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First Cool Schools Dunk deemed huge success

From The Garrett County Republican

DEEP CREEK LAKE — On Feb. 22, nearly 400 middle and high school students and staff participated in the first Cool Schools Dunk at Deep Creek Lake.

The event, which occurred the day before the annual Deep Creek Dunk, was established to raise money to help fund the Garrett County Public School’s unified sports teams and the Garrett County community Special Olympics teams. The event raised more than $23,000 in its inaugural year.

“We have schools competing against each other to raise funds for a worthy cause and it doesn’t get any better than that,” Garrett County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Baker said. “We are so excited that our students, our unified sports teams, and our partners at Special Olympics Maryland will all benefit from this event.”

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Garrett Pride — Garrett County well-represented at robotics tournament

From The Garrett County Republican

McHENRY — GEARS Inc. and Garrett College co-hosted the 2019 Mountain Maryland FIRST Tech Challenge regional qualifier robotics competition Saturday at the Garrett College Community Aquatic and Recreation Complex gymnasium in McHenry.

G-FORCE, a community-based FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team sponsored by GEARS Inc. and 4-H, served as the host team for the event. Twenty teams represented Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to compete for one of five spots at the Maryland state competition. Of the 20 teams participating, seven teams were from Garrett County.

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County art teachers attend GCAC-hosted workshop with DC Pottery artist

From The Garrett County Republican

MCHENRY — Visual art teachers with the Garrett County Public Schools were able to be students for a day recently in a pottery and ceramics workshop led by Lorie Skidmore of Deep Creek Pottery. The day-long event was hosted by the Garrett County Arts Council earlier this month as part of its mission to help support local artists and art education, and to provide professional development events.

Nine teachers gathered at Deep Creek Pottery and were led by Skidmore through several pottery projects. Those taking part were Kristen Winebrenner, Melinda Bishoff, Ronni Digioia, Kelly Lasher, Bonnie Frederick, instructor Skidmore, Jay Paxton Alyssa Rodeheaver, Jennifer Wampler, and Melissa Pyle.

“The ceramics workshop was awesome!” said Rodeheaver. “We were all so thankful for the arts council sponsoring the workshop. I thought it was nice to have professional development that I could actually use in my art classes. This was the first time since college that I was able to practice art-making techniques I could take back to my classroom.”

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O’Malley signs bill for added state funding to schools

Law mandates supplements for shortfalls in aid formula

Matthew Bieniek

Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — A bill that will aid Garrett County Public Schools and other school systems hit hard by the state school funding formula due to declining enrollments has been signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley.
The new law will supplement state funding by adding $464,103 for the coming year. The cash-strapped school system has been forced to consider school closures in the past few years.
“This should be very helpful to the school system and we are still waiting for the legislation introduced by both Del. (Wendell) Beitzel and I to pass that would help the county out financially until the wealth study is completed,” Sen. George Edwards has said. Edwards was the Senate sponsor of the bill.
A study of the wealth formula is planned to begin in the fall of 2014 and is slated to be complete in 2016. The existing state funding formula can hit school districts with declining student populations hard. The bill applies to the whole state, not just Garrett County.
“At the rate we have been impacted by the wealth formula … any help we can get from the state is appreciated,” said Janet Wilson, Garrett County superintendent of schools. The money will help the system move forward and restore some services that have been lost, she said.
The bill mandates the state to supplement shortfalls in the state aid formula. “For fiscal years 2015 through 2017, if a county board’s total direct education aid in the current fiscal year is less than the prior fiscal year, then the state shall provide a grant to the county board equal to 50 percent of the decrease in total direct education aid from the prior fiscal year to the current fiscal year,” according to the language of SB 534.
The state budget provides $1.7 million in aid for affected districts in fiscal 2015, according to a floor report on the bill by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Financial literacy education has real-life impact

Mikhaila Missimer, a 15 year-old sophomore, is saving for a car. So is sophomore Camden Nichols, also 15. He hopes to save enough from a job at a local convenience store to buy a car next year.

The students both cite Bender’s class for helping them attempt to turn their goals into a reality. Her students learn to set “SMART goals,” goals that are “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.”

Too often, teens have generic savings goals and no plan to achieve them, Bender says. The SMART goal curriculum teaches them to set realistic goals with incremental savings targets to keep themselves on track. It’s an important lesson in learning to take control of one’s finances, Bender says, a lesson that’s catching on across the country.

More here.