Mashups, Anansi Trio Headline College Concert Series

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The Mashups

The second half of Washington College’s Fall 2017 concert series begins Oct. 25 with the Mashups, closing out with Anansi Trio on Nov. 2.

Each performance will be in Hotchkiss Recital Hall at the Gibson Centre for the Arts and begins at 7:30. Tickets are $20 (adults), $15 (non-WC College Students/Seniors over age 65/WC faculty and staff), and $12 (1782 Member). WC students and youth 17 and under are free.

On October 25, The Mashups bring their passion for genre bending to the College with a concert that mixes Beyonce with Bizet and couples Porter with Puccini. They break all the rules while taking the audience on an adventure through opera to jazz to musicals to Motown and back again. The Mashups are a trio: Julia Chalfin, who loves opera and the big stage, has made a name for herself in Munich, Germany, as an opera-cabaret performer with original shows such as The Birth of a DivaA Taste of AmericaSopranos-more than just a pretty voice! and Ladies, who Brunch, which she wrote, produced and performed. Cory O’Niell Walker is a diverse performer, composer, and designer who performs in many genres including opera, musical theater, art song and dance. He has also been seen at the Philly Fringe Festival performing his own art-song-based theater works, and he is executive artistic director and co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Artsong Repertory Theater Company, and also performs regularly with The Opera Company of Philadelphia and The Mendelssohn Club Chorus. Matt Brower, a lecturer in piano at Washington College since 2015, is a Philadelphia-based pianist, coach, and educator who brings vision and sensitivity to a variety of genres, from classical piano, chamber music, opera, and art song to musical theatre and jazz.

Anansi Trio

On Nov 2, Washington College welcomes Anansi Trio, a group of like-minded musicians drawing from a wide range of musical influences. Taking their name from a West African trickster spirit associated with storytelling, the trio uses the language of jazz as their starting point. Adding elements of Afro-Cuban and Indian music as well as other global traditions, their sound is deep and diverse. Using percussion, saxophones, and acoustic bass they create a music that’s unique and experimental yet remains accessible. With a strong rhythmic approach and a focus on improvisation, Anansi Trio hopes to put their own stamp on the American legacy known as jazz. The Anansi Trio features Mark Merella (drums), Matt Beltzer (saxophone), and Larry Melton (bass).

Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at washcoll.edu/concert, or with cash or check at the door. Inquiries can be sent to Debbie Reed at concertseries@washcoll.edu or 410-778-7839.

Wil Haygood, Patrick Henry Scholar, to Speak Oct. 18

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Patrick Henry Scholar Wil Haygood

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, American cities burned, protesters marched at the Democratic National Convention, and black athletes at the Mexico City Olympics brought world-wide attention to the struggle for racial justice. Amid this tumult, 27 young athletes at the segregated East High School in Columbus, Ohio, achieved triumph, winning state championships in basketball and baseball while also sending their debate team to the state finals.

This inspiring story of determination and pride, and the cultural history that surrounds it, is the basis of the upcoming book by author and journalist Wil Haygood, who will discuss Tigerland: The Miracle on East Broad Street on Wednesday, Oct 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the Washington College campus. The program, sponsored by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the Rose O’Neill Literary House, is free and open to the public.

Haygood is the Starr Center’s 2017-18 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow. A cultural historian and award-winning author of seven nonfiction books, he has published biographies on Sammy Davis, Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Sugar Ray Robinson. Perhaps most famously, Haygood is the author and co-producer behind the 2013 film The Butler, the story of Eugene Allen, an African American butler who served under eight U.S. presidents, from Truman to Reagan, and received—along with Mr. Haygood—a VIP invitation to President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

While researching his new book, Haygood interviewed most of the athletes, coaches, and students from East Columbus High who were grateful to share their stories. But beyond their individual stories is an epic story of life in a segregated northern city whose schools did not willingly integrate until mandated by a 1979 Supreme Court decision. Haygood relates how the student athletes were inspired by Martin Luther King’s visits to the city, and, in the aftermath of his murder, felt determined to prove that they could overcome racism and segregation through athletic and scholastic competition. Haygood, who grew up in Columbus, remembers watching the teams play, and how their accomplishments united the community.

“The story reached out to me from my past,” he says. “It keeps asking me to dig deeper and deeper into the fabric of our nation’s past. Although it’s about winning against stiff competition, it’s more than a sports book: it’s a cultural history of our country. Writing the book and bringing it across the finish line at the Starr Center means a lot to me. This story is part of the American experience that needs to be told.”

In addition to finishing his book, Haygood will teach a spring semester nonfiction writing workshop focused on memoir offered through Washington College’s English department. He will also host a viewing of The Butler, and lead a student field trip to Allen’s former D.C. row house in November.

Haygood is on sabbatical from Miami University in Ohio, where he serves as Broadway Visiting Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. He has received fellowships from John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. Before joining the Miami faculty, he was a Boston Globe correspondent and Washington Post reporter.

While in Chestertown, Haygood resides in the restored 1730s-era Patrick Henry House. Washington College acquired the Patrick Henry Fellows’ Residence in January 2007 through a generous gift from the Barksdale-Dabney-Patrick Henry Family Foundation, which was established by the Nuttle family of Talbot County, direct descendants of the patriot Patrick Henry.

Launched by the Starr Center in 2008, the Patrick Henry Fellowship aims to encourage reflection on the links between American history and contemporary culture, and to foster the literary art of historical writing. It is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Washington College’s center for literature and the literary arts. The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship’s funding is permanently endowed by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with further support provided by the Starr Foundation, the Hodson Trust, and other donors. For more information on the Center and the Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.

 

 

WC-ALL to Visit Harriet Tubman Country

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On Thursday, Nov. 9, the community is invited to join the Washington College Academy of Lifelong Learning for a day-long excursion to see the results of a 17-year effort to preserve the sights and landscapes associated with Harriet Tubman’s Eastern Shore.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, located 10 miles south of Cambridge in Church Creek, is the destination of the first WC-ALL- sponsored trip of the academic year. The ADA compliant bus will leave Redner’s parking lot in Chestertown at 7:30 a.m. A personal tour guide will board the bus in Dorchester as the group travels on to the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center.  Along the way, the guide will point out places and describe events that shaped Harriet Tubman’s life as an enslaved child, young woman, and freedom seeker in the open landscape of the Eastern Shore.

Upon arrival at the Visitor Center, which houses exhibits, a film, a museum store, and a research center, the group will be met by a Park Ranger who will lead a tour of the center and grounds. After lunch on your own at Old Salty’s Restaurant, the driving tour of the Underground Railroad Byway will continue, enroute to the Bucktown Village Store. There young Harriet carried out her first public act of defiance and received a serious blow to the head as she attempted to assist a fellow enslaved male. After a visit to the Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center in Cambridge, the bus will head back to Chestertown, arriving at approximately 5 p.m.

The cost of the trip is $50. for both WC-ALL members and non-members, and includes transportation, guides, and tips The deadline for reserving a place on the trip is Wednesday, Oct. 25. Make checks payable to WC-ALL and send to WC-ALL, 300 Washington Ave., Chestertown, MD. 21620. Include telephone and email addresses for all who are signing up. For more information about the trip, please call WC-ALL at 410-778-7221.

Kent County 4-H’ers – State Stars!

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L-R: Parker Welch, coach, Henry Myers, Dylan Hill, Ethan Miller, and Cassie Plummer, coach. Dairy Judging team placing 3rd overall. Dylan placed 1st in placings, 2nd Individual, Ethan 7th individual and Henry 17th individual

Oct. 1 to 7 is 4-H Week in Maryland, and it’s a good time to look at one of the most valuable youth programs in our community.The local 4-H club members have just returned from the Maryland State Fair with many ribbons for their efforts. The fair lasted 10 days, covering two weekends, Aug. 24 to Sept. 4 in Timonium.  The complete list of the state fair results is included below.

The local clubs had multiple entries in about every category; they showed horses, cattle, dogs, and rabbits.They displayed insect collections, garden vegetables, canned goods, new fashions.   But most importantly, they had a good time and learned a lot – skills that they can use throughout their lives.

Cassie Plummer (2nd from right) with the Best Bred and Owned Ayrshire heifer

For most 4-H members, the State Fair is the culmination of year-long projects.  Those entering animals must be present to show their animals for the judging.  They also need to be there to feed the animals, clean up after them, and to provide a friendly, familiar face.  Some of the animals, Elizabeth Hill, Principal Agent Associate, 4-H Youth Development for Kent County, said that many of the animals enjoy the fair.  They get special attention, special food, and even seem to like being shown in the ring for the judges and hold their heads up high.  Some get a little nervous and like to have their owners nearby.  Some like to get belly rubs, which calms them down.  Each animal is different.

Puppy Pals 4-H Dog Club 2nd place 4-H Promotional Booth

Kent County’s 4-H is a program of the University of Maryland Extension, a partnership among the U. S. Department of Agriculture, land-grant universities and local governments in each state. Faculty and staff of University of Maryland Extension provide research-based information, educational programs and services on a variety of subjects. In addition to the 4-H youth program, these include Agriculture, Nutrient Management, Family and Consumer Science, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Animal Science, and Horticulture.

Dog Show – Emily Norris and her Pomeranian Creme Brulee

The Extension office describes 4-H youth as “a living breathing, culture-changing revolution for doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles and pushing our country forward by making a measurable difference right here in Kent County. This takes uncommon commitment and that is exactly what our youth have!”

Mitch Debnam in Holstein Showmanship, presenting his heifer to the judge in the 16 year old class.

Kent County youth can take part in 4-H activities that currently include more than 125 young people in after-school clubs  and over 400 more through in-school and other community 4-H programs and activities throughout Kent County. That is over 550 youth in our county committed to community service. In 2012, 4-H Volunteers provided a volunteer value of $66,154.44 for their service to our community. Youth Volunteers provided an additional $3,161 of volunteer service through the annual 4-H Toy Drive, Adopt-a-Highway pick-ups, Kent Ag Center and Worton Park projects and more.

Megan Moore’s 1st place Green tomatoes Megan  (obviously had turned during the stay at the fair). 

Among the activities sponsored by 4-H, agricultural pursuits – raising animals and crops – are probably best known. But 4-H youth also have the opportunity to learn shooting sports, science projects like entomology, cooking, fashion design, public speaking, and other skills that will serve them well in adult life. They get the opportunity to display their skills at the county 4-H fair every July, at other nearby county fairs, and at the Maryland State Fair – not to mention national-level events.

Kent’s Senior Dairy Judging team getting ready for a long day of competition. L-R: Henry Myers, Ethan Miller and Dylan Hill, Coaches Cassie Plummer (still a 4-H’er) and 4-H alumn, Kyle Plummer. Coach Parker Welch was not in the picture.

Aubrey Baker’s 2nd place dress. She is a 1st year Junior 4-H’er.

 

Complete Maryland State Fair – Kent County 4-H Youth Results

23 4-H’ers + Puppy Pals 4-H Club Exhibited

Aubrey Baker (Junior)

Clothing – Dress with jacket-2nd,

State Fashion Revue Junior Demonstration

Mitch Debnam (Senior)

Dairy- Senior (16 Yr) Holstein Showmanship-3rd,

Spring Calf-7th, Spring Yearling-6th,

Welding-2nd/Reserve Champion

Tractor Drive-2nd

Dylan Hill (Senior)

Dairy – Senior (15 yr) Holstein Showmanship – 2nd,

Holstein Spring Calf-6th,

Red & White Holstein Senior 3 Yr Cow-2nd

Dairy Judging – 1st in Placings,

2nd Overall Individual,

Team Placed 3rd.

Earned spot on MD 4-H Dairy Judging “B” Team going to North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY, November 4-6, 2017

Farm Crops – Wheat-1st, Soybeans-1st/Champion, Corn-3rd,

Timothy Hay-3rd, Wheat Straw-4th

Photography – B/W Maryland-1st, Color Plants-4th, Color Person-Participation

Samantha Jayne’s Junior 1st Place and reserve champion Jalepeno peppers

Samantha Jayne (Junior)

Art – Water Color-2nd

Crafts – Tie-dye-4th, Glass Craft-1st,

Food Preservation – Applesauce-1st, Tomato Juice-1st/Champion, B&B Pickles-1st, Dill Pickles-1st, 1st, Salsa-1st

Home Environment – Table Covering-4th, Needlework-1st, Pillows-1st,2nd, Fleece Blanket-1st, Quilt-2nd

Photography – 1st Year Photographer-3rd, Color Experimental-1st, B/W Animal-7th, B/W Misc-1st

Vegetables- Green Beans-2nd, Egg Plant-1st/Champion, Canteloupe-1st, Banana Peppers-1st, Jalapeño Peppers-1st/Reserve Champion, Oblong Watermelon-1st, Sugar Baby Watermelon-1st

Samantha Jayne’s Junior 1st place watermelon

Rachel Jones (Intermediate)

Art – Acrylic-Participation

Craft – String Art-Participation

Photography – Color Maryland-2nd, Color Misc-6th, B/W Building-6th, B/W Plant-2nd

Alexandra Miller (Intermediate)

Dairy – Ayrshire Intermediate Showmanship-2nd, Fall Yearling-1st; Jersey Senior 2 Yr Cow-3rd

Ethan Miller (Senior)

Dairy – Guernsey Senior 2 Yr Cow-1st; Brown Swiss Winter Yearling-3rd;

Red & White Holstein Senior 2 Yr.Cow-3rd;

Guernsey Senior Best Bred and Owned Champion

Dairy Judging – Placed 7th Overall Individual, Team-3rd.

Earned spot on MD 4-H Dairy Judging “A” Team going to All American Dairy Show, Harrisburg PA, September 16-18 and World Dairy Expo, Madison, WI, October 7-9, 2017

Paige Miller (Junior)

Dairy – Ayrshire Junior Showmanship-2nd, Winter Yearling-3rd; Brown Swiss Spring Calf 3rd

Parker Miller (Intermediate)

Dairy – Brown Swiss Intermediate Showmanship-1st,

Fall Yearling-1st,

Junior 3 Yr Cow-1st/Honorable Mention

Megan Moore (Intermediate)

Art – Pastel-9th, Mixed Media-3rd

Food Preservation – Tomato juice-4th, Salsa-5th,

Home Environment – Fleece Blanket-2nd

 Photography – Color Story-2nd, Color Person-4th, B/W Seascape-1st, B/W Misc-4th

Vegetables – Green Tomatoes-1st, Red Tomatoes-1st, Cherry Tomatoes-2nd, 3rd, Oblong Watermelon-2nd,

Sugar Baby Watermelon-1st

Henry Myers (Senior)

Dairy – Guernsey 4 Yr Cow-4th

Farm Crops – Corn-1st/Reserve Champion

Photography – B/W Animal-8th

Paul Myers placing 2nd in Guernsey Senior Showmanship

Paul Myers (Senior)

Dairy – Guernsey Senior Showmanship-2nd,

Junior 2 Yr Cow-1st

Entomology – 4th Year+ Insect Collection-1st/Reserve Champion

Farm Crops – Corn-5th

Photography – Color Landscape, Color Animal, Color Seascape – Participation

Emily Norris (Junior)

Dog (Pomeranian) – Showmanship-1st/Champion, Obedience-2nd, Rally-6th

Claire Parker (Intermediate)

Art – Acrylic-2nd

Food Preservation – Blackberry Jam-2nd, Raspberry Jam-2nd, Strawberry Jam-7th, Blueberry Jam-2nd, Peach Jam-2nd, Other Jam-6th

Sarah Parker (Senior)

Clothing – Purse-2nd, PJ’s-4th, Sundress-6th

Crafts – Holiday Craft-2nd, Ornament-2nd, Jewelry-9th,

Home Environment – Desk Accessories-5th, Wall Hanging-2nd, Pillow-1st, Knitted Scarf-3rd

Food Preservation – Blackberry Jam-2nd, Raspberry Jam-3rd, Strawberry Jam-5th, Blueberry Jam-3rd, Peach Jam- 6th, Other Jam-5th

Anna Phillips (Intermediate)

Home Environment – Wreath-6th

Dustin Phillips (Senior)

Home Environment – Wreath-3rd

Brianna Pinder (Senior)

Photography – Color Maryland-2nd, Color Animal, Color Seascape, B/W Flower-Participation

 

Derrick Troyer’s 2nd place electric lamp

Cassie Plummer (Senior)

Dairy – Red & White Holstein Senior Showmanship-1st, Summer Yearling-3rd, Fall Yearling-1st

Ayrshire Spring Calf-6th, Junior 2 Yr Cow-1st/Senior & Reserve Grand Champion, Senior Best Bred and Owed

Derrick Troyer (Intermediate)

Craft – Recycled-9th

Electricity – Lamp-2nd

Food Preservation – Tomatoes-4th, Salsa-8th

Photography – Color Plant-6th, Color People-7th, B/W People-4th, Color Building-Participation

Gracie Troyer (Junior)

Clothing – Skirt-3rd, Pj’s-1st, Sundress-3rd

Craft – Recycled-Participation

Food Preservation – Tomatoes-1st, Salsa-4th

Home Environment – Scrapbook-3rd

Photography – Color Landscape-4th, Color Plant-Participation

Gracie Troyer’s 1st place pajamas. Yes, they are for a doll!

 

Casey Turner (Intermediate)

Dog (Golden Retriever) – Showmanship-1st/Champion, Obedience-1st/Grand Champion, Rally-8th

Madisyn Yiannakis (Intermediate)

Dairy – Red & White Holstein Spring Calf-4th,

Rabbit – 1 rabbit

Puppy Pals 4-H Dog Club – Club Booth-2nd

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Washington College Names Andrew Oros Associate Dean for International Education

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Andrew Oros

Washington College Provost Patrice DiQuinzio has appointed Andrew Oros, professor of political science and international studies, to a new position of Associate Dean for International Education. In this role, Oros will help coordinate and develop strategy for the growth in international education initiatives at the College, as well as enhance the experience of international students at Washington College and that of domestic students travelling abroad.

“To provide the best support possible to both our international students on campus and all of our students who want to study abroad, we have created the position Associate Dean for International Education, to be filled by a faculty member,” DiQuinzio said. “I’m delighted that Dr. Andrew Oros has accepted this position. Andrew has an international reputation as a scholar, many contacts in international politics and related fields around the world, and the leadership skills we need to continue and expand on the great work that our Global Education staff accomplishes.”

Oros has taught at Washington College since 2002 and accepted the three-year term for the new position in September. He has directed the inter-disciplinary international studies major since 2011, worked closely with students and the Global Education Office on study abroad and other international opportunities, and advised dozens of exchange and matriculated international students. He has also served on and chaired the College’s standing committee on international education. Earlier this year Oros was promoted to professor of political science and international studies, and as associate dean he will continue to teach one course per semester in his home department.

The total number of matriculated (non-exchange) international students at the College has grown from 28 to 131 in the past five years. Together with roughly 30 visiting international exchange students each year from Washington College’s 29 partner institutions around the world, the student body at Washington College is approximately 10 percent international.

This fall’s incoming class includes 15 matriculating international students from three countries and 18 visiting exchange students from eight countries. Students from China make up 70 percent of the international students that Oros will work with

Sibel Ahi, Assistant Director of the Global Education Office (GEO) and herself once an international student in the United States, leads GEO’s efforts to enhance the international student experience at Washington College.

Washington College domestic students also are increasingly involved in learning abroad. In addition to semester-long exchange opportunities with the College’s 29 partner institutions around the world, a growing number of faculty are leading students on short-term abroad programs over the summer and winter breaks. In the past five years, several new programs have been developed, including travels focused on plant biology in Nicaragua, ethno-musicology in Cuba, and programs to Greece, Israel, and India. These new programs supplement longstanding summer break programs such as the Kiplin Hall Program in the UK’s Lake District to gain insights on English literature, and the Summer Teaching Experience in Tanzania. In the last academic year alone, 128 students participated in short-term abroad programs and 39 in semester-long exchange programs.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Oros on strategic issues such as a comprehensive review and assessment of our current study abroad offerings, improving career and grad school advising for international students, and strengthening alumni connections with international graduates and graduates living and working outside of the U.S.,” DiQuinzio said.

Oros’s scholarly work on Japan, most recently his new book, Japan’s Security Renaissance: New Policies and Politics for the 21st Century (Columbia University Press), has garnered international attention. This spring and summer alone he has lectured on or spoken with experts about Japan and East Asia security issues in Manila, Hanoi, Berlin, Stockholm, Leiden, Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Perth, Canberra and Sydney. Insights from his research have been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other media globally.

 

“What Is Worthy of Our Bravery?” – Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River

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Reverend Susan Carlson Browning

On Sunday, October 1, at 10 a.m., Reverend Sue Browning will give a sermon entitled “What Is Worthy of Our Bravery?” for the Unitarian Universalists of the Chester River, 914 Gateway Drive (Crestview), Chestertown. In his book The Philosophy and Mythology of Harry Potter author Patrick McCauley reminds us of a core lesson from the Harry Potter series: “The decision to approach and confront that which scares us is not a thought, it is an act.”  Being brave is hard. What is worthy of our bravery? When should we act in light of fear? What guides these choices?  At this service, Rev. Sue Browning will explore these questions and the sources that inspire our acts of courage. Special music by Karen Somerville.

 
All are welcome to our service. For more information, call 410-778-3440.

Special School Board Meeting

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Reliable Transportation school buses

The Kent County School Board of Education is holding a
special meeting for the purpose of approving a cancellation
agreement with Reliable Transportation. The meeting will be held on
Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held
at the Kent County Board of Education Administration Building, 5608
Boundary Ave., Rock Hall.

Part of the meeting will be conducted in closed session to allow the board to consult with legal counsel. The board will then reconvene in open session to announce the cancellation agreement.

To Counter Opioid Epidemic Leads State Panel to Revisit “Recovery Schools

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A fire led to the eventual end of Phoenix — a groundbreaking Maryland public school program for children with addiction that closed in 2012 — but the state could see institutions like it rise again from the ashes.

Recent spikes in the Maryland heroin and opioid epidemic have triggered calls for substantial changes in education systems statewide, and a state work group is weighing the return of recovery schools after a Sept. 7 meeting.

For Kevin Burnes, 47, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, attending a recovery school separate from his hometown high school was life-changing.

Burnes said in a public letter that he began to experiment with drugs and alcohol at age 10, and his addiction to alcohol quickly escalated to PCP. He found himself homeless and was admitted into a psychiatric institute, he wrote.

However, after finding Phoenix, a recovery program for secondary school students with addiction, and attending for two years, his whole life turned around.

“What I can tell you is that this program undeniably saved my life,” said Burnes, now a full-time musician living in Frederick, Maryland. “The largest part of Phoenix’s success was due to the fact that everyone was involved. It was a community effort. It’s a community issue.”

State legislation that passed this year — known as the Start Talking Maryland Act — came into effect in July and directed schools in Maryland to take precautionary measures against opioid exposure and abuse. It also established the work group.

The panel is charged with evaluating and developing behavioral and substance abuse disorder programs and reporting their findings to the General Assembly, according to a state fiscal analysis.

The legislation additionally requires:

–To store naloxone in schools and train school personnel in the drug’s administration
–Public schools to expand existing programs to include drug addiction and prevention education
–Local boards of education or health departments to hire a county or regional community action official to develop these programs
–The governor to include $3 million in the fiscal 2019 budget for the Maryland State Department of Education for these policies
–Schools of higher education that receive state funding to establish these similar policies and instruction in substance use disorders in certain institutions

The Phoenix program and similar secondary schools that followed it were created specifically for students in recovery from substance use disorder or dependency, according to the Association of Recovery Schools.

“What we’ve known anecdotally for a while, we are starting to finally see with data. These high schools have positive effects on preventing and reducing adolescent alcohol and drug use as well as supporting the abstinence of kids post-treatment and seeing a positive impact on academics,” Dr. Andrew Finch, Vanderbilt University researcher and co-founder of the Association of Recovery Schools told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service.

The first of its kind in the United States, the original Phoenix I school opened in 1979 as an alternative program in Montgomery County, Maryland, that provided both an education and a positive peer culture centered on recovery. Phoenix II followed, also in Montgomery County.

Since then, about 40 schools have opened nationwide, according to Finch, but none remain in the state of Maryland.

“It was amazing the support that the students gave to each other. We would have weekly community meetings where they would praise each other for their commitment, but if they weren’t working toward sobriety these kids were the first ones to rat on each other,” Izzy Kovach, a former Phoenix teacher told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. “It was a real sense of family…”

Critical to the Phoenix schools were outdoor challenges, said Mike Bucci, a former Phoenix teacher for 20 years, in a report. Along with regular days of classes and support groups, students would go from climbing 930-foot sandstone cliffs at Seneca Rocks, West Virginia, to biking the 184-mile length of the C&O Canal to sailing the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

“These trips helped form lifelong bonds along with an ‘I can’ attitude,” Bucci wrote.

The Phoenix schools at their largest enrolled about 50 students each at a time, according to a state report.

After years of successful work, the Phoenix schools began to lose their spark. Tragedy struck in 2001 when the Phoenix II school burned down.

However, instead of remaining a standalone recovery school, Phoenix II continued on as an in-school program, and eventually Phoenix I followed, according to Kovach.

“The program lost its validity with this model (with students back in traditional high schools). The students knew it, the parents knew it, and eventually key staff left because they also saw it was ineffective,” Kovach said.

Eventually, enrollment dwindled down to only three students and the Phoenix program closed its doors in 2012, according to a report compiled by a community advocacy group Phoenix Rising: Maryland Recovery School Advocates.

Five years later, with the rise in drug use throughout the state, talk of bringing back recovery school programs have reemerged.

“Whenever you have a program where there aren’t many of them, like recovery schools, people just don’t don’t think of them as an option. But, it is slowly changing and it’s even starting to be picked up by the media,” Finch said.

The epidemic is gathering attention and resources in Maryland — Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency from March 1 to April 30 and committed an additional $50 million over five years to help with prevention.

From 2014 to 2017, the number of opioid-related deaths reported in Maryland between Jan. 1 and March 31 more than doubled — taking the death toll up to 473, according to state health department data. Since then, the work group has begun to look at these numbers and is beginning to discuss various models for these new recovery programs.

Lisa Lowe, director of the Heroin Action Coalition advocacy group, said she fears that the work group will not be able to understand how to move in the right direction without having students, parents or teachers with lived experience contributing.

“Instead of just guessing what’s going to work, why not ask the people who are living it?” Lowe said.

The work group has considered either creating a regional recovery school or bringing the recovery programs into already existing schools — both models in which Burnes, Lowe and many others are not in favor.

Lowe said students in recovery need to get away from “people, places and things,” a common phrase that is used in 12-step programs. With a regional school or an in-school program, Lowe said, it is more difficult to maintain after-school programming and local peer support groups, and it will bring recovering students back to where their problems started.

The start-up costs for Year 1 for one recovery school are estimated to range from approximately $2,258,891 to $2,473,891 depending on whether the school is operated only for Montgomery County students or as a regional recovery school, and again should enroll about 50 students age 14 through 21 years (or Grades 8 through 12), according to a state report.

“The overdoses are not occurring as much at the high school level, but that’s where they start. They start in high school and they start in middle school. We have to get the program in place so that we don’t have the deaths later on,” said Kovach, the former Phoenix teacher.

Rachelle Gardner, the co-founder of Hope Academy, a recovery charter high school in Indiana, said that these recovery schools are needed all over the country to help battle this substance abuse crisis.

“Addiction is addiction, when you walk into a 12-step meeting you’re in a room of addicts. You have to treat the addict in itself and we have to meet everybody where they’re at regardless of their drug of choice,” Gardner said.

The workgroup is continuing to develop their ideas for recovery schools and are expected to present their findings to the State Board of Education on Oct. 24.

By Georgia Slater

School Board Schedules Community Meetings on Facility Use

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Kent County Public Schools are developing a Facility Strategic Plan for future facility usage and configuration. The school board is asking the community to provide input into future school facility requirements.

Community members are invited to attend one of the community input meetings to provide insights and suggestions into school facilities. Community members are asked to limit questions/comments to 3 minutes. Cards will be provided for written comments and questions.

COMMUNITY MEETING SCHEDULE:

Sept 25 6:30 p.m. Community Meeting, Kent County High School – Auditorium

Sept 27 6:30 p.m. Community Meeting, Galena Elementary School – Cafeteria

Sept 28 6:30 p.m. Community Meeting, Rock Hall Elementary School – Cafeteria

AGENDA:FOR ALL MEETINGS:

6:30 p.m.                     Greetings and Introduction                           Dr. Couch

6:40 p.m.                     Strategic Plan Background                             Dr. Lever

7:00 p.m.                     Public Comment                                               The Community

8:20 p.m.                     Closing Remarks                                               Dr. Couch

8:30 p.m.                      School Building Tour                                      Building Principal

The next Strategic Planning Committee meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at Kent County Middle School in the Cafeteria.