Will You Throw the First Pitch?

Screenshot 2017-06-26 15.05.44
Step up and share your county’s IT needs at MACo’s Summer Conference.

This year’s MACo Conference offers attendees an opportunity to voice county government information technology interests directly to private sector providers in an informal, informational format.

Share challenges & discover capabilities in this new Tech Wednesday offering.

SWITCH PITCH” IGNITE! — Meet Your Match: Solutions to County IT Challenges

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Gain quick insight into what tech can do for county governments in this fast-paced session. County IT and management professionals will state their needs, and vendors in the Tech Expo Tradeshow will respond with their pitch for solving the top tech issues. Attendees will get a chance to learn a little about a lot of vendors in a short period of time. Listen and learn!

Example County Pitches

  1. How do I empower employees to work from home in a secure and productive manner at minimal cost to the County?
  2. There are so many mobile apps in the market. Other than reading through the reviews, how can one determine the overall quality of a mobile app?  Is there a standard to check an app’s quality? What is it?
  3. What and where have been some of the more successful public/private partnerships providing broadband to unserved rural areas?

SIGN UP HERE TO BE A PART OF THIS SESSION Space is limited – Reply by July 19.

Have a pitch, but you are not attending this session?  Contact Robin Clark Eilenberg at MACo.

Tech Wednesday Vendor List

  • AVI-SPL, Inc
  • CDW-G
  • Comcast
  • Commvault
  • Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc.
  • Data Networks of America
  • ePlus Technology Inc.
  • Esri
  • Freedom Broadband
  • Fujitsu America, Inc.
  • GovDeals, Inc.
  • Juniper Networks
  • Lenovo
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Maryland Libraries
  • Maryland Relay
  • Motorola Solutions, Inc.
  • Musco Sports Lighting
  • NIC Maryland
  • Phillips Office Solutions
  • Presidio
  • Prosys Information Systems
  • Regent Development Consulting, Inc. (RDC)
  • Ricoh USA, Inc.
  • Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Rudolph’s Office & Computer Supply, Inc.
  • SAIC
  • ShoreScan Solutions
  • Splunk
  • Sprint
  • Supply Solutions, LLC
  • Tomi Environmental Solutions

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Ideas Add Up to a 10% Reduction in County School Construction Costs

Frederick County School Construction Work Group Presents Cost Savings in Final Report.

As reported by Frederick County, a work group appointed by County Executive Gardner has met its charge by identifying means to reduce school construction costs by 8-10%.

download
A report on school construction from Frederick County considers possible savings of new HVAC technology.

Some items identified in the report include changes to the construction of schools, such as:

  • reducing the overall size of schools ($2 million in potential savings)
  • changing ceiling tiles ($300,000 in potential savings)
  • altering the height of roof parapets ($45,000 in potential savings)
  • employing Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Technology for school HVAC systems

From Frederick County:

The report contains over 40 recommendations ranging from legislative solutions, site acquisition and preparation, delivery methods, construction technologies and other general cost savings.

For more information, see the full report, Reducing School Construction Costs While Preserving Excellence in Education.

Gov. Hogan Taps New Members of State Education Board

Governor Larry Hogan announced Thursday he has tapped four new members of the Maryland State Board of Education.

The Washington Post reports,

Hogan’s picks included David Steiner, executive director for the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and a professor of education at Hopkins, and Michael Phillips, senior pastor of the Kingdom Life Church in Baltimore and founder of the Better Life Community Development Corp.

The governor also appointed Justin Hartings, president of Biaera Technologies of Hagerstown and a former member of the Washington County Board of Education in western Maryland, and Kyle Smith, a student at North Point High School in Charles County. Smith, who becomes the state board’s student member, was recommended by the Maryland Association of Student Councils.

“These talented individuals represent our administration’s continued commitment to ensuring that our already strong education system continues to improve while providing a world-class education for all Maryland students,” Hogan (R) said in a statement.

The new members, who must be confirmed by the state Senate, join a board predominantly appointed by Hogan. Two of the board’s 12 members were appointed by former governor Martin O’Malley (D)–Guffrie Smith and Madhu Sidhu.

 A spokeswoman for Hogan said Hartings and Phillips were appointed May 22. Steiner, previously dean of the School of Education at Hunter College and New York state’s commissioner of education, was named April 20.
Read the full article for more information.

Howard Schools, University of Maryland Partner to Find Most Efficient Bus Routes

Transportation officials with Howard County public schools revealed plans Thursday to maximize school bus efficiency, using a mathematical modeling program developed by University of Maryland students to determine the best bus routes should schools start and dismissal times change in the coming year.

The Baltimore Sun reports,

Last week, the Board of Education motioned to delay any changes to start and dismissal times until at least the 2018-19 school year to give administrators, staff and parents time to prepare for schedule adjustments.

While any potential changes to the start and dismissal times will not be implemented next year, school system director of transportation David Ramsay said transportation is a major factor in the decision-making process. Alternative start and dismissal times could not only increase the number of general and specialized bus fleets needed, but also increase overall costs.

“Transportation has, historically, been the area in which there are cost implications with adjusting bell times,” Ramsay said. “The tools that we had weren’t sufficient to the degree that we were happy with to really analyze this problem.”

Haghani, a Fulton resident, said the tool uses a mathematical optimization model that can minimize or maximize a particular function. In this case, he said, the goal was to minimize the total number of buses as well as the deadhead time, the time when buses are running without any students onboard.

“A solution that is 1 percent worse can lead to three or four more buses,” Haghani said.

Using data provided by the school system, Haghani said students used the bus start and end times, location and order of stops and the deadhead distance in the program.

“The optimization model tries to match up these routes together in a way that as many routes as possible are served by one bus,” he said. “We had a working model in about a month, but when we ran it, it took a long time.”

Five months later, Haghani said, results for each given scenario were available in under a minute.

While Haghani said the model was free-of-charge to the school system, Ramsay added that the school system paid $5,000 toward the QUEST program’s involvement and an additional $24,800 for consultation with Haghani. Other vendor price quotes for developing a model had exceeded $50,000, Ramsay said.

Once the school board makes a decision on school start and dismissal times, Ramsay said they will give Haghani a spreadsheet outlining the proposal to calculate the most efficient bus routes for the county’s elementary, middle and high schools.

Read the full article for more information.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Recognized for Role in Schools

Last week, St. Mary’s County Public Schools expressed their appreciation for the support of law enforcement at their schools and on their safety teams. During a ceremony, school officials recognized Safety and Security Assistants, Maryland State Police, and deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office for their public safety efforts in the public school system.

Southern Maryland News Net reports,

Principals who submitted nominations, commanders and members of the school board, along with Superintendent James Scott Smith and Safety & Security Director, Mike Wyant, bestowed the awards.

“For every day of this school year, there has been at least one unsung hero,” Wyant said. “Law enforcement officers have helped make a difference in a child’s life, and the partnerships we continue to forge provide confidence in our systems.”
Following an opening by Smith, Sheriff Cameron said, “Our partnerships create a great synergy, and we have a positive relationship that exists today.”

The following officer from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office was nominated for Adopt-A-School Officer of the Year: Timothy Snyder, Lexington Park Elementary and George Washington Carver Elementary School.

“Deputy Snyder grew up in Lexington Park and finds his life experiences a benefit in supporting the children in the community regardless of their age,” Dr. Rebecaa Schou, Principal of Lexington Park Elementary said. “Deputy Snyder also finds time to support his community as a member of the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad, providing care and comfort to families who are experiencing a medical emergency.”

“The Carver team wishes to express our utmost gratitude for the hard work Deputy Timothy Snyder has displayed in safeguarding the school, staff, and students,” Principal Deanna Mingo of George Washington Carver Elementary School said. “He has shown to the Carver community the highest professionalism in every interaction. Deputy Snyder’s concerted effort exceeds expectations.”

The following officers from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office were nominated for School Resource Officers of the Year: Corporal Andrew Holton, Chopticon High School; Corporal Kristi Nelson, Great Mills High School; and Corporal Gray Maloy, Leonardtown High School.

Selected for School Resource Officer of the Year was Corporal Andy Holton, Chopticon High School and Margaret Brent Middle School. “Holton is always on time, always on duty, and always interacts with students with nothing but respect and support,” Mark Priner of Chopticon High School said. “Every interaction I have with him is marked by professionalism, respect and a steady focus on the task of ensuring that Chopticon is run as safely as possible.”

“He is firm, consistent, and holds students to high expectations,” Principal Janet Fowler of Margaret Brent Middle School said. “However, he also provides a safe outlet for students to confide in him. He models appropriate behavior for our young men and women, and his positive impact reaches beyond the walls of our building into our community.”

Sheriff Cameron, along with the men and women of the sheriff’s office, extend congratulations to every individual who was nominated and received an award. The Sheriff’s Office also thanks the board of education, Superintendent Smith, St. Mary’s County Public School staff, and the principals of our local schools for honoring the nominees and winners.

Read the full article for more information.

Drop in Elementary School Attendance Tied to Heroin Epidemic

Education officials in Allegany County saw a decrease in elementary school attendance during the 2016-2017 school year connected to the heroin crisis. The drop included 21 enrollment cancellations.

The Cumberland Times-News reports:

The issue was revealed Tuesday at a meeting of the Allegany County Board of Education at the Central Office on Washington Street.

Officials said the problem was primarily at the elementary school level and was a result of parental drug problems impacting children’s daily lives.

Nil Grove, chief technology officer, gave a report of the situation.

“We have to report to MSDE (Maryland State Department of Education) our attendance,” said Grove. “The attendance decrease in 2016 to 2017 was a result of our opioid crisis in the county. It was directly related to that. It’s pretty sad, but that is something that did happen, where our students were unable to attend based on problems in their home.”

Officials said the problems occur when parents’ addictions to narcotics run counter to the child’s educational needs.

For more information read the full article in The Cumberland Times-News

Anne Arundel County Schools Add New Summer Meal Sites

The Anne Arundel County School system has expanded their free Summer Meals program. The program helps serve nutritious meals to children in need. Many low-income children across the state rely on the Summer
Meals Program to ensure they do not go hungry when school is no longer in session.

As  reported in The Capital Gazette:

“School’s out for summer and we’re excited,” said Jodi Risse, supervisor of food and nutrition services for county schools. “(But) we want to continue to feed and fuel our students throughout the summer.”

The free summer meals program is offered to students in areas of economic need, Risse said. Those are areas where 50 percent or more of students receive free or reduced-priced meals. Last summer, Mobile Meals served 14,861 meals.

New school sites at Annapolis Middle and Lothian Elementary schools are among 15 locations across the county. Some are open to the public, meaning anyone ages 2-18 can utilize the free meals — there are no income or registration requirements — while others serve children in specific programs.

Last summer the program — including breakfast, lunch, dinner and mobile meals— totaled more than 82,000 meals, data provided by county schools showed.

This summer, however, with the new school sites and Mobile Meals routes, the goal is to serve over 100,000 meals, Risse said.

Read The Capital Gazette to learn more.

Harford Community College Makes Heroin-Opioid Training Mandatory for Full-Time Students

All incoming full-time students at Harford Community College, under a new policy approved Tuesday, will be required to attend heroin addiction and awareness training.

As reported by The Aegis,

The college will also have doses of Narcan on hand and its special police officers will know how to administer it, according to college officials.

“I thank God every day we have not had to respond in this way,” HCC President Dianna Phillips told the trustees during a meeting in Edgewood Hall Tuesday evening.

In response to the growing heroin and opioid epidemic across the state, the Maryland General Assembly passed bills in the House and the Senate during the 2017 session requiring community colleges to create a policy to address heroin and opioid addiction and prevention. Trustees approved the policy at Tuesday’s meeting.

According to the policy that goes into effect July 1, incoming full-time students will be required to participate in online or in-person heroin and opioid addiction and awareness training. The same information will be available for part-time students, but it will not be required. They will be provided with resources to alert and educate them on addiction and prevention.

As of Monday, there have been 195 heroin-related overdoses in Harford this year, and 41 of them have been fatal, according to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the training, HCC will maintain a supply of Narcan, the overdose reversing medication used in emergencies. In addition to being trained to administer the medication, HCC special police officers will be trained to recognize symptoms of an opioid overdose and to properly follow up on emergency procedures related to an opioid overdose.

Read the full article for more information.

City Program Trains Youth for Water Industry Jobs

An article in The Baltimore Sun highlights the Baltimore City Water Industry Career Mentoring Program which provides career training to city youth and helps clean polluted waterways in the process.

The idea is to solve two of Baltimore’s biggest problems — joblessness and polluted waterways.

Officials said the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development developed the program to address the retirement of seasoned workers in the water industry and a shortage of trained workers to replace them.

Jobs to be filled range from working on pipes to fixing erroneous water bills. Youths receive six months of mentoring and a chance to earn a career in the industry.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said the program lets Baltimore “take the lead in training the next generation of workers in the water profession.”

The mentoring program includes job-readiness training, introduction to different jobs in the water industry, job shadowing, work with a career coach, and a placement in the city’s summer jobs program, called YouthWorks. Participants then interview for full-time jobs that typically start at around $30,000 a year. The new employees are put on a path that often leads to salary increases, a department spokesman said.

“It’s a way for people who aren’t college-savvy to get a trade that you can do with your hands and still help out and contribute,” Dorsey said. “If this opportunity hadn’t presented itself, I would have been doing a lot of job-hopping.”

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun

County workforce development and support services will be discussed at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session “Second Chance for Workplace Success – A Good Program is Good for Your County“.

The MACo summer conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year’s theme is “You’re Hired!”.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Anne Arundel Budget Funds Education and Public Safety

lee
The budget will fund renovations at three elementary schools, including Richard Henry Lee Elementary (pictured).

As reported by the Capital Gazette,

The Anne Arundel County Council on Wednesday passed a final version of the fiscal year 2018 budget, a $1.5 billion spending plan that funds a salary step for teachers, 40 new public safety officers and a boost to renovation projects at three aging elementary schools, among other items.

For more, see County Council approves budget for fiscal year 2018 from the Capital Gazette and see the Anne Arundel County Budget Office.