The Gunston School Launches Chesapeake Watershed Semester Program

Last week, Gunston’s Board of Trustees formally approved the launch of a new, ambitious, and important educational endeavor: the Chesapeake Watershed Semester. This fully-accredited, semester-long program for high school juniors and seniors will welcome eight to twelve Gunston students in its inaugural pilot year, and will seek to welcome students from around the region and beyond in future years. Utilizing the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed as the foundation for an immersive, rigorous, and interdisciplinary curriculum, and with a strong focus on the domains of environmental science, public policy, and sustainability, the Chesapeake Watershed Semester (CWS) is the only secondary school program of its kind. The inaugural semester will commence this August.

More than two years in the planning, and borrowing from Gunston’s 20-plus years of innovative Chesapeake Bay Studies programming, CWS will offer students extraordinary learning and life experiences. Within the intensive fifteen-week program, students spend nearly a third of their time on various leadership expeditions and field experiences, ranging from a trip to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, to seminars with public policy leaders in Annapolis and Washington, to an extended tour of the energy-producing regions of Pennsylvania, to a multi-day stay on the ecologically fragile Tangier Island, where the impacts of sea level rise can be observed first-hand.  Meanwhile, rigorous classroom, lab, and research project work will deepen each student’s academic foundation, leading to a capstone action project to be publicly presented at the end of the program. We expect that each cohort of CWS students will emerge as reflective and confident scholars and leaders who can support regional and global environmental sustainability through their understanding of scientific, social, cultural, and political systems.

CWS will be directed by Ms. Emily Beck, Gunston’s current Director of Sustainability and Bay Studies, as well as a Biology and Environmental Science teacher. Under Beck’s leadership the program has engaged a diverse group of formal institutional partners, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Sultana Education Foundation, The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Lab, Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society, Echo Hill Outdoor School, and the Harry Hughes Center for AgroEcology, among others.  To further support the program, CWS has also established an advisory board that includes key community members and a diversity of Chesapeake watershed subject experts, including several members of Gunston’s Board of Trustees and parent community.  Curriculum development retreats have already been held, and the formal educational program is being developed by an innovative group of Gunston faculty and leadership team members.

As Gunston’s Headmaster John Lewis commented, “Without question, there is tremendous urgency for educational programs like the Chesapeake Watershed Semester, and it is designed to prepare students to meet the complex challenges of our era.” Details about the CWS mission, philosophy, and program, as well as admissions information, is comprehensively articulated on the program’s website: www.chesapeakebaywatershedsemester.org

The Gunston School, a co-ed independent college preparatory school, offers an intellectually rigorous, highly personalized, and nurturing college preparatory educational experience. Valuing a healthy balance between mind and body, a strong sense of community, the creative process, and our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, Gunston strives to educate ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society. To learn more about Gunston visit gunston.org, email dhenry@gunston.org, or call 410.758.0620 ext. 6.

Chesapeake College Foundation Receives Largest Planned Gift

The Chesapeake College Foundation has received the largest planned gift in its history from the estate of Rev. William L. English, an Episcopal priest from Dorchester County.

As stipulated by the estate, an $892,000 endowment has been established to fund W.L. English Nursing Scholarships for Chesapeake students.  Preference is given to Dorchester County residents pursuing a nursing degree.

“We are honored to receive this extraordinary gift that makes it possible for students to attend Chesapeake College, earn a degree and pursue a rewarding career in nursing,” said Lucie Hughes, the college’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the school’s foundation.  “As one who ministered to others, Father English understood the power of compassionate care and appreciated the collaborative education and training provided by Chesapeake College and Shore Health to bring along our next generation of nursing professionals.”

(L to R) Nurse Bill Shertenlieb with Pat and Richard Gauen outside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Father English’s former church in East New Market.

Rev. English was a patient at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester where the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nursing team treated him on several occasions in 2015.

According to Pat and Richard Gauen, close friends from East New Market, he often spoke of the excellent nursing care provided during those hospital stays.

“He said they treated him like a king, but they didn’t know he was going to make this donation,” Pat said.  “I never heard him complain that he received bad care in the hospital…not one time.”

Bill Shertenlieb, a registered nurse from Cambridge and graduate of the Chesapeake College nursing program, was one of Rev. English’s regular ICU caregivers.

“He was very easy to take care of and had the ability to bring out creativity and kindness in the care you delivered,” Schertenlieb said. “He made you happy to be a nurse.”

Nursing is a family profession in the Shertenlieb household. His wife Wendy also graduated from the Chesapeake program and became a nurse in 2013. While she was in school and caring for their children, Bill worked three nursing jobs to support the family.

“Father English and I discussed how hard it was, but I didn’t have the slightest clue about the donation,” he said. “I was stunned. Sometimes you get surprises like this…you don’t always know whose day you’ve made.”

Shertenlieb is now a critical care transport nurse with Shore Health Maryland Express Care. Wendy works for Coastal Hospice in Dorchester County.

Nursing care is a critical need in the Mid-Shore region according to Jon Longest, Chesapeake College Health Professions Chair.

Rev. William L. English

“We are in the midst of a significant nursing shortage in the United States that is even more pronounced in rural areas like the Eastern Shore,” Longest said.  “The English scholarship makes a nursing career more accessible to young adults and even older students who are making a career change or looking to advance within the profession.”

Hughes said the number of annual awards given by the English scholarship fund will depend on need and other financial aid students receive. Initial awards range from $350 to $2,000.  She estimates that as many as 25 students a year could receive grants in the future.

Students interested in the nursing scholarships should complete Chesapeake’s general scholarship application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Both are accessible at www.chesapeake.edu/financial-aid.

Donors interested in discussing a planned gift with the college can contact Hughes at 410-827-5879. Online donations can be made at www.chesapeake.edu/chesapeake-college-foundation.

Rev. English was born at Dorchester General Hospital in 1936 and graduated from Cambridge High School in 1954. He was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1965 by the Bishop of Easton and from 1965-1966, he was the rector for three Mid-Shore parishes:  St. Stephen’s, East New Market; St. Andrew’s, Hurlock; and the Chapel of the Epiphany, Preston.

Following 32 years of ministry on Staten Island in New York City, he retired to Cambridge where he lived in his childhood home on Radiance Drive until his death in 2015.

Radcliffe Creek School Announces New Head of School

After an extensive search and interview process, the Radcliffe Creek School Board of Trustees is pleased to announce its selection of Meghan “Meg” Bamford as the new Head of School. This announcement follows the decision of Molly Brogan Judge, founding Director and the innovator behind such an extraordinary educational environment, to retire on June 30, 2018 after 22 years of dedicated service to the community.

Meghan “Meg” Bamford

Bamford will join Radcliffe Creek School from the Hopkinton School District in New Hampshire, where she currently holds the position of the Director of Student Services.

Bamford’s career started in the classroom first within an inner-city school in Chicago and then at the Landmark School in Massachusetts, a private school for children with language-based differences, where she taught students in grades two through eight. After moving to New Hampshire, she worked as a Reading and Writing Specialist for more than nine years. She co- created an innovative model for reading and writing instruction at the elementary level and then was asked to design and teach graduate courses and create summer programming at Rivier University based on this model. She holds two master’s degrees, one in Educational Psychology (University of Nottingham, England) and another in Education (Simmons College).

Bamford will be joined in this move by her husband, Eliot and three children, Annie, Lucy, and Owen. Her role as Head of School will begin June 30, 2018.

Bamford remarked, “It is such an honor to be selected to be Head of School. To be able to work with such a caring, innovative staff that works so hard to personalize each student’s learning and optimize his or her growth, is truly a gift. I look forward to working closely with Molly to ensure a smooth transition so that the school continues to flourish. I am grateful for the warm welcome I have received from the Board and the staff. When one walks into the school, it is clear that the Radcliffe Creek School is a child-centered, nurturing place where students flourish and teachers are passionate about learning. I am excited to begin our work together.”

Radcliffe’s Board President, Susan Newton-Rhodes, noted, “Finding a successor for Molly Judge presented no easy task for the Selection Committee, as they balanced a very strong pool of candidates, each with their own distinctive qualities and experiences. Change for any institution can prove challenging, especially in a small community and following a dynamic Founder. Recognizing Meg’s ability to expand on the foundation that Molly and her staff have built, the Board of Trustees support her in her new role as Head of Radcliffe and they welcome her to this community with her family.”

“Radcliffe’s community,” as stated by Judge, “Looks forward to the opportunities that a new Head of School will present. Meg’s easy going nature will lend itself well to the Radcliffe way of life. Her experience with children who thrive when learning in a different way and the management role that she presently holds will guide her well as she takes the lead of such a dynamic and engaging staff, supportive parent group, and enthusiastic student population. I look forward to assisting Meg and her family in this time of transition.”

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 for 410-778-8150 or the School’s website at www.radcliffecreekschool.org for more information

Talbot Goes Purple student club trained on Narcan

Easton High School’s Talbot Goes Purple student club last week received Narcan training from the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office.

As part of Talbot Goes Purple, Easton and St. Michaels High Schools have clubs comprised of students who have pledged to take a stand against substance abuse. The student-focused clubs help the kids learn they don’t need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges.

The clubs also help students learn about the signs and symptoms of drug use and what to do if a friend needs help. Last week’s Narcan training included information on how to spot the signs of an overdose and what to do, including how to administer rescue breaths and how to put a person into the ‘recovery position.’ Students in the St. Michaels High School Talbot Goes Purple Club also are getting Narcan trained in January.

“Overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death in our youth,” said Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. “We’re doing everything we can to fight this epidemic — training our students empowers them to join the fight against overdose deaths in our communities.”

Commonly sold under the brand name Narcan, Naloxone is a life-saving medication that reverses an opioid overdose yet has no abuse potential. It is easy to use is and is available over-the-counter without a prescription.

This year’s Start Talking Maryland Act mandated that all public schools provide prevention education and stock Narcan; Talbot County Public Schools is the first in the region – possibly the state – to train high school students.

“While we hope our students are never in a situation in which they have to administer Narcan, we are grateful that they are able to be trained on how to do so properly.” said Kirk Howie, Easton High Principal. “We are proud of the students in Our TGP Club for taking such an active role in fighting the opioid epidemic.”

The clubs started in September, after student ambassadors represented Talbot Goes Purple at several events during the summer. Since school started, the students have taken more than 15 school games purple, have hosted several educational speakers and are working on fun contests for the upcoming National ‘Purple Week’ in January.

An initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Talbot Goes Purple empowers our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.

Talbot Goes Purple is based upon THP Project Purple, an initiative of the Herren Project that helps people struggling with drug dependencies. Former NBA player Chris Herren founded both projects after speaking to a high school about his struggles with drug dependency.

Kirsten Moore, community health educator with the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office, provided the training for the students. Moore and Alexandra Duff, prevention supervisor with the TCHD prevention office, have trained more than 650 people in Talbot County since July.

For more information on Narcan or to get trained, visit www.TalbotsGotHeart.org or call the Talbot County Health Department at 410-819-5600.

More information on Talbot Goes Purple is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find us on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or contact us at talbotgoespurple@gmail.com.

Mid-Shore Education: Kent School and Neuroscience in the Classroom

It’s hard to say that neuroscience is new these days. Over the last twenty years, there has been a breathtaking surge in neuroscience research which has radically changed the fields of neurosurgery, psychiatry, pain management, audiology, and countless other disciplines across a wide range of areas.

And so it may not be surprising that this study of neurons and nervous system functions would eventually find its way into the American classroom, but the Spy nonetheless found it remarkable that one institution that was a pioneer in this field would turn out to be the Kent School in Chestertown.

Last year, Kent’s head of school, Nancy Mugele, a strong advocate for using neuroscience techniques in primary education, sought out a three-year partnership with the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning in Bethesda to apply mind and brain research to the pre-K-8 grade school’s curriculum and teacher training. By doing so, Kent became one of only seven schools in the entire country to participate in a program designed to maximize teacher effectiveness and stimulate students to achieve their highest potential.

The Spy was interested enough in this bold move to seek out Michelle Duke, Kent School’s Assistant Head for Academics, to explain what this means for both educators and students alike in this new and perhaps final frontier in how human beings learn.

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

Hodson Trust Grants $3.5 Million to WC for Student Scholarship Endowment

The Hodson Trust, whose generosity has supported hundreds of Washington College students over 81 years, this year is donating $3.5 million to endow student scholarships. Representatives of the Trust, which has been the largest single benefactor to the College, presented the gift to College President Kurt Landgraf on December 7.

“It is hard to overstate how critical this funding is for our students and programs, and how much we appreciate the loyal support that The Hodson Trust continues to show Washington College,” Landgraf says. “We believe that the education and opportunities we offer to undergraduates are unparalleled, and we are grateful to Chairman Gerald Holm and the Hodson trustees for seeing that value and consistently supporting it with this endowment funding.”

This year’s donation provides$2.75 million to the Hodson Merit Scholarship endowment, and $750,000 to the George’s Brigade scholarship endowment. Already this academic year, as a result of previous Hodson gifts, 105 students are receiving an average merit scholarship in the amount of $21,000, for a total of $2.2 million from Hodson Trust-funded scholarship endowments.

“The need is great,” Landgraf says. “Gifts such as this generous scholarship funding from The Hodson Trust are invaluable for our students in their ambition to attain the strong foundation that a college education in the liberal arts and sciences provides.”

The Hodson Trust is the school’s largest single benefactor. Starting with a grant of $18,191.12 in 1935, the Trust has given Washington College nearly $80 million. The Trust that was established in 1920 by the family of Colonel Clarence Hodson benefits four Maryland educational institutions: Washington College, Hood College, St. John’s College of Annapolis, and The Johns Hopkins University. Colonel Hodson, who received the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws,from Washington College in 1922, served on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors from 1920 until his death in 1928.

Colonel Hodson, who grew up in Somerset County, Maryland, founded the Beneficial Loan Society to make small loans available to working-class Americans at affordable interest rates.  This groundbreaking business grew into the Beneficial Corporation, one of the largest consumer finance companies in the United States.  An initial investment of $100 grew over the ensuing decades into a trust that has awarded more than $240 million to the four beneficiary institutions. For more information, visit www.hodsontrust.org.

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.

Mid-Shore Education: Radcliffe Creek School’s Molly Judge Takes a Bow

As Radcliffe Creek School director Molly Judge enters her last year leading the private school she founded in Chestertown as a regional hub for bright students who learn differently, it is safe to predict that what took place at the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s annual awards lunch last Friday will be repeated quite a few times before she officially steps down at the end of June.

And that is because, as Buck Duncan, president of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, noted in his remarks to the overflow crowd in presenting Molly with the Foundation’s Town Watch Society Award, Molly has, “changed the educational landscape on the Mid-Shore forever.”

The Spy caught some of Buck’s comments and raided the Radcliffe Creek School’s Facebook page for some images of the school and its students.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Radcliffe Creek School please go here

 

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.