Kent County Public Schools honored 15 staff members Wednesday, May 25 at the annual Special Education Recognition Award Ceremony. The ceremony was held at Kent County Middle School in Chestertown. Among the honorees are, from left, Tiffany Leech, Susan Johnson, Annette Walls, Margaret Hitzges, Melissa Maule, Alix Murphy, Rachel Gugasian, Beth Rich, Abi Porter, April Gagalski, Stephanie Wishart and Cheryl Fracassi. Joining them at the far right is Elizabeth Proffitt, one of the ceremony’s organizers and the parent coordinator at the KCPS Family Support Resource Center. Honorees not pictured are Jeremey Browne, Victoria Szlachta and Lori Receski.
Kent County High School senior Nickolas Jones has officially signed on to pursue men’s soccer at Neumann University this fall. Jones is Kent County High School’s Male Outstanding Athlete of the Year. Joining himTuesday morning, May 24 for a signing ceremony are, from left, Aundra Anderson, senior coordinator for the Next Generation Scholars Program; school counselor Jessica Bennett; parents Patrick and Kiki Jones; and Principal Kris Hemstetter. Neumann University is located in Aston, Pa. near Philadelphia.
The visual arts and music teachers at H.H. Garnet Elementary School invite the community to a special event in the Good Seeds Garden for Chestertown’s First Friday.
Arts in the Garden will celebrate the school and community partnerships in the arts. It will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 3 in the Good Seeds Garden, which is maintained in collaboration with the Chestertown Garden Club.
“This is a chance for us to share a little of what is great about our neighborhood elementary school with our community,” said music teacher Jodi Bortz.
The event will include the unveiling of a mosaic mural sculpture created in collaboration with Kent Cultural Alliance’s visiting artist KaytiDidricksen.
“Our whole school participated in the creation of the mosaic mural birdbath with the artist and it’s going to be exciting to see it completed. What a fantastic collaboration to beautify the garden,” said art teacher Amy Boumiea.
Throughout the garden, student art will be displayed. Students will be performing musical selections throughout the evening.
There also will be fun art-making opportunities, including chalk and coloring.
El ManantialTex Mex food truck will be available for snacks and food.
“This is also an opportunity for us to celebrate our wonderfully dedicated music and art teachers who continue to go above and beyond to give our students an enriched and well-rounded curriculum,” said Florence Terrell, the Community School coordinator at Garnet. “We are so grateful for Mrs. Boumiea and Mrs. Bortz and their connections with the community and our students.”
H.H. Garnet Elementary School is located at 320 Calvert St., Chestertown.
Young runners and walkers will be lacing up their sneakers — or Velcroing them — later this month for the 32nd annual Sneaker Creeper.
The series of fun children’s races will help kick off the Chestertown Tea Party Festival weekend starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 27.
As has been tradition, the Sneaker Creeper will be held this year in Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium at Washington College. Proceeds benefit H.H. Garnet Elementary School in Chestertown.
This annual community-wide event is meant to enhance and encourage learning, sportsmanship, friendship and fitness, while having a whole lot of fun along the way.
Sneaker Creeper races are broken down by age group and distances. They are open to children ages 2 to 11 years old, with distances ranging from 25 yards for the youngest racers up to a mile for the oldest participants.
For more information and race registration, go online to SneakerCreeper.info.
With graduation less than a month away, Kent County High School seniors and community members have already begun celebrating.
This year’s graduation ceremony is set for Friday evening, June 3 at Kent County High School in Worton. Like last year, the ceremony will be held outside in Trojan Stadium.
The confirmed speakers — as chosen by the Class of 2022 and approved by the Kent County Board of Education Monday, May 9 — are Kent County High School teachers Caren Saunders and Melissa Walters.
On Thursday, May 5, Kent County High School celebrated the Class of 2022 with Decision Day. Held in the high school’s cafeteria, seniors joined together to highlight their future plans in what looks to be the start of a new annual tradition.
There was food, music and games. A table was set up for seniors to write thank you cards to teachers,a banner stretched across the wall for them to sign and a photo stand was set up for group pictures.
The whole community got involved in celebrating the Class of 2022 Friday evening, May 6 in downtown Chestertown.
Organized by the Kent County High School Parent Teacher Student Association and the Downtown Chestertown Association, the monthly First Friday event focused on the honoring the Class of 2022.
Seniors’ photos were posted in windows of downtown businesses and music teacher Dr. Keith Wharton led the Kent County High School Jazz Band in an outdoor performance.
Three Galena Elementary School students were honored for their essays earlier this spring by a local American Legion Post Auxiliary, with one student moving on to the national contest.
The C. Henry Price II American Legion Post 246 Auxiliary of Betterton sponsored the Americanism Essay Contest this spring.
Local students were asked to offer their thoughts on the question: “How we can support families who provide care to their Veterans?”
Galena Elementary School student Ce’rell Brown won first place, but his recognition went beyond the local contest.
Brown also won first place in the Northeastern Shore District and was awarded first in the state by the American Legion Department of Maryland.
His essay was entered in the national contest.
Galena Elementary School student Evelyn Dunn received first place from the local unit and third in the Northeastern Shore District.
Galena students Piper Walters and Desirae Blackiston came in second and third place, respectively, in the local unit contest.
“The entire C. Henry Price II American Legion Post 246 Family is so very proud of these students for taking the time to write the essays and for helping to keep Americanism alive in our school system,” the post wrote on Facebook in announcing the winners.
The winners received a certificate, a monetary award, a gift card to Marzellas by the Bay restaurant and a goody bag at a ceremony held April 8 in Betterton.
Whether they are in pre-school, high school or any grade in between, Kent County Public Schools has summer programs for students of all ages.
The Infants and Toddlers Program will be hosting six weeks of playgroups in various locations in Kent County for children who are registering for pre-kindergarten in the fall or for any 3-year-old that parents or guardians have concerns about the child’s social or emotional skills.
The Playgroups will meet at local parks for a total of six sessions beginning the week of June 20 and running through July. Each session will include a read aloud, an activity, playtime and a learning activity to enjoy at home.
Teachers will be on site to lead a learning activity and facilitate learning through play.
Locations are Betterton Park, Galena Park, the Rock Hall Civic Center and the Woodsedge community near Fairlee.
Materials and snacks will be provided.
Families of early learners at H.H. Garnet Elementary School are invited to join Cub Club this summer.
Open only to Garnet students entering pre-k, kindergarten of first grade, this intervention program is designed to reinforce the 7 Domains of Early Learning and prepare students for the next grade.
This project-based learning program will feature a Gardening theme. Assemblies will be held each Thursday.
The Cub Club is running July 11-28. It will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at H.H. Garnet Elementary School in Chestertown.
Transportation and food will be provided.
All elementary students in Kent County Public Schools, from kindergarten through fifth grade, can sign up for one of this summer’s Acceleration Academies.
These summer programs are based at Galena Elementary School, H.H. Garnet Elementary School in Chestertown and Rock Hall Elementary School. They offer academic learning experiences and off-site exploration opportunities.
The Academic Academies at the elementary schools will be held July 11-28. They run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Transportation and food will be provided.
An Acceleration Academy is available for all students entering sixth, seventh or eighth grade this fall at Kent County Middle School.
The academy’s focus this summer is applied literacy and math.
The middle school Acceleration Academy is running July 11-28. It meets from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at Kent County Middle School in Chestertown.
Transportation and food will be provided.
Students who will be entering ninth grade this fall are invited an Exploratory Learning program this summer being held at Kent County Middle School.
This one week-only opportunity is being offered July 5-8. The program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at Kent County Middle School in Chestertown.
Transportation and food will be provided.
For those students entering 10th, 11th or 12th grade, Kent County Public Schools is providing a Credit Recovery opportunity.
This is being offered at Kent County Middle School in Chestertown July 5-28. The program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Transportation and food will be provided.
To learn more these programs, visit www.smore.com/escnb. Register online at tinyurl.com/2yu4upwe.
This month’s First Friday in Chestertown has a Kent County Public Schools theme, with a downtown celebration of seniors, an exhibition of student artwork and special events at H.H. Garnet Elementary School.
The Kent County High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association has partnered with the Downtown Chestertown Association to recognize the Class of 2022.
For First Friday, May 6, High Street will be closed between Cross Street and Spring Avenue from 5 to 7 p.m. to bring the community together to celebrate Kent County High School’s graduating class.
Local businesses with be displaying pictures of graduates in their store fronts. Dr. Keith Wharton will be leading the Kent County High School Jazz Band in a performance from 6:15 p.m.to 7 p.m. The Walker Family food truck will be out as well. Local radio station WCTR will be broadcasting from the downtown celebration.
Attendees are encouraged to wear the school colors of blue and gold, enjoy the downtown and help celebrate the Kent County High School Class of 2022.
Also downtown, Chestertown RiverArts is hosting the opening night of its “Art is Elemental” exhibition featuring artwork by students of all ages in Kent County Public Schools. There will be a reception for artists, their families, guests and teachers from 5 to 7 p.m. during First Friday.
The exhibition will remain up at RiverArts through May 29. The gallery is located at 315 High St., Suite 106.
Just up the street, H.H. Garnet Elementary School is hosting a Community School Resource Fair from 5 to 7 p.m. with local organizations, including Kent County Public Schools’ Judy Center and Family Support Resource Center, the YMCA, the Kent County Public Library, the Department of Social Services, the Chestertown Police Department, the Kent County Local Management Board, Minary’s Dream Alliance, Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s and more. A food truck from El Manantial Tex-Mex Restaurant in Centreville will be at the school.
In addition, special guests Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr, the Chestertown husband-and-wife creative team behind such book series as “The Real McCoys” and “The Cookie Chronicles,” will be on hand with a special opportunity for attendees.
Swanson and Behr are preparing for a cross-country tour with their family in a school bus. They will be stopping at schools and donating copies of their books.
The bus is still being converted and First Friday attendees will have the opportunity to help. It will be parked at Garnet Elementary School that evening and community members will be encouraged to pick up a paintbrush and help fill in a mural created and outlined by Behr on the bus.
Garnet Elementary School is located at 320 Calvert St.
Teachers and students in Kent County Public Schools have been working with a special guest throughout the spring, artist Kayti Didriksen whose efforts are culminating in some big projects.
Born in Cheverly in Prince George’s County, Didriksen has lived all over the country. She is currently on the Eastern Shore as the Kent Cultural Alliance artist in residence through June.
As part of her residency, Didriksen has been spending a lot time in Kent County Public Schools, working with students of all ages and skill levels to create art.
“It’s super fun for me to engage with kids in any type of creativity,” she said, thinking back on her own childhood and her love of art. “I always try to be the kind of adult I needed as a kid.”
Thanks to funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kent Cultural Alliance is investing in a new residency program that will grow the number of guest artists and creative opportunities the organization can share with teachers and students at Kent County Public Schools.
“The Kent Cultural Alliance is really excited to be able to bring Kayti into the public schools,” said Executive Director John Schratwieser. “Kayti’s gift as an artist lies in her ability to maximize engagement in learning through art and to include every student and teacher in that process. We look forward to expanding our long-standing partnership with Kent County Public Schools through this new residency program.”
As an artist, Didriksen has not tied herself one medium. She loves color and capturing movement.
She enjoys blind contour drawing — a hand-eye coordination exercise that teaches seeing without passing judgement, by not looking at the page when you trace contours with your eyes and record with your hand. She builds on those works, creating brightly colored tableaux and murals.
Earlier this spring, she could be found in Rock Hall Elementary School doing blind contour drawings of Ashton Moody’s music class.
Didriksen also paints with a palette knife, which she demonstrated to students in Janet McCormick’s art class at Kent County Middle School in Chestertown.
Another passion is collaborating with children in creating art.
“I’m just tickled to have access to creating with and around kids,” she said. “It’s nice to just get to be like, ‘We’re going to do this. We’re going to make a mess.’ Creativity exists in the messes. The interesting stuff happens on the fringy edges.”
Didriksen has been most engaged with the middle schoolers here, where she collaborated with McCormick in building on students’ skills.
“It’s been a nice collaboration between her and I,” Didriksen said. “And the kids were engaged. I felt like they were getting it.”
Those blind contour drawings she did at Rock Hall Elementary School are being used to create a three-panel mural with the help of students.
“I’m very excited to paint this mural. It’s one of my favorite things to do — to paint large,” she said. “And that opportunity is fantastic to have, especially since the subject is kids and that’s really fun for me too.”
Didriksen has spent time in H.H Garnet Elementary School teaching students some basics like line drawing. She plans to work with them on a mosaic mural birdbath for the school’s Good Seeds Garden.
Didriksen also has been excited about getting out to Kent County High School to work with older students.
“I feel like I can really make an impact on those kids and teach them some good art skills,” she said of the high schoolers.
Didriksen is clearly enjoying her time in Kent County and the schools.
“The community is great. They’re supportive,” she said. “The teachers at the schools are a huge part of that. I really appreciate that they welcomed me in to collaborate with me.”
McCormick said her middle school students have been enjoying classes with Didriksen.
“My students really push themselves when Kayti instructs them and I think it’s because she makes the learning environment fun and energetic, like she is,” McCormick said.
McCormick said that Didriksen provides added inspiration for students because she is a working artist. That helps students see the career potential in being an artist.
Didriksen’s art lessons in Kent County Public Schools have extended beyond working with students in classrooms. She also has participated in professional development activities with teachers here.
“Kayti has really inspired me to mix up my lessons as well and refocus more on the content and less on the result, which is a valuable observation,” McCormick said.”It’s been wonderful having her in the classroom and I am just very appreciative of her sharing her artistic knowledge with us. I am personally a better teacher because of the professional development that I have gained from this Artist in Residence experience.”
Didriksen stresses the importance of the arts in a child’s education.
“Arts teach creativity, which is important for any idea-generating system,” she said.”They offer resiliency. You have to fail 1,000 times before you come up with something you want to show other people.”
She spoke about the emotional impact of art as well. She said the arts provide stress relief and help people deal with difficult feelings they may be having.
“Arts can teach you how to regulate your own emotions. Just by scribbling or drawing, you don’t have to put words to something you don’t understand. You can just work through it in your own space,” she said.
No matter what form it takes — such as music, visual arts or dance — that self-expression gets to core of what it is to be human, Didriksen said.
You can find Didriksen and examples of her work at www.facebook.com/Kaytididart.
A team of Kent County High School students placed second overall in the Eastern Shore High School Computer Competition.
The Eastern Shore High School Computer Competition was held Wednesday, March 30 at Salisbury University, with eight teams competing. Each team consisted of three students.
Kent County High School’s Eddie Blevins, Christopher Hinton and Samuel Peregoytook second place honors as a team. Hinton also came in third overall in individual rankings.
“I am so incredibly proud of the work that was put in by these three students,” said William Poore, supervisor of technology for Kent County Public Schools and the coach for the high school team. “To see Kent County Public Schools not only compete, but out-perform larger, more well established programs, was such an eye-opening experience to the incredible things that our students are doing.”
Competition participants worked separately and submitted programs. They wrote programs in either Python or Java computer languages to determine solutions to a round of problems.
The students’ solutions, as well as the total time for submitting correct programs in case of a tie, were used to determine the winners.