Oh Maryland, my Maryland
So Marylanders, how did you celebrate “Gifted and Talented Education Month” in the state?
What? You didn’t know that Governor Martin O’Malley had issued such a declaration for the month February?
It wasn’t plastered on your local school system’s website? A press release touting your system’s great gifted and talented education services wasn’t released to the media? An announcement wasn’t made at the start of a board of education meeting?
What? Your school doesn’t even dare like to use the term “gifted and talented?”
Well, you’re probably not alone. The State Department of Education did an embarrassingly poor job of publicizing the fact–and sadly, the Maryland State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education did only marginally better in publicizing its February 24 reception in Annapolis that recognized and honored 59 adults and students from across the state. The largest category was the “Teacher as Leader in gifted and talented education,” with 26 awards.
Close to home, five Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) teachers were given the Teacher as Leader in Gifted Education award. Two MCPS students (Student Accomplishment in Gifted Education) and an MCPS gifted education administrator (State Leadership in Gifted Education) received awards as well.
I had the good fortune to accompany one of the MoCo winners to the event. I’ve written about this teacher in the past. She’s simply wonderful. She *loves* her students–all kids, really–and tells them all the time, “I’ll always be here for you.” She means it. She laughs with them, comforts them and always has time for them. Years later, when they’re in high school and beyond, they come back to volunteer and to let her know what’s going on in their lives. Her door is always open. To her, teaching is not a job, it’s a calling. She pours herself into it. She runs clubs during school, after school–and runs herself ragged in the process. She is always looking for opportunities to expand their horizons, showcase their talents. Field trips, speakers, competitions, NASA, Oprah…you name it. You need a recommendation, an appeal letter? She never says no. In short, this is one awesome teacher. The kind of teacher we need many more of.
In gratitude, and to highlight her state award, her school community recently surprised her with a celebration in her honor. High schoolers, parents of college students, current parents and students–all gathered to praise and thank her.
So it’s particularly bitter that two days later word was sent around that her position, “special program teacher,” would be cut from a full-time position to a .6 position. Thank you Jerry Weast.
Previous budget posts: here, here, here, here and here.
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