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Comcast and the Maryland State Department of Education are sponsoring the sixth annual Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award program.

The award recognizes parents and guardians whose contributions have led to improvements in Maryland public schools.

The program was created to highlight the positive impact parents have on public schools and to encourage parent involvement, according to a news release.

Parents and guardians can be nominated for demonstrating significant, positive impact on public education in their communities.

Nominees must be a parent or legal guardian of a child in a Maryland public school and be a consistent advocate of public education. Nominees also must have demonstrated involvement in one of five areas within the last 24 months, communicating, volunteering, learning, decision-making and community collaboration.

Nominations must include three letters of recommendation, a two-page narrative essay describing the nominees contribution to public education and completed nomination forms.

Judges will select 24 semifinalists one from each Maryland county and Baltimore. A second group of judges will select five finalists for the statewide award. All semifinalists and finalists will be recognized in a ceremony in the spring, and the statewide winner will be announced at the ceremony.

As part of the program, semifinalists, finalists and the state winner have opportunities to promote parent involvement that include speaking at educational events and conferences, appearing at Maryland State Board of Education and local board of education meetings, participating on educational task forces or committees, and participating in a best practices publication and website that serves to inspire parents and give them practical advice.

Nomination forms are available at www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/pima.

Nomination packets must be postmarked by Jan. 31 and should be sent to the Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Academic Policy, 7th Floor, Attention: PIMA, 200 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD, 21201.

Incomplete applications will not be considered, and submissions will not be accepted online or by email.