MSD Tower

Meeting Minutes
February 20, 2009

Columbia Campus

MEMBERS PRESENT: Benjamin Bahan, Ph.D.; Connie Briscoe-Woodruff; William J. Bowman; John Ertel, Ph.D.; Ernest Hairston, Ph.D.; Roslyn Hannibal-Booker; Sandra N. Harriman; Robin Kittleman; Edgar B. Palmer; Charles Poyer; Barbara Raimondo, Esq.; Laurie Yaffe.

MEMBERS ABSENT: Cynthia Neese-Bailes, Ph.D.; David A. Severn, Esq.


INTERPRETERS: Brenda Kelly-Frey; Roberta Quinn

Board of Trustees President Barbara Raimondo, Esq. called the meeting to order at 9:23 a.m. Roll call was taken by passing around the Roll Call Sheet.

A MOTION was made to approve the agenda for the meeting – SECONDED – PASSED.

A MOTION was made to approve the minutes from the November 2008 meeting – SECONDED – PASSED.

President’s Report:  President Raimondo introduced guest Lisa Cornberg from the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing who will present during Open Forum. Ms. Zeolla and Ms. Rhasid were introduced to the Board as two potential new members. Three names have been sent to the Governor’s Appointments Office. There are 19 slots for Board of Trustees Members and 14 members currently holding positions.

The Education Committee met prior to the Board of Trustees meeting and took a morning tour of the Columbia Campus. Columbia Campus Principal John Snavlin will have a report later in the day to discuss the facilities.

The President shared that due to the budget cuts some schools for the deaf around the nation are closing.  MSD is still strong in part because of the great quality of teachers and resources.

Vice President’s Report: No Report.

Secretary’s Report: No Report.

Treasurer’s Report:  Mr. Bowman reported on the financial transactions that have occurred since the November meeting including the auditing report.

Superintendent’s Report:  Mr. Tucker noted that the Department of Legislative Services analyst’s report was included in the Board Packet as well as MSD’s response to the report.  The Maryland Department of Education and the General Assembly continue to be very supportive of MSD.  The 2010 Budget is about $80,000 less than the current 2009 budget. Highest priority is always to retain all staff members. Repairs and expenditures may be postponed. Mr. Tucker met with his senior management team to discuss contingency plans to control spending for contractual services, travel expenses, tuition reimbursement, etc. MSD’s Capital Improvement Program budget request includes Fredrick Campus’s construction money for a new cafeteria and for Barry Hall to be torn down. It includes a new athletic field at the Columbia Campus and the Main Building parking lot to be moved. It also included design money for a new bus loop at Frederick Campus.

A packet (10 flyers and a cover letter) was mailed last summer to over 3,000 pediatricians in Maryland. Flyers listed MSD programs and services as well as MSD contact numbers. It is hoped that parents of deaf children would receive these flyers from their pediatricians. This letter and flyer is in the Board packet for review.

MSD high school students were applauded for their High School Assessment (HSA) results. There are four tests (English 10, Biology, Government, and Algebra I) which have to be passed and among the class of 2009; 27 students out of 31 have passed so far.  There is a Bridge Program in lieu of the HSA which is a project the student can complete. The passing of the four tests or the completion of the Bridge Program leads to a State High School Diploma.

The Elementary School Building is complete except for the receipt of furniture. April/May is the target time to open.

The Pilot Program for Deaf Students with Emotional Disturbance officially opened at the Frederick Campus on January 20, 2009 with three high school students. There are two more high school students who may enroll in this program in the near future.

Student Life Committee:  There were problems with flooding in the dorm at the Columbia Campus. Principal John Snavlin reported on the damage to the dorm due to flooding.  The area is now safe and parents are aware of the issue. There was no damage to internal rooms, and repainting should be finished by April.  The Master Plan with renovations included will be proposed to the Board for Review in May. Currently the Master Plan does not include renovations. While only 10 students require boarding room, many could go home daily but do benefit greatly from staying on campus. More dorm space is needed at Columbia, which may be prioritized and rewritten in the Master Plan.

It was discussed that there is a need for additional lighting on the Columbia Campus in parking lots and there is a need for additional computers as well.

Student Life Counselors reported to the Student Life Committee that they would like to work towards better communication between themselves and teachers, to understand what happens during school in an effort to be of more help to students who transition from school to the dorms in the afternoon to help with their homework. Student Life Counselors did not bring their concerns to the Principal before bringing them to the Board Student Life Committee at their meeting. 35 staff members came to this meeting, during which their concerns were discussed.

Personnel Committee Report:  Anny Currin reported that staff evaluations are outdated and are being revised. A task force of teachers, assistant teachers and personnel members has been formed to investigate other schools’ evaluation forms.  The goal is to combine what public schools are using with what deaf schools are using. Different professional development plans will be developed based on the teachers’ years of experience.

Conferences and trainings will be held with management to help them understand the forms and their responsibilities with the new forms.

MSD continues to support the teachers towards their certification with the tuition reimbursement plan.

Student Assessment Report:  Chad Baker gave a Power Point Presentation entitled: Changes in Measuring Reading Comprehension.
Open Forum: Lisa Kornberg, Executive Officer for the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, wanted to understand what issues MSD has which may apply to other agencies.  The budget proposal by the Governor is in support of her office and its expansion, however DLS wants to abolish it and put it in with the Department of Disabilities. Ms. Kornberg requested MSD send a letter of support of her agency.  The Board agreed to send this letter.

Executive Committee:  No Report.

Education Committee:  Robin Kittleman, Chairperson for the Education Committee, explained that the Education Committee met with school staff with regard to behavior intervention, restraint and the seclusion room. This topic is of particular interest at this time due to national reports about injuries and deaths occurring during restraints. Ms. Kittleman concluded that MSD has proper procedures which are in line with the State and that a lot of documentation occurs in the event of this situation. Ms. Kittleman will follow up with another meeting at a later date.

Fiscal Matters/Facilities Management Committee: John Ertel, Ph.D. reported that he attended a Maryland School for the Deaf Foundation meeting. He is in need of bank statements and financial information from the Foundation.

He was asked to review MSD’s audit. MSD did not include the sensitive equipment inventory which will be addressed at the exit interview but it is not seen as a large concern. The monetary value of what was not recorded is low. No errors appeared intentional.  The auditors questioned the approval process for overtime.  The fiscal office is working on the response for the exit interview which will be held March 10, 2009.  The final written report becomes public record.

Trusteeship Committee:  There are 19 Board Member slots and 14 current Board members. Three names have been submitted to the Governor for approval. Five terms will end in 2009 and there are still two more positions left to fill. Rate of approval is 99% when names are submitted.  There are some geographical requirements as to where members live to represent all areas of the State.

Accreditation Committee:  A presentation will be made at the next meeting. 

As a result of the presentation by Lisa Kornberg, a MOTION was made to write a letter to support that ODHH be kept under the Governor’s Office – SECONDED – PASSED.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held on May 8, 2009 at Frederick Campus.

A MOTION was made to adjourn at 2:30 p.m. – SECONDED – PASSED.

Respectfully Submitted,


Charles Poyer


101 Clarke Place
P.O Box 250
MD 21705-0250

301.360.2001 TTY
301.360.1400 FAX

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Frederick Campus
Established 1868

Columbia Campus
Established 1973

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Maryland School for the Deaf does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, or disability in matters affecting programs, activities, or employment practices.