Maryland Report Cards are In for Talbot Public Schools; Chapel Elementary Leads the List

The Maryland State Department of Education released the new Maryland Report Card website today. The website contains report cards for every school in the state, including all Talbot County Public Schools.

The Maryland Report Cards provide each school’s overall score with total points earned, percentile ranking among all schools in Maryland, and a star rating based on the State’s new accountability system. These scores reflect school performance on multiple components. For elementary and middle schools, the system includes academic achievement, academic progress, progress in achieving English language proficiency, and measures of school quality and student success. For high schools, the system includes academic achievement, graduation rate, progress in English language proficiency, readiness for postsecondary success, and measures of school quality and student success. Other measures such as science and social studies assessments, school climate surveys, and computational learning will be added to the MD Report Card in the future, which could significantly impact scores.

“Since this data has just been released, we will take time to delve into the details to determine strengths and areas for improvement,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools. “It is important to note that because of the varying demographics of some of our schools, some scoring components are not able to be measured and it may be difficult to compare some of our schools to one another. Overall, I am proud of the progress of our schools thus far while working the 2020 Vision strategic plan, and I look forward to continued growth in outcomes as we incorporate this information.”

Maryland introduced the new School Report Cards so students, parents, educators and community members could better understand how their schools are performing, just as report cards help parents understand how their children are doing. The goal of the school report card is to provide a starting point and to offer concise and easy-to-understand information for each school. The scores for Talbot County Public Schools are as follows:

Chapel District Elementary School earned 78% of the possible points, received 5 out of 5 stars and was in the 90th percentile compared to other elementary schools in the state.

Easton Elementary School earned 71% of the possible points, received 4 out of 5 stars and was in the 70th percentile compared to other elementary schools in the state.

St. Michaels Elementary School earned 71% of the possible points, received 4 out of 5 stars and was in the 71st percentile compared to other schools in the state.

White Marsh Elementary School earned 71% of the possible points, received 4 out of 5 stars and was in the 71st percentile compared to other elementary schools in the state.

Tilghman Elementary School earned 78% of the possible points, received 5 out of 5 stars and was in the 89th percentile compared to other elementary schools in the state.

Easton Middle School earned 52% of the possible points, received 3 out of 5 stars and was in the 36th percentile compared to other middle schools in the state.

St. Michaels Middle High School earned a combined 62% of the possible points and received 4 out of 5 stars. Separately, St. Michaels Middle School was in the 47th percentile compared to other middle schools and St. Michaels High School was in the 67th percentile compared to other high schools in the state.

Easton High School earned 62% of the possible points, received 4 out of 5 stars and was in the 52nd percentile compared to other high schools in the state.

The school district is encouraging parents and other members of the community to explore the new Maryland Report Card website at MdReportCard.org, where the individual School Report Cards can be found, as well as additional resources which explain how the results were calculated. The Maryland School Report Card represents an exciting opportunity to empower and inform schools, parents, and community members so that every school and every student in the state can succeed. It not only gives us data about our schools, it also brings together that data in a usable way to help us ask questions, find answers, make decisions and take action.

Kirwan Commission to Recommend Billions More to Raise Teacher Pay

The Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has begun hanging price tags on its recommendations for major education reform.

Dr. William English Kirwan

The commission chair, former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, has emphasized that the state would not just funnel more money into the status quo of Maryland public schools, but would require major changes in how education is delivered and teachers work to justify new spending phased in over 10 years.

Mandated school funding is already the second largest outlay in the state budget.

One of the commission’s major findings is that teachers are paid 25% less than comparable professionals with comparable education and responsibilities, one of the causes for a shortage of qualified teachers and students training to be teachers.

10% pay hike

The commission will be proposing a major bump in teach pay, raising pay for all Maryland public school teachers by 10% between 2020 and 2022, with a minimum teacher salary of $60,000 phased-in by 2024.

The commission is also proposing a new career ladder for teachers and additional certifications for teachers under the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This will raise average teacher pay in Maryland from the current $69,557 to $93,137 by 2029. In the final year of phase-in, the additional state spending is $1.3 billion, according to preliminary costs estimates by the Department of Legislative Services.

Accompanying these pay raises, the commission is also recommending a reduction in actual classroom teaching time from 80% of the current school day to 60%. This will give teachers more time “to tutor students who need intensive help and work together in teams to use data and observation to identify students who are falling behind and collaborate on getting them back on track, develop highly engaging and effective lesson plans, mentor new and struggling teachers and systematically improve the school’s instructional program using applied research.”

Based on the experience of high-performing schools around the world, the reduction of teaching time will be accompanied by an increase in class sizes justified by more effective curriculum.

“These reductions in instructional time will require an additional 14,685 teachers by 2029 to continue providing the same number of classes,” says the report. Price tag in final year 2029 is another $1.3 billion.

Staggering figures

Conscious that the numbers are staggering, at its Nov. 14 hearing Kirwan emphasized that these are only preliminary numbers.

“These numbers will not reflect any savings that will be made based on the savings of other work groups,” Kirwan said. “No one should leave this room writing or reporting these figures as being the number for any work group. It is a gross number. It has not been netted out.”

“It would be inaccurate to simply add together each element and characterize this as a total cost,” Kirwan went on. “Cost overlaps have not been fully adjusted. Cost savings have not been incorporated.

The commission has not yet tried to work out formulas for how the state and local governments will share in the new costs.

As the costs estimates are rolled out, commission members also noted that there may be additional costs for new buildings associated with increasing the number of teachers or class sizes.

Commission member Crag Rice, a member of the Montgomery County Council, also noted that if you raise the salaries for some, other employees of county government will want similar raises.

By Len Lazarick

Wye River Upper School Hosts Admissions Open House

Wye River Upper School is hosting an Admissions Open House on Thursday, October 25 from 6 pm – 8 pm on the School’s campus located at 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD. The evening will include the opportunity to speak to students and staff about the unique Wye River experience, along with the chance to tour the building. Wye River Upper School is a college preparatory high school offering an engaging, supportive and challenging curriculum for students with a variety of learning challenges including ADHD, dyslexia and anxiety. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Kent. Transportation for students is available to and from Stevensville, Easton, and Chestertown. Register at wyeriverupperschool.org.

For more information, please contact Katie Theeke, Director of Admissions and Communications at 410-758-2922 or email katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org

www.wyeriverupperschool.org

Chesapeake College Experiences Phishing Attack

A phishing attack targeting Chesapeake College has resulted in the unauthorized access of a limited number of employee email accounts.

Chesapeake President Dr. Clifford Coppersmith said the attack occurred between January 3, 2018 and April 27, 2018. Upon learning of the issue, the College immediately hired a team of external cyber security professionals to conduct an extensive forensic investigation and manual document review to determine the extent of the incident and provide notice as soon as possible.

Beginning this week, a total of 610 students, faculty, staff and prospective employees are receiving notification letters mailed to their last known address informing them that the email accounts contained some of their personal information and may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party.

Based on the investigation, there has been no evidence to date that any of the personal information has been misused, but the College is taking every precaution to notify and protect affected members of the campus community and improve internal controls, according to Coppersmith.

“We regret this incident occurred and have worked as quickly as possible with a team of experienced consultants to modify and improve our cyber security practices,” he said. “These measures will not only enhance the security and privacy of personal information to keep it in our possession but also reduce the likelihood of future attacks of this kind.”

Coppersmith said that only individuals who receive notification letters from the College over the next two weeks are affected by the phishing attack.

The letters detail what personal information has potentially been impacted and provide guidelines on steps the individuals can take to further protect their information. Individuals whose Social Security numbers and/or driver’s license numbers were possibly affected are being offered a complimentary, one-year membership to a credit monitoring service.

“We are not alone in facing this difficult issue,” Coppersmith said. “Unfortunately, academic institutions across the United States are cyber targets and have experienced similar attacks. It underscores the importance of taking information security seriously and exercising appropriate password protocols to protect your, and others’, personal information.”

Individuals with any questions should call Chesapeake’s dedicated and confidential toll-free response line at 877-877-2596. The response line is staffed with professionals familiar with the incident and knowledgeable on what can be done to protect against misuse of information. The response line is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time.

 

Spy Spotlight: Shore Explorations with Patrick Rogan

Most of Patrick Rogan’s professional life is that of a designer of exhibitions for museums. His work, at that of his firm, assemble, works collaboratively with those institutions to tell compelling stories through images and other multimedia tools. The results of which can been seen in such nationally known museums as the , National Building Museum, Carnegie Institution for Science, or the Maryland Science Center, and more locally with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Horn Point Laboratories, the Talbot Historical Society, and Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area and Historic Easton.

But through the process of developing these installations, Patrick also saw that these techniques could also apply directly to the learning process of children. The act of gathering material, doing research, and designing presentations of findings fits exceptionally well in a new era for the modern classroom, where students can use the same tools to examine the past, present, and future of the Mid-Shore.

Drawing from the life and legacy of Talbot County’s Frederick Douglass, Rogan is working closely with Talbot County Public Schools, the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, and the Talbot Historical Society during his Bicentennial year on two week interpretive workshops with local sixth and seventh graders, and TCPS teachers Colin Stibbins and Kyndell Rainer, to lead them through an exploration of our history, ecosystem, and culture to seek a better understanding of their past, present and future on the Mid-Shore.

The Spy talked to Patrick at the Waterfowl Building last week about Shore Explorations one month studio where participants will be using the legacy of Douglass and some of the Talbot Historical Society’s remarkable photographs as essential tools in sharing their hopes for the future for our area.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. We have also added clips of a video that the students created this summer as another example of Shore Explorations special approach. For more information about Shore Explorations please go here.

 

 

 

Kent School to Host Secondary School Fair

On Monday, October 1, Kent School will host a secondary school fair for students in Grades Seven and Eight and their parents or guardians. The event will be held in the M.V. “Mike” Williams Gymnasium from 6:30 pm through 8:00 pm. The fair is free and open to the public. Several independent and area public schools, both day schools and boarding schools will participate. A partial list of participating schools includes The Gunston School, Mercersburg Academy, St. Andrew’s School, West Nottingham Academy, Madeira School, Westtown School, Woodberry Forest School, Kent County High School and Queen Anne’s County High School.

According to Tricia Cammerzell, Assistant Head of School for Advancement, “The purpose of the fair is to bring as many secondary schools together in one place at one time so students and parents can get an overview of the wonderful regional options for high school. This is an opportunity for families to speak with admission representatives and decide if they want to delve further into the admission process for a particular school.”

The secondary school process at Kent School is an intentional one that includes an academically rigorous program coupled with faculty support, small class discussions and student accountability. Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School said, “At Kent School we are proud of the work we do for each student to prepare them for success in their chosen high school. We conduct mock interviews, create classroom situations similar to high school classes and write in-depth recommendations. As stated in our mission, we are invested in ‘helping each student reach their full potential for academic, athletic, artistic and moral excellence’. The secondary school fair is an important tool to help guide students and parents through the discovery, application and enrollment process.” Mugele continued, “I hope families from throughout the Kent County and Queen Anne’s County communities will join us to learn more about some of these exceptional schools.”

Kent School is located at 6788 Wilkins Lane in historic Chestertown. For more information call 410-778-4100 ext. 110 or visit www.kentschool.org. Kent School serves children from Preschool through Grade Eight on its scenic campus on the bank of the Chester River.

Mid-Shore History: William Smith’s Washington College with Colin Dickson

It is a common mistake to assume that George Washington was the founder of Washington College in 1782. That was not the case, but the future first president of the United States did agree to allow the use his name for an entirely new liberal arts college in Chestertown as well as hard cash as a donation, which was hard to come by after the Revolution.

No, that honor goes to William Smith, a brilliant academic who had helped start the College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania) with Ben Franklin and became its first leader. Forced to leave Philly due to his loyalist politics, he came to Chestertown at the request of the town, to start a revolutionary new form of undergraduate education.

In the fall of each year, as Washington College starts its new semester, we like to share an interview with former WC professor Colin Dickson in 2012 about William Smith and how extraordinarily lucky Chestertown was to have such a visionary and innovator in American education start their new school.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length. For more information about Washington College please go here

Mid-Shore Education: Meg Bamford Takes the Helm of Radcliffe Creek School

When the Radcliffe Creek School started the process to fill its director’s position after its founder Molly Judge stepped down after twenty-two years, the board, staff, and parents knew these would be tough shoes to fill.

Judge, part gifted educator, part entrepreneur,  single-handedly built a school in Chestertown that would offer a real choice for children who learned differently and at a different pace than their contemporaries in traditional public and private schools. The results of that hard work were the creation of an institution that attracts over a hundred students from both the Eastern and Western Shores of Maryland.

That remarkable record of achievement was the reason that the school launched a national search almost two years ago but that strategy was no guarantee that the right successor would be identified.

Luckily for Radcliffe Creek School and for the Mid-Shore, those ambitions did indeed find that needle in the proverbial haystack with the selection of Meghan “Meg” Bamford as the second Head of School.

A product of the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, Meg Bamford not only has a distinguished academic background in special education, but struggled with her own learning challenges at an early age which led to earning two master’s degrees in education, with appointments to the highly regarded Landmark College in New England, and more recently as the head of student services with the Hopkinton School District in New Hampshire.

The Spy sat down with Meg a few weeks ago as she began her new job to reflect on her views of education, Radcliffe Creek, and the honor she feels by being selected to lead this exceptional school.

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

Kent School Adds Three New Board Members

The Kent School Board of Trustees has elected three new members for multi-year terms beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year. The Board of Trustees at Kent School is comprised of parents, alumni, parents of alumni and community leaders. Joining the Board are Karl Adler, Jamie Kirkpatrick and Kurt M. Landgraf. Kent School is an independent, not-for-profit school and is governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. The Board is charged with keeping the school “in trust” and securing the school’s future. Nancy Mugele, Head of School at Kent School said, “I am deeply grateful to Karl, Jamie, and Kurt for sharing their expertise with Kent School. Each of them has significant experience specific to the governance and life of independent schools. I am confident each will bring additional thoughtful and creative leadership to our school community and I cannot wait to work with them.”

Karl Adler is an experienced educator and school administrator who currently works as the Head of the Middle School at St. Anne’s School of Annapolis and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth summer program (currently Hong Kong, previously Chestertown). He has served as the middle school head of The Calverton School (Huntingtown) and the head of St. James Academy (Monkton). He served on the Vestry of St. James (Monkton), the Board of Directors for Scientists Cliffs Association (Port Republic) and the Board of Directors of Flag Harbor Condo Association (St. Leonard). Karl earned a BA in English from Muhlenberg College, an M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Goucher College and Post-Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from Johns Hopkins University where Nancy had the pleasure to teach him.

Jamie Kirkpatrick graduated from The Choate School and Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and served for six years in the Peace Corps before obtaining a Master of Arts Degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School in Massachusetts. He was Director of International Programs at Special Olympics from 1984-1989 and served as Director of College Counseling at the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland from 1993-2015. In 2008, he spent four months on a Teaching Fellowship at St. Andrews University in Scotland. After retiring from Landon, Jamie has worked as a consultant to the college counseling offices of St. Andrews Episcopal School, Georgetown Day School, Gunston School, and Severn School. Jamie is currently a freelance writer and photographer. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, and Philadelphia Inquirer; recent magazine articles have appeared in The Washington College Alumni Magazine and American Cowboy Magazine. His first book of photography, A Place to Stand, was published by The Chester River Press in 2015. Jamie writes and illustrates a weekly column called Musings for The Chestertown Spy. His second book, Musing Right Along, was published in May, 2017. A sequel—I’ll Be Right Back—was released this summer.

Kurt M. Landgraf, a former corporate executive with deep experience in financial accountability, information technology, and integrated business strategies, was named President of Washington College in July 2017. Kurt was a senior executive with DuPont and held a 13-year tenure as President and CEO of Educational Testing Service (ETS), the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization and a leader in educational research. He also served as vice chairman of New Jersey’s Higher Education Commission, the state’s governing board for colleges and universities, and president of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Kurt earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Wagner College, and then launched his business career in the pharmaceuticals industry. He went on to earn three master’s degrees: an M.A. in economics from Pennsylvania State University, an M.Ed. in educational administration from Rutgers University, and an M.S. in sociology from Western Michigan University. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program and serves on the boards of Corning Incorporated and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.

In addition to electing these new trustees, the Board also elected Harry ‘Stoney’ Duffey and Thomas Gale to the role of Trustee Emeritus. This designation recognizes a long serving former Trustee who has made an extraordinary contribution to the School. Mugele continued, “Both Stoney and Tom have served the school in vital ways over the School’s fifty year history. I am certain we would not be where we are today nor poised for future successes without their wisdom and dedication.”

Kent School, located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown, is an independent school serving boys and girls from Preschool through Grade Eight. For more information about Kent School visit www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110

Hogan Establishes Statewide Schools Investigator General

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order Tuesday forming an Office of Education Accountability, an independently appointed investigator general, to look into allegations of corruption, abuse and other improprieties in the public education systems across the state.

The governor’s announcement comes on the heels of several high-profile scandals in Maryland school systems.

In Prince George’s County, school board members last year accused county school system leadership of artificially inflating graduation rates by altering students’ grades, and in March cited unapproved pay raises for some school system staff.

Hogan highlighted former Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance’s recent jail sentence after he pleaded guilty in March to perjury as an example of the need for more oversight. Dance failed to disclose income he received from a company that he helped to obtain a no-bid contract with the school system.

“After repeated allegations of wrongdoing, mismanagement and corruption, citizens have lost confidence in the leadership of their local school systems,” Hogan said at a State House news conference. “Our children cannot and should not have to wait until the Legislature returns in January,” the governor said. “They deserve action beginning right now.”

The newly formed office “will act as a liaison between local boards of education, the state Board of Education and Maryland’s concerned citizens,” Hogan said. “This new unit will be responsible for analyzing, coordinating and providing recommendations on matters including procurement improprieties, abuse, neglect, safety, grade fixing, graduation requirements, assessments, educational facilities and budgetary issues.”

A bill Hogan, a Republican running for re-election, spearheaded earlier this year to establish an investigative oversight office for schools failed in the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

The governor’s executive order will be followed by the introduction of the Accountability in Education Act of 2019 to the General Assembly after the legislative session begins Jan. 9, Hogan said. The act would establish the Office of State Education Investigator General, an independent part of the Maryland State Department of Education, and would be appointed by Hogan, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert and House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel.

“This new office will be charged with investigating complaints of unethical, unprofessional, improper or illegal conduct in our schools,” Hogan said, and “will be able to make inquiries, have the ability to obtain information by subpoena and hold hearings in order to get to the truth.”

John Woolums, the director of governmental relations for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, said his office has previously opposed similar legislation to create a statewide inspector general, and their position would not change with the governor’s announcement.

“It’s not reflective of any reluctance to be subject to accountability but in fact it’s because there is ample authority residing with the state’s superintendent of schools and the state Board of Education to provide oversight and enforce state laws and regulations that they determine are not being followed or adhered to by local school systems,” Woolums said. “There have been bills in the past introduced to create an inspector general and we’ve traditionally and consistently opposed those.”

Hogan appointed Valerie Radomsky to be the director of the newly formed office. Radomsky, a former Baltimore County school teacher, is a Board of Public Works coordinator in the Maryland comptroller’s office.

The new office would be responsible for responding to complaints and referring them to the State Board of Education or other public school agencies. The complaints, and their resolutions, would be maintained in a database, Hogan said. An annual report of the findings and recommendations would be submitted to the General Assembly, he added.

Hogan’s gubernatorial opponent, Democratic candidate Ben Jealous, criticized Hogan’s announcement.

“A political investigator run out of the governor’s office won’t change the fact that our schools are underfunded by billions of dollars and our teachers are underpaid. As governor, I will fully fund our schools, not blame our hardworking teachers and support staff.”

Hogan maintains he has spent record amounts of money on education in Maryland, in excess of the Legislature’s mandated funding formulas.

Jealous announced a piece of his own education agenda Tuesday, promising the creation of a Teacher School Supply Fund. The money would come from other Marylanders choosing to donate a portion of their tax returns.

Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost voiced her disappointment at Hogan’s decision to sign the executive order.

“On what should be an exciting first day (of school), to hear Gov. Hogan highlight failures when he, for the past three years has underfunded our schools…” Bost said. “The governor’s office already has agencies available to look into claims of fraud. This is a diversion of resources, and campaign rhetoric.”

By Brooks DuBose