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Graduations Begin May 26
The 2017 high school commencement season is set to begin on Friday, May 26, and will end on Wednesday, June 14. Graduations taking place at DAR Constitution Hall will be streamed live, courtesy of DAR, on DAR’s website.
MCPS is inviting parents to submit their favorite graduation snapshots Parents should select the best graduation photo of their child(ren) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Many of the pictures will be posted on the MCPS website. Parents and students also can submit photos via Twitter and Facebook (using the hashtag #mcpsgrad). We will repost some of the photos on our social media pages.
To contribute a photo via email, follow these simple steps:
- Choose your best, horizontal snapshot.
- Send the photo as a jpeg file (no larger than 4 MB) and email it to email@example.com.
- Include your child’s first name and school name. (We will not publish last names.)
By submitting a photo, parents are agreeing to its use for publication on the MCPS website. If you have questions, contact the Department of Public Information and Web Services at 301-279-3853 or email us.
Five Questions With … Nancy Shay, Montgomery County Teacher of the Year
Nancy Shay (center) reacts as she is named MCPS teacher of the year at the Champions For Children awards ceremony at Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown on April 26, 2017.
Nancy Shay thought she would be a lawyer.
But her mother, who spent more than 30 years as a middle school counselor in the Howard County school system, knew better.
“I had watched the movie The Paper Chase when I was maybe 12 or 13 years old,” Nancy Shay remembers. “For some reason, that movie, which really depicts law school as an odious affair, seemed very glamorous to me. I thought law school was the way to go.”
But as a college student, in the summers, she was a camp counselor.
“I would come home from camp really pumped and do something that I would later discover was called lesson planning,” Nancy recalled. “My mom, who was a guidance counselor, said, ‘Nancy, you’re lesson planning for camp. I really think you ought to consider teaching as a profession.’ And it grew from there.”
And grow it did.
“By my sophomore and junior years, it was clear to me that I was going to be a teacher,” Shay said. “I started researching graduate programs for education because I knew I wanted to teach in public schools. I felt committed to the mission of public education. I believed in it and I wanted to promote it. I ended up at [the University of Virginia] in a master’s of education program.
“It wasn’t until then that I knew who I was supposed to be as a human being. When I became a teacher, I realized my fullest self. It’s odd because I’m not naturally gregarious or outgoing. I’m actually pretty introverted. There was something about teenagers and sharing ideas, talking about literature and being available to help them grow. It just really inspired me.”
Shay is a Montgomery County native; she attended Cresthaven Elementary School, Francis Scott Key Middle School and graduated from Springbrook High School in 1981.
She says she is thankful to have found her forever home at Richard Montgomery, where she’s been for 23 years. She is the school’s English resource teacher, and teaches three classes. Last month, she was honored during the annual Champions for Children celebration when she was named the Montgomery County Teacher of the Year. She was overwhelmed and flattered.
“Teachers don’t sit around fantasizing about winning awards. We fantasize about students learning and creating engaging lessons.
“There are thousands of teachers who are equally, if not more, deserving. It is fun and makes me want to do better.”
When were you first hired at MCPS?
After I got my master’s at UVA, I immediately started teaching in August 1986. I was hired to teach three English classes at Seneca Valley High School the day before teachers returned. So I did not have a lot of time to prepare for this wonderful journey. Before long, it went to full time.
I was at Seneca Valley for two years. Then Quince Orchard opened and we lost three people. I ended up at Banneker Middle School, which was the first job interview and offer I got, and I took it immediately. The next day, Kennedy High School called to ask me to interview. I sobbed because I really wanted to go to high school, but I had already said yes to Banneker. I will say that that year was the most instructive year of my career. Because I had to learn so much about patience, empathy, creative problem solving, behavior management, things they don’t prepare you for in graduate school.
Then I ended up at Kennedy, which I loved. Then I was offered a position at Springbrook High School, which was my alma mater.
As it turned out, I decided pretty early at Springbrook that I wanted to go teach overseas. I went overseas for two years; I had multiple job offers. I ended up at the place that I thought would break my mother’s heart the least, which was Israel, in an American international school north of Tel Aviv. Rio de Janeiro was where I really wanted to be. My brother lives in Hong Kong, so it was bad enough having one of us gone.
I had never been to Israel. I did not speak any Hebrew. It was a great adventure. We did a lot traveling. I met my husband there; he was working in the writing lab at the school. He was a teacher at the time. He followed me back to Maryland and we got married later.
In June 1994, when I was still in Israel, my mom called and said the head of the English department at RM had received my resume. She wanted to meet with me. Before I left, I had started a master’s in English; I had to finish it within five years. I decided I wanted to finish it. So, I came back and had an interview the next week. From the minute I entered that old dilapidated RM building, I knew I had found my forever home school. It’s not about the building so much as the people—the faculty and the students. It has always been a wonderful place.
Tell me about a teacher that has inspired you.
Bob Donaldson, he taught at Springbrook and became one of the premier teachers in the Blair Magnet program. One of the things I loved about him was he embraced me as a whole person, not just as a math student. He knew I wasn’t particularly good at math but he still found ways to convey his interest in me as a student. We were able to build a relationship even though I was never going to answer a single question right.
He was a math teacher, but he liked Woody Allen. He was interested in poetry. He loved bluegrass music; I had played the bluegrass mandolin. He went out of his way to find common ground. That inspired my own approach to students.
A good teacher has to be able to build relationships. You have to be willing to learn and be flexible. You need to be creative about lessons, problems, issues with colleagues and collaborative. You’ve got to make a good faith effort to know [students] as human beings.
What do you like best about what you do?
Nancy Shay with Richard Montgomery Principal Damon Monteleone
I love planning lessons. It’s really creative and fun. I love class discussions. I love watching students engage in the productive struggle. I love laughing with my students and having moments together. I love exchanges with my colleagues and learning from them, which happens a lot here. I love being part of the leadership team; it’s an opportunity to really make a difference on an institutional level and in students’ lives.
You’re involved with the after-school Homework Club and something you created, called RichTalks. Tell me about those endeavors.
With the Homework Club, my colleague Todd Stillman [resource teacher] has been doing it under the radar for four years. I signed on to be the intervention teacher for Grades 10-12, and my friend Peter Beach [social studies teacher] said he would do it for 9th grade.
When Pete and I took over as the official leaders, I wanted to capture that quality of selflessness of really being available for the students. I asked the PTSA for donations for snacks and was overwhelmed with how generous everyone was. My business manager made me aware of a federal supper program; I applied for that and we’re now able to give dinner to students on Tuesdays and Thursdays out of the cafeteria. There is nothing better than breaking bread together.
I serve the food and make contact with every child and check in with them. We check their grades, work on assignments with them or help them find a student tutor. We frequently help them email their teachers, ‘John didn’t finish the worksheet that was due April 23. Is it possible for him to have a little more time to finish it up?’ More often than not, they’ll say ‘Absolutely, tell him to come see me during lunch.’ They can say no; sometimes they say no.
And we’ll tell the kids, ‘Next time you advocate for yourself.’ Kids don’t know how to do that—how do you deal with adults; how do you deal with teachers? We get IB kids, kids in AP, ESOL, on-level, honors …
I watched the way Todd and Pete execute this dance and provide guidance to students who are often reluctant to hear it. But when they give [guidance], their world is opened up for them. They are skillful and caring.
I have tried to help students with their Foundations of Technology assignments and failed miserably. But, we all know this, when we try to teach something to someone else, you learn it better. I ask a lot of questions, you know, ‘Did you take notes on this? Where’s the PowerPoint? Help me, help me. I don’t understand.’ So, a student teaches me and in so doing, learns him or herself. It’s a community of learners. The teachers are learning; the students are learning. I’m hoping [Homework Club] will grow bigger next year.
With the Rich Talks, about five years ago, a student contacted me because she wanted to a TEDx conference. We did it, but she had to go through an enormous amount of paperwork and jump through hoops for the licensing. The next year, we had done what I called a RichTalk instead. RichTalk refers both to “Richard” Montgomery and what I hoped would be the quality of discussions we would have.
Last summer was racially charged. There were riots, unarmed African Americans were shot and killed, police were brutally killed, there was massive tension. At one point, my principal [Damon Monteleone] said, ‘What happens ‘out there’ doesn’t get left out there; [students] bring it in here.’ While we couldn’t agree entirely as a leadership team how to address some of these bigger issues, I decided that no matter what, I was doing RichTalks.
I had a group of students who were interested; they came up with the topic for the first one. I invited teachers, students and staff to submit speeches. I stood in the hallways in the mornings handing out cards, telling people to write a speech for RichTalks.
The first topic was Identity; we had one teacher and three students speak. Before the event, I went around the school taking hundreds of pictures. I made a slideshow of all these images of RM, who we are as a school. For each speaker, I had a slide with a photograph of them and words saying who they were: tinkerer, thinker, friend, son, Boy Scout …
Afterward, I put up expectations of civil discourse and we went over them. Then, I listed four questions related to the issue of identity and Richard Montgomery—for instance, is RM tolerant of people whose identities are complex? That was the open mic portion, which was frightening and exhilarating. It was the best part. I would get a vibe and pick the next topic based on what the open mic discussion was.
The first RichTalk was maybe 20 people. The biggest one was probably 90 people.
The second one was: Words That Hurt. Another topics was Culture: What’s yours? What’s mine? What’s ours? One of our six Native American students was there that day and she said, ‘I’m not even supposed to be alive right now.’ She was really compelling. What’s mine in her instance is something you don’t know anything about and people tried really hard to eradicate.
I’m Phil Donahue with the mic. It becomes a dialogue amongst kids who wouldn’t ordinarily be in class together. Because by the end, it wasn’t all IB kids. I had ESOL kids, on-level kids, AP kids. I had students who never ever would have given a speech in their lifetime, but I met them through Homework Club or I met them through my son’s soccer team.
We did [RichTalks] four times this year. Next year, I’m going to get a committee together. And I hope to make it an opportunity to get SSL or CAS hours (CAS is the International Baccalaureate version of SSL). I hope to have six next year.
I had a student recently who asked me when the next RichTalk was. He said he wanted to talk. … So I guess it’s a thing. I want more. I want everybody.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
My mother was diagnosed with cancer in late July last year. My father died the first week of school. My siblings and I spent the majority of the year taking care of mom. She died in March. There wasn’t much time left over for anything else.
I have two boys—14 and 16 years old. They play club soccer, so we go to a lot of soccer games.
My husband, Jeff Coster, is an adjunct teacher at Morgan State [University]. He is working on an MLS degree.
I’m an avid reader; I was still able to do that in waiting rooms and doctors’ offices. It’s essential that I read works of literary merit. I try to read great literature I haven’t read before and books that are winning prizes so I can stay current. The most recent book I read is High Noon by Glenn Frankel. He lives in Arlington. He was doing a reading at Politics and Prose. I went, introduced myself and asked him to come speak to my students. He agreed. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He was amazing.
Last spring, before my mom got sick, I started doing hot yoga. A colleague of mine turned me on to Soldierfit classes. I’m trying to get back in shape.
Three Staff Members Win Counselor of the Year Honors
From left to right, Counselors of the Year Coleen Djouha, Edward Reed and Rebecca Willis.
Three staff members have been honored with 2016–2017 Counselor of the Year awards. The three—one each at the elementary, middle and high school levels—were recognized at the May 22 Board of Education business meeting.
The winners are:
Rebecca Willis, Glen Haven Elementary School
Every day, Rebecca Willis demonstrates invaluable support and commitment through her understanding of student needs, leadership, collaborative relationships, equity building and data analysis. She encourages student talents, helps students build confidence in themselves and fosters their self-esteem through a comprehensive counseling program tailored to specific needs. She helps to identify students’ interests through a career inventory and helps them get scholarships for camps or classes. Willis also helps to fulfill student needs by maintaining and providing clothes, shoes and coats from the school; she also hands out 90 Smart Sacks each week. [The Smart Sacks program sends bags of healthy food home each Friday with students who receive Free and Reduced-price Meals.] She also meets with lunch support groups focusing on parent deployment, anxiety, divorce, non-traditional families, death in family and other needs. To help foster students’ desire to succeed in school, she created a check-in/check-out behavior program with selected students that has resulted in dramatic behavioral improvements, helping them to achieve their highest potential.
Edward Reed, Robert Frost Middle School
As resource counselor, Edward Reed promotes a school culture of high expectations, professional growth, mutual respect and students learning at a high level. He has a passion for making a positive impact in the lives of students. He collaborated with the assistant principal to provide a presentation on the integration of social emotional learning in the curriculum. He was also instrumental in accelerating more than 100 students to advanced level courses. He provides opportunities for students to learn and grow. He planned a field trip to the U.S. Capitol to meet with then-Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen. He facilitated a student panel discussion entitled, “Building Bridges; Let’s Talk About Race.” His counseling team provides meaningful student activities, including a Career Café program, which connects student learning to real-world experiences and career options. Reed is also an invaluable member of the school leadership team, presenting at local and state conferences, advocating for counselors and collaborating with district leaders. He has also served as the school’s co-master scheduler, collaborating to meet the needs of more than 1,150 students and nearly 120 staff members.
Coleen Djouha, Damascus High School
Coleen Djouha started her career as a social studies teacher, but switched to counseling to pursue her passion for providing all-around support for students to be successful in high school.
She has worked at Damascus for 24 years, 15 of which have been as a counselor. Armed with a positive, engaging personality, Djouha works hard to get to know her students and families, and has a gift for creating strong, lasting relationships. She comes up with creative ways to motivate students, and connects them with community resources when needed. She collaborates with the school’s pupil personnel worker to conduct home visits with students who need that extra support. This includes creating academic intervention plans, which require having regular check-ins with students and weekly communication with parents; forming a weekly schedule of support for students to see their teachers; and mapping out long-term goals for students. Djouha is also focused on eliminating opportunity gaps for students. She does this by reviewing students’ course selection to ensure they are taking at least one Advanced Placement class by graduation, and pays special attention to populations that are in the gap—Hispanic, African American and special education students.
The School Counselor of the Year Awards focus attention on the contributions of professional school counselors within MCPS and the tremendous impact school counselors have in helping students in the county achieve school success, plan for a career, and be college-ready.
Performing Arts Students Shine in Awards Gala
Dozens of MCPS high school seniors were honored for their accomplishments in dance and theatre at the annual Superintendent’s Performing Arts Awards Gala on May 15 at Wheaton High School.
The event featured musical and dance performances from seven high schools—
- Quince Orchard, which performed “Holding Out for a Hero” from Footloose
- Seneca Valley, which performed “Jitterbug” from The Wizard of Oz
- Montgomery Blair, which performed an excerpt from The Caucasian Chalk Circle
- Albert Einstein, which performed “Can’t Help Falling in Love” from All Shook Up
- Northwest, which performed highlights from Sister Act
- Wheaton, which performed “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid, Jr.
- Clarksburg, which performed “Carnival del Barrio” from In the Heights
Read more about the honorees in the Superintendent’s Performing Arts Gala Program.
Winners Announced in United We Learn Arts Contest
Superintendent Jack Smith with a roomful of winners and their parents.
MCPS announced the winners of its first ever United We Learn: Combating Hate through the Arts contest, during the Board of Education’s May 22 meeting.
In March, the district launched the contest with several partners, including the Faith Community Advisory Council, the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, the Montgomery County Human Rights Commission, the Committee on Hate/Violence, the Montgomery County Council of PTAs and Communities United Against Hate—Montgomery County. The contest had a goal of providing students with a creative, structured opportunity to explore issues of prejudice and learn about the values of respect, diversity and civility. The contest was open to students from all grade levels.
Submissions, which were judged by level (elementary, middle and high) and by medium, were created by groups of two students or more. The categories were: written word, performance, visual art and video/audio.
Winning submissions will be published, printed or broadcast through MCPS media platforms.
See a gallery of photos from the recognition ceremony.
The winners are:
Elementary — Performance
Ivy Slocum & Anniek Voeten
“That’s What I Say”
Piney Branch Elementary School
Mary McGinn’s Third Grade Class
“Theme Song for Original Opera – We Fall From Judgment”
Stedwick Elementary School
Talea Haines & Nora Thompson
Wilson Wims Elementary School
Elementary — Video/Audio
Bethanya Samuel & Classmates
“The Children Are Watching”
Burnt Mills Elementary School
Rosalie Aschrafi & Jeremy Kim
“Exploring Diversity in Our Community”
William B. Gibbs, Jr. Elementary School
Mariam Baldwin, Ava Gilbert & Ella Gilbert
“Learn to Love”
Cloverly Elementary School
Elementary — Visual Art
Rebecca Randall & Virginal Smith’s 5th Grade Art Class:
Ezequiel Baxter; Allison Bordon; Cynthia Carbajal; Gianella Castellares; Jason Castillo; Elijah Head; James Hyman; Caitlyn Johnson; Samuel Kaganzev; Jacob Malone; Emma Mungra; Dylan Oliver; Babak Rownaghi; Nissi Sigei; Maya Singh; Serenity Smith; Joyce Somuah; Vida Sulureh; Marjorie Suthard; Malachai Wallace; Christopher Yuan; Chelsy Zambrano Peralta; Zack Boyle, Joanna Czekanski, Arjin Israa, Luca Sotomarino
Clearspring Elementary School
Second Place (tie)
Patricia Kennedy’s 4th Grade Art Class:
Douglas Alvalos; Angel Climaco; Edwards Gomez; Kimberlyn Gonzalez; Nataly Guerra; Julio Lainez; Emily Mejia; Nyla Obiezu; Heidi Perez Reyes; Anthony Quinteros; Olga Quinteros; Dajana Ramirez; Alicia Reyes; Genesis Reyes; Genesis Rivera; Helena Rosenblum; Ethan Deavers; Cristaly DeLeon Sales
“Respect What You See In Others”
Gaithersburg Elementary School
Second Place (tie)
Debbie Vanegas & Amra Nansimbi’s 4th Grade Art Class
Glenallan Elementary School
Vita Kuybeda & Dhruv Srivastava
“Lumos – Spread the Light”
Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School
Elementary — Written
Lily Eames Scheckner & Alicia Salazar Gaylord
“Flame of Hope”
Rock Creek Forest Elementary School
Sofia Battistel & Harper Chadwick
Candlewood Elementary School
Belinda Adu, Lindsey Quintanilla, Sofia Rodriguez & Katelyn Terry
“Falling from Judgment – An Original Opera”
Stedwick Elementary School
Middle — Video/Audio
Momoreoluwa Alade & Mayeni Kpenge
“Hatred vs. Love”
A. Mario Loiederman Middle School
Pragya Kumar, Abigail Pak & Shriya Yavasani
“I Am Me”
Hallie Wells Middle School
Jasmine Wang & Hannah Yan
Hallie Wells Middle School
Middle — Visual Art
Arunima De, Luyanda Dlamini & Maribel Thomas
“Hallie Wells MS 2016-2017”
Hallie Wells Middle School
Navin Durbhakula, Lucy Lin & Amberly Wu
“Pressures of Society”
Herbert Hoover Middle School
Third Place (tie)
Felipe Beltran, Phoebe Kantor, Madeline Montemurro, Andrea Rentel
John Poole Middle School
Third Place (tie)
Joann Cho & Alison Wang
Ridgeview Middle School
Middle — Written
Emily Barr & Sidra Hoffman
“Am I Accepted: A Transgender Story”
Sligo Middle School
Kayla Sinkler & Kirsten Sinkler
Robert Frost Middle School & DuFief Elementary School
Milla Brizhik & Tessa Brizhik
John Poole Middle School
High — Performance
Zack Sieff & Gabrielle Zwi
“Without a Label”
Walter Johnson High School
High — Video/Audio
Ellie Creedon, Kaley Fisher, Sean Fitzgerald & Anastasia Goldberg
“Uniting Through Dance”
Poolesville High School
Cacharelle Bonard Grimshaw, Tyiana Duffin, Londin Marshall, Tiffany Morales-Tejada & Westley On
“Hatred…I Wish You Knew Me”
Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA)
Dylan Burgoon, Alyssa Craig, Kai Elwood-Dieu, Tia Merotto & Emma Urofsky
“Doofus and Dylan”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
High — Visual Art
Sydney Acuff & Cecelia Bauer
“Marching for Justice”
Montgomery Blair High School
Second Place (tie)
Cole Cerulli, Olivia Dantzler, Peyton Diederich, Jacob Hoffpauir, Alyza Hussong, Adam Kolb, Roberto Mejia, Lukress Nguehou Keuda, Brian Orellana, Lisa Patel, Andrea Rodriguez, Rio Salazar, Michelle Sung & Sachi Tumbde
“United We Learn”
Damascus High School
Second Place (tie)
Dwayne Benjamin & Jackson Harnois
“I AM Human”
Quince Orchard High School
Third Place (tie)
Behrooz Ahmadi, Meya Collings, Julia Kraft, Angelo Rana & Britt-Marie Weinberg
“MCPS Schools Embrace Diversity”
Winston Churchill High School
Third Place (tie)
Ariel Fromm & Kendall Price
“Students on a Field”
Montgomery Blair High School
High — Written
Angela Wu & Byron Wu
“A United Chess Set”
Thomas S Wootton High School & Robert Frost Middle School
ESOL 4 and AP Language Students at Rockville High School
“Rockville Strong Letter Exchange”
Rockville High School
Jennifer Nornoo & Priscilla Nornoo
“What’s the Point?”
Paint Branch High School
Principal Named MCPS Finalist for Washington Post Award
Jennifer Lowndes, who has been principal of Rock Creek Forest Elementary School since 2012, has been named a finalist for The Washington Post Principal of the Year.
Lowndes is known for being enthusiastic, accessible, an engaged listener and a committed student advocate. She lives and breathes the message: People Matter. Many colleagues and parents call her the ‘rock’ of Rock Creek Forest. She opens car doors and welcomes students during morning arrival. She is consistently in classrooms overseeing teaching and learning. She creates a culture in which every student, parent and staff member feels appreciated, valued and vested in the school’s success.
She is masterful at fostering creativity and encouraging innovation for students and staff. For example, she helped the Spanish immersion staff organize a Skype conversation with Spanish-speaking students in other countries so students could get a real-world opportunity to practice their skills. In another example, she allowed the PTA to bring in an artist from Maine to teach students about the mandala. This resulted in a whole-school permanent art piece, which remains on display at the school.
Rock Creek Forest is home to several educational programs, including the Spanish Immersion Program, the neighborhood English Academy, the Autism Program and the Pre-K Program. Lowndes has unified the school into a cooperative and dynamic learning environment for its 735 students and 120 staff members.
She tackles challenges with aplomb. She guided the school through a recent middle school boundary study, and went through a complete renovation, which required an 18-month relocation to a temporary holding school.
Lowndes proactively includes stakeholders in her decision-making process, welcoming new ideas and addressing concerns. She works collaboratively and in partnership with groups to benefit students and staff. For instance, she has worked to improve participation from the Latino community by hosting monthly morning coffees. Lowndes, who speaks fluent Spanish, attends almost all of the meetings. Her engagement has paid off, with last year’s participation rate among Latino families hitting an all-time high of 85 percent, with more families supporting teachers in the classroom, on field trips and with after-school activities. She has also promoted the Honoring Our Elders program, which invites in senior citizens to share personal stories of growing up in America during the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. She helped form a partnership with the National Wildlife Federation’s U.S.-Taiwan Eco Partnership Program, which uses project-based learning to focus on sustainability topics such as energy, water, climate change and school gardens.
Lowndes began her career in education as a bilingual instructor in the Los Angeles public school system in 1990. She relocated to the Washington, D.C., area in 1993, and worked as a Spanish immersion teacher and as an administrator in accelerated and enriched instruction, before being named an assistant principal and principal. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brown University, and a master’s degree in education administration from Johns Hopkins University.
Farmland and Ronald McNair elementary schools were honored on May 17 by Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon as part of her Maryland Blue Ribbon School Tours of Excellence. Both schools are 2016-2017 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools and assemblies were held at each school to honor the achievements of the teachers and students.
Dedicating Hallie Wells Middle School
The Clarksburg community celebrated the dedication of Hallie Wells Middle School on May 13. Hallie Wells MS opened in August 2016 and boasts more than 150,000 square feet of learning space. The school is named after Hallie Wells, a longtime Clarksburg resident who deeded 290 acres of farmland to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Today, the land includes a park, named after her late husband Ovid Hazen Wells, and a farm established to help adults with developmental disabilities. While Hallie Wells Middle School is not located on the original land, this site is only a few blocks away.
The dedication celebration featured student musical performances, building tours, and a special appearance by Brenda Graves, great-niece of Hallie Wells. Other speakers included: Superintendent Jack Smith; Judy Docca, vice president of the Board of Education; and Barbara Woodward, the school principal.
Dads and Daughters Dance the Night Away at Strathmore Elementary School
On the evening of May 5, 2017, Strathmore Elementary School (Grades 3-5), along with its sister school, Bel Pre Elementary (Grades Pre K- 2), hosted its first Daddy-Daughter Dance and Dinner. There were 100 dads, uncles, granddads and 121 daughters who attended for dinner and dancing. A few dads even sang karaoke. Strathmore assistant principal Jonathan Kieffer received donations from local businesses and individuals to help put on the event. Moms and staff members volunteered to decorate, clean up and manage the food buffet line.
Bel Pre Invites Moms in for Special Event
More than 160 moms celebrated during a Muffins with Mom event at Bel Pre Elementary School on May 12. More than 160 moms attended to enjoy a special treat and to hear guest speaker Frances Frost, past president of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs and author.
Frost spoke about her top ten list for balancing work, kids and home life. Moms later got to visit classrooms and work with their children.
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Twenty-five staff members from 16 MCPS schools received “Best and Brightest” awards from the NAACP Parents’ Council. They were chosen by parents and students for going above and beyond in their job responsibilities. This year’s honorees are:
Ashburton Elementary School
Sarah Segal, third grade teacher
Benjamin Banneker Middle School
Troy Horsley, content specialist
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
Christian Pope, special education paraeducator
Bel Pre Elementary School
Valerie White, prekindergarten teacher
James Hubert Blake High School
Sandra Zinkievich, teacher
Anita O’Neill, assistant principal
Dondrell Whitmore, security assistant
Sean Gibbons, teacher
Nicole Houchens, teacher
Marcus Wiggins, teacher
Jeannette Hayes, counselor
Brooke Lee Middle School
Rodrick Hobbs, assistant principal
A. Mario Loiderman Middle School
Maria E. Flores, teacher
Col. Zadok Magruder High School
Donald Wharton, teacher
North Bethesda Middle School
Nicole Morgan, assistant principal
North Chevy Chase Elementary School
Kimberly Sexton, teacher
Paint Branch High School
David Zaleski, teacher
Kayla Freeman, teacher
Richard Montgomery High School
Mark Brown, assistant principal
Damon Monteleone, principal
Roberto Clemente Middle School
Irene Brodsky, special education team leader
Shady Grove Middle School
Edwina Kollo, content specialist
Springbrook High School
Wyman Jones, instrumental music teacher
David Moore, teacher
Wheaton High School
Andrea M. Robertson, teacher
State Recognizes Roberto Clemente Special Education Teacher
Larry March, a special education teacher at Roberto Clemente Middle School, has been recognized as an Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education as a Teacher Leader for the state of Maryland. March teaches in the Gifted and Talented/Learning Disabled (GT/LD) program. He is well-regarded by his colleagues for his ability to make rigorous instruction accessible to all students. He is also dedicated to helping students outside the classroom with after-school academic support and advocacy, and also provides ongoing home-school communication with parents. March demonstrates leadership by supporting professional development in the field of gifted and talented education, specifically for twice-exceptional students.
Honoring Coaching Legend Bob Milloy
From left to right: Councilmember Nancy Navarro; Loren Danielson, who played for Coach Milloy at Springbrook in the 1970s; Coach Milloy; Phil Kaplan, who played for Coach Milloy at Whitman in the 1970s; Bob’s wife, Susan; Councilmember Sidney Katz; and Bob and Susan’s daughter, Kelley.
Bob Milloy, Maryland’s all-time winningest high school football coach who retired earlier this year, was honored by the Montgomery County Council on May 16. He served as the head coach at Walt Whitman, Springbrook and Sherwood high schools. He later spent 16 years as the head coach at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney. Milloy won more games (405 victories, 124 losses and 1 tie) than any other coach in Maryland history and is tied with the most state public school championships by a coach (eight).
People On the Move
The Board of Education made nine administrative appointments at board meetings on May 9 and May 22:
- Peter Cevenini, chief technology officer, Office of the Chief Technology Officer
- Christina N. Conolly, director, Division of Psychological Services
- Lawrence D. Chep, principal, Clopper Mill Elementary School
- Matthew D. Hawkins, principal, Viers Mill Elementary School
- Courtney M. Jones, principal, Cashell Elementary School
- Jae W. Lee, principal, Carderock Springs Elementary School
- Michaele O. Simmons, director, Investigations and Compliance
- Heidi L. Slatcoff, principal, Earle B. Wood Middle School
- Daniel K. Tucci, principal, Garrett Park Elementary School
Retirement celebrations are being held for:
Linda Gausseres, instrumental music teacher at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School (after 30 years with MCPS), and Jessica Stephens, ESOL teacher at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School (31 years). The celebration will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 9, at Il Porto, 245 Muddy Branch Road in Gaithersburg. The cost is $35 for dinner and gift. Send payment to Thurgood Marshall ES, 12260 McDonald Chapel Dr., Gaithersburg, MD 20878. RSVP by June 5 to Janice Moulden.
Keith Jones, principal of Summit Hall Elementary School, after 39 years with MCPS. The celebration will be at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, at The Inn at Brookeville Farms, 19501 Georgia Avenue in Brookeville. The cost is $50 for buffet dinner and gift (cash bar will be available). Make checks payable to the Summit Hall Social Committee and send to Attn: Wendy Stauffer, 101 W. Deer Park Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. RSVP to Alison Leary or Wendy Stauffer by June 9.
Chris Richardson, associate superintendent of the Office of Special Education. The celebration will be from 5–8 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, at Norbeck Country Club, 17200 Cashell Road, Rockville. The cost is $35, which includes food and gift. Make checks payable to Linda Fragoso, and send to her in Room 220, 850 Hungerford Road, Rockville, MD 20850. RSVP by June 16 to Fragoso.
John Ricketts, property control specialist for Supply and Property Management. His retirement celebration will be held from 1:30–3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14, in the media processing room at 570 N. Stonestreet Avenue in Rockville. Cake and beverages will be available. Gift donations may be sent to Frances Robertson at the Department of Materials Management.
Martha Wright, reading initiative teacher at Rosemary Hills Elementary School, after 44 years with MCPS. The retirement celebration will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, at El Golfo Restaurant, 8739 Flower Avenue in Silver Spring. The cost is $30, which includes dinner, soft drinks/tea and gift. Send payment to Elizabeth Bernard or Lisa Harris at Rosemary Hills, 2111 Porter Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910. RSVP by May 26 to Harris or Bernard.
If you have a retirement announcement you’d like to see in The Bulletin, send it here.
The Hispanic Alliance for Education held its annual Distinguished Hispanic Scholars Awards ceremony May 11 at the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville. Twenty-five Hispanic students were honored for their outstanding academic achievement and community engagement at the event; each was given a tablet for their college studies. Five students also received scholarships for post-secondary education—Yeruti Ayala, Northwood High School, and Virginia Hernandez, Wheaton High School, received $2,000 scholarships; and Diana Sandoval, Paint Branch High School; Lillian Leonard, Richard Montgomery High School; and Ana Gomez, Quince Orchard High School, received $1,000 scholarships.
The Distinguished Scholars and their schools are:
- Nicolas Berlinski, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
- Fausto Zurita, Montgomery Blair High School
- Natalie Mogrovejo, James Hubert Blake High School
- Diana Fischer, Winston Churchill High School
- Adryana Gomez Cevallos, Clarksburg High School
- Samantha Martinez, Damascus High School
- Raquel Delgadillo, Albert Einstein High School
- Christopher Paniagua, Gaithersburg High School
- Gabriela Falck-Bados, Walter Johnson High School
- Wendy Mejia Aguilar, John F. Kennedy High School
- Kimberly Albines, Col. Zadok Magruder High School
- Erick Abad, Northwest High School
- Simon Arango Baquero, Poolesville High School
- Maya Glander, Rockville High School
- Tania Otero Martinez, Seneca Valley High School
- Samantha Tavarez, Sherwood High School
- Deisy Martinez-Mazariego, Springbrook High School
- Gabriel Feliz, Watkins Mill High School
- Harrison Jacobs, Walt Whitman High School
- Sophie Rabinowicz, Thomas S. Wootton High School
- Diana Sandoval, Paint Branch High School
- Lillian Leonard, Richard Montgomery High School
- Yeruti Ayala, Northwood High School
- Virginia Hernandez, Wheaton High School
- Ana Gomez, Quince Orchard High School
Five Asian American Students Win $2,000 Scholarships
Five high school seniors were honored with $2,000 scholarships by the League of Educators for Asian American Progress (LEAAP). The students were honored for their level of scholarship and their interest in pursuing a career in education. The students are:
- Beira Ho, Springbrook High School, with plans to attend Towson University
- Marcus Suzuki, Richard Montgomery High School, with plans to attend St. Mary’s College of Maryland
- Chia Chun “Iris” Tung, Richard Montgomery High School, with plans to attend Montgomery College
- Ivy Zhang, John F. Kennedy High School, with plans to attend the University of Maryland, College Park
- Jacy Zhang, Poolesville High School, with plans to attend the University of Maryland, College Park
Ten Students Win $1,000 NAACP Scholarships
At its annual Freedom Fund dinner on April 30, the Montgomery County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) awarded $1,000 scholarships to 10 MCPS students for their positive contributions to school and community.
The award winners are:
- Charnnette Bailey, James Hubert Blake High School
- Menelik Demissie, Gaithersburg High School
- James D’Souza, Rockville High School
- Kahlil Greene, Poolesville High School
- John Milton, Richard Montgomery High School
- Jordan Robinson, Col. Zadok Magruder High School
- Jasmine Scott, Montgomery Blair High School
- Marlonna Stephenson, James Hubert Blake High School
- Mehlat Tesfaye, Springbrook High School
- Tuador Wikina, Northwest High School
Students from Seven Middle Schools Play in East County Strings Concert
Students from seven schools participated in the East County Strathmore Strings concert last month.
The East County Strathmore Strings program provides free, after-school music instruction and performance opportunities for string students from the following seven east county middle schools—Argyle, Benjamin Banneker, Francis Scott Key, E. Brooke Lee, A. Mario Loiederman, Newport Mill and Parkland. The program gives students the opportunity to enhance their musical skills by playing challenging orchestral music in a large group orchestra.
Students in the program are taught by professional orchestral musicians. The string coaches are selected and contracted by Strathmore’s youth orchestra program, Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras.
Students Interested in Local Politics Are Encouraged to Apply to Be ‘Councilmember for a Day’
Students in grades 8, 9, 10 and 11 who are interested in politics and want to know what it is like to serve as a Montgomery County Councilmember are invited to submit entries for Councilmember Craig Rice’s “Councilmember for a Day” Challenge. To enter, students can either submit a YouTube video or a written essay of 500 words or less answering the following questions:
- What is the most important public policy issue facing young people today?
- What are your ideas for dealing with this issue?
- What suggestions do you have for national, state, and/or local leaders to address this issue?
Submissions are due Thursday, June 15. The winning student will get exclusive access to Councilmember Craig Rice who serves as Chair of the Council’s Education Committee. For more information, visit this website or call 240-777-7926.
Winners Announced for Spring Training Challenge
Nearly 6,000 MCPS employees laced up their shoes and picked up their bats during Well Aware’s Spring Training physical activity challenge. They took part in a variety of physical activities to compete for prizes and, more importantly, to adopt or maintain their healthy lifestyles. Each of the top 15 schools averaged at least 78 minutes of physical activity per employee per day. This is an increase of two minutes over last year!
Congratulations to all those who improved their health by participating!
The following seven Overall Lifestyle Change Award winners each will receive a six-week Zumba or yoga class for having the greatest decrease in Body Mass Index over the course of the challenge:
- Pamela L. Altman, A. Mario Loiederman Middle School
- Cheryldean M. Adagala, Roscoe Nix Elementary School
- Kafi A. Lewis, East Silver Spring Elementary School
- Christine N. Skroback, Harmony Hills Elementary School
- Jan Shapiro, Winston Churchill High School
- Susan M. Kort, Richard Montgomery High School
- Catherine A. Stanton, William H. Farquhar Middle School
Grand prize winners are as follows:
Team Grand Prize: The top 15 teams with the most average activity time throughout the 10-week challenge each will receive a $500 grant to promote wellness in their schools, offices, or depots. They are:
- Sculpted Marble: Deborah D. Belcourt, Ryan J. Foret, Susan B. Reber
- Lacebo and the Whipsters Intensified Chicken Flavour: Anne C. Sandmeyer, Lacey E. Russ, Laurie E. Lyons, Peter Park, Salli A. Clipp
- Snack or Supper?: Ashton L. Pontious, Kyle J. Finke, Tanner W. Nelson
- Dez Caught That Ball: Andrew K. Lee, Christopher N. Tao, James A. Little, Jeffrey C. Brink
- Wilson Wims: Carmen D. Moran, Natalie A. Benco, Thomas M. Benco
- IH8Burpees: Amanda Chacon, Ashley M. Kinney, Sean J. Kinney
- LLR: Kari L. Cregger, Lisa N. Chakalis, Olivia M. Finke
- Golden Boot for Timmy: Justin R. Owen, Katie B. Shah, Michele M. McMahon
- Red Hot Chilli Steppers: Chuck L. McGee, Melanie A. Heckhaus, Robbie M. Byrd, Sandra J. Karis
- Trim Tones: Akua Gaudry, Karyn S. McCoy, Mary Kate Ryan Griffith, Seham A. Neshawat, Tawanna R. Nolan
- Fitness Junkies: Cara D. Grant, Jeffrey Mehr, Karen B. Kart, Matthew P. Augustin, Teresa Shatzer
- Bella’s Batters: Barbara Tappis, Jennifer M. Pisarra, Kathleen A. Cohan, Keryn P. Saffell, Linda D. Hoffsis, Melonee S. Noll, Nga T. Tran, Patricia A. Pickrel, Susan A. Lopsonzski, Sherry L. Dionne
- The Leftovers: Danielle N. Affinito, Jeremy Snyder, Leslie R. Sadlier, Sarah Mead
- Dark Horse: Amanda Demarco, Bess W. Pickar, Hillary R. Reed
- Spring Chickens: Jill G. Garber, Rebecca Gibbs, Thomas E. Okeefe
Golden Sneaker Team Prize: In addition to a grant, the top team overall with the most average miles throughout the 10-week challenge has won the Golden Sneaker Trophy and bragging rights until the next challenge. The winner is:
- Sculpted Marble: Deborah D. Belcourt, Ryan J. Foret, Sue B. Reber
School Grand Prize: Each of the top 15 schools with the most average activity time throughout the 10-week challenge will receive a $500 grant to be used for physical education equipment or to support staff wellness. They are:
- White Oak Middle School
- Ritchie Park Elementary School
- Mario Loiederman Middle School
- Hallie Wells Middle School
- Robert Frost Middle School
- Jones Lane Elementary School
- Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center
- Harmony Hills Elementary School
- East Silver Spring Elementary School
- Rosemary Hills Elementary School
- Clopper Mill Elementary School
- Kensington Parkwood Elementary School
- Beall Elementary School
- Fairland Elementary School
- Roscoe Nix Elementary School
Although Spring Training has come to an end, the challenge continues! Well Aware’s next physical activity challenge will begin in the fall. Look for details in future issues of the Well Aware eNews and The Bulletin and on the Well Aware website. In the meantime, the Well Aware Fitness Log continues to provide a resource for you to track your physical activity and diet.