Great Public Schools Criteria for MarylandGreat Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.
Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Maryland.
Readiness to Learn
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has established a number of early childhood initiatives which promote best practices in early pedagogy and support the school reform efforts in Maryland.
Expansion of Early Childhood and School-Age Programs. Head Start and the Extended Elementary Education Program (which serves the state's at-risk four-year-olds programs) received funding to expand part-time, part-day programs to make them full-day, full-year programs that meet the needs of working families. Child care programs received funding to expand before and after-school programs to serve additional families. All school systems are now required to provide education for four-year-olds who are homeless or from economically disadvantaged homes.
Maryland provides $3 million in state funds for Early Head Start and Head Start programs. The funds are designed to expand the range and hours of Head Start services, to increase the number of children served, and to be consistent with the principles of the Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR). Since October 2001, MSDE has been charged in administering the grant and to provide technical assistance in aligning Head Start services with those of early learning programs at public schools.
Maryland State Department of Education: Early Childhood Program
- State Policy:Maryland passed legislation in 2002 requiring all districts to offer full-day kindergarten by the 2007-08 school year though children are not required to attend. Maryland provides the same funding for both full-day and half day kindergarten programs.
- Definition, District Offering and Pupil Attendance: A definition of the minimum number of hours for full-day kindergarten is not specified in Maryland state statutes.
- Funding: Maryland has increased funding for kindergarten annually and plans to fund full-day kindergarten at the same rate as grades 1-12 by FY.
(Education Commission of the States [ECS] Kindergarten Database, 2007)
Recruitment and Retention
Maryland has state policies that support statewide financial incentives, hard-to staff schools and subject areas, alternative routes to certification, induction, out-of field teaching, and use of time in school day. In addition, there are policies supporting teacher recognition and certification/licensure of educators from outside the state.
Statewide Financial Incentives: There is a program of state and local aid to teachers who pursue certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards known as the State and Local Aid Program for Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Md. Education Code Ann. §6-112
For Hard-to-Staff Schools and Subject Areas: Maryland provides tuition assistance to students preparing to teach in critical shortage areas. The Maryland State Board of Education identifies teaching areas of critical shortage and jurisdictions as geographic areas of projected shortage of teachers.
Md. Education Code Ann. §18-703.
Maryland DOE Maryland Teacher Staffing Report 2003-2005
Alternative Routes to Certification: The Resident Teacher Program is an alternative route to teaching for individuals who are seeking state certification. Candidates enroll in a one-year training program that leads to State of Maryland Certification following program completion, a satisfactory evaluation and passage of all state required tests.
The Maryland Resident Teacher Program
Induction Policies: Mentoring programs are aligned with the 2-year probationary period and the 1-year extension for public school employees holding professional certificates, conditional certificates, and resident teacher certificates.
Out-of Field Teaching Policies: If a local school system finds it necessary to assign a teacher to teach more than two classes outside the teacher's area of certification, the teacher shall retain the professional certificate. For each consecutive year after the first year that a teacher is assigned to teach more than two classes outside the teacher's area of certification, the teacher shall earn at least 6 semester hours per year toward certification in the out-of-area assignment before continuing the assignment.
Use of Time in School Day: Each teacher in a public school of this state shall have a duty-free lunch period each regularly scheduled school day. This duty-free period shall be for at least 30 minutes, unless the students have a regular lunch period of less than 30 minutes in which case the duty-free period shall be the same as the regular lunch period.
Md. Education Code Ann. §6-105
Teacher Recognition Programs or Policies: The Distinguished Scholar Teacher Education Program is a merit-based award program, available only to Distinguished Scholar Award recipients. It is designed to provide additional financial incentives to attract highly-able students to Maryland's teacher preparation programs.
The Distinguished Scholar Teacher Education Program
Certification/Licensure of Educators from Outside the State: Maryland participates in interstate agreements on qualifications and certification of educational personnel. Md. Education Code Ann. §6-604