Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon visited Talbot schools on Friday, February 26th. Together they toured the new Easton Elementary School building, visiting several classrooms. Both the Governor and Dr. Salmon took the time to read to students in recognition of Read Across America Day, which takes place next Tuesday, March, 2.
Dr. Kelly Griffith, Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Lisa Devaric, Easton Elementary School Principal conducted the tours. They were joined by County Council Members Laura Price and Pete Lesher, as well as Board of Education members Susan Delean-Botkin, Candace Henry, Emily Jackson, and Otis Sampson.
Governor Hogan donned a Dr. Seuss hat and read a story to Mrs. Charlene DeShields’ First Grade class. The students were excited to see the visitors, and classmates Elsa Matamoros and Juan Sanchez presented Governor Hogan and Dr. Salmon with special books they had created entitled “Welcome to Our Class”.
Both the Governor and Dr. Salmon expressed their appreciation to Dr. Griffith and her leadership team, as well as Talbot County Educators, for their efforts in safely bringing students back into school buildings.
“The State Superintendent and I have been strongly pushing school systems to get students safely back into the classroom by March, and we’re pleased that most systems will resume in-person instruction as of Monday,” said Governor Hogan in a news release. “I’m looking forward to visiting more school systems across the state in the coming weeks to thank all the teachers, staff, and administrators who have been working so hard to get our kids back into the classrooms.”
“MSDE, in collaboration with local school systems, has redefined education by providing research-driven guidance, funding, personal protective equipment, a first-term school year 20-21 performance dashboard, learning-loss recovery strategies, and COVID-19 testing in schools,” said Dr. Salmon in a press release from the Governor’s office. “It’s great to be back in classrooms, and we will continue to review statewide strategies to improve student outcomes across the state as we continue in our recovery efforts.
After visiting Easton Elementary, Dr. Salmon and Dr. Griffith also visited Chapel District Elementary. Dr. Kari Clow arranged visits to Pre-K, 1st, 2nd 4th, 5th-grade classrooms, a 4th grade P.E. class, and a virtual 4th-grade math class.
“We are seeing more and more families wanting their students to come back. Right now, we are continuing the Hybrid learning model because of the required six-foot distancing. Overall, we have about 71% of our students in school in-person,” said Dr. Griffith. “The staff is excited to be back, the students are excited to be back, and we will continue to try to bring in as many kids as we can. We are making changes as we go, and monitoring the situation on a regular basis. If we have to pivot again, we will – PIVOT is our new word this year!”