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July 11, 2013
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Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Schools

A few words from State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery

Summer is in full swing, but Maryland educators are still busy. More than 7,000 teachers and administrators are taking part in Maryland's third and final round of Educator Effectiveness Academies, completing the largest professional development program in State education history. The Academies are preparing educators for full implementation of the Common Core State Standards this fall.

Eleven regional academies funded by Maryland's Race to the Top grant, are being held throughout the State. Some were held last month, three more got underway yesterday, and there are more to come. The academies involve teams of educators from all 1,450 Maryland public schools, as well as representatives from every college in the State. Academies also were held in 2012 and 2011.

This third round of academies is building school system capacity for full implementation of the Common Core State Standards and enhanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Master teachers are focusing on the necessary shifts in instruction for both mathematics and English/language arts, examining resources available from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and applying best practices to classroom instruction. Principals will be examining best practices for observing Common Core and STEM-centric classrooms.

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While Maryland teachers aren't the only ones in school this summer. Some of Maryland's top students are taking part in the 2013 Maryland Summer Centers Program, which provide a variety of educational opportunities for the State's gifted and talented students. The program is in its 46th year.

Coordinated through the Maryland State Department of Education, in partnership with public and nonpublic agencies, the program provides the State's diverse gifted and talented student population with advanced, rigorous, experiential learning opportunities that nurture these students' talents and abilities within unique learning environments. Each Center is unique and interesting. For example, programs this week in the performing arts, creative writing, computer science, robotics, and space science.

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One of Maryland's great education resources are the local Judy Centers, which offer more than 12,000 children, ages birth through kindergarten, and their low-income families throughout the State high quality early childhood education programs. The Centers also provide critical services, such as full-day and full-year programs, healthcare, parenting education, early intervention services, and family engagement opportunities.

It is difficult for us to stop bragging about the Judy Centers. Data shows that children served by Judy Centers are more ready for school than their peers who did not benefit from the Judy Center experience. An early start in education, combined with the resources the centers offer, just makes good sense.

The annual Judith P. Hoyer Foundation Awards Celebration and Luncheon was held last week to honor those Judy Centers that have gone above and beyond in improving their partnerships over the past year. The Kent County Judy Center received the Most Improved Partnership Award, while the DRU Judy Center at the Historical Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary School in Baltimore received the Innovative Spirit Award. Congratulations to these two centers – and all of our local Judy Centers for the work they do.

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MSDE has released a great new resource on the Common Core State Standards. "The Top 10 Things Parents Need to Know about the Common Core State Standards" provides a snapshot on the important changes taking place in our classrooms. Take a Look!

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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.

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Twitter users can connect with us @MdPublicSchools for fast-breaking information.


July 12-13 – Maryland PTA Meeting - Towson

July 23 – Maryland State Board of Education Meeting

News From The Board

June 25, 2013
Maryland approves the Next Generation Science Standards. The Board makes final amendments to its School Discipline report, and we get the latest on Race to the Top. All, plus Board Briefs and the Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year.

Judy Center Award - Kent County

July 2, 2013
The Judy Center at H.H. Garnett ES wins the award for Most Improved Partnership. The program grows from nine to 17 partners under the leadership of Coordinator Donna Bedell.

Judy Center Award - Baltimore City
July 2, 2013
The Judy Center at The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor ES wins the award for Innovative Spirit. Coordinator Cathy Frazier and others talk about the Backpack program.

In the News

State Superintendent Says Maryland Headed in Right Direction

Learning About 9-11 in Special Summer Course
Baltimore Sun

The Common Core and Data Collection Myths
National Public Radio

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The Maryland State Board of Education last month adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a new set of voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education.

With the unanimous vote, Maryland became the fourth state to adopt the NGSS since they were released in April.  The standards can be found here:

State Board member James DeGraffenreidt (center), along with member Donna Hill Staton (left) and Board President Charlene Dukes, discuss the Next Generation Science Standards.

State Board member James DeGraffenreidt (center), along with member Donna Hill Staton (left) and Board President Charlene Dukes, discuss the Next Generation Science Standards.

The goal of the NGSS is to provide all students with a foundation in science that blends practice and content, allowing high school graduates to construct arguments based on scientific principles. 

Planning for the introduction of the NGSS has already begun in Maryland.  Full implementation is expected to be complete in time for the 2017-18 school year.

Dr. S. James Gates, University System of Maryland Regents Professor, John S. Toll Professor of Physics, and Director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland—who also serves on the State Board of Education—said the new standards represent a great leap forward. 

“Until now, in-depth science education has been for an elite few.  These standards will make it an integral part of education for every student,” said Dr. Gates.  “These standards provide the foundation for the jobs of tomorrow.  They can be the key to unlocking the American dream.”

Maryland is one of 26 states and their broad-based teams that have worked together for nearly two years on the standards, with a 41-member writing team and partners.  The goal has been to develop standards identifying science and engineering practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be fully prepared for college, careers and citizenship.

The NGSS were built upon a vision for science education established by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011.

“This is science for everybody,” explained Dr. Stephen Pruitt, vice president of Achieve, Inc., who helped coordinate development of the Standards.  “The standards will help students prepare for advanced level work.”

The development of the NGSS was entirely state-driven, with no federal funds or incentives to create or adopt the standards. The process was primarily funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a leading philanthropy dedicated to improving science education in the U.S. 

The NGSS are grounded in a sound, evidence-based foundation of current scientific research—including research on the ways students learn science effectively—and identify the science all K–12 students should know.


Longtime Maryland educator Dr. Jack Smith has been named Chief Academic Officer for the Maryland State Department of Education.  The Maryland State Board of Education approved his appointment last month.

Dr. Jack Smith

Dr. Jack Smith

Dr. Smith will provide leadership, guidance, administration, and supervision to MSDE’s continued efforts to strengthen student academic performance.  He comes to MSDE from Calvert County, where he has spent the past seven years as Superintendent of Schools.  He is the current Maryland Superintendent of the Year.

“Jack Smith has built his career working to improve learning and increase student achievement,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.  “He helped build the outstanding schools of Calvert County, as a superintendent, administrator, and principal.  Nobody is more qualified to lead our efforts to strengthen every classroom in Maryland.”

Beginning his career as a teacher and administrator in Washington State, Dr. Smith later spent five years as a principal in Japan.  In Calvert County, Smith spent time as a middle school principal, director of curriculum, and deputy superintendent before being named superintendent. 

During his tenure in Calvert County, the system dramatically increased the number of students involved in AP and other rigorous academic programs.  The system enhanced and modernized many of its Career and Technology Education programs, and led the planning and implementation of significant advances in the system’s middle and high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs.

Dr. Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Washington University, and a doctorate in instructional leadership from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

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. Interim State Superintendent of Schools Bernard J. Sadusky.  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: