Kirwan Commission to Recommend Billions More to Raise Teacher Pay

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The Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has begun hanging price tags on its recommendations for major education reform.

Dr. William English Kirwan

The commission chair, former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, has emphasized that the state would not just funnel more money into the status quo of Maryland public schools, but would require major changes in how education is delivered and teachers work to justify new spending phased in over 10 years.

Mandated school funding is already the second largest outlay in the state budget.

One of the commission’s major findings is that teachers are paid 25% less than comparable professionals with comparable education and responsibilities, one of the causes for a shortage of qualified teachers and students training to be teachers.

10% pay hike

The commission will be proposing a major bump in teach pay, raising pay for all Maryland public school teachers by 10% between 2020 and 2022, with a minimum teacher salary of $60,000 phased-in by 2024.

The commission is also proposing a new career ladder for teachers and additional certifications for teachers under the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This will raise average teacher pay in Maryland from the current $69,557 to $93,137 by 2029. In the final year of phase-in, the additional state spending is $1.3 billion, according to preliminary costs estimates by the Department of Legislative Services.

Accompanying these pay raises, the commission is also recommending a reduction in actual classroom teaching time from 80% of the current school day to 60%. This will give teachers more time “to tutor students who need intensive help and work together in teams to use data and observation to identify students who are falling behind and collaborate on getting them back on track, develop highly engaging and effective lesson plans, mentor new and struggling teachers and systematically improve the school’s instructional program using applied research.”

Based on the experience of high-performing schools around the world, the reduction of teaching time will be accompanied by an increase in class sizes justified by more effective curriculum.

“These reductions in instructional time will require an additional 14,685 teachers by 2029 to continue providing the same number of classes,” says the report. Price tag in final year 2029 is another $1.3 billion.

Staggering figures

Conscious that the numbers are staggering, at its Nov. 14 hearing Kirwan emphasized that these are only preliminary numbers.

“These numbers will not reflect any savings that will be made based on the savings of other work groups,” Kirwan said. “No one should leave this room writing or reporting these figures as being the number for any work group. It is a gross number. It has not been netted out.”

“It would be inaccurate to simply add together each element and characterize this as a total cost,” Kirwan went on. “Cost overlaps have not been fully adjusted. Cost savings have not been incorporated.

The commission has not yet tried to work out formulas for how the state and local governments will share in the new costs.

As the costs estimates are rolled out, commission members also noted that there may be additional costs for new buildings associated with increasing the number of teachers or class sizes.

Commission member Crag Rice, a member of the Montgomery County Council, also noted that if you raise the salaries for some, other employees of county government will want similar raises.

By Len Lazarick

Wye River Upper School Hosts Admissions Open House

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Wye River Upper School is hosting an Admissions Open House on Thursday, October 25 from 6 pm – 8 pm on the School’s campus located at 316 S. Commerce Street, Centreville, MD. The evening will include the opportunity to speak to students and staff about the unique Wye River experience, along with the chance to tour the building. Wye River Upper School is a college preparatory high school offering an engaging, supportive and challenging curriculum for students with a variety of learning challenges including ADHD, dyslexia and anxiety. Students who attend Wye River come from several Maryland counties including Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Kent. Transportation for students is available to and from Stevensville, Easton, and Chestertown. Register at wyeriverupperschool.org.

For more information, please contact Katie Theeke, Director of Admissions and Communications at 410-758-2922 or email katietheeke@wyeriverupperschool.org

www.wyeriverupperschool.org

Chesapeake College Experiences Phishing Attack

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A phishing attack targeting Chesapeake College has resulted in the unauthorized access of a limited number of employee email accounts.

Chesapeake President Dr. Clifford Coppersmith said the attack occurred between January 3, 2018 and April 27, 2018. Upon learning of the issue, the College immediately hired a team of external cyber security professionals to conduct an extensive forensic investigation and manual document review to determine the extent of the incident and provide notice as soon as possible.

Beginning this week, a total of 610 students, faculty, staff and prospective employees are receiving notification letters mailed to their last known address informing them that the email accounts contained some of their personal information and may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party.

Based on the investigation, there has been no evidence to date that any of the personal information has been misused, but the College is taking every precaution to notify and protect affected members of the campus community and improve internal controls, according to Coppersmith.

“We regret this incident occurred and have worked as quickly as possible with a team of experienced consultants to modify and improve our cyber security practices,” he said. “These measures will not only enhance the security and privacy of personal information to keep it in our possession but also reduce the likelihood of future attacks of this kind.”

Coppersmith said that only individuals who receive notification letters from the College over the next two weeks are affected by the phishing attack.

The letters detail what personal information has potentially been impacted and provide guidelines on steps the individuals can take to further protect their information. Individuals whose Social Security numbers and/or driver’s license numbers were possibly affected are being offered a complimentary, one-year membership to a credit monitoring service.

“We are not alone in facing this difficult issue,” Coppersmith said. “Unfortunately, academic institutions across the United States are cyber targets and have experienced similar attacks. It underscores the importance of taking information security seriously and exercising appropriate password protocols to protect your, and others’, personal information.”

Individuals with any questions should call Chesapeake’s dedicated and confidential toll-free response line at 877-877-2596. The response line is staffed with professionals familiar with the incident and knowledgeable on what can be done to protect against misuse of information. The response line is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time.

 

Spy Spotlight: Shore Explorations with Patrick Rogan

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Most of Patrick Rogan’s professional life is that of a designer of exhibitions for museums. His work, at that of his firm, assemble, works collaboratively with those institutions to tell compelling stories through images and other multimedia tools. The results of which can been seen in such nationally known museums as the , National Building Museum, Carnegie Institution for Science, or the Maryland Science Center, and more locally with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Horn Point Laboratories, the Talbot Historical Society, and Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area and Historic Easton.

But through the process of developing these installations, Patrick also saw that these techniques could also apply directly to the learning process of children. The act of gathering material, doing research, and designing presentations of findings fits exceptionally well in a new era for the modern classroom, where students can use the same tools to examine the past, present, and future of the Mid-Shore.

Drawing from the life and legacy of Talbot County’s Frederick Douglass, Rogan is working closely with Talbot County Public Schools, the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, and the Talbot Historical Society during his Bicentennial year on two week interpretive workshops with local sixth and seventh graders, and TCPS teachers Colin Stibbins and Kyndell Rainer, to lead them through an exploration of our history, ecosystem, and culture to seek a better understanding of their past, present and future on the Mid-Shore.

The Spy talked to Patrick at the Waterfowl Building last week about Shore Explorations one month studio where participants will be using the legacy of Douglass and some of the Talbot Historical Society’s remarkable photographs as essential tools in sharing their hopes for the future for our area.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. We have also added clips of a video that the students created this summer as another example of Shore Explorations special approach. For more information about Shore Explorations please go here.

 

 

 

Kent School to Host Secondary School Fair

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On Monday, October 1, Kent School will host a secondary school fair for students in Grades Seven and Eight and their parents or guardians. The event will be held in the M.V. “Mike” Williams Gymnasium from 6:30 pm through 8:00 pm. The fair is free and open to the public. Several independent and area public schools, both day schools and boarding schools will participate. A partial list of participating schools includes The Gunston School, Mercersburg Academy, St. Andrew’s School, West Nottingham Academy, Madeira School, Westtown School, Woodberry Forest School, Kent County High School and Queen Anne’s County High School.

According to Tricia Cammerzell, Assistant Head of School for Advancement, “The purpose of the fair is to bring as many secondary schools together in one place at one time so students and parents can get an overview of the wonderful regional options for high school. This is an opportunity for families to speak with admission representatives and decide if they want to delve further into the admission process for a particular school.”

The secondary school process at Kent School is an intentional one that includes an academically rigorous program coupled with faculty support, small class discussions and student accountability. Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School said, “At Kent School we are proud of the work we do for each student to prepare them for success in their chosen high school. We conduct mock interviews, create classroom situations similar to high school classes and write in-depth recommendations. As stated in our mission, we are invested in ‘helping each student reach their full potential for academic, athletic, artistic and moral excellence’. The secondary school fair is an important tool to help guide students and parents through the discovery, application and enrollment process.” Mugele continued, “I hope families from throughout the Kent County and Queen Anne’s County communities will join us to learn more about some of these exceptional schools.”

Kent School is located at 6788 Wilkins Lane in historic Chestertown. For more information call 410-778-4100 ext. 110 or visit www.kentschool.org. Kent School serves children from Preschool through Grade Eight on its scenic campus on the bank of the Chester River.

Mid-Shore History: William Smith’s Washington College with Colin Dickson

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It is a common mistake to assume that George Washington was the founder of Washington College in 1782. That was not the case, but the future first president of the United States did agree to allow the use his name for an entirely new liberal arts college in Chestertown as well as hard cash as a donation, which was hard to come by after the Revolution.

No, that honor goes to William Smith, a brilliant academic who had helped start the College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania) with Ben Franklin and became its first leader. Forced to leave Philly due to his loyalist politics, he came to Chestertown at the request of the town, to start a revolutionary new form of undergraduate education.

In the fall of each year, as Washington College starts its new semester, we like to share an interview with former WC professor Colin Dickson in 2012 about William Smith and how extraordinarily lucky Chestertown was to have such a visionary and innovator in American education start their new school.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length. For more information about Washington College please go here

Alexandra Cox, Juvenile Justice Scholar to Speak at WC Sept. 27

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Is America’s juvenile justice system itself a crime against young offenders? In her recent book, Trapped in A Vice: The Consequences of Confinement for Young People, sociologist Alexandra Cox reveals that a system that claims to promote positive change in the lives of the young people, more often than not, enmeshes them in a cruel web of injustice.

Cox will discuss her research and findings at Washington College on Thursday, September 27 at 5:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall, Toll Science Center. Cosponsored by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the Department of Sociology, and the Justice, Law & Society Program at Washington College, the program is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

Spending many years working with incarcerated teenagers, Cox researched and witnessed firsthand the lives of the young people and adults in New York’s justice system. Her talk will focus on the ways that the system, rather than the crimes themselves, acts as a vise in the lives of young people, pushing them to change through the use of intensive interventions and services, but also pulling them away from meaningful opportunities for growth and development.

“Alexandra Cox is the epitome of an engaged scholar: a superb researcher and analyst who also describes powerful firsthand experiences,” said Adam Goodheart, the Starr Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold Director. “Through her vivid writing and persuasive arguments, Cox emerges as an eloquent advocate for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Her work is an exemplar for students in many different fields.”

Cox is a lecturer at the University of Essex (UK) in the Department of Sociology. She previously was an assistant professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the Department of Sociology. Prior to getting her Ph.D., she worked in the fields of criminal justice and drug policy reform at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Drug Law Reform project, the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of Legal Affairs (in California) and the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. A research fellow at Yale Law School, she was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and served as a Soros Justice Advocacy fellow.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

S.O.S. Comes to Rescue Kent County Public Schools with Jodi Bortz

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While there has always been a history of community activism and concern about the Kent County Public Schools including such groups as the PTA and those trying to fight off school consolidation a few years ago, the recent emergence of S.O.S., a.k.a. Support Our Schools is entirely different in many ways.

This small, informal friends group that grew out of parental concern about the financial capacity of the KCPS system has now emerged as a real force in holding elected officials accountable for the votes they cast, or don’t, to subsidize Kent County public schools beyond the mandatory “maintenance of effort” budget requirements set by the State of Maryland.

S.O.S. also represents a new era of local leadership. A new generation of young parents, well-versed in business management, social media, and marketing, have come to the fold to fight these battles.

One of those new leaders is Jodi Bortz, the owner of Blue Canary Letterpress, the mother of two KCPS children, and a graduate of Kent County High School. The Spy talked to her at Spy HQ last week to talk about the S.O.S.mission and its concern of the long-term sustainability of its public school system.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about S.O.S. please go here

Mid-Shore Education: Meg Bamford Takes the Helm of Radcliffe Creek School

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When the Radcliffe Creek School started the process to fill its director’s position after its founder Molly Judge stepped down after twenty-two years, the board, staff, and parents knew these would be tough shoes to fill.

Judge, part gifted educator, part entrepreneur,  single-handedly built a school in Chestertown that would offer a real choice for children who learned differently and at a different pace than their contemporaries in traditional public and private schools. The results of that hard work were the creation of an institution that attracts over a hundred students from both the Eastern and Western Shores of Maryland.

That remarkable record of achievement was the reason that the school launched a national search almost two years ago but that strategy was no guarantee that the right successor would be identified.

Luckily for Radcliffe Creek School and for the Mid-Shore, those ambitions did indeed find that needle in the proverbial haystack with the selection of Meghan “Meg” Bamford as the second Head of School.

A product of the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, Meg Bamford not only has a distinguished academic background in special education, but struggled with her own learning challenges at an early age which led to earning two master’s degrees in education, with appointments to the highly regarded Landmark College in New England, and more recently as the head of student services with the Hopkinton School District in New Hampshire.

The Spy sat down with Meg a few weeks ago as she began her new job to reflect on her views of education, Radcliffe Creek, and the honor she feels by being selected to lead this exceptional school.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Radcliffe Creek School please go here