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October 3, 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

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is a major concern among educators. It affects too many of our students and the research shows that it has a negative impact on learning. I don’t know a teacher or principal who isn’t looking for new ways to stop bullying in their classrooms and playgrounds.

MSDE on Friday will hold its third annual State Conference on Bullying Prevention at the Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland-College Park. Teams of educators and counselors have been invited from all 24 Maryland school systems for a full day of speakers and workshops. There are numerous important conferences each year, but this one ranks near the top.

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Maryland schools made amazing progress on the Advanced Placement exams again this year. More students took the exams than ever before, but what is most remarkable is that more students are scoring a three or better on the tests.

The College Board last week gave us the good news. Nearly 63,000 Maryland students took at least one AP test last year, an increase of 5.4 percent over 2011, and the number of exams taken jumped 5.4 percent to 116,614. In spite of the increase, the number of student test scores reaching the high-achieving levels of 3-5 increased almost 10 percent.

As you know, Maryland student success on the AP exams has ranked first in the nation for the past four years. The College Board will release its 2012 rankings early in 2013. We look forward to that!

The SAT scores in the State have flattened, much like they have throughout the nation. But over time Maryland has greatly increased the number of students taking the exam. Many of these students are from low-income and minority families—families who have not had a strong tradition in college attendance. This is important news: more students are thinking about college. It is important that Maryland schools continue to work with all students to better prepare them for college or the workforce. Education is becoming more important each and every year.

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October 3-5 – Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Ocean City, MD

October 5 – Teacher of the Year Gala, Baltimore

October 19-20 – Maryland State Education Association Assembly and Conference, Ocean City, MD

October 31 – State Board Meeting, Baltimore

News from the Board
August 28, 2012
Race to the Top, Teacher Induction Academies, and MSA results top Board News in August.

In the News

Montgomery Ranks First Among Large Systems in African American Graduation
Montgomery Gazette

Prince George’s Experiences Bump in Enrollment
Washington Post

State Superintendent Lillian Lowery on “Direct Connection”
Maryland Public Television

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Maryland’s four-year, $250 million Race to the Top program has garnered considerable attention and made remarkable progress over its first two years, but it isn’t the only major reform effort taking place in the State.

Assistant State Superintendent Rolf Grafwallner discusses progress in the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge project before the State Board of Education.

Assistant State Superintendent Rolf Grafwallner discusses progress in the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge project before the State Board of Education.

The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant, which Maryland was awarded last December, is shifting into high gear.  Fueled by $50 million in funds from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, MSDE’s program has 10 separate projects all designed to improve school readiness for our youngest learners.

“We are in the process where these 10 horses are coming out of the gates at the same time,” said Assistant State Superintendent Rolf Grafwallner, adding that considerable work has already been launched since the funds became available in January.

Maryland’s highly regarded school readiness assessments have seen remarkable progress since they were first used in the 2001-2002 school year. Only 49 percent of children entering kindergarten that first year were considered “fully ready” for the rigors of kindergarten.  By 2011-12, 83 percent of children were rated “fully ready.”

Among the projects of the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge:

Revising the current Early Learning Framework – MDSE will develop new content standards for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten based on the same Common Core State Standards being used to refocus the rest of Maryland’s curriculum.

Refining the existing School Readiness Assessments – Maryland will update its early learning assessments, strengthen professional development, and develop early intervention systems to ensure that children are entering school fully prepared.

Implementing a Tiered Rating System for Early Care – Known as Maryland EXCELS, the system will improve the quality of care and education for our youngest learners. 

Building a Statewide Early Childhood Data System – MSDE will gather more information that supports administrative efficiency and effectiveness of the State’s early childhood education system.

For more on the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Program, click here.


Although Maryland does not have the teacher shortages that existed several years ago, new data shows that shortages exist in key areas throughout the State.

The Maryland Teacher Staffing Report, 2012-2014, a biennial study conducted by MDSE, found shortages in several content areas: career and technology education, computer science, English for Speakers of Other Languages, middle- and high school mathematics, middle and high school science (in chemistry, earth/space science, physical science, and physics), special education, and two World Language areas (Chinese and Spanish).  There also exists shortages of educators who are male and members of minority groups, and there exist some shortages of non-classroom professionals such as principals, library/media specialists, and speech/language pathologists.

Shortages are not found in every system, but spot shortages were found in all but a handful of Maryland’s 24 systems.

The State Board last week declared these areas as “critical shortages.”  In so doing, certain students studying in these content areas may be eligible for scholarships or loan assistance.

For additional information, see the full report at this link.

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: