School System Receives State Funding to Expand Pre-Kindergarten

Talbot County Public Schools has announced that they have received state funding in the amount of $145,000 to provide universal access to full-day Pre-Kindergarten.  These funds will be used to expand the St. Michaels Elementary School Pre-Kindergarten program from half day to full day beginning in the fall for the 2019-2020 school year.  The funding comes as the first part of the General Assembly’s implementation of the Kirwan Commission recommendations, which include access to free full day Pre-Kindergarten for four year-olds.

Ms. Gabrielle Rathell’s 2018-2019 A.M. Pre-Kindergarten class “Rocked” their first day at St. Michaels Elementary (SMES).

“We are pleased to be able to offer full day Pre-Kindergarten to families in the Bay Hundred area for the coming school year,” said Dr. Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.  “We look forward to seeing the impact this additional instructional time will have on the students’ readiness for kindergarten and beyond.”  Families in the St. Michaels Elementary School district wishing to enroll a child in Pre-Kindergarten for the 2019-2020 school year should contact the school at 410-745-2882.

Talbot County Public Schools Announces First Student Apprenticeship

The Talbot County Board of education recognized the Eastern Shore’s first student participant in the Apprenticeship Maryland Program at their June meeting.

Samantha Washburn, a rising Senior at St. Michaels High School,is a Junior Pastry Chef Apprentice at Fisherman’s Inn in Grasonville, Maryland.  She will also complete the Culinary Arts Career and Technology Education pathway through Talbot County Public Schools.  Mande Gretzinger from Fisherman’s Inn also attended the Board Meeting, where Samantha signed her official apprenticeship agreement.

The Apprenticeship Maryland Program is a collaboration between the Maryland Department of Labor, the Maryland State Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, participating school systems, and community business and educational partners.  Founded in 2015 as a pilot in Frederick and Washington Counties, the program expanded to Talbot and Queen Anne’s Counties early in 2019.

Photo: Front row, left to right: Jennifer Heimert, Samantha’s mother, Patty Shreves, Apprenticeship Navigator; Samantha Washburn; Mande Gretzinger, Fisherman’s Inn; Anna Howie, TCPS Career and Technology Education Supervisor; Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools. Back row, left to right: Tim Washburn, Samantha’s father, and Michael Garman, Board of Education President.  

The program is intended to allow high school juniors and seniors to develop valuable job skills and get a head start on future careers.   At the same time, the goal is to support Maryland businesses by training talented, highly skilled workers, a much-needed resource.  “The Maryland Youth Apprenticeship program is a wonderful partnership,” explains Anna Howie, TCPS Career and Technology Education Supervisor.  ‘It provides Eastern Shore students the opportunity to work with professionals in their area of interest to help guide them as they begin to make future career choices.”

Youth apprenticeship program students work at least 450 hours with a certified employer, while receiving related educational training. The students will usually begin working with a state-approved employer during the summer after their junior year in high school.

The county school systems coordinate student placements with local businesses.  Talbot County plans to place up to five students during the program’s inaugural year.  Talbot County students who are interested in becoming an apprentice may contact Jodi Colombo, Internship Coordinator at  Employers wishing to participate in the program should contact Patty Shreves, Eastern Shore Apprenticeship & Training Navigator at

White Marsh Elementary 5th Grader Wins Sodexo Future Chef Culinary Competition

TCPS elementary students demonstrated their culinary skills in Sodexo’s 2019 Future Chef Culinary Competition. The event is an exciting and engaging way to encourage students to learn more about healthy food choices by participating in a recipe contest, and is sponsored by Sodexo, provider of TCPS food services.

School districts across the country held Future Chef events this Spring. The winning student from each participating district will be considered for regional finalist awards, and the selected regional finalists will vie to become a national finalist, competing for the public’s vote on a special Future Chefs YouTube channel.

The TCPS Future Chef Culinary competition was held at Easton High School, and the culinary theme this year was “Fiesta Fit”.  Recipes were evaluated based on the following criteria: originality, healthy attributes, ease of preparation, kid appeal, plate presentation, use of featured ingredients, and last but not least, taste!  The panel of judges included Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools; Michael Garman, Board of Education President;Susan Delean-Botkin and Juanita Hopkins Board Members;and Charles Connolly, TCPS Finance Director. The following TCPS elementary students were finalists with their outstanding recipes:

1st Place – Daniel Schwaninger- 5th Grade, White Marsh Elementary – Fresh Chicken Taco Bowls (photo above)

2nd Place – Brody McDaniel – 5th Grade, St. Michaels Elementary – Brody’s Brilliant Chicken Stuffed Peppers

3rd Place – Elliott Van Skiver- 4th Grade, Tilghman Elementary – Black Bean & Corn Quesadilla

4th Place – TIE

Malaki Moore – 3rd Grade, Chapel District Elementary – Fiesta Cupcakes

Aleah George –4th Grade, St. Michaels Elementary School – Chilaquiles

Daniel Schwaninger was the overall winner with his recipe for Fresh Chicken Taco Bowls.  “The recipes were all amazing,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent.  “I am so impressed with the culinary skills our elementary students demonstrate in in this competition!”

Talbot County Public Schools Honors Retirees

Talbot County Public Schools and the Talbot County Board of Education held a reception honoring nine employees who are retiring at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Together they have devoted 270 years of service to the children of Talbot County. Two of the retirees have been with TCPS for more than 40 years, three were with TCPS for more than 30 years, and three had more than 20 years of service.

The 2019 TCPS Retirees are as follows: Sue Angel, Easton Elementary-Moton; Lauri Bell, Easton Middle; Thomas Callahan, Easton Middle; Joyce Crow, Tilghman Elementary; Jacqueline Haynes, Easton Middle; Robert Knell, Talbot County Education Center; Laura Krausz, White Marsh Elementary; Jeffery Payne, Easton High; Christine Pridgen, St. Michaels Middle High.

Photo: L-R: Board of Education President Michael Garman, Delegate Johnny Mautz, Christine Pridgen, Sue Angel, Joyce Crow, Jeffrey Payne, Jacqueline Haynes,Dr. Kelly L. Griffith, Superintendent. (Not Pictured: Lauri Bell, Thomas Callahan, Robert Knell, Laura Krausz).

Mrs. Mary Wheeler, Board of Education Vice President, gave a welcome, then awards were presented by Mrs. Tonya Hayman from the Talbot County Education Association and Mrs. Kelly Murdoch from the Talbot Association of Supervisors and Administrators.

Dr. Kelly L. Griffith, Superintendent, presented each retiree with a gift of an engraved clock and expressed her appreciation for their work. “Abraham Lincoln stated “and in the end it’s not the years in your life that count,” said Dr. Griffith. “It’s the life in your years!” Thank you for your many years of dedicated service, all of you truly made a difference for Talbot County children.” The retirees also received citations from the Maryland House of Delegates presented by Delegate Johnny Mautz, who is a TCPS alumnus and parent.

Taylor Meredith is Easton High/Ben Franklin Artist of the Month for May

L-R: Mary-Ann Milligan, Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing; Jonathan Crist, Art Teacher; Taylor Meredith, May EHS Artist of the Month; Catessa Cain, Easton High School Assistant Principal.

Easton High Senior Taylor Meredith has been recognized as the Ben Franklin Artist of the Month for May.

“Taylor excels in drawing, painting and digital artwork,” said Art Teacher Jonathan Crist. “The artwork chosen is a figurative oil painting done in alla prima painting technique.  Taylor understands colors, shape and light very well for her age.  The painting was done purely from observation over the course of four days.”Taylor will attend Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in the Fall.

Ben Franklin Crafts and Framing Center, in cooperation with Easton High Art Teachers, generously supports student Artists throught the Artist of the Month Program, and provides the winning students with a gift bag of art supplies and a gift card for the store.

Talbot County Board Of Education Approves FY20 Budget

The Board of Education finalized and approved the school system’s 2019-2020 budget at a special meeting held on Thursday May 30, 2019.  During their Work Session, the Board made the necessary $1.4 million in cuts from the original budget request. “This budget reflects our commitment to the Bridge of Excellence Master Plan, to the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan, and to the children of Talbot County,” said Dr. Kelly L. Griffith, Superintendent.

The total Operating Budget for the school district for the 2019-2020 school year will be $57,182,066. This represents an overall increase in operating revenues in the general unrestricted budget of 4.8% or $2.6 million.  “This increase will help us to meet the needs of each student attending the Talbot County Public School system by providing salary increases, additional staffing support, and the ability to offset increases in fixed charges,” added Dr. Griffith.   “We are grateful to the County Council for securing additional revenue sources to provide funding above maintenance of effort in the category of non-recurring costs as well as funding for the Easton Elementary School construction project,” Dr. Griffith added.

Through the budget development process, each school principal and department supervisor justified every dollar requested.   This process enabled the Superintendent, the Board of Education, and the general public to closely examine priorities. After a thorough evaluation of state and federal mandates, including the continued implementation for the State of Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards, the Board chose to include some additional staffing and resources in the budget request to support these mandates.   

The final FY 20 budget will maintain everything in the FY19 budget plus the following approved additional items:

  • Salary increases for all staff of one step and 1.75% Cost of Living AdjustmentAdditional Staffing Positions:

2 English Language Learner Teachers
1 Gifted and Talented Teacher
1 Special Education
2.5 Classroom Teachers4 Instructional Assistants

  • Increases in Employee Benefit costs including a 4% increase in health insurance
  • Increases in overall insurance of organization, Special Education Services, and Judy Center
  • Renewal of Software licenses, additional funding for Curriculum/Environmental field trips and Extended Day Programs
  • One additional school bus lease
  • Mowers
  • $409,170 capital requests
  • Easton Elementary School Replacement Project

The following items from the original request were not included in the final version:

  • Four Teaching positions, two IA positions, and Grant Manager
  • Summer School
  • New Technology requests
  • Additional athletic requests
  • Additional requests for office supplies
  • Additional funding for professional development and stipends
  • $389,130 deferred maintenance/capital item requests

“We appreciate the community support, the educational partnerships, and the overall commitment of staff during the budget process.  Together we will address the challenges for higher academic standards and create essential conditions for learning to ensure each child will graduate college and career ready,” said Dr. Griffith.

To review the entire budget and for other information about Talbot County Public Schools, visit

Dr. Kari Clow Appointed Principal of Chapel District Elementary School for 2019-2020

The Talbot County Board of Education has approved the appointment of Kari Mielke Clow, Ed.D. to the position of Principal of Chapel District Elementary School effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Clow will replace Dr. Jodi Colman, who will transfer to Easton Middle School as

Dr. Clow comes to Talbot County following extensive experience as an educator in Caroline County. A graduate of Easton High, she earned a
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Towson University in 2005. She received a Master of Science in School Administration from Johns Hopkins University in 2010, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Innovation from Wilmington University in 2015.

“We are very excited to have someone with such a strong background join our leadership team,” said Dr. Griffith. “Being a resident of Cordova will enable Dr. Clow to make a smooth transition into her new role at Chapel District, and I look forward to seeing her foster the continued success of this great school!”

Dr. Clow has Advanced Professional Certification in Elementary Education 1-6 and Middle School, as well as Middle School: English Language Arts grades 4-9, and she is certified at Administrator levels I and II. She began her career teaching grade 6 general education/inclusion language arts at Lockerman Middle School in Denton, MD. In 2012 she became Assistant Principal of Preston Elementary School, and was appointed Principal in 2016. Since 2016 she has also been an Adjunct Professor at Salisbury University.

Clow developed and implemented the Caroline Aspiring Assistant Principal Academy (CAAPA) program to promote leadership succession planning. She also chaired School Improvement Teams at Preston Elementary and Lockerman Middle Schools. She has chaired, facilitated,
and implemented the Maryland Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS) program at Preston Elementary School, which was
recognized as a 2016-2018 “Gold” school.

“I am very excited and proud to join the Talbot County Public Schools team and to serve the students, staff, and families of Chapel District
Elementary School,” said Dr. Clow. “Chapel District has a prestigious reputation for academic excellence, which I am certain, while working with various stakeholders, we will continue to uphold. I have thoroughly enjoyed the 14 years I spent working for Caroline County Public Schools, but look forward to being closer to my family and serving the community in which I live.”

Dr. Clow has served on the Caroline County Public Schools Teacher Principal Evaluation Convening Team hosted by the Maryland State
Department of Education (MSDE). She attended Harvard University’s New and Aspiring School Leaders Program and was nominated to participate in the 2016-2017 MSDE Promising Principals Academy. She has participated in numerous other professional development and leadership programs throughout her career. Dr. Clow also organized the North Caroline High School Girls Varsity Lacrosse Program, which she coached from 2007 – 2012, as well as the Lockerman Middle School Afterschool Girls Youth Lacrosse program. She lives in Cordova with her husband Josh and two children.

Easton Middle School Students Support People in Recovery

As part of a service learning project, students in Mrs. Lauri Bell’s 8th grade Health classes presented care packages to Chesapeake Treatment Services, LLC.  The care packages will be given to people seeking treatment for addiction.  The 8th graders donated approximately 120 care packages, posters with encouraging sayings, and inspirational art work. With every care package, the students included notes of encouragement to the recipient.

Susan Knade and Matt James from Chesapeake Treatment Services, LLC visited Easton Middle School to pick up the care packages. Although this is not the first time Mrs. Bell has offered this project to her classes, the response this year was outstanding.  “I am very proud of my students for their generosity, and creativity,” said Mrs. Bell.  “It was wonderful to see their enthusiastic participation in this project!”

Chesapeake Treatment Services’ clinics are dedicated to the recovery of individuals struggling with opioid addiction.The mission of Chesapeake Treatment Services is to help every patient break the cycle of addiction and to get on the pathway to sustained long-term recovery.  They provide affordable care in a respectful and welcoming environment.  Find more information on their website at

APG Media Supports Education Foundation Fundraiser

The Star Democrat/APG Media has joined other local businesses in supporting the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation’s second annual “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” fundraising event as a Principal’s Honor Roll Sponsor.

Photo: L to R – Juanita Hopkins & Becky Firth, Education Foundation Advisory Board; Betsy Griffin, Advertising & Marketing Sales Director and Paul Hagood, Chief Revenue Officer, APG Chesapeake and The Star Democrat; Pam Clay, Laura Heikes and Mike Fisher, Education Foundation Advisory Board.

All proceeds from “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” benefit the Education Foundation’s Grants for Teachers program. To date, the Education Foundation has awarded $33,000 in grants to TCPS teachers for programs at the elementary and secondary level in nearly every academic discipline. “At APG Media we understand how important it is to support public education in our communities and are thrilled to be part of this outstanding event,” said Betsy Griffin, Advertising & Marketing Sales Director, APG Chesapeake and The Star Democrat.

To learn more about supporting the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation, please contact Debbie Gardner, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs at or by calling 410-822-0330.

Morgan Stanley – The Easton Group Supports TCPS Education Foundation

Morgan Stanley – The Easton Group is generously supporting the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation’s second annual“Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” fundraiser at the “Principal’s Honor Roll” level.  The event will take place on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. in the Easton High School Auditorium. Admission is free and all proceeds will benefit the Education Foundation’s Grants for Teachers Program.

Photo: L to R – Laura Heikes, Foundation Advisory Board Chair; Tom Hill, Financial Advisor and Curry Wilford, Financial Advisor, both of Morgan Stanley the Easton Group; Becky Firth and Mike Fisher, Education Foundation Advisory Board Members.

Six teams of 5th graders from all of the TCPS Elementary Schools will test their knowledge and skills, answering questions from a broad range of categories.  Each team also includes a celebrity guest from the sponsoring organization or school community.  Morgan Stanley will sponsor the team from Chapel District Elementary School, and Mr. Curry Wilford, Financial Advisor, will participate as the team’s celebrity guest.

To date, the Education Foundation has awarded more than $33,000 in grants for programs for elementary, middle and high school students in a variety of disciplines.  “At Morgan Stanley we believe in the importance of investing in our community’s most valuable resource, our children,” said Mr. Wilford. “We are very pleased to support the Education Foundation’s Grants for Teachers program by sponsoring this event.”

To learn more about the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation, please contact Debbie Gardner, Coordinator of Public Relations and Special Programs at or by calling 410-822-0330.

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