Capital Gazette: "Letters: Suggested changes for Outstanding Student Achievers

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in the   Capital Gazette in   March 2019: 

“Outstanding students

I was pleased to see that Capital Gazette continued the recognition of Outstanding Student Achievers in the wake of the killing of several staff members, including the primary event planner, Wendi Winters (The Capital, March 14). Anne Arundel County is fortunate to be full of outstanding students, parents, educators, and administrators, and the Capital Gazette’s Outstanding High School Achievers Award is a wonderful recognition of the strengths of our next generation.

While some of the nominations (Annapolis, Arundel, Annapolis Area Christian, Key School, Saint Mary’s, and Severn) did an exemplary job of describing their nominees’ achievements in meaningful ways, other schools focused excessively on student grade point averages. While high GPAs are certainly an achievement, I do not believe we should measure and reward individuals on a relatively subjective number.

As several studies have shown, there is a causal relationship between depressive symptoms and perceived academic achievement. As a community deeply affected teen depression and suicide, I believe we need to be especially sensitive to the effects that our metrics of success may be having on our teenagers.

In the future, I recommend that The Capital request nominations refrain from relatively subjective GPA references and focus instead on examples of community service, contributions to the arts, and meaningful scholastic achievement independent of grade point averages.

While we are at it, let us make photos optional, discourage touched-up studio photos, and encourage candid shots that illustrate active contributions. Perhaps we can come together as a community, move away from numbers and appearances, and help reduce the negative effects that we may be creating with our subjective metrics.



Mynandier Creek

During Wednesday’s committee meeting concerning further restriction on boats using Mynandier Creek, state Sen. Ed Senator Reilly stated: “I do not own a boat. I do not want a boat.”

That, and his lack of knowledge of the subject, was apparent in his characterization of watercraft.

In spite of this self-assessment, he is once again attempting to restrict citizens in their use of public waters. His proposed restrictions are contrary to the advice of the professionals in government advice.



Religious freedom

On Feb. 13, at the Newseum in Washington, DC, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in Annapolis, the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding jointly launched a cutting-edge executive training for mid-level corporate executives by the foundation and the Religious Freedom Center, and a groundbreaking Corporate Religious Diversity Assessment by Tanenbaum and foundation.

The launch event for these resources was supported by a generous grant from Islamic Relief, USA, for which we are deeply grateful.

Both resources are designed to help companies improve the bottom line by addressing religion at work, and both were piloted with major corporations before being made available to companies across the nation and world today.

The foundation and the Religious Freedom Center unveiled full and half-day executive seminars and training to educate mid-level business leaders on how religion at work impacts the bottom line. Developed by expert faculty, the seminars train participants to understand the positive relationship between religious diversity, inclusion and liberty, and business strategy, talent retention and economic growth.

To provide clear guidelines and measures of success for global corporations to take action, Tanenbaum and foundation launched the Corporate Religious Diversity Assessment. The assessment was inspired by the foundation’s 2016 global Corporate Pledge on Religious Diversity & Inclusion and reflects Tanenbaum’s two decades of work on religion in companies.

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