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November 20, 2009
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State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick

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


The Maryland State Department of Education this week has been celebrating American Education Week. It has given me the opportunity to do something I never tire of: talking about the good work taking place in our schools.

We are so fortunate in our State to have many terrific schools. They are located everywhere – in small towns, rural areas, suburban districts, and big cities. Each of these schools shares some important similarities: strong leadership from the principal, outstanding faculty, hard-working students who understand the importance of what they are doing, and strong involvement from parents.

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It was a pleasure for me to join Governor O’Malley and the First Lady last week at Dumbarton Middle School in Towson as students showed their appreciation to the nation’s veterans and families of service members.

First Lady Katie O’Malley and I encouraged school children across the State to send letters through “Operation Appreciation,” a campaign spearheaded by Blue Star Families. On Veteran’s Day, Dumbarton students presented us with several bags of letters that will go to veterans and the family members of those currently serving.

The letter writing campaign continues through this month. For more information, click here.

First Lady O’Malley, Governor O’Malley, Dr. Grasmick, and Brigadier General James Adkins receive letters from Dumbarton students.

First Lady O’Malley, Governor O’Malley, Dr. Grasmick, and Brigadier General James Adkins receive letters from Dumbarton students.


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This week marks the first anniversary of the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, which Governor O’Malley launched with Share Our Strength in 2008. The partnership’s goal is to increase participation in four federal nutrition programs – three of which are administered by MSDE. These are the Summer Food Service Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

To further spotlight the partnership, Governor O’Malley proclaimed Nov. 16-20 as “Maryland Hunger Awareness Week.”

I will join U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards at an event at Prince George’s Community College today to spotlight the Partnership. Without proper nutrition, our children simply cannot reach their greatest potential.


Calendar

November 20 – One-Year Anniversary Event, Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD

December 10-11 – State Board Meeting, Baltimore


In the News

National, State Leaders Tour Local School
Southern Maryland News

Baltimore County Celebrates Blue-Ribbon School
WJZ-Channel 13

Students Honor Vets Through Letters
WBAL-Channel 11

Dumbarton Students Reach Out to Veterans
Towson Times

Evergreen Gets a Gold Star
Southern Maryland News



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JUDY CENTERS PLACED IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick this week on a tour of the Judith P. Hoyer Center at Barnhart Elementary School in Waldorf.  The work of Maryland’s Judy Centers, Duncan said, should be replicated elsewhere.

State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (center) welcome U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to the Judy Center at Barnhart Elementary School in Charles County.

State Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (center) welcome U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to the Judy Center at Barnhart Elementary School in Charles County.

“Just think if every child in the country could have this type of opportunity,” Secretary Duncan said.  “It wouldn’t matter what their background…I would have a huge amount of confidence they would do well.  This is a remarkable effort.”

Rep. Hoyer invited Secretary Duncan to Charles County to place a focus on early childhood education and the importance of services for the entire community.  Charles County Superintendent James Richmond and Barnhart Elementary Principal Kimberly Hairston hosted the event.

U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson has joined Rep. Hoyer in introducing the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2009, a proposal to bring Judy Center-style programs to other communities throughout the nation.

Maryland’s 24 Judy Centers provide one-stop shops for families with young children.  The education, health, and family support services found at the centers help residents in innumerable ways—from early learning programs to English language instruction for adults. 

The Centers are named after Judith P. “Judy” Hoyer, former Supervisor of Early Childhood Education in Prince George’s County, and the late wife of Rep. Hoyer.  They were established in Maryland nearly a decade ago, an investment that has paid dividends to residents many times over.

Secretary Duncan came away from his visit with a positive impression.  “All of our [nation’s] schools need to be full-service community schools,” he said.


COMCAST PARENT INVOLVEMENT MATTERS PROGRAM OPENS NOMINATIONS FOR 2010 AWARDS

The Maryland State Department of Education and Comcast have announced a call for nominations for the third annual Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards (PIMA).  The award program, a joint partnership between MSDE and Comcast, honors parents and others with legal responsibility for a child whose exemplary contributions to public education have led to improvements for Maryland’s public school children, teachers, schools, programs and/or policies.

“Much of Comcast’s community involvement is focused on creating opportunities for youth, and on helping build tomorrow’s leaders,” said Fred Graffam, regional senior vice president for Comcast.  “Parents play a critical role in youth leadership development, and we’re pleased to partner with MSDE for the third year to recognize Maryland parents and their contributions to our children and to our future.”

The call for nominations was made during a special launch ceremony held at Annapolis Middle School in Anne Arundel County.

The Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards program was developed to shine a spotlight on parents who have demonstrated significant involvement in the following areas: Communication, Volunteering, Learning, Decision Making and Community Collaboration. The program’s theme, Choose Your Seat. Get Involved., illustrates the point that Maryland parents are involved in a wide range of activities to support their public schools and to encourage all parents to get involved whatever way they can.  

“Comcast’s unwavering support of MSDE initiatives has been critical in allowing us to move ahead of the pack, particularly in parent involvement,” said Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. “In a time of widespread financial challenges, Comcast has continued their support of positive initiatives for Maryland families.”

Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award nominees must be parents or legal guardians of children attending Maryland public schools, and cannot be employees of Comcast, MSDE, or the Maryland public school system. Twenty-four semifinalists will be selected – one parent from each of the 23 Maryland counties and one from Baltimore City.  Of the semifinalists, five finalists and one statewide winner will be named at an award celebration hosted by Comcast in the spring of 2010.

Nomination forms are currently available and can be downloaded at www.MarylandPublicSchools.org/pima.
Nominations must be postmarked by Wednesday, January 20, 2010.



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