Closing the Gap Coalition was established on January 7, 2012. The Coalition's initial focus was heavily influenced by findings from the 2011 Calvert County Public School's Annual Report. This report indicated that African American students, Special Education students, students receiving Free and Reduced Meals, and students who speak English as a second language were:
1. All more likely to perform at lower levels on state and national assessments.
2. African American students were more likely to be identified for Special Education services.
3. American African students were suspended from school at higher rates.
4. The number of Minority teachers was declining - of the 1,260 teachers, only 82 were African American.
We found these statistics to be alarming and quite frankly, unacceptable.
At our first meeting, we selected four (4) areas on which to focus. These areas were:
1. The Recruitment, Hiring and Retention of a Diverse Workforce
2. Special Education
3. School Discipline, and
4. Curriculum and Academic Issues
We then formed sub-groups; and White Papers were developed for two (2) of these areas – “The Recruitment, Hiring and Retention of a Diverse Workforce” and “Special Education”.
On September 24, 2012, a letter was written to the then Superintendent, Dr. Jack Smith, expressing the Coalition’s desire to work with the CCPS system to develop solutions that would afford a quality education for every student - offering each student a viable opportunity to become successful in their chosen academic and career endeavors.
On October 22, 2012, we met with Dr. Smith and his executive staff to discuss our concerns in the area of the Recruitment of a Diverse Workforce.
On February 4, 2013, we met once again to discuss our concerns in the area of Special Education. Specific goals and solutions were presented at each of these meetings.
After Dr. Smith’s departure, another letter was sent to the Interim Superintendent – Nancy Highsmith – who in turn expressed an interest in meeting with us on a regular basis.
Nancy Highsmith’s invitation was the beginning of our 3x/year meetings with the Superintendent and the Executive Staff of CCPS.
We meet with them in February, June and October. We continue to work very closely with our current Superintendent – Dr. Daniel Curry and the Administrative staff.
Coalition meetings are held on the first Saturday of every other month - February, April, June, August, October, and December. In that most of us are juggling professional, organizational and family obligations we have found that meeting every other month offers us an opportunity to fully work on a project.
We take pride in thoroughly preparing ourselves by doing our homework; and offer evidence-based strategies and solutions.
When working with others, our approach is to be direct but non-accusatory and non-confrontational. Our goal is to address situations in a positive manner.
Lastly, Closing the Gap Coalition is a strong conduit for the flow of information. With our members representing multiple organizations, special interest groups, churches, etc. we are able to disseminate information promptly and efficiently.
Closing the Gap meetings are open to all.