January 6, 2001 Vol. 11, No. 1

10 Earn Blue Ribbons

     Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick has announced that 10 public middle and high schools have been selected as 1999-2000 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.
"These schools are a testament to the dedication and collective efforts of teachers, administrators, students and communities," said Dr. Grasmick. "They are models of high performance throughout Maryland."
The prestigious award means that each school has demonstrated high achievement in the following areas: Student performance as measured by assessments and other data-based areas, student focused instruction, school organization, challenging standards and curriculum, active teaching and learning, parent and community involvement, professional development opportunities, and leadership and decision making.
Maryland's Blue Ribbon Schools will become part of a state network of Blue Ribbon Schools working with the Maryland State Department of Education in school improvement and policy. Winning schools received a Maryland Blue Ribbon Flag, a State School Board plaque and a $1,000 cash award. Corporate sponsors AT&T and State Farm Insurance will provide instructional materials and other awards.
The 1999-2000 Blue Ribbon schools will be honored by the Maryland Legislature on January 20. This year's winners are:

  • Baltimore City College (Baltimore City)

  • Bel Air Middle (Harford)

  • Clear Spring High School (Washington)

  • Damascus High School (Montgomery)

  • Middletown High (Frederick)

  • Plum Point Middle (Calvert)

  • Richard Montgomery High School (Montgomery)

  • South Carroll High (Carroll)

  • Paint Branch High School (Montgomery)

  • Pocomoke High (Worcester)

Dale Named Top Superintendent

     Jack Dale, Superintendent of the Frederick County Public School System since 1996, has been selected Maryland's Superintendent of the Year for 2000 by the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland.
Dale was selected on the basis of leadership for learning, communication skills, professionalism and community involvement.
"Citizen involvement is something I believe in and am passionate about," he said after being recognized at the recent State Board of Education meeting.

Governor, State Board Meet on Budget

     The Maryland State Board of Education, in a rare public meeting with Governor Parris N. Glendening, stressed the need to fund the proposed Academic Intervention Plan which would help students at all levels who fall behind their peers in the classroom.
The mid-December meeting in Baltimore ended with Governor Glendening making one commitment-to put $1 million in his FY2001 budget for salary increases for key State Department of Education employees whose salaries are not equitable with comparable positions in local school systems. The meeting covered considerable ground, including the board's proposed $32.7 million plan to recruit and retain teachers.
The discussions led to the state's highest-ranking elected official, and the board members he appoints, agreeing to make similar meetings a part of their future schedules.
Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick and State Board members stressed to the Governor the need to fund the $49 million Academic Intervention Plan as Maryland prepares to launch the High School Assessments testing program. Starting with the freshman class of fall 2001, students will be required to pass the rigorous tests in a variety of subjects to earn a Maryland diploma. Board members told the Governor it would be difficult to have a testing program which would affect the awarding of diplomas unless the state provided additional academic help for students not succeeding at grade level.
Governor Glendening said he plans at the upcoming legislative session to call for an overall $130 million increase in education spending. He said it would be difficult to meet requests in full regarding academic intervention and teacher recruitment/mentoring.
"We are not going to give everything requested," Governor Glendening told the Board. "But I think you will see some progress."

Influential Council Named to Advise on Minority Achievement

     Some of the most involved and influential people in the state of Maryland have accepted School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick's invitation to be part of the State Department of Education's Achievement Initiative for Maryland's Minority Students (AIMMS).
The council will advise Dr. Grasmick, who will serve as the AIMMS chairperson, and the State Board of Education on issues relating to minority achievement. The council is another aggressive step Dr. Grasmick and the Board have taken toward closing the gap in educational achievement between white and minority students.
Skipp Sanders, Deputy State Superintendent for Administration, and Richard J. Steinke, Deputy State Superintendent for School Improvement, will serve as liaisons between the council and MSDE.
The following are the original members named to the council:
William Blakey
, Esquire; Deborah Bostian (President, Maryland PTA); Dunbar Brooks (Manager, Baltimore Metropolitan Council); Jacqueline Brown (Coordinator of Academic Support for Howard County); Steve Burch (CEO, COMCAST); Ella White Campbell (Community Activist); Benjamin Carson (Professor and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery of Johns Hopkins Medical Institution); Anthony Coffield (President, Associated Black Charities); Dane Coleman (President, Maryland Association of Boards of Education); Elijah Cummings (U.S. House of Representatives); Barbara Dezmon (Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools); Steve Geppi (CEO, Diamond Comics Distributors); Robert I.H. Hammerman (Chief Judge, Retired, Circuit Court for Baltimore City); Carla Hayden (Director, Enoch Pratt Library); Delores Kelley (Maryland State Senate); Ernest J. Leatherbury, Sr. (Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Maryland State Police); Herbert Lindsey (President, Maryland NAACP); Roger Lyons, Sr. (President, Baltimore Uban League); Elfreda Massie (Deputy Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools); Irving McPhail (Chancellor, Community College of Baltimore County); John Paterakis, Sr. (Chief Executive Officer, H&S Bakeries); Howard Rawlings (Maryland House of Delegates); Silvia Rodriguez (Chair, Maryland Commission on Human Relations); George Russell, Esquire; Elijah Saunders (Associate Professor , Division of Hypertension-University of Maryland Hospital Systems); Lawrence A. Shulman, Esquire; and Levi Watkins, Cardiac Surgeon-Johns Hopkins Hospital.

State Moves to Avert Principal Shortage

     State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick, citing a State Department of Education survey showing that 75 percent of Maryland's middle and high school principals are expected to retire before 2005, has announced formation of a task force to recruit principals on all levels and improve their training.
The timing of a potential principal shortage is of considerable concern to the state. The freshman of 2001 (the graduating class of 2005) will be the first whose state diplomas will be contingent upon passing the new high school assessment tests.
The Maryland Task Force on the Principalship will recommend ways to improve the preparation and recruitment of principals, and the structure of the principalship. Michael Hickey, Superintendent of Howard County Public Schools, and
Don Barron, Principal of Montgomery Village Middle School in Montgomery County, will co-chair the task force of 19 members.
 "It's time we recognized that the principal who provides good instructional leadership-not merely administrative leadership-makes the biggest difference in his or her school," said Dr. Grasmick. "And the foundation for this instructional leadership is not only the capacity to analyze and make connections between state and school performance data, but to provide for this capacity in each educator."
   By 1996, more than 20 studies nationwide documented the profound effect of the principal on school and student performance. Some studies said active instructional leadership by a principal is the best indicator of higher student achievement.

Stenzler Recovering

     Yale Stenzler, Executive Director of the Public School Construction Program, wants friends and colleagues to know he is on the road to recovery from December surgery.
"The past weeks have been difficult and demanding," he said. "Your cards, letters, telephone calls, notes, thoughts and prayers have been supportive, meaningful and encouraging."

MSDE Bulletin
School & Community Outreach Office
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Web site: www.msde.state.md.us

Ronald Peiffer
Assistant State Superintendent

Neil H. Greenberger