Contact: Debra Rubino
Open Society Institute-Baltimore and its director Diana Morris are being honored this year by the National Association of State Boards of Education with the organization’s 2014 Friend of Education Award. The national award is given annually to an individual or organization whose contributions to education are significant and enduring.
“We are honored to be recognized by NASBE as a Friend of Education,” says OSI-Baltimore Director Diana Morris. “As we work together with schools, parents, and advocates to assure that every child attends school every day, we know that state and local boards of education are critical partners. Keeping children connected to school, from their earliest years all the way through graduation, truly is a community effort. And we’re grateful to have NASBE–as friends of ours–working alongside our grantees and us.”
In detailing why OSI-Baltimore was chosen for this coveted award, NASBE said:
“Established in 1998, OSI-Baltimore has become one of Baltimore’s most visible and effective civil society groups. OSI-Baltimore’s Education and Youth Development program provides critical assistance and support to reforming school discipline policies and regulations in Maryland.
OSI-Baltimore Director Diana Morris has worked collaboratively with Maryland’s State Board of Education and Department of Education for many years to dramatically improve school discipline practices across the state. Morris, along with Jane Sundius, director of the Education and Youth Development program, and Katherine Rabb, program officer, helped facilitate the state board’s efforts to amend Maryland’s school discipline regulations and guidelines for a state code of discipline to better reflect rehabilitative approaches to school discipline, practices that help keep students in school and on a path to graduation and beyond.”
NASBE also lauded OSI-Baltimore’s work on school discipline, which it said has helped to shape national school discipline policy as well.
“Diana and OSI-Baltimore understand the power of collaboration to achieve an end goal,” says NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “OSI-Baltimore has worked effectively with the Maryland State Board to improve school discipline policies statewide, and its efforts are paying off locally as well. In 2004, Baltimore’s school suspension rates were at a record high of 26,300. After OSI-Baltimore started working with the city’s schools on revising discipline codes, suspensions fell to 8,600 over six years. That’s a tremendous achievement.”
Diana Morris will accept the NASBE Friend of Education award on behalf of Open Society Institute-Baltimore on October 17, at NASBE’s national conference in Denver, Colorado.