February-Short Month-Big Happenings Teaching
week after the snowstorm of the season left most of Washington, DC, Maryland Volume II, Issue II
and Virginia without power, without heat, and with schools cancelled every-
where!, can I ask you a few questions? Parents, how many of you sat near the fire, February 24th, 2007
watching the snow come down? How many of you actually made snow angels?
Okay, here’s one for both kids and parents alike: did you slip on the
sheet of ice outside your door? Yes! Of course, you did!
This is the beauty and the wonder of winter. Always interesting, Special points of interest:
never dull, when snow comes to our area, we make a really big deal
out of it. And we should. Why? Because we need a change from the Spotlight on Our Schools
usual days: get your lunch packed; don’t miss the bus; drive in grid-
Meeting Mr. Dowd
lock traffic; feed the dog, the kids, ho-hum. Then, God sends a sur-
prise and lo and behold, we are transformed – in our homes, with Mr. Pete Thompson
our families, we even get to play board games again. Isn’t snow fun!
Have a lovely end of February. True, we are fast approaching March, and you all know that is
my time of year: St. Patrick’s Day and the wearing of the green. So off with you in search of
green shamrocks and Irish leprechauns and wish your friends a green and lovely St. Paddy’s
Day! And speaking of the “green”, your new Newsletter Editor, Mrs. Pam McComb, is Irish.
She loves the day. Knowing Pam, you will see photos of March 17th next time around. Either
way, she is a wonderful edition to both the news you read and our office. Faith and begorrah!
Mrs. Eileen Dowd
Inside this issue:
A Word from
Mrs. Dowd... 1
CHANGES IN THE FIELD By Allison Bucca
Real Super Bowl
ebruary is a month known for Valentines Day, the woman’s holiday where Winners 1
men must prove their love through the showering of gifts in the form of
chocolate, a fancy dinner, flowers, and occasionally diamonds. Despite the A Welcome to John
Carroll Elementary 2
pressure placed upon men in February, a pressure is equally placed upon
women. Women must prove their love by accepting the truth that on the day of the Spotlight on Mr. Pete
Super Bowl, they will be completely ignored by men. This year the fact that the two Thompson 2
head coaches are the first African American coaches to make it to the Super Bowl
Meeting the Staff:
pays homage to the other celebration of February-Black History Month. Tony MR. Dowd 3
Dungy, coach of the Colts and Lovie Smith, coach of the Bears, are both men who
have been open about their Christian faith. This year, no matter which team a person George Washington
was rooting for, it was a victory due to advances made by these Christian, African Carver 3
American men who were leading the opposing teams. Even if a person was rooting
Fun Facts to Know
for the Colts and is now happy, or was rooting for the Bears and is still sad, joy can and Tell 4
be found through the exciting changes made in the realm of football.
Volume II, Issue II Page 2
MDTS just loves the schools we are able to serve, so as the new editor of the MDTS monthly newsletter my intent is to spot-
light one of the schools we serve each month. It’s always easy to start with something you know, so I will start this new fea-
ture with the school I have tutored in myself.
SPOTLIGHT ON John Carroll Elementary - Landover, MD
ohn Carroll Elementary is a delightful community elementary school.
On my first day as a MDTS tutor I walked in to John Carroll not
knowing what to expect. Each person I encountered was cheerful and
pleasant and everyone I passed in the hall spoke as they passed. JC is an older school and while it
may not have the newest and latest of everything, the school is clean and welcoming and it’s immediately
obvious that everyone that works at JC takes pride in this school. The enrollment this year runs at 282
students and they serve the community with Pre-K thru 6th grade. There is such a sense of community
and unity in this school. From the principal to the teachers to the office staff and the men that keep the
school clean, there is a positive attitude of caring for all the students. Good things are happening at John
Carroll Elementary and we are thankful to be a part of it. One of the kindergarten classes passed by me
on that first day as they were being dismissed, and one boy loudly declared “I’M SIX!” to which I an-
swered “Wow!” The line continued passing and another little boy looked up and sighed as he quietly said
“I’m five”. I smiled at him and thought “Don’t worry little man, six is just around the corner”. From the
first day I joined the team at JC, I felt like I was home. Though smaller than some schools we serve, this
is one mighty school.
THE MAN AT THE HELM Principal - Mr. Pete Thompson
hen you meet and get to know the Principal, Mr. Pete Thompson, it’s
easy to see why things run so smoothly and in such a positive vein
at John Carroll. He is not a man that just sits behind his desk; he
feels the heartbeat of the school. When I interviewed him for this arti-
cle I learned a lot about him, not just about the professional he is, but about who this
man really is. He is a Principal, an educator, a leader in the best sense of the word,
he’s a husband, the father of three, and a man that genuinely cares about everyone
that walks through the doors at John Carroll. This is his third school year as Principal at JC and he came
with an extensive and impressive work history and interest in the education system. He credits his initial
interest in becoming an educator to his mother who taught for 22 years. Hailing from NY, born in
Yonkers and growing up in White Plains, his career path began in that state. Among his many credits he
was the Assistant Dean for Academic Resource Programs at Manhattanville College, and also held the
position of Executive Director at SUNY – State University of New York. He oversaw 360 students from
five school systems in Westchester Co., NY involved in a “Stay in School” program. His career journey
brought him to Maryland and from 1997-2002 he was the Program Manager/Principal in Oxon Hill and
Bladensburg in the Alternative High School Program for expelled students. From there he went to Cora
L. Rice Elementary to help open up that school, working there from 2002-2004. The new school year for
2004-2005 brought him to John Carroll and he continues his good work there today. When I asked him
what he liked best about JC he said “It’s the interaction with the kids, and “seeing the light go on”, and to
hear “I understand”. I ended by asking him what his vision was for John Carroll, and he answered “I
want them (the students) to realize they can be productive members of society despite what they are ex-
posed to at times. With an education, they can go as far as they want to go.” So, to that little boy of “five”,
and all the other students at John Carroll, set your dreams and goals high, because Mr. Thompson and
the rest of the staff at John Carroll will surely help you on your way.
Volume II, Issue II Page 3
MEET THE STAFF AT MDTS -
YES! THERE SURELY IS A MR. DOWD!
e all know and love Mrs. Eileen Dowd, but the other half of Mrs. Dowd is
her husband, Mr. Stanley Dowd. Mr. Dowd is not only her loving husband,
but the Director of Operations here at Mrs. Dowd’s Teaching Service. He
said “Everyone here at MDTS relates to people, but I also have to relate to
things.” He’s in charge of our Information Technology & Infrastruc- ture and is the Net-
work Administrator. Hmm, just what does all that mean? It means there wouldn’t be a
buyer to purchase all the things an office needs to run smoothly and that means every-
thing an office needs. Everything we need seems to magically appear whether it be some-
thing big like furniture or computers, or the snacks needed for the tutoring time, or even something as small as
glue sticks and paper clips. Mr. Dowd keeps us well supplied with all the essential things required to keep an
office productive. It would mean that we would not have computers that are up and running with the programs
we need and what would an office do without their computers? Mr. Dowd keeps us “high tech” so we can be effi-
cient. And what if something breaks? Who fixes it? Yes, it’s Mr. Dowd. The Office of MDTS would not logistically
be able to run smoothly without Mr. Dowd. Imagine all the little things that no one thinks about; that’s what he
has to think about every day!
If you were to go in his office, you would get a feel for who this man is that wears so many hats. His work history
has humble beginnings as he started as a janitor for a Drafting company. They soon realized his love for drawing
and it wasn’t long before he became a draftsman. He went on to serve his country in the United States Navy. He
was a career Navy man serving for 20 and a half years in the very important job of aircraft maintenance. He has
also worked for Piedmont Airlines (now USAir Express), first as a gate agent and then as ground support main-
tenance. Although his 20 years Navy and 12 years with the airlines is now behind him, it’s easy to see that he
still has a love for aviation. One wall of his office here at MDTS is covered with a very large map with circles
and odd shaped areas. He will happily tell you that this map is an aviation sectional chart for VFR aviation.
Further explanation revealed that VFR stands for Visual Flight Rules and is used by private pilots to navigate.
Oh yes, did I forget to mention that he also has a private pilots license? (What doesn’t this man do?)
He has a lively sense of humor and often has a joke to share with those in the office. Though he is detail ori-
ented, and particular about the way things operate, he also has a side that our students love. He is the self pro-
claimed pirate of the office, and if he works with children, one wouldn’t be surprised to find that the first letter
he would teach would be “RRRRRRRR”. Not into pirates? Don’t worry, you may just find him with his apron and
chef’s hat on at one of the schools. Mr. Luigi shows up to delight the students with his popcorn, excuse me…his
“popacorna” machine to fill the room with the aroma of fresh popped “popacorna” for all the students and tutors.
We never know who may show up and delight us next!
As my interview with Mr. Dowd came to a close he said “I have seen how God used every experience in my life
thus far to prepare me for this job. I am amazed at how God knew all along just what I needed for this job. I feel
privileged and very humbled that God would choose me for this endeavor. Why me Lord?” And to that we all say
“Why not you Mr. Dowd?” By the way, I need yellow highlighter, can you get me one? This man’s work is never
done. Thank you Mr. Dowd for all you do at MDTS.
“He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful
to the world.” Epitaph on the grave of George Washington Carver.
ou may know that George Washington Carver discovered over 300 uses for peanuts (including
my personal favorite-peanut butter), but there are some interesting facts you may not know
about him. He was born in 1864 in Missouri during the difficult times after the Civil War. He
was orphaned as an infant, and adopted by Moses and Susan Carver. He studied in a one
room schoolhouse and was not able to go to college until the age of 30 due to racial barriers . He was
finally accepted to Simpson College in Iowa where he became their first black student. He attained a
Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters of Science degree. Although he had hundreds of ideas, recipes
and improvements that helped farmers in the south, he only attained 3 patents for his work. He freely
gave his discoveries to mankind. Regarding all the ideas he literally gave away to southern farmers, he is quoted as
having said, “God gave them to me” (his ideas), “How can I sell them to someone else?” Everyone searches for a role
model to look up to and emulate. You don’t have to look far to see that George Washington Carver beat the odds, gave
back more than he got, and is one fine role model for young people today. His epitaph above says it all.
Mrs. Dow d's Teaching Service
5411 Berwyn Road
Berwyn Heights, MD
Phone: 301-345-DOWD (3693)
We’re on the web!
Until every child in PG County is
Fun Facts to Know and Tell
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
February 14th—“Day of Love” PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL
(that pesky little varmint) makes his
What’s that you say? The New Year
annual debut! What is it about this
begins January 1st? Though that may Everyone likes to groundhog that gets everybody so ex-
be true around most of the world, it send Valentines and cited? Oh yes, he’s the “official” predic-
doesn’t hold true in China. This year, maybe candy or flowers tor of whether we will have an early
the Chinese New Year begins on on February 14th to spring or be inundated with six more
February 18th. On the Western Calen- show others that they are loved. If weeks of winter. This is, of course, de-
dar the Chinese New Year begins some- you take the letter “L” from this day termined in a “very scientific” way,
where between mid-January and early of love and add the letters “isten” to shadow or no shadow? This year was no
February. Each year “belongs” to one of it you will find one of the best gifts of different as hundreds (thousands?)
twelve animals; this year happens to be all to give to those you love...Listen. crowded around to see Phil come out of
the Year of the Pig. We may wonder if So many are too busy to take time to his hole on February 2nd. Much to the
that’s such a good thing, but the Chi- delight of those present, he did NOT
listen yet everyone wants to be
nese say that people born in the Year of see his shadow as he climbed out of his
the Pig love to read, and are thirsty for heard. So when you are thinking
about how to show someone you love hole. HURRAY! We
knowledge. That’s sounds like the mak-
them, give them some of your time are in for an early
ings of a good student. 1995 was also
spring! Well, per-
the Year of the Pig. I wonder how many and listen to them. Listen with you
haps not, our only
of the students we serve at MDTS were ears, but even more importantly lis-
born in the Year of the Pig? So to honor snow and ice storm
ten with your heart.
the Chinese New Year and the Year of came after his prediction. Oh well, we
the Pig...let’s all read a good book! still love you Phil!