Elementary School Model References

Elementary School Model (ESM) Parent Workgroup:  As five schools in Howard County are implementing the Elementary School Model (ESM), the Howard County Central Office has created a Parent Workgroup, made up of one parent volunteer per grade at each of these schools.  The purpose of the Parent Workgroup is to meet four times throughout the year to hear implementation updates and to provide feedback on the roll out of the ESM in an effort to support successful implementation.  The TSES ESM parent representatives are Pre-Kindergarten: Mollie Nelson; Grade K: Nyree Tee; Grade 1: Angela Harvey-Brown; Grade 2: April Sharp; Grade 3: Erin Vance; Grade 4: Danielle Thalasinos; Grade 5: Shana Bynon.  This group wants to represent the views of the TSES families on how the ESM is working and ideas for continual improvement.  All are encouraged to contact the TSES ESM representatives with questions, comments or ideas about the ESM via email: tsesesm@tsespta.org .

 At the Sept 4th meeting the ESM Parent Workgroup:

1) Learned the purpose of the group: To engage with the HCPSS central office staff as parents to help communicate the ESM and its implementation within our school community.  Also provide ongoing collaboration and feedback for continuous improvement at the Workgroup meetings.

2) Reviewed the components of the ESM: essentially the same PowerPoint Ms. Thompson shared with TSES community on Aug 28; Central Office representatives answered questions. Indicated upcoming Telehealth press event, and subsequent roll-out.  http://www.hcpss.org/academics/elementary-school-model/

3) Identified key factors to support successful implementation of the ESM: Brainstorm/sticky note activity to discuss what the parents thought are key factors to success (success described as each individual’s perspective of success).  We grouped the ideas into the following (but not limited to) themes: parent engaged/informed, involvement of all, communication, excited students, and evaluation/measurement.

4) Identified outcomes for future meeting: Based on questions during this first meeting Ms. Ebony Langford-Brown suggested potential future guest speakers to address Strengths Development and Telehealth.  She will send a specific agenda closer to next meeting scheduled Nov 13.

This page will hold a collection of Elementary School Model, Vision 2018 References and Associated Articles.

  Just below you will find a series of links to HCPSS information and others on the new model as well as some youtube videos from the county.  We have set up a special email address, ESQuestions@tsespta.org for you to send your questions.  Ms Thompson and the PTA will be reviewing and compiling the questions for Ms Thompson to answer.  There is a lot of press and community discussion regarding these changes and hopefully this will help clarify and clear up some of the questions.

Vision 2018 - http://www.hcpss.org/vision/
World Language - http://www.hcpss.org/academics/worldlanguages/
Elementary Math - http://www.hcpss.org/academics/math/
Elementary English and Language Arts -http://www.hcpss.org/academics/languagearts/

Youtube videos put out by HCPSS

From Other Sources

From Baltimore Sun

From Harvard University

Business Monthly 
Vision 2018 - http://www.bizmonthly.com/the-future-is-now-education-in-howard-county/----------------------------------


2/19/15 ESM Parent Workgroup Meeting.  8 Parents, 3 HCPSS Staff members:

1.    Update from HCPSS on the components of the ESM;

2.    Update from HCPSS on the ESM evaluation process;

3.    Discussion among schools regarding communication successes and challenges.


1.    Updates on the ESM components were presented by Ebony Langford-Brown.





Strengths Explorer – 4th & 5th graders took the survey and have received their top 3 strengths.  The Parent Playbook is available to all parents.

Grow Strong Weeks – 5 consecutive weeks focusing on the 5 principles of growing strong. 

Professional Development – Dr. Shane Lopez spoke with all ESM teachers.  Focus was on how to capitalize on student strengths and how to incorporate student strengths with parent conferences

Resources for Staff and Parents – Research is being conducted – ESM schools vs. Non ESM Schools

Gallup Next Steps -


Reading Professional Development – Professional Learning was provided for all teachers of reading in grades Pre K – 3 in the area of guided reading.  The staffs benefitted from hearing directly from a consultant from Scholastic who has expertise in the area of guided reading.  The teachers had an opportunity to view live instruction and have follow up sessions with the consultant.  Teachers will receive ongoing coaching in the area of guided reading instruction.  Great feedback was provided.

Math Professional Development – All Math teachers received professional learning on “Number Talks”.  Number Talks fosters communication of mathematical thinking, critical thinking, and mental math.  The teachers learned best practices when utilizing “Number Talks” during a full day inservice.


Enrollment – Near capacity.  By law all income eligible families will be admitted to the Pre K program.

Reading – Increased emphasis on guided reading instruction in Pre K.

Related Arts – Students are participating in Related Arts (Art, Music, PE, Media, Technology)


Launched in December.  All schools are operational.

24% of our students have enrolled

20 visits to access TeleHealth program

18 students were returned to class

Several e-prescriptions have been sent to pharmacies

No cost to being enrolled

Located at all ESM schools except Ducketts Lane

World Language

HCPSS Roundtable – Video is located at www.hcpss.org

General Information


Waverly and Laurel Woods elementary schools will implement selected ESM components

Waverly will implement – Departmentalization, World Language, and Strengths Development

Laurel Woods will implement – Departmentalization, World Language, Strengths Development, Full Pre-K

These two schools were selected because the current World Language Program in these schools will be dismantled.


2. Update on the ESM Evaluation presented by Ebony Langford-Brown

Curriculum Conversations – Meeting with staff in the curriculum to determine “look fors” for implementation fidelity

RST and MST – (Math & Reading Supports Teachers) Completed a survey and shared feedback

School Visits – Researchers are visiting classrooms and making observations and talking with school nurse

Teacher Focus Groups – Forming a Teacher Focus group to contribute to the ESM evaluation

Next Steps – Forming a Parent Focus Group to contribute to the ESM evaluation

Looking for fidelity of implementation. Ensuring that implementation of each component is being delivered consistently.

3. Discussion among schools regarding communication successes and challenges.

Ebony Langford-Brown asked each school to share how they have shared or communicated the information from the ESM workgroup sessions within the school communities.  Feedback from some schools indicated challenges due to limited audiences at meetings such as PTA meetings etc.  Some schools continuing to coordinate the ESM workgroup relationship with principle and school publications (newsletters etc).  TSES shared we use newsletters and web-site postings and provide verbal summary at PTA meetings.  Ebony Langford-Brown requested all share how what is shared with her for the benefit of all schools to share best practices.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 14, 2015


11/12/14 ESM Parent Workgroup Meeting.  10 Parents, 4 HCPSS Staff members:

1.    Reviewed the purpose of the group and highlights from the previous meeting;

2.    Heard how Strengths focused instruction impacts student achievement;

3.    Provided feedback on the proposed world language progress report;

4.    Heard an update on the ESM evaluation proposal.


1. Reviewed the purpose of the group and highlights from the previous meeting: 

·         Communication

·         Collaboration

·         Continuous Improvement


2. Strengths component of the ESM model was shared by Vanessa Camilleri, Senior Education Consultant, Gallup Education

Target Group


General information





Key Reasons to Focus on Strengths:

·         Shift thinking from “What’s Wrong to What’s Strong”

·         Building from “strengths to excellence” as opposed to building from “weakness to excellence”

·         Leveraging strengths to meet goals

·         Strengths allows people to do what they do best daily

·         Strengths will assist students in obtaining success

·         Strengths Mindset starts from a place of yes

Why are Strengths Important:

·         A driver of student engagement  - involvement in and enthusiasm about school

·         Reading & math achievement increases

What Strengths is or is not:

·         Strengths is not a curriculum or program but a way to nurture the potential in students

·         Strengths identify the presence of talents in students.  What is their natural way of doing things?  What do they lead with?

·         Strengths is something to be proud of

·         Strengths can inform instruction

Strengths Explorer is…

Administered beginning to Grade 4 and 5 students 

·         Strengths spotting is conducted in earlier grades.

·         Developmentally appropriate beginning in 4th grade. 


Strengths Explorer Assessment

·         4th & 5th grade students will take it

·         Students will receive their top 3 Strengths

·         Most schools will administer the assessment between December 8 – 19

·         Student Themes are: Achieving, Caring, Competing Confidence, Relating, Organizer, Discoverer, Presence, Future Thinker, Dependability

·         Participate in Goal Setting Lessons

·         Goal is for students to use strengths to overcome obstacles

·         Guidance lessons will help students learn how to use their strengths to overcome challenges

·         Guidance lessons focus on Strengths



·         All staff at all ESM schools has taken Strengths Finder

·         All staff have received top 5 Strengths

·         Each school has a Strengths Team

·         Gallup Strengths Coaches are assigned to each ESM School



·         Parents will receive student reports in January

·         Parent Playbooks will be posted on the each ESM school’s website


3. The group reviewed the proposed world language progress report and provided feedback to Ms. Leslie Grahn, World Language Coordinator for HCPSS.

4. Information about the evaluation of the Elementary School Model was presented and the group provided input to Dr. Eva Yu and Dr. Maria Finger-Elam, Research Specialist for HCPSS.


Multi-year Evaluation

4-Year Plan

·         Year One

o   Implementation of each component (how and differences)

o   Focus groups, surveys, one-on-one interviews, review data and other artifacts

·         Year Two

o   Fidelity of Implementation (each component implemented with fidelity, implementation meets expectations)

·         Year Three

o   Social/Emotional Outcome – Gallup data, district developed data

·         Year Four

o   Student Academic Outcomes


The next meeting is scheduled for February 19, 2014.



General PTA Address,
Mar 20, 2015, 9:45 AM
General PTA Address,
Mar 20, 2015, 9:45 AM