MD TOY Gala, October 12, 2019Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
The MD TOY Gala has been called the "Oscars" for teachers. It was truly a special night to recognize the great things happening in education in Maryland. I am so grateful that my friends and family came to celebrate with me. We enjoyed a delicious meal of salmon and filet, and lots of speeches by politicians honoring the contributions of teachers. I truly believe that the vast majority of people value and appreciate what we do. It is my sincere hope that every teacher knows that.
My Queen Anne's County Family
My mother, Kathy Smith, and my husband, Bill Moore.
Dr. Kane, Superintendent of Schools for Queen Anne's County and one of the nicest, hardest working women you will ever meet!
Back in early summer, I was interviewed at MPT for my one minute of fame at the TOY Gala! You can watch the VIDEO here.
Each teacher walked in with his or her superintendent and was recognized on stage by Dr. Salmon and Congressman Anthony Brown.
The high point of the night was the announcement of the Maryland State Teacher of the Year 2018-19, Dr. Richard Warren, of Somerset County. He is a spirited, intelligent, and committed young man with strong values. I am proud to have him represent our cohort!
It truly was a special night and I am already looking forward to attending the gala in 2019!
Smith Island Retreat, October 17-19, 2019Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
When Marsha Macneal, the 2017-2018 QAC Teacher of the Year, said the absolute best part of her year was the retreat to Smith Island, my first thought was, "No Wifi? No cell service? No showers?" Oh NO!" But then I went. And now I have to tell you that it was hands down the BEST part of my year so far! I wish I could put it into words the magic of that weekend, but I can't. I will certainly share some of the highlights though!
Our first teambuilding activity was to get all the luggage in our boat! THIS was a major accomplishment and I definitely have some advice for next year's TOY when it comes to packing!
There was an exciting buzz aboard the boat as everyone caught up on the 45 minute boat ride to Smith Island. Smith Island is actually made up of 3 smaller islands and we called Tylerton home for our brief stay. Once we arrived on Tylerton and emptied the boat of our luggage using the "bucket brigade" method, we scattered to claim a bed in one of the two homes provided by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). Norah, our fearless leader from CBF, gave us a crash course in "island time" and in no time at all we all felt right at home.
The days were filled with environmental studies - scraping the bay and checking its health by analyzing the discoveries we found at the bottom. We learned about the life of a waterman and tried our hand at crabbing.
You cannot go to Smith Island and not have Smith Island cake. We actually had the honor of gathering in Mary Ada Marshall's kitchen and enjoyed a hands on demonstration and tasting. The boat was a little more crowded on the way home with the bags and bags of Smith Island cakes we purchased! I highly recommend the pumpkin:-)
Less than 50 people live in the waterman community of Tylerton. Their way of life felt a world away from the hustle and bustle of the western shore where I live. During down time we walked the island taking in the simple things like pomegranate trees, headstones of residents who fought in the Civil War, and of course, the amazing sunrises and sunsets.
The part that I cannot explain is how it felt to be around like-minded individuals who love being a teacher and truly love to teach children. The positive energy that flowed from these individuals was palpable. I was honored to be among them. I see this cohort doing many wonderful things together!
Centreville Christmas Parade, December 7, 2018Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
I used to live in Centreville and parade night was always my favorite! I have lived in Pasadena for the past ten years, but still try to make it over to the parade the first Friday in December each year. It is just magical to have everyone bundled up, drinking cocoa, and shouting "Merry Christmas!" to each other.
I have enjoyed the parade with my son and grandchildren, and have watched my son play in the STMS band, and this year it is MY turn to be in the parade! Our float was a classic Radio Flyer wagon complete with Christmas lights made possible by Mr. Gregory Pilewski, Deputy Superintendent for Instructional Services and School Improvement. He drove the truck and took on the role of electrician! Dr. Kane added lots of holiday sparkle, and Michelle Morrissette and high school BOE representatives were great company during the ride through town.
Next year I suggested all the former QAC TOYs walk along side pulling real wagons full of books and pass them out!
Bill sat with the babies who enjoyed the parade and enjoyed dinner with us at Chick-fil-a (again!) after the parade.
TOY Car - Take One, October 4, 2018Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
What an exciting time to be a teacher!
This is the one "perk" that most people know about: the Teacher of the Year gets the use of a car for a period of time. This 2018 Ford Explorer XLT Premium (sticker price $44,000?!) is mine to enjoy for the next 2,800 miles. It is fully loaded and GORGEOUS - way more car than I could ever afford so I am going to love every minute of it while I have it!
The car was presented to me by Greg Starkey of Hertrich Ford of Easton in a school wide assembly held in the bus loop. My family surprised me by coming to celebrate with me...and everything is better when the grandbabies are included!
Chick-fil-a treated my family to a special dinner complete with a linen tablecloth and fresh flowers! My grandson Carson thought he was a celebrity! Truth be told, I felt pretty special too! Thank you Mrs. Hazard for making this family dinner so special for us. I LOVE Chick-fil-a!
TOY CAR -Take Two, November 3, 2018Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
I was presented with a 2018 Ford Explorer at an assembly at my school (more information to follow on a future blog post), but in order to give the Hertrich Ford car dealership more exposure, I was "given" the vehicle again a month later at the KIHS vs QACHS football game. The weather was MISERABLE, but we sat through the first half of the game, and I drove along the track at halftime. Karin Korpowski-Gallo, our TOY coordinator, said I drove by too quickly to get a good picture! LOL! I know she is teasing because I felt as if I was in S L O W motion!
Seeing former students and parents was the best part of the night. Having taught first grade for 12 years (and 3rd grade for 8) I am connected to a lot of families in this community. The Balderson family will always be special to me. I love that Jessica left her friends long enough to give me some love!
Before the big game, Bill and I enjoyed a DELICIOUS dinner at the Kentmorr. Thank you, Tammy Harper, for the gift card which was presented to me at the October Chamber of Commerce event. Crab cakes were the perfect way to kickoff this special night!
White House Tour, December 6, 2018Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
So we may live fairly close to Washington DC, but when these lovely ladies suggested getting a hotel room and spend some additional time together, I couldn’t resist! We stayed at a Holiday Inn downtown, and enjoyed a yummy dinner at Logan’s Tavern before heading back to our room and talking "teacher talk" all night!
I am super glad we got a room because it also made the morning much less stressful - no rush hour commute! We enjoyed a breakfast buffet at the hotel and enjoyed a twenty minute walk in perfect weather to the White House where we met our group at 8:15!
This was my first time to tour the White House, and I was not disappointed. We had a timed entry which made it so enjoyable to leisurely walk through each room and take it all in. The artwork was mesmorizing. I could have stood in front of the pictures of JFK and Nancy Reagan for hours. I felt like Annette Benning in "American President" peeking into the "dish room". It was all quite surreal.
Mrs. Trump's holiday decorations were STUNNING!
What an amazing opportunity made possible by Senator Sarbane's office.
Ravens Playoff Game, January 6, 2019Posted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
The absolute best part of my year has been building friendships with the other TOYs in MD. I ran into Liz Waltman, Howard County, at the Ravens playoff game. What a great surprise! The outcome of the game was no great surprise though, but I am still very grateful I was able to go! #LoveMyRavens
2018 ReflectionsPosted by RHONDA MOORE on 1/14/2019
I tell my students often that I am 'truth-teller" and that I will tell them the truth whether it is something they want to hear or not, LOL! And so in this spirit, I shall be truthful about my disappointment in myself and my inability to keep up with this blog. After many months of feeling guilt in my failure, a snow day seems like the perfect day to make a few entries and perhaps redeem myself (or at least feel a little less guilty). Thank you for being interested enough to check back in with me, and I hope I am able to adequately share a few reflections from 2018.
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!