This past weekend, our long awaited school sign was hung proudly on the front of our school. We are so excited to finally have a real school sign!
The new LED sign is already providing opportunities for our staff to communicate with our school community in a new and exciting way. We can program the sign to welcome visitors and highlight school events.
Two years ago, during the school's 40th Anniversary Celebration, I shared that we did not have a school sign and I believed we deserved to have one. That evening, we set a goal to raise enough money to purchase a school sign that would proudly display our school's name for everyone to see.
Thanks to the support of our PTSA, we were able to meet our goal in just 18 months. We collected donations from students, staff, parents, community members and local businesses.
I would like to extend a huge Thank Youto everyone who contributed to making the WLMS sign possible! Also, I want to thank Andrew Peterson and the other talented people at Stewart Signs for creating such a beautiful sign and making the entire purchasing process so easy. I would recommend them to anyone who might be in the market for a similar product.
At our annual celebration of Black History Month, WLMS sponsored a Soul Food Feast last night at the school. We had a huge turnout of for the dinner and festivities. It was awesome to see the WLMS Step Team perform, hear various students read poems and sing songs commemorating the importance of the many contributions that Black Americans have made to our nation and the world.
I want to thank our Family Involvement Team (FIT) for organizing this dinner and celebration. I also want to thank all of our VIP guests who were able to join us. They included: Mrs. Gordon, Mr. Steele, members of the Council of Elders, sisters from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and staff from the school.
Finally, I want to thank all of the wonderful chefs who provided such amazing foods for us to eat. It was really delicious and the opportunity to bond with so many people was priceless!
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the WLMS production of Wonderland. It was an amazing evening...the student actors were hysterically funny and so incredibly talented as well as the student band that accompanied the entire show.
The play is a spin on the classic story of Alice and her Looking-Glass world. WONDERLAND is about a young girl who goes on a life-changing
adventure, where a colorful cast
of strange but familiar characters help her rediscover what's really
important in life.
Thanks to Ms. Motaung, Ms. Berla and Ms. Chiarella for doing such a great job
After weeks of debate and contention, a divided Howard County Board of Education approved a new middle school program of studies Thursday, by a vote of 5-3.
weeks ago, the plan stalled when a 4-4 board vote forced school
officials to revise a proposal that would set the middle school schedule
at a uniform 50-minute, seven-period day and eliminate stand alone
reading classes. The proposal is part of a massive curriculum shift
placing literacy instruction in each of the schools' content areas.
member Brian Meshkin, who had voted against the proposal Jan. 26, voted
in favor of the revised proposal, which would require some level of
reading instruction for sixth-graders who read at grade level.
Under the final revised plan, students would not have traditional
reading classes, but would have the option of taking literacy-based
courses, two quarters of which would be required for sixth-graders who
did not score "advanced" on the fifth-grade Maryland State Assessment
reading exam, and who were not already in reading interventions or
One of those courses would teach the "nuts and bolts of reading skills," board Chairwoman Sandra French said.
compromise wasn't enough to convince three of the four members who
voted against the proposal two weeks ago, who voted against the proposal
Thursday night, citing the elimination of reading.
"I don't see
this as a compromise," student member Tomi Williams said. "Two quarters,
out of three years of middle school — it doesn't seem like a balanced,
compromised position in my opinion."
Beyond the debate over the middle school schedule and reading, another debate arose Thursday over the nature of Meshkin's vote.
voted by phone, from California, where his business is located. But
before he voted, he told board members he had first been told he would
be unable to vote by video or teleconference because that would be a
violation of the board's handbook, which states that a board member
cannot vote by proxy or in abstentia.
Meshkin had previously
stated that if did not see a better compromise on the program of
studies, he would again vote against it, again causing a split vote.
Mark Blom, the school system's general counsel, and Judith Bresler, the
board's attorney, advised French that Meshkin would be legally able to
participate and vote during Thursday's meeting, Meshkin said.
board unanimously voted around 6 p.m. — nearly three hours before
discussion on the middle school program of studies began — to allow
Meshkin to vote.
Meshkin said he was concerned about the decision. "My
concern is that the only reason I was allowed to vote, was to get me as
the fifth vote," he said. "That's conduct unbecoming of board members.
... You don't get to throw a member in the dungeon and let them out when
you need a vote."
On October 13, Timothy Murdock’s life changed forever when he sustained a devastating spinal cord injury. After two major surgeries, this vibrant 25-year-old Howard County 8th Grade history teacher and high school wrestling coach remains paralyzed from his chest down. He is currently undergoing inpatient rehabilitation at a local hospital, and will continue as an outpatient in rehabilitation until he reaches his new level of normalcy.
His primary motivation throughout his fight has been to return to the classroom at the beginning of the next school year.
Tim was raised in a military family which settled in Maryland in 1996. He was a National Honor Society student and athletic letterman at Wilde Lake High School, graduating in 2004. He continued his education at the University of Maryland at College Park where he was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 2008. With aspirations to teach, Tim immediately enrolled in the Johns Hopkins University Masters in Education program, earning his degree in 2009.
Tim joined the faculty at Elkridge Landing Middle School at the start of the 2009-2010 school year. He was beginning his third year of teaching when this injury occurred. Tim is well respected throughout the community and is an outstanding teacher. For the first two months of this school year, his students voted him Teacher of the Month.
To best illustrate Tim’s love for his students and teaching here are some of his students’ own words: “I feel like I could’ve gone to him with anything.” “He’s really nice and helps us out when we need help.” “He is an amazing teacher.” “He is a great teacher.” “He’s awesome, nice and cool.” “He always got us to do our work but in a fun way.”
Tim has a long struggle ahead. He will continue to need the strength and support of his friends and community throughout this challenge. One way in which we can all help is to contribute to making Tim’s home accessible and his medical costs less of a burden. To this end, a fundraising campaign in Tim’s honor has been established with HelpHOPELive (formerly NTAF), a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for nearly 30 years.
In 2000, they expanded their mission to include those who have sustained a catastrophic injury. All contributions are tax deductible, are held by HelpHOPELive in the Mid-Atlantic Spinal Cord Injury Fund, and are administered by HelpHOPELive for injury-related expenses only. Please consider making a donation:
Make checks payable to: HelpHOPELive
Note in memo section:
In honor of Tim Murdock
Please mail to: HelpHOPELive
150 N. Radnor Chester Road, Suite F-120
Radnor, PA 19087
For credit card contributions, please call 800.642.8399 or visit
Any gift, large or small will be most appreciated. By helping to alleviate this financial burden, we can give Tim the chance to concentrate all his energy on healing so he is prepared to return to his students at the beginning of the next school year.
Chair of the Fundraising Committee
Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law. This campaign is administered by HelpHOPELive (National Transplant Assistance Fund, Inc.), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing fundraising assistance to transplant and catastrophic injury patients.
I’m going to step out of my usual third-person writing voice for a
moment. As a parent I received a letter last week from the Kansas State
Board of Education, informing me that my children’s school district had
been placed on “improvement” status for failing to meet “adequate yearly
progress” under the No Child Left Behind law.
I thought it ironic that our schools were judged inadequate by people who haven’t set foot in them, so I wrote a letter
to my local newspaper. Predictably, my letter elicited a deluge of
comments in the paper’s online forum. Many remarks came from armchair
educators and anti-teacher, anti-public school evangelists quick to
discredit anything I had to say under the rationale of “he’s a teacher.”
What could a teacher possibly know about education?
Countless arguments used to denigrate public school teachers begin
with the phrase “in what other profession….” and conclude with
practically anything the anti-teacher pundits find offensive about
public education. Due process and collective bargaining are favorite
targets, as are the erroneous but tightly held beliefs that teachers are
under-worked, over-paid (earning million-dollar pensions), and not accountable for anything.
In what other profession, indeed.
In what other profession are the licensed professionals considered
the LEAST knowledgeable about the job? You seldom if ever hear “that guy
couldn’t possibly know a thing about law enforcement – he’s a police
officer”, or “she can’t be trusted talking about fire safety – she’s a
In what other profession is experience viewed as a liability rather
than an asset? You won’t find a contractor advertising “choose me – I’ve
never done this before”, and your doctor won’t recommend a surgeon on
the basis of her “having very little experience with the procedure”.
In what other profession is the desire for competitive salary viewed
as proof of callous indifference towards the job? You won’t hear many
say “that lawyer charges a lot of money, she obviously doesn’t care
about her clients”, or “that coach earns millions – clearly he doesn’t
care about the team.”
But look around. You’ll find droves of armchair educators who
summarily dismiss any statement about education when it comes from a
teacher. Likewise, it’s easy to find politicians, pundits, and
profiteers who refer to our veteran teachers as ineffective, overpriced “dead wood”. Only the rookies could possibly be any good, or worth the food-stamp-eligible starting salaries we pay them.
And if teachers dare ask for a raise, this is taken by many as clear
evidence that teachers don’t give a porcupine’s posterior about kids.
In fact, some say if teachers really cared about their students they
would insist on earning LESS money.
If that entire attitude weren’t bad enough, what other profession is
legally held to PERFECTION by 2014? Are police required to eliminate
all crime? Are firefighters required to eliminate all fires? Are doctors
required to cure all patients? Are lawyers required to win all cases?
Are coaches required to win all games? Of course they aren’t.
For no other profession do so many outsiders refuse to accept the
realities of an imperfect world. Crime happens. Fire happens. Illness
happens. As for lawyers and coaches, where there’s a winner there must
also be a loser. People accept all these realities, until they apply it to
If a poverty-stricken, drug-addled meth-cooker burns down his house,
suffers third degree burns, and then goes to jail; we don’t blame the
police, fire department, doctors, and defense attorneys for his
predicament. But if that kid doesn’t graduate high school, it’s clearly
the teacher’s fault.
And if someone – anyone - tries to tell you otherwise; don’t listen. He must be a teacher.
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
This is a personal blog. The views represented herein are that of the blogger, and do not represent the views of the blogger's employer(s). Furthermore, the views expressed herein should not be imputed to any volunteer boards or other community associations to which the blogger may belong. Comments presented on these pages may be attributable to outside users. If you have questions or concerns about this blog, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Thank you!