Connectivity and flexibility were the words Caroline County Teacher of the Year Cheryl Carmean used in her speech at the first day back for staff on August 18 at Colonel Richardson High School.
Carmean was one of the speakers during the event, which welcomed back the teachers to the 2015-2016 school year. An engineer by education, Carmean talked about Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
She said people are dependent on interaction to move beyond their current state of being. “Learning requires interaction,” Carmean said.
Before becoming a physics teacher at North Caroline High School, Carmean was a volunteer at her children’s schools. “I have been shaped by the interaction of the wonderful people in this room.”
Carmean said she started volunteering at Ridgely Elementary School. She said RES is a community school and at RES learning is fun. She also spent several years at Lockerman Middle School. “I was amazed by the professionalism and the energetic team of teachers.”
At North Caroline High School, she said she is amazed by the outreach of students and staff into the community with the number of service projects. “I have witnessed firsthand the support for students and families.”
Carmean, who worked as a structural engineer, said education is like engineering by being dynamic and ever changing. She said the connections, like in a bridge, are integral for education.She ended her speech by quoting St. Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth that all are given abundant gifts that are to be shared.
“We can use the abundance of talents together,” said Carmean.
After her speech, Carmean was presented with the keys to her new Ford Fusion, provided by Preston Ford. Carmean will have the use of the vehicle during her year tenure as Teacher of the Year.
Rob Willoughby, president of the systems Administrator and Supervisors Association, welcomed the teachers as well.
“The job we do is tough, we speak our own language and the students think that we live in the school and for some of you, you are short a few hours of doing that,” said Willoughby. “ The reason we do that is because we care and because the students are worth it.”
Julie Pechin, a sixth grade math teacher at Lockerman and also president of the Caroline County Educators Association, said teachers are like parents, in that they both try to keep their children safe and help them down the right path.
Board President Tolbert Rowe said the best thing teachers can do is to connect with their students. He also echoed Carmean’s speech when he said the important things are connectivity and flexibility.
Superintendent of Schools John Ewald said he was thrilled to get the day started with students. The Colonel Richardson High School Sprit of the Revolution Marching Band welcomed the teachers with a musical selection.
Ewald said he has been meeting with students, parents, community members and staff to learn more about Caroline County Public Schools. “All of these interviews are to learn about us, to learn about where we are and where we go from here.”
Ewald told the teachers he has four critical questions when visiting a classroom: What do our students need to know; How will we know when they have learned it; What will we do when our students haven’t learned it and What we will do when they already know it.
“There is not one leader, not one board member, it is everyone working together,” he said. “Let’s have a great school year.”
Dr. Patricia Saelens, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, talked about the instructional goals for the new school year. They include working on professional development; a new on-line testing system that will mimic what students need to do on PARCC testing; adopting a new high school schedule for the 2016-2017 school year; looking at the grading policy and graduation requirements; a new school improvement plan process and on-going support for teaching methods and planning.
Milton Nagel, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, said the administrative goals include the completed renovation of Preston Elementary School by July 2016; monitor the two-hour scheduled delayed openings for elementary schools to give additional planning time for elementary teachers; maximize resources; and create new partnerships with businesses.