Michael J. Martirano of St. Mary’s County Public Schools Is Named Maryland’s 2009 Superintendent of the Year
The Middle States Regional Office congratulates Maryland’s St. Mary’s County Public Schools for its innovative approach to the AP® Program. Its exemplary AP program is grounded in the belief that all students should have access to rigorous course work. Maryland State superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick recently named the county’s Superintendent Michael J. Martirano Maryland’s 2009 Superintendent of the Year. “Since being named superintendent of the St. Mary's County Public Schools in July 2005, he's reorganized the system with an emphasis on service to schools,” Grasmick wrote. “Dr. Martirano really represents to me what strong leadership is all about. We are lucky to have leaders of his caliber serving students and communities throughout our state.”
Martirano’s official vision plan, “Charting a Course to Excellence,” is reflected in the goal of having 100 percent of the students graduate with at least one positive AP experience. This commitment inspires and guides everyone in the district. Examples of their strategies include:
- Students are scheduled with the most rigorous courses to stretch their capabilities. This default schedule, with the opportunity for students to opt out, automatically steers students toward the path of college readiness.
- A focus on low-income and minority students speaks to the issue of including all students in the district goals. As a result of the school system’s efforts to encourage more minority participation in the AP program, the number of African Americans participating in the program is at an all-time high.
“It is truly encouraging to see the number of high school students in our school system participating in AP courses, taking the corresponding tests and achieving passing scores,” Martirano said. “This is a testament to the dedication of the teachers who have become experts in their content area and the commitment of the students who take these rigorous courses.”
Note from Interim
want to thank
you who joined
us in Baltimore
for the 2009
Forum in February.
and the entire
all of you
so many of
of my takeaways
need to improve
that we all
need to listen
so that we
to honor our
in St. Mary’s
County to talk
about the great
are making in
has the extraordinary
of his students
with at least
equity and excellence
in their AP
serve as a
model for many
May 14, we look
forward to seeing
teams at our
Gaps: A Continuing
at the Sheraton
Hotel. In addition
some of our
will share their
closed the achievement
gap in their
Come to learn
from them and
to share your
we all enjoy
the milder weather
of spring and
to our upcoming
I am for our
to help connect
|Access & Diversity Collaborative Meets in Washington, D.C.
Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley
The College Board’s Access & Diversity Collaborative held a seminar on institutional change in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Meeting in the law offices of former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, 20 experts from every level of education came to engage in a meaningful conversation about ways to bring diversity onto their campuses within the confines of current federal law.
Participants came to Washington equipped with a strong understanding of current admissions law and the surrounding issues. Many of the issues related to diversity are similar among most institutions and there is consensus about the main objectives. Because the group represented virtually every level and sector of education — policymakers, administrators, deans of admissions and financial aid, directors of other organizations with similar objectives — the discussions were rich and insightful, focusing on ways to animate diversity policies and legally
Ideas and experiences were shared about what had or had not worked at other universities as admissions and financial aid policies were recrafted to achieve goals for diversity. Helping people on campus understand that diversity is a laudable goal and educating the public is critical, because even if an institution wins in the court of law, it can lose in the court of public opinion. The example of the Supreme Court ruling upholding affirmative action at the University of Michigan was cited. Although Michigan prevailed in the courts, its efforts were defeated in a ballot initiative the following year. Other topics included how the economy and changing demographics will affect programs in the next few years.
Secretary Riley joined the meeting and spent a generous amount of time talking with the group, sharing his experiences and imparting wisdom with regard to building consensus among many groups with very different points of view. He said that the most important thing for someone who’s in the middle is to be a good listener. People will argue every side of an issue, but if you can refrain from imposing your own point of view and hear what each group is saying, you’ll eventually know where the consensus can be found. This is how you can build consensus and effect policy change. Riley quoted his favorite philosopher, a cartoon character named Dilbert, who once said, “Change is difficult; you go first!”
Other notable attendees included Karl Furstenberg, who had a 17-year tenure as dean of admissions and financial aid at Dartmouth; Tally Hart, former head of financial aid at Ohio State University and current senior adviser for Ohio State’s Economic Access Initiative; and Larry A. Griffith, a vice president at the United Negro College Fund who directs the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which promotes academic excellence and provides opportunities for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential.
The day ended with a reception, where Riley stayed until the very end speaking with anyone who was interested. He was delighted to collaborate and encouraged everyone in their work. Brad Quin, executive director of higher education advocacy and special initiatives at the College Board, remarked that “there was a significant optimism on the part of Riley and the other participants about the climate on Capitol Hill with the new administration.
The event, which was the third in a series of seminars titled “Leading Institutional Change,” was co-sponsored by EducationCounsel, a subsidiary of Secretary Riley’s law firm. These advanced national seminars are designed for higher education officials who have a basic knowledge of legal and policy fundamentals and who want to enhance their ability to help lead institutional change through more robust attention to key communications strategies, emerging research and major federal and state policy trends of relevance. These seminars also move beyond an enrollment management focus and address a broad array of key institutional issues, including policy leadership and program evaluation. The next seminar will be at University of California, Berkeley in June.
There is also a seminar — “Knowing the Basics. Federal Case 101” — designed for higher education officials who seek to enhance their understanding of basic legal, policy and communications principles essential to developing educationally and legally sound enrollment management policies. To learn more about the Access & Diversity Collaborative or these seminars, please visit its Web site.
Survey Shows Face-to-Face Interaction Is Highly Valued at Regional Forums
In an informal survey, attendees at the Middle States Regional Forum rated highest their interactions with colleagues from across the region and the valuable information gained from
The surveys were distributed at College Board President Gaston Caperton’s plenary sessions at each forum and were designed to collect feedback about the forum, particularly in today’s difficult economic climate. More than 100 people at the Middle States Regional Forum completed
“It is affirming to see how much our members value the forums and in-person meetings,” said Mary Carroll Scott, vice president of membership. “The question for us is how do we accomplish that effective communication and professional development in difficult economic times, when it’s all the more important to share ideas.”
Nationwide, attendance at the regional forums was down from 2008, with many people saying the economy was hindering opportunities to travel and attend professional development programs. But in the Middle States region, attendance was about equal to that of 2008.
Middle States participants also strongly agreed in large numbers that the quality of the regional forums presentations is high and that they use the information to improve their work.
In related research conducted through an e-mail survey, nearly 70 percent of respondents indicated that the workshops and sessions are what primarily draw them to regional forums. The next highest response was interaction with colleagues.
Many respondents felt the length of a session should be determined by the content, number of presenters and structure (such as whether a Q&A session is included or not). When expressing a preference, 45-minute sessions came out on top. However, when the top two choices were combined, 75-minute sessions had the edge.
A few of the sessions that respondents found the most valuable were the workshop on writing recommendation letters; a session on ScoreChoice™; and a session on reform and how counselors and principals work together to advance achievement in public high schools.
|SUNY Stony Brook Southampton Partners with Local Schools to Build Writing Skills
Staff from the College Board’s Middle States Regional Office recently visited the MFA program at SUNY Stony Brook Southampton to hear about a program they call YAWP, an acronym for the Young American Writers Project. The center offers summer and year-round programs to enhance critical thinking and communication skills through creative writing, poetry, writing screenplays and playwriting in a way that school districts do not have the resources or time to provide on their own. Southampton seeks out kids who are “on the margins” to rein in their creative talents as a way to keep them in school. Visiting authors, poets and playwrights work directly with students to develop their themes. Currently, New York City and Long Island districts are involved, but the university would like the program to continue to grow.
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