant fundraising effort ever undertaken by the School,” said Radcliffe’s Board of Trustees President, Susan  Newton-Rhodes. “The Board of Trustees knows the goal is high, but believes it is only fitting. This new fund will address the Board’s  highest priority – financial aid for worthy students – by creating a lasting fund for those families and children who need Radcliffe the  most.”

For the last 22 years, Radcliffe’s Board of Trustees has allocated as many financial resources as possible to families who cannot afford a  Radcliffe education without assistance. This year alone, $350,000 has been distributed in financial aid to kindergarten through eighth  grade students. As the school continues to grow, so will this need.

“This effort will be a big challenge, but I’m passionate, as well as confident, that we can accomplish this goal to establish a $1 million  legacy in honor of the many creative minds that united together to build Radcliffe Creek School,” said Judge. “My hope is that others will  learn more about our past, embrace the goal of the fund, and continue to develop this endowment for years to come.”

Radcliffe Creek School is an independent day school with the mission of empowering children in a dynamic environment that celebrates  unique learning. For more information about Radcliffe Creek School or Little Creek, the school’s preschool, which includes programs for  children from infancy through pre-kindergarten, please call 410-778-8150 or click here.

 

Maryland Panel Weighs New School Construction Funding Bill

Today, an estimated 65,297 students in Maryland public schools are in temporary classrooms such as trailers, and there is $23.3 billion in estimated statewide school construction needed through fiscal year 2023, according to the Maryland State Department of Education and local schools.

Maryland Sen. Jim Rosapepe, D-Anne Arundel and Prince George’s, discussed a revised version of an earlier bill, the Maryland Overcrowding Reduction Act of 2018, at Tuesday’s meeting of the 21st Century School Facilities Commission in hopes of combatting school overcrowding problems across the state.

The legislation did not pass last spring, however Rosapepe said he is confident in his revisions and efforts for the upcoming session.

“Facilities are one thing — we need them. I don’t see us educating in cornfields. They’re just as important as the programs taught,” said Martin G. Knott Jr., chair of the commission.

Rosapepe explained that this $23 billion construction estimate is unaffordable, and the state and local governments will not significantly boost borrowing for schools in order to pay for all of the projects. All 24 jurisdictions have the ability to build and repair schools at much lower costs, Rosapepe told the commission.

Schools prioritize their money in different ways, he said, and one school might spend more on a building’s upkeep and another on hiring a new math teacher.

According to the state’s Department of Legislative Services, the average cost for a new public school is $46,000 per student, however recent construction costs in Maryland have ranged from $19,000 to $87,000 per student, a large gap that Rosapepe wants to narrow.

The goals of the legislation are to reduce overcrowding, repair old buildings and to end the need for portable classrooms. By designing, approving and building schools faster, reducing costs per student for new schools and incentivizing 21st century construction methods, Rosapepe said, change can be made.

For example, Rosapepe said, there no longer is a need for computer labs in schools now that students can bring their own devices. By cutting out an entire room, this is demonstrating 21st-century development techniques and is just one way that schools can be more cost-effective.

Similarly, old buildings can be converted to save money. Baltimore’s Monarch Academy, which enrolls 990 students, was formerly a Coca Cola Bottling Plant.

According to Rosapepe, with these strategies, the number of school construction projects can increase by 50 percent at no additional cost by just reducing the average cost per student. However, there would be no mandated changes for local school systems and governments who do not opt in to these recommendations, under the bill.

Additional recommendations dealt with setting funding goals and reviewing school designs. Recommendations in discussion included conducting statewide facility assessments and streamlining the review process for projects.

“These recommendations are spot on, they are a great step forward and we support the senator’s recommendations,” Stephen Baldwin, a commission member, said.

Before the final meeting in December, Knott said, the commission will hone their recommendations and are expecting members of the commission and others to weigh in on them.

“If anyone thinks we’re stuck in the past, we’re not. We’re moving forward. We’re taking bold initiatives,” Knott said.

At a meeting Wednesday, Maryland’s Board of Public Works unanimously approved $426 million for Baltimore City public schools’ construction and revitalization — a 21st Century Schools project.

By Georgia Slater with correspondent Julie Depenbrock contributing to this report.

Gunston Sends Balloon into Near Space

On Friday, Oct. 20, the Gunston Science and Engineering Club launched our fifth mission to “near space”—the region above where aircraft fly, but below the orbits of satellites. The payload included cameras, tracking devices, and instrumentation to measure temperature and pressure. A weather balloon was used to carry the payload to the stratosphere. The balloon then burst as expected and the payload returned gently to Earth by parachute. The balloon was launched from the Gunston campus and landed near Laurel, DE a little more than 2 hours later.

Balloon looking down on launch team

The balloon reached an altitude of 19.44 miles, a record high altitude from past missions. The lowest pressure measured was less than 1% of the barometric pressure at the Earth’s surface. Preliminary results indicate that the science payload detected the tropopause with a temperature around -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The balloon was approximately 6 ft in diameter when launched and 20+ ft in diameter when it burst.

Dr. Mariah Goodall and Mr. Tom Chafey led two chase cars that beat the payload to its landing site, enabling them to observed the payload descending on its parachute—another Gunston first. Mr. Dale Wegner, father of Gunston alumni Jay Wegner, set up the tracking for the chase cars and several tracking stations for students who were not part of the chase.

The science and engineering club is led by Alli Webb ‘18 President, Jack Morrison ‘18 Vice President, and Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 Secretary. The Mission Commander for the balloon launch is Brynne Kneeland ‘19. In total, 21 students assisted in preparing the payload, launching the balloon, and recovering the balloon. They divided up into seven teams for different jobs: launch, payload, imaging, science, trajectory, tracking, and recovery. The club mentors are Dr. Ken Wilson and Dr. Mariah Goodall.

Valcik is Named Acting Principal at Eason Middle

Talbot County Public Schools has announced that Mrs. Jaclyn Valcik has been appointed Acting Principal of Easton Middle School. Valcik replaces Dr. Norby Lee, who has served as Principal of EMS since 2010. Dr. Lee has taken a leave of absence due to a family illness which will extend through January 25, 2018, at which time she will retire.

Mrs. Valcik earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Towson University and a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision I from Loyola University. She has Maryland Advanced Professional Certification in Elementary Grades 1 – 8 and Administration & Supervision I and II. She has served as Assistant Principal at Easton Middle School since 2014.

“Mrs. Valcik’s professional background, including her educational experience, will enable her to provide a smooth transition and effectively lead through the remainder of the school year,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent.

Valcik began her career with Talbot County Public Schools in 2003 as a long-term Substitute at Chapel District Elementary. She then taught third grade at Easton Elementary – Moton from 2003 to 2007, first grade at Easton Elementary – Dobson in 2007-2008, and sixth grade English/Language Arts at Easton Middle School from 2008 – 2010. Mrs. Valcik was Talbot County Teacher of the Year for 2010 – 2011. She was promoted to Assistant Principal at Easton Elementary School in 2010, where she remained until 2014.

“I am honored to lead this group of eager, enthusiastic and talented staff and students,” Valcik said. “Dedicated staff, determined students,and supportive parents and community members ignite the pathway to our unlimited potential at Easton Middle School. We are excited about the many opportunities for our families and community members to become involved at Easton Middle School.”

WC Announces New Dual-Degree Partnership with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment

Environmental science and environmental studies students at Washington College will now have the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years, thanks to a new partnership between Washington College and Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The agreement, known as dual-degree, allows qualified students to leave Washington College after their third year and enroll at Duke, where they can study for a master’s degree in either environmental management or forestry. After successfully completing their first year at Duke, they will be awarded their bachelor’s degree from WC. The new dual-degree program joins others at the College, including one in engineering with Columbia University, and in nursing and pharmacy with the University of Maryland.

Washington College students get hands-on with Chesapeake blue crabs.

“To me, in environmental science and studies, it’s about creating more opportunities for students,” says Charlie Kehm, chair of the Department of Physics and McLain Associate Professor of Physics and Environmental Science and Studies, who oversaw the development of the dual-degree program with Duke. “I love that they can come into Washington College and see themselves at the end of this really cool path. Parents like that too, because they want to know what’s the next step. So, I think these opportunities are really powerful in that way, because if nothing else, they give you some imagination to see what the possibilities are.”

Patrice DiQuinzio, Provost and Dean of the College, says the new arrangement illustrates the College’s determination to provide distinctive opportunities to its students, and it continues to build upon the College’s growing and energetic environmental program.

“Environmental science and studies is increasingly one of our most popular majors, and this will only enhance what is already a strong, exciting program,” DiQuinzio says. “It also lends force to the power and breadth of the liberal arts, which form the foundation of all we do here.”

Although the program takes effect immediately for incoming freshman in 2019, current freshmen and sophomores are also eligible to work toward the dual-degree. Leslie Sherman, co-chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Studies and W. Alton Jones Associate Professor of Chemistry, says the department will work to help current students attain needed requirements, as well as support incoming students to ensure they stay on track.

“I had envisioned environmental science students wanting to do the forestry program, because we don’t have forestry here,” Sherman says. “But our science students want to do environmental management too, which is exciting. This opens a clear pathway to this wonderful program at a fantastic school. And students who wish to finish their four years at Washington College and then seek graduate admission to Duke will also be able to take advantage of this relationship.”

The Nicholas School of the Environment is internationally known for not only its forestry and environmental management elements but also the Duke University Marine Lab. Two recent Washington College graduates, Anna Windle ’16 and Kelly Dobroski ’16, are currently enrolled at the Nicholas School in the environmental management master’s program, and Sherman is planning for them to return to campus to talk with interested undergraduates. Windle, studying coastal environmental management, in September won a highly competitive NOAA/North Carolina Sea Grant fellowship to assess oyster reef health.

For more information about Washington College’s Environmental Science and Studies program, visit https://www.washcoll.edu/departments/environmental-science-and-studies/

For more information about Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, see https://nicholas.duke.edu/.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Area High School Students Take Advantage of Chesapeake College Dual Enrollment for College Credit

Natasha Panduwawala and Devon Tyler are two of the hundreds of Mid-Shore high school students taking college courses this year through Chesapeake College’s Dual Enrollment program.

Panduwawala, a junior, has already earned nine transferable college credits through dual enrollment classes taught at Easton High School. She enjoys the subjects and academic challenge presented by a college curriculum and plans to take additional courses this spring.

“It’s great to be able to have this college experience in high school and study topics like psychology,” she said.

Natasha Panduwawala

Tyler, a senior at North Dorchester High School, is taking College Algebra, Introduction to Business and Introduction to Music classes on weekdays at Chesapeake’s Cambridge Center. By graduation, he hopes to transfer 18 credits to the college he’ll be attending.

“This will definitely help me when I go to college,” he said. “I will know what the schedule is like, and I will have experience managing my time.  I also like having time in between my classes at the Cambridge Center.  I have a 10a.m. and a 1p.m. class, so I stay there to study and do my homework.”

Spring Semester registration for Chesapeake College dual enrollment courses begins this month.  Typically, students take the classes during their junior and senior years and must be at least 16 years old.

Devon Tyler

For the current Fall Semester, 336 Mid Shore high school students are taking dual enrollment classes and registration is up 56 percent, a record for the college.

The highest increase is in Dorchester County (+182%) from students attending three area high schools:  Cambridge-South Dorchester, North Dorchester and Open Bible Academy.

Large increases in dual enrollment have also been seen among high school students in Caroline (+27%), Kent (+57%), Queen Anne’s (+68%) and Talbot (+32%) counties.

The jump is attributed to the strong relationships formed between the college and area schools.

“We are excited by the results because we’ve worked very hard as an institution to renew and strengthen partnerships with our high schools,” said David Harper, Chesapeake College Dean for Faculty and Teaching.

Students with a 3.0 grade point average or above and at least a C in Algebra II can take core college courses in English and math. Dual enrollment classes in communications, history, psychology and other subjects require a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Dual enrollment is great deal, according to Harper.

A three-credit dual enrollment course at Chesapeake College costs $405 compared to $900 to $1,000 for a similar course at a public institution in Maryland.

Students who earn George B. Todd and Roberta B. Holt enrollment grants can lower their course fees even more.  Income-eligible students can also apply for Maryland PT grants and those in the Free and Reduced Meals program (FARM) will have 100 percent of tuition covered for their first four classes.

“Many students don’t realize that they can take dual enrollment classes inexpensively and are guaranteed to transfer those credits to all state public institutions, including the University of Maryland College Park and Salisbury University,” Harper said. “With careful planning, seniors can graduate having earned a diploma and completed their first semester of college.”

Recent graduates have also transferred to private institutions including McDaniel College in Westminster, Boston College and Delaware Valley University.

“The savings are a plus,” Panduwawala said, “and I’m sure that will mean a lot when we’re looking at tuition bills in the future.”

Information and grant applications for Dual Enrollment are available at www.chesapeake.edu/dual-enrollment. Application can also be made through high school guidance counselors.

Informational meetings are being held at area high schools throughout the month as well as on-site testing and registration sessions.

About Chesapeake College

Founded in 1965 as Maryland’s first regional community college, Chesapeake serves five Eastern Shore counties – Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. With more than 130,000 alumnae, Chesapeake has 2,300 students and almost 10,000 people enrolled in continuing education programs.

Program at Washington College Spotlights the African American Church

Washington College’s Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture is launching a new program on “The African American Church and American Ideals.” The inaugural event will be a two-part series titled “The African American Church: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

The series will feature three local church leaders: the Rev. Charles Pinkett of Cambridge, the Hon. Corey Pack of Easton, and the Rev. Dr. William T. Wallace, Sr. of St. Michaels.

On Monday, Oct. 16 in Hynson Lounge, the conversation will center on the strength of the African American church today and how it remains vital and vibrant, despite claims to the contrary. The Rev. Pinkett, recipient of the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Image Award, and the Hon. Pack, member of the Talbot County Council, Sunday School teacher, and lay leader at Union Baptist Church in Easton, will lead the lecture.  It will start at 6pm

 

In the second installment of the series, scheduled for Nov. 6 starting at 6:30PM in Litrenta Hall, Dr. Wallace, pastor of Union United Methodist Church in St. Michaels, will discuss the institution of the church and its history.

“The church is an important part of the American tapestry,” says Joseph Prud’homme, associate professor of political science and director of the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture. “It’s important to showcase it and for the community to have a deeper appreciation of its history and vitality.”

Future installments of the new program on the African American Church and American Ideals will include tours to historic sites across the Eastern Shore and performances by various church groups.

For more information about the program, contact Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture Director Joseph Prud’homme at jprudhomme2@washcoll.edu.

TCPS Hires 18 Teachers and 1 Counselor for FY18 School Year

Photo: Front row: Christie Dugan, Maura Simonetti*, Shelly Armiger, Michelle Mackall, Samantha Martinez, Olivia Rossbach. Middle row: Shelby Swann*, Ashley Patrick, Damien Ransome, Kelley Van Trieste, Allen Dietrich, Jr., Katherine Archer, Cara Breeding (guidance), Gwynn Gibbons. Back row: John Strickland, Helen Riddle, Brandon Hynson, Kendra Thomas, Teresa Alison, Justin Beall, Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent. *Hired during 2016-2017 school year.

Talbot County Public Schools welcomed 18 new teachers and one new guidance counselor for the 2017-2018 school year. The new hires, along with those who joined TPCS during the 2016-2017 school year, attended an orientation prior to the start of school, that culminated with a welcome luncheon at Easton High School. These new team members come from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience, and four of the new hires are TCPS Alumni.

Easton Middle School to Host University of Maryland’s Potomac Winds Woodwind Quintet

A summer-long collaborative effort has resulted in an ambitious new Artists-in-Residence Program featuring the University of Maryland’s Potomac Winds Woodwind Quintet at Easton Middle School during this academic year. The initiative involved representatives of the School of Music’s Office of Community Engagement at the University of Maryland and music teachers and staff in the Talbot County Public Schools, with coordination assistance from the Talbot County Arts Council and Easton-based Chesapeake Music, which sponsors the annual chamber music and jazz music festivals.

The quintet will make four two-day visits to EMS during this school year: October 4-5, December 6-7January 31-February 1, and March 7-8.  During these times, they will work closely with students and teachers to bridge the gap between the classroom knowledge of world history and the experiences of world music. Using a collaborative lesson plan, the quintet will work with students and music and social studies teachers to make creative connections between the core social studies curriculum and music. This year students in four sixth grade band classes will experience World History with World Music in an effort to show the importance of the arts in societies around the world.  Each visit will involve a 45- minute presentation by the quintet as well as class time to help develop a meaningful relationship between quintet members and the students they mentor. In addition, seventh and eighth grade band classes will receive master classes from the visiting artists.

Potomac Winds is a DC Metro Area-based ensemble comprised of graduate students from the UMD School of Music.  Members have performed in professional orchestras throughout the United States.  Their individual honors have included concerto competition finalists, debut recitals, orchestral soloists, and young artist awards.  Their mission is to establish the woodwind quintet as a virtuosic ensemble through engaging performances of the highest level of artistic expression, cultivating a sense of community with audience members, and collaboratively exploring works of all time periods and genres with particular emphasis on the art of contemporary composers.    The members of Potomac Winds are Ceylon Mitchell, flute; Sarah Balzer, oboe; Melissa Morales, clarinet; Avery Pettigrew, horn; and Jonathan Zepp, bassoon.

The project was initiated by members of the board of directors of the Talbot County Arts Council who were dismayed by the near total absence of young people attending Mid-Shore Area performances of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and Chesapeake Music.  A study group concluded that younger people might begin attending if they could be introduced to classical music in various appealing forms at the secondary school level.

The resulting project is a result of an organizational effort coordinated by a committee from the board of the Talbot County Arts Council, which brought together the School of Music of the University of Maryland, the music and social studies faculty of Easton Middle School, and Chesapeake Music.  Their objective is to provide the student body a rare opportunity to learn from the skill and experience of graduate-level musicians, to both inspire a lifelong love of classical music among the general student body and allow music students to benefit from the skill and enthusiasm of young professional-level musicians who are qualified as music teachers and who are participating as volunteers.

The University of Maryland portion of the initiative is being managed by Dr. Robert DiLutis, Professor of Clarinet and Director of the Community Engagement Office at the School of Music. Talbot County Public Schools has been involved through the encouragement of former fine arts supervisor Dr. Marcia Sprankle and her successor, James Redman. The EMS component is managed by band director Donna Ewing with the assistance of chorus director CJ Freeman and social studies teacher Christopher Renaud.  Chesapeake Music has been represented by executive director Donald Buxton and Hanna Woicke, chair of the YouthReach Committee.  Participating Arts Council board members are Nancy Larson and Bill Peak.   The program will be administered directly between Dr. DiLutis and Mrs. Ewing, and housing during the quintets overnight stays in Talbot County has been organized by Chesapeake Music president Courtney Kane.

If the pilot program proves successful, it is hoped funding will be found to continue the initiative in future years at Easton Middle School and possibly expand the project to include other local schools. The program is made possible by grant from the Artistic Insights Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, with funds from an Arts-in-Education grant from the Talbot County Arts Council, using revenues provided by the Maryland State Arts Council.

Talbot County Public Schools Releases Data from Maryland State Assessments (PARCC)

Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Talbot County Public Schools, shared results of the 2017 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments at the September Board of Education meeting.  Data from the spring administration shows that the percentage of TCPS students scoring a level 3 or greater on PARCC increased in 5 out of 14 grade cohorts for English Language Arts (ELA) and math in comparison to the previous year, and the percentage of students scoring a level 4 or greater increased in 7 out of 14 grade cohorts during the same administrations.  In addition, TCPS students outperformed the State in the percentage of students scoring a level 3 or greater on PARCC in 10 out of 14 grade cohorts in ELA and math and outperformed the State in the percentage of students scoring a level 4 or greater in 7 out of 14 grade cohorts.

PARCC is administered for English/Language Arts and Mathematics to all Maryland Public School students in grade 3 through 8 and at the high school level for Algebra I and English 10. This was the first year students had to earn a passing score on the Algebra I and English 10 to meet graduation requirements.

The PARCC exams are considerably more rigorous than the Maryland School Assessment tests they replaced in 2015. The assessments are designed to measure students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills. While the scores on the PARCC Assessment are not being used for educator, school, or system-level accountability purposes at this time they do provide students, parents, and teachers a better idea of where students stand in regard to college and career readiness. The Individual Score Report students receive provides useful information to parents on how their child performed on the assessment as a whole, as well as, how they performed on specific skills.

“The PARCC results provide us with valuable information and support the implementation of our new Mathematics Curriculum for grades Pre-K through 8 and English Language Arts Curriculum in grades Pre-K through 5,” said Dr. Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.  “These new resources will greatly benefit our students as they are more aligned with the rigor of the Maryland State Standards assessed on PARCC.” The new math curriculum builds on a progression of skills to foster students’ conceptual knowledge of mathematics so they are better able to apply learning to complex problems and real world applications. Instructional strategies introduce mathematical concepts concretely and through visual modeling with opportunities for student reflection to foster persistence in solving complex problems. The new Wonders reading series, funded through non-recurring costs by the Talbot County Council, includes online resources, leveled readers, intervention materials, and integrated assessments, all of which allow teachers to tailor instruction to student learning needs.

Additional information regarding state, county and local school PARCC data are available on the Maryland State Department of Education’s website, www.mdreportcard.org.