Santelises Discusses Planned Layoffs, School Performance

Baltimore City schools CEO Sonja Santelises joined C4 by phone Thursday to talk about the impact planned layoffs will have on the system and recent reports that six city schools have no students proficient on state tests. While the central office, she said, will bear a sizable portion of the burden of layoffs and eliminated positions necessitated by a budget gap, Santelises said that's not necessarily good news for schools. "It's really a continual trend that's and an unfortunate one of just a reduction of staff at the central office," Santelises said. (WBAL)

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Despite support of less testing, local schools unsure of 'More Learning, Less Testing' law

A bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Larry Hogan aimed at reducing testing in schools actually adds another mandated test for middle-schoolers, leaving local school officials wary over whether the legislation will help curb concerns over too many assessments. The More Learning, Less Testing Act of 2017 requires the Maryland State Board of Education to "develop, in collaboration with certain entities and individuals, a middle school level social studies assessment that meets certain requirements and for implementation in a certain school year," according to the legislation. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Kittleman appoints special education advocate to Board of Education

Long-time Howard County resident Ananta Hejeebu, an advocate for special education, was appointed by County Executive Allan Kittleman on Wednesday to fill the vacant seat on the Howard County Board of Education. The County Council will review Hejeebu's appointment at its legislative session on June 5 and during a public hearing on June 19 before confirmation. Hejeebu's appointment comes three weeks after the resignation of former board member Christine O'Connor, who left her position on the seven-member panel one day after the departure of schools Superintendent Renee Foose. A career teacher and former board chairwoman, O'Connor served on the board since 2014, with one year remaining in her term. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Martin and Murray finalists for Washington County Board of Education vacancy

Al Martin and Linda Murray are finalists for the vacant seat on the seven-member Washington County Board of Education after a nominating commission voted 6-0 Thursday night to forward their names to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration. Both ran for school board seats last year, with Murray and Martin finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, for the four open seats at the time. Twelve people shared their opinions during a public hearing Thursday night regarding potential candidates and/or the process to fill the school-board vacancy left after the Maryland State Board of Education's April 25 order to remove Karen Harshman from the local school board. (Herald-Mail)

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Students are the teachers at annual Hampstead Elementary School STEM night

Rubbing a balloon with a blanket, fifth-grader Dean Grogh showed his peers how to charge an object with static electricity. Dean's project was one of 18 featured during Hampstead Elementary School's fifth annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) night. "I like that you're almost in the teacher's chair and maybe you teach someone something new," Dean said. According to HES STEM coordinator and second-grade teacher Rhonda Wastler, the school had a typical science fair for many years. Several years ago, they decided to make it more interactive, student-driven and engaging for families. The school partnered with Manchester Valley High School's Science Club, which sets up interactive activities to occupy the students while they wait to present their STEM projects. (Carr. Co. Times)

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'The Keepers,' pending closure shadow Seton Keough's final days

This was already going to be a bittersweet spring at Seton Keough High School. The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced in October that it would be closing the Catholic school for girls at the end of the school year, and the community has spent the final months honoring the school's history before bidding it farewell. But the release of the hit Netflix documentary series "The Keepers," which explores sexual abuse at then-Archbishop Keough High School decades ago and the still unsolved killing of a young teacher, has cast a darker shadow on the last days of the beloved institution. (Balt. Sun)

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Burmese refugee overcomes loss, language barrier to graduate from Saint John's Catholic Prep

When Jafaniah Staples started school in Frederick County, he didn’t know a word of English. At 9, Staples and his mother and four older sisters escaped from Myanmar (formerly Burma) as Christian refugees to seek better educational opportunities and escape religious persecution. “I remember we were on a boat going across Thailand and I was really scared,” Staples said. Those emotions were much different Thursday as Staples became the last of the five siblings to graduate from high school. He was one of 59 members of Saint John’s Catholic Prep’s Class of 2017. It was the 184th graduation for the school. (News-Post)

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Salisbury University Students Plant Pollinator Gardens

In an effort to give bees and butterflies a boost Salisbury University students planted two pollinator gardens for the Town of Berlin last week. Environmental studies students from Salisbury University installed two gardens full of flowering plants at the Town of Berlin’s spray irrigation facility on Purnell Crossing Road last week. The gardens represent just one part of a collaborative effort between a senior seminar class and the town. “The whole town was really welcoming,” student Michael Omps said. “We’re glad we could actually do something and weren’t just sitting in a class.” (O.C. Md. News)

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