Friday, September 19, 2014

First Impressions

So, I started this job on July 1 which means I’ve had a good 3 months to visit around and meet with people and listen to their thoughts on Calvert County Public Schools.  I’d like to share with you some of my first impressions in no particular order.

·         This is a nice place to live and raise a family.  It has a rural feel, yet is close to major metropolitan areas.  I like that I don’t have to go far to see the Chesapeake Bay. 

·         There are an amazing number of people who tell me they moved here specifically for the schools -  like the young lady who cut my hair in Lusby when I was just scouting this place out and most recently like the deputy sheriff who stopped me for going too fast on Rt.260.  Yes, they got me. 8-)>

·         Student achievement is very high.  When the MSA results were released this summer, Calvert County Public Schools were on top in most every category.

·         We have a lot of good principals who use that leadership role to keep students in school and to help teachers get the resources they need to do the best job possible.

·         We have a lot of caring teachers who were sincerely conflicted when the union suggested they should make a statement about teacher compensation by skipping out on open houses.

·         Our school buildings, though many have some age on them, are well maintained.   Our maintenance and building services workers take great pride in their work and it shows.

·         I think the county could make a lot of money if it charged politicians a fee for every sign they put up.  I have never seen so many signs up so early for a November election.

·         We have a lot of work (really hard work and difficult decisions) ahead of us, if we are going to get our financial house in order.  Health care costs sky rocketed last year.  Employees would like a raise, but this year’s budget required a significant infusion from our fund balance (at home you would call this your savings account).

I’m really enjoying the role of superintendent in Calvert County Public Schools.  In many ways, though my children are grown, I moved here for the quality of the schools as well.  I love a good challenge and there is no greater one than making the best better.  I have found the school board and staff members and community leaders to be open to moving in that direction.


  1. I am curious how you can condone the use of common core curriculum knowing full well that it is poisoning our childrens minds and keeping them from thinking for themselves or forming their own opinion based on the facts? This form of education will turn our children into sheeple! I myself will ensure that I teach my child how to think for herself and ignore the corruption even if I have to homeschool her!

  2. Can you be more specific? Please share with me something from the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards that you believe to be an example of "poisoning our children's minds".

  3. I will start with how a one size fits all cirriculum, is not good for our children and that "disciplinary literacy" specifically states it is moving from writing from a personal perspective to evidence based responses. So in your opinion does that not say my child will be taught to simply regurgitate what they have read without forming their own opinion on the subject matter? How is that any good for our children? And you can call it College and Career Ready Standards all day long but I know and anyone that pays attention knows that is just Maryland's fancy way of not saying Common Core!

  4. Common core calls for more rigorous, complex reading material than in the past. When it comes to writing, giving one's personal opinion is not viewed as challenging as proving one's personal position. Think of formal debate competition. It is one thing to argue opinion, it is another to substantiate that personal perspective based upon facts and research.

    Following are a couple of key shifts in reading and writing under common core:

    Students have rich and rigorous conversations which are dependent on students reading a central text.

    Teachers ensure classroom experiences stay deeply connected to the text and that students develop habits for making evidentiary arguments based on the text, both in conversation as well as in writing, to assess their comprehension of a text.

    Writing instruction emphasizes use of evidence to inform or to make an argument; it includes short, focused research projects K-12. Students K-12 develop college and career-ready skills through written arguments that respond to the ideas, events, facts, and arguments presented in the texts they listen to and read.

    Content-area teachers emphasize reading and writing in their planning and instruction for teaching the content. Students learn through reading domain-specific texts in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects and by writing informative/explanatory and argumentative pieces.

    Not sure what "disciplinary literacy" means.

    Yes MD calls them College and Career Ready Standards.