Education briefs, Dec. 30, 2020

Submitted photo/DCPS, Valerie Goff
J’Lynn Rheel, a 2nd grader at Hurlock Elementary School, had a thought: With all the difficulties of the coronavirus this year, there might be children at school who would not get gifts for Christmas. The eight-year-old decided something must be done. She began to make ornaments to sell, and with the money she made, J’Lynn found items to fill enough small stockings for every child at Hurlock Elementary. J’Lynn’s hard work was acknowledged by Hurlock Elementary Principal Bobby Helgason.

Dorchester Public Schools
Dorchester County Public Schools will be closed until January 1, 2021. School will resume Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 asynchronously, with small groups returning to school buildings on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. If there are any changes to these plans, they will be announced Dec. 30 at 3 p.m.

$1M for STEM at Towson
U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Kweisi Mfume (all D-Md.) announced $999,152 in federal funding to expand student access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs at Towson University.
Funding comes from the National Science Foundation. It will support Towson University’s “Recruiting, Educating and Graduating a Diverse Community of Mathematicians Through Mentoring, Peer Support and Undergraduate Research” program, which provides dozens of mathematics scholarships to high-achieving, low-income students.
The award will fund 14 four-year scholarships for graduating seniors from high schools across Baltimore, as well as 18 two-year scholarships for transfer students from Harford Community College and Howard Community College. The award will also allow Towson University to expand undergraduate research opportunities for all sophomore and junior mathematics majors.

Superintendent search
The Maryland State Board of Education (State Board) has scheduled virtual community forums to gather public input regarding the search for the next State Superintendent. Working with search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates, the State Board of Education is seeking public input to help identify a leadership profile and characteristics necessary to help lead the State’s education system. The forums will be facilitated by Greenwood/Asher & Associates virtually on:
Jan. 5, 2021 from 6–7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7, 2021 from 6–7:30 p.m.
The virtual community forums will be live streamed and the public is encouraged to watch. Links to the forums are listed on Greenwood/Asher website at
For each virtual forum, participants will be able to register at to provide live public comment and thoughts on the following:
• What characteristics and qualifications should the next Superintendent have?
• What are the challenges and opportunities the next Superintendent will face?
• What distinguishes the Maryland Public School System?
• What must the next Superintendent accomplish over the next one to three years in order to be viewed as a success?
• Additional comments/concerns related to the search for the next Superintendent.
Up to 30 speakers are invited to speak for up to three minutes at each forum. Registration will open one week prior to each virtual forum date and close at 12:00 p.m. on the last business day preceding the date of each virtual forum on a first-come, first-served basis.

$12M in scholarships
The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) announced Maryland legislators recently awarded nearly 17,000 students more than $12 million in scholarships during the 2020-2021 academic year, helping students afford an education at one of Maryland’s colleges.
MHEC and state legislators administered a total of $12,091,199 to 16,879 students through Maryland’s Delegates and Senators, with Delegates awarding $6,708,972 to 9,166 students and Senators awarding $5,382,227 to 7,713 students.
The Legislative Scholarship applications are available to all students, despite the family’s income, the postsecondary institution the student chooses, or if the student is attending the institution full-time or part-time. The Delegate Scholarship has a minimum award of $200 annually and the Senatorial Scholarship has a minimum annual award of $400.
For more information, go to and click on Legislative Scholarships.ssembly has 188 members, with 47 senators and 141 delegates. One senator and three delegates are elected from each of the 47 legislative election districts.
This year, MHEC’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) is responsible for administering scholarships and grants to more than 57,000 Maryland students, with expenditures totaling nearly $126 million.