August 2023 | VOL. 2, ISSUE 3

President's Corner

Greetings school board colleagues,

The 2023-2024 school year is just around the corner, complete with the many challenges -- but also opportunities -- each new school year brings for school board members, and for the school systems and students we all serve.

Top of mind for us this year is implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, as well as ongoing legislation of consequence such as the Maryland Time to Care Act, which establishes an insurance-type program for paid leave. Cost savings, particularly when it comes to school systems' healthcare offerings, also continues to be a leading issue for school systems.

These are just a few of the priorities we will be monitoring and active on this coming school year, and with these key priorities in mind I invite you to read the related Q&A interview below with Milt Nagel, MABE's new Executive Director.

Milt began his appointment as MABE's new team leader on July 1 of this year, and is busy developing plans that will build on progress already made while also helping move the association in a bold and exciting direction. I encourage you to read his thoughts below, since they will help guide all of us in terms of helping to continue realizing our much-needed vision of serving as a champion for excellence in public education throughout Maryland.

I also want to remind all Maryland school board members (and superintendents!) that you still have a few weeks to receive MABE's discounted registration rate for MABE Annual Conference 2023. You can find an Annual Conference preview, as well as hotel logistics and a Conference registration link by visiting here. Also be sure to check out details for upcoming MABE Board Service Academy trainings below -- we hope to see you there!

Thank you for your continuing commitment to Maryland public education. Our schools and students are all the better for it.

~ Joe Goetz (Kent County)

MABE President

MABE Priority Goals for the 2022-2023 School Year:

An Interview with MABE Executive Director Milt Nagel

Milton ("Milt") Nagel recently was promoted from his Deputy Executive Director slot at MABE to lead the association as MABE's new Executive Director. Recognized as being both a team player and forward-looking strategist, the Caroline County native served Caroline County Public Schools for nearly three decades, primarily as assistant superintendent for administrative services, and also as Interim Superintendent of Schools for one year.

We sat down with Milt to get his views on several priority issues and plans for his starting months as MABE's new leader.

Q: School board members throughout Maryland continue to work hard on implementation efforts for the Blueprint for Maryland's Future. Can you provide a snapshot of planned MABE actions for the coming months?

A: Absolutely. In addition to MABE's ongoing efforts to monitor Blueprint-related developments and resources, and keep our members well informed, there are several areas of the Blueprint that must be addressed if implementation efforts at the local level are to be successful.

Following a productive July meeting with PSSAM (the Public School Superintendents' Association of Maryland) and MACo (the Maryland Association of Counties), we are beginning efforts this month to develop Blueprint modifications we intend to present to key Maryland legislators; we expect this to take place well in advance of the Maryland General Assembly's 2024 session which begins January 10. We recognize the importance of getting an early start on proactive efforts tied to potential Blueprint refinements and improvements, understanding that early action makes us that much more likely to generate positive, proactive legislative action.

Q: School systems are facing inflation and growing budget demands, including rising healthcare costs. Does MABE have any efforts underway that can help Maryland school systems on this front?

A: When it comes to attracting and retaining staff, Maryland school systems understandably are looking for both high quality and cost-saving options when it comes to health insurance. We expect to be able to provide additional details soon, but at this time can share that MACo recently approved a partnership with MABE focused on best-in-class healthcare solutions that MABE member school systems can implement, while also streamlining the healthcare selection and implementation process for school systems.

Access, quality and care are paramount when it comes to health benefits. With this in mind, I'm glad to share that we're working with a large, experienced benefits consulting firm to select and enter into agreements we feel confident will benefit Maryland school systems. Our work initially centers on convenient and accessible, employer-sponsored health centers for school system employees and their dependents that act as a sort of concierge health service for primary care, and a cooperative effort related to paid family leave and the Maryland Time to Care Act. These are just two of the tools we'll have in our toolbox of new benefits for MABE members. More to come on our innovative suite of user-friendly services and products underway for Maryland school systems!

Q: That provides a good segue to get more information on the Maryland Time to Care Act, as well as MABE's related Collaborative under development. For people who may be coming up to speed, what is the Maryland Time To Care Act, and how might the MABE Time to Care Act (TTCA) Collaborative benefit MABE members?

A: For starters, the Maryland Time to Care Act, passed in 2022, will provide access to paid family and medical leave. Specifically, the Act requires nearly all Maryland employers with 15 employees or more to contribute to a state-administered fund made up of employer and employee contributions, which will be available to qualifying Maryland employers -- including government employers such as school systems. Maryland employers will be required to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave to care for themselves or certain family members, when necessary criteria are met. Maryland employers also have the option to develop their own plan by contracting directly with an insurer, or participate in the new program to be administered by the State of Maryland.

Even though lawmakers recently extended the date for initial employer and employee fund contributions to October 1, 2024, and also moved the start date for benefits payments to employees to January 1, 2026, we do urge school systems to start planning now.

More specifically, we recommend that Maryland school systems join what will be the MABE Time to Care Act (TTCA) Collaborative, through MABE, since that means great potential to lower related payment costs. We are encouraged that MACo recently approved their partnership with MABE on this important effort, and suggest school board members or other decision makers in your school system contact me for additional information we feel will be helpful.

Q: What other opportunities do you see to expand assistance and offerings to MABE members?

A: One of my priorities will be working to ensure that our members are aware of the various MABE benefits, services and offerings they are entitled to. I invite our members to visit the MABE Member Benefits & Solutions booklet for a detailed overview, and to contact any of our staff at any time with any related questions they may have.

I also plan to reach out to all of Maryland's 24 boards of education during the next several months, in hopes that I may join one of their future board meetings to introduce myself, go into greater detail about MABE services, and learn more about any specific topics on which MABE staff may be able to provide additional information. Our entire team is dedicated to putting members first, and are eager to share expertise in their respective fields when requested by school boards. It's by working together and sharing timely information and resources that we all can do our best work!


Virtual New Board Member Orientation

Thursday, August 24

9:00 am - 4:00 pm (including lunch break)



"The Trust Edge" & Its Transformative Role for School Districts

Wednesday, September 13

9:00 am - Noon



MABE Annual Conference 2023

October 2-4

The Westin Annapolis


Maryland School Law Deskbook:

A Sneak Peek

Thursday, November 2

9:00 am - Noon



The Open Meetings Act:

Understanding its Significance, Avoiding Penalties & Ensuring School Board Compliance

Thursday, December 7

9:00 am - Noon



MABE workshops will be held virtually unless announced otherwise. Additional workshops will be offered as the need or issue arises. There is a charge of $75 per person per training unless otherwise indicated. Please note that event registration closes at 10:00 am on the business day prior to each event's occurrence.

Registration for BoardDocs, a Diligent Brand's Modern Governance Summit has been extended to August 11. The Summit will take place September 13-15, 2023 at the Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort. MABE members are invited to register now for three days of education, networking, in-depth workshops and product training opportunities for the BoardDocs and Diligent Community. (Be sure to register as "Attendee - Government & Education" using promo code BD25 before August 11.)


The Blueprint's AIB Announces New Technical Assistance Grant Program

The Blueprint for Maryland's Future's Accountability & Implementation Board (AIB) announced on August 1 its 2023-2024 Technical Assistance Grant Program, intended to "provide each local school system and the CTE committee with the opportunity to partner with a qualified Strategic Facilitator throughout the upcoming school year to support the continued implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland's Future." AIB is seeking a cohort of "dynamic, experienced, transformative Strategic Facilitators who will collaborate closely with the partner district(s) to identify and reach their goals, develop new and innovative approaches, and support the district and its stakeholders in achieving their transformative vision.

The application opens on August 4, 2023 and closes on August 18, 2023. MABE members are encouraged to share this information with qualified individuals. Two virtual support sessions will be held on August 9 and August 1; registration is available here.

Congratulations to MABE Former President Ginny McGraw!

If you missed the news, MABE recently announced Virginia ("Ginny") McGraw of Charles County was named the recipient of MABE's 2023 Distinguished School Board Service Award. Nominators emphasized McGraw's longtime commitment to quality education, noting "her 40-year career has epitomized commitment, dedication, and passion for public education and achievement for all children." The biennial award will be presented to McGraw during the MABE Annual Conference this October in Annapolis

In addition to serving as President of MABE during 2021-2022, McGraw also served as a MABE Board of Director member and officer from 2017-2022, and as a Trustee for MABE's Legal Services Association. Active for many years in several MABE Board Service Academies and Annual Conferences, she also served on numerous MABE Committees, including the association's Bylaws, Educational Equity, Budgeting, Conference Program, and Policy & Procedure Committees. The retired Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Principal was named "2009 Principal of the Year," and served as a teacher and vice principal with CCPS.

Additional details are available in this press release. Warm congratulations, Ginny!

Recent Headlines

Note: Some publications may require subscriptions.

WYPR (7/5)

The Blueprint, Maryland’s massive education reform plan, is underway. What changes are families and students seeing?

Maryland Matters (7/4)

Breaking down the Blueprint: The challenges school districts face in meeting students’ behavioral health needs

Howard County Times (7/31)

State board approves Howard school system’s first Blueprint implementation plan


Capital Gazette (7/27)

Maryland board approves Anne Arundel Public Schools Blueprint implementation plan

Fox 5 (7/31)

Blueprint schools opening in Prince George’s County

Maryland Public Policy Institute (6/22)

Poll: Voters don’t like higher taxes to fund the Kirwan Commission’s education plan

WMAR (7/12)

Baltimore City Public Schools plan to add 25 electric school buses to its fleet

WDVM (8/1)

Prince George’s County adding five new schools this fall; officials say 8,000 new seats will be added to the district

WJLA (6/23)

MSDE launches new math tutoring initiative to be funded by up to $10M in grants

WTOP (8/1)

Frederick County Public Schools receive $95k state grant for offering healthy seasonal produce

WBOC (7/26)

$2.6M “Stronger Connections” grant earmarked for several positions in Worcester County Public Schools (7/30)

Release: MSDE to invest more than $35M in Pre-K programs across Maryland

The Herald-Mail (7/27)

Who’s really in charge of Maryland’s education policy? Lawmakers meet to tackle question

WJLA (7/31)

As local school systems prepare for coming year many still facing teacher shortage

WBOC (7/31)

Profile of Wicomico Mentoring Project, focused on building relationships between caring adults and students

Washington Post (6/7)

Prince George’s names former Houston superintendent as schools leader

WYPR (7/24)

Midday on Education: Howard County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano interviewed


Supreme Court won’t hear charter school dress code case that promised broader fallout

Education Week (7/31)

The number of students in special education has doubled in the past 45 years

Ed Markey site (release; 7/10)

Markey joins Van Hollen, Huffman in introducing bill to fully fund special education

The Education Trust (6/21)

Nation’s report card shows troubling decline of students’ knowledge in Math and Reading (release)

WBAL 11 News Sunday Morning (6/25)

New report from National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) says reading and math schools continue to fall for 13-year-old students

Associated Press (7/31)

Oklahoma parents, faith leaders and education group sue to stop US’s first public religious school

NPR / Missouri Independent (7/13)

A new Missouri law will encourage retired public school teachers and bus drivers to return to work without losing retirement benefits

Associated Press (7/29)

Judge blocks Arkansas law allowing librarians to be ‘criminally charged’ over harmful materials

Education Week (6/23)

Most Teachers want politicians to stay out of their classroom decisionmaking

WDVM (7/25)

The best and worst states for public schools

Don't forget to register for MABE Annual Conference 2023!

"I know that for the MABE Annual Conference, I'm going to have trouble choosing which workshops and hot topics sessions to attend because there are so many I'm interested in. That's a good problem to have!"

~ Carol Mueller

Harford County School Board President


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