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Middle school matters: Deep Creek Middle School
03/03/2016

In honor of national Middle Level Education Month, this March we are taking a closer look at Baltimore County Public Schools’ wonderful middle schools. Every day during March, one or two more school profiles will be posted. To see all that have been posted, please click here.

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Principal: Dwan Pinamonti (quoted below)
Feeder elementary schools: Sussex, Deep Creek, Middleboro, Mars Estates, Sandalwood

School website:http://deepcreekms.bcps.org/

Academic achievements

“This year, our students’ scores on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments have risen more than 15 percentage points in both math and reading. Reading scores from the I-Ready assessment have revealed RIT score improvements of 25 points per child, on average.”

“Every year, for the last four years, there’s been an increase in students applying to our neighborhood magnet. Five years ago, 115 students applied for the 25 non-resident slots. Now it is up to 229 applicants.” One big reason for this increase, according to Principal Pinamonti, is magnet teacher Steven Showalter. “Every year at the big BCPS Magnet Fair, he takes student projects, and students and their parents get to interact with them. Our Magnet Fair exhibit always looks great.”

Recent awards and grants

Magnet teacher Robert Maser won a Teacher Excellence Award last school year from the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. He also was the 2016 recipient the Gerald Day Graduate Student Scholarship Award from TEEAM (Technology & Engineering Educators Association of Maryland).

Last year, science teacher James Brown spent the summer teaching in Hong Kong.

Through a grant, every summer for at least the last five years, Deep Creek sent at least one teacher to Space Camp in Huntsville, Al. “They are there with other teachers. The purpose is to network and talk about how they can use what they are learning when they return to their classrooms.”

A grant from the Drug Enforcement Agency will underwrite an afterschool dance class. The kickoff for this activity will be held on Friday, Mar. 18, at 1:15 p.m. Classes, open to all Deep Creek students, will be held every Tuesday afternoon from after spring break through the first week in June. Classes will be led by the local Contradiction Dance troupe and will focus on hip hop and modern dance.

The student council has been recognized this year by Kids Helping Hopkins for coordinating a successful canned food drive.

Special academic programs offered

Deep Creek is a neighborhood-based technology magnet school. All students in the school’s catchment area, as well as 25 additional students, can participate in Project Lead the Way, a pre-engineering curriculum. This school year, Grade 8 students had the opportunity to visit the prestigious Engineers Club in Baltimore and talk to a group of civil engineers about higher education and career opportunities.

The school has a partnership with Towson University. Eight student interns are currently working at the school. Next school year, Deep Creek is becoming a professional development school with Towson University, a training location for future middle school educators.

“For the last four summers, using Title I funds, we have hosted Eagle Leader Camp for up to 100 incoming Grade 6 students. The camp, which takes place over five mornings, is designed to ease the transition from elementary to middle school. Camp participants focus on critical reading and math skills, teamwork, getting to know the building, and using their combination locks. The camp is free, and participating students are fed breakfast and lunch. The students are selected first based on teacher recommendations and then student interest.”

Popular/unique extracurricular activities

The school has 23 afterschool clubs. Of these, the most popular are the Future Educators Association, chess club, the school newspaper, and art club.

“The very popular Future Educators Association is our largest club, and it serves our school community and Sandalwood Elementary School, which is adjacent to our school. Deep Creek students tutor Grade 3 Sandalwood students one day each month.”

The chess and other strategy games club has 21 student members who play board and electronic games.

Twenty students work together to produce the school’s monthly student newspaper, “The Eagle.”

The art club boast 17 members. Some use club time to work on entrance portfolios for high school arts programs. All of the members work on large projects each month.

“This is our first year having a Quiz Bowl Team, and we are extremely proud that we currently have two wins and just one loss.”  

Special school traditions

“We take advantage of our location near the water. Our science classes are able to conduct hands-on research on the marshes and bays in the area. Students are surprised every year when we conduct our first fire drill, and they can see the water as well as sheep and goats that live on the farm behind our school from our back fields.“

Bet you didn’t know…

“That our parent volunteers coordinate a local food pantry site for the Maryland Food Bank. This project is all volunteer-driven. The school provides the space and helps to promote the food pantry. About 10 volunteers are very active with this project. The food pantry, open at select times, is about three years old and is open to the parents of Deep Creek and Sandalwood students.”

“That the school’s environmental club just finished building bluebird habitats and is about to start work on an edible salad garden. This vertical garden will use hydroponics and produce salad greens for student consumption. This afterschool activity is coordinated by science teacher Julie Degraff.”

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