Saturday, September 27, 2008

Over 600 People Attend ELMS Back to School Night!

Again this year, the ELMS Back to School Night was well attended by parents, guardians, students and friends. I want to thank all of those parents and other important stakeholders who were in attendance on Thursday, September 25th. It is inspiriing to witness the Elkridge community's commitment and support of their children's education. I feel very fortunate to work here at ELMS!

It is always an exciting night when our staff gets to meet the parents of their students. I heard many positive comments about ELMS and our wonderful staff. One parent told me, "Please tell your staff how much we appreciate all that they do for our kids!" Another parent said, "ELMS is the type of school I wished I had gone to when I was a kid!"

If you didn't have a chance to attend our back to school night, below is a link to the slide show that was presented at the beginning of the evening. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me -

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ELMS Students Create Public Art!

As part of the Route 1 beautification effort underway in Elkridge, ELMS students have made a significant contribution to this worthy cause by lending their artistic talents.

Last school year, many ELMS students, under the direction of our art teacher Patti Battaglia, and Artist in Residence Mary Deacon Opasik, created a beautiful "under the water" mosaic that is now proudly displayed on the exterior of the Elkridge Branch of the Howard County Library System.

This art project, created with broken glass, dishes and other recycled items, was created during the 2007/2008 school year. Ms. Battaglia began organizing this huge art venture, along with her supervisor, Mark Coates, during the summer of 2007.

On Monday, September 15th, the official dedication took place to honor the artists who helped to create this gorgeous work of art. County Executive Ulman, Council Members Courtney Watson and Mary Kay Sigaty, State Delegate Malone and other dignitaries were present for this special occasion. As reported in the Baltimore Sun,“This is the ultimate conclusion of the hard work and dedication these students and adult leaders have shown. Stop by and admire the amazing ocean scene up close while visiting the library. It is a sight to behold!”

This project marks the first time a piece of art created by students participating in the Artist in Residence Program was developed to be displayed in a public place other than a school. I would like to acknowledge and thank the Howard County Arts Council and the Howard County Government for helping sponsor this special project. I also want to thank Ms. Battaglia and Ms. Opasik for doing such a great job helping our students create such a wonderful and lasting work of art.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Future-Focused, But Wrong!

They Said What?

“The earth is the center of the universe.”

Egyptian astronomer

“Nothing of importance happened today.”

King George III of England
July 4, 1776.

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”

Western Union Internal Memo

Flight by machines heavier than air is impractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.”

an astronomer of some note

“Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.”

President of the United States

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”

Marshal Ferdinand Foch
French Military Strategist

“It is an idle dream to imagine that automobiles will take the place of railways in the long distance movement of passengers.”

American Road Congress

“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.”

Nobel Prize winner in physics

“Babe Ruth made a big mistake when he gave up pitching.”


“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”

Warner Brothers Pictures

“I think there is a world market for about five computers.”

Chairman of IBM

“We don’t like their sound. Groups with guitars are on the way out.”

DECCA Records
rejecting the Beatles

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”

President of Digital Equipment Corp 1977

I wonder what beliefs we hold today
will be proven wrong in the future?

Adapted from a powerpoint created by John Quashnoc

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Advice for New Teachers!

Each year, thousands of teachers eagerly begin their career in public education to meet the educational needs of our students. This year at ELMS, we hired 3 brand new teachers. I am happy to report that all 3 of them are doing very well. However, as you might imagine or remember, being a new teacher can be overwhelming. I believe it is much more difficult to be a new teacher in 2008; then when I began my teaching career back in 1987. Which leads me to this question for each of my readers...

What advice do you have for new teachers?

Please share your thoughts and ideas!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tips for Success!

Last year, I was asked to share some advice on how parents could help their children have a great year in school. While doing my research to provide some meaningful words of wisdom, I came across the following information from the National School Public Relations Association Bulletin. As both a parent and educator, I thought the following tips were very helpful:

1. Be generous with praise. Review your child’s homework, quizzes and tests and provide specific feedback on their performance. Middle school students love to receive positive feedback.

2. Encourage your child’s “Best Effort”. Best effort does not equal "perfect", but your child should be working to achieve their personal best.

3. Make learning a priority in your home. Your positive attitude towards school can go along way towards shaping your child’s perception of school. Remember, learning is a lifetime process.

4. Show interest in school. Encourage your child to share what they are learning in school, have your child read aloud to you, invite your child to share new ideas and opinions and show appreciation when they provide this information to you.

5. Offer suggestions for success. Encourage your child to read each assignment when it is first given, keep a list of new vocabulary, proofread all work before turning it in for a grade and study/review notes before tests.

6. Support 100% Attendance. Some kinds of absences are unavoidable, but taking students out of school is always difficult for both your child and their teachers.

7. Schedule a homework/study time. Establish a consistent time for homework each evening and have a location for homework to be completed that is quiet and free from distractions.

8. Get involved. Make direct contact with your child’s teacher if you have a concern or a question. If your child is having difficulty, it is important for our teachers to know.

9. Set goals. At the beginning of each quarter, help your child identify three or four goals. Place these goals in their homework area where they can be easily seen. Make sure the goals are specific.

What advice have you found helpful for students and parents when they are starting a new school year?

Please share your thoughts and advice!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Beloit College's Annual Mindset List

Mind Blowing Thoughts from the Mindset Web Page!

This month, almost 2 million first-year students will head off to college campuses around the country. Most of them will be about 18 years old, born in 1990 when headlines sounded oddly familiar to those of today: Rising fuel costs were causing airlines to cut staff and flight schedules; Big Three car companies were facing declining sales and profits; and a president named Bush was increasing the number of troops in the Middle East in the hopes of securing peace. However, the mindset of this new generation of college students is quite different from that of the faculty about to prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Each August for the past 11 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. The List is shared with faculty and with thousands who request it each year as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation.

The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, and colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware. These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence. They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.

It is a multicultural, politically correct and “green” generation that has hardly noticed the threats to their privacy and has never feared the Russians and the Warsaw Pact.

Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990.

For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

  1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
  2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
  3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
  4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
  5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
  6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
  7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
  8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce “tax revenue increases.”
  9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
  10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
For the complete list, see Beloit's Link

Did they miss any? Please post your thoughts!