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It is hard to escape the fact that a number of Mid-Shore public schools, particularly those serving economically disadvantaged students, are struggling a bit these days. Struggling to meet new performance tests, attract talented teachers, repair their school buildings, and a host of other issues, ranging from mental health to budget concerns and parental rights, as well as the ongoing challenge implantation of Maryland’s Blueprint for Education reforms.
In short, it’s a tough time for those schools and their teachers. And the Spy remains committed to reporting on those schools as they attempt to overcome these obstacles.
But the other day, we had a rare opportunity to report on the other side of the performance spectrum. A few months ago, Church Hill Elementary School gained a distinction only shared by six different schools in the entire state; it became a Blue Ribbon School.
The Blue Ribbon School program is a national one that recognizes elementary, middle, and high schools for academic performance in closing achievement gaps. And in Maryland, the only schools selected were:
- Northeast Elementary School, Allegany County Public Schools
- Oakdale High School, Frederick County Public Schools
- Stone Mill Elementary School, Montgomery County Public Schools
- Church Hill Elementary School, Queen Anne’s County Public Schools
- Matapeake Elementary School, Queen Anne’s County Public Schools
- Smithsburg Middle School, Washington County Public Schools
State Board President Clarence Crawford said, “Each of these schools demonstrates the best of Maryland’s school system representing every region of our State. The educators, students, families, and staff that have led their school community to this distinction should serve as models for how we can lean forward on transformation in Maryland and build on the great work being done in all corners of the State.”
The Spy sat down with Susan Davis Walbert, principal of Church Hill Elementary School, to learn more.
This video is approximately four minutes in length.
The Spy Newspapers may periodically employ the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the clarity and accuracy of our content.
Maryland lawmakers should provide more guidance and flexibility to county governments as they work to find space in tight budgets for far-reaching public education reforms, a leading advocacy group said.
The Maryland Association of Counties made a series of recommendations to ease pressures on the effort to implement the 10-year Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan in a recent letter addressed to Gov. Wes Moore (D) and the legislature’s presiding officers.
“The Blueprint applies a one-size-fits-all approach to education investment and implementation that does not account for our state’s diverse local government capacities, processes, and abilities,” according to the letter signed by MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D), president of the organization. “As we move deeper into implementation, the diverse systems, constraints, and structures counties must work within become more apparent, especially financially.”
Sanderson said in an interview Monday that the goal is not to go back and legislate the Blueprint law, but to inform lawmakers and the public of the continuing challenges to funding the Blueprint on a local level.
One proposal, Sanderson said, is for the legislature to provide a more comprehensive cost analysis detailing how much Blueprint funding is mandated in local budgets. In addition, that analysis should take into account fluctuating school enrollments, he said.
Some counties received notice about how much money would be needed for Blueprint reforms in the next year just a week before budgets were approved last spring, Sanderson said. Most county officials release preliminary budgets between December and February. The General Assembly’s 90-day session is set to begin Jan. 10.
“What we tried to do was harvest the things we’ve been hearing at the local level,” he said. “The idea of more clarity in the funding projections and estimates and having that in a more timely and clear way [helps] everybody…as they go through their budgeting process.”
The Blueprint plan continues to be implemented based on its priorities: expanding early childhood education, hiring and retaining high-quality and diverse teachers, preparing students for college and technical careers and providing additional resources for students in need.
The Blueprint Accountability and Implement Board, an independent body established by the legislature to oversee the initiative approved some updates this summer. One of the board’s duties is providing recommendations to the General Assembly and the governor on proposed changes to the Blueprint law. The panel is set to meet next on Thursday.
The Blueprint law states that schools must implement a $10,000 salary increase for teachers who are designated as National Board Certified, and an additional $7,000 salary increase for certified teachers who work in low-performing schools.
MACo proposes those salary figures should be switched: $7,000 for all teachers certified, and an additional $10,000 for certified teachers in low-performing schools.
Brianna January, associate director of policy for MACo, said there still remains “a universal concern” about a requirement for school systems to raise minimum annual teacher salaries to $60,000, which must be done by July 1, 2026, according to the law.
January said county leaders are concerned the salary increase “will kind of pinch all the other staff positions into an upward trajection for their starting salaries.”
Carter Elliott, a spokesperson for Moore, said in an email Monday that “county leaders are important partners and [the governor] appreciates them stepping up to share their thoughts about the Blueprint and how to ensure its success going forward. The Moore-Miller Administration is looking forward to engaging in further conversation to ensure that all of Maryland’s children have access to a world class education.”
Some of the other MACo recommendations for state leaders are:
- Provide a specific cost analysis between the state and counties to fund dual enrollment programs at community colleges.
- Offer greater flexibility for counties to utilize certain spaces such as libraries and community centers to provide prekindergarten instruction. Such spaces may be available but aren’t an option under the law because each would need “the presence of a school administrator, front desk person, and on-duty nurse.”
- Consider best practices for expedited or alternative teacher certification without lessening the standard for high-quality teachers.
“To best ensure successful implementation of the Blueprint, county governments are seeking a more comprehensive cost analysis and investment from our State partners,” Ball said in an emailed statement. “County governments are funding partners for our local Boards of Education and have minimal oversight on how taxpayer dollars are spent. By having local costs required by the Blueprint clearly defined by the State, and transparently shared with the public, we can all have smoother budget processes and increased collaboration during our annual local budget cycles.”
Some Blueprint supporters, such as Michelle Corkadel, president of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, said equity must remain a focal point in the plan.
The state Board of Education continues to review a possible revision to the “college and career readiness,” or CCR, standards that are part of the Blueprint plan. Current law states that students “meet or exceed” the standard based on standardized test scores. Under the proposal, students could pass the standard if their grade-point average is 3.0 or higher by the end of 10th grade.
Corkadel said there should be a more holistic approach to aide students who have a focus on career programs.
“It seems to me that we should be including more flexibility in the arena of those students who have chosen a career path. We know that the state does not allow you to sit for your cosmetology license, which would be the ultimate in verifying that your college and career ready. It cannot occur until you’re 18 years old,” said Corkadel, a member of the school board in Anne Arundel County, where schools provide cosmetology training. “I do think that closing our opportunity gaps is one of the desired outcomes of Blueprint and we need to make sure that we are mindful of that. We are hopeful that the decisions we make are going to include the perspectives of all of us.”
By William J. Ford
The Spy Newspapers may periodically employ the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the clarity and accuracy of our content.
The last time the Spy chatted with Lorelly Solano a few years ago, she had just begun her work at the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center. And her focus in 2019 was to help the organization train interpreters to help offer bilingual services on the Mid-Shore to various businesses and nonprofit institutions.
One of the schools that Lorelly worked closely with at the time was Chesapeake College, so it was not a surprise to find her almost five years later working with that institution as the new director of its Cambridge Center. As the Mid-Shore continues to grow with a diversity of cultures and languages, Dr. Solano was immediately attracted to the challenge and opportunity of making the Cambridge campus a regional leader in adult education for high school equivalency, English language acquisition for immigrants, and non-credit courses like skilled trades.
In her new role, Solano has made it a goal to mirror the community’s diversity within the Center, ensuring that when people visit, they see themselves represented.
Last month the Spy came by the Cambridge Center to learn more about Dr. Lorelly’s plans.
This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Chesapeake College and its Cambridge Center, please go here.
Washington College announced the largest gift in the College’s 240-year history: a $54.7 million gift from The Hodson Trust to provide financial support for students. The Hodson gift will grow the College’s scholarship endowment to approximately $170 million and its overall endowment to $325 million, strengthening the College’s ability to make a college education more affordable to students from all backgrounds.
“This generous gift from The Hodson Trust is truly transformative for Washington College,” said President Mike Sosulski. “Access to an outstanding educational experience is a pressing issue for many families today. The Trust’s support of our students’ financial needs expands our ability to ensure access to a wide range of potential students, particularly those who are first-generation or come from underserved communities.”
As a result of the Hodson gift, Washington College will guarantee a minimum scholarship of $30,000 per year ($120,000 over 4 years) to any incoming student with at least a 3.3 grade point average who applies by December 1. Students may qualify for more aid based on their academic performance. The Hodson Trust Washington Scholars endowment, which provides full tuition, fees and the cost of room and board for students with significant financial need, will also benefit from this gift.
“We are excited to be able to offer this scholarship opportunity to deserving students,” said Vice President for Enrollment Johnnie Johnson. “It will allow us to continue to grow the diversity of our campus community and enhance the intellectual environment of the College. These scholarship funds will help us recruit more of the best and brightest students to Washington College from Maryland, the mid-Atlantic region, and beyond.”
Support for financial aid opens new opportunities for students and their families who think an education at a private college is out of reach. Because private colleges like Washington provide significant student financial aid when compared to public universities, the cost of a private education becomes more affordable. For the current academic year, Washington College provided $40.6 million in total financial aid with the average student aid totaling $45,745, compared to the University of Maryland, whose published average student aid is $9,074.
The gift is part of the dissolution of The Hodson Trust. Established in 1920 by Colonel Clarence Hodson, the Trust has been a longtime supporter of Washington College and its largest benefactor, having now donated more than $150 million to the College since 1935.
For almost 90 years, The Hodson Trust has contributed to Washington College in a number of ways, including establishing or contributing to endowments that support student scholarships; undergraduate research and internship stipends; faculty chairs, salary enhancement, and professional development funds; and the College’s signature academic centers. In addition, The Hodson Trust contributed to the construction of Hodson Hall, Hodson Boathouse, the John Toll Science Center, and the Lelia Hynson Boating Park.
The Hodson family has a long and illustrious legacy at Washington College. Colonel Hodson, his daughter, Lelia Hodson Hynson, and granddaughter, Sally Hynson Hopkins, served on the Washington College Board of Visitors and Governors.
Chesapeake College celebrated the opening of the 23-24 academic year with an enrollment increase and a new brand.
Faculty, staff and community stakeholders gathered for the annual State of the College address and a local leader status report where President Clifford P. Coppersmith introduced Chesapeake’s new brand and shared news of a 10 percent increase in credit student enrollment compared to last fall.
“Chesapeake has grown, and our mission has evolved with the world around us in recent years—all while the market for higher education has become increasingly competitive,” Dr. Coppersmith said. “It was essential that we assessed both who we are and how we are perceived to develop a consistent and unified message—not just visually but also in our actions.”
Chesapeake conducted a nationwide competitive bid search for a firm to develop a comprehensive new brand. VisionPoint Marketing of Raleigh, N.C. was awarded the contract. The specialty higher education firm performed the research, analysis, and creative work on Chesapeake’s brand during the last year.
Market analysis and extensive research—including community surveys and focus groups—informed development of the brand pillars and logo. While Chesapeake College used outside firms for logo development in the past, this project marks the first time the college contracted with a vendor to conduct such in-depth research and analysis.
In addition to gathering comments and perceptions from more than 1,200 stakeholders within the service community, VisionPoint led the college through deep self-reflection to build brand pillars on the foundation of the institution’s history, core values and aspirations.
The end result, Dr. Coppersmith said, is a comprehensive brand that pays tribute to Chesapeake’s nearly 60-year history as the educational, cultural and economic development hub for the Mid-Shore.
Chesapeake College Director of Marketing and College Relations Danielle Darling said Chesapeake needed a new brand that that can carry the college into the future,“ Chesapeake’s audiences are vast and diverse. We need a brand that resonates with each of these groups as an authentic representation of the College and to reinforce our unique selling proposition,” Ms. Darling said.
She added, “One of our new branding pillars is ‘connector to what’s next.’ This particular brand pillar has the most value for our students,” Ms. Darling said. “We connect students to high-quality education, to training, to universities, to employment and local industries, personal enrichment, and so much more. This reflects our position at the heart of this region and as the conduit to changing peoples’ lives.”
After all the research and exploratory work were completed, the consultants and the Chesapeake community delved into several visual interpretations of their findings, ultimately moving toward an abstract expression of forward movement, suggestive of the iconic skipjack.
“We didn’t want to have a literal skipjack, we wanted to build on this idea of connection and momentum—of meeting students where they are and getting them to their next destination, moving the community forward, one student at a time—which is really the central story of our brand.” “The idea that the skipjack, historically, was a working-class vessel with strong connections in our region was important as well,” Ms. Darling said. “We wanted to represent that in an abstract way, not only to stand out in an area that uses a great deal of nautical imagery, but to make it unique to Chesapeake College, and more accessible and approachable to our audience.”
Ms. Darling explained the negative space in the icon illustrates the rigging of a skipjack, perfectly symbolizing the connections Chesapeake helps build for its students and the community at large.
The new logo features modern hues of Chesapeake’s traditional blue and green colors, with new shades of gold and orange. A deep coral red rounds out the new brand color palette.
Five segments represent the individual identities and unity of the five counties in Chesapeake’s service region. A bold serif font blends the past and future in Chesapeake’s new visual identity.
When paired with the name “Chesapeake College,” the College becomes the wind pushing the shape forward—the force that moves students and the community forward, connecting them to what’s next.
To explore the new look, visit www.chesapeake.edu/brand
Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware, recently provided $1.5 million in funding to Washington College for the purchase of two parcels of land at Round Top Creek Lane in Chestertown, Maryland, as a critical addition to its River & Field Campus (RAFC) in Queen Anne’s County. The purchase, which comprises 29 acres, was made possible by an additional $100,000 gift from a Washington College trustee. The purchase will conserve Chester River coastline, mature native trees, and freshwater wetland species. It also provides Washington College with access to an existing pier and boathouse for educational and research opportunities at RAFC.
The College’s RAFC encompasses nearly 5,000 acres of diverse ecological communities just minutes from its main campus in Chestertown, including 2.5 miles of Chester River shoreline, a 90-acre freshwater lake, multiple streams and seasonal wetlands, 1,200 acres of forest, 3,000 acres of agricultural fields, and 228 acres of restored native prairie with natural grasses that have allowed northern bobwhite quail to flourish. The property also features 50 acres of managed, successional habitat for one of the most active bird-banding stations on the East Coast, handling approximately 14,000 birds a year.
“This asset will greatly enhance the ability of Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society to undertake estuarine studies and water quality monitoring on the Upper Chester River,” said Washington College President Mike Sosulski. “As a part of a perpetual conservation easement, this land provides additional habitat to our Natural Lands Project.”
The Natural Lands Project is a partnership of Washington College with several regional conservation organizations and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources that works to make the rural landscape of the Eastern Shore more wildlife friendly. The initiative helps to improve water quality within local watersheds by creating a healthy balance of production farming and wildlife habitat throughout the agricultural landscape. This fall the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology began offering a field ethnobotany course, which will identify native plants of cultural relevance to the new property as well as other habitats of interest at RAFC.
Mt. Cuba Center, a nonprofit botanic garden, is committed to protecting habitats and ecosystems throughout the region. To that end, Mt. Cuba provides funding for open space conservation projects within 100 miles of the 1,094 acres of gardens and natural lands that it cultivates in Hockessin, Delaware.
“Ensuring that open space and the ecologically important habitats, native plants, and wildlife they contain is preserved for future generations is key to Mt. Cuba’s mission,” said Ann Rose, Mt. Cuba Center’s president. “Washington College’s commitment to environmental science and ecological stewardship make it a valued partner in conservation.”
Mt. Cuba’s history with the RAFC property dates back to 2018, when it granted $1.9 million to Washington College to purchase 16 residential parcels, totaling just over 120 acres, on the Chino Farms. The parcels, also a part of a perpetual conservation easement, were merged into the larger land area now known as RAFC.
“The River and Field Campus wraps farming, wildlife preserves, natural and restored habitats, and research facilities into a single property,” said Valerie Imbruce, director of the Center for Environment & Society. “It propels Washington College into the front ranks of schools at the cutting edge of environmental studies, giving it a distinct educational advantage.”
“The River and Field Campus is a resource of national significance,” added Sosulski. “This acquisition will ensure that RAFC remains uncompromised by incompatible development and that it can attain its full capacity as a national model for large landscape conservation and environmental teaching and research.”
More information on RAFC is available at https://www.washcoll.edu/learn-by-doing/rafc/index.php.
An analysis of Maryland’s current “college readiness” metrics meant to determine whether high school students are properly prepared for college may be improperly assessing a large percentage of students, according to a new report analyzing the state’s interim College and Career Readiness standards.
In fact, as much as 35% to 53% may be inaccurately assessed as either ready for college or not ready for college, the American Institutes for Research’s report to the Maryland State Department of Education found.
The College and Career Readiness (CCR) standard is a central goal for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, an education overhaul passed by the 2021 Maryland General Assembly, in order to determine if students are properly prepared to take on a 2-year or 4-year postsecondary education, and then ultimately enter the workforce.
In 2022, the Maryland Board of Education set up interim CCR standards to lay the groundwork for more-permanent standards down the line. Students are currently evaluated as “college ready” if they surpass benchmarks in 10th grade English and benchmarks in one of the following math courses: algebra 1, algebra 2, or geometry. Students can also earn a score of 520 on the SAT math test to prove college readiness under the interim standards.
The Blueprint also required MSDE to contract with a public or private entity to help evaluate the interim standards and offer suggestions for how they could be improved.
And there appears to be room for improvement, according to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), which is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research facility that was tasked with conducting the analysis. The final report was released on Sept. 14 and the Board of Education discussed the findings at a meeting this week.
“AIR completed a multifaceted, best-in-class investigation into the predictors of postsecondary success and the alignment of high school standards to postsecondary expectations,” State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury, said in a written statement in mid-September. “The study is full of crucial insights into ensuring that Maryland sets a CCR standard that is aligned with national research and ensures equitable access for all students.”
In the coming months, education officials and leaders will be using the study in order to create and approve a new CCR standard.
“To assess the quality of different high school measures of CCR, we examined how well the interim CCR standard and alternative definitions of the standard predicted students’ progress toward postsecondary success, particularly college course credits earned in a student’s first semester in college,” the report said.
One of the caveats for the analysis is that it was conducted on students in graduating classes from 2017 to 2021, and the results “may not apply to future student cohorts,” according to the report. The analysis also did not look at the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) because the assessment was too new at the time of the study.
That said, one of the main takeaways from the report is that the current interim CCR standards often misclassifies students on their readiness.
For example, the analysis says that only 35% of the students in the study were “correctly classified” as ready for college under the interim CCR standards, based on whether a student earned math credit in their first year of post-secondary education. But 5% we’re “misclassified” as ready, as they struggled to earn a math credit in their first year.
Meanwhile, the analysis shows that the current interim standards correctly classified 28% of students as not college ready, but misidentified 32% of students as “not college ready,” when in fact they were able to earn a math credit in their first year.
“So they did not meet CCR standard, but they demonstrated they could earn math credit when they enter college,” Jordan Rickles, the principal researcher for the study, explained to the Board of Education Tuesday. “So this is the big source of error when it comes to the validity of our standard. For almost a third of students, the standards say they’re not college ready, but we have evidence that when they really go off to college, they really can do well in these first year courses.”
The AIR analysis says that the interim standard has an accuracy rate between 47% and 65%, depending on subject matter measured.
To further complicate the analysis, the interim standards were even less accurate for certain demographics, such as for Black students, Hispanic students, current English learners, students with disabilities, and students eligible for free and reduced price meal services. For these populations, the interim CCR standard had average accuracy rates that were less than 60%, the report says.
The analysis looks at potential alternatives for how the state can identify which students are ready for college and which ones could use some additional help. The board will also be looking at the college readiness standards of other states to help inform their future decisions.
The analysis puts forward that it may be more accurate to analyze college readiness through a high school Grade Point Average threshold or the interim CCR standards, meaning that a student could meet either benchmark in order to be deemed college ready.
If the board were to take up that alternate college readiness metric, then the accuracy rate is expected to increase to about 75%, meaning that three in four students would be accurately evaluated as college ready or not.
The analysis suggests that a high school GPA threshold between 2.83 and 2.98 would be a strong indicator of a student’s college readiness, but the AIR recommends rounding up to a 3.0.
The report also advises the department to revise CCR standards to assess more accurately and equitably. That includes providing students with two options to meet CCR standards, either based on state assessments or through a GPA of at least 3.0. If the department takes this route, the MSDE would need to work with local education agencies to better standardize and align grading practices across Maryland.
AIR also recommended that the department help students strengthen college readiness by providing additional counseling and other wrap-around services in middle and fhigh school that cultivate skills and knowledge critical for college success. Such skills include critical thinking, self-direction, and other skills that are not part of formal high school standards.
By Danielle J. Brown
A bequest of $3,000,000 from Carol Ruth Lofstedt’s Revocable Trust to the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation established through Mid-Shore Community Foundation will benefit the educators and students of Talbot County Public Schools (TCPS). This bequest is made in memory of Dr. Joyce Arline Goodwin, Ph.D., Ms. Lofstedt’s long-time partner. The gift will be used to “assist teachers who are in need of additional funds for classroom supplies, teaching tools, classroom equipment, and program curriculum” and to “support and encourage innovative teaching and creative learning” as directed in Ms. Lofstedt’s Trust.
Both Ms. Lofstedt, who passed away in January 2022 at the age of 88, and Dr. Goodwin who passed away in 2018, were passionate about education and loved children. “Carol and Joyce were lifelong educators who taught most of their years in the New York City public schools and Bronx Community College in Bronx, New York,” explained JoRhea Nagel Wright, Esq., Trustee of the Lofstedt Trust. “During Joyce’s career as a public school teacher, Carol witnessed first-hand how classroom needs and teacher supplies were frequently underfunded and how often Joyce and her teaching colleagues spent their own money trying to improve their classrooms and offer creative learning experiences for their students.”
Ms. Lofstedt earned a BS/RN from Skidmore College, and an MA in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing/Education from New York University. After graduating from Skidmore College, Carol worked with Parkinson’s patients as a head nurse/assistant supervisor on a surgical unit. She left the hospital to pursue her Master’s degree with a desire to help better meet the emotional needs of her patients. Following graduation from NYU in 1962, she remained there to teach psychiatric mental health nursing to graduate students. She then taught associate degree students and headed the Psychiatric Nursing program at Bronx Community College in Bronx, NY, from 1964 until her retirement in 1991. During that period, Carol was granted a sabbatical and wrote a psychiatric nursing workbook to accompany a psychiatric nursing textbook.
Dr. Goodwin was born in Brooklyn, NY, and spent most of her life in New York State. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education and a master’s degree in Teaching at Hunter College, and a Ph.D. in education from New York University. Joyce dedicated her life to teaching and reaching out to special needs children. She especially loved middle school-age children and enjoyed sharing stories about the humorous side of teaching, and the achievements, antics, and accomplishments of her students. Having spent most of her career in the New York City public school system, she retired from the Ardsley Public Schools. Joyce and Carol relocated to Talbot County in 2005.
“Carol loved Talbot County and wanted to provide a significant gift to Talbot County Public Schools in honor of Joyce’s legacy which would have a meaningful impact on students and teachers and allow them to focus on creatively educating their students without concern for underfunded classroom needs and lack of school supplies,” Mrs. Wright added.
The TCPS Education Foundation’s mission is “to support public education by raising and distributing funds to fulfill needs and opportunities inspired by TCPS educators and students”. Founded in 2016, the foundation has awarded nearly $200,000 in grants for classroom materials, field trips, fine arts and after-school programs that are not covered in the public budget. They have also funded scholarships, and mental health services for students, and raised more than $100,000 to support connectivity for students during and after the pandemic. Most recently, the Foundation partnered with Easton High Support our Sports and Band, and the Grayce B. Kerr Fund to provide new uniforms for the Easton High Marching Band for the first time since the mid to late 1990’s.
“We are deeply grateful for this transformative gift,” said Debbie Gardner, Director of Communications for TCPS and Administrator of the Education Foundation. “Ms. Lofstedt’s generosity will profoundly impact students and teachers both now and in the future,” added Buck Duncan, President of Mid-Shore Community Foundation. The past and current members of the Education Foundation Board have worked diligently to build an organization that can and will fulfill Ms. Lofstedt’s vision.”
“This gift could not have come at a better time,” explains David Short, CPA and Foundation Board Chair. “We are in the process of completing a new strategic plan. In our stakeholder interviews, it was clear that teachers and students need additional support, sometimes for even the most basic of supplies. Thus, the spirit of this gift speaks directly to the needs of our schools. Not only will we work to get these funds into the classroom, but we hope that this gift encourages others to join in and support us, so that we can continue to fund the needs of teachers and classrooms in Talbot County at a higher level into the future. On behalf of the Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation Board, I share my appreciation for this bequest, which will make an enormous impact in Talbot County classrooms.”
The Education Foundation invites the community to join them in celebrating public education and supporting our teachers at their annual fundraising event, Mission Possible, which will take place on November 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Oxford Community Center. The Talbot County Public Schools Education Foundation Funds are component funds of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, a public foundation designated as a 501(c)(3) charity. Gifts to the Funds are fully tax-deductible as allowable by law (EIN: 52-1782373). To learn more or to make a donation visit www.tcpsef.org.
As part of our ongoing conversations about public education on the Mid-Shore, we sat down with Queen Anne’s County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia Saelens, last month for an update of that county’s challenges and opportunities as one of the most robust public school systems in the state of Maryland.
One example of this distinction was the news this week that U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recognized Church Hill Elementary School and Matapeake Elementary School as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2023. Those two schools beat out more than 9,000 schools nationwide to make that list.
That kind of recognition is common for QAC schools. Year after year, the school district continues outperforming other schools on both the Eastern and Western Shore.
And yet, as Dr. Saelens notes in our Spy interview, it’s not always peachy even in QAC. After taking the job in the middle of the COVID crisis, which Saelens considers the most challenging years of her professional life, she and her peers are still having to find their way in negotiating the unanticipated challenges that have come with the implication of the state’s Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. In our chat, the superintendent highlights the positives and negatives of the multi-billion dollar effort to improve public education, including the funding formula and its impact on county budgeting.
This video is approximately ten minutes in length.