Hardy Selected for Gifted and Talented Pilot Program
The Georgetown middle school was one of two middle schools chosen for the Schoolwide Enrichment Model pilot in the 2012-2013 school year.
Since taking over the helm at Hardy Middle School, Dr. Mary Stefanus has kept her head down and kept the Georgetown middle school out of the often too-bright media spotlight of years past. She already has something to show for her short time as principal: Chancellor Kaya Henderson selected Hardy as one of two DCPS middle schools to pilot the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) for the 2012-2013 school year.
SEM is a gifted and talented program designed by Joseph Renzulli. Through the pilot, Hardy will receive funding for a full-time gifted and talented teacher to assist in the implementation of the program. The enrichment program is generally used with academically gifted and talented students to engage them and develop their existing strengths.
"Although I am new to Hardy this year, the faculty and staff have a rich history of integration across subject areas and so I believe the SEM will only enhance what instructionally has been occurring," wrote Stefanus in a newsletter sent to Hyde-Addison Elementary parents.
A perfect example of integration across subjects is the wetlands project several teachers helped create this past fall. Maya Garcia, the Chair of the Science Department, first came up with the idea for an outdoor classroom at the school. She told Patch in September that she hoped to work with the English department to create signs and other helpful information for the garden and wetlands.
The good news about Hardy comes almost exactly a year after Principal Dana Nerenberg was removed from her role of managing two Georgetown public schools. She continues to serve as the widely respected leader of Hyde-Addison elementary.
Chancellor Henderson appointed an interim principal and organized a search committee after a group of parents, students and teachers continued to object to former Chancellor Michelle Rhee's decision to oust popular principal Patrick Pope.
One DCPS rationale for having the same principal managing both the elementary and middle schools was that it would encourage continued matriculation by in-boundary students. This group often leaves the public school system during the middle school years. Pope was supposedly going to be given an arts magnet school to run. He never got that post.
A committee of parents, teachers, community members and students interviewed several candidates and several of them highlighted Stefanus's collaborative nature and years of experience at the middle school level—a gripe often made about Nerenberg who had previously only focused on elementary school.
In announcing the new principal, Chancellor Henderson wrote "to deliver a high-quality education to all students, it takes a strong school leader who is singularly focused on raising student achievement. Astounding advances are possible when the right principal is leading a school."
Stefanus will visit Howard County Schools at the end of the month to observe their SEM program in action and to speak with curriculum staff. In her newsletter note, she promised to continue to provide information about what SEM will mean for Hardy as she learns more about it from colleagues.