MSDE Bulletin Banner
December 22, 2010
  | MSDE Home | Newsroom | | School Improvement |
State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick

A few words from State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick

The holiday season truly is the most wonderful time of the year. The weather gets a bit chilly, but hearts seem to warm quite nicely. As the year nears its close, it is natural for us to reflect on the work taking place in Maryland public education. It has been another year of tremendous accomplishment on behalf of the children of our State, and I want to take a moment to thank you for your passion, innovation, and dedication.

Maryland education has experienced another groundbreaking year. This past summer, Maryland was awarded one of 10 grants in round two of the highly competitive federal Race to the Top competition. We began implementing the $250 million grant as soon as the announcement was made, taking aim at improving educator effectiveness, strengthening assessments and data collection, and bringing new hope to chronically underperforming schools. Last January, Education Week’s 2010 Quality Counts report ranked Maryland’s education Number One in the nation for the second straight year, showing that Maryland has the most consistent quality of any state system. Further, Maryland’s public school students continued to rank among the nation’s best in Advanced Placement (AP) participation and performance, being tapped #1 nationwide in the percentage of graduating seniors who have passed an AP exam. Maryland’s high school graduation rate jumped more than a percentage point this year, while the dropout rate fell. The exciting news in all of this great data is that improvements are across-the-board. We are seeing strengthened achievement in all racial subgroups. Parents are finding better schools in all parts of our State.

As we welcome the New Year, I encourage you to reflect on these achievements—as well as the many, many others I’m unable to mention here. And I wish each of you peace and joy throughout the season.

* * *

Maryland this month welcomed 307 new Nationally Board Certified Teachers, the seventh highest total in the nation. It was exactly the same number of NBCTs as in 2009. Our state ranks 14th in the nation in the total number of NBCTs since the national program’s inception.

National Board Certification is a rigorous program, and the teachers who take part in this process represent some of the best and brightest our fine classrooms have to offer. We congratulate our new NBCTs, and are proud to have them teaching our children.

* * *

Follow MSDE on Facebook!
Follow MSDE on Facebook!

Don’t forget to connect with MSDE on Facebook. Our department’s Facebook page provides regular updates on state initiatives, MSDE videos, and links to education news throughout the State.


January 12, 2011 – Maryland General Assembly Session Opens

January 25-26, 2011 – State Board Meeting, Baltimore

News from the Board
December 14, 2010
News from the Board features a detailed discussion on the new evaluation plan for teachers and principals -- with Dr. Nancy Grasmick and Betty Weller, V.P. of the Maryland State Education Association. Also, an update on the STEM program, charter schools, and National Title One honorees.

2011 Blue Ribbon Schools
December 17, 2010
Dr. Nancy Grasmick announces the six schools named Maryland Blue Ribbon winners for 2011. Two elementary, two middle, and two high schools all move on now to national Blue Ribbon competition.

In the News

Six Maryland Schools Receive Blue Ribbon Designation
Baltimore Sun

New Teacher Evaluation System Deadline Extended
WBAL – Channel 11

Superintendent Touts Race to the Top
Salisbury Daily Times

Having trouble viewing this email?
Click here to view on the web.

Click here for a PDF version of the MSDE December 22, 2010 Education Bulletin.

If you would prefer not to receive future Newsletters from us, simply click here, and insert in the subject line, Unsubscribe.


Maryland last week announced some of its most prestigious school honors, naming the six State Blue Ribbon Schools and two Title I Distinguished Schools.

State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick (left), Towson High School Principal Jane Barrenger, Baltimore County Superintendent Joe Hairston, and Assistant Superintendent Roger Plunkett celebrate Towson High’s selection as a State Blue Ribbon School.

State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick (left), Towson High School Principal Jane Barrenger, Baltimore County Superintendent Joe Hairston, and Assistant Superintendent Roger Plunkett celebrate Towson High’s selection as a State Blue Ribbon School.

The Blue Ribbon schools are: Severna Park High School, Anne Arundel County; Towson High School, Baltimore County; Oklahoma Road Middle School, Carroll County; Lime Kiln Middle School, Howard County; Bel Air Elementary School, Allegany County, and Mt. Washington Elementary, Baltimore City.

The Title I Distinguished Schools are Grasonville Elementary School in Queen Anne’s County and Milbrook Elementary School in Baltimore County.

"Maryland has many outstanding teachers and administrators helping our schools achieve state and national recognition, and these schools have separated themselves from the pack," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick.  "We congratulate the students, teachers, parents, administrators and community members of these outstanding schools, which serve as gleaming examples of educational excellence."

The names of the six State Blue Ribbon Schools have been submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Education for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program.  They are being recognized by the Maryland State Department of Education on the basis of rigorous state and national requirements for high achievement and dramatic improvement.  National winners will be announced in the fall of 2011.

The two Title I schools were among the Title I schools from across the U.S. that will be honored by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of State Title I Directors in a special ceremony in Florida this coming January.

Title I is the largest federal aid program in K-12 education.  Schools use Title I funds to improve the education of all students in high poverty areas.  MSDE administers Maryland’s Title I program and nominated the two schools after a thorough review of student achievement data based on the Maryland School Assessments.


Northrop Grumman Corporation last week presented the Maryland State Department of Education with a two-year grant designed to bolster science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs in the State.  The $250,000 grant will be used to build a pipeline of STEM-prepared Maryland graduates, which are critical to the State’s aerospace and biomedical industries.

The funds will expand the Primary Talent Development Early Learning Program in grades preK – 2 in selected schools to help encourage STEM subjects at an early age.  Funding also will be used to implement Project Lead the Way Gateway to Technology, an activities-based program designed to help students see the connections among STEM courses at the middle school level.  There also is funding for STEM Maryland Summer Centers for gifted and talented students, as well as other activities.

"This grant will help broaden the significant progress made to date in encouraging—at a young age—student interest in math and science-related studies, regardless of their career pursuits," said Rick Schmaley, Vice President of Human Resources and Administration at Northrop Grumman's Linthicum, Md.-based Electronic Systems sector, in announcing the award before the State Board of Education.  “Without a strong educational base in math and science, it's difficult—though not impossible—for students in high school and beyond to be successful academically in preparing themselves for engineering-related career fields."

State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said Northrop Grumman has been a strong and steadfast partner in Maryland education initiatives for many years.

"Our State is so fortunate to have corporate citizens such as Northrop Grumman work with us to continue the improvement going on in Maryland public school classrooms," Dr. Grasmick said.  "It isn’t just the funds they provide, but also the personal commitment of many Northrop Grumman staff members.  I have seen scientists and engineers working with our students and teachers, explaining scientific principles and joining in classroom work."


The Maryland Education Bulletin is published by Maryland State Department of Education, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. 410-767-0600. 410-333-6442 TTY. 1-888-246-0016. Nancy S Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools.  Stephen Brooks, Deputy State Superintendent, Office of Finance. John E Smeallie, Deputy State Superintendent, Office of Administration. James H DeGraffenreidt, Junior, President, State Board of Education. Martin O’Malley, Governor. A publication of the Office of Academic Policy. Bill Reinhard and Gail Tucker, Editors. MSDE Videos: