Message from the Leadership Team

November 12, 2020: A correction to yesterday's announcement
Dear MSD Community:
A correction to yesterday's announcement:
Because the COVID-19 infection rate is now above 5% in Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan announced tightened restrictions on the state. The state of Maryland did not, however, return to Phase One of the Roadmap to Recovery plan. It was Baltimore City that returned to Phase One. There was some confusion in the media which became my error. I apologize for sending out incorrect information.
Kevin Strachan
Interim Superintendent 
Note: The Spanish Translation is available below in our November 11 communication.
November 11, 2020: Phase One of the Roadmap to Recovery -- Changes for MSD
Dear MSD Community:
Yesterday Governor Larry Hogan announced that in Maryland the COVID infection rate is now over 5%. So, beginning today at 5:00pm, Maryland is returning to Phase One of the state's Roadmap to Recovery which impacts many aspects of our lives.
I met with my reopening team today to review what this means for MSD. Here are the immediate decisions we have made:
Tomorrow we were scheduled to welcome those teachers and classroom personnel who wished to work on campus in their classrooms and offices. Now that is being revisited according to the Governor's announcement and guidance for "essential personnel" only to be on site. We will communicate the specific details about who is considered "essential" in the next few days.
For employees who are currently working on campus, your supervisor will soon communicate with you regarding what changes this may mean for you. Until that occurs, you are expected to report to work as usual.
We were hopeful to bring the first group of students on campus at the start of December. That date is now postponed to January 19, 2021.
Until students return to campus for in-person instruction, we will be working on plans to provide site visits for specific students and student groups as long as it is safe to do so.
We are not able to bring high school athletes on campus for the conditioning and practice necessary for their safe participation in their chosen sports prior to January. We are uncertain at this time if we can participate in the winter sports season.
The mission of MSD has not changed. Every one of us at MSD is here for the education, wellbeing and growth of our children. Managing that safety in this pandemic is a challenge. With every change many new questions arise. As ever, I welcome your questions, your concerns, and your wisdom.

So please keep in touch, and we will do the same. We will continue to review our decisions, to make adjustments when necessary, and to communicate openly and regularly regarding MSD's plans for reopening.
Stay safe and stay well.
Kevin Strachan
Interim Superintendent
Video in ASL | Watch ASL Video
PDF in Spanish
September 3, 2020: Jennifer Yost Ortiz -- Interim Frederick Campus Principal
Dear MSD Community:
Tomorrow, September 4, 2020, James E. Tucker retires. For the last 28 years he served our community and worked hard to make Maryland School for the Deaf the flagship school that it is today. He has stated publicly a few times, "I hope I gave my best ... I hope I gave my all." For the last decade I have worked very closely with him. And I know the answer to that. Yes, sir, you gave it your all. I respect that, and I thank you for it.
Between Superintendent Tucker and MSD's next superintendent, I will be a bridge, serving you and serving this school that I love to the best of my ability.
In this year where I will serve as Interim Superintendent, Jennifer Yost Ortiz will fill my role as Frederick campus principal. Jennifer has worked at MSD for nine years, serving for five years as principal of Columbia campus and for four years as Frederick's Dean of Student Affairs. Some duties of the principal and some duties of the Dean of Student Affairs will, for the year, be given to individuals on our leadership team. And when we have hired a new superintendent, Jenn and I will return to our positions. Thank you, Jenn, for accepting this responsibility.
This school year we face many challenges. In the last 152 years MSD has seen a lot ... wars, fight for rights, social unrest, economic hardship and even a pandemic. Generations of MSD students and families and staff have stood together. Now in year 153, we will do the same.
Stay well. And have a good holiday weekend.
Kevin Strachan
Frederick Campus Principal
Video in ASL | Watch ASL Video
PDF in Spanish
August 30, 2020: Welcome Back to School Year 2020-21!
Dear Students and Families:
Welcome back! We had hoped that our return to school would also be a return to campus, but to ensure the safety of students, families, and staff, we will begin our 153rd school year together fully virtual.
We are excited to announce the 2020-2021 school year theme: "Standing Together".
Standing Together
Standing Together
The goals we set and the challenges we face as a community become more manageable when we are standing together. What we are working toward is greater than any one of us. We can do this. We are in this together. We are standing together. While we are not all gathered as we would be, we are still working together toward a common goal: to have the best school year yet for our students, families, and colleagues. Let's make our journey together in creating a better, stronger tomorrow.
Distance Learning
We are in stage one of our recovery plan. We have worked hard over the summer to continue to build upon the online learning experience from the past Spring. We will maintain a flexible and dynamic virtual learning experience for all of our students. We now have designated teams to support students and families in various ways and have created a one-stop resources and information page on our website for all things distance learning:
Black Lives Matter
MSD has recognized the need for a centralized place to educate the school community about the complex and multi-layered journey of the Black experience, past and present. Our Black Lives Matter website was created and developed with the purpose and intention to educate the community about racism and injustice faced by Black people in this world today. Included is a webpage explaining the guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement. Relevant to MSD's school community and in an effort to honor transparency, you will find links to reports administered by the six work groups. Please note that this is phase one of development and that additions to the website will be continuous. That being said, please take a moment to visit our resource center designed to encourage reflection and transformation:
Share your First Day of School photos with us! Direct Message your images to @MSDorioles on Instagram or email and your photos may be featured on our website and social media pages. Use the hashtag #MSDFirstDay and show us how you're celebrating the first day of school!
Please don't hesitate to reach out to us and we wish everyone a great school year!
Kevin Strachan, Principal, Frederick Campus
Jennifer Yost Ortiz, Dean of Student Affairs, Frederick Campus
Dawniela Patterson, Principal, Columbia Campus
Kevin Strachan
Kevin Strachan
Interim Superintendent
Dawniela Patterson
Dawniela Patterson
Columbia Campus Principal
Jennifer Yost Ortiz
Frederick Campus Interim Principal & Dean of Student Affairs