GLEN BURNIE, Md., May 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Shawna Capotosto of Frederick County has been named statewide winner of the fourth annual Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards program. State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick and Comcast Regional Vice President of Government Affairs Donna Rattley Washington made the announcement this evening at a special ceremony held at North County High School in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
Ms. Capotosto has worked with parents of special needs students throughout the Frederick County Public School System in an effort to help them understand the system and find services so important to academic success. She works on more than a half-dozen school committees, spends countless hours with parents as they meet with school officials, and acts as both a volunteer and advocate. Through her efforts, scores of children have become successful students.
Ms. Capotosto was selected from five finalists also announced at the award ceremony. The finalists were narrowed down from a list of 24 semifinalists announced in March. In addition to Ms. Capotosto, the other finalists were:
- David Conn–Mt. Washington Elementary School, Baltimore City
- Tom Willis–Rock Hall Elementary, Kent County
- Sophally McCormick–Westover Elementary School, Montgomery County
- Benjamin Brumbley–Parkside High School, Wicomico County
“Shawna Capotosto is a shining example of the important work that parents and other volunteers undertake in Maryland public schools every day,” Dr. Grasmick said. “Strong parental involvement has rebuilt classrooms and infused energy into our schools. Teachers, administrators and students cannot improve schools alone. They need parents as their ally. Maryland is fortunate to have so many energetic parents working with us, and their assistance has helped our system be ranked number one in the nation for three consecutive years. We are grateful to have Comcast as our partner in spotlighting the amazing achievements of these remarkable parents.”
“Comcast is focused on supporting programs that cultivate and foster learning opportunities for our youth,” said Rattley Washington. ”Parents contribute to this mission on a daily basis, and we are proud to work with the Maryland State Department of Education to recognize them for their involvement and inspiration.”
In addition to the finalist and statewide winner announcements, Bette Gibbs of Garrett County, was presented with the JoAnne L. Carter Memorial Award in recognition of her parental involvement and work at Accident Elementary School. This award is given annually in honor of JoAnne L. Carter, Deputy State Superintendent for the Maryland State Department of Education, who lost her battle with cancer in 2009. A parent herself, Ms. Carter was a staunch advocate for parental involvement in education. The award is given annually to a parent that exemplifies all that she held dear.
The Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards is the nation’s first and only statewide award program of its kind. A collaboration between Comcast and the Maryland State Department of Education, the program recognizes parents and guardians for their exceptional support of public education. Parents were nominated for demonstrating significant, positive impact in their communities across five areas of parental involvement: Communication, Volunteering, Learning, Decision Making and Community Collaboration. The statewide winner was awarded a cash prize of $1,250 and the four remaining finalists each received $250 to further their efforts to improve their public schools.
2011 Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards Finalists
David Conn - Mount Washington Elementary School, Baltimore City Public Schools
Without hesitation, David Conn eagerly assumed the project manager role at Mount Washington Elementary School when the school was granted the golden opportunity to expand sixth, seventh, and eighth grades to its prek-5 program. His leadership role has had a significant and positive impact on the present and future education of students, not to mention the expansion is moving forward with full community support and collaboration. In addition, Mr. Conn oversaw the development of the school’s website, which communicates and stores all information about the expansion project, as well as allows parental and community buy-in.
Shawna Capotosto - Frederick County Public Schools
Shawna Capotosto is a trailblazer who advocates for all students’ success, especially those with special needs in the Frederick County Public School System. If supporting parents by attending Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings throughout the entire county is not enough confirmation of her dedication to children, Ms. Capotosto also serves as a member on more than six committees, which provide outreach programs and services for parents of children with a variety of special needs – ranging from IEPs to Autism. Her community involvement is tireless and her volunteerism is priceless as she brings a dual perspective to special education in Frederick County – that of dedicated parent and unwavering advocate.
Tom Willis - Rock Hall Elementary School, Kent County Public Schools
Tom Willis has spent many hours helping others by being involved with the youth and senior citizens in Kent County. Mr. Willis’ creativity and resourcefulness, coupled with his ability to see projects through, has helped make every activity at Rock Hall Elementary School a success. However, his activism does not begin or end there: from soccer coach and Sunday school teacher to volunteering at the local fire department and local food pantry, he is a shining example of true community volunteerism.
Sophally McCormick - Westover Elementary School, Montgomery County Public Schools
“Can do Attitude,” and “Full of Energy,” and “Webmaster Extraordinaire,” are ways in which Sophally McCormick is described by her peers at Westover Elementary School. Ms. McCormick’s organization, creativity, and strong work ethic, along with her genuine caring and concern for all students, make her an indispensable volunteer. Westover Elementary School will continue to benefit from her efforts for many years to come.
Benjamin Brumbley - Parkside High School, Wicomico County Public Schools
Hailed “Advocate for all Wicomico County Students,” Benjamin Brumbley’s passion, perseverance, and commitment for an effective education for all Parkside students are what distinguish him among other parent volunteers. Whether advocating for a program in the school or driving children to various competitions, Mr. Brumbley is a constant figure recognized by the entire Parkside High School community.
2011 JoAnne L. Carter Memorial Award Recipient
Bette Gibbs - Accident Elementary School, Garrett County Public Schools
Parent-volunteer extraordinaire is synonymous with Bette Gibbs, who assists students, faculty, and administration in a multitude of ways at Accident Elementary School. Ms. Gibbs’ strongest assets are her ability to encourage students to achieve to the best of their abilities in the Accelerated Reader and her leadership and organization of the Fluoride Swish Program. There is no job too big or too small, as students admire her patience, and staff value her contribution to creating a positive work environment each and every day.