Atholton teacher strikes it rich with a Milken award

The Baltimore Sun

Mabrooka Chaudhry is officially $25,000 richer.

The 34-year-old history teacher at Atholton High School attended the Milken National Education Conference in Los Angeles on March 30 to collect the prize money associated with being named a Milken National Educator.

Chaudhry and Kiara Delle Hargrove, 33, a chemistry teacher at Polytechnic Institute in Baltimore, were the only Marylanders among the 75 recipients for the 2007-2008 school year. Each learned of the award during surprise assemblies in November.

Chaudhry plans to use the money to help pay for the liberal-arts master's degree program at Loyola College that she started this past fall.

Recipients are chosen on recommendations from panels appointed by each state's education department. Criteria include effective instructional practices and student learning results; accomplishments outside the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession; long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; and an inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community.

Chaudhry, a student favorite, was recognized for her results in the classroom.

During the 2005-2006 school year, all of Chaudhry's students scored high enough on the Advanced Placement American Government exam to qualify for college credit.

Board in Florida

Five school board members and several high-ranking school system officials spent March 29 through April 1 in Orlando, Fla., for the National School Board Association Conference.

The Howard County officials attended seminars that addressed continuous improvement and improving community engagement. In addition, some residents led a session on a successful co-teaching model used in the school system.

"It is certainly great to talk to people from across the country," said board member Diane Mikulis. "It really opens your eyes to other situations."

Also attending the event were Chairman Frank Aquino, Vice Chairman Ellen Flynn Giles and board members Sandra H. French and Patricia Gordon.

Mikulis said she particularly enjoyed the session "Are You Smarter than a Board Member?" by Steve Bounds, a former Howard County school board member who is legal and policy services director for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.

"There were a lot of good sessions," said Mikulis, who sought out a session about increasing community engagement. "That is something that we have identified that we want to do better."

Mikulis came away from that session pleased with the board's past efforts.

"We are not doing that bad," she said.

Deputy Superintendent Sandy Erickson and special-education director Jim Walsh led the co-teaching model session. Guest speakers at the conference included former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and actor Sidney Poitier.


Howard County schools in western Columbia were placed on modified lockdown Wednesday after a homicide close to the Wilde Lake Village Center, according the school system's public information office.

Students were kept inside classrooms under the supervision of staff, and identification was required to enter the buildings.

Wilde Lake High principal Restia Whitaker sent out an eSchoolNewsletter to parents Wednesday afternoon informing them of the lockdown.

The victim, Bryan Adams, 20, a Columbia resident, was a 2005 graduate of Wilde Lake High.

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