Turning Failure into Success
Bright Stars, an event jointly sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Sar Levitan Center at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, will celebrate 44 students who have turned failure into success at Maryland's middle and high schools. The event takes place Tuesday, May 7, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Road in Baltimore.
Some of the students have tripled their GPAs. Others have gone from double-digit suspension rates down to zero. Many have overcome difficult family situations, and all, once classified as "at risk" for dropping out, have transformed their aspirations and attitudes. Moses Stevenson, a Bright Star student from George McMechen High School in Baltimore, expresses his new attitude: "Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better, and your better becomes your best."
Fifteen adults who have made contributions to drop-out prevention efforts will also be recognized before an invited audience of school district superintendents, the honored students, teachers and their guests. Richard Steinke, deputy superintendent for school improvement in the Maryland State Department of Education, and Marion Pines, director of the Sar Levitan Center at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, will host the program.
The Bright Stars are testimony to best practices for drop-out prevention developed collaboratively by the local school systems, the Department of Education and the Sar Levitan Center. Schools from across the state have found that academic reinforcement, case management and continuous support from caring adults can change an at-risk student into one who cares about school and his or her future.
To ensure opportunities for all students and prevent dropping out in high school, the Department of Education is reaching out to children before they begin to fail through "Every Child Achieving," a comprehensive plan for intervention for grades K-12. Bright Stars offer inspiring stories from every district of the state:
Nicole Martucci, who had a combined GPA of 1.16 for her first two years of high school, fought serious personal problems with the help of her guidance counselor and advocate. This spring, Martucci will graduate on time from Atholton High School in Howard County. She plans to go to nursing school.
Moses Stevenson, who had been suspended five times and referred to the office seven times, has made a dramatic turn-around at George McMechen High School in Baltimore City. Through intensive counseling and a curriculum designed to improve his learning problems, Stevenson has channeled his anger into thinking about solutions. He has become a leader in his own right as captain of the McMechen varsity basketball team.
Darryl Osborne reversed failures and a record of suspensions, raising a 1.6 GPA up to 4.0 at Elkton High School. Through his volunteer work with the Maryland State Police Explorer Program, he has come closer to his dream of becoming a road sergeant shift commander.
Ashley Pedrick had moved around to seven different schools by the time she enrolled in Dundalk High School. During her freshman year, she was close to failure. With the help of supportive staff, she managed to get back on track. This year, Pedrick has received no suspensions or office referrals and her grade point average has almost doubled. After graduation this June, Pedrick plans to study accounting at Dundalk Community College while working as a secretary for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
To learn about a Bright Star student in your area, please call Lavinia Edmunds, JHU, at 410-516-4186, or Linda Bazerjian, MSDE, at 410-767-0488.
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