English teacher named county's Educator of Year

Neighbors

May 13, 1998|By Kathy Curtis | Kathy Curtis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ENGLISH TEACHER Cindy Drummond is "a wonderful person who truly enjoys teen-agers," according to Maryann West, ninth-grade team leader at Wilde Lake High School.

"She brings a real joy and openness to the classroom," said West. "It's like walking into a sunny room."

Drummond, who teaches ninth- and 11th-graders at Wilde Lake, was named Educator of the Year by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce at its Community Awards Night, held last week at Turf Valley Resort & Conference Center.

Wilde Lake is Drummond's first teaching position, and she has been there four years. She recalls that as a student in a private school, she loved learning but hated school.

"Schools put too much focus on grades," she said. "The focus should be on a love of learning. That's what I try to do with my students."

In her English classes, she uses a method called "shared inquiry," which encourages students to develop their own ideas about the books they read, express those ideas in speech and writing and support their viewpoints.

Sometimes their ideas take the form of artwork, such as a musical composition, a sculpture or a dance.

Drummond encourages students to find something in everything they read that they can connect with, something that they can use in other classes and in life.

To help students make connections with the world of work, she has created a concept for a program called Career Connection Opportunities, which she hopes to implement next year.

She plans to work with student clubs to invite community members to come to the school to talk about their careers.

Fostering relationships among communities, schools and local businesses is one of Drummond's long-term goals.

"There is much to be gained on all sides from that partnership," she said.

Another of Drummond's projects has been forging relationships among schools. SAVE (Students Against Violent Encounters) grew out of discussions in Drummond's classes following the death last spring of fellow teacher Lawrence Hoyer in the aftermath of a fight among students.

Wilde Lake students wanted to do something to show people that there are alternatives to violence. They decided to visit elementary and middle schools to talk to younger students about handling conflict.

"I was absolutely impressed by how mature and caring they were," said Drummond. "These kids at 14 and 15 were making a real difference."

She is also enthusiastic about her professional colleagues. "I'm very, very lucky," Drummond said. "I work with the best group of people anyone could ever work with."

Hasson aids readers

Also recognized by the chamber were eight other Outstanding Educators, including Mary Beth Hasson of Running Brook Elementary School.

"She's a wonderful professional," remarked Principal Marion Miller. "She knows what the needs of the children are, and she does what needs to be done. The children adore her."

Hasson, a reading resource teacher, came to Running Brook from Prince George's County four years ago.

A resident of Town Center, she has two daughters who attended Running Brook.

Hasson heads a team of four reading teachers who rotate to each grade for an hour a day of reading. The additional staff members allow the classes to be divided into small groups.

Hasson has developed several reading programs, including BAG -- Books Are Great -- for first-graders.

Starting with her own children's picture books, she gave each pupil a book in a plastic bag to take home every night. Parents were asked to read the books to their children.

With the help of grants, including one from the Wilde Lake Village Board, Hasson has expanded her collection to more than 300 books.

She has purchased books in Spanish, so parents who don't speak English can participate.

Through a partnership with Sgt. Peppers Market Fresh Dining, Hasson developed a program called Caught Reading.

In January, students signed up on fish-decorated fliers that are kept in a fishbowl. Faculty members volunteer to call about five students each weekday evening to see if they are reading.

The next day, children who were caught reading receive a certificate with a coupon for the restaurant.

Applications sent home with students resulted in 75 library cards being issued.

Leader seeks to serve

C. Anthony Yount, assistant principal of Clemens Crossing Elementary School, was also honored as an Outstanding Educator.

A 30-year resident of Longfellow, Yount has been at Clemens Crossing for five years.

"I believe that administrators should serve their staffs, not dominate them," said Yount. "They should be model teachers."

At Clemens Crossing, Yount has created several innovative programs, including Kids Talk, a weekly session for teachers to discuss students in their classes and get suggestions from other teachers. Yount noted that the teachers come to school 45 minutes early one day each week for this session.

He also created and directs the school's summer program, called Camp Cougar.

The six-week academic program helps students who are having difficulty in school and provides enrichment for other students. Nearly a third of the school's students attend.

Yount said he also employs 35 to 40 middle and high school students at the camp.

Pub Date: 5/13/98

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