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August 2, 2012
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Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Schools

A few words from State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery

Iíve had a wonderful first month as Maryland State Superintendent of Schools! I have been traveling the State, meeting with local superintendents and educators throughout Maryland, enjoying every minute of it. I have more local systems to visit, and plan to do so in the coming weeks.

Maryland education is fortunate to have a dedicated teaching staff, outstanding school leadership, innovative local superintendents, and the broad support of citizens and legislators. Talking to my colleagues throughout the nation, I know this steadfast support is not found everywhere.

Weíll need this support and dedication as we continue on our journey to further improve public schools throughout Maryland. Our Race to the Top initiatives are gathering steam, professional development continues on the Common Core State Standards that will be implemented during the 2013-14 school year, and new assessments based on those standards are being prepared that will be introduced in the 2014-15 school year.

Iíve appreciated the welcome Iíve received, and the assistance I had from Interim State Superintendent Bernie Sadusky in my transition. Maryland is ready to move forward, and I feel fortunate to be part of our Stateís continued drive for excellence.

One big reason Maryland schools have been so successful has been the guidance of the Maryland State Board of Education. We have new leadership on our State Board. State Board members last week elected Dr. Charlene Dukes as its president, while Dr. Mary Kay Finan was elected vice president.

Dr. Charlene M. Dukes

Dr. Charlene M. Dukes

Dr. Dukes has served as State Board vice president for the past three years. She is president of Prince Georgeís Community College and has had 27 years of progressive leadership experience and administrative responsibility in higher education. She is a former member of the Prince Georgeís County Board of Education, and has served in a variety of professional organizations, including the National Council on Student Development, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and the Maryland Network, an affiliate of the Office of Women in Higher Education/American Council on Education. Dr. Dukes has a bachelorís degree in secondary education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a masterís and doctorate in administrative and policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Mary Kay Finan

Dr. Mary Kay Finan

Dr. Finan is a Professor Emeritus of Frostburg State University where she was on the Education faculty from 1991 - 2010. She was the Coordinator of the Elementary and Early Childhood programs and taught the Elementary Science Curriculum, Methods, and Assessment course and the Leadership Seminar. Dr. Finan taught elementary school for 13 years in Allegany County before joining the faculty at Frostburg. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Loyola College, a master's degree in Reading from Frostburg State University, and earned a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Dukes replaces James DeGraffenreidt as president of the board, who was term-limited from serving in the position. He has served Maryland with great distinction in that role.

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August 15-17 Ė Maryland Association of Counties Annual Conference, Ocean City

August 20 Ė School year opens in Prince Georgeís County (the first system opening its doors this year)

August 24 – September 3 – MSDE at Maryland State Fair

August 28 Ė State Board Meeting, Baltimore

Educator Effectiveness Academies
June 28, 2012
Educator Effectiveness Academies are being held statewide this summer. Every school in the state participates to learn the Common Core as it's adapted and integrated as the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum. This presentation was gathered at North Point High in Charles County.

In the News

State Adopts New Policies on Concussions

Maryland Education Board Gives Preliminary Approval to Discipline Reforms
Washington Post

Ms. Lowery’s Agenda
Baltimore Sun

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The Maryland State Board of Education last week added new protections for student athletes, adopting emergency regulations requiring training for coaches in the area of brain injuries.

Before fall sports practice begins, Maryland wants to be certain that coaches are ready to help prevent the risk of brain injury.

Before fall sports practice begins, Maryland wants to be certain that coaches are ready to help prevent the risk of brain injury.†

By August 31, each local school system shall train each coach in concussion risk and management, including criteria for removal and return to play and recognition of concussion symptoms.  In addition, each school system is required to implement policies that assure athletes and their parents or guardians receive information about the nature and risk of brain injuries.

The emergency regulations also require a medical assessment if any student athlete is suspected of sustaining a concussion or other brain injury.  The athlete will not be allowed to return to the contest until cleared by a licensed health care professional authorized to provide sports physical examinations.

The emergency regulations are based upon guidelines from the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association that are already in place.  Traumatic brain injuries in sports have been in the public spotlight, given attention at both the professional and collegiate sports, and State Board members wanted a regulation in place for the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Emergency regulations are in place for 180 days.  During that time, State Board members plan to work with healthcare and athletics experts to draft permanent regulations regarding brain injuries.  Those regulations will go through the typical process, allowing for public input before being made final.

Revised Safe Schools Report Receives Board Approval

The Maryland State Board of Education last week approved as a final product the report: School Discipline and Academic Success: Related Parts of Maryland's Education Reform and granted "Permission to Publish" the proposed amendments to the regulations cited in the report.

More than two years ago, the State Board began an exhaustive examination and review of the issue of school discipline and the use of long term suspension/expulsion as a disciplinary practice. This examination followed the release of a State Board opinion in an appeal involving the expulsion of a ninth grade student for the majority of the school year, during which time the student received intermittent homework assignments but no follow-up, grading, or other interaction with school personnel.

In February 2012, the Board released its draft Report on school discipline and invited the public to submit comments through March 30. Since that time, the Board, with detailed analysis and compilation of the public comments prepared by staff, used a framework to make necessary revisions to the Report and the proposed regulatory actions.

The State has established that for students to be college and career ready, they need to be in school. Therefore, the State's school discipline philosophy focuses on keeping students in school. Further, if suspension or expulsion is necessary – as a last resort – the school must keep suspended or expelled students connected to the school by providing education services that will allow the student to return to school with a chance to become college and career ready.

The General Regulations include Guidelines for Students' Responsibilities and Rights; Disciplinary Action; Arrests on School Premises; Bringing or Possessing a Firearm on School Property; and Reporting Delinquent Acts.

The Board expects to adopt the regulations within 3-4 months, following the State review process and a 30-day public comment period.

The School Discipline and Academic Success: Related Parts of Maryland's Education Reform report is available by clicking here.

The Maryland Education Bulletin is published by Maryland State Department of Education, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. 410-767-0600. 410-333-6442 TTY. 1-888-246-0016. Interim State Superintendent of Schools Bernard J. Sadusky.  Stephen Brooks, Deputy State Superintendent, Office of Finance. John E Smeallie, Deputy State Superintendent, Office of Administration. James H DeGraffenreidt, Junior, President, State Board of Education. Martin O’Malley, Governor. A publication of the Office of Academic Policy. Bill Reinhard and Gail Tucker, Editors. MSDE Videos: