Principal's October Message

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 7:29am

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Since I will not be sending another Message from the Principal for a couple of weeks, I decided to send an updated version of this morning's message.  September was a wonderful month at Marriotts Ridge H.S.!  The administrative staff feels tremendous pride as we work with our teachers who are establishing their annual objectives, observe teachers who are new to our school, and attend extracurricular events.  Together with the students and staff, we are celebrating our victories and accomplishments.  We continue to achieve at great levels of success, and we should all be proud of our students and staff as we celebrate our rankings in the US News & World Report, Niche, and Washington Post.  And the accolades continue…today, I received the following e-mail: According to available data, Baltimore Business Journal has listed you as a Top Public High School with Highest Sat Scores.  We continue to achieve our mission of exemplifying honor and excellence in all that we do!

As we celebrate excellence, we also celebrate joy!  Join me in congratulating Mrs. Rupprecht (math), Mrs. McQueen (social studies), and Mrs. Patterson (English) all of whom have given birth to healthy and happy babies.  Their substitutes are all certified teachers who are positively impacting our students and our school.  Our Instructional Team Leaders (ITLs) also make a difference in our school.  In the month of September, they received training on the use of data to support and improve instruction.  Additionally, our entire staff took the Gallup Strengthsfinder Survey to learn more about themselves and their teams.  And, we learned at the PTSA meeting the other night that Dr. Foose is working with our Howard County Association of Student Councils representatives and our PTSA Presidents on Galluup strengths as well.  We continue to be in the forefront of education with professional learning opportunities that help us grow and develop as teachers and leaders.

While teachers and staff impact our school in great ways, we also have many students who positively impact our school.  Our SGA Executive Board members, Justin Jones, Katelyn McIlvain, Nate Keeney, Mifrah Baqai, Katie Baek, Sharon Lee, Christina Wang, Keally Ingersoll, Caitlin Ohnmacht and Julia Suter worked tirelessly with the Sophomore Class Council members to hold a wonderful and fun Homecoming week.  From dressing up each day to competing at the pep rally and attending our dance, the activities were spirited and fun-filled.  Thank you to the numerous staff members, students, staff, and parents who volunteered their time and made the 2015-2016 Homecoming a huge success.  And of course, we want to congratulate and thank our cheerleaders and our marching unit who facilitated tremendous spirit and our football team on their victory!  A winning team makes Homecoming that much more enjoyable.  On behalf of Mrs. Adams, SGA sponsor and our administrative team, we want to thank the many staff members and parents who volunteered their time ensuring that our Homecoming Dance was successful: Mrs. Derwart, Mrs. Bensarghin, and Mrs. Cavanaugh for decorations; Mrs. Spruill, Mrs. Laun, Mr. & Mrs. McDonald, Ms. Shearer, Mr. Rahnama, and Ms. Franklin for chaperoning; and Mrs. Yodzis and Mrs. Sedlak for working the coat/shoe closet.  I also want to thank the many parent volunteers who sold Homecoming tickets throughout the weeks prior to the dance.  Once again, it is through the teamwork of staff and parents that we create an environment in which our students can be safe and enjoy themselves!

I also want to congratulate our National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists with whom we recently celebrated: Courtney Loeb, Seo Jung Park, Nicholas Santangelo, and Anna Xi.  We also celebrated with our National Merit Scholarship Commended Students: Charissa Au, Hannah Bashar, Eunice Cho, Danny Choi, Eric Fan, Alexandra Frink, Ibrahim Jirdeh, Justin Jones, Hong Kiim, Daniel Klawson, Anna Lee, Greta Li, Talia Loeb, Leah McLean, Sophie Moock, Katie Park, Samantha Price, Maija Ranta, Charis Smith, Isabella Stevens, Yeojun Yoon, Charmaine Yuan, Grant Zawodniak, and Angela Zhu.  These students represent the best of Marriotts Ridge!  Congratulations again to the students and to their families.

Celebrations occur for staff and students alike.  Congratulations to Coach Gado who was inducted into the Salisbury Athletics Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame was created to honor alumni who have made outstanding contributions to Salisbury’s athletics heritage.  Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor the University can bestow upon its former student athletes, coaches, and administrators.  The following was written in the Salisbury magazine: Stacie Gado, a member of the Class of 1997, was an All-American in two sports and nearly a national champion.  In field hockey, Gado lettered four years and was a member of a strong defense that led the Sea Gulls to a four-year record of 47-26 and three NCAA tournament appearances.  The team advanced to the second round of the tournament during Gado’s sophomore season, the first of 21 consecutive seasons that the team has played in the postseason – a streak that has carried through the 2014 season.  Gado was named to the All-CAC first team during her junior and senior season; and during her senior season, in 1006, Gado was named to the All-Region first team and she earned third-team All-American honors.

We also want to celebrate our Marching Band. According to Director, Mr. Ellis, our Mustang Marching band, as of this past weekend, posted the highest overall score of all 30+ bands in our class for the US Bands competitive circuit.  Stay tuned for more information as the Marching Band approaches the National Championships on November 8, in Allentown, PA.  If you haven’t had the chance to see our students perform, I highly recommend that you attend one of our home football games.  At half time, you will be in for a special treat!

And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t celebrate our parents for their volunteerism and support of the Mustangs.  Our Boosters President, Mrs. JoAnn Kohler wrote the following after the Homecoming football game:

Cindy and Chele,

I have never seen concessions buzzing like it was last night. Thank you both for the incredible number of volunteer hours you put in this week in addition to the weekly hours you already put in. Boosters and the MRHS community are so lucky to have two such committed and positive people running concessions…Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

To our Boosters, PTSA, Mustang African-American Awareness Committee, Music Foundation, Korean Parent Organization and Chinese Parent Organization we say thank you as well.  Whether parents are attending our Executive Board Meetings, working in the concession stands, spearheading a fundraiser, or reading scholarship essays, you all give so much of yourselves.  Our community is thriving partly because of our incredible parent involvement.  I encourage our parent community to be involved with at least one parent organization.  I attend the PTSA meetings each month and Mr. Rahnama and Mr. Brown attend the Booster Meetings each month; we are all thankful for the commitment and support of our Mustang families.  Together we make a huge difference for our kids and impact our school in a variety of ways.

One way to impact our school is by preparing students to be College and Career Ready.  We ended the month of September with our 2ndAnnual College Tours; almost all of our sophomores attended.  Students had the opportunity to visit the following schools: University of Maryland, College Park; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Community College of Baltimore County; University of Baltimore; the Maryland Institute College of Art; Towson University; Morgan State University; Johns Hopkins University; and/or Loyola University.  Thank you to Mrs. Franklin who coordinated and organized the field trip and thank you to the following staff members who served as chaperones: Mr. Smith, Ms. Harich, Mrs. Valdesuso, Mr. Schwarz, Mr. Rosenberg, Mrs. Derwart, Mr. Brandel, Mrs. Rashid, Mr. Flynn, Ms. Olsen, Mr. Rahnama, Mrs. Moulds, Mrs. Stiles, Ms. Allman, and Ms. Green.  I also want to thank the parents who volunteered to chaperone the trip: Ms. Lim, Ms. Ullman, Ms. Varghese, & Ms. Sherman.  This was a community effort and it served our students well.

As you can see, September was a month filled with success.  October is National Principals’ Month, so if you have the time, please take a moment to send a kind note to Mr. Rahnama, Ms. Franklin, and Mrs. Senisi.  They work very hard to ensure that our students receive an outstanding education in a safe and nurturing environment.

The month of October is and will continue to be just as busy as September.  On October 14, our sophomores and juniors took the PSAT.  During that time, our freshmen participated in a variety of activities associated with bullying prevention and team building.  Ninth graders began the morning by viewing selected clips from the documentary Bully (2011).  The film dealt with sensitive issues related to bullying such as teen violence and suicide; you could hear a pin drop in our large auditorium.  Students and staff listened intently; we all learned a great deal.  Most importantly, the administration, counselors, our school psychologist, and teachers followed the film by subsequently emphasizing the importance of bullying prevention activities and “friends tell”.    Mr. Schwarz, counselor, spoke about the necessity for students to share their concerns with a caring adult and Mrs. Burke spoke about the Oyster Club, a student club that meets weekly.  Students gather to socialize and plan bullying prevention programs.  Go to @mrhs_oysterclub for more information.  We also ask that parents talk with their children about bullying; we know that teenagers don’t always report bullying because of their feelings of humiliation.  We also know that older children don’t report bullying as often as younger children because they are embarrassed and/or fear retaliation.  Our administrators and staff encourage parents to communicate with their children and let us know if there is any indication of bullying in our school.  It is important that we offer a safe environment for all of our students, and we take bullying very seriously.

From serious to celebratory, I want to congratulate Ryan Tuma, our October Student-Leader-of-the-Month.  Ryan was nominated for this honor by Mrs. Goldszmidt, NHS Advisor.  Mrs. Goldszmidt wrote, Ryan Tuma has been a true leader for the National Honor Society. He has been keeping the NHS Facebook page updated, reminding both the advisor and the executive officers of meeting dates and times, and volunteering his time to help organize NHS student service hours in his spare time. In concert with his fellow executive officers, Ryan has shown himself to be a compassionate and diligent leader. Ryan is a member of the cross country team at MRHS and he also volunteers as a leader in the B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO).  Congratulations Ryan!

Our Athlete-of-the-Week for the first week in October was Katelyn McIlvain.  Coach Dubbs wrote, I would like to nominate Katelyn McIlvain for athlete of the week.  Katelyn is the top girl on the Girls Golf Team and one of the top three female golfers in Howard County.  She is the captain of the team that is currently in first place in the county and has won most of her matches this season.  What makes Katelyn even more special is that she is a leader who is not only loved by her teammates, but a positive ambassador of the game.  Other coaches have commented how their girls enjoy playing with Katelyn.  She is very deserving of the Marriotts Ridge Athlete of the Week Award.

For the second week in October, Lily Kennedy is the Athlete-of-the-Week. Coach Gado wrote, In our field hockey game against Mt. Hebron last week, Lily scored the overtime game winning goal to bring us to a 2-1 victory, keeping us undefeated and ranked 1st in the county!  She is a team player in every way with her positive attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes on and off the field to get the job done.  Lily's speed is unbelievable and her capability to still give 100% after 75 minutes of hockey should be recognized!  I look forward to seeing her contributions in our games the rest of our season!

Noting the importance of recognizing both staff and students, we have a Silver Mustang that gallops from one staff member to the next.  Congratulations to Kristen Reier and Meredith Adams who received the Silver Mustang in September and October.  Ms. Harich, our awardee at the end of last year, wrote the following: After a few short Summer months, the Silver Mustang  is leaving the Science wing and traveling over to its new home in the World Language Department to Kristen Reier!! Kristen has been the Backbone of Canvas for many staff members these past few weeks.  If you ever happen to pass by Kristen in the workroom and ask her about Canvas, she will tell you to stop by her room during her planning, her lunch or after school and she will  troubleshoot any of your problems with Canvas in no time! After talking with several staff members, I have come to realize how important of a role she has played.  Many staff members have commented on her positive outlook, patience, kindness and profound understanding of Canvas.   So, thank you Kristen for being so incredibly helpful to our staff these past few weeks!  Congratulations! :)

Ms. Reier then sent the Silver Mustang to Meredith Adams.  Ms. Reier wrote: I think it may be obvious after last week and this past weekend that there is no one more deserving to receive the honor of hosting Mark the Mummified Mustang, than the lovely Ms. Meredith Adams!!  Meredith has worked tirelessly as a one-woman circus to make Homecoming a fabulous experience for our students.  As a former class sponsor, I KNOW how much effort and hard work goes into making these events happen, and Meredith did it all with a calm attitude and a smile on her face!  Congratulations and kudos to Meredith for an amazing job well done and continued support for all that you do for our SGA and our student body!

Because we have a dedicated and civic-minded staff, Mr. Hong (science teacher) took a group of his biology students to the Howard County Conservancy today.  Fortunately for our students, they were able to participate in the NOAA and Bay Watershed Education and Training Program (BWET) Press Conference.  Today, our students participated in the official announcement of the Howard County Conservancy being a BWET Grantee.  Senator Cardin, Superintendent Foose, and County Executive Kittleman spoke at the conference.  The Howard County Conservancy granted $310,000 for the Watershed Report Card, which is a partnership between the Howard County Public School System and the Conservancy.  This year-long projects provides students across the county, including those at MRHS with the opportunity to be scientists in action; they can apply their knowledge to real life situations and experiments.  Students from MRHS have the opportunity to evaluate the health of our watershed through stream surveys. The program culminates with students presenting the Report Card for the streams and schoolyard stormwater.  As scientists, students analyze data and participate in webinars with experts throughout the year.  This is a very exciting program and MRHS students are quite fortunate to be not only a participant in the project but also a presence at today's Press Conference.  Our students eloquently and articulately shared their data from an on-site stream study this morning; officials were quite impressed!


As you can see, September and October have been busy and productive months at MRHS.  We look forward to continued success and support as we enter into the final weeks of first quarter.  If your child needs assistance with organizational skills, academics, SAT Prep, or anything else school-related, please contact your child’s counselor or Mrs. Burke for participation in the Brains and Bodies at Work after school program.  We have many supports in place to ensure that our students are maximizing their potential.  Have a wonderful week.




Addie Kaufman, Principal