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Debra Daniel

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Legal Alert: Kennedy v. Bremerton School District 597 U.S. ____ (2022)

Debra Daniel

On June 27th the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District case, which asked whether a public school employee praying during school sports activities was protected speech, and if so, is the employee’s public school employer permitted to prohibit prayer to avoid violating the Establishment Clause? 

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 opinion in favor of the public school employee held that “the free exercise and free speech clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in a personal religious observance from government reprisal; [and] the Constitution neither mandates nor permits the government to suppress such religious expression.” The court’s ruling is notable in that it overturned decades of precedent when it comes to the separation of church and state in a school setting. Please visit this related summary by MABE Director of Legal & Policy Services Debra Yerg Daniel for a breakdown of this case and landmark ruling; how to apply the ruling moving forward; and relevant, existing provisions in Maryland law.

For further information, contact Debra Yerg Daniel, Ph: (443) 603-0391.

Call for Applications for Accountability and Implementation Board (AID) Advisory Committees

Jennifer Beltz

June 20, 2022 is the deadline for applications to join the Advisory Committees of the Accountability and Implementation Board (AID) of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.  AIB writes that it “wants to closely involve as many stakeholders from diverse geographic, economic, racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender backgrounds who represent various life experiences and viewpoints as is possible from across the State.”  AIB’s four Advisory Committees are Early Childhood Education; High-Quality and Diverse Teachers and Leaders; College and Career Readiness Pathways; and More Resources to Ensure All Students are Successful.

Know someone who should be considered for one of AIB’s Advisory Committees? Nomination/application information available here contains relevant details, as does the AIB Advisory Committee Application. (Note that applicants do not need to be nominated in order to apply for a position on an advisory committee and may apply on their own.)

Questions? Email You can also follow AIB on Twitter.

Good luck with your application for this very worthy, timely project!

MABE Launches “Leading for Educational Equity Through School Board Governance” Workbook

Jennifer Beltz

Maryland law makes school boards responsible for the creation of educational policies designed “to provide quality education and equal educational opportunity for all children,” and boards also are directed to seek ways to “promote the interests of the schools” within their systems.

This, combined with how educational equity is an established priority of the Maryland State Board of Education, led MABE’s Educational Equity Committee to create its Leading for Educational Equity Through School Board Governance workbook, designed for school board members and related education stakeholders. While the workbook is written with Maryland’s 24 boards of education in mind, it potentially may apply to any board charged with this important focus, whether in or outside of Maryland.

Our sincere thanks go out to our educational equity project’s strategic partner, Newsela, known for its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

We invite you to read more about the Educational Equity Through School Board Governance workbook.

UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, III to Receive MABE’s Biennial Excellence in Education Award

Jennifer Beltz

In recognition of his exemplary leadership and service to excellence in public education in Maryland, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III has earned MABE’s distinguished Excellence in Education Award. The award will be presented to Dr. Hrabowski during MABE’s 2022 Annual Conference, to be held October 6-8 in Annapolis, MD.

Dr. Hrabowski passionately believes in transforming lives through education. His leadership at UMBC transformed the institution into one of the most innovative research institutions in the United States. He is a passionate advocate, mathematician, author and renowned speaker, who believes in transforming lives through education. Importantly, his much-valued work has helped lead to higher graduation rates and a growing focus on STEM fields of study. You can read more about Dr. Hrabowski’s fascinating background and track record of success in this related press release.

“Dr. Hrabowski’s efforts continue to inspire and influence countless students and educators,” noted MABE President Virginia (Ginny) McGraw. “His work serves as a valuable reminder of just how much true progress can be made by one dedicated individual devoting his life’s work to such a noble and worthy mission.”

Our sincere congratulations go out to this incredibly talented, dedicated individual, who has helped shape so many lives and minds.

School Safety: A Guest Post from Eastern DataComm

Jennifer Beltz

A concerning reality in recent years is that the need for services to help secure schools continues to grow. Indeed, Education Week recently reported that “following the return of most U.S. schoolchildren to full-time, in-person learning, a raft of anecdotal reports indicate that violence may be rising in K-12 schools.”

According to this daunting statistic from the Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2020 published by the Institute of Education Sciences, 80 percent of public schools reported during the 2017-18 school year that “one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place, amounting to 1.4 million incidents.”

At Eastern DataComm, our goal is to keep the schools we serve connected and protected. We firmly believe that when it comes to school safety, we are all in this together.

As we continue to collaborate with schools throughout the U.S., our conversations inevitably turn to lockdowns and how quickly and effectively school officials or staff can alert everyone on school property about what is going on, and about what steps to take. This is understandably a real problem for most schools that often struggle to find a reliable and comprehensive system – one that will work regardless of the severity of a school’s situation on any given day.

Response to crisis situations must be immediate, automatic, and reliable, and it needs to cover every area of school grounds – inside and out. That’s where we come in. We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our patented LENS +OPTICS technology, featuring our Lockdown and Emergency Notification System and Continuous Monitoring Service, and to read related testimonials from satisfied education customers.

We can’t end all crises, but knowing your school’s safety technology is best prepared to handle the worst provides invaluable peace of mind. For further information, please contact Paul Jenne at (201) 457-3311 ext 131.

Spring issue of “The MABE Scoop” Features Updates on Funding, Legislative Happenings, MABE’s New Educational Equity Workbook, and Recent Headlines

Jennifer Beltz

It’s no surprise that 2022 has been an incredibly busy year so far for Maryland school boards, and the spring issue of The MABE Scoop partly reflects that reality. As MABE President Virginia McGraw (Charles County) writes, this current issue brings “the latest legislative developments, word on upcoming professional development opportunities, and recent state and national education headlines. We also share information on the $1 billion available to improve at-home student and teacher internet access via the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund; a profile of Carroll County Board of Education member Pat Dorsey; word on the exciting launch of MABE’s new educational equity workbook; and news about MABE’s new Strategic Partner, Newsela.”

You can access these features and much more by visiting here.

MABE Accepting Applications for Executive Assistant Position

Jennifer Beltz

Are you a consistently proactive, positive, problem-solving administrative professional? Do you have at least five years of progressively responsible administrative experience? Are you a sophisticated communicator, impeccable proofreader, and enthusiastic teammate? Then you might be a fit for MABE’s open Executive Assistant position.

Associate degree is preferred. Outstanding organizational and research skills are required, along with the ability to smoothly manage multiple tasks simultaneously. Read more details about the responsibilities, qualifications and benefits of this challenging position here.

MABE Annual Conference 2022 to be held Oct. 6-8 in Annapolis

Jennifer Beltz

MABE’s Conference Program Committee is finalizing details for our Annual Conference 2022 agenda, and we look forward to sharing related information soon with MABE members. Please note that due to the Yom Kippur holiday, this year’s Conference dates will be October 6-8, 2022. The Conference will again be held at The Westin Annapolis.

Pamela L. Cousins, President of the Calvert County Board of Education, notes her positive experiences at past MABE Annual Conferences. “I have attended seven consecutive MABE Conferences,” she notes. “Leaders gather to learn best governance practices and learn new programs and technology that can help enrich student learning. Inevitably, I glean practical solutions applicable to a current challenge facing my district. I look forward to building relationships with my Maryland school board colleagues every year.”

This year’s agenda, topics and speaker lineup are shaping up to be dynamic, timely, and focused on the most pressing issues affecting school board members’ vital efforts for public school students throughout Maryland. Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

MABE Annual Conference 2022

October 6-8, 2022

The Westin Annapolis

100 Westgate Circle, Annapolis

Talbot County Public Schools Accepting Applications for Superintendent of Schools

Jennifer Beltz

Talbot County Public Schools is seeking an adept instructional leader with broad Pre-K-12 experience who believes that achievement for all students is the top priority; is knowledgeable of current educational issues, programs and technology; is committed to a culture of diversity, inclusion and equity; is a decisive administrator who will respect, inspire and empower our highly driven team of educators; will communicate effectively and honestly with all stakeholders to build support for and trust in public education; and will advocate for the financial and budgetary needs of the school system.

Talbot County offers an exceptional Pre-K-12 public education system dedicated to serving a diverse population of 4,533 students in eight schools throughout the county. Our team of educators, leaders, managers and administrators provides quality instruction, skills and guidance to foster highly engaged learners and to support student success and achievement. With one of the lowest drop out rates in Maryland and a graduation rate above 96%, Talbot County Public Schools is committed to ensuring every student graduates prepared for college, or a career.

A great place to live, work, and play, Talbot County is a rural community with charming small towns. The county is nestled along the Chesapeake Bay with 603 miles of waterfront as its backdrop. Talbot County is an art and nature enthusiasts’ paradise, offering coastal attractions, scenic views, parks, trails, and recreational and outdoor activities. Convenient to Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington, DC and the Eastern Shore beaches, it is an ideal place to raise a family or enjoy being an empty nester.

For further details and requirements, visit this page, or call William Middleton at (410) 841-5414.

Search Underway for Superintendent of Schools, Wicomico County Public Schools

Jennifer Beltz

Are you an experienced administrative leader with broad pre-k-12 experience who’s able to act as a decisive, visionary leader, one who respects, motivates, and empowers staff? Do you have a solid grasp of the opportunities and challenges a district with a diverse student body has? Are you a skilled relationship builder, one with Maryland Superintendent Certification? Then you’ll want to check out the new position posting from The Wicomico County Board of Education for Superintendent of Schools.

Wicomico County’s Public School System of 14, 744 students, located on Maryland’s beautiful Delmarva Peninsula, is an integral part of a large, diverse, innovative, and supportive community of nearly 104,000 people. Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Wicomico County offers an appealing, natural setting close to major metropolitan areas.

Applications for this key position are now being accepted; the application deadline for first consideration is March 23, 2022. Interviews will be conducted in April/May 2022, and the position start date is July 1, 2022.

For a detailed flier with additional position details as well as related application materials, visit For further information, contact Dr. Terrance Greenwood, MABE Consultant.