Strategic Plan Update

Juvenile Services Education System of MSDE

The Strategic Plan Verification Project Newsletter: February 2017, #7

What's Next in UMD Strategic Plan Support?

Happy New year! The Team has been busy visiting all of our third round of sites.

The first report of the Strategic Verification Team has been released and can be found at this link: JSE Strategic Plan Benchmark Report, Jan. 2017

Within the next month or two, the Team will be sending a survey via email to leadership, teachers and staff. Please be on the lookout for this survey link and make your voices heard. We look forward to your responses.

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New Cheltenham

In mid-November, school staff and students moved into new space at Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince Georges County. This move marked a big change from ranch style lodges dating from mid-century to clean bright new construction of the 100,000 square foot, 72 bed secure facility.

The outside and reception areas are admittedly sterile and foreboding. But once inside, the facility has wide halls, beautiful terrazzo floors, high ceilings (some like towers) and natural light. The school is behind one locked door with classrooms off a central school hall with offices at one end and media center at the other end. The classrooms have new furniture and up-to-date technology. Brightly painted walls wait for exemplary student work by the newly christened Cheltenham Eagles (burgundy and gold, of course!). The media center has potential for multi-use, perhaps a site for JSE events.

The CYF living space includes three pods of two - 12 single bed wet cells in units which each share an outdoor, rubber floored basketball court. Each unit has shower and laundry room. A new football field, gym and cafeteria, the latter reportedly serving tasty food, encourage a pride apparent among DJS and JSE staff.

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What Are Our Students Saying?

The UMD/JSE team has interviewed 45 students and heard more than 200 who completed online student surveys. The following excerpt from our first report released in January 2017 summarizes the students' responses. “Results of the online survey completed by more than 200 students in the JSE school program were very informative. While students were generally positive about the school program, a number made comments that they felt school was too easy and that they wished they had more hands-on activities and career and technical education (CTE) coursework. Most students felt that their teachers were committed to their educational success and did not give up on them. These findings are encouraging. They suggest that students are interested in developing new skills and that the schools are interested in helping them develop those skills."

In-person interviews conducted between June and December 2016, included 40 males and 5 females who agreed to talk with us typically 1-1 in semi-private space. The average age of the youth we interviewed was 16 with a range of 13-18 years. We rated their overall positive responses to school (they get what they need, they generally like it, their teachers help them) on a 3-point scale (1= negative, 2=neutral, 3 = positive). The students overall impressions of school in JSE was positive, mean of 2.43/3.00. Students had a more mixed opinion about library options available. Forty percent said they either didn’t have library access, didn’t use a library, or didn’t know where the library was. Many (some who had “read all the books”) gave us suggestions for more books (street fiction, Spanish language books, relationship books, graphic fiction). Almost half had unrealistic ( or no career goal/ambition/plan. These problems were echoed in repeated comments about wanting more “hands on” CTE, CRD and computer use. Other comment matched our observations that some students think the work is “too easy” and some note the lack of ESL or support for English Language learning.

The students seemed to relish the chance to talk. Here are a couple of quotes to live by, “I never went to school before. Now I will.” (15 yo, Backbone) and “I get A’s and B’s for the first time ever” (17 y.o. Carter). This kind of potential learning and attitude change makes the work you do very important and reaching strategic plan goals even more a necessity – to give these needy students the best!

Victor Cullen and Frederick County Community College Forge a Partnership

On January 6, 2017 Victor Cullen School and Frederick County Community College representatives held a ribbon cutting to commemorate the partnership between these two schools. Frederick Community College will begin to offer courses to students at Victor Cullen this year. We congratulate Victor Cullen for this endeavor and hope that other schools will also develop partnerships to provide our students with post secondary school options.
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Scholastic ID

“We developed ID to help students find their voices and engage with texts that connect them to goals larger than themselves.”

–Dr. Alfred W. Tatum

Four JSE schools have embarked on an exciting collaboration with CEEAS ( ) to utilize Scholastic ID in their classrooms. This reading program addresses the social emotional needs of our students as well as the provide evidence based, literature focused, culturally relevant, engaging material for our students. We are excited about this partnership and look forward to providing periodic updates.

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What's Happening at our JSE Schools?

One strategic plan objective is to celebrate student achievement, invite families and promote a typical school culture (1.8.b). To provide motivation for the school term, JSE principals have planned events to “kick off” the new semester (Feb 2) and quarters (April 12) even the summer term (July 5). Here is a sampling that shows the type of potential activities:

Service-Learning Events – making friendship cards for those serving in the military and for residents of nursing homes (Carter & LESCC), - “Hearts for Heroes” (Savage and Backbone) letters to military can be dropped off at Oakland, MD through . A helpful website has a list of ideas about what to write about and places to send them:

February is Black History Month : Waxter’s Black History movie list: “American Violet”, “The Children’s March”, “A Time for Justice”, “Great Debaters” and short films “ A Girl Like Me”, “Bring Your “A” Game”, “Standing on my Sisters’ Shoulders”, “The Story of Human Rights” and “Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story”

Group and Goal Events: “Warm up and Get Comfortable” (Meadow) assembly, activities and pajama day and “New Semester, New You” (Green Ridge) goal setting activity in concert with mental health staff.

Gardening Events:(April 12) – Backbone, Savage, Carter Earth Day (April 22) – assembly and display of projects developed in Science classes (Waxter)

Summer Ideas: (June, July 5) – Eco-Restorers – kickoff to week-long science program (Backbone, Savage), College Day (Waxter), Talent Explosion (Carter, LESCC),

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Strategic Plan Newsletters Have a Link

This is the 7th edition of the Strategic Plan Update, newsletter published as a part of the partnership of MSDE/JSE and the University of Maryland. Many of you have received the link to the newsletter on the website,, via email. To reach more viewers (and those that may have gone to SPAM) we have made the newsletter available through the JSE homepage (tab to the left – University of Maryland Partnership) where pdfs of Updates will be archived. We hope you read and tell others to view updates on the Strategic Plan implementation, JSE news and events. Find out more here:

We will continue to archive Updates and periodic project reports.