Recruitment MeetingPosted by RHONDA MOORE on 10/29/2018 9:00:00 PM
On Saturday, October 13th, I had the pleasure of participating in a round table discussion with our State Superintendent Dr. Salmon and the other 23 Teacher of the Years from across the state of Maryland. Dr. Salmon asked us to share our ideas to improve teacher recruitment in Maryland. We eagerly accepted the challenge and I am excited to see what we can do support her with this task.
Imagine my surprise on Monday morning, October 15th, to open my inbox to find an email from Sarah House, Certification Specialist in our Human Resources Department, inviting me to a meeting on the topic of, you guessed it, "Teacher Recruitment". I immediately replied, "Count me in!"
Tonight was our first meeting. The committee is comprised of elementary, high school, special education teachers as well as an administrator. Dance, music, and speech pathology were all represented. Mr. Mark Farley, Director of Human Resources, led the meeting. As a new team member, I enjoyed hearing what they have done in the past to recruit teachers to our county and was excited to hear the discussion evolving towards more long-range solutions.
Here are a few things we discussed:
- A new "table" has been designed which will be used at job fairs. Photographs of a diverse learning community are included along with information about our website and our New Teacher Induction Program. It was suggested that QR Code be added to the poster so that prospective job candidates could simply scan it to reach the online application. It was also advised that we could have a laptop on the table showing videos of the great things happening in our schools. We also would like to have the Chamber of Commerce share information about our county.
- Critical need areas are math and science, speech pathology, and bilingual teachers.
- A focus is to hire underrepresented groups to improve the equity of our workforce.
- Many locations for recruitment were discussed...from Bowie all the way to Puerto Rico!
- New teachers could have more social events to get to know each other, make community connections, and build relationships with one another and our community. Drink specials, dinner discounts, or speakers about house buying or other financial matters were a few of the ideas.
- Local churches and community organizations can help to disseminate information about job openings as well as inviting new teachers to their organizations.
- It was suggested that the current New Teacher Mentor Program be reviewed for it effectiveness and to look into paid positions for current teachers to serve as mentors.
- Exit interview data will be reviewed to look for patterns to help us to improve teacher retention.
- We will review current partnerships with local colleges to see if they can be strengthened.
- Paraeducators will be given information on how to become a teacher and will be supported in their endeavor to do so.
- Sarah will share with us the pathway for people to become teachers who currently hold degrees in other discipline.
- A new teacher survey will be created to find out why they chose to come to Queen Anne's County and what they need to stay here.
- The Teacher Academy program should be promoted and underrepresented populations should be encouraged to consider this career route.
If you have ideas to encourage people to teach in the best county in Maryland, share them with me!
I'm Back!Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 10/29/2018 9:00:00 PM
The song "Wake Me Up, When September Ends" has always been a favorite as I get back in the swing of things each school year. This year I think, "Wake Me Up, When OCTOBER Ends" would be more appropriate! I have been going full throttle since August and have not made the time to check in with everyone. For this, I apologize. I have tried to forgive myself, let go of my guilt, and pick up my laptop to say hello.
I have decided to start by sharing my most recent adventure and then try to work backwards to catch you up. So many exciting things are happening. I can't wait to share it all with you.
Thanks for your patience with me!
Ravens FlockPosted by RHONDA MOORE on 9/1/2018
Thursday marked our first official Teacher of the Year event. The Baltimore Ravens graciously provided all 24 T.O.Y.s two tickets to the Ravens fifth preseason game against the Washington Redskins. The Ravens recorded another victory to bring their preseason winning streak to 12-0. I am hoping they can bring some of this magic to the regular season!
We met at the Sheraton Hotel in the Inner Harbor around 5:30, where a small reception was held in our honor. We enjoyed crab dip, pasta salad, and a charcuterie and cheese platter while mingling and getting to know one another. I was happy to see some familiar faces: Timothy Snyder of Frederick County, Tina Thomen of Carroll County, and Dr. Melani Sanchez of Calvert County, whom I enjoyed spending time with at our recent luncheon at McDaniel College. I also had the opportunity to visit with Kent County’s Teacher of the Year, Amelia Markosian, who has only been teaching for seven years. I was very impressed! Some teachers brought their spouses, others brought their mom or dad, and one was lucky enough to bring her teenage son. My husband Bill was my date for the evening.
The 2016-2017 Maryland Teacher of the Year and one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year, Athanasia Kyriakakos, was also in attendance. She shared some of her experiences as the MD Teacher of the Year including a trip to the national college football championship game in Atlanta, Georgia and a three-week teaching experience in Columbia as part of the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Darla Strauss, the fearless TOY coordinator from MSDE, announced that the seven finalists for the 2018-2019 Maryland Teacher of the Year would be announced on Friday morning. I am disappointed to share that I am not one of the finalists. I worked incredibly hard on the application binder and know that I did my very best to represent Queen Anne's County proudly, but I am still feeling a little blue that I could not have done better for you all. I am, however, happy for my fellow McDaniel alumni, Tina Thomen, who is a finalist!
We enjoyed three quarters of the game at which point it was time to head for home in order to get a little sleep before a jam packed Friday full of professional development and our annual Meet and Greet with the students and parents of Matapeake Elementary School.
I hope you are all doing something you love with someone you love this Labor Day weekend. For me, that means writing lesson plans (and this post!) from my comfy recliner in my air-conditioned RV. Enjoy!
McDaniel College AlumniPosted by RHONDA MOORE on 8/23/2018
I am feeling rather reflective this morning. If ten years ago when I was studying for my comprehensive exam to complete my master's degree, someone had said to me, "Hey, just chill! Ten years from now you will be Teacher of the Year and you will be having lunch with the president of that college!" I would have thought that person had lost their mind. Yet, here I am...living the dream!
Dr. Roger Casey and his lovely wife, Robyn, were gracious hosts and instantly put me at ease. The luncheon was at the President's House on the campus of McDaniel College. The house was built in 1889 and has had several renovations including the addition of a large room for entertaining on the south side of the building which is where we gathered prior to lunch. While walking to the dining room, we were able to take in the beauty of their home which is decorated with both antique and estate items as well as the personal furnishings of Dr. Casey and his wife. Robyn. She is the former director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and she clearly has used her talent to grace their home with beautiful and interesting art pieces.
The food was perfectly prepared and served with style. Here is the menu..
Conversation was mostly about the challenges and rewards of being an educator in the 21st century. Time management, class size, and meeting the social emotional needs of the children were all discussed. Dr. Casey shared that 25% of the students at McDaniel College are taking prescribed psychotropic drugs for anxiety problems and a new challenge for him is accommodating the "comfort animals" that students are bringing to school: dogs, rabbits, iguanas, and even a comfort mule!
Mr. Michael Tyler, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, was also in attendance. He shared that enrollment in the Curriculum and Instruction master's degree program is down 40%. He is working to revamp the program in order to better meet the needs of the new teachers in Maryland. He has met with school administrators to get their input on what is needed to improve the program and invited us to return another day to meet with him to share our insights as well. I am honored to be asked and thrilled to help!
One of the best things about the day was meeting and getting to know a few of the fellow teachers of the year who I will be sharing this journey with this year. Dr Melaney Sanchez of Calvery County, Tina Thoman of Carroll County, and Tim Snyder of Frederick County shared our table, as well as Tracy Hilliard, Maryland Principal of the Year.
2018 QACPS New TeachersPosted by RHONDA MOORE on 8/23/2018
Happy New Year!Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 8/20/2018
Today I was thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome the newly hired teachers to the Queen Anne's County family. There is nothing better as an educator than to spend time with other educators who are equally passionate and excited about the upcoming school year and they were all super excited to get started! One of the greatest things about working in Queen Anne's County is that I have always felt as if I were a member of a family and so there was something incredibly sweet about welcoming new family members.
About a month ago I began to make a list of the things I wish someone had told me my first year teaching. Then I added to that list things that I thought every new teacher should know. Finally, because I represent some of the best teachers in the state of Maryland, I asked my colleagues what it was that they wanted me to share with the new teachers. Looking at that list and knowing that I had less than 10 minutes to try and impart 20+ years of wisdom, I knew that I was looking at this all wrong, so as any good teacher would do, after some reflection, I adjusted my plan!
A former colleague sent me a link to a blog post about what new teachers needed to know. As it turns out, it was from one of my very favorite blogs: Cult of Pedagogy I give Jennifer Gonzalez all the credit for the content I shared today, but it was just too good not to share!
I am not a gardener, and I know very little about plants, but I have learned a little bit about a process called companion planting, and as it turns out marigolds are amazing plants. If marigolds are planted near other plants, they will enhance each other‘s growth. The other plant will actually thrive because it has been placed near a marigold. And just as important, that marigold will protect the other plant from pests. When you surround yourself with good people, they will become your marigolds. They will encourage you, nurture you, and protect you from pests!
These ladies are my marigolds. I met them my first year of teaching at Bayside Elementary school and 18 years later they are still so important to me! Thank you, Chrissy Redman, Dawn Kelly, Sarah White, and Alicia Shields for helping me to grow as a teacher and as a person.
One of the reasons it is so important to find your marigold is because there are also walnut trees. (insert scary music here!) Apparently a walnut tree releases toxins that can actually kill plants that are planted near them. Who are the walnut trees? The teachers who don't seem to like kids, who talk about leaving the profession, the ones who have an "us vs. them" mentality, or the ones who like to "vent". Avoid the walnut trees!
I encourage you to read the full article here:
New teachers, I strongly encourage you to find your marigold!
Veteran teachers, BE someone's marigold!
4-H FunPosted by RHONDA MOORE on 8/17/2018
I enjoyed a wonderful evening at the QAC 4-H Fair last week. Dr. Kane and I were to take part in the opening ceremoy, but we missed our tractor! We did not, however, miss one minute of fun the fair had to offer! I spent a bit of time at the Board of Education Booth passing out class supply lists and visiting with the fairgoers, but most of my evening was spent enjoying the animals, food, and rides with my family. I was so impressed by the dedication of the youth in our county and the commitment they have made to caring for their animals. They are truly the leaders of the future!