Pikesville Schools Coalition

Quarterly Newsletter | Fall 2017

Dear Pikesville Schools Coalition Members,

Public school education has traditionally been a powerful vehicle for the American family since the 1950s, long before there were many private school options. As local communities and populations have changed over the years, so have our public schools. Uniquely, our public schools must compete with a large number of private schools and public school magnets in the area. Few public schools have had to think about marketing, matriculation, and outreach . . . until now.

Strong Schools Mean Strong Communities

The Pikesville Schools Coalition strives to sustain Pikesville as a vital community for decades to come. We know that strong schools mean strong communities. As we address these needs and priorities in our Pikesville schools, we need your support.

Pikesville is very much a thriving community with an active life at its center. It is home to a variety of businesses, social services, places of worship, and community centers that serve numerous denominations and community members.

The Pikesville Schools Coalition is committed to families who want and need excellent public school options in Pikesville. The Coalition is made up of people like you, who want to see academically rigorous and innovative programs in our public schools that prepare children for success in the real world.

Help from CHAI

The Pikesville Schools Coalition partners closely with CHAI (Comprehensive Housing Assistance, INC.), an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, community organizers and experts in housing and education. CHAI knows that public schools can deteriorate because of poverty, overcrowding, lack of funding, parental disengagement, or behavioral problems. When this happens, the community suffers. Property values decrease and businesses struggle. Together, we will not let this happen to Pikesville.

The Year Ahead

The Coalition, together with CHAI, advocated for air conditioning at Pikesville High. More recently, we spoke to our community superintendent about the need to hire highly-qualified principals at three of our elementary schools. You will be seeing ads featuring the high school in education issues of local publications with considerable circulation, as well as school banners advertising school PTAs. We are working on implementing after-school tutoring programs, have partnered with Baltimore Hunger Project for weekend food packs for children in need, and have helped to facilitate the delivery of school supplies to some of our elementary schools. Woodholme Elementary received the generous gift of a Carson Reading Room sponsored by a Coalition donor, and Pikesville Middle has funding for 300 free memberships to help grow their PTA.

The future for our schools is bright! Pikesville schools boast two Lighthouse schools with one-to-one devices, a principal-of-the-year at Pikesville High, and a national STEM teacher-of-the-year at Pikesville Middle. Pikesville High School offers a $50 million state-of-the-art facility that supports STEM curriculum and rigorous college prep. And yet, not enough local families know this. The Coalition aims to build on these successes, but we can't do it alone. Your support is key. Read on for ways you can help.

Yours truly,

Aaron Max

Chair, Pikesville Schools Coalition

We Support Pikesville Public Schools!

Big image
Dr. and Mrs. Suchin send their four children to Fort Garrison Elementary School, Pikesville Middle School, and Pikesville High School. Andrea is an active PTA member and regular volunteer at all three schools. "We value the public schools in Pikesville for their strong academic environment, their talented and engaged teaching staff, and their opportunities for family participation and student leadership."

What Can You Do to Help Pikesville Schools?

Get involved: Join your school's PTA and commit to supporting one school event a year. Attend a meeting. Bring a friend.

Offer your skills & leadership: What do you do best? Web design? Newsletters? Art murals? Networking? Your local school could use any and all of these talents-just call and ask. Giving back to the school community has never felt so good.

Get the inside scoop: Worried about behavior at a school? Hearing lots of rumors? Many times they are old, out-dated, or misinformed. Instead, take a tour of the school. Talk to school leaders, current teachers, students, and parents. Go to the source, and make sure you're getting an account that is consistent with others.

Take a school tour: If you are considering various school options for your child, remember that public schools offer tours too. Call the school office or guidance counselor to schedule a tour.

Be a school ambassador: Principals, guidance counselors, and teachers can't do it all. Help out by offering to give school tours. Create a School Tour Committee of volunteers who are trained to give school tours. Spread good school news.

Be an agent of change: Get involved in a school, join the PTA, and voice your concerns to school leaders--even if your child does not currently attend. Our public schools need solution-based problem solvers. Call the school, the PTA, or CHAI, and put your ideas to work with school leaders and community organizers who are happy to work with you.

The perks of public: Often, public schools can offer what other schools can't: modern facilities with air conditioning; broader curricular offerings; certified and experienced teachers; a more diverse student body; and access to national programs and extra-curricular offerings, like Project Lead the Way, Criminal Justice, and dance electives. Public school classes are not always larger than private school class size. In other words, public schools prepare students for real-world readiness.

The public cost of private school: Private school tuition in Baltimore can be as much as $25,000 a year or more, per student, which may not include the cost of books, uniforms, school trips, and donations to the annual funds. Did you know that admissions trends, bearish markets, fundraising, and endowment highs/lows can all impact private school stability? The cost of private tuition can impact savings for retirement and college tuition for some families. Families who spend their time on private school campuses may not be contributing to their local business district, and may not be bringing other much-needed resources to their public school.

BCPS Parentmobile Visits Milbrook

You don't want to miss this bus! BCPS's Parentmobile visited Milbrook Elementary on August 23 to help welcome new school principal, Mrs. Anne Gorman, at an all-school picnic.

Parents enjoyed learning about the resources BCPS offers on board the Parentmobile, hosted by CHAI's Director of School and Community Engagement, Dr. Beth Rheingold.

CHAI (Comprehensive Housing Assistance, INC), an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, is pleased to partner with BCPS's Office of Family and Community Engagement on behalf of our schools and the Pikesville Schools Coalition, to bring valuable resources to Pikesville area schools and families through the Parentmobile and Parent University.

Over 30 parents got on the Parentmobile and left with a bag of phamplets and resource information, and were entered into a raffle to win a $25 Target gift card. While on board the Parentmobile, parents can:

  • Learn about Baltimore County Public Schools curriculum
  • Select resources to assist with learning at home
  • Visit Baltimore County Public Schools websites
  • Learn about community resources that support education
  • Learn about resources that support families of students with special needs or limited English proficiency

Do you want the Parentmobile to come to your child's school? Contact your school principal or PTA president.

Pictured here: Milbrook Elementary school children dancing with new principal, Mrs. Anne Gorman, in front of the Parentmobile.

School Tour Guides Needed for the Middle and High School

Tour Guides Needed. Pikesville Middle School and Pikesville High School need parent volunteers to assist with school tours, which are growing in demand. We are hoping to bring in current parents, alumni, retired teachers, and volunteers to offer middle and high school tours to prospective parents. If you are interested in being a tour guide, contact Beth Rheingold at brheingold@chaibaltimore.org.

For additional information about volunteering with Baltimore County Public Schools, please contact The Office of Family & Community Engagement at 443-809-4554 or by email at cmurray2@bcps.org. Volunteer information is also available on their website.

My Life at Pikesville High

Being a student at Pikesville High School has been an amazing experience. I am starting my junior year, and I can truly say I appreciate my well-rounded education. The school motto of "Pride, Honor and Success" has been ingrained in my mind. I have ultimate pride knowing I attend an incredible school with outstanding peers, faculty, and a principal who won Maryland's Principal of the Year. It is an honor to work beside my friends and teachers, learning and caring about not only our school, but our community. I feel successful not only in my academic opportunities, but in the support I have been granted to push myself every single day. I have had the pleasure of being my class president for the last three years. I started a Medical Explorers Club. I play tennis, enjoy clubs, and am in numerous Honor Societies. Being a student at Pikesville High School has been wonderful, and I continue to love coming to school to learn, to make great friends, and to thrive.

-Morgan Suchin, Class of 2019

New School Leaders at Milbrook, Ft. Garrison, Pikesville Middle

Meet Your New Principals and APs. On June 13, the BCPS Board of Education approved new principals for Fort Garrison and Milbrook elementary schools. Dr. Hope Baier is the new principal for Fort Garrison. Mrs. Anne Gorman is the new principal for Milbrook Elementary. She said, "It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I take the helm as the new principal of Milbrook Elementary School!" Mrs. Gorman has over 20 years of experience in Baltimore County Public Schools, both as a teacher and a leader. She was an assistant principal at Glyndon Elementary, followed by Fort Garrison Elementary, and most recently Shady Spring Elementary. Mrs. Gorman said, "One of my primary goals is to provide all of the children in our community a safe and nurturing learning environment. I want the students at Milbrook to love learning, every day. I promise, in partnership with our faculty and staff, to challenge our students and provide them with the physical, social, emotional and academic resources they need to excel academically and achieve success."

Ft. Garrison's new principal, Dr. Baier, has 26 years of experience in education; she has served as a teacher, school counselor, specialist, assistant principal and most recently, Coordinator, in the Office of School Counseling. Dr. Baier said, "It is my goal to partner with all stakeholders associated with Fort Garrison to continue the high level of excellence that is currently in place. I truly look forward to working closely with the community to provide our students with a rigorous, engaging, and high-quality school experience."

Pikesville Middle School has a new Assistant Principal, Mrs. Luechtefeld. Mrs. Luechtefeld said, "I am extremely proud and excited to serve as the sixth grade administrator for the 2017-2018 school year." She went on to say that "Our teachers are energized and ready to provide our students with rigorous and engaging instruction as a continuation of Pikesville Middle School's Lighthouse journey. We are planning on having a variety of events for our students to feel like a part of our Pikesville Middle School family."

We welcome Dr. Baier, Mrs. Gorman, and Mrs. Luechtefeld to their new schools and look forward to supporting them in the year ahead.

Pictured here: Milbrook principal Mrs. Anne Gorman with her assistant principal.

Pikesville Middle's PTA Launches with New Website

PTA Proud. What's new with the Middle School? The PTA, with a full board in place, and a busy fall calendar.

This August, the PTA also launched its new website: www.pikesvillemiddlepta.com.

The website is monetized and has an online membership form (members can join and pay online, or send in a form to the school), an updated event calendar, parent resources, BCPS links, and a section devoted to School Volunteers. Upcoming PTA meetings are: October 11, November 8, and December 13 in the school library, from 6-7pm.

PTA membership is key to any school's success, and the PTA is encouraged by early membership registration. The goal is 300 new members for 2017-18, and many of those memberships will be sponsored by a generous donor. The PTA is still actively reaching out to parents to join the PTA in the hopes of meeting that goal. New PTA President, Adrienne Gordon, brings much experience to her position as a Baltimore City School Support Liaison, and as a parent of an eighth grader. Pikesville Schools Coalition steering committee member, school principal, and sixth grade parent Alicia Danyali serves as Vice President. To see a full list of the board, head over to the new website.

Elementary school parents are encouarged to attend a Middle School PTA meeting to meet parents and get a sense for the Middle School. Check the meeting calendar on the website.

Welcome Back with Banners

It's a banner day! Pikesville area schools were buzzing with excitement before school began: school visits revealed teachers scurrying across highly polished floors to their classrooms to get ready for another great school year. To help welcome families back, many schools received a Welcome Back lawn banner to display during the first weeks of school. This little Wellwood Wildcat had her first day of school photo taken next to one! Banners also remind parents to join their school's PTA. Sponsored by CHAI, the Associated, Pikesville Schools Coalition, and the PTA.

Pikesville Schools Coalition

A coalition of community groups, educators, parents, volunteers, and individuals committed to the advancement of Pikesville area schools, including Bedford, Fort Garrison, Milbrook, Pikesville High, Pikesville Middle, Wellwood, and Woodholme Schools.