Modell hired as lia­sion

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@ches­pub.com

CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County school sys­tem has added the part-time po­si­tion of com­mu­nity li­ai­son for ed­u­ca­tional eq­uity — a po­si­tion to help de­velop mul­ti­cul­tural eq­uity be­tween home, school and com­mu­nity.

Ed Modell of Queen­stown is the com­mu­nity li­ai­son.

“This po­si­tion is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to me,” said Modell. He added he be­lieves that the cul­mi­na­tion of his past work ex­pe­ri­ence will al­low him to par­tic­i­pate in the school sys­tem and com­mu­nity in unique ways; he an­tic­i­pates be­ing called upon to

bring his me­di­a­tion and pro­fes­sional coach­ing skills into oth­er­wise dif­fi­cult to re­solve sit­u­a­tions.

Modell has had a lengthy and suc­cess­ful ca­reer in law with an em­pha­sis on al­ter­na­tive dis­pute res­o­lu­tion and lead­er­ship coach­ing. He has served in the Air Force and started an ACLU chap­ter in the 1970s, and has also had a long ca­reer in com­mu­nity re­la­tions, serv­ing on var­i­ous county and com­mu­nity com­mit­tees in­clud­ing the Mul­ti­cul­tural Pro­fi­ciency Com­mit­tee in Queen Anne’s County.

Modell has also played a key role in im­ple­ment­ing the “Sun­day Sup­per” meal con­cept in Queen Anne’s County with other com­mu­nity lead­ers and “Con­ver­sa­tions on Race” a fo­rum aim­ing, Modell said, “to build a com­mu­nity of good­will across races and move be­yond mere tol­er­ance to a more beloved com­mu­nity. The pri­mary goal is to iden­tify is­sues that ex­ist in our ed­u­ca­tional com­mu­nity re­lated to race, and to work co­op­er­a­tively in cre­at­ing so­lu­tions.”

“As we con­tinue our con­ver­sa­tions on race,” said Modell, “we feel that the ed­u­ca­tional com­mu­nity plays such an im­por­tant role in en­hanc­ing the com­mu­nity in which we live. We have the abil­ity to pre­serve the good that ex­ists in our com­mu­nity, while draw­ing out and ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges that we col­lec­tively face.”

This is a part-time po­si­tion as sup­port staff and does not cur­rently re­quire a con­tract, although Modell be­lieves it has the po­ten­tial to be­come a full-time, per­ma­nent po­si­tion.

QACPS has adopted an Ed­u­ca­tion that is Mul­ti­cul­tural Pro­gram pol­icy that will en­deavor to “pre­pare stu­dents to live, learn, in­ter­act and work cre­atively in an in­ter­de­pen­dent global so­ci­ety by fos­ter­ing mu­tual ap­pre­ci­a­tion and re­spect,” Modell said. The pro­gram, and Modell in his po­si­tion as com­mu­nity li­ai­son, will en­cour­age school per­son­nel to de­velop a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of mul­ti­cul­tural needs.

Un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a task force and steer­ing com­mit­tee, led by In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Greg Pilewski and cen­tral of­fice staff, re­port­ing to the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, the Ed­u­ca­tion that is Mul­ti­cul­tural Pro­gram will con­tinue to de­velop and im­ple­ment a five-year plan.

The po­si­tion of a hu­man re­la­tions li­ai­son, sim­i­lar to the com­mu­nity li­ai­son po­si­tion that Modell now fills, was first in­tro­duced in a race eq­uity pro­file con­ducted by the Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in 1994, Modell said. The re­cent cur­ricu­lum audit made a sim­i­lar rec­om­men­da­tion.

The steer­ing com­mit­tee has iden­ti­fied sev­eral ar­eas to fo­cus on: cre­at­ing a vis­ual en­vi­ron­ment within the schools that is in­clu­sive of di­verse stu­dents and cul­tures; demon­strat­ing a clear mis­sion of suc­cess or pos­i­tive out­comes for all stu­dents re­gard­less of race, gen­der ... or so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus, i.e. im­prov­ing the num­ber of di­verse stu­dents in A.P. classes; hir­ing more teach­ers of color; and eval­u­at­ing the num­ber of di­verse stu­dents re­ceiv­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tions, be it un­con­scious or im­plicit bias, he said.

Modell iden­ti­fied 7 per­cent of the QACPS stu­dent pop­u­la­tion as African-Amer­i­can and 3 per­cent His­panic.

Modell will work ac­tively with staff to cul­ti­vate cul­tural com­pe­tence, diversity and in­clu­sion.

Any­one can come di­rectly to him, Modell said, and he plans to make him­self as ac­ces­si­ble as pos­si­ble. This [pro­gram and po­si­tion] is a work in progress, he said, but he an­tic­i­pates hav­ing the most im­pact in the area of in­ter­per­sonal dis­putes and start­ing “coura­geous con­ver­sa­tions.”

Pilewski said in a state­ment, “I am proud to an­nounce that Mr. Ed Modell will serve as our part-time com­mu­nity li­ai­son for ed­u­ca­tional eq­uity. He will be in­stru­men­tal in deep­en­ing our work around mul­ti­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion, diversity, com­mu­nity re­la­tions, and im­ple­ment­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from the cur­ricu­lum man­age­ment audit.

We are excited to have Mr. Modell join our QACPS team. He is an ex­cep­tional per­son and pro­fes­sional who will serve as a bridge be­tween the school sys­tem and our com­mu­ni­ties. Mr. Modell is a tremen­dous as­set to our county.”

HAN­NAH COMBS

Ed Modell is the new com­mu­nity li­ai­son for ed­u­ca­tional eq­uity for Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools.

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