Gunston Receives Edward E. Ford Grant

The Gunston School is pleased to announce that it’s innovative new program, The Chesapeake Watershed Semester, is the recipient of a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation. This award of $100,000, matched 1:1 by funds raised, will provide $200,000 in seed money to launch this ground-breaking program that offers aspiring student leaders an educational experience with a joint focus on environmental science and public policy.

The Chesapeake Watershed Semester (CWS) is a semester-length opportunity for highly motivated juniors or seniors to immerse themselves in the study and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Through dynamic and diverse field-study expeditions, students will travel the region meeting with stakeholders and conducting research. Rigorous classroom, laboratory, and research project work will deepen each student’s academic foundation, leading to a capstone action project to be formally 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.

In a highly competitive grant cycle, The Gunston School is pleased to be one of 13 schools receiving awards from the Foundation. “The Gunston School is grateful for the ongoing support from the Edward E. Ford Foundation,” said John Lewis, “the rigorous, multi-stage application process allowed us to reflect on the school’s growth and success over the past eight years. Such work would not have been possible without the support of our Board of Trustees, families, and staff at the school. The EE Ford Foundation is the preeminent foundation for supporting innovations in high school education making their recognition of our new program particularly impactful.” In a letter to Gunston’s Head of School, John Lewis, announcing the grant award, John C. Gulla, Executive Director of The Edward E. Ford Foundation, said, “…it is a very important and exciting program and I look forward to hearing about it in the years to come.”

The grant from the EE Ford Foundation will help to support the program’s successful launch in the pilot years, and help The Gunston School and CWS build a “bridge” between the pilot program and the fully residential CWS program, which aims to enroll students from across the country and around the globe.

Emily Beck, Director of the Chesapeake Watershed Semester, credits the extensive partnership network around CWS for drawing the attention of the EE Ford Foundation. “Our formal partnerships with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Washington College’s Center for Environment and Society, Sultana Education Foundation, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the Echo Hill Outdoor School are pivotal to our goals of crafting a program imbued with academic rigor and immersive field experiences for our students” Beck said. “We have designed the program to meet the educational challenges of our time and are eager to begin our first semester in a few short months.”

The Gunston School and the Chesapeake Watershed Semester will raise a matching $100,000 as part of the grant requirements. The cumulative sum will be the rocket fuel that helps to launch the nascent program. The pilot semester, fully enrolled with 13 students, will launch in August of 2018. Students interested in the program can learn more at chesapeakewatershedsemester.org and consider applying for the Fall 2019 cohort. Follow along the adventures of the CWS1 on Facebook and Instagram throughout the fall of 2018.

About the Gunston School

The Gunston 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. The Gunston School, located on the banks of the Corsica River in Centreville, MD, serves 200 students in grades 9-12.

About the Edward E. Ford Foundation

The Edward E. Ford Foundation supports and strengthens independent secondary schools with its mission to “challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by encouraging collaboration with other institutions.”

The Benedictine School 2018 Graduation Ceremony

On the 14th of June, The Benedictine School held its annual graduation ceremony at its campus in Ridgely to celebrate the accomplishments of 11 students. The ceremony recognized the individual achievements of each graduate with a special award presentation.

Family, friends and staff in attendance enjoyed an evening of hospitality as the culminating event of the school year. The ceremony included a live performance of the national anthem sung by staff member Yvonne Duckery, vocalist, and Devin Brown, keyboardist. A volunteer group of staff also performed a sign language routine. Special guest, ‘Elsa’ from the Disney movie Frozen, surprised graduates at the end of the ceremony and posed for pictures.

Education Director Julie Hickey recognized school teacher Lorraine Slama for recently earning the title of ‘Educator of the Year’ by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services. Benedictine parent, Kathy Marinucci of Dominic’s Farm, was recognized with The Community Award for sharing her talents and farm resources with school students.

Graduates from The Benedictine School were awarded a High School Certificate of Program Completion and will move on to adult life in their home communities.  We wish them the best of luck.

Providing opportunities to live meaningful, productive lives in communities of choice, Benedictine helps children and adults with developmental disabilities reach their greatest potential without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, or age.

The Gunston School Celebrates 107th Commencement

On the morning of June 9, 2018, The Gunston School celebrated its 107th Commencement, graduating 42 students from the Class of 2018. The longtime tradition of an outdoor ceremony along the banks of the Corsica River was greeted with cloudy skies, but warm smiles. Bagpiper Robert Wallace led the processional, as the girls in white formal dresses carrying flower bouquets and boys in blue blazers and khakis processed.  Class President Neel Patel delivered the opening greeting, followed by each senior presenting a favorite quote.

Photo: Class of 2018: L-R, front row, Lila Ingersoll, Alli Webb, Emma Hottell, Gillian Felton, Ryleigh Paskoski, Joey Smith, Mary Macmillan, Hope Murphy, Betty Zhou, Crystal Liu, Grace Dai; second row, Assistant Headmaster Christie Grabis, Headmaster John Lewis, Oliver Wu, Charlotte Sheets, Brennan Paddy, Lily Phipps, Susie Fordi, Rose Fan, Tirza Enriquez, Heidi Barcus, Steven Goss, Board of Trustee Chairman Jim Wright, President of Washington College Kurt Landgraf; third row, Naix Wang, Tanner Ways, Max Cao, Yohanes Gray, Neel Patel, Jacob Yu, Cubby, Zhou; fourth row, Dutch Nickerson, Mitchell Naumann, Alex Papadopoulos, Sam Johnson, Henry Parkhurst, Robert Messier; back row, Nat Vivian, Kobe Zheng, Simon Cawley, Jack Morrison, Chris Newberg, Garrett Rudolfs

This year’s commencement speaker was Kurt Landgraf, President of Washington College. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Landgraf earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Wagner College, before going on to earn three master’s degrees. Mr. Landgraf earned a master’s of economics from Pennsylvania State, a master’s of educational administration from Rutgers, and a master’s of sociology from Western Michigan University. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

“Today is about defining success.” Mr. Landgraf stated in his remarks to the graduates. “Success is about you being happy, it has nothing to do with how much money you make, how big your house is, or what you drive.” He concluded with these words of wisdom, “who you are and what you are, are enough. You don’t have to be more than the person inside you.”

On Friday, June 8, the Green & White Awards Ceremony was held in The Field House. Headmaster John Lewis addressed the class of 2018 praising them for their accomplishments, adding what a privilege it had been to work with such an extraordinary group of young men and women. He wished them all the best in their future endeavors.

Valedictorian Lila Ingersoll addressed her classmates with the metaphor of a layer cake. “I crafted a unique one to represent the senior class’ four years at Gunston. I am sure you have all seen a layer cake before, but the cake I am using in this metaphor has 4 layers of cake and 4 layers of frosting in between (including the icing on top of course). When reflecting back on our high school experience, I found all the layers to be very sweet but each one has a different purpose…”

The awards ceremony was followed by the Brick Laying Ceremony and Senior Disembarkation. Four years ago the Class of 2018 arrived to campus by boat, where they were greeted by outstretched hands and smiling faces of the upperclassmen and faculty. On Friday, the 42 members of the class of 2018 once again walked through the receiving line, but this time they said farewell to their friends as they disembarked from Gunston to start their next journey.

Board of Trustee Chairman Jim Wright, Valedictorian Lila Ingersoll of Chestertown and Headmaster John Lewis

Several faculty members participated in the presentation of awards, which recognized the following students:

Valedictorian—Samuel A. Middleton Award: Lila Ingersoll
The Gunston Award: Henry Parkhurst
Leadership Award: Neel Patel
Diversity Leader Award—Susie Fordi
Community Service—Marguerite Thomas Award: Rose Fan
Moore Award for Improvement: Alli Webb
The Faculty Award: Josephine Smith and Gillian Felton
Environmental Stewardship Award: Sam Johnson
Paul M. Long Award: Caroline Roser
Clare Poussard Award: Katie Staley
Megan V. Batdorf Award: Elena Sherman
The Anita Gruss Athletics Award: Brennan Paddy and Mitchell Naumann
Art Award: Rose Fan
Music Award: Li (Cubby) Zhou
Theatre Award: Simon Cawley
Mathematics Award: Henry Parkhurst
Science Award: Ryleigh Paskoski
Engineering: Jack Morrison
Bay Studies High Honors: Emerson Borghardt, Jianna Casiello, Katherine Chen, Dylan Conner, Cora Duncan, Katie Easter, Cole Evans, Gillian Felton, Francesca Fisher, James Fordi, Yanni Harris, Griffin Hecht, Lindsay Hildebrand, Sam Johnson, Ellie Merton, Will Newberg, Dutch Nickerson, Henry Parkhurst, Ryleigh Paskoski, Neel Patel, Lily Phipps, Isabella Santoboni, Max Scott, Elena Sherman, Charles Shifrin, Abbie Silva, Nellie Stup, Jackson Talbott, Nat Vivian, Alli Webb, Owen White
History—Capt. John P. W. Vest Award: Sam Johnson
Spanish Award: Henry Parkhurst
Latin—Marie W. Whittico Award: Katie Easter
English Language Acquisition: Karen Chen
English—Sandra Slacum Spears Award: Lila Ingersoll
Literature—Hila C. Ferguson Award: Simon Cawley
English Immersion Award: Areopl Bai
Junior Symposium Award: Marisa Pisapia
Senior Paradigm Project Award: Hopewell Murphy

The final award, the coveted Green & White Cup for the 2017-2018 school year, was presented to the Green Team! Twice each year, Gunston declares a “green & white field day” as students, faculty and staff divide into two teams and compete in activities that range from canoe races, tennis matches, a pie eating contest and sack races, to math competitions, creative writing challenges, ultimate Frisbee, photography and more. The team accumulating the most points from both days wins the Green & White Cup.

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 the Chesapeake Treatment Center, LLC.  The care packages will be given to people seeking treatment for drug, heroin, and opioid abuse.  The 8th graders donated over 85 care packages, posters with encouraging sayings, and inspirational art work.  With every care package, the students wrote notes of encouragement.  The students were very happy about being able to help those in need.

Amber Rippeon and Matt James from Chesapeake Treatment Services, LLC paid a visit to 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.   “The students amazed me with their generosity, enthusiasm and creativity,” said Mrs. Bell.  “We had our highest participation ever in this project!”

Benedictine receives $150,000 from Weinberg Foundation

 The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is supporting adults with developmental disabilities who live and work on Maryland’s Mid-Shore through a $150,000 grant. This two-year grant will help fund and expand Benedictine’s adult programs and services.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is one of the largest private charitable foundations in the U.S., assisting low-income and vulnerable individuals and families through nonprofit grants to direct-service providers. Benedictine offers programs and services that support more than 100 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism, through its main campus in Ridgely, Md., a community office in Easton, Md., and area group homes.

Benedictine’s adult services range from in-home support and care, to employment, volunteer, community and meaningful day programming. Benedictine offers training and work opportunities at its Ridgely campus, and has established relationships with more than 100 community employers and training partners.

The Benedictine Community Services and Training Center in Easton serves adults and students through a partnership with the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS). Through this partnership, Benedictine finds unique ways to provide classroom training and employment field experiences relating to specific vocations.

“At Benedictine, we are dedicated to providing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to gain competitive, integrated employment, community volunteerism, and meaningful life experiences,” said Beth Mathis, director of Benedictine’s Adult Services. “In addition, those supported have opportunities to plan and participate in community, leisure, and recreation activities of their choice.”

“We at Benedictine are always looking to expand our network of community partners and employers,” Mathis said. “Our mission is ‘Helping children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve their greatest potential.’ We thank the Weinberg Foundation for helping us to fulfill this mission.”

Saint Michaels Students Present Inventive Projects at 3rd Annual Stem Showcase

The Science and Career and Technology Education Departments at Saint Michaels Middle High School (SMMHS) recently hosted their 3rd annual STEM Showcase. Students in grades 6-12 who are enrolled in Science, Math and Career and Technology Education (CTE) Courses used their knowledge and creativity to invent a product or process that would meet a need or solve a problem. The range of topics included environmental, engineering, medical and technological issues. Students conducted an inquiry based project, were able to choose their project design, and were encouraged to choose a project that they found interesting and engaging. Communication and research skills were greatly enhanced throughout the invention procedure.

“This event is highly anticipated by our students,” said Robin Powell-Werner, SMMHS Science and CTE teacher. “It challenges students to be innovative and to apply valuable design processes to their projects. It also allows our staff to collaborate with students and encourages teachers to develop lessons that align with the competition.”

Several projects were recognized for their outstanding effort and achievement.

High School Winners:

Research and Experimental Design: McKenna Browning, Christina Smithpeter and Caroline Lenkiewicz

Structural Design: Ashlynn Stevens, Ashley Henckel and Andre Setter

Digital Design: Gretchen Kinnamon

Overall High School Winner: Ashlynn Stevens, Ashley Henckel and Andre Setter

Middle School:

Research and Experimental Design: Jordan Regan and Campbell Gowe

Structural Design: (Tie) Katie Roe and Sophia Fernwalt and Makenna Culver, Riley Papineau, Jess Watts and Alyssa Wojcik

Digital Design: Ava Reaid

Overall Winner: Brianna Crow, Kalei Knox and Myla Ramey

TCPS Announces Administrative Appointments

Mrs. Alison Strickland

The Talbot County Board of Education approved several administrative appointments for the 2018-2019 school year at a special meeting held on June 12. Mrs. Alison Strickland has been appointed as Assistant Principal at White Marsh Elementary School; Mrs. Carolanne Burkhardt will become Assistant Principal at Easton Middle School; Mr. Corey Devaric will become Assistant Principal at Chapel District Elementary School; and Mrs. LuAnn McKelvey will become Assistant Principal at St. Michaels Elementary School.

Mrs. Strickland is a graduate of Easton High School. She attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Studies and a Master of Arts in Teaching. She taught kindergarten at White Marsh Elementary School for four years before moving to Easton Middle School as a sixth grade language arts teacher. During her time at Easton Middle School, she obtained her school administration certification from Towson University. In 2016, she was appointed to the administrative intern position at Easton Elementary School-Moton. In 2017, Strickland was named assistant principal at Easton Middle School.

Mrs. Carolanne Burkhardt

Mrs. Strickland is honored to have the opportunity to once again serve the White Marsh community as Assistant Principal, and she looks forward to creating new relationships with the students, staff, and families, as well as reuniting with those who previously worked with at WMES.  She and her husband John Strickland are proud mentors through Talbot Mentors. They reside in Easton with their daughter, Bradley.

Mrs. Burkhardt currently teaches second grade at St. Michaels Elementary School.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Reading from East Stroudsburg University and a Masters in Educational Administration from University of Massachusetts Lowell.  She began her career at Talbot County Public Schools in 2004 at Easton Elementary School – Moton where she taught second and fifth grade. She was appointed as Administrative Intern at Saint Michaels Middle High School in 2010.

Mr. Corey Devaric

Mrs. Burkhardt is a Nationally Certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Trainer, a New Teacher Olweus Trainer, and a New Teacher Mentor. She serves as a Cooperating Teacher for Salisbury University Student Teachers as well as Student Interns from the Teacher Academy at Saint Michaels Middle High, and she is a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Coach.  She is a Worship Leader and Nursery Coordinator at Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church, and resides in Easton with her husband JR Burkhardt and two children Adam and Sadie.

Mr. Corey Devaric has been in education for 20 years. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from York College and a Master’s Degree in Leadership from Wilmington University. Since coming to Talbot County in 1998, Mr. Devaric has taught multiple grades at Chapel District Elementary School , Easton Elementary School and White Marsh Elementary School. He has administrative experience at Preston Elementary School and Easton Middle School.

Mrs. LuAnn McKelvey

Mr. Devaric is certified as an Equity Practitioner and  has been the Equity Leader at White Marsh Elementary School for the past three years. Devaric is looking forward to returning to Chapel District Elementary, where he began his teaching career. He resides in Easton with his wife Lisa and four children Olivia, Winfield, Georgia and Logan. When Mr. Devaric is not at school, he enjoys running and biking.

Mrs. McKelvey earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, a M.Ed.in Early Childhood Education and Administration Certification from Salisbury University. She began her career at TCPS in 1990 at Tilghman Elementary where she has served in numerous capacities, from teaching pre-kindergarten to fifth grades, as well as physical education.  She was appointed as an Administrative Intern in 2016.

Mrs. McKelvey is certified as an Equity Practitioner and is a member of the Equity Team.  She is a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Coordinator; School Improvement Team Member, and serves on the Tilghman Elementary School PTO.  She also teaches Sunday School at Royal Oak United Methodist Church, and is a Volunteer Basketball Coach for St. Michaels Community Center.  She and her husband Scott reside in St. Michaels and have two sons, Jacob and Kyle and a granddaughter, Riley.

“These new leaders will have a tremendous impact on the learning environment, overall school culture and community,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools.  “Their enthusiasm, experience, and commitment to our mission will be an asset in these essential leadership positions.”

Talbot High Schools Students Pursue College Credit in Computer Science

Talbot County public high school students have the opportunity to earn College Credits and Industry Standard Certifications through TCPS Career and Technology Education Pathways. Students who are successful in AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A can obtain early college credit through the Advanced Placement College Board Credit by Exam program. Qualifying scores are determined by each institution of higher learning and vary among colleges and universities.

The following students may be eligible for college credit depending upon their scores on the Advanced Placement Computer Science exams: Easton High School – Zachary Danels, Joseph Odenwald, William Turri. Saint Michaels Middle High School – Ben Rieck.

“The Computer Science Completer is a new addition to our CTE opportunities,” said Mrs. Pamela Clay, Curriculum Supervisor for Career and Technology Education.  “We expect enrollment in this program to increase dramatically over the next several years.”

Sherwood Seminars Held on Third Tuesday of Each Month

Sherwood Seminars are held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Sherwood Church Hall on Sherwood Landing Road, Sherwood, MD. The programs are open to the public in the Bay Hundred area. Topics vary each month and may include anything from health and well being, to land conservancy, to holiday crafts and caroling. Refreshments are available at 6:30 p.m. and our programs start promptly at 7 p.m.

Our next seminar is Tuesday, June 19th. Ken Kozel, President and CEO of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, will tell us how the Easton Hospital has expanded and improved its services and what is planned for the future. Attached is more information about the program on June 19th.

School System Recognizes Community Partners

Talbot County Public Schools hosted its third annual Community Partner Recognition Breakfast on May 24 at the Easton Volunteer Fire House. More that 850 businesses, organizations and individuals were invited to the event.  Attendees were treated to a delicious breakfast prepared by the Easton High Culinary Arts students, along with musical entertainment by members of Easton High’s award winning “Warrior Chorale.”

“This is a community that values education,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith in her opening remarks.  “The time, resources and expertise that our community partners provide to our schools truly make a difference for our students and staff.  This includes adopting classrooms, providing internships, donating supplies, funding enrichment opportunities, coordinating after school programs, and so much more.  We are so very grateful for this generous support and cannot thank you enough.”

The program included recognition of a Partner of the Year for each of the nine schools in the district, as well as a District Partner of the Year as follows:

 District Partner of the Year – American Legion Blake-Blackston Post #77

Chapel District Elementary – Andersen Wealth Management
Easton Elementary – Dobson – Family Affair Farm
Easton Elementary – Moton – AQUA Pools & Spas
Saint Michaels Elementary – Christ Church – St. Michaels, MD
Tilghman Elementary -The Candleberry Shoppe
White Marsh Elementary – Higginbottom Orthodontics
Easton Middle School – First Baptist Church of Easton, MD
Easton High School – Dock Street Foundation
Saint Michaels Middle High School – Royal Oak Community United Methodist Church