Rosie Rios, theTreasurer of the United States, visited Roberto Clemente Middle School on June 6 and encouraged students to participate in the Kids Baseball Coin Design Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Mint. Treasurer Rios presented the school with plaster models of the 1973 Congressional Gold Medal honoring Clemente’s achievements, which will be placed on permanent display. Clemente’s son, Roberto Clemente Jr., also attended the event on behalf of the family. Rios also gave an inspirational talk to a group of Latina students at the school.
The Challenge, which is the kids' version of the nationwide Baseball Coin Design Competition, is open to anyone 13 years old and younger. Challenge guidelines and rules are available on the U.S. Mint website.
MCPS students and staff raised nearly $400,000 to help fund cures for cancer and provide help and hope to thousands of patients and their families through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients program. The Pennies for Patients charity benefits the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which awards grants to blood cancer researchers and gives money to patients and their families. The top three fund raisers at each level were: Walt Whitman ($91,761), Walter Johnson ($81,474) and Bethesda-Chevy Chase ($6,595) high schools; Rosa Parks ($8,334), Takoma Park ($5,170) and Thomas Pyle ($2,851) middle schools; and Oakland Terrace ($8,012), Kensington Parkwood ($6,733) and Lakewood ($4,789) elementary schools.
Frederick Keys pitcher Tyler Wilson reads to students at Longview School.
On May 24, Frederick Keys pitcher Tyler Wilson visited Longview School to read to Josh Schechter’s special education class. Schechter’s students had been working on baseball-themed reading and math activities. Meeting a baseball player was the culmination of those activities. The students enjoyed meeting Wilson and interacting with him.
Jeanette Simmons, a teacher at Argyle Middle School, is one of four educators in the U.S. who has received aScholastic Outstanding Educator Award for helping her students overcome reading challenges. Keyon Budd, an eighth grader at John Poole Middle School, was named one of nine Scholastic National READ 180 All-Star winners for making impressive gains in reading.
READ 180 is a learning program that works to raise reading achievement for struggling students in grades 3–12. The students taught by these educators have shown significant growth in one year and have become enthusiastic readers who are able to tackle more complex texts.
Simmons has taught the program for three years. She encourages a collaborative learning environment and urges her students to celebrate one another’s success. She acts as a mentor for fellow teachers and attends countywide meetings to share tips and best practices for the classroom. She also sponsors a group of READ 180 students called STTARS (Students Taking Their Academics Seriously). The members—students who have maintained a 2.5 GPA or higher—meet every other week to discuss ways they can continue to be successful. Simmons will receive $1,200, an all-expenses-paid trip to Scholastic headquarters in New York and a plaque.
Poole Middle School student Keyon Budd has greatly improved his reading skills. His reading teacher is Andrea Grifone.
Keyon Budd was reading below grade level. Through hard work, he has made two years' worth of reading gains and is now reading on grade level. "My school experience has changed a lot because of READ 180," said Keyon. "Before READ 180, I never read chapter books on my own. I would just skim through them. Now, I like to read in my spare time." Keyon’s reading teacher is Andrea Grifone.
John Poole Middle School implements Scholastic’s Read 180 program with great success. The program focuses on students who are performing below grade level in reading with a goal of bringing them to proficiency. This year, the school highlighted the successes of 28 students who have met or exceeded the research-based goal for growth each year in Read 180. These students and their families will be recognized at a banquet and ceremony on June 12. A former Read 180 student who is currently in the Global Ecology Magnet program at Poolesville High School will be the keynote speaker.
On May 9, Westbrook Elementary School art teacher Yvette Cervenkov-Peet hosted the annual spring Art Show, showcasing one piece of work from each student in the building. Leading up to the big night, Yvette hangs art throughout the school hallways on color coded bulletin board paper (green for Kindergarten, orange for first grade, etc.), while other pieces are displayed atop bookshelves in the Media Center. Students get to choose which of their projects from the year they'll include in the show. The evening of the show, families love to wander the halls in search of their child's artwork, and can complete a scavenger hunt, answering questions about art and artists along the way. At each year's show, Yvette also creates a school-wide art project to which attendees can contribute. While last year's assignment was a graffiti wall with black paper and chalk, this year's task was to create a patchwork sticky note quilt. The art will stay in the school hallways for the remainder of the year.
Three MCPS students won ‘Cappies’ (Critics and Awards Program) awards for their participation in high school drama productions. The Cappies honor high school actors, stage technicians, singers, dancers, musicians and theater critics. The awards were presented Sunday, June 9, at the 14th annual Cappies Gala at the Kennedy Center.
The winning students were:
- Kayli A. Modell, Thomas S. Wootton High School, for Featured Actress
- William Q. Yendall, Northwood High School, for Supporting Actor in a Play
- Erin E. Craig, Walt Whitman High School, for Lead Actress in a Musical
More than 50 public and private high schools from the Washington metro region participated in this competition, which is judged by a panel of student critics. As part of the competition, high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. At the end of the year, the student critics vote for awards that are presented at the Cappies Gala.
MCPS students from three high schools were finalists in 16 categories. The finalists were:
Walt Whitman High School
Rising Critic: Talia L. Brenner
For the production of Anything Goes
Marketing and Publicity: Caroline M. Duffy, Daniel R. Levine, Anything Goes
Sound: Alexander V. Allen, Lindsay M. Worthington
Lighting: Nikolas M. Allen, Andrew R. Elman
Sets: Nikolas M. Allen, Hailey M. LaRoe, Matthew H. Lewis
Stage Crew: Brendan F. LoBuglio, James A. London
Orchestra: Walt Whitman Pit Orchestra
Ensemble in a Musical: The Angels
Comic Actress in a Musical: Michelle R. Huey
Lead Actress in a Musical: Erin E. Craig
Musical: Anything Goes
Thomas S. Wootton High School
For the production of Ragtime
Featured Actress: Kayli A. Modell
Supporting Actor in a Musical: Landon G. Fleischman
Lead Actor in a Musical: Elgin M. Martin
Northwood High School
For the production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Comic Actress in a Play: Mailynn-Kay J. Saucier, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Supporting Actor in a Play: William Q. Yendall
Lead Actor in a Play: Arthur J. Kraus
More information on the Cappies
Robert Frost Middle School celebrated their Maryland Blue Ribbon School Award during a schoolwide celebration on June 7. State Superintendent Lillian Lowery was on hand to honor the school’s accomplishment. In addition to its high academic achievement, the school was recognized for its volunteerism and charitable giving. Robert Frost is now in the running to become the 36th National Blue Ribbon School in MCPS.
Robert Frost Middle School
MCPS congratulates employees who are completing 15, 25 or 35 years of service with the system this year. Employee and Retiree Service Center records show that 1,264 employees are eligible for recognition. Of these employees, 819 have completed 15 years, 345 have completed 25 years, and 100 have completed 35 years. The list includes years of service with MCPS only (which may be different than years of service credited for retirement).
Employees will receive certificates and pins from their immediate supervisors.
List of Longtime Employees
Einstein High School guidance counselor Joe Monte is congratulated at the MCPS retirement ceremony. He has worked for MCPS for 51 years.
Counselor Joe Monte has been walking through the same front doors at Einstein High School every day for 51 years.
But soon, he will be walking out … and not returning.
Monte was hired in 1962 to teach Latin and to run the foreign language department at Einstein, which had just opened. Two years later, he was asked to become a school counselor and to head up the counseling department. And he’s been there ever since. In at 6:30 a.m. and back home after 5 p.m. (sometimes, as late as 11 p.m.) These days, he comes bringing doughnuts on Mondays, bagels on Wednesdays, and pudding cake on Fridays.
He estimates that he has written 7,000 student recommendation letters for college, and has helped countless students with an array of challenges, academic and otherwise. Over the years, he served as president of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded the Montgomery County Federation of Teachers, and was a founding member of the American Federation of Teachers.
He acknowledges that American society and the college admissions process have changed a lot in the time since he started. But students haven’t changed all that much. “If a kid thinks you love them and care about them, the rapport increases tremendously. ... Counseling is extremely demanding if you wish to connect with students.” He has always worked hard to get to know students on a personal level and that his role is to find the positive in them and to help them move forward.
He said he is retiring because Mary Catherine, his wife of 50 years and a former teacher herself, asked him to for their 50th wedding anniversary, coming up on June 22.
“She said ‘You’re going to give me one gift. You’re going to retire.’ I said ‘OK’ immediately.”
When asked if he would have done it without her request, he responded, “No. I wasn’t thinking about it. I would have been carried out of here.” Monte says his wife is one of the reasons he’s been successful. They will celebrate their anniversary on June 22 by going back to the church where they were married and enjoying a lunch with their five children and nine grandchildren.
“I’m a glass half full kind of guy,’ he says. “I’ve had a really good life in that I have the capacity to enjoy life. At the prom, I think I was the only senior citizen to get on the floor with the kids.”
Even in retirement, Monte expects that he will still assist students and parents who ask for his help. “With college counseling, it’s difficult for me to go a week without someone coming to my doorstep.”
William E. "Bill" Mills was hired in August 1967 as a graphic artist. But almost immediately, he began taking pictures for MCPS, and he has been the sole school system photographer for nearly 46 years. Mills will retire this month. He is a Washington, D.C. native and graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1958. He holds an associate’s degree in business administration from Montgomery College, a bachelor’s in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s in painting and art history from American University. The Bulletin caught up with him to ask about some of his most memorable assignments and what he will miss most.
After taking photos all these years, are there any favorite experiences that stand out in your mind?
There’s been quite a variety. I went spelunking with kids once in Pennsylvania. That was novel. I went whitewater rafting with kids from a high school activity group. I went rappelling with a group from Outdoor Ed. One instance I particularly remember is from a teacher I photographed; she had an activity in her classroom for Japanese culture. I took pictures and it appeared in The Bulletin. I thought that was that. But I saw her later, and she said she had just gotten back from a trip to Japan. When I asked how that happened, she said that a group had seen that picture and thought she’d be a good person to send on this (foreign exchange) trip. That’s when I got a sense of an impact a photograph could have. They can be helpful in ways you don’t realize. You don’t know what benefits could come from just having a picture on a page.
How did you discover that photography would be your life’s work?
When I was graduating from high school, my friends and I were talking about adventures we’d like to have. I thought the idea of going to sea would be great; you could hang out, drink beer and raise cane. I was able to get a seaman’s card and got a job on a boat. I eventually got to the Pacific and took the train to a historic area, Kamakura. I ended up at a Japanese temple. There was fog in the trees and moisture on the stone steps. I took a picture. I didn’t expect anything to come of that. On the boat going back to San Francisco, I kept thinking of that picture. It was so satisfying. I got home and told my parents that I didn’t think business administration was what I should be doing.
How could you keep the same job for so long?
It never seemed to be the same.
What will you miss the most?
The exchange with people. Being plopped in the middle of an event, like the Greenblatt Award winners … I would have never met them otherwise. And I really enjoyed having met them. I will miss that kind of experience that was replicated every day.
How will you spend your retirement?
In Brooklyn and Boston, where I have four grandchildren. (Wife Helen and I) will do some traveling. And there’s a few things around the house I’ve neglected over the years.
From left to right, Diana Sayago, ESOL parent community coordinator; Antonio Hernández Cardoso, member of the ESOL Bilingual Advisory Committee; Susan Miranda, recipient of the 2013 ESOL Teacher of the Year Award, and Dr. Karen Woodson, director of the Division of ESOL/Bilingual Programs.
The ESOL/Bilingual Advisory Committee (EBAC) has named its winners of Teacher and Principal of the Year awards.
Susan Miranda, an ESOL teacher at Westover Elementary School, has been honored as the ESOL Teacher of the Year for excellence in teaching English as a new language. Miranda was given the award by EBAC in a surprise June 3 presentation at the school. The award recognizes teachers who not only excel in teaching English as a new language, but also enable ESOL students to reach high levels of academic achievement throughout the instructional day.
From left to right, Galway Elementary School ESOL teachers Denise Rodriguez and Robin Green, Principal Yolanda Stanislaus and teacher Cheryl Hutchinson. Not pictured are ESOL teachers Myunghee Chung, Helen Yu and Chau Morina.
Yolanda Stanislaus, principal at Galway Elementary School, was named ESOL Principal of the Year on June 5, also in a surprise announcement. This award recognizes principals who have been acknowledged by teachers as having a great impact on the academic success of ESOL students.
In other staff news, Rockville High School teacher Timothy Hibberd was named a Mentoring Excellence award winner by The Washington Post’s Young Journalists Development Program. The awards recognize significant achievements and contributions of Washington -area high school journalism students and advisors. The program provides year-round skills training workshops, seminars, scholarships and mentoring opportunities to high school journalists and advisers across the Washington area.
From left to right, school psychologists Melissa Ruiz, Rachel Hunton, Kristen Schroeder, Liz Lawton and Beth Gelfand presented at a Maryland School Psychology Association session.
And, MCPS school psychologists Melissa Ruiz, Rachel Hunton, Kristen Schroeder, Allison Kane and Beth Gelfand participated in a session hosted by the Maryland School Psychology Association. They provided valuable information on data collection and progress monitoring. Their input was highly valued by the staff who came from across Maryland to learn more about comprehensive school psychological services. The information was also shared with all MCPS school psychologists during professional development training. Progress monitoring is a key to insuring student success in meeting academical, behavioral or social/emotional intervention goals.
Retirement celebrations are being held for the following employees:
Sue Heiserman, art teacher, and Lyne Friedman, paraeducator, at Georgian Forest Elementary School, at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 14, in the school media center, 3100 Regina Dr. in Silver Spring. Heiserman has 30 years of service with MCPS; Friedman has 12. Food and beverages will be available. There is no cost to attend, but donations will be accepted. RSVP by June 12 to Jessica Johnson. For more information, contact Johnson.
Nearly 500 MCPS retirees were honored at the annual recognition ceremony on June 6.
The Board of Education and Superintendent Joshua Starr honored 498 retirees at the annual retirement recognition and reception on Thursday, June 6, at Richard Montgomery High School. Certificates of appreciation were presented to the retirees to thank them for their dedicated service to MCPS students.
See the list of 2013 retirees. The list includes the retiree’s name, last assignment and years of MCPS service.
Flora M. Singer Elementary School was officially dedicated on June 10 before a group of about 200 community members. Also attending the event were Superintendent Josh Starr, Board of Education President Christopher Barclay, County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
It is believed that the school is the first public school in the country named for a Holocaust survivor. After surviving the Nazi persecution in Belgium during World War II, Singer came to the U.S., became a teacher and dedicated her life to education and human rights.
Principal Kyle Heatwole emphasized the importance of the school’s community in embracing the legacy of Flora Singer and celebrating a new building for elementary students in Silver Spring.
Flora M. Singer Elementary School
MCPS has one of the highest graduation rates among the nation’s largest school districts, according to a national report released June 6.
The 2013 Diplomas Count report, published by Education Week, has calculated the MCPS graduation rate at 84 percent, tied for second among the nation’s 50 largest districts. The MCPS graduation rate—calculated using 2010 data—is significantly higher than the rate for the state of Maryland (78.6 percent) and the nation (74.7 percent).
“The results of this year’s Diplomas Count report are another indicator of our ongoing commitment to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr. “While MCPS is doing better than most of our peer districts, we know there is work left to be done to make sure every student graduates on time and is ready for college and the work place.”
For the past four consecutive years, MCPS has had the highest graduation rate among the nation’s largest districts in this report. This year, MCPS is one point behind Fairfax County Public Schools and is tied with Baltimore County Public Schools.
Education Week uses the most recent Common Core of Data available from the National Center for Education Statistics to calculate graduation rates. This year’s report uses data from the 2009-2010 school year.
The publication employs the Cumulative Promotion Index—or CPI—to calculate a graduation rate that is comparable from state to state and district to district. However, the CPI is significantly different than the four-year Adjusted Cohort Rate, which the state of Maryland uses to calculate the district’s official graduation rate. The 2010 state-calculated four-year graduation rate for MCPS was 86.15 percent. Over the past two years, this graduation rate for MCPS has risen to 87.4 percent.
The 2010 graduation rate calculated by Education Week is 3.4 percentage points lower than last year’s report. A state-calculated Cohort graduation rate is not available for 2009, but using the state of Maryland’s previous graduation rate calculation—the Leaver rate—the MCPS graduation rate showed an increase from 87.4 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2010.
“It is disappointing that we are not first on this list, but we are pleased to be among the nation’s highest performing large districts and I am confident our graduation rate is headed in the right direction.” Dr. Starr said. “We will use the results from Diplomas Count, along with other data, to inform conversations about how we serve and support students and improve teaching and learning.”
Diplomas Count Report
State of Maryland Graduation Rate Data for MCPS
MCPS has launched a new campaign, MCPS Give BACKpacks, to coordinate the donation and distribution of backpacks and school supplies to students in need. Last year, 8,213 backpacks filled with school supplies were distributed to families at the annual Back-to-School Fair.
Given the growing need in the community and the space limitations of the Carver Educational Services Center, backpacks filled with school supplies will be delivered directly to schools for distribution to students in need in August. A backpack filled with school supplies costs $10, and MCPS is seeking to raise $500,000, which would purchase backpacks for 50,000 students. Donors have the option of sponsoring an individual student, a classroom, a grade level or an entire school.
Please help us spread the word about this new program and consider making a donation.
More information is available here.
Even though school is not quite over, staff are encouraged to sign up to volunteer at the Back-to-School Fair for the 2013–2014 school year, happening Saturday, Aug. 24.
The Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP) is seeking staff volunteers for the annual MCPS Back-to-School Fair on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m., rain or shine, on the grounds of the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville. All MCPS students and their families are invited to attend this wonderful event to kick off the school year and to learn about school system and county programs and services, while enjoying free entertainment and children’s activities.
Staff volunteers could be assigned a range of tasks, such as helping with fair set up and break down, greeting families, children’s activities, handing out water and snacks and clean up.
To volunteer and for more information, visit the Back-to-School Fair website or call OCEP at 301-279-3100.
Montgomery County Police Officer Kirk Considine of the 3rd District has won this year’s Lieutenant John L. Queen Award, for his work with the students, staff and community of Broad Acres Elementary School.
For a school that has the highest percentage of students receiving Free and Reduced-price Meals in MCPS, Considine has worked to foster community empowerment, and has helped create and maintain a safe and supportive learning environment for students, families and staff. He has provided this support for the last six years. He demonstrates outstanding leadership and has worked to build strong relationships with the community.
The Lieutenant John L. Queen Award is given in memory of Lt. Queen, who was instrumental in establishing and implementing the Montgomery County Police Crossing Guard Program. He set the standard for committed, outstanding public safety service to MCPS.
The Northwest High School chess team (with 41 players, it’s the largest in Maryland), won the 2013 Super National Scholastic Chess Championships in Nashville, Tenn. The Jaguars also recently won the Maryland State Chess Championship. The team is led by captains David Snyder, Nick Jung and Melaap Patel and is coached by RobertYoungblood.
Pictured are the student winners from the Celebrating Diversity through Creative Writing contest.
Nine middle school winners of the Celebrating Diversity through Creative Writing contest were honored at an awards reception and ceremony held in the Academic and Research Building on the Montgomery campus of The Johns Hopkins University. The honorees were selected from 94 entries from 19 middle schools in the categories of poetry, essay and short story. The winning 6th grade students are: Mikaela Dodson-Floyd of A. Mario Loiederman; Amisha Kunvar of Parkland; and Gwendolyn Boe of John Poole. Winning 7th grade students are: Dharma Gonzalez-Ferrette of Earle B. Wood; Chloe Shankley of Gaithersburg, and and Trude Padila of Julius West. Winning 8th grade students are: Jisue Gonzales of Wood; Sam Eticha of Herbert Hoover, and Vasna Khademian of Loiederman. Honorable mentions in the 6th grade are: Claudio Pachano of Robert Frost; Noah Kang of Hoover, and Hannah Suh of Hoover. Honorable mentions for the 7th grade are Nandita Kohli of Westland; Geneva Reese of Loiederman, and Alice Aubert of Thomas W. Pyle. Honorable mentions in 8th grade are: Claude Gomes of Francis Scott Key and Gunleen Deol of Frost. Students read from their works and received a certificate signed by County Executive Isiah Leggett. The students’ works were published in an anthology, copies of which were given to students and were also made available for circulation in their schools’ media centers and the public libraries.
Two MCPS students won awards from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Gahyun ‘Esther’ Kim, a recent graduate of Wootton High School, and the Visual Art Center at Albert Einstein High School has been awarded the 2013 Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award. Sydney Axelrod, a recent graduate of Richard Montgomery High School, has been awarded the 2013 Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award. The Ida F. Haimovicz Visual Arts Award includes a $3,000 cash award and a solo exhibition at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room (through June 28) in Silver Spring. The Fran Abrams Creative Writing Award includes a $1,000 cash award and reading at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room.
Students and staff at Julius West Middle School raised more than $2,400 for the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes with a Hats to Heal the Heart of Oklahoma fundraiser. The money will be donated to the Red Cross.
A Montgomery Blair High School team won first place at the 18th Annual Bloomsburg High School Programming Contest, hosted by Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Team members were Avikar Periwal, Alexander Zhang, Megan Chao and Ashutosh Nanda. The competition allowed students to improve their Java programming abilities, develop creative problem-solving techniques and strengthen their communication skills. At the 2013 Philadelphia Classic, a programming contest for high school students sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, a second Montgomery Blair team took second place. Team members were Ashutosh Nanda, Victoria Tsai, Sam Zbarsky and Alan Du. Fifty-three teams representing 22 high schools from five states participated in this daylong event, which tested the students’ programming skills and problem solving abilities.
Summer is a great time to have your annual health screenings done. You will have an opportunity on Tuesday, July 9, when Well Aware, the MCPS employee wellness program, and UnitedHealthcare will be offering free health screenings.
The screenings will be available to all MCPS employees by appointment between 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Carver Educational Services Center Auditorium, 850 Hungerford Dr. in Rockville. Screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index will be offered. It will take 30-40 minutes to complete all four screenings.
You should receive these four screenings on an annual basis, as they are key indicators of risk for serious illness. Knowing these numbers can help you make needed changes to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.
Participants must register here using key code: Mo-87818-3. You will need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number, date of birth, first and last name, gender, address and phone number. If you provide your email address, you will receive an appointment confirmation and reminder emails.
In this month’s Well Aware e-News, meet a wellness champion who has run the Boston Marathon twice to raise funds for diabetes research. In addition, learn about a webinar that will provide strategies for improving men’s overall health and fitness, an informative film series that brings to light the severity of the obesity epidemic and another opportunity to know important numbers for your health.
Read it here.
Weight of the Nation is a three-part film series on the obesity epidemic that provides an in-depth look at how widespread the obesity epidemic has become. The series, which covers the consequences, choices, and challenges related to obesity, provides an in-depth look at how widespread the problem has become. It includes interviews with leading experts on the topic and features individuals and families struggling with obesity. All three parts of the series will be shown in the Maple Room located at 45 West Gude Drive in Rockville. It will be shown:
- Thursday, July 18
- Tuesday, July 30
- Wednesday, August 14
In addition, during the month of June, the wellness focus is on men with observances such as Men’s Health Month and Father’s Day. Be sure to register for an informative webinar from 4–5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12 to learn strategies for improving your overall health and fitness. It will be led by a certified golf fitness trainer and yoga instructor who works with the Washington Nationals. This webinar will provide strength training and conditioning tips, diet and exercise recommendations, as well as an overview of men’s health guidelines. Register by emailing Well Aware.