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March 2, 2011
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State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick

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

A celebration of reading is taking place in Maryland and throughout the nation this month. Libraries and schools are taking part in Read Across America/ Read Across Maryland throughout the month of March. Marylandís slogan for the campaign is ď30 Minutes for 30 Days.Ē

Iíll be heading to the Baltimore County Public Libraryís original Storyville at the Rosedale branch today to read a Dr. Seuss story to some neighborhood children. Other members of the State cabinet are fanning out to schools and libraries throughout the State to read to young people.

It is truly one of my favorite events of the year.

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In these difficult economic times, it is exciting to see staff give back. MSDEís participation in the 2010 Maryland Charity Campaign concluded with unprecedented success this year. The efforts of the Departmentís dedicated Campaign Team, led by Chezia Calloway and supported by employees throughout the organization, resulted in not only attaining but surpassing our goal of $92,000. In fact, MSDE employees contributed an amazing $104, 924.84!

To bolster its efforts, the MSDE Campaign Team created special initiatives, accumulated exciting incentives, and fostered amazing commitment on the part of the MSDE family.

In addition to the impressive campaign total, the Department also increased its number of Leadership Givers (contributions of $500 or more) from 50 in the 2009 campaign to 63 this year, and achieved an uptick in overall participation to 63 percent. MSDE staff has demonstrated achievement in the truest sense through its commitment to this vital campaign. Many more Marylanders will receive much-needed services because of this record level of giving.

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March is Womenís History Month and the national theme for this year is Our History Is Our Strength. This past year was the 90th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the United States.

MSDE has a Womenís History Month display in the Liberty Street lobby focusing on the Suffrage Movement, and highlighting the role of Marylanders.

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Follow MSDE on Facebook!
Follow MSDE on Facebook!

Donít forget to connect with MSDE on Facebook. Our departmentís Facebook page provides regular updates on state initiatives, MSDE videos, and links to education news throughout the State.


March 3 – Read Across Maryland Celebration at the Rosedale Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library

March 10 – Blue Ribbon Visit to Lime Kiln Middle, Howard County

March 14 – Blue Ribbon Dinner, Annapolis

March 22-23 Ė State Board Meeting, Baltimore

News from the Board - February
February 22, 2011
Board News in February looks at the model policy created by the Board of Education to deal with gang activity in schools, from which other systems will model their own policies. Also, updates on Race to the Top and Environmental Literacy.

Gifted & Talented - EGATE Awards
February 16, 2011
Maryland Schools Superintendent Dr. Nancy Grasmick and the Maryland State Advisory Council for Gifted & Talented Education celebrate in Annapolis at the inaugural EGATE Awards.

In the News

Our Say: Stop Signs for School Buses
Baltimore Sun

Bill Gates: How Teacher Development Could Revolutionize Schools
Washington Post

Kevin Maxwell: AP Courses Preparing More Students for College than Ever Before
Annapolis Capital

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The Maryland State Board of Education last week withdrew a proposed amendment to the new environmental education requirement, clarifying the way systems implement the curriculum.

The State Board last week took action to clarify its interest in a strong environmental literacy requirement.

The State Board last week took action to clarify its interest in a strong environmental literacy requirement.

While the requirement still does not mandate a separate environmental education course as a necessary component of graduation, it states that each system must implement a locally designed environmental education program at the high school level.  It can be added to an existing course or be a stand alone course.  MSDE will review local curriculum to make certain the policy has been adhered to, and the State Superintendent will approve each local plan.

Board member Donna Hill Staton said she remained uncomfortable with the idea of requiring another course before granting a Maryland high school diploma.  “We do not want to overburden our kids in stand alone courses,” she noted.

Some environmental education advocates had complained that a proposed amendment by the State Board to the graduation requirement could have allowed local systems to skirt a strong environmental education program by letting students fulfill the requirement by taking pre-existing courses that might not have been infused with environmental literacy standards.  That was not the intention of the board, said Board President James DeGraffenreidt, and the Board tightened its language.

If finalized by the State Board after the comment period, the requirement will go into effect for students entering high school in the 2011-2012 school year.


The Maryland State Board of Education last week set into place a model gang policy to address possible gang activity or similar destructive group behavior in public schools.

Maryland’s model gang policy prohibits gang activity in schools, as well as reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report suspected gang activity.  It also set into place a definition of gangs and gang activity. 

Under the policy, each local school system must establish a policy or regulation based on the State Board’s model policy.  Local policies must be developed in consultation with local stakeholders, and be submitted to the State Superintendent by September 1.

Development of the policy was required by the General Assembly in action taken during the 2010 session.

MSDE worked in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, Maryland State Police, Department of Human Services, and local systems.  Additional input came from dozens of stakeholders, including the Maryland Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

“This was a very difficult task,” said State Board member Luisa Montero-Diaz.  “The fact that you had a diverse group of stakeholders involved makes me feel better about it.”

In a related development, the State Board asked MSDE staff to compile information on local system discipline policies. 

The model gang policy can be found by clicking here .


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: