THE HUB - Feature Article

  • Charter School Grant Could Mean More Open Seats in Anne Arundel County

    Posted by Tim Tooten, WBAL on 5/18/2018

    Maryland is set to give away millions of dollars to groups hoping to start or expand public charter schools.

    More than $17 million is coming to Maryland from the federal government. But, there are plenty of strings attached in order to cash in.

    Charter school grant could mean more open seats in Anne Arundel County

    The Monarch Global Academy in Laurel is one of five charter and contract schools run by the Children's Guild serving students in Anne Arundel County.

    The K-8 school has been in the spotlight lately. One of its teachers, Heather Carnaghan, was recently named county Teacher of the Year.

    "The most amazing thing about being in a charter school like this is the autonomy that we have to put together our curriculum, make choices for our students and make choices about our staff," Carnaghan said.

    Charter school operators and those hoping to start programs like Monarch Global Academy may qualify for one of five grants totaling, on average, $700,000. The money can be used to start up new schools, known as replication schools, or for school expansion.

    "I think when you think about charter schools, you're thinking about how to expand choice, and I think this is a huge incentive for the state to consider for each school district for charter operators," said Duane Arbogast, of the Children's Guild of Maryland.

    Charter schools have become popular in Anne Arundel County and have led to a waiting list for students hoping to find empty seats. Schools officials said that's not by accident.

    "We've had a great relationship with them. They offer another avenue of school choice for our students and their families, magnet programs and these kinds of things. Charter schools are another option for people as they look at the best education for their child," said Bob Mosier, spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

    The state's new charter school grants program is a five-year program.

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  • Bates Middle Students Get Hands-on Oyster Lesson - Capital Gazette

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 5/11/2018

    Bates Middle students get hands-on oyster lesson - Capital Gazette

    he Harbor Queen hovered near an oyster reef at the mouth of the Severn River Tuesday, as sixth-graders from Bates Middle School lined a rail at the stern.

    Each grabbed an oyster shell covered in baby oysters, or spat, and after a short goodbye poem chucked the tiny creatures into the water.

    The hope is the oysters will grow and filter water, helping to clean the Chesapeake Bay. The students were holding the future of the bay in their hands, volunteer Josh Schmidt said, and putting them on a sanctuary.

    The Bates students took a field trip Tuesday that was the final step in the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park’s year-long Oyster Education Program.

    Chesapeake Bay Foundation scientists put reef balls laden with oyster spat into the Severn River on Wednesday — not to grow oysters, but to see if they might break up dead zones of low oxygen.

    Education Director Sarah Krizek said the program is focused on the Eastern oyster. In the winter, the museum goes out to four middle schools, where students build a model of the oyster and also complete a dissection. The museum raises baby oysters, and students stay connected with the spat during the year through a blog. Then, in the spring, it is time to plant oysters.

    On the boat Tuesday students also learned how to measure salinity and dissolved oxygen, calculated the approximate distance between City Dock and the reef, counted the average number of spat on a shell, and learned about the other organisms that make their home among oyster shells.

    Then the students traveled to the Ellen O. Moyer Park at Back Creek, the museum’s second campus, to hear from a Chesapeake Bay waterman, learn about the effects of different methods of oyster harvesting, and about how oyster reefs affect shoreline erosion.

    “We teach them that oysters are beneficial to the Chesapeake Bay for multiple reasons. They help to filter the water, they also serve as a buffer, they serve as a habitat, and they provide jobs for people,” Krizek said. “So we’re trying to teach them it’s not just one thing we’re looking at, it’s this ecological point of view, that everything is intertwined. And we also try to teach them they can do something too to make a difference.”

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