Schools Strategic Planning Meeting Oct. 26

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The Kent County Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee is holding a special meeting for the purpose of discussing long-term facilities planning. 

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, October 26, at Kent County High School, 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton.

Gunston Raises over $80,000 at the Bull & Oyster Roast

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Freshman parent Chris Nittle and Headmaster John Lewis.

On Saturday, October 14, The Gunston School held its annual Bull & Oyster Roast & Alumni Reunion. Nearly 270 parents, trustees, alumni and friends gathered on TGS’s campus for this sold-out event to support the school in its largest fundraiser of the year.

The evening began with twelve teams competing in a Cornhole Tournament, while alumni, including the Class of 2007, reunited with their old classmates and teachers. Other guests mingled, enjoyed shucked and steamed oysters, and tried their luck on silent auction items that were generously donated by local businesses and Gunston families.

A new twist was added to the Live Auction this year—prior to the event, raffle tickets were sold for a chance at one of the ten Live Auction items. The items included vacations to Deep Creek, Jamaica, and Orlando, as well as a signed Paul Reed Smith guitar. The lucky winner was alum Cynthia (Rosasco) Latimer ’81. Although not present at this year’s event, Cindi is a long-time supporter of Gunston and regularly contributes to the auction through donations or auction bidding. “As an alumna I have a tender heart for the spirit of Gunston and respect for her past and for her future. Purchasing the raffle was a fun yet creative way to support Gunston.”

In keeping with tradition, the Live Auction was interrupted midway through for “Raise the Paddle.” Headmaster John Lewis announced that this year’s funded item was new sports equipment for the Heron House sports facility, that is currently under renovation.

All in all, the evening was a huge success, raising over $80,000, which will go towards supporting student programs. John Lewis commented, “The generosity of our parents and friends is truly extraordinary, and this generosity translates directly into a stronger educational program for all of our students.”

Local businesses were key to the success of this auction. Over 200 businesses, community members, and families from throughout the Eastern Shore and Annapolis donated items, and made financial contributions to this year’s fundraising event.

Gunston would like to extend a special thanks to our sponsors— The Gunston School Board of Trustees, The Gladwood Foundation, Intown Management (Gigi & Steve Hershey), Ashley Insurance, IT Direct (Bess & Ralph Riddle), Karen & John Morrison, Ty & Dawn Barrett-Kennedy on behalf of the Arnold F. Baggins Foundation, Freestate and Son Insurance, ZIPS Dry Cleaning (Theresa & Bart Casiello), Gillespie and Son, and Gillespie Precast, Dogwood Acres (Audrey & Kurt Reighardt), Kent School, Peggy & John Christie, Mara & Walt Schmittinger, Lundenberg Builders, Peter & Elise Kunkel, John & Laurie Lewis, Atlantic Broadband, Impressive Printing, Trinity Floors, Radcliffe Creek School, Robert & Nancy Shoemaker—and, the Gunston Parents’ Association, Gunston’s faculty and staff, and the 2017 Bull & Oyster Roast Committee Chairs—Trish Rudolfs, Jill Meyerhoff, Colleen & Eric Silva, Karen Morrison, Karen Talbott, Trudy Schiwy, and Greta Umidi who worked tirelessly to create a spectacular evening.

Gunston parents (L-R): Colleen Moran-Silva, Beth Campbell and Trish Lucus.

On Saturday, October 14, The Gunston School held its annual Bull & Oyster Roast & Alumni Reunion. Nearly 270 parents, trustees, alumni and friends gathered on TGS’s campus for this sold-out event to support the school in its largest fundraiser of the year.

The evening began with twelve teams competing in a Cornhole Tournament, while alumni, including the Class of 2007, reunited with their old classmates and teachers. Other guests mingled, enjoyed shucked and steamed oysters, and tried their luck on silent auction items that were generously donated by local businesses and Gunston families.

A new twist was added to the Live Auction this year—prior to the event, raffle tickets were sold for a chance at one of the ten Live Auction items. The items included vacations to Deep Creek, Jamaica, and Orlando, as well as a signed Paul Reed Smith guitar. The lucky winner was alum Cynthia (Rosasco) Latimer ’81. Although not present at this year’s event, Cindi is a long-time supporter of Gunston and regularly contributes to the auction through donations or auction bidding. “As an alumna I have a tender heart for the spirit of Gunston and respect for her past and for her future. Purchasing the raffle was a fun yet creative way to support Gunston.”

In keeping with tradition, the Live Auction was interrupted midway through for “Raise the Paddle.” Headmaster John Lewis announced that this year’s funded item was new sports equipment for the Heron House sports facility, that is currently under renovation.

All in all, the evening was a huge success, raising over $80,000, which will go towards supporting student programs. John Lewis commented, “The generosity of our parents and friends is truly extraordinary, and this generosity translates directly into a stronger educational program for all of our students.”

Local businesses were key to the success of this auction. Over 200 businesses, community members, and families from throughout the Eastern Shore and Annapolis donated items, and made financial contributions to this year’s fundraising event.

Gunston would like to extend a special thanks to our sponsors— The Gunston School Board of Trustees, The Gladwood Foundation, Intown Management (Gigi & Steve Hershey), Ashley Insurance, IT Direct (Bess & Ralph Riddle), Karen & John Morrison, Ty & Dawn Barrett-Kennedy on behalf of the Arnold F. Baggins Foundation, Freestate and Son Insurance, ZIPS Dry Cleaning (Theresa & Bart Casiello), Gillespie and Son & Gillespie Precast, Dogwood Acres (Audrey & Kurt Reighardt), Kent School, Peggy & John Christie, Mara & Walt Schmittinger, Lundenberg Builders, Peter & Elise Kunkel, John & Laurie Lewis, Atlantic Broadband, Impressive Printing, Trinity Floors, Radcliffe Creek School, Robert & Nancy Shoemaker—and, the Gunston Parents’ Association, Gunston’s faculty and staff, and the 2017 Bull & Oyster Roast Committee Chairs—Trish Rudolfs, Jill Meyerhoff, Colleen & Eric Silva, Karen Morrison, Karen Talbott, Trudy Schiwy, and Greta Umidi who worked tirelessly to create a spectacular evening.

Kent School to Host Visiting Writer

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Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair

On Wednesday, November 8, Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair will give a lecture on her book The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relations in the Digital Age. Her lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the Kent School Library located at 6788 Wilkins Lane. This event is free and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Steiner-Adair is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist and school consultant in addition to being an award-winning author. In her book, according to her website, “Dr. Steiner-Adair examines ways in which the wonders of technology and media also change how children learn and grow, and shows parents and educators how to reap the benefits of tech while reducing the risks it poses at every stage of child development. In The Big Disconnect (cited as a Wall Street Journal TOP 10 Best Non-Fiction 2013) and in her work internationally as a speaker and consultant, Dr. Steiner-Adair identifies digital age challenges for parents and educators, and ways to strengthen children’s social and emotional development to help them grow to be responsible, resilient, confident, and capable young adults. In her book, as in her keynote presentations, Dr. Steiner-Adair shares real-life stories from her clinical practice and her work with educators, experts, parents, and children, including extensive interviews with students from preschool through high school and beyond.”

“The focus of family has turned to the glow of the screen—children constantly playing on devices, texting their friends while going online to do homework, and parents working online or using social media around the clock—everyday life is undergoing a massive transformation. Dr. Steiner-Adair offers insights and advice that help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence as they engage with the tech revolution unfolding in their living rooms. Easy access to the internet and social media has erased the boundaries that protect children and Dr. Steiner-Adair helps her audiences to understand the psychological fallout that children are experiencing, often with their parents unaware.”

Nancy Mugele, Head of School at Kent School said, “It is an absolute honor to welcome Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair to Kent School. We have invited her in direct response to our parents’ request for guidance as they help their children navigate the unchartered and quickly changing territory of personal technology and social media. Our students are learning about technology faster than most of their parents and new social media platforms are being introduced all the time. Dr. Steiner-Adair will help us all better understand the role technology should and should not play in our family lives.”

Part of Steiner-Adair’s visit to Kent School will include an afternoon assembly with Middle School students as well as a faculty professional development workshop. As a school consultant, Steiner-Adair helps schools meet the challenges of educating 21st Century students to be smart, culturally savvy and compassionate global citizens. Mugele continued, “Dr. Steiner-Adair’s work as a school consultant ties directly with Kent School’s mission to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence in a family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment which fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and diverse world.”

Following her evening lecture, copies of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age will be available for sale and signing. Steiner-Adair’s visit is made possible by the Kudner Leyon Memorial Endowment. Kent School is located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown. For more information, visit the school website www.or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110.

Gunston to Welcome Mary Evelyn Tucker for In Celebration of Books Program

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On Friday, October 27, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-author with Brian Swimme of Journey of the Universe (Yale UP, 2011) will be visiting Gunston for the fall installment of the school’s In Celebration of Books program. Journey of the Universe was the 2017 Gunston community summer read and focuses on the story of the universe as seen through the multiple lenses of scientific discovery and human insight.

The book has already been incorporated into Gunston’s tenth grade curriculum as part of its innovative History of Ideas course. “We’re delighted to have Dr. Tucker join us for In Celebration of Books,” says Headmaster John Lewis. “Journey of the Universe asks us to consider questions about our identities as human beings and our relationship with each other. Beyond that, it also asks us to think about our collective role in the development of the universe, which is ever-evolving.”

Lewis says that the integrative approach of Journey of the Universe is reflective of Gunston’s overarching mission, which strives to educate “ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society.” Tucker’s visit, he notes, “will be an opportunity for the community to engage in deeper conversation about issues that ultimately impact the ways in which we think about sustainability.”

Journey of the Universe is a multimedia project developed by Tucker and evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme, with whom she has worked for some twenty-five years. In addition to the book, the project includes an Emmy award winning film, which was first broadcast on PBS and is now available on Amazon Prime. There is also a series of Journey Conversations that Tucker did with twenty scientists, historians, and environmentalists discussing the significance of this universe story, especially for ecological issues. For more information about the Journey of the Universe project, visit the website: www.journeyoftheuniverse.org

Dr. Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. She teaches in the joint MA program in religion and ecology and directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale with her husband, John Grim.

Her keynote speech will be begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, October 27. The public is welcome to attend. After the keynote, Tucker will visit with tenth grade students in their History of Ideas classes.

Kent School Chesapeake Bay Studies Incorporate STEM

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Kent School students in Grade 4 and Grade 7 recently engaged in STEM activities related to their Chesapeake Bay Studies curriculum. Grade 4 students, in conjunction with The Center for Environment and Society at Washington College participated in a buoy building activity.

Students were challenged to design and build a buoy that would both float and support at least fifteen golf balls. The golf balls represent equipment that a real life buoy might hold when in operation.

Designing a buoy

Students worked in small groups to meet several specific challenges fulfilling criteria of cutting-edge STEM education that combines Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curricula.  In addition to a variety of problem solving skills, students explored principles of engineering such as buoyancy, displacement, balance, and weight distribution. Students experimented with two-tiered designs, designs with larger surface areas and inverted designs. Groups were also given allotted time to revise ideas and redesign. This program is a part of the Youth Observatory Project sponsored by the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College.

Oysters are the topic of a multi-phase science project for Grade Seven students. Hannah Richardson, Middle School Science teacher said, “The Seventh Grade curriculum emphasizes life science and ecology concepts. We are currently learning about taxonomy and the classification of animals. Using oysters to guide the curriculum, we were able to provide a rich, real-world, hands-on teaching and learning opportunity involving, research, construction of oyster cages and an outdoor education experience to Horn Point Oyster Hatchery.”

Kent School students with oyster spat.

Students constructed twelve oyster cages and added oyster spat provided by Horn Point. The cages were delivered to locations on the Chester River and Corsica River. They will be responsible for tracking salinity and the oyster growth rate until May when they oysters will be released into oyster bars in the Bay proper. Richardson continued, “It is truly rewarding to present seventh grade life science in ways my students can truly relate to their everyday lives. This experience ties seamlessly with our commitment to Chesapeake Bay Studies and our status as a Maryland Certified Green School.”

Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School said, “Kent School is nationally recognized for its school-wide Chesapeake Bay Studies Program. The Chester River is one of the largest tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Our unique location on the bank of the Chester River affords many wonderful teaching and learning opportunities. Using the environment as an integrating context allows us to teach core subjects through the theme of Chesapeake Bay Studies.”

For more information about Kent School’s Chesapeake Bay Studies Program or any other facet of the school visit, www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The School’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

Special Board of Education Meeting

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School Board members

The Kent County Board of Education is holding a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17 at the Board of Education building, 5608 Boundary Ave., Rock Hall.

The purpose of  the meeting is to approve a Transportation Resolution and Execution of Transaction Documents related to the purchase of school buses for the district. The purchase is to be financed in the amount of  $1,414,248  by City National Bank City National Capital Finance, Inc.

 

 

 

 

Kent School to Host Empty Bowls Benefit

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On Friday, November 3 at 6:00 p.m. Kent School is hosting an Empty Bowls event to benefit the Kent County Food Pantry. Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger, personalized by artists and art organizations on a community level. The event is open to the public. While admission is free, guests may enjoy a variety of homemade soups and breads with the purchase of a student-made ceramic bowl. Each bowl is $10. The soup dinner will be held in the M.V. “Mike” Williams Gymnasium. All proceeds from the sale of the bowls will go the Kent County Food Pantry. This event is a collaboration between the Kent School’s Art Department and the Student Government Association.

Since the start of this academic year, art classes have been devoted to ceramics. As a result, every student at Kent School from Preschool through Grade Eight, has made at least one ceramic bowl. Kent School’s art teacher, Pat Parkhurst said, “This is the second year completing the Empty Bowls project with our students. It is a great example of our School’s mission in practice. The students’ work is not only artistically excellent, they are all practicing moral excellence by offering their pieces to support the Kent County Food Pantry.” Parkhurst continued, “It is gratifying on so many levels. When the students see their work evolve from a mound of gray clay to a fully glazed and fired piece featuring their own personal design elements, the sense of accomplishment is very fulfilling.”

Susan Basener, the Board President of the Kent County Food Pantry said, “Kent School donated all proceeds of their 2016 Empty Bowls event to the community food pantry. Their large donation was enough to purchase food for over forty families for a week.” Basener continued, “This meaningful event not only supported the work of the Pantry, but it also provided an authentic learning experience for every student. Artistic expression, thoughtful reflection and an understanding of local hunger were integrated into an experience the students will likely remember.”

Kent School students have a long-term, ongoing relationship with the Kent County Food Pantry. Each year the Student Government Association (SGA) at Kent School leads charitable activities in support of the Kent County Food Pantry. The students coordinate food drives throughout the year. Parkhurst continued, “The partnership between SGA and the Art Department is a natural fit. This is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate a concentrated art unit with a student-led community service program. It has been an ambitious project for them, but a very satisfying and meaningful learning experience for all of us.”

To make a reservation for Kent School’s Empty Bowls event email rsvp@kentschool.org. For more information, visit www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in historic Chestertown, Md., is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The school’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

Legislators Weigh Recommendations to Expand Prekindergarten

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The state’s income threshold for families to qualify for free prekindergarten should be increased by more than 60 percent, a state workgroup told a legislative panel this week.

A state House and Senate committee weighing universal schooling for 4-year-olds met on Tuesday and acknowledged the need for an increase in funding for the early education program statewide.

A workgroup formed to study universal access to prekindergarten was charged in April with presenting a report to the governor and the General Assembly by December.

Universal, high quality, full-day prekindergarten should be accessible to all 4-year-old children through a variety of programs and providers with a combination of public and private funding, the state’s education department, presenting the workgroup’s findings, told the panel on Tuesday.

The legislative committee also took into account a report published in January 2016 by Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, a consulting firm in Colorado, that highlighted the need to offer more access to prekindergarten in Maryland and increase the number of high-quality spots available to serve 80 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds.

According to the Colorado firm’s data, 35.6 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in state prekindergarten in Maryland as of January 2016.

Maryland’s enrollment is similar to neighboring states’ — such as Delaware and Virginia, which have 5.6 percent enrollment and 17.7 percent enrollment respectively; however, other states have rates of prekindergarten enrollment greater than 70 percent, such as Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont.

Maryland currently mandates that each district provide at least a half day of free pre-K for 4-year-olds who are in households with incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $45,510 for a family of four, according to Steven Hershkowitz of the Maryland State Education Association.

The income level qualification would be raised to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or $73,800 for a family of four, over a period of at least 10 years if the workgroup’s recommendations are implemented.

The workgroup also suggests that funds flow through the state Department of Education and be distributed to school systems and community-based programs through a grant process.

The change would improve access for many families in the state who can’t afford a private provider, but also aren’t eligible for free programs.

Sen. Nancy King, D-Montgomery, the chair of the committee, said she supports expanding pre-kindergarten, but that funding will be a challenge.

“I’m definitely a believer in pre-k I’ll tell you that,” King said Tuesday. “Difference in abilities is outstanding, from someone who has had pre-k and someone who hasn’t. You wonder throughout the years who does catch up.”

On Thursday, Maryland’s Kirwin Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is scheduled to discuss revising funding for state education, as well as consider the proposal for universal prekindergarten.

By Jess Feldman
Capital News Service

Hopeful Take on Climate Change

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Peterson Toscano

On Friday, October 20, experience the artful, playful, outrageously funny, and deeply moving storytelling craft of Peterson Toscano in his comedic performance, Everything is Connected: A collection of stories, most weird, many true. Connecting issues and ideas to bizarre personal experiences, literature, science, and even the odd Bible story, Peterson transforms right before your eyes into a whole cast of comic characters who explore the serious worlds of gender, sexuality, privilege, religion and environmental justice.

This performance will take place in Decker Theatre at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

As someone concerned with human rights, Toscano has taken on climate change as his primary focus as he considers LGBTQ, faith, and comic responses to the climate crisis. He does not dole out the typical gloom and doom, shame, and guilt global warming messages. Instead, he infuses his work with hope. He challenges audiences to pursue community building as he helps them connect climate change to everything from immigration to a cup of coffee. He curates the Climate Stew Website and is the host of Citizens’ Climate Radio To learn more about Peterson Toscano, visit his website.

For information about the event call Jamie Frees at 410-810-7162 or email  jfrees2@washcoll.edu. This event is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, the Cater Society of Junior Fellows, Intercultural Ambassadors and Office of Intercultural Affairs, Student Government Association, Student Environmental Alliance, EROS, TaNGO, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Mid-Shore Maryland Chapter of PLFAG.