The statewide Maryland effort to honor parents, guardians remains unique in the nation.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has called for nominations for the fifth annual Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA). The award program honors parents and others with legal responsibility for a child, whose exemplary contributions to public education have led to improvements for Maryland’s public school children, teachers, schools, programs and/or policies.
The Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award program was developed to shine a spotlight on parents and legal guardians who have demonstrated significant involvement in the following areas: Communicating, Volunteering, Learning, Collaborating with Community, and Decision Making. The program’s theme, “Choose Your Seat. Get Involved.” illustrates the point that Maryland parents/guardians are involved in a wide range of activities to support their public schools and encourages all parents to get involved whatever way they can.
“We are fortunate in Maryland to have strong parental support and advocacy for our children,” said Dr. Bernard J. Sadusky, Interim State Superintendent of Schools. “Those nominated for the Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award serve as role models who are making a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of children — ensuring they achieve both academic and personal success. This award is an opportunity for us to applaud and recognize parents and guardians for their dedication to our schools, community, and students.”
Shawna Capotosto of Frederick County was named statewide winner of the 2011 Parent Involvement Matters Award in May. Capotosto has worked with parents of special needs students throughout the Frederick County Public School System in an effort to help them understand the system and find services so important to academic success. She works on more than a half-dozen school committees, spends countless hours with parents as they meet with school officials, and acts as both a volunteer and advocate. Through her efforts, scores of children have become successful students. Her community involvement is tireless and her volunteerism is priceless as she brings a dual perspective to special education in Frederick County – that of dedicated parent and unwavering advocate.
During the past several years, numerous local and State PIMA winners have graciously assumed many roles to support parent involvement, including membership on the State Superintendent’s Family Involvement Advisory Council, testifying at legislative hearings, serving on local and State Task Forces, appearing at State and local Board of Education meetings, and providing their advice and expertise on numerous educational programs and issues.
Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award nominees must be parents or legal guardians of children attending Maryland public schools, and cannot be employees of MSDE or a local public school system. Twenty-four semifinalists will be selected – one parent from each of the 23 Maryland counties and one from Baltimore City. Of the semifinalists, five finalists and one statewide winner will be named at an award celebration in the spring of 2012.
Nomination forms are currently available and can be downloaded at www.MarylandPublicSchools.org/pima. Nominations must be postmarked by Tuesday, January 31, 2012.