Monday, August 27, 2012

Crestwood Middle Students Show 'Pride' on First Day

By: Dana Chicklas
August 27, 2012

FREDERICK, MD - Going back to school shouldn't feel like ripping off a Band Aid for students or teachers. In fact, some Frederick County schools say they've already held a back-to-school night weeks ago.

Administrators say preparation for the next school year starts in December. New Crestwood Middle School administrators say it's key to talk with incoming students and stay ahead of the game.

"It's awesome," says Dr. Daniel Lippy, principal at Crestwood Middle. "It's been great. It's a new school so it's really neat to be able to stand out in front and see everybody happy coming in. Everybody's excited, everybody wants to know who i am, the introductions. It's been a very, very positive experience."

Now that schools are back in session, classrooms are engaging, cafeterias are booming and students are showing some pride.

"I just get a sense of enthusiasm," says Tom Saunders. "I get a sense of really purposeful planned activities to make kids feel welcomed. Everybody's on point."

"It's just exciting," says Debra Boyce. "It's my favorite day. Kids here are the best, they really are. I think that one of the strongest things is that they can all tell you our Crestwood motto, which is come prepared to learn, make good choices and show respect to others, yourself and property. Our kids know that and they take pride in it."

The majority of Frederick County schools are celebrating big academic gains from last year, hoping to keep their improvement scores climbing this year.


Monday, August 20, 2012

A New Beginning Today!

Photo by Pink Sherbet

FCPS Appoints New Middle Schools Director

Posted by Dian Nelson at 8/17/2012 on the FCPS Website

FCPS has appointed a new instructional director to oversee middle schools, as a result of the vacancy created when Tracey Lucas accepted a promotion to executive director of School Administration and Leadership.  Thomas Saunders will begin the new position Monday, August 20.

Mr. Saunders comes to FCPS from Howard County Public Schools, where he was most recently principal at Wilde Lake Middle in Columbia, Maryland.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1986 and Master of Science degree in administration and supervision from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore in 1994.  From 1987-1995, Mr. Saunders taught social studies at Owen Brown, Patuxent Valley and Mount View middle schools in Howard County. While at Mount View, he was promoted to assistant principal in 1995, where he remained until transferring to Wilde Lake the following year.  Mr. Saunders remained at Wilde Lake until 2001, when he was promoted to serve as principal of Elkridge Landing Middle.  In 2009 he transferred back to Wilde Lake Middle.
As an adjunct faculty member of McDaniel College since 2008, Mr. Saunders teaches graduate courses to teachers seeking School Administration and Supervision certification.  He also serves on the school’s College of Education Advisory Board.

Mr. Saunders has had many opportunities to lead systemwide middle school reform initiatives and serve on countywide strategic committees. He recently helped guide Howard County middle schools in creating and adopting a unified schedule to meet new Maryland Common Core curriculum standards. In 2010, he was selected as the Howard County Public Schools’ delegation leader to South Korea to provide professional development for Korean English teachers.  

Mr. Saunders has received numerous awards including the Howard County Public Schools’ 2008 Outstanding Technology Leader in Education Award and the Washington Post 2006 Distinguished Educator Leadership Award.  He was also a Maryland Middle School 1999 Assistant Principal of the Year finalist and a University of Maryland 1995 exemplary teacher nominee. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Congratulations to Lisa Smithson!

This afternoon, the Howard County Board of Education appointed Lisa Smithson to the position of Principal of Wilde Lake Middle School. I couldn't be more pleased by this decision and I know Lisa will do an outstanding job.

I have had the pleasure of working with Lisa for the past 12 years. I first met her when I was newly promoted to Principal of Elkridge Landing Middle. At that time, she served in the role of a 6th grade English teacher. At ELMS, she also served as the Alternative Education teacher. In 2008, she was promoted to Assistant Principal at Wilde Lake Middle. A year later, we were reunited when I was transferred to Wilde Lake Middle as Principal.

Over the past three years, Lisa has done an outstanding job as my administrative partner. I am thrilled that she will take over the leadership of the school and take WLMS to even greater heights.

Congratulations Lisa!!! Your promotion is well-deserved.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some News About Me

Recently, I was selected to serve as the new Instructional Director of Middle Schools for the Frederick County Public School System. In my new role, I will be responsible for helping to lead the Frederick County middle schools as they meet the challenges of implementing the new Maryland Common Core State Curriculum, implementing the new teacher and principal evaluation processes, as well as other school reform initiatives that have been adopted by the state. I am very excited to be given the opportunity to work with the Frederick County Public Schools, but equally sad to leave the students, staff and the friends I have made here in the Howard County Public School System.

It has been my honor and privilege to serve the WLMS community, first as an assistant principal in the late 90’s, and most recently as principal. I want to thank the staff, students and community of WLMS for their support, hard work and dedication that has been demonstrated during my time here. Without question, WLMS is a very special school because of the students, staff and community. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished together over the past three years, including: developing the Wilde Lake Way, raising MSA scores, improving staff morale, piloting netbooks and the Inquiry and Innovation Reading modules, implementing a data conversation protocol (CFIP) that helps improve instruction, creating new partnerships like TriColumbia, updating and improving the facility and showcasing all of the amazing things that happen at the Lake each and everyday.

I also want to recognize those students, staff and colleagues that I have worked with in other schools, including: Owen Brown Middle, Patuxent Valley Middle, Mount View Middle and Elkridge Landing Middle. My 25 years in the Howard County Public School System have been a wonderful experience and I will most certainly miss all of the friends and colleagues I have made over the years. The impact you have had on me and my family is invaluable and ever-lasting.

Once again, thanks to those people with whom I have had the opportunity to work and for allowing me to be apart of your lives. It has been my pleasure and profound honor.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stephen Ritz: A teacher growing green in the South Bronx

WLMS's Renovations Begin!

This summer, WLMS is receiving minor renovations to the art room, media center and band & chorus rooms. We are very excited about all the work that has begun this week. Here are some pictures thanks to our ace photographer, Mrs. Yetter!

WLMS's Geocaching Shark Makes it to California

"Well it took it over a year to get there, but the travel bug my 7th grade Geography class set in motion from Columbia, Maryland, finally made it to California!" 

Mrs. Thomas, WLMS Social Studies Teacher

Check out the "Shark's" travels here:
Way to go Mrs. Thomas and all of her students!