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September 24, 2010
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State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick

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

Maryland is proud of the student work going on in Maryland high schools. Not only do our schools produce outstanding young mathematicians, writers and scientists, but also artists.

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) is currently putting a spotlight on visual artists from Maryland schools. Department officials this week hosted the opening of a special exhibit in Washington, D.C., featuring the works of three dozen Maryland high school students from 10 public school systems. The juried exhibition, part of the USDE’s Headquarters Student Art Exhibit Program, provides visual art students and their teachers the opportunity to display their creative work in a highly public place that honors their work as an effective path to learning.

The student work is absolutely breathtaking, and the students are to be congratulated. The students whose work is on the display are: from Anne Arundel County - DeAndre Knight and Ashley Lim from North County High School, Louis Fratino from South River High School; and Kristin Schmit and Katie Emmit from Southern High School; from Baltimore City—Javonia Hartman, Nasheam Rodgers, Mark McGlothin, Gregory Jenkins, Ericka Kimbrough-Byrd, Brieawna Mason, and Stacey Simmons from Heritage High School; from Baltimore County—Katrina Navarro and Lauren Hartman from Carver Center for Arts and Technology; Rodnique Steele and Bernadette Szrom from Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts; and Annie Bishai, Molly Broom, and Emma Popp from Towson High School; from Calvert County—Josh Carter from Huntingtown High School; from Carroll County—Dillon McGuire and Brett Potter from Westminster High School.

From Howard County—Briana Hanlon and Jane Yoon from Marriotts Ridge High School; Katherine Chorosinkski and Peter Favinger from River Hill High School; and Joshu Tulkoff from Wilde Lake High School; From Prince George’s High School—Shonneri Herndon, Jessica Williams, and Sha’Toni Williams from Suitland Visual and Performing Arts Center; and Orin Webb from Laurel High School; from St. Mary’s County—Andrew Ridenour from Leonardtown High School; and Hannah Walker from Dr. James A. Forrest Career & Technology Center; from Washington County—Josh Hess from Clear Spring High School; and Geoff Ditlow from South Hagerstown High School; and from Worcester County—Lindsay Meeks from Snow Hill High School.


Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 – Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Ocean City

October 8 – Teacher of the Year Gala

October 15 - 16 – Maryland State Education Association, Ocean City

October 26 – State Board Meeting, Baltimore

News from the Board
September 9, 2010
Kent Island High School in Queen Anne's County celebrates its success with a visit from Maryland Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick. Kent Island emphasizes participation in Advanced Placement courses and exams, and variety in its curriculum.
Kent Island High School in Queen Anne's County

In the News

“Maryland Seniors Perform Better on the SAT”
WCBC Radio, September 16

“Environment Added to State Curriculum”
Baltimore Sun, September 21

“Greening the Curriculum”
Baltimore Sun, September 23

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Maryland students continue to rise above their peers across the nation on the SAT, Advanced Placement (AP), and ACT national assessments, according to newly released data.

Board member Sayed Naved discusses the latest assessment data during this week’s State Board meeting.

Board member Sayed Naved discusses the latest assessment data during this week’s State Board meeting.

Improving achievement by Maryland students is being tallied even as diversity among test-takers has reached an all-time high.  Maryland’s composite SAT score jumped from 1497 in 2009 to 1502 in 2010, a five point increase on the 2400-point scale.  That was the largest increase by any state with more than 60 percent of its students taking the SAT. 

Scores in the mathematics portion of the SAT jumped four points, from 502 to 506; critical reading jumped one point, from 500 to 501; and writing held steady at 495.

The State Board this week took a closer look at the national data.  Dr. Roni Jolley, MSDE liaison with the College Board, found that student performance in the AP exam in Maryland continues at an impressive pace.  Student performance improved by 4 percent between 2009 and 2010, even as the number of students taking the exams grew 7.8 percent.  Over the past five years, both participation and performance by Maryland students has grown significantly.

Scores on the increasingly popular ACT exam, released last month, also showed improvement and a dramatic increase in participation.  The state’s 2010 graduates earned an average composite score of 22.3 on the college admission and placement exam, up from 22.1 last year.  That’s well above the national average of 21.0, which actually fell over the previous year. The exam is scored on a scale of 1-36.

Board members Donna Hill Staton and Sayed Naved praised the scores on the ACT exam, and suggested that more students consider the ACT as a pre-college exam.  Indeed, Maryland students have increasingly been attracted to ACT.  The number of Maryland students taking the ACT exam increased 9.4 percent in 2010, and has jumped from 7,758 students in 2006 to 11,924 this year. 

In a prepared statement, College Board President Gaston Caperton lauded Maryland’s achievement in the SAT. 

“Both the number of minority students in Maryland who plan to go on to college and the number of students who will be the first in their families to seek a college education is on the rise,” he said.  “For the U.S. to maintain its leadership position in an increasingly competitive world economy, we must commit ourselves to preparing all students for the challenges of higher education.”


The Maryland State Board of Education this week gave its approval to a regulation embedding environmental education into the Maryland curriculum for all students, prek through high school.

Board members stopped short of making environmental education a Maryland high school graduation requirement.  

Board member Donna Hill Staton said she was concerned that adding another requirement to the graduation regulation could start to “overwhelm the system.”  

Under the new regulation, high school students will not be required to take additional courses, but environmental education will be embedded into pre-existing courses, such as biology. 

The regulation grew out of the work of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, launched by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2008 and co-chaired by State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick and Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin.  Dr. Grasmick worked closely with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation over the past two years to develop a regulation that would assure students of a strong environmental curriculum.

Don Baugh, director of education for the Foundation, said the new regulation has flexibility for local systems while providing new “educational opportunities for Maryland students.” 

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