EASTON — Since 2016, Talbot County Public Schools has been celebrating and thanking their Community Partners at an annual breakfast. A District Community Partner of the Year is recognized, as well as a partner of the year for each school and for the Internship Program. The event has grown from about 50 attendees to nearly 200. This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, TCPS opted to hold a virtual celebration that was shared on the school district webpage, through social media and by email. The virtual celebration included testimonials about each partner of the year, as well as remarks from Superintendent Dr. Kelly Griffith and Juanita Hopkins, Board of Education president.

In the weeks following, representatives from the schools personally presented awards to each Community Partner of the Year.

“I’m so sad that we can’t have you all in the Firehouse with us this morning with the wonderful food from our Culinary Arts program,” Griffith said her opening remarks. “We could not do this job alone. As Henry Ford once said, ‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. We’re making that progress, and we are being successful and we need you to continue your partnership with Talbot County Public Schools. Thank you so much for all you do to support us.”

The full virtual celebration can be found at this link: https://www.tcps.k12.md.us/2019-20/community-partner

District Partner of the Year – ShoreRivers

Thanks to Suzanne Sullivan and the team at ShoreRivers, TCPS was able to provide a top-rate Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience for students in third and tenth grades. ShoreRivers assists the school system in many ways, from providing teacher professional development to delivering lessons to the students to financial support. Students look forward to the visits where educators from ShoreRivers come into the schools to provide lessons as well as lead the field experiences and environmental action projects. The lessons delivered are a result of collaboration between ShoreRivers, teachers and the science supervisor to ensure that they are truly meaningful for the students involved. Teachers are also provided with professional development opportunities throughout the school year and during the summer.

Also this year, the 7th Grade Gifted & Talented Program worked with ShoreRivers to create a Plastics Podcast as part of ShoreRivers plastics education initiative. With their help, students researched, wrote, interviewed, recorded, and edited group based podcasts that help inform the public of the pros and cons of plastic. These podcasts were then shared through ShoreRivers media outreach. The podcasts were also entered in the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. Because the podcasts were part of an educational outreach, the students were able to earn 60 service learning hours.

Chapel District Elementary — Willow Construction

Chapel District Elementary School would like to recognize Mike Hiner with Willow Construction for his outstanding dedication and commitment to the school community. Hiner has helped the Grandparents Club to spearhead the electronic sign project, by serving as the general contractor for the project at no cost for Chapel District Elementary School. With Hiner’s leadership and expertise, he was able to assist with filing permits, drawing up blueprints, coordinating electric, and countless other tasks, in order to make the electronic sign installation at Chapel District Elementary School a reality. Hiner also assists the school in many other capacities. Hiner and Willow Construction have generously donated to adopt classrooms for needed supplies, and have also donated toward the 5th grade class. He has dedicated his time during the week to coach one of the PTO Basketball teams here at school, participates in our Junior Achievement program, has made generous donations to the Breakfast with Santa event, and has donated to the CDES playground project.

Easton Elementary — Dobson — Educational Systems Federal Credit Union

Easton Elementary Dobson has recognized Dominic Powell with Educational Systems Federal Credit Union for his amazing support of the students and staff and Easton Elementary School Dobson. Throughout this school year, Powell has reached out to offer support in any way needed. He supported educational projects by attending the Mission Possible fundraiser for TCPS. Powell reached out in early September to see how he could help the families at the school. When he learned that many families could not afford to buy winter coats for their children, Powell came through with a donation of four hundred dollars which paid for twenty-five brand new coats, hats and gloves to needy students. His kind donation brought many smiles to the faces of students. Powell also provided lunch for our professional development sessions.

Easton Elementary – Moton — Amy Cool’s Ice Cream Express

Amy Carroll of Amy Cool’s Ice Cream Express has been an outstanding community partner at Easton Elementary School-Moton. She supports school-wide initiatives at Easton Elementary through generous donations and partnership. This year Carroll approached Mrs. Bowen and wanted to know how she could directly support the students at the school with our PBIS program. Amy’s Cool Ice Cream Express came to school and gave free ice cream as an incentive for students who demonstrated excellence with the school wide PAWS. She worked to make connections with the students and even spoil the staff. Every time Carroll visits she says, “call if you need anything” and she means it. During the recent pandemic, Carroll has reached out to offer support in feeding Talbot County children.

Easton Middle – NOAA Environmental Science Training Center

Krysta Hougen and Bart Merrick, from the NOAA Environmental Science Training Center, led 6th grade Easton Middle School students on an amazing real life research project that was not only a learning experience for them but a benefit for the town of Easton. Just behind Easton Middle School is a stream in desperate need of restoration. Hougen and Merrick led students on a mission to begin the restoration of the Papermill Branch stream. They planned thoughtful lessons, gathered all of the resources, and began carrying out the extensive restoration project behind the school. They carefully took into consideration the needs of teachers and students while coordinating with the town and the school district so that students could take part in this opportunity.

Down at the stream, the 6th graders at Easton Middle tested the physical, biological, and chemical aspects of the stream habitat. Hougen and Merrick helped students think like scientists and taught them how to do thorough observations and precisely record their findings. After collecting data, students compared findings between all 6th grade classes and calculated averages to report the overall health of the stream. This important data will be given to the Town of Easton to make decisions as progress is monitored throughout the years. This will be a project that students will remember from their middle school careers.

Easton High — Konsyl Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

This school year, Konsyl supported THE CTE Biomedical and Science programs with a large donation of required supplies and materials for student lessons and labs.

Konsyl’s generosity included donations of personal protective equipment, incubators, lab materials and other products that supplemented all the scientific lab programs and the biomedical science career completer. The donations were far more than we could have expected and were invaluable to Easton High School. They were so generous that Easton High was also able to assist and support programs at SMMHS as well.

St. Michaels Campus — Perkins Family YMCA

The St. Michaels community has benefited greatly from the opening of the new Perkins Family YMCA last spring. It is for this reason that St. Michaels Elementary School and St. Michaels Middle High School joined forces to nominate one organization as their Community Partner of the Year for 2019-20. This community partner impacted families and staff members year-round in many ways. The Perkins Family YMCA staff are welcoming and accommodate sixth-grade students as they benefit from a free student membership throughout the school-year. In addition, all middle school students may participate in safe and healthy after school programs. Secondary students have a place to go where they have a positive social and physical environment between school and afternoon/evening activities. Elementary students continue to benefit from our partnership each year when we plan for our summer learning program. Select students in grades 1st through 4th have participated in school-based enrichment activities in the morning, and games and swimming in the afternoon. Staff members were surveyed and offered group exercise classes geared toward their health needs and schedules. Finally, during the closure due to the COVID19 crisis, the YMCA has served as a day care facility for the children of our most essential workers — our health and emergency professionals in the community.

Tilghman Elementary – American/Holiday

Timothy Law from American/Holiday has created a design plan for the Common Room at TES. It is a wonderful nod to all things Tilghman and the special culture here on the eastern shore. He is planning to donate both his time and products to rejuvenate this space into a warm, welcoming multi-purpose room for TES students and staff. They will be able to engage in rigorous instructional activities and teaching while being comfortable and mindful in this area. Law’s goal is “to create a fun, interactive, functional, and modular space that celebrates and honors Tilghman Island and encourages children to feel great about themselves and their community.” Every detail and special touch have been included from the handcrafted pillows to the beautiful indoor/outdoor rugs.

White Marsh Elementary — American Legion Talbot Post 70

This school year, under the directorship of Commander Danny Adams, the American Legion Talbot Post 70 supported the three largest events held for White Marsh families.

The American Legion’s generosity includes donations made to the Annual Family Fun Fair, our Thanksgiving Gift Baskets and Christmas/Holiday Gift Baskets for WMES families. For our Family Fun Fair, Post 70 donated bicycles, bike helmets and several sports balls to be raffled. For Thanksgiving, a cash donation of $750 was received and for Christmas, a cash donation of $1,000 was provided by Post 70 to purchase food for baskets which were contributed to and organized by our Grandparents’ Club. WMES staff, students and families are all extremely grateful for their kindness and generosity.

Internships – Easton Utilities

TCPS relies heavily on their partnerships with community stakeholders to assure meaningful opportunities for our students. Easton Utilities has exemplified this by not only providing a number of careers to explore, but also genuinely preparing them for the working world. Melissa Book and the staff at Easton Utilities have gone above and beyond to help students with the interview process, soft-skill development and sharpen their public speaking skills. Thanks to the high expectations that are set, students who complete an internship with Easton Utilities have a better understanding of the real world and deeper appreciation for their community.

“Our theme for today is “Engagement builds Connection”, Hopkins said in her closing remarks. “You have enthusiastically engaged in what I consider to be our most essential function as a community, preparing ALL of our children to be ready to transition to college or a career. As we look ahead to our next school year, we hope you will seek opportunities to build an even greater connection to our school district. THANK YOU!”

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