Monday, June 30, 2008

Working Toward College, a True Juggling Act

Published: June 15, 2008

KEY WEST, Fla. — Some teenagers flip burgers as a summer job. Others mow lawns. Reid Fierheller-Conklin juggles fire by the water at sunset, competing for crowds with a tightrope-walking dog, a sword-swallower, acrobats and Catman (don’t ask).

He has been performing here since he was 12, and at 16, with a voice still cracking and an A average in high school, Reid has put together a show that earns him more in 20 minutes than many teenagers make in a day. “A crowd draws a crowd, and if you’re entertaining, the crowd will stay,” he said. “And if you’re really good, you can actually convince the crowd to pay you.”

Key West over the years has nurtured all kinds of creativity, including public turtle races and Ernest Hemingway’s novels. But in an island habitat now dominated by tourists and aging hippies, Reid has become a sign of Key West’s transformation from a freewheeling party mecca to a clean-cut family getaway.

Read more HERE

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Teachers Achieving 'Highly Qualified' Status on the Rise

Poorer schools still not getting their share, state data shows

By Vaishali Honawar

Teachers meeting the “highly qualified” standard their states set were teaching core subjects in 94 percent of the nation’s classrooms in the 2006-07 school year, but poorer schools were still less likely than their wealthier counterparts to employ them.

That year, 96 percent of core-subject classes in low-poverty schools were taught by highly qualified teachers, compared with 91 percent in high-poverty schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which recently released the data (requires Microsoft Excel) that states are required to submit to the federal agency.

In some states, the gap was glaring. In Maryland, 95 percent of elementary classes in low-poverty schools were staffed with highly qualified teachers, compared with only 66 percent in poorer schools.

But the overall picture showed progress. According to the data, there was an increase of 7 percentage points in the total number of highly qualified teachers nationwide who were teaching core-subject classes since 2003-04.

The “highly qualified” teacher requirement is a provision of the 6-year-old No Child Left Behind Act. All states must report annually the percentage of core-subject classes taught by highly qualified teachers and break down the numbers for classes in high-poverty and low-poverty schools.

Only one state—North Dakota—met last year’s deadline to have highly qualified teachers in 100 percent of its core-subject classes.

Read more HERE

Friday, June 27, 2008

Out of Sight

Published: June 10, 2008

When the dismal unemployment numbers were released on Friday (at the same time that oil prices were surging to record highs), I thought about the young people at the bottom of the employment ladder.

Below the bottom, actually.

A shudder went through the markets when the Labor Department reported that the official jobless rate had jumped one-half a percentage point in May to 5.5 percent — the sharpest spike in 22 years.

The young people I’m talking about wouldn’t have noticed. These are the teenagers and young adults — roughly 16 to 24 years old — who are not in school and basically have no hope of finding work. The bureaucrats compiling the official unemployment rate don’t even bother counting these young people. They are no one’s constituency. They might as well not exist.

Except that they do exist. There are four million or more of these so-called disconnected youths across the country. They hang out on street corners in cities large and small — and increasingly in suburban and rural areas.

If you ask how they survive from day to day, the most likely response is: “I hustle,” which could mean anything from giving haircuts in a basement to washing a neighbor’s car to running the occasional errand.

Or it could mean petty thievery or drug dealing or prostitution or worse.

This is the flip side of the American dream. The United States economy, which has trouble producing enough jobs to keep the middle class intact, has left these youngsters all-but-completely behind.

Read more HERE

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Proposed ELL Guidelines Criticized as Too Rigid

By Mary Ann Zehr

Education officials in several states with large English-language-learner populations are bristling at a proposal by the U.S. Department of Education that they say would curb their flexibility in deciding when children are fluent in English and if they still need special services for ells.

The comment period closed June 2 on the proposed “interpretation” of Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act, the main conduit of federal funds for English-language-acquisition programs, generating a two-inch stack of responses to the proposal published in the Federal Register on May 2. ("Consistent ELL Guides Proposed," May 14, 2006.)

The responses include critical or skeptical comments from officials in states with some of the largest populations of English-learners, particularly California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas.

Education Department officials have said that a goal of the proposed interpretation is to create more consistency in how the federal education law is implemented for English-language learners. If made final as now written, the guidance is intended to reduce some variations among states, and among school districts within states in how they report the progress of students in learning English.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nurses' Offices Overburdened

As Caseloads Multiply and Budgets Shrink, Many Area Schools Stretched

By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 25, 2008; Page B01

Caseloads for school nurses exceed federal guidelines in much of the Washington region at a time when campus clinics serve growing numbers of students with severe disabilities or chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

As health-care needs multiply, school nurses are struggling to keep up and finding less time for preventive education on public-health issues such as childhood obesity or substance abuse. Many still dispense bandages and bags of ice, but they also counsel pregnant teens and manage complex medical plans for children with seizure disorders or feeding tubes. Schools often hire unlicensed aides for help.

"Children today come to school with conditions and treatments that would have kept them at home or in the hospital years ago," said Amy Garcia, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses. "We are concerned about the safety of these children and their ability to be ready to learn."

Read more HERE

Candidates Are at Odds Over K-12

But McCain and Obama Both Back NCLB Goals
By Alyson Klein and David J. Hoff

The presumed November matchup produced by the long presidential-primary season that ended last week offers contrasting approaches to K-12 policy, along with some common ground on the basics of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee, and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who last week secured enough delegates to claim the Democratic nomination, both express support for the NCLB law’s goals and its use of testing to measure schools’ success.

But Sen. McCain would promote market forces as a way to spur school improvement, and would likely seek to freeze education spending as part of a review of the effectiveness of federal programs.

Sen. Obama, meanwhile, promises to search for new ways of assessing students and to invest significantly in efforts to improve teacher quality.

Although education wasn’t a prominent issue in the Democratic or Republican primaries, it could emerge more clearly in the general-election campaign, one political scientist said last week. He pointed particularly to the potential for a sharper focus on where the candidates stand on the requirements for testing and accountability under the NCLB law.

In the past two presidential elections, the Democratic and Republican nominees supported the idea that the efforts to improve schools should include regular assessment of student progress and measures to hold schools accountable for increases in student achievement, said Patrick J. McGuinn, an assistant professor of political science at Drew University in Madison, N.J., who has written extensively about the politics of the NCLB law.

“The country hasn’t had a great debate about the costs and benefits of test-driven accountability,” Mr. McGuinn said. “We’re ripe for it right now.”

Read more HERE

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

School Allocation Cycle

Charles County Commissioners’ Meeting
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2.02 [2:00 p.m.] July School Allocation Cycle (Mr. Zak Kreback, PGM/Board of Education Members)

Principal, vice principal appointments and transfers approved

Two Charles County Public Schools vice principals, Evelyn Arnold and Wilhelmina Pugh, were appointed by the Board of Education on Monday, June 23, as principals. Arnold is the new principal at La Plata High School and Pugh is principal of Malcolm Elementary School.

Arnold, who is a vice principal at La Plata, is moving up to the spot being vacated by Garth Bowling who is retiring from Charles County Public Schools and accepting a principal position in St. Mary's County. Arnold has been with Charles County Public Schools since 1992 when she started as a teacher. She taught both middle school social studies and high school history before being promoted to an administrative assistant position at Maurice J. McDonough High School in 1999. Arnold has served as a vice principal at La Plata since 2000.

Pugh moves to Malcolm from her position as vice principal of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School. She replaces Sandra Brehon, who announced her retirement last week. Pugh started with Charles County Public Schools in 1980 as a speech language pathologist. Since 1999, she has served as vice principal at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School and Jenifer.

The Board also approved a number of vice principal appointments, which include the following:

  • Cynthia Panizzi-Williams, a reading resource teacher at J.C. Parks Elementary School, to vice principal at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School;
  • Monique Moore, a teacher in Prince George's County, to vice principal at Dr. James Craik Elementary School;
  • Karen Lewis, a vice principal in Washington, D.C., to vice principal at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School;
  • Jean Ritter, IEP facilitator at Barnhart and North Point, to vice principal at Mary H. Matula Elementary School;
  • Desann Manzano-Lee, sixth-grade administrator in Prince George's County, to vice principal at Mary B. Neal Elementary School;
  • Tynika Lytle, reading resource teacher at Theodore G. Davis Middle School, to vice principal at J.C. Park Elementary School;
  • Debra L. Calvert, coordinator of middle school instruction, to vice principal at Mattawoman Middle School; and
  • Richard Conley, administrative assistant at Westlake High School, to vice principal at Henry E. Lackey High School.

Superintendent James E. Richmond also approved the following vice principal transfers:

  • Michael Simms, vice principal at Mattawoman, to vice principal at North Point High School;
  • Terri St. Clair, vice principal at Lackey, to vice principal at Maurice J. McDonough High School; and
  • Curry Werkheiser, principal at Lackey, to vice principal at La Plata. Werkheiser requested a transfer from the principal position.

All appointments and transfers are effective July 1.

Black-White Gap Widens Faster for High Achievers

By Debra Viadero

New research into what is commonly called the black-white “achievement gap” suggests that the students who lose the most ground academically in U.S. public schools may be the brightest African-American children.

As black students move through elementary and middle school, these studies show, the test-score gaps that separate them from their better-performing white counterparts grow fastest among the most able students and the most slowly for those who start out with below-average academic skills.

“We care about achievement gaps because of their implications for labor-market and socioeconomic-status issues down the line,” said Lindsay C. Page, a Harvard University researcher, commenting on the studies. “It’s disconcerting if the gap is growing particularly high among high-achieving black and white students.”

Disconcerting, but not surprising, said researchers who have studied achievement gaps. Studies have long shown, for instance, that African-American students are underrepresented among the top scorers on standardized tests, such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Fewer studies, though, have traced the growth of those gaps among high and low achievers.

The reasons why achievement gaps are wider at the upper end of the achievement scale are still unclear. But some experts believe the patterns have something to do with the fact that African-American children tend to be taught in predominantly black schools, where test scores are lower on average, teachers are less experienced, and high-achieving peers are harder to find.

The two new working papers, which were presented at last month’s annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in New York City, use different test data and research designs to tackle that question. Yet both arrive at similar conclusions.

Read more HERE

Monday, June 23, 2008

Internet Safety

Parent's Guide to Internet Safety
Geeks On Call

DATE: Monday July 7, 2008 Wednesday July 9, 2008
TIME: 6:45 PM to 9:00 PM
LOCATION: Waldorf Jaycee Hall
3090 Crain Hwy-Waldorf MD

We will be giving away a free 2 GB flash drive
and a copy of CA Internet Security Suite
(total value $100) to the first 10 people that arrive.

Alex Bleam
Franchise Owner – Southern Maryland
1 800 905 GEEK ext 2350
Fax: (301) 843-7622

REMINDER: Board Work Session, 6/23/08

Reminder... there is a Board Work Session on Monday, Jun 23rd.

This meeting will be held at McDonough High School and will NOT be televised.


To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit BoardDocs.



Plugged in, zoned out

By Liz Bowie Sun reporter
June 8, 2008

As teens' reliance on technology soars, parents and teachers scramble to limit usage

When River Hill High School 10th-grader Kelsey Balimtas sits down to do her homework, her cell phone and computer are always right in front of her. She would like to stay completely focused on the textbook, but honestly, she says, she just can't.

Her cell phone calls to her with an irresistible buzz she can't ignore. She bounces from homework to text message to Facebook and back to homework. "I think the quality of my homework is decreased," she admitted.

And so do college professors and high school teachers, who say this constantly plugged-in generation is less able to focus on subjects that take deep concentration. They see students who are smart but can't write long papers very well; students who have more trouble paying attention in longer class periods and students who are disorganized. Their observations are supported by more than just anecdotes from the classroom; brain research shows that it is difficult to do many things at the same time.

"They are constantly jumping from one thing to another. They can't sit still long enough," said Ilona McGuiness, dean of first-year students and academic services at Loyola College. "You can't think through problems. You can't process. You can't develop the deep thinking skills."

Read more HERE

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

States eye uniform graduation rate reporting

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press Writer
12:45 AM PDT, June 18, 2008

SEATTLE -- Comparing graduation rates from state to state, or even school to school, can be difficult because all kinds of methods are used to determine them.

Federal officials have a solution that could make that process easier -- and more accurate -- within the next five years.

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in April proposed new rules requiring states to assign students a unique ID number to track the individual from ninth grade through graduation, or until that student drops out.

The proposal, which mirrors an agreement states made with the National Governors Association, would provide every district with a more scientific graduation rate.

Washington state assigned a unique ID to every student four years ago. The class of 2008 will be the first with a graduation rate based on the method Spellings wants mandated for all states.

State officials don't know if the new method will help or hurt Washington's steady 70 percent on-time graduation rate, said Joe Willhoft, director of assessment for the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

But the point is to come up with a true number, Willhoft said.

The federal government has offered grants to state education departments to improve their data systems, and the money may be used to pay for a system to track students by unique IDs, said U.S. Education Department spokesman Chad Colby. The government gave a total of $62.2 million to 13 states in 2007 for data systems.

New York is in the process of adopting the new approach. State officials expect the more accurate numbers will be significantly lower in some cases, because many schools used an index that didn't account for students who dropped out in ninth and 10th grades.

Read more HERE

Friday, June 20, 2008

Transformation Schools

Taking place in Baltimore City...
In a nutshell, it is small schools combining middle and high schools with a singular college and/or career focus with a unique curriculum or career focus.

Please read more about this at the link provided below and provide me with your feedback.

Read more HERE

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bush Loyalist Fights Foes of ‘No Child’ Law

Published: June 12, 2008

NEWPORT, Ky. — Margaret Spellings is not running for office — at least, not yet. But in the waning days of the Bush presidency, she is running one last campaign.

On a cold and soggy morning in March, Ms. Spellings, the relentlessly cheery and sometimes sassy United States secretary of education, turned up here, at a little brick elementary school across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. She had been on the road for months, promoting President Bush’s beleaguered education initiative, No Child Left Behind, delivering one sales pitch after another.

“I’m pretty sure that the new president, whoever it is, will not show up and work on George Bush’s domestic achievement on Day 1,” she told a group of civic leaders and educators, promising to do “everything in my power” to improve the law before the White House changes hands.

For Ms. Spellings, a longtime and exceedingly loyal member of the Bush inner circle, it was a startling, if tacit, admission that the president’s education legacy is in danger. No Child Left Behind — the signature domestic achievement, beyond tax cuts, of the entire Bush presidency — has changed the lives of millions of American students, parents, teachers and school administrators. Yet its future is in grave doubt.

Adopted by Congress on a wave of bipartisan unity that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the law imposed unprecedented testing requirements and tough expectations on the nation’s nearly 99,000 public schools. But despite rising test scores, there is no hard-and-fast evidence, most experts say, that it is actually improving student achievement.

Read more HERE

Schools experiment with paying kids

June 13, 2008 - 7:25am
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Friday is payday at KIPP DC: KEY Academy, and some sixth-grade girls gather at the makeshift school store trying to decide how to spend their hard-earned money.

They received paychecks for behaving well, doing their homework or making academic gains. The money is pretend. But it can be used at the store for genuine items such as pens capped with fluffy feathers, pencil cases shaped like animals and colorful erasers.

Schools, under pressure to boost student achievement, are offering incentives _ field trips and cash, for example _ to motivate students.

At KEY Academy, a public charter school serving low-income, minority students in the nation's capital, Cherise Johnson Wallace proudly clutched a pencil case she bought at the school store. She was glad to have the trinket, but even happier about what it represented.

"It shows how I work very hard to earn good grades," she said, flashing a smile as she rattled off the A's she had earned.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mandated Tutoring Not Helping Md., Va. Scores

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 13, 2008; Page B01

Several States Find 'No Child' Provision Does Little to Improve Test Results

Free tutoring that federal law prescribes to help students at struggling schools has yielded little or no positive effect on student test scores in Virginia, Maryland and several other states, according to early evaluations.

Under the six-year-old No Child Left Behind law, certain schools in which too many students fail math or reading exams must use federal funds to offer after-school or weekend tutoring to students from low-income families. In the 2006-07 school year, $595 million went to the fast-growing industry of for-profit and nonprofit tutoring providers. But it remains unclear whether or how much those extra lessons are boosting student performance, even though the law envisions them as a key way to narrow achievement gaps.

In Virginia, researchers compared the performance last year of students with identical or very similar math scores in 2006 and found that those who were tutored did no better than their peers, according to an analysis the state Department of Education released in April. In a similar comparison of reading scores, students who were tutored lagged behind those who weren't.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Closer Look at Graduation Rates

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 15, 2008; Page SM05

Higher Test Scores Might Not Mean More Diplomas

Although high schools in the Washington region are showing steady improvement on measures such as Advanced Placement testing and end-of-course exams, that success might not be translating to higher graduation rates, according to the latest data from a Bethesda nonprofit group that is a leading authority on high school completion rates.

The official graduation rates published by states and school systems are widely regarded as inflated and unreliable. Many in the field have come to rely instead on the annual Diplomas Count report from Editorial Projects in Education, publisher of the trade newspaper Education Week.

The report estimates how many students in ninth grade graduate on time with their class, using a series of calculations that measure attrition from one grade level to the next.

The group's latest report, released this month, showed graduation rates among local school systems range from a high of 93 percent in affluent Loudoun County to a low of 57 percent in high-poverty Prince George's County. The report uses enrollment figures to estimate the graduation rate, not for current graduates but for the Class of 2005, the most recent data available from the federal government.

Read more HERE

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Notes from Board Meeting, 6/10/08

The Board Meeting Tuesday, Jun 10th will be re-broadcast on Channel 96 on Wednesdays at 6 p.m.; Fridays at 9 a.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. . To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit BoardDocs.

The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes.


  • Male - Wineland...$130M for new HS last yer... sounds reasonable for state of the art school. Remove all the amenities and it isn't worth it. Don't try to keep up with North Point...try to keep up with Montgomery county, etc. Early childhood - Reading First funding not available for Charles, why? Why isn't COMAR used for CC for Kindergarten entrance
  • Female - Spec. Ed. Asst. in CCPS. 3 children in CCPS with autism (brought two). are intending school in an inclusive closed room school. Now being moved to in-zone open classroom school. Environment not conducive for autism learning. Lack of support staff for inclusive teachers. Provide funding for instructional assistants, additional planning time to complete IEP's etc.

REPORT - Superintendent - Russian Civics Mosaic Project

  • Russian partnership - grant funded by U.S. Dept. of Education. Westlake, Stone, & LaPlata will be participating in this Part II of the program. future teleconference.
  • 2,030 seniors/ $27.2M in scholarships
  • AC fixed at Somers

REPORT - Board Members Updates - (no report available)

  • Pedersen - Blue Ribbon - Education Committee would like to get together with us
  • Carrington - ROTC recognition

REPORT - EACC - Update

  • Thank you for salary enhancements
  • watch county commissioners ACTUAL revenues
  • salutes retiring teachers
  • teacher workload
  • regulation changes proposed at state level
  • send letter to MSDE opposing regulation changes

Motion by Wise, second by Pedersen for the Board to send letter opposing regulation changes

REPORT - Deputy Supt. - Crime Solvers; Graduation

  • in all high schools and middle schools
  • Abell - false leads a problem---NO
  • Abell - place statistics on Board Docs
  • Pedersen - concerned about disseminating the information to the public. Public perception
  • Richmond - disagrees. community problem. can't solve alone
  • Abell - disagree also. Public meeting = public information = public document

REPORT - CIP - Update

  • Neal received occupancy and use permit
  • Somers completely finished by start of school year
  • Craik finished
  • TC Martin portable classroom complete
  • Lackey - duplex
  • North Point - relocatables on schedule
  • All day Kindergarten at Barnhart awarded to Mattingly
  • New high school

Pedersen motioned, second by Wise to send a letter to the commissioners requesting architect to continue on design. Clear direction

REPORT - Schematics for FDK additions/renovations for Brown, Indian Head, Middleton and Turner

  • Presentation

REPORT - Legislative Update - Ethics Regulations 8160

  • Allows ethics panel to review annual ethics forms
  • Abell - Why/how did this come about? (This was brought up before by a board member and it was never acted upon). Were we in violation?
  • Schwartz - Our audit this year - staff recommended this to prevent future audits

REPORT - Curriculum Update - Bridge Plan

  • See presentation
  • Not passing HSA's, Bridge project classes over summer and during school year

REPORT - Financial Update - May Financials

  • Abell - Questioned unexplained balances on individual schools...perception by some that if the principals do not spend all of their allocated funds and return a large portion at the end of the year, they will receive a kick back. Please clarify.
  • Wade - how would the public know about the individual school balances, they shouldn't see the accounts
  • Abell - The individual school balances are in the report and are public information
  • Richmond - upset and very defensive. Rumors are NOT true. Principals do not receive any kick-backs for unspent balances.


  • Pedersen - What counts committee needs to meet. 9/4/08

NEW BUSINESS - FY2009 Budget Adjustment

  • See presentation. Needed to adjust budget based on # given by commissioners.


  • Carrington - CCSO to put on agenda for career in law enforcement

ACTION - EACC/ AFSME Contract Signing

ACTION - Draft minutes of the regular Board meeting of May 13, 2008; the executive session minutes of April 8, 2008; April 21, 2008; May 8, 2008; and, May 13, 2008.


ACTION - Personnel


ACTION - Out-of-County Tuition Rates


ACTION - Educational Facilities Master Plan


ACTION - 2009 - 2010 Calendar


ACTION - Textbook: Career & Technology (CTE)


Monday, June 09, 2008

Algebra I stumping high school freshmen

Class of 2011 confronts tougher state requirements

Thousands of high school freshmen across Michigan are failing Algebra I, the first of four math courses this class of students must take and pass to fulfill what are among the toughest graduation requirements in the nation.

The failure rate -- estimated at 20% to 30% of about 113,000 freshmen -- has some predicting a crisis by the time these students are juniors and must take Algebra II.

In Macomb County after the first semester of this school year, the failure rate was around 28%.

"We have enough data to think this is going to continue to be a problem," said Gayle Green, assistant superintendent with the Macomb Intermediate School District. Failure rates for Oakland and Wayne counties haven't been compiled but officials there are concerned, too.

The alarms are ringing statewide. Lawmakers are searching for solutions that won't water down the tough mandates that sailed through the Legislature and were signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2006. The requirements call for the Class of 2011 to take four years of math, including Algebra I, geometry and Algebra II.

Read more HERE

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Childhood Obesity Numbers

It is a sad commentary on the health of American youngsters that we are cheering a leveling off of childhood obesity rates. Far too many children and teenagers are still overweight.

Tens of millions of young people will be at risk of illness and death unless this country commits to reversing, not just stabilizing, the epidemic.

The prevalence of obese and overweight children and teenagers has soared since 1980, and the heaviest children have added the most poundage. Now the upsurge appears to have paused, judging from some encouraging findings reported by federal health officials in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Their analysis concluded that childhood obesity hit a plateau from 1999 to 2006. Even so, a dismaying 32 percent of young people aged 2 through 19 were still judged overweight or obese as measured by body mass index, with roughly half falling into each of those categories. Their excess weight increases their risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.

Read more HERE

Saturday, June 07, 2008

REMINDER: Board Meeting, June 10, 2008

Reminder... there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, Jun 10th. Can't can watch it live on Channel 96. It will also be re-broadcast on Wednesdays at 6 p.m.; Fridays at 9 a.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. . To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit BoardDocs.


12:00 - Executive Session
1:00 - Board Meeting begins
4:30 - Recognition
6:00 - Public Forum (Must sign-up prior to 6:00)




Friday, June 06, 2008

MARYLAND: Officials meet for school safety summit

CATONSVILLE, Md. — Educators, community leaders, police and religious leaders are meeting in Baltimore County for a summit on school safety.

Today's gathering was organized by State School Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and Congressman Elijah Cummings.

It comes just two months after a high school art teacher in Baltimore was attacked by a student. The attack was recorded on a camera phone.

Grasmick hopes the summit will create uniform standards for behavior and uniform procedures to collect data. Currently, Grasmick says each system has its own procedures.

Cummings says parents are an important component to ending school violence.

Cummings says there is only so much that can be legislated or created by policy to deal with the violence.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy

Published: June 4, 2008

DALLAS — Opponents of teaching evolution, in a natural selection of sorts, have gradually shed those strategies that have not survived the courts. Over the last decade, creationism has given rise to “creation science,” which became “intelligent design,” which in 2005 was banned from the public school curriculum in Pennsylvania by a federal judge.

Now a battle looms in Texas over science textbooks that teach evolution, and the wrestle for control seizes on three words. None of them are “creationism” or “intelligent design” or even “creator.”

The words are “strengths and weaknesses.”

Starting this summer, the state education board will determine the curriculum for the next decade and decide whether the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution should be taught. The benign-sounding phrase, some argue, is a reasonable effort at balance. But critics say it is a new strategy taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, a way for students to hear religious objections under the heading of scientific discourse.

Already, legislators in a half-dozen states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina — have tried to require that classrooms be open to “views about the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory,” according to a petition from the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based strategic center of the intelligent design movement.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New Schools Chief Stays on Front Line

By Theresa Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 4, 2008; Page B01

He began the article: "Dear Tom Cruise: I want you to meet my daughter."

Morton Sherman described a popular, active girl who struggled with depression and tried to kill herself at 15. He wrote that even as a school superintendent married to a special education teacher, he and his wife could not stop the sophomore. They wondered what they had done wrong.

"When a child breaks a leg, we put a cast on it. When we have a headache, we take aspirin. When the flu season starts to break out, we all run for shots," Sherman wrote. "So must it be for the mental health of our children."

A personal appeal to those like Cruise -- who has criticized psychiatry and the use of antidepressants -- Sherman's 2006 article in an American Association of School Administrators magazine gives insight into the New Jersey schools chief named Monday as Alexandria's superintendent. His criticism of the education system's ability to deal with mental health fits with his reputation as an administrator who jumps to the front lines of issues.

Alexandria School Board member Yvonne A. Folkerts interviewed 40 people in Tenafly, N.J., about Sherman before he was hired.

"They said to me, 'I hope you guys are ready,' " she said. "They said, 'The only thing we had to ask him was to slow down a little bit because we couldn't keep up.' "

In a unanimous vote, the board awarded Sherman, 58, a contract for $250,000 a year through June 2012. He replaces Rebecca L. Perry, who left in January. Sherman begins Aug. 15.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Just a reminder, and sorry it's late notice...

Project graduation will be taking place tonight (last night was very successful) at the College of SOuthern Maryland Gymansium from 9:00 pm - 2:00 am.