Rodgers Forge's perfect MSA grade built on teacher and community support

Rodgers Forge Elementary School Principal Missy Fanshaw has seen her fair share of triumph this summer.

Her son, Patrick, is a junior attackman on Loyola University's national champion lacrosse team. Andrew, her middle son, helped Calvert Hall to an MIAA lacrosse championship this spring, and youngest son Michael won the MYLA championship with his Kelly Post youth lacrosse team.

Now Fanshaw, who took over as principal at Rodgers Forge in January after Susan Deise retired late last year, can add a sterling achievement of her own to the mantel.

Rodgers Forge Elementary was the only Baltimore County school to achieve 100 percent proficiency for each grade level tested — three, four and five — on the Maryland State Assessment test.

"We find out in advance," Fanshaw said. "I pulled up (the results), and I'm looking at it, and I thought 'does this say what I think it says?' It's 100, 100, 100. How exciting."

Fanshaw learned the news last week, but couldn't share it with anyone.

When she was finally able to tell her faculty last week when the statewide results were released July 10, she sent out a celebratory "We did it!" email with pictures of fireworks.

That night, at new county schools SuperintendentS. Dallas Dance's first school board meeting since assuming his post, Dance gave Fanshaw a personal recognition of her school's outstanding achievement.

"That was so exciting, and I sent him a follow-up email thanking him for recognizing the hard work of our students and teachers for the achievement," said Fanshaw.

Dance said at the meeting that he looked forward to visiting Rodgers Forge Elementary when school starts up to see what they might be able to share with other county elementary schools.

Fanshaw said she's looking forward to the visit, and believes several elements go into the school's high achievement.

"I really think it's the firm belief that working with kids and helping them to achieve at that level begins when they're in kindergarten," she said. "It's not something you put all your eggs in the basket during just those testing years. Good education begins with a really strong foundation when they first enter our school building."

She also credits the teachers' ability to craft educational programs that cater to the student, as well as the "tremendous" support Rodgers Forge Elementary students receive on the home front.

That support explains why Fanshaw was at the school board meeting in the first place: The board approved the purchase of 18 interactive whiteboards and two interactive tablets for Rodgers Forge — all purchased with funds raised through the school's annual Tech Trek fundraiser, which is supported annually by parents, boosters and local businesses.

Verletta White, assistant superintendent for elementary zone three, said the boards cost $45,152.

Currently, five classrooms have the smart boards already in place, but Fanshaw said she wanted every student to have a similar experience with technology.

After the new boards are installed in August, every classroom at Rodgers Forge will be outfitted with smart board technology.

The two tablets were purchased for the reading specialist and special educator, providing them with a more mobile option for when they work with small groups.

"The fact that the community was able to raise this money … is extremely exciting," Fanshaw said. "(The teachers) are so excited."

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