Mid-Shore Education: In Search of a Different Kind of Diversity with WC’s Danitha Isma


A few weeks ago, the Spy profiled a few graduating high school seniors who had participated in the Talbot Mentors program. Three out of the five we interviewed had made the decision that they would be enrolling in what is known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

Their reason was simple. While they had benefited greatly from their public school education, it lacked one thing they were all looking for; a setting where the majority of students were young people of color.

So it was interesting when we sat down with Danitha Isma, a rising senior at Washington College, who had received her high school education in some of the most diverse and urban schools in the country, that she desired the complete opposite experience as a undergraduate. A native of Atlanta, and now with Miami as her hometown, Danitha specifically sought out this small, rural liberal arts college to understand a culture significantly different from her high school years.

In our interview, the physics major also talks about her experience with Chestertown outside of her academic life and how she grew to love its “small is beautiful” lifestyle.

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

Sultana & Students Help Conserve Radcliffe Creek


Students from Kent School and Radcliffe Creek School pose at Chestertown Town Hall, where they displayed projects summarizing a year-long course on Radcliffe Creek  –  Photo by Peter Heck

Students at Kent School and Radcliffe Creek School gathered at Town Hall Tuesday, May 28, to show projects created as part of a year-long study of the ecology of Radcliffe Creek.   All were “Action Projects” in which the students first studied the subject then came up with ideas of how they could make a difference for a cleaner, better environment.

The projects are the end results of a class created by Sultana Education Foundation, enlisting some 200 seventh-grade students at county schools. Radcliffe Creek runs along the north and west edges of Chestertown, entering the Chester River just downstream from the armory.

Beth Lenker of Sultana Education Foundation  – Photo by Peter Heck

A wood duck nesting box built by Kent School students for installation along Radcliffe Creek

Sultana’s Holt Education Director, Beth Lenker, said the students’ work was their response to the question, “What can we do?” at the end of the course, which included classroom work along with field trips along the creek. Each of the projects has the overall goal of helping to clean up the creek, the Chester River, and the Chesapeake Bay, Lenker said.

Projects covered a range from building nesting boxes for wood ducks, which will be installed along the course of the stream; trying to persuade local restaurants to discontinue using plastic straws; and erecting a sign in Gateway Park, which borders the stream where it crosses High Street, to make visitors aware of the need to protect the environment. One group of students created stencils to paint signs at storm drains, to remind everyone that they empty into the river, while others created a game to make younger students aware of some of the wildlife that inhabits the creek. And still another group created a plan to completely eliminate plastic bags from the local community.

Radcliffe Creek School Storm Drain Stencils project (kneeling in front) Hunter Morrison, Nasr Matthews, Kentie Smith; (standing middle row) Nellie Rhodes, David, Schell; (back row) Jack Rhodes, Benjamin Anthony  – Photo by Jane Jewell

Sultana instructors worked with teachers Hannah Richardson of Kent School, Heidi Usilton of Radcliffe Creek School, and Karen Carty and Katie Hughs of Kent County Middle School. The project came together about two years ago after Sultana received a grant for it, and the teachers put together an outline for the course. Lessons learned this year will be applied to refining and adjusting the course for next year, Lenker said.

Students from Radcliffe Creek School who worked on a storm drain project said that there are three drains on their campus plus many more around town that drain directly into Radcliffe Creek.  Their project will stencil messages on or near the drains that will inform people and hopefully reduce the amount of pollutants that end up in the river and from there into the bay.  One stencil design states “No Waste — Drains to River”.

Kent School Project to persuade restaurants to use more ecological alternatives to plastic straws. (kneeling in front) Shawn Barry, Bob Hollis; (standing) Allie Butler, Sophia Kent, Eddie Gillespie, – Photo by Jane Jewell

Students in Kent School’s ExStrawdinary Project went to restaurants and other businesses that sell beverages and gave them information on the problems caused by plastics in general and plastic straws specifically.  They then presented the advantages of the four main alternative materials that straws can be made from–paper, metal, corn, and bamboo.  They asked the business to make a pledge to investigate these alternatives to plastic straws and then to seriously consider switching to one of them.  They displayed a long list of local businesses that made the pledge. (See the list below in the Photo Gallery .)

Rain Garden project: Parker Severs & Asher Bowman  – Photo by Jane Jewell

Students in a Rain Garden project did some research and found that planting vegetation with deeper roots can help a nearby river by absorbing more water and holding more soil. That helps reduce both erosion and pollution. The students then selected ten such plants—including black-eyed Susans and Echinacea–that can grow well in our area to plant along the creek. Seventh-grader Parker Severs said that she intends to plant some this summer in her own yard at home near low-lying spots that tend to collect water. Reducing small stagnant pools of water will also help reduce the number of mosquitoes—a real bonus!

It’s cool how engaged the students are in putting together the actions projects,” Lenker said. She said the projects could make a tangible difference in the health of Radcliffe Creek with ripple effects for both the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay.  But it’s most important that the students are learning that they can–as individuals or as a group–make a real difference in real problems.

Students from Kent County Middle School are scheduled to show their projects at the school this Thursday, June 6.  Those projects will be featured in a future Spy article.


**  Photo Gallery **

Save the Bay project students from the Kent School – Page Starky, Issie Leach, Lucas LaFleur, Maya Whyte, Hayden McKensie – Photo by Jane Jewell

All projects were presented on poster boards, a standard practice used in academia and the scientific and business worlds.  – Photo by Peter Heck

Radcliffe Creek School project group  – Photo by Jane Jewell

List of businesses pledging to consider switching away from plastic straws. – Photo by Jane Jewell

Save the Bay project displayed a hand-painted recycled bag with the slogan “There is no Planet B.” – Photo by Jane Jewell

Save the Bay project poster from Kent School – Photo by Jane Jewell





Chesapeake College Names David A. Harper, Jr. Vice-President for Workforce and Academic Programs


Mr. Dave Harper, the current Interim Vice-President for Workforce and Academic Programs, has been permanently appointed to the position. He brings with his appointment strong connections to the region and commitment to Chesapeake’s students.

Mr. Harper was appointed to the position following a nationwide search and process that recently culminated in an on-campus day of interviews with a formal presentation to the college community.

Mr. Harper accepted the interim appointment January 2018 after serving as Dean for Faculty and Teaching and as a faculty member in the English Department. Previously, he was a faculty member, assistant dean and honors program director at Chesapeake.

“Dave has the vision to lead our academic and workforce programs into the future. He possesses formal training in leadership and has experience in both academic and non-academic settings as an administrator and manager,” said President Cliff Coppersmith.   “Throughout his experience he has successfully developed workforce and academic programs, promoted innovative curriculum, collaborated productively with student services and established strong connections to industry and business partners to support effective applied technology programs at the College.  He is fundamentally student centered in his work.”

Mr. Harper is currently pursuing a doctorate in biblical studies at the Capital Seminary and Graduate School (Greenbelt, MD).  He earned his baccalaureate degree at the University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies and a master’s degree in English literature at Washington College.  He has completed additional coursework in literature at the University of Maryland and graduate level work in leadership studies at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming.

“I love this college and the community it serves.  I intend to work very hard on behalf of both,” Mr. Harper said. “I look forward to working with the college community to implement our new Strategic Plan.”

Mr. Harper resides on his family’s farm in Caroline County with his wife, Christy, and their two children.

Kent School Kicks Off Campaign at 50th Anniversary Event


On Saturday, April 6, Kent School celebrated its 50th Anniversary with an incredible Gala at Brittland Estates in Chestertown. The event served to honor the legacy of Kent School, reflect on the present and imagine the future.

At the Gala, we announced the launch of Together We Soar: The 50th Anniversary Campaign for Kent School. This $2.3M effort will support the Endowment and a Middle School Renovation creating new spaces for Academics, Science and the Visual and Performing Arts. Kent School’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The campaign will enrich the educational experience offered at Kent School by providing an even stronger foundation for all of its students.

Together We Soar will add an additional $1M to our Endowment, which will allow us to continue to be the best that we can be for generations to come. Our Endowment supports student financial assistance, employee compensation, professional development, and the Kudner Leyon Visiting Writers’ Program. Our Endowment efforts have been strengthened by a generous donor’s challenge which commits to matching funds of $200,000. The School is pleased to report that it is halfway to its Endowment goal.

In addition, Together We Soar seeks to raise $1M to fund a re-imagining of the Deborah C. Williams Middle School and existing visual and performing arts spaces. A two story addition is planned to meet our program needs. We are working with Albert Rubeling of JMT Architecture on the design. Our goal is to complete a STEAM Innovation Center with a new Middle School Academic Wing, as well as a new Performing Arts Wing on the second floor of the M.V. “Mike” Williams Gymnasium.

Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School said, “I am so grateful for the visionary men and women on Kent School’s Founding Board, especially Founding Board President Ben P. Gale and Founding Headmistress Joan C. Merriken for their tenacity, resilience and perseverance in leading this institution. It is only fitting that the first gift to this campaign was made by the estate of Joan C. Merriken.

Joan wrote:

Perhaps the most rewarding part of my job is watching the intellectual, moral, and personal growth of every Kent School student. I am always proud of their academic success, but seeing what fine young people they become pleases me even more. Learning to define one’s standards and values is an integral part of the curriculum, and it will continue to be.

This statement greatly inspires me and I will work tirelessly to ensure its continuation well into our next 50 years. I believe in the transformative power of a Kent School education and I believe that together we can accomplish anything we set our minds to do!”

Kent School is not the same school it was 50 years ago, or even 10 years ago. Schools need to grow and develop just as our students must. We know more today about how students learn and think, and our knowledge in mind, brain and education science informs pedagogy and our understanding of best practices in education.

Kent School maintains deeply ingrained traditions that bridge generations, forever joining our students and alumni together, and preserving the very best parts of our extraordinary Kent School spirit. The best schools – Kent School included – balance achievements and progress in ways that fully embrace their history, while also embracing the opportunities that exist in our diverse world. The power of our spirit, our community connections, and the balance of tradition and leading edge prpg, will propel us steadfastly into our next half century.

Kent School, located on the bank of the Chester River in historic Chestertown, is an independent school serving boys and girls in Preschool through Grade Eight. Kent School is celebrating fifty years of excellence in education in an unparalleled learning environment. The School’s mission is to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. Our School’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world. For more information on Kent School’s Fiftieth Anniversary Campaign, Together We Soar visit www.kentschool.org

Md. House overrides Hogan Veto: Schools Can Now Start Before Labor Day


Maryland school districts will now have the ability to again start their school year before Labor Day, overturning a previous executive order by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

One day after the Maryland Senate voted to override Hogan’s veto of a bill that would give power to local school boards to determine their respective calendars, the House of Delegates voted Friday to override the measure as well.

The House voted 93-43 to join the Senate in overriding Hogan’s veto.

Delegate Anne Healey, D-Prince George’s, who served on a year-long task force to study a post-Labor Day start for Maryland public schools, said Hogan’s veto “short circuited” the work of the task force.

Healey said more flexibility was required for schools that needed to account for additional religious holidays and athletics.

Delegate Haven Shoemaker, R-Carroll, argued against overriding the veto, pointing to numerous businesses that would benefit from the additional week of summer vacation.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 32-15 along party lines to override Hogan’s veto.

Hogan on Wednesday vetoed Senate bill 128, saying that the legislation “unravels years of bipartisan work and study” and citing polls revealing that the bill runs counter to the wishes of most Marylanders.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, overturns Hogan’s 2016 executive order mandating schools start after Labor Day.

“The executive order does not respect the diversity of our state,” said Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery.

This was the last of three veto overrides to occur this week. Both chambers also voted Thursday to override Hogan’s veto of a bill to strip alcohol and tobacco regulation from the state comptroller, and a bill to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15.

By Daniel Oyefusi

CNS reporter Natalie Jones contributed to this story

Mid-Shore Education: Ben Dize Reflects on 50 Years of Teaching


While undoubtedly many teachers on the Mid-Shore have celebrated 50 years or more in educating our young people in the region, it is hard to imagine for more a diverse background than Ben Dize.

Ben has had the unique experience of teaching in the Kent County Public Schools system for 30 years,  and then immediately followed that up with now 20 years at the Gunston School outside of Centreville. All in the field of art education.

During those five decades, Ben has been a careful observer of the benefits and sometimes challenges that come with both public and private education, but even more so with the impact that art education has on young people.

The Spy drove over to Gunston a few weeks ago to spend a few moments with Ben to record his reflections on education and his love of teaching.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about the Gunston School please go here

WKHS Radio Celebrates 45th Anniversary with Fundraiser


90.5 on your FM dial is WKHS Radio at Kent County High School – Photo by Jane Jewell

WKHS, Kent County High School’s student radio station, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this week, March 24-29. And to mark the occasion in appropriate style, student DJs are spinning vintage 45-RPM records from the station’s extensive library of hits.

The Chestertown Spy, which is a sponsor of the station, paid a visit Tuesday morning and found three KCHS seniors, Aaron Drabic, Branden Aargo and Taiyana Goldsborough at the mics. Goldsborough was spinning records by such acts as Hall and Oates, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and Jimi Hendrix, announcing the anniversary fundraiser between tunes. Drabic and Aargo interviewed guests (including your Spy editors) and added commentary. Also present were J.P. Henry and his mother Jane Ward, who came from Cecil County to deliver a donation in the form of a “magic trick:” a stuffed bunny in a box with $45 attached to the rabbit when you pull it out of the box. J.P. is a big fan of the station and of WXPN, the University of Pennsylvania station that fills WKHS’s programming slots when there is no local programming available.  WKHS is on air 24 hours a day with either WKHS or WXPN programming.

Seniors Branden Arrgo, Aaron Drabic, and Taiyana Goldsborough have been in the KCHS radio program for three years. – Photo by Jane Jewell

“Magic Bunny” donates $45 for 45 years. Volunteers and supporters Jane Ward and her son J.P. Henry. – Photo by Jane Jewell

Station manager Chris Singleton was also in the studio to help pick out the records. Singleton, who has been station manager for 11 years, served as the station’s engineer for 19 years before that. But his career at the station goes all the way back to his own student days at the high school when he was a DJ at the station in his own right. And, he says, his position involves a lot of instruction in the day-to-day operation of a radio station. The program typically includes 30 to 35 students, from 10th to 12th grades. Seniors are at the station 2 periods a day, while 10th and 11th students get one period a day. Part of the school’s technical education curriculum, WKHS aims to give its students the skills to move directly into professional broadcasting. And it works – a number of the station’s alumni have gone on to careers in broadcasting, either on-air or behind the scenes.

Aaron Drabic said that all the students take their radio jobs very seriously.  This is not a toy station, he said. In addition to the on-air sessions, the students make podcasts for later online streaming of many of their interviews and special programs.  Recent podcasts include an interview with author Will Haygood that originally aired on WKHS on March 21 of this year and a program on Student Cell Phone Usage in the Classroom that initially aired on March 8.  All podcasts can be found here on the WKHS website.   In doing all the various tasks, the students have gained valuable experience with professional software such as Adobe Audition.

Ken Collins show off the new state-of-the-art digital equipment – Photo by Jane Jewell

WKHS, broadcasting at 90.5 on the FM dial, has a 17,500 watt signal – one of the strongest in the nation for a student station. Ken Collins, the station’s main fundraiser, says he can easily pick up the signal as far away as Crisfield on the lower shore and in Columbia and Baltimore on the western shore. Listeners can also tune into live broadcasts on the station’s website at http://www.wkhsradio.org/. Perhaps surprisingly, considering the small population of Kent County and the size of the school, it is the only student station in Maryland. However, the station’s feed is not broadcast in the school during class hours; the signal goes out to the rest of the community, but only those students actually in the studios can hear what’s on the air.

As part of the 45th anniversary – the official date is March 28 – WKHS is conducting a membership drive to raise funds for equipment and renovations to the station. Walking into the studios after not having visited for a couple of years, the results of previous fundraisers are plain to see. All the studios have up-to-date professional-quality equipment – computers, microphones, mic stands, etc. – essentially the same as what you’d find in a big-city station. The old soundproofing has been replaced, cables have been put out of view, and much of the engineering has been moved to its own separate room instead of being housed in the studios. As a result, the main studio is more attractive and far roomier, with plenty of room for both students and guests. The station has a very professional look now. Collins told us that Phil Dutton and the Alligators played a live session in the studio for Chester Gras this year – they all fit in and the sound was great, he said.  You can hear that interview and the Alligators’ music here.

Senior Taiyana Goldsborough hosts a radio show on WKHS every morning. – Photo by Jane Jewell

WKHS regularly broadcasts Kent County High School sports, including baseball, football, and basketball. It also broadcasts a performance recreating Orson Welles’ famous “War of the Worlds” every Halloween, with the students taking the various roles in the script. And a regular feature the last few years has been a simulcast of the Rock Hall fireworks show.

In the evenings, when the students are out of school, local volunteers broadcast a variety of musical programs, from classic country to jazz to big band to eclectic programs such as Lain Hawkridge’s “Musicology” program Thursday evenings. Singleton said that the community volunteers range in age from 14 to almost 80. The volunteer who has been with WKHS the longest is Mike Martinez who began his popular Monday evening show in 1990.

During the late night hours and weekends, the station carries programming from WXPN, the University of Pennsylvania station. The arrangement with WXPN benefits both stations, giving the Pennsylvania station an outlet in the local area and providing programming (and some funding) to WKHS.

Since they began fund-raising in 2013, the radio station has raised close to $200,000 which includes a sizable grant that Superintendent Karen Couch and the school board helped them to get.  All this has gone to remodel and update the school station.  There are still a few major pieces of equipment and software that the station hopes to be able to acquire soon in order to complete the upgrade and to maintain the station.  Tax-free donations to WKHS can be made with PayPal on the station’s website, or by calling 410-778-8100 or 778-4249.

Station Manager Chris Singleton with volunteers and supporters Jane Ward and her son J.P. Henry. – Photo by Jane Jewell


Spy Time Machine: A Vincent Hynson Scholar in 2011 Plans for College and Career


In today’s Spy, there is a short interview with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s project manager Darius Johnson on an upcoming planning conference on traffic problems and solutions for Bay Bridge congestion. We encourage our readers to view this conversation here to learn more about this important program.

In the middle of our interesting chat about one of the Spy’s favorite subjects, there was a wave of emotion as the interviewer had a momentary flashback to one of the early stories of the Spy in the 2011. Eight years ago, we met Darius and his father, Barry, in front of Sam’s shortly after he had received news that he had been awarded Washington College’s Vincent Hynson Memorial Scholarship. Just a few weeks from graduating from Kent County High School, Darius talked about his hopes for college life and career aspirations.

Fast forward to the spring of 2019 and the Spy found a unmistakable  joy in seeing this young man well on his way in serving the Mid-Shore he loves so most. The full circle of Darius’ journey  speaks volumes about the benefits of higher education, but more so much about Kent County schools, Washington College, and most importantly, the impact of hundreds in our community who gave time and resources to make it possible for Vincent Hynson’s memory to be so brilliantly celebrated.

We have reposted our article from May 30, 2011 below.


Kent County High School Senior Darius Johnson is looking forward to attending Washington College for the 2011-2012 school year. But he won’t have to travel far for a home-cooked meal or to get some laundry done. Darius will live on campus, but his home is just a few miles away in Worton.

Darius won the 2011 Vincent Hynson scholarship, established by former Washington College President Baird Tipson. The scholarship honors the life and achievement of local pastor, teacher, and WC graduate, Vincent Hynson, whose leadership in the community made a difference in the lives of Kent County’s youth and his congregation.

Before the big graduation day, Saturday, June 4, the Spy asked Darius to answer a brief questionnaire on his recent achievements and his decision to stay home for his college years.

Darius Johnson and father Barry Johnson

Question: Besides winning the Vincent Hynson Scholarship, what are among your greatest personal and academic achievements at Kent County High School, what will you remember most about your years at KCHS?

Answer: I would have to say being inducted into the National Honor Society and being voted Most likely to Be Successful by my peers. The NHS is an achievement that basically speaks for itself, and being recognized by those my own age as Most Likely To Be Successful makes me feel like all my hard work has not gone unnoticed. I feel that when one’s peers acknowledge another’s accomplishments, it is a big deal. It is usually adults who show acknowledgment. Honestly, the connections I’ve made with so many people at KCHS will be in my mind forever – the staff, and my friends. I get along well with the majority of the people no matter the age. I’ve became more of a people person throughout my four years at KCHS and I have built some strong relationships.

Question: Most young men your age want to go away to school, why did you decide to stay home to attend college?

Answer: Originally, I did want to get away from Kent County because I felt like it was the thing to do. Everyone else I was friends with has done it or aspired to do it. Hence, why I applied to Drexel University and Mount St. Mary’s. It was not until Fall of my Senior year that I realized that moving away does not determine one’s college experience. I believe college is as enjoyable as one makes it, and I could enjoy WC as much as any other college. I ultimately chose WC because I loved the atmosphere. It fit my laid-back personality and it has a huge variety of people from all over the country. Living on campus will still provide me with the college experience I yearn for, while also staying connected with my roots. So I feel as if I am getting the best of both worlds.

Question: Explain your relationship with your parents, and how that influenced you in your success. What golden rules did they teach you as you grew to be a successful young man?

Answer: My parents are amazing people. They always encourage me to do my best, but never force me to do anything I am uncomfortable with. They are the type of people to teach by example and work hard towards the goals, which naturally was instilled in me. They set a good foundation for their lives by knowing and following their priorities, leading to us living comfortable and happy lives. I’ve learned to always stick by my friends, family and morals in life. To always keep a level head and an open mind. The examples they have provided me with have shaped me into who I am today.

What will your major be at WC, and why did you select the major?

Answer: As of now, I want to major in Criminal Justice or some form of Law. I have always been interested in law and with how the world is today, I cannot help but want to make it a better and safer place. Just looking at the news and seeing all the stories about crime really upset me. I may be only one person, but even one person can make some kind of a difference, and I hope to have a part in fighting against those with a disregard for the law. It seems to be getting worse with the murders and kidnappings of young children, gang violence, and hate crimes. I hate to see someone get hurt, especially if they have no reason for such wrath.

Question: What are your plans after college – do you plan to study abroad, go onto a Master’s degree program, or begin a career?

Answer: After college I plan to go onto a Master’s degree program. I believe I should go as far as I can take myself with my education, so I can put myself into a better position for finding a career. Eventually, I hope to end up working in the Department of Justice.



Maryland Leaders Announce School-funding Plans Based on Kirwan Report


Maryland Democratic legislators announced Tuesday “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” a bill that would provide funding for increased teacher salaries, improved teacher training and free, full-day prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-old children in poverty.

Introduced by House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, this bill — along with an identical counterpart in the Maryland Senate — would allocate $325 million in fiscal year 2020 and $750 million in fiscal year 2021 toward funding the five main policy areas outlined by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.

The panel — nicknamed the “Kirwan Commission” — has been working since 2016 to come up with recommendations for education improvements across the state, Chair William “Brit” Kirwan said Tuesday.

Kirwan called his experience with the commission the “most important thing I have ever worked on in my life,” citing the shortage of teachers in the state of Maryland as a major contributor to a lack of academic success.

House bill 1413 would establish more opportunities for career growth among educators and provide them with salary increases in order to avoid the “revolving door” of teachers that some schools are suffering from, Kirwan said. The bill will also heighten the rigor of state certification standards for teachers, Kirwan said.

This bill would provide early support and intervention for low-income families, including full-day prekindergarten for children ages 3 and 4, according to Kirwan.

The blueprint will set a “college and career readiness standard,” one that is aimed to ensure that by the time a student completes the 10th grade (if not, by the time of high school graduation), they will have the English and mathematical literacy necessary to succeed in the first year of a community college program, according to Kirwan.

The “blueprint” will also provide pathways to free early college programs that would allow students who have met these standards to earn an associate’s degree while still in high school. The bill will also provide access to career and technical education for those who have met the college and career readiness standards.

The measure would provide additional support and services for English learners, students with disabilities and students from low-income families who have not met their college and career readiness standards.

The bill would also provide an accountability system to ensure that school districts are implementing the improvements identified by the commission, according to Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, R, underlined the importance of making sure the bill’s accountability system is air-tight in a letter he sent to legislative leaders Nov. 27.

“Increased funding and strong accountability are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they must be aligned to ensure that Marylanders are receiving a world class education and good value for the state tax dollars invested,” Hogan said in the letter.

Students and educators, clad in red Strong Schools Maryland T-shirts, came to Annapolis to show their support.

Eleven-year-old City Neighbors Charter School student Mallory Lerch said increased funding and access to teachers would make for a better, more creative classroom environment at her school in Baltimore.

“I think our schools are really underfunded and we deserve more,” Mallory said.

The Maryland State Education Association said they are in support of the bill and the school improvements and teacher salary increases it addresses, according to the president, Cheryl Bost.

Though no hearing date has been set, identical legislation, Senate bill 1030, is scheduled to be heard by a Maryland Senate committee Wednesday.

By Charlie Youngmann


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