Nine Charles County Public Schools students were recognized Feb. 5 by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education for their accomplishments in gifted education. Each received a Student Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Award.
• Kaylee Alvey, eighth grade, General Smallwood Middle School
• Anthony Cave, fifth grade, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School
• Eliza Freundel, fifth grade, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School
• Edwin Hall, eighth grade, Smallwood
• Camryn Halloran, fifth grade, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy
• Leland Kirk, fifth grade, Dr. James Craik Elementary School
• Ethan Phanthasy, fourth grade, Craik
• Neala Rooney, fifth grade, Higdon
• Athena Sapp, fifth grade, Malcolm Elementary School.
Alvey, an eighth grader, has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout middle school and earned a 5 on the language arts portion of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers for the past two years, placing her in the top 10 percent of students in Charles County. In the math portion of PARCC, Alvey is in the top 5 percent of county students. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the Math Counts team. Alvey is enrolled in high-school level algebra I and Spanish, and is in the Gateway to Technology program.
Cave is a fifth grader who demonstrates advanced comprehension in reading and math and is quick to pick up skill knowledge. He scored in the top 5 percent of the math and language arts portions of PARCC. He is on the principal’s honor roll, earning a 4.0 GPA and was recognized by the Board of Education of Charles County in December 2018 for being an exemplary student in the area of career readiness. Cave takes part in several extracurricular activities including MESA, math team, Higdon’s news team and VEX Robotics.
Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy fifth grader Freundel has been in the school’s gifted program for the past five years. She exceeds all grade-level expectations in the PARCC assessment and is a member of the school’s news team and orchestra. She has a strong sense of community service, initiating a request for a Rotary Club Little Library at Mt. Hope, and volunteers with the Humane Society of Charles County, Harvest for the Hungry, Appalachia Service Project and with disabled veterans. A voracious reader, Freundel has won many accelerated reader awards at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy and receives guided reading instruction on sixth-grade Common Core Standards. She in is accelerated fifth-grade math learning on a sixth-grade level and is on the school’s math team.
With his 4.0 GPA, Hall has been on the Principal’s Honor Roll throughout middle school. The eighth grader performed in the top 5 percent on PARCC assessments in both the math and language arts portions in his seventh-grade year and was in the top 10 percent in sixth grade. He earned the Distinguished Scholars Award and first place in the school’s poetry contest. He has earned Smallwood’s TERK Award which celebrates Tolerance, Effort, Rigor and Kindness. First identified as gifted in second grade, Hall is currently in accelerated math enrolled in high-school level algebra I and Spanish. He is a member of Smallwood’s math team and its track team. He gives back to the community as a member of the Kids Council, a group that organizes neighborhood events for the school.
Halloran, a Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy fifth grader, exceeds all grade-level expectations on PARCC testing and county-level assessments. She is a member of the school’s news team, band and chorus. She is a mentor for a first-grade student and helps in the school’s library. Extroverted and with a quick smile, Halloran was a natural to emcee Mt. Hope’s Thanksgiving dinner and program for the county’s senior citizens. Halloran reads at an advanced level and receives guided reading instruction on sixth-grade Common Core standards. A member of the math team, Halloran is a top student in the accelerated fifth-grade math class getting instruction on a sixth-grade level.
Kirk is a student who sees the whole picture, grasping higher level questioning and is able to support his thinking with reason. As a second grader, Kirk scored in the 99 percent on the verbal portion of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and a 99 percent on the quantitative section. In third grade, he scored a perfect 850 on the math portion of the PARCC assessment and a near perfect 849 on the reading section. He repeated the scores the following year. Now a fifth grader, Kirk has participated in the DAR essay contest, is on the principal’s honor roll and reads on a seventh-grade level.
Phanthasy is a fourth-grade student at Craik who works on material far above his grade level. He scored a perfect 850 in reading on a PARCC assessment and an 849 on the math portion. He is on the principal’s honor roll and participates in several extracurricular activities including the science fair, art contests and chess club. He has received accolades for his entries in the DAR essay contest and reads on a sixth-grade level. Eager to participate in group conversations and activities, Phanthasy is a source of information for his peers.
A fifth grader at Higdon, Rooney exhibits advanced comprehension in reading and math and is quick to pick up new information. She exceeded expectations on PARCC assessments in both math and language arts, securing a spot in the top 5 percent. She has consistently been on the principal’s honor roll with a current 4.0 GPA. She participates in several extracurricular activities including MESA, Higdon’s math team, Husky Buddies and VEX Robotics. She plays the violin in the school band, is a member of the Swan Point Swim Team and plays soccer.
For the past two years Sapp has scored at a 5 on the PARCC assessment in both language arts and math. Her CogAT scores were above the 90th percentile rank on all three subtests and she consistently posts top scores on county language arts and math assessments. She was identified for gifted services in second grade and has received gifted services in math and language arts for the past three years. Sapp has participated in summer programs at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth for the past three years.
During the same program, five CCPS teachers — Kelly Craft, Karen Dempsey, Kristen Lednum, Jane Marchione and Sean Pearson — for their efforts and accomplishments in gifted education.
Craft, a learning resource teacher at Mary B. Neal Elementary School, moved from a smaller elementary school in the county to one of the largest, without missing a beat. Craft expanded the gifted program at Neal and can often be found co-teaching or working with a small group of gifted students.
Dempsey has more than a decade of experience as a gifted resource teacher. She works with teachers of advanced and gifted students at Malcolm Elementary School. While the gifted program focuses on third, fourth and fifth graders in elementary schools, Dempsey makes a point of reaching out to all advanced learners at Malcolm, working in small groups with kindergarten, first- and second-grade students.
Lednum is a gifted resource teacher at Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School where she works with teachers of advanced and gifted students. Working with small groups of gifted cluster students, Lednum often models lessons for all teachers at Higdon, and creates and leads professional learning sessions on gifted issues for all teachers at the school. Recently, Lednum advocated for a student to advance to middle-school level math and helped the student adjust to middle school, both academically and emotionally. She is on track to complete the Maryland State Gifted Specialist Certification work in December.
Marchione is a Matthew Henson Middle School’s seventh-grade gifted language arts teacher and has been teaching the school’s gifted students for the past nine years. She is also a member of the identification committee for students being recommended in seventh grade for gifted services. In addition to writing and evaluating the gifted curriculum for CCPS, Marchione offers support to gifted language arts teachers at Henson as the department chair. She helps new teachers navigate gifted resources and maintains the gifted book room at Henson.
Pearson is a learning resource teacher focused on gifted students and services at Milton M. Somers Middle School. He works with students as well as teachers and is often found in classrooms engaging in book discussions, problem-based activities and station activities. He assists gifted students who are struggling in math and other classes, and monitors gifted students to help them be more successful. Pearson meets bi-weekly with teachers to work on strategies they can use when presenting a lesson to their gifted learners.
In addition, Michelle Beckwith, principal of Dr. James Craik Elementary School, was named an outstanding school administrator and Ann Taylor, CCPS content specialist for gifted education, was honored as a gifted and talented program coordinator.
Prior to becoming an administrator, Beckwith was a reading resource teacher and has always supported rigorous and accelerated programs at Dr. James Craik Elementary School where she is the principal. Her goal is to enhance and strengthen the gifted program, and she is on the forefront of initiating writing, reading and math into the kindergarten programs.
Taylor is the coordinator for the CCPS gifted program in middle schools. She continues to expand and improve the services and events offered by the program. Taylor has worked extensively on updating curriculum by supplementing it with more technology and supports new resources. Taylor continues to learn more about the field of gifted education by attending conferences and professional development classes.
All award recipients were honored in a ceremony to honor the governor’s proclamation of February as Gifted and Talented Education Month. The ceremony was sponsored by MSDE and the Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education.