BCPS supervisor of research wins award for paper on program at Overlea High School

Maria Y. Finger-ElamThe Northeastern Educational Research Association has presented its 2017 Lorne H. Woollatt Distinguished Paper Award to Maria Y. Finger-Elam, Ph.D., supervisor of research for Baltimore County Public Schools.

As a result, Finger-Elam will present her paper at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. The meeting will be held in New York City from April 13 to 17, 2018. Over 17,000 education researchers are expected to attend. More than 2,800 sessions will be offered.

The Lorne H. Woollatt Distinguished Paper Award is awarded annually. Finger-Elam’s paper earned this recognition because it received the highest overall rating of eligible submissions, based on its relevance, theoretical backing, clarity, design, analytical procedures, and presentation of results and conclusion. Finger-Elam’s award-winning paper evaluated a pilot reading intervention program at Overlea High School.

As supervisor of research for BCPS, Finger-Elam is involved in the full life cycle of both applied research and program evaluation within the school system. She works with the research team to design, conduct, and produce research/evaluation reports on BCPS programs and initiatives. As the primary point of contact for those interested in conducting research in the system, she participates on a multidisciplinary team that reviews research proposals and monitors all research activities in BCPS. She also oversees surveys conducted within the system including the system’s annual stakeholder survey, which typically garners more than 75,000 responses.

A BCPS employee since December 2015, Finger-Elam previously worked for Howard County Public Schools. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hampton University and a master’s degree and doctorate in developmental psychology from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Finger-Elam lives in Owings Mills with her husband, Gary, and daughters Ameenah and Noor.

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Parkville, Essex women to be recognized as ‘Women of the Year’

Baltimore County Commission for WomenBaltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and the Baltimore County Commission for Women will recognize three outstanding women at a special ceremony on Thursday, March 1, 2018.

The annual Woman of the Year awards are given to female Baltimore County residents who have enhanced the lives of others and made significant contributions to their community, workplace, or school to further the interests of women and children.

The Baltimore County Commission for Women 2018 award winners are:

  • Laura Clary, BSN, RN as the “Woman of the Year,” GBMC nurse, clinical manager of GBMC’s Safe Program, advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and recipient of the 2017 America’s Most Amazing Nurse from Prevention Magazine. She lives in Essex.
  • Assistant Baltimore County Fire Chief Jennifer Aubert-Utz as the “Woman Making a Difference,” a leader in a male-dominated profession and the highest-ranking woman with the Baltimore County Fire Department. She resides in Parkville.
  • Gabriella McLean as the “2018 Young Woman of the Year,” senior at Catonsville High School championing homelessness among children and young adults.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will lead the recognition ceremony, together with members of the County Council and Baltimore County Statehouse delegation. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, March 1, at 6 p.m. in the County Council Chambers, on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse in Towson.

“For more than four decades, the Commission for Women has served our communities through outreach and educational initiatives to advocate for true gender equity for women and girls in our County and I commend them for their efforts and congratulate this year’s honorees,” said Kamenetz.

The Baltimore County Commission for Women was formed on January 3, 1977 by an act of the Baltimore County Council to address the needs of women through education, outreach and advocacy. The Commission works to identify and advocate for programs, legislation and services to meet the needs of Baltimore County’s women and children.

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BCPS students earn 778 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Scholastic Art and Writing AwardsBaltimore County Public Schools students earned an amazing 778 regional 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This awards program is among the most prestigious high school arts recognition programs in the nation.

BCPS students from 12 high schools and 3 middle schools earned a total of 193 Gold Keys, 256 Silver Keys, and 329 Honorable Mentions.

Students earning recognition represent Catonsville, Dulaney, Eastern Tech, Franklin, George Washington Carver Center, Hereford, Overlea, Patapsco, Perry Hall, Sparrows Point, Towson, and Western Tech high schools, and Parkville, Perry Hall, and Sudbrook Magnet middle schools.

“The talent and dedication of our students combined with the strength of our teachers and academic program yields undeniable results,” said Interim Superintendent Verletta White. “We are so proud of this next generation of visual artists and writers. Their skills and creativity inspire us all.”

The 655 visual art awards BCPS students received is a new record for the school system and represents about 15 percent of the visual arts awards presented for the entire eastern region. The number of visual arts awards BCPS receives has grown for the past several years from 330 in 2015 to 483 in 2016, and 536 in 2017 – to 655 in 2018.

“A huge congratulations to our BCPS middle and high school visual arts students and their teachers,” said Sherri Fisher, BCPS coordinator of visual arts. “Recognition in these prestigious awards is no small feat. It takes considerable time to prepare and submit artwork and portfolios. We thank the teachers and students for taking the extra time to do this, and we join them in celebrating the incredible creative and artistic abilities of the young artists across BCPS.”

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, sponsored by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, began in 1923 to honor talented writers and artists in Grades 7 – 12. Of those works reviewed by professionals in visual and literary arts, students earned Honorable Mention, Silver Keys, or Gold Keys in regional adjudication. Works designated as Gold Keys are currently receiving a national-level review; the national awards will be released to student artists and writers later this spring.

Since its founding, the Awards program has identified the early promise of some of our nation’s most exceptional visionaries. Alumni include artists Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein, and Cy Twombly; writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Ned Vizzini, and Joyce Carol Oates; photographer Richard Avedon; actors Frances Farmer, Robert Redford, Alan Arkin, Lena Dunham, and John Lithgow; fashion designer Zac Posen; and filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Richard Linklater, and Ken Burns.

Scholastic Visual Arts Awards 2018

Gold Key

Parkville Middle School
Kiran Shere-Wolfe, Painting, A Train to Heaven

Perry Hall High School
Alexandra Bellman, Drawing & Illustration, Katrina
Alexandra Bellman, Drawing & Illustration, Siesta
Cassie Li, Digital Art, Stranger’s Habitat
Crystal Weyant, Drawing & Illustration, Lilium

Perry Hall Middle School
Ezinwa Agbo, Drawing & Illustration, Beauty Standards
Caroline Boteler, Drawing & Illustration, Tea Time
Grace Duong, Sculpture, Double Crane
Tiffany Lu, Sculpture, Within a Deer Skull

Silver Key

Overlea High School
Darrick Chu, Photography, Within

Perry Hall High School
Sonata Allen, Drawing & Illustration, She’s the Bees Knees
Emily Flach, Drawing & Illustration, Boost
Emily Flach, Drawing & Illustration, Baby Brother
Emily Flach, Mixed Media, Dimitri
Seth Phillips, Digital Art, Identity
Morgan Thomas, Painting, Monuments

Perry Hall Middle School
Grace Duong, Drawing & Illustration, Office Supplies

Honorable Mentions

Eastern Technical High School
Nadia Nazar, Film & Animation, Eye
Nadia Nazar, Painting, “Save the humans first.”

Overlea High School
Darrick Chu, Photography, Contact
Mohammad Maswadeh, Photography, Untitled
Talia Robinson, Photography, Aerial

Parkville Middle School
Kiran Shere-Wolfe, Painting, Autumn in a Book
Kiran Shere-Wolfe, Painting, A Skull with Kaleidoscope Eyes
Kiran Shere-Wolfe, Sculpture, Garden of Unearthly Delights

Perry Hall High School
Sonata Allen, Drawing & Illustration, Arachnophobia
Alexandra Bellman, Drawing & Illustration, Looking Up
Mackenzie Brewer, Painting, Cheese
Mackenzie Brewer, Painting, Pie
Cassie Li, Painting, Planar in Color
Janae Little, Photography, Just a little bit of life
Erika Stiles, Drawing & Illustration, Jimmy
Crystal Weyant, Drawing & Illustration, Before Time

Perry Hall Middle School
Joslyn Kim, Drawing & Illustration, “Life’s Purpose”

Scholastic Writing Awards 2018

Silver Key

Perry Hall High School
Cassie Li, Poetry, 24 Hours Later

Lists of all BCPS students who received Scholastic Awards in visual arts and writing can be found online. Also online are searchable lists of all visual arts and all writing regional awards presented.

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Baltimore County recognizes achievements by and for people with disabilities

Baltimore CountyAt Wednesday’s 27th annual Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities Awards ceremony, an enthusiastic crowd helped to recognize the achievements of eleven individuals, employers, advocates and organizations for their outstanding achievements and contributions.

The Commission on Disabilities provides support and advocacy for County residents with disabilities and works to ensure that County programs, buildings and services are open equally to all persons, regardless of their disabilities.  In addition, the Commission provides resources and referrals on obtaining services not only from the County but through programs offered by the state and federal government.

“Healthy communities thrive because they have people who care, who get involved and who look out for the needs of their neighbors,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “We are pleased to recognize the efforts of some remarkable people living with disabilities in our communities and the people who help them in their journey.”

This year’s honorees include:

  • Jessica Solomon of Goucher College, winner of the Education Advocate of the Year Award;
  • Kayla Burroughs of Rosedale, winner of the Student of the Year Award;
  • Patricia Lane-Forster of Essex, winner of the Teacher of the Year Award;
  • Amy Smolenski on behalf of PDP Group of Hunt Valley, winner of the Employer of the Year Award;
  • Crystal Brockington of Towson, winner of the Employee of the Year Award;
  • Biliana Borimetchkova of Timonium, winner of the Art Accessibility Award;
  • Mat Rice of Towson, winner of the Statewide Advocate for Change Award;
  • Jennifer Hobbs, Pathfinders for Autism, winner of the Media-Public Awareness Award;
  • George Bollock of Fallston, winner of the Volunteer Award;
  • Richard Gnibus of Middle River, winner of the Disability Advocate Award;
  • Wanda Brown of Dulaney High School, winner of the Chairperson’s Special Award.

A few interesting stories…

Patricia Lane-Forster is an art teacher at Ridge Ruxton High School who serves students who are severely disabled, both intellectually and physically. She finds ways to adapt art projects so that students can complete the work independently, regardless of their ability. For example, she has developed methods through which nonverbal students can communicate color, texture and style preferences. For students with limited mobility, she incorporates robotics into the art class so that every student can make a mark on paper or canvas with the touch of a button.

Mat Rice, an individual with disabilities, has been at the forefront of self-advocacy in the legislature and in teaching other individuals with disabilities about how to advocate for themselves. Rice graduated from the Maryland School for the Blind and Parkville High School and went on to work as the Public Policy Specialist for People on the Go of Maryland. He has been instrumental in advising legislators on issues that affect the quality of life for people with disabilities in Maryland.

George Bollock has been a volunteer with the Oriole Advocates since 1991. He became a chairperson and “cheerleader” for a program known as the Challenger Baseball League, in 2010. The Challenger Baseball Program offers a variety of adapted baseball opportunities for athletes with disabilities. Bullock has provided more than 800 tickets each year for the athletes and their families to enjoy a game at Camden Yards during “Challenger Night.”

Wanda Brown, who teaches an engineering class at Dulaney High School, has led her engineering students through a standard engineering design process to create what is known as “chariot” for a young boy named Chandler who has Cerebral Palsy. The “chariot” is essentially a wheelchair bicycle hybrid that helps him exercise his limbs while being pushed outside in the neighborhood by his parents. This is just the most recent of eight projects for children with disabilities that Dulaney High’s engineering class has completed under Brown’s leadership.

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