Back To School!
It is that time of year again! Along with thousands of families across Baltimore County, Myra and I have prepared for our girls’ return to school this week. We purchased school supplies, checked school schedules, and stocked up on their favorite snacks for lunches. Our eldest daughter is beginning her sophomore year of high school and our youngest daughter joining her sister in middle school.
Many of us will be reminding our children and loved ones about the importance of focus and discipline as keys to academic success. But we frequently forget to remind them that these days are some of the best they will experience in making friends, discovering new ideas and perspectives, and learning more about the community and world around them.
We should take care to remind our young people that education leads to inspiration. Most of us attribute that concept to preparing for advanced studies in career or technical school, or a four-year institution and beyond. However, inspiration is what powers communities and their members to lead healthier, wealthier lives driven by principles and values. Let’s keep inspiring all of our children that greatness is within them. Let them know that school work, like life, is not always easy. Encourage them to know that when they are challenged, they will rise to the occasion and overcome that challenge just like others before them.
The Baltimore County Public School System, and particularly the schools serving District 44B, have been hubs for producing great athletes, innovators and leaders, driven by principles and values, over the years. Some notable alumni include:
Catonsville High School
John Cluster - Former Maryland State Delegate, District 8
Adam John Kolarek - Major League Baseball pitcher
DeRay McKesson - activist, educator
Jeff Nelson - former Major League Baseball pitcher
Milford Mill High School
Victor Blackwell - CNN anchor
Maysa Leak - world-renowned jazz singer and recording artist
Mo’Nique – comedienne and award winning actress
Bob Turk – weather forecaster and local media personality
Reggie White Sr. – former National Football League defensive tackle
Western School of Technology and Environmental Sciences
Joshua Miles - National Football League offensive tackle
Woodlawn High School
Calvin B. Ball III - County Executive of Howard County
Ta-Nehisi Coates - acclaimed journalist, author and McArthur Genius Fellow
Robert Curbeam - NASA astronaut
Kevin Liles - entertainment executive, entrepreneur
Krishanti Vignarajah –2018 Maryland Gubernatorial Candidate and former Policy Director to Michelle Obama
School System Updates
Apprenticeship Maryland Program in Baltimore County Public Schools
Just over two years ago, I had lunch with a dear friend and Gerald W. Jackson Sr., who is a member of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 486. During that lunch we conversed about creating pathways for young men and women seeking opportunities outside of college. After numerous meetings and a few site visits, we were able to secure a new Career & Technical Education (CTE) program focused on plumbing and steamfitting at Woodlawn High School!
Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) will be initiating the Apprenticeship Maryland Program (AMP), which is designed to lead to sustainable employment and further education in career pathways in manufacturing; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); or other occupations within the Maryland CTE Career Clusters. Participating students start the program in the summer or fall of their junior or senior year and will complete at least one year of related instruction and a minimum of 450 hours of paid, work-based training under the supervision of an eligible employer.
BCPS will be piloting AMP at Milford Mill Academy, Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, and Woodlawn. The 60 students who have expressed interest in the program will be connected to registered apprenticeship providers, such as Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 486 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 24.
Regarding Woodlawn’s program, Mr. Jackson stated “These opportunities offered by Union Apprenticeship Programs lead to long profitable careers including: medical benefits, pension, annuity and 401(k) retirement benefits.”
"Increasing access to authentic, paid work-based opportunities is an incredible benefit to students," said Dr. Darryl L. Williams, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. "We look forward to exposing even more students to not only their chosen field, but also to the broader world of skills and knowledge that go along with successful employment."
I am excited that the idea that was discussed just over two years ago has become a reality for the young men and women at Woodlawn High School.
Join the BCPS Area Education Advisory Council
Baltimore County Public Schools is always looking for engaged citizens to represent the areas of their district schools. From the BCPS website:
As informed advisors to the [Baltimore County School] Board, the Advisory Council provides the Board with community input and advises the Board about concerns and issues. The information comes directly from you—the parents and community members the Council represents—and it helps the Board conduct business in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of our children in the context of their communities. As community liaisons, we hold local meetings to provide information about new initiatives, goals and plans, new policies and curriculum, opportunities for advocacy, and legislation affecting the schools. We also take public comment and suggestions at meetings and hearings to bring directly to the Board. In addition, we are available to help people navigate the school system and find answers to their questions and concerns.
More information about the council’s work and membership can be found here.
Career Opportunities with BCPS
National Night Out
I was fortunate to join neighbors from our Catonsville Manor, Deerfield, Greystone, Gwynn Oak, Hilltop and Paradise communities during last month’s National Night Out activities, held on the evening of August 6th. District 44B had at least 17 events scheduled throughout the district, and while I was unable to reach everyone, I do appreciate the work each of our communities are doing in conjunction with our Pikesville, Wilkens and Woodlawn Police Precincts.
Additional photos from National Night Out can be viewed here.
Working Towards Economic Equality on the Eastern Shore
The House of Delegates’ Economic Stability Workgroup concluded its final stops on its listening tour last month. On August 19th, I joined my colleagues in Cambridge, Maryland. And on August 28th, my chief of staff, Gene Clark, attended the listening tour at Allegany College of Maryland, on my behalf.
The purpose of the listening tour sessions were to hear how Marylanders thought the state could best help all citizens achieve their goals of stable work and living. You can read about the last workshop at Allegany College of Maryland here.
Proposed Development near Winston Estates
I joined Margaret Stokes with Councilman Quirk’s office, representatives of Set the Captives Free Outreach, Worship and Education Center and community members to discuss a proposed PUD in the area.
Delegate Charles E. Sydnor III and Maryland Legal Aid Bureau
5th Annual Expungement Clinic
Five years ago, in conjunction with Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, I began co-sponsoring expungement clinics to help Marylanders clear their court records. This continues to be an important tool for many, because expungement may open doors to jobs and housing, that may otherwise be closed.
If you, or someone you know, has a criminal record with charges, come join us at the expungement clinic on October 5, 2019 to determine what, if anything, may be expungeable. This event is free! Additional information about this clinic is below.
In The News
A controversial moment at an Orioles game last month drew a lot of local attention and earned me a mention in one of Great Britain’s largest newspapers.
This month’s community Q&A features Kitty Honaker, President of the Catonsville Manor Association.
Why did you want to be a community liaison?
I owe a lot of this to Margaret Stokes. In 2011, there were a lot of issues going on in the community and I reached out to Margaret and told her my thoughts. We set up a meeting and Margaret and I began to talk about the community and that’s when I stepped up to the plate to serve as Catonsville Manor Association president. I enjoy making a difference in the lives of others and assisting residents of Catonsville Manor to share their passion by communicating with each other. My husband Gary and I have six children and 10 grandchildren and we want to make a difference in the community. I want my grandchildren to be proud of the community they live in and to make a better future for everyone living in the Manor.
How long have you lived in your community?
Gary and I bought our house in April 1998 and we love the community where we live.
What do you enjoy most about working with the community?
I enjoy helping my neighbors with their concerns and needs, connecting them with government or local services and helping our neighbors share their passion for Catonsville Manor.
What are some of the challenges you encounter as a community liaison?
Being the Community Liaison is a challenge, but engaging and maintaining community involvement is among the biggest. Many of our neighbors had lost trust in the association and they did not think that our local and state officials cared. I had to work to show that someone cared about this community and was willing to work with elected officials to make changes. Catonsville Manor believes in the community association again and everyone in the community is starting to participate in projects such as community clean-ups and speaking up for improvements to roads and sidewalks. I am pretty proud of what we have accomplished.
As president, what would you like to accomplish going forward?
My goals for the manor are to protect and enhance the value of our property by improving the public perception of Catonsville Manor. We want to promote neighborhood watch through frequent proactive and informative reports on security and safety issues, and to enhance the overall benefits derived from membership in the Catonsville Manor Association.
Upcoming Events | Click here to see upcoming events
Patapsco Heritage Greenway Environmental Sustainability and Community Resilience Workshop
Friday, September 20, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Roger Carter Center, Oella Room
Ellicott City, MD
Milford Mill High School 70th Anniversary Gala: A Platinum Celebration of Scholarly Excellence
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 07:00 PM
Delegate Charles E. Sydnor III and Maryland Legal Aid Bureau - 5th Annual Expungement Clinic
Saturday, October 05, 2019 at 09:00 AM
Morning Star Family Life Center