Wilde Lake Middle is very excited to be hosting two visiting science teachers from South Korea this coming week. Mrs. Rathmann and Ms. Drakes will be hosting two science teachers and sharing American "best practices" used in middle school science classrooms as well as their additional professional responsibilities that they perform that go beyond their daily teaching assignments. It promises to be a most exciting and informative interaction for all of us.
The two South Korean teachers, who will be at WLMS on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, are part of a delegation of 86 science teachers who arrived here in the Baltimore area from South Korea at the beginning of January. The South Korean educators have been receiving professional development coordinated by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus (UMBC) and sponsored by the South Korean government. As a part of this new program. the teachers will have the opportunity to visit select public schools to see how the research they have been studying at UMBC is put into practice.
In South Korea, the month of January is a time when students have a break from school and teachers are encouraged to participate in professional development. As many of you know, I had the privilege of going to South Korea two years ago and learn more about the way they educate their children. I was impressed with how committed their leaders are to help their teachers continue to learn from each other and from educators from around the world. This is just one example of how the South Korean government invests in their teachers to ensure their students are receiving the best education possible.
As a celebration of this program, Mrs. Rathmann, Ms. Drakes and I have been invited to attend a reception sponsored by the NSTA at the Maryland Science Center on Monday evening. Each delegation participant and their hosts at each school have been invited to attend this event. We are looking forward to meeting our visitors and sharing our school with them. We believe this exchange will be very beneficial for all involved.
“I thought this was appropriate to start the new year.
all have the tendency to believe that we are living in a very advanced
technological period. We get all excited about the new tech we got at
Xmas and what we read about that will soon be available to us. In
reality, everything we are excited about today is going to be incredibly
old and boring much faster than we ever expect.
matter what year you were born, by the time you finish(ed) high school,
its (was) a completely different world. Today’s high school seniors
were born prior to the World Wide Web, wireless internet,
smartphones,tablets, HDTVs and changes in world politics that were never
imagined. Without question each of us can remember the things that were
new and exciting to us when we were kids, that were unimaginable to our
parents, but are now nothing more than old memories.
rate of technological change is not slowing down. In fact, the argument
could be made that it is speeding up. In our lifetimes, we will reach a
point when we reflect back
on the good old days of the internet, Facebook, Twitter and other tech
that is ubiquitous today. We might even look back at digital the way we
currently look at analog. Things change.
course, this isn’t a problem. It’s a huge opportunity. There is that 12
year old that is imagining what we can’t. Another that is combining
elements into something new we should have seen, but did not. It reminds
me of one of my favorite sayings. “If you are looking where everyone else is for the next big thing, you are looking in the wrong place”
The reality is, None of us are born in to the world we live in.”
This past Thursday evening at the Howard County Board of Education meeting, I had the privilege of speaking on behalf of my 18 middle school principal colleagues to share our commitment to implement the changes that are being recommended to the Middle School Program of Study here in our school system. To see video from this meeting, click here http://hcpsstv.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=782
Below is the statement that I read at the meeting. I want to thank Ms. McKinley (MVMS), Ms. Dillon (PMS) and Mr. Dickey (MHMS) for helping me on Thursday. I would also like to thank Ms. Wise and Mr. Ryan for providing the opportunity for the principals' voices to be heard.
A unified statement from the Middle School Principals of Howard County
Dr. Cousin and distinguished Board Members,
It is my distinct honor and
privilege to speak on behalf of my talented, middle school principal colleagues
We come tonight united in support
of the proposed Middle School Program of Study. With literally hundreds of years of combined experience in
education, we are committed to the recommendations and ….
We believe that we are at a Turning Point for Middle Level
Education in Howard County…
In the next few minutes, you have
an opportunity to take a bold, proactive step to ensure that both students and
staff will be prepared for the third wave of educational reform here in
Maryland. As you know, two short
years from now, middle level educators will be charged with the responsibility
of implementing new curriculum, preparing students for the rigorous PARCC assessments,
and engaging in a new evaluation system for teachers and administrators. The clock is already ticking and we
cannot emphasize enough the degree to which these new imperatives, born from the
wide-sweeping reforms we are facing, will impact our students and our schools.
We believe the proposal before you will
enhance the educational experience for thousands of middle school students in
Howard County next year and in the decade to come. Your decision represents an
Increase instructional time;
Make the critical shift from teaching reading
skills in isolation to incorporating literacy into every content area;
Provide the opportunity for World Language to
begin in the 6th grade;
Provide year long physical education for all
Implement the Common Core in a way that is both aligned
with the looming assessments and supports student achievement and college and
Continue to provide direct reading instruction to students who are below grade-level.
We believe it is critical that all
Howard County Middle Schools begin implementing the new Middle School Program
of Study for the 2012/13 school year in order to ensure that all students and
staff are prepared by the 2014 demands.
We acknowledge that change is difficult
and established practices are hard to release. In order to evolve to meet these challenges, it is necessary
to take bold actions. We are keenly aware that we will need to continue to work
collaboratively with staff, parents, and students to ensure successful
implementation. We look forward to providing leadership as we begin this
Tonight, you can put into motion the
necessary change that will enable the educational professionals at the middle
level to continue to provide excellence in teaching and learning for the
students of the Howard County Public School System.
I leave you with the following
quote from Isaac Asimov:
“It is change, continuing change,
inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible
decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world
as it is, but the world as it will be.”
As middle level leaders, as you
make this decision, we ask you to consider the future challenges our staff and
students are already in the midst of navigating. We respectfully ask that you consider the world as it will
be from this point forward.
I ask that my middle school
principal colleagues stand and be recognized.
Maryland’s public school system achieved top-in-the-nation status for the fourth consecutive year, according to an analysis of state-by-state education policies and student achievement being released Thursday.
The state was given an overall grade of B-plus by Education Week,
which publishes the annual report. The average grade for the nation was a
C. Virginia came in fourth with a B. And the District came in 49th,
just ahead of Nebraska and South Dakota, with an overall grade of
includes dozens of indicators of student achievement, academic
standards and accountability, teacher quality and school finance.
“Maryland is an example of an all-around strong performer,” said
Chris Swanson, a vice president at Editorial Projects in Education,
which publishes Education Week. The state has improving test scores,
state policies that support school improvement, and comparatively high
graduation rates and participation on Advanced Placement tests.
Bernard J. Sadusky, Maryland’s interim state superintendent of
schools, said the accolade is a compliment to the state’s teachers and
local superintendents and says much about the governor’s and
legislature’s commitment to education. Still, he said, Maryland has a
lot of work to do to eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in
A closer look at how Maryland fared in various parts of the
evaluation showed strong performance overall. For example, Maryland was
among the top 10 states in improving its overall scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, otherwise known as the Nation’s Report Card, between 2003 and 2011.
On the reading test, 40 percent of eighth-grade students scored
proficient or advanced on the 2011 test, giving the state a seventh
place ranking. (Maryland and the nation still have a lot of room to
But the so-called “poverty gap,” or the difference in scores between
those eligible for free lunches and those not eligible, was much less
The 27-point difference in scores was about the national average. Thirty-seven states had a narrower gap.
Forty percent of eighth-grade students in Maryland also scored proficient or advanced on the math test, putting the state in 13th place.
But the 32-point “poverty gap” in scores was significantly higher
than the 26-point national average. Maryland came in second-to-last.
Thanks to our partnership with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, several WLMS young women are participating in an after school leadership development program called Emerging Young Leaders.
This signature program of the AKA Sorority is designed to provide connections between accomplished AKA sisters and middle school girls in their local communities. The goal of the program is to impact the lives of 10,000 girls here in the U.S. by providing leadership development, civic engagement,
enhanced academic preparation and character building. According to the program's charter,
demands of the twenty-first century mandate
our youth to be better leaders at a younger age making smart choices with positive
This past month, our Emerging Young Leaders had an opportunity to meet with State Delegate Bobo and County Council Members Dr. Ball and Mrs. Sigaty. Also, they presented to our Board of Education about how they are providing workshops to prevent bullying. Congratulations to these talented young women for helping to make our school and community a better place to learn and thrive. I also want to thank the AKA Sorority, and in particular, Mrs. Jean Lewis for doing such a great job mentoring and supporting our students!
For more information about this program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You might think that success in school is directly related to IQ, but
you’d only be partially right. While high intelligence can help make
coursework, from kindergarten to college,
easier to understand, it isn’t the only factor that goes into
determining how well you’ll perform in school. There are a lot of other
things, both intrinsic and extrinsic, that can affect your grades,
ability to learn, and ultimately your success in high school and college
alike. While you might expect that factors like socioeconomic status
and home life would play a role, other factors that contribute to your
success are much more surprising. Read on to learn about some of the
less obvious influences that shape your success in school.
Social Relationships: From
kindergarten on, your social relationships play a big part in how well
and how much you learn, perhaps even more than you realize. One study
found that strong kindergarten friendships reduced the amount of
behavioral problems students have and improved their social skills
through third grade, especially in boys. Other studies have discovered
that changes in friendships during the often tumultuous adolescent years
can signal whether a student will be successful academically or not
down the road. Those who develop strong friendships with others who have
behavior problems, even if they have good grades, are more likely to
see a drop in their own performance. Your friendships may play a bigger
role than you realize in your academic performance, even early on, so
make sure you’re choosing your friends wisely!
While stress can be a motivator to get things done, it can often also
be an impediment to high academic performance. Studies on college
students have found that stresses like finances, test pressure,
depression, low-self esteem, and the dissolution of relationships (among
others) can cause changes in eating habits, sleep, and difficulties
adapting to new responsibilities. All of these changes, along with the
stressors that caused them in the first place, were found to lower
academic performance in many students. However, those with strong
support systems were better able to cope and were more successful in
their academics. In many cases courses on stress management helped
students to stay on track with their educational goals, despite any
Curiosity: Curiosity might be dangerous for cats, but it’s essential for students who want to succeed in school. A study published in Perspectives in Psychological Science demonstrated
that curiosity is actually a big part of academic performance and that
it, and personality traits like it, may actually be more important than
intelligence when it comes to achievement in school. Curiosity, when
studied in about 50,000 students, was found to have as big of an impact
on performance as more expected traits like hard work and
conscientiousness. A great reminder to always embrace learning and
trying new things.
IQ does play a role in predicting academic success, a far more telling
clue is EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. Researchers found that being
successful in school takes more than smarts; it also takes strong
competencies in social and emotional understanding. When K-12 students
were put through a course that educated them on social and emotional
learning, they were found to be much more successful in school and
exhibited many more positive social behaviors than their peers who did
not participate in the program. While social and emotional education
isn’t a panacea for poor academic performance, it could help many
students, young and old, to develop skills that will help them be better
prepared to interact with others, work under stress, and complete
It probably isn’t all that surprising, but your family plays a big role
in shaping your attitudes towards school and your academic performance.
Researchers studied over 800 students in Chicago and Beijing,
discovering that youths who feel more responsible to their parents were
more likely to stay engaged in school and perform better. Of course,
it’s not just a matter of pleasing parents or fulfilling expectations.
Family attitudes towards education, stability, and strong communication
between parents and children can also have a deep and lasting impact on
an individual’s success in school.
thinking you can do something is all you need to be able to actually do
something, or that’s what some studies suggest. Researchers studying
minority students found that many felt that they didn’t belong in
college or had feelings of alienation, often leading to lower grades and
even dropping out. The solution? A simple 60-minute exercise that
helped them to build their confidence, gave them relatable experiences,
and made them feel more at home on campus. The results were staggering,
with 22% of the students in the program ending up in the top 25% of
their class (as opposed to just 5% of students who didn’t participate).
While the study focused on minorities, it could potentially be applied
to any students who are struggling with school, proving that sometimes
putting mind over matter is all it takes to succeed.
Class times: College
students should beware when making their class schedules: class time
may impact their success in a course. It sounds strange, but researchers
have found that students who take classes that start later are more
likely to stay up later and drink more, resulting in an accordant drop
in grades. Delayed sleep also led to poorer sleep and more sleepiness
throughout the day, which, as we’ll discuss, can also take a pretty big
toll on grades. Oddly, the opposite is true of students in middle and
high school, who were more likely to attend class and be in a better
state of mind when classes were held later.
If you think heading off to college is an excuse to stop working out or
staying fit, then you might want to think again. Studies have shown
that there is a relationship between physical activity and academic
performance. Those who stay active are more likely to do better in
school, perhaps because the activity increases oxygen flow to the brain
and helps release endorphins which improve mood. Though physical
activity itself has a positive effect, surprisingly students who play sports
in high school may not see the same jump, as little correlation was
found between playing organized sports and getting better grades. That
said, any kind of athletic activity that gets students moving, relieves
stress, and gets students in shape is probably a good thing.
things are as closely correlated with success in school as sleep. Study
after study demonstrates the need to get a solid night’s sleep if you
want to improve or maintain your grades. Planning to pull an all-nighter
to study? It’s not recommended. Those who pull all-nighters are more
likely to have a lower GPA. Even more importantly, bad sleep habits have been shown to strongly correlate with lower grades in high school through college. Still not convinced? Yet another study
demonstrated that elementary school children who don’t get enough sleep
don’t perform as well academically as their peers. So regardless of
age, getting enough sleep is an essential, though often overlooked,
aspect of academic performance.
Successful college athletics:
Is your college football team doing terribly this year? It may be for
the best, when it comes to your grades, anyway. A study at the
University of Oregon found that male students (and females, too, to a
lesser extent) who don’t participate in sports are more likely to get
caught up in the excitement of a winning team, increasing alcohol
consumption and partying more. This was found to lead to a drop in GPA,
which may have many students looking for schools that favor academics
you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re probably not taking care of
your grades either, studies suggest. Researchers have found that lack of
sleep, excessive screen time, gambling, alcohol and tobacco use, and
other health issues have a direct effect on academic performance. Those
who engaged in these behaviors were more likely to be stressed, have
mental health issues, and record lower GPAs. Researchers hope that the
study will spur students to change some of their most unhealthy
behaviors, perhaps raising their grades in the process.
This past Thursday evening, I had the opportunity to help make the case for a change to the current Howard County Middle School Program of Study. This change is needed in large part to prepare for the new Common Core curricular demands.
Along with several central office administrators and school principals, we shared the need for changes to be made to the current Middle School Program of Study. We are advocating for the following:
instruction into all courses as appropriate.
instruction only for students who need it.
interventions/seminars for below level students.
for students to participate in Inquiry and
Innovation Modules which promote both STEM and disciplinary literacy.
Offer world languages to 6th graders.
Offer seven 50-minute instructional periods.
instructional time for math, English, science, and social studies
Provide physical education all year.
Not surprisingly, there are critics to this plan. Most of the criticism is around the curricular decision to remove the long-standing requirement that all students take a stand-alone reading class each year. In fact, based on Maryland School Assessment data, Howard County's reading program has been a huge success in large part to the dedication and commitment of the reading staff at each school and central office personnel! So, the obvious question is, "Why change something that has been so successful?" Simply stated, when Maryland agreed to adopt the new Common Core and accept Race to the Top federal grant monies, they put in motion the "Third Wave of Maryland School Reform." Or what I like to say,
Maryland's Tsunami of school reform!
The new curricular demands of the Common Core will expect proficient and advanced readers to come to middle school equipped with the fundamental reading skills and the ability to begin the process of "reading to learn" through the vehicle of disciplinary literacy. This process is best accomplished by a content specialist using authentic content and not in a class where reading skills are taught in isolation. However, it is recognized that students who are below grade level or have significant
reading weaknesses will continue to receive customized reading support through their participation in a
daily reading intervention class.
Another concern that critics have raised about this proposal is whether all teachers should have a Program Implementation Period in addition to their 50 minute personal planning period. Currently, all middle school staff have a 50 minute personal planning period and a 50 minute administrative duty period (in the new proposal this would be called a Program Implementation Period). During the Program Implementation Period, teachers will continue to be assigned to do instructional collaboration, analysis of
data, development of assessments, enhancement of parent communication, or
administrative tasks such as lunch duty. Under the new proposal, Related Arts teachers (Art, Music, PE, Health Education, Family and Consumer Science and Technology Education) would not have a Program Implementation Period and instead teach their specialty area six out of the seven periods daily. As a trade off, Related Arts teachers would not be required to do the duties that are required for those teachers who have a PIP. While I truly understand how this may seem to be unfair at first glance, there are two considerations that made up this decision. First, the plan was supposed to be cost neutral due to current budgetary realities. Second, we believe that Related Arts teachers are the best people to teach their content to students. In order for students to be exposed to the content specialists' expertise in the arts or technical subjects, these teachers would be needed to teach the same load that they currently have.
While these concerns are legitimate, as principals and curriculum specialists we have to prepare to move our students up the hill of higher expectations and achievement in order to be prepared for the Common Core tsunami that is imminent. It is irresponsible for us not to act now when we know a major wave of change is approaching. It is critical that we prepare our teachers, students and communities for this new reality. We must align with the new expectations and evaluation tools that will be used for both staff and students.
Consider this - Over the next two years, Maryland teachers and principals will be evaluated using a
new evaluation system. Approximately 50% of that evaluation will be based on how
well students perform on annual Core Curriculum tests. Further, a new curriculum will need to be learned and implemented. Can we afford to wait and do all of these changes in the same year? I don't think it is responsible to think we can.
I look forward to seeing what our Board of Education decides to do on January 26th when they are scheduled to vote. I believe they are still taking public comment at email@example.com. This is not an easy decision to make. However, it will be one of the most important decisions this Board makes about middle level education here in Howard County. This vote will set the direction middle schools will take over the next decade. This past Thursday evening, I truly appreciated and was impressed by each Board Member's questions and sincere interest in learning about the complexities of this issue. I am confident that they will come to the right decision for our students and staff.
As states and local school districts "race" to reorganize to address the
latest reform efforts outlined in the Race to the Top legislation,
it is critical that we maintain the opportunity for all students to
discover the arts, develop individual talents and gain an appreciation for the talents of others each and every year they are in school.
Thus, STEAM! What is STEAM?
STEAM = Science & Technology interpreted through
Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements.
This framework is engaging, hands-on and reality-based with many extensions to draw education, industry, government and the community together for the common good of bettering public education for all while meeting national educational and STEM related goals.
As President Obama reminded us in last year's State of the Union Address,
to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who
be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.”
I would like to add to his powerful statement...we also need to celebrate those students who show promise in the areas of music, art, physical fitness, creativity and innovation. After all, we want our students to be energized and motivated to pursue careers that will advance our society, while at the same time, developing healthy and creative pursuits that provide pleasure, happiness and satisfaction for a lifetime of learning.
STEAM helps to focus educators on the importance of developing in each child the imaginative, creative and critical thinking skills essential for a lifetime of learning and growing as students mature. We can't just teach short-term, basic skills that don't promote problem-solving and the process for creating original ideas and/or products.
After all, Sam Parker highlights in his 212 Degrees...The Extra Degree that:
"At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with
boiling water, comes STEAM.
And with STEAM, you can power a train."
Just imagine what STEAM could do for our students!
Top of FormProposed calendar would make it same exact day,
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
January 1 falls on a different day of the week, and the entire following year
shifts accordingly. Schools, sports teams, businesses and banks spend many
hours and millions of dollars calculating on what day of the week certain dates
will fall, to schedule holidays and set interest rates.
need to be that complicated, say an astrophysicist and an applied economist at Johns Hopkins
University in Baltimore. They have a proposal to make schedules simpler: a
permanent calendar in which each 12-month period is exactly as the year before,
on into perpetuity.
The extra days
created by the Earth's inconvenient 365.242-day orbit around the sun would be
dealt with not by adding February 29 for leap years, but by a leap week tacked
onto the calendar at the end of December every five to six years.
simplify things enormously," says Richard Conn Henry, the professor of
applied physics at Johns Hopkins who first proposed the idea in 2004. This past
year he began to discuss the idea further with a colleague, Steve Hanke,
a Johns Hopkins economics professor.
The result is
the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, which they proposed in December. In it,
March, June, September and December would have 31 days, all the rest 30.
Christmas would always fall on a Sunday. Halloween would become October 30 and
always fall on a Monday.
Hanke, who has
helped seven countries introduce new currencies, estimates the change could
save "roughly $130 billion" merely by decreasing the chance of
interest-calculation errors resulting from incorrectly counting the number of
days in a given month.
been multiple proposals to change the calendar since the world began to shift
from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar starting in 1582.
from what Henry calls "the Sabbath problem." Many religions require
people to labor for six days but keep the seventh holy. Proposed calendars that
break up the seven-day cycle destroy the count, meaning people could end up
working on a day they should devote to spiritual matters. "That's
unacceptable to millions of believers," Henry says. "You can't skip a
day because then you're off kilter."
But there are
those who disagree with this idea. Most people actually like having birthdays,
holidays and sporting events move around, says David Finkleman, an
astro-dynamicist at the Center for Space Standards and Innovation in Colorado
Springs. Aside from that, creating a permanent calendar is
"impossible," he says.
The problem is
that the period it takes the Earth to rotate on its axis (a day) and around the
sun (a year) changes all the time and the change isn't predictable.
confounding, none of the periods divides evenly into another, he says.
didn't put things together synchronously," Finkleman says.
As long as SNOW days are still included...
I think it would be an interesting idea to try...what do you think?
This morning, my daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I thought for awhile and then I asked her to write something for my blog. Here is my gift... wow...I am so impressed by her intelligence and wit (She takes after her mother!)...I hope you are, too. Love you Cassie!
A Middle Schooler's New Year's Resolution
My dad asked me to write a blog for him as a
birthday gift… this week he turns even older! Here it is…my New Year’s Resolution and my gift to my dad… from a Middle Schooler’s
Perspective. He actually asked me to write 10 resolutions. 10! Really Dad?
I am a pretty great kid. I get good grades, do all
of my homework without being asked, dance for a competitive team and help take
care of my little brother, plus I deal with all of my dad’s bad jokes. I mean,
can you imagine being the kid of a middle school principal and a middle school
counselor? Ok, so my room isn’t always straight, but who’s perfect? So, since I
spread myself thin already, I came up with one resolution I think most middle
schoolers would respect.
At my school, each “group” sits at certain tables –
table 14 is the Nerds, table 6 is the Jocks, table 2 is the Goths, table 21 are
the class clowns, table 23, which is really the detention table, are the “Bad
Boys” or the “Gangsta’s” as they call themselves, although they have never been
near a city nor gang activity. And then there is my table, table 7, the “Goodie
Two-Shoes.” Tables come about by
natural evolution and political power. The presidential elections have nothing
on middle school cliques, i.e. read table seating, and popularity. We have more
polls in middle school than the Iowa Caucus, polls that are conducted daily by gossip
(for example texts, passed notes, emails, and of course face to face
conversation). Rumors are the fuel that keeps all students alert. And it isn’t
just important to know the most information about the events going on in the
school, but to know it first or have the most juicy details about the most
recent tragedy. Really, at lunch, it is amazing that people eat given how much
gossip is spilling from their mouths!
I know teachers and parents are always telling us,
“Don’t gossip,” “Don’t spread rumors,” etc, etc, etc. Urgh. I know it isn’t
nice but you need to know your place in the 7th grade world. Don’t
you want us to understand political boundaries for when we grow up? And isn’t
that somewhat the focus of political disagreements? Gossip and spread rumors about each
other? Misunderstandings that can turn friends into enemies?
Ok, back to my resolution! I resolve to try to not
engage in gossip in any way for one whole school week. I will not text, email,
discuss nor listen any information that would sounds remotely like a soap
opera. But I want a resolution in return. I want the adults to stop talking
about the kids, to stop listening to Inside
Edition, shows like The Real
Housewives of anywhere or even turn off the Nightly News when it even
starts to hint at names like the Kardashians! I shouldn’t stop there, though,
what about the political commercials that say such nasty things about their
opponents? Well, you get the idea.
I will do what the principals, counselors and
teachers ask – stop gossiping and stop rumors for one whole week. But I want
you to stop, too!
I continue to learn many lessons in the middle! I have learned that middle school teachers are some of the most amazing people I know. I have learned that despite the widely held belief that public schools in America are not succeeding, I see children working hard and meeting rigorous academic standards on a daily basis. I have learned that if I were to be accused of a crime (I hope this will never be the case), I want a jury comprised of 7th and 8th graders. Without question, students in these two grades believe deeply in fairness and justice for all. I have learned that creating positive relationships with students, staff and parents is the key to success. I have learned that being a middle school educator allows me to have a front row seat to witness some pretty hilarious situations as well as those issues that are very sensitive and often life altering.
As a veteran middle level leader, I can say that I have the best job in the world. I have the opportunity to touch lives, teach valuable life lessons, plant seeds of hope, develop innovative programs and sip from the fountain of youth on a daily basis. Often, I have been told by my friends that I should write a book about my experiences. Since I don't have a lot of spare time these days, I have decided to BLOG instead. I hope to share various experiences, opinions and beliefs on a regular basis (probably less than regular basis).
If my writings should be of interest to you, I hope you will drop me a comment or two in the appropriate place. In this era of being able to reach the entire world through the world wide web, I am counting on the fact that I will attract a few comments.
I am the Instructional Director of Middle Schools in Frederick County Maryland. From 1987-2012, I served in various roles in the Howard County Public School System, including: teacher, team leader, assistant principal and Principal. In 2007, I was awarded the Washington Post’s Distinguished Educational Leadership Award/Howard County Principal of the Year and most recently I received the 2008 Howard County Outstanding Technology Leader in Education Award. I am a member of two boards: Past President of the University of Maryland’s College of Education Alumni Board and the McDaniel College’s Teacher Education Advisory Board. In 2008, I started teaching one of the Intro to School Administration classes at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.
I am a life-long Washington Redskin fan and I love to root against the Cowboys. I am also an avid blogger.
But most importantly, I am the proud father of two wonderful and amazing kids! I am also fortunate to have a very supportive wife who also happens to be my best friend.
I am always excited to share and collaborate! I have been asked to present to students, teachers, parents and leaders in the educational world and beyond. As both a trainer and a keynote presenter, I have had the opportunity to deliver workshops on topics like:
Leadership Engaging the Millennial Learner Leading from the Middle School Improvement Made Easy (Well Sort Of…) High Impact PD
Some of the organizations I have had the privilege to work with are: Iksan City Public Schools, South Korea University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland McDaniel College, Westminster, Maryland Michigan City Public Schools, Michigan City, Indiana National Middle School Association MSET/MICCA NECC/ISTE Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Rockville, Maryland Maryland Association of Student Councils
For more information about these programs and others I can offer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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