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Howard County Parent Honored with 2017 HCPSS Parent Involvement Matters Award

Posted: June 21st, 2017

Forest Ridge Elementary School parent Jennifer Renkevens was named the winner of the 2017 Howard County Public School System Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA). Renkevens and two finalists were recognized at the Howard County Board of Education meeting Thursday, June 22.

Jennifer Renkevens PIMA award winner with Dr. Martirano

PIMA recognizes parents and legal guardians for their exceptional support of public education. Parents are nominated for demonstrating significant contributions to public education that have led to improvements for Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) students, teachers, schools, programs and/or policies.

Renkevens serves the Forest Ridge Elementary School learning community as a school volunteer and PTA president. Her advocacy, flexibility and willingness to learn a variety of roles have made a significant impact on the students at the school. Renkevens was nominated by Second Grade Team Leader Teresa Walquist.

“Mrs. Renkevens stepped into the role of PTA president this school year during a time of change for the entire PTA executive board,” said Forest Ridge Elementary School Principal Genée Varlack. “She brought with her a can-do spirit, a growth mindset and a focus on students and families.”

PIMA finalist Linda Boit is an active volunteer who collaborated with parents/guardians to achieve an understanding of children with autism by promoting the Primary Learner program. Boit was nominated by Bellows Spring Elementary School Assistant Principal Cathleen Lopez.

“Linda Boit has made a significant impact through her commitment, and has spent countless hours to guide decisions that directly impact our students and staff,” said Bellows Spring Elementary School Special Educator Courtney Heller.

Group of PIMA winners with Dr. Martirano

PIMA finalist Joe Smaw was instrumental in bringing WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) to Bollman Bridge Elementary School. WATCH D.O.G.S. is a national educational initiative of the National Center for Fathering. Smaw organized recruiting efforts, training nights and fundraisers to bring volunteers into the school. Smaw was nominated by Bollman Bridge Elementary School Principal Rhonda Inskeep.

“Smaw’s energy and enthusiasm connects students, families and staff,” said Bollman Bridge Elementary School Family Involvement Contact Jim McCleary. “He even organized a registration event at 6 a.m. on a Saturday.”

The HCPSS PIMA award models the Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award, which was previously sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education but discontinued in 2016. HCPSS is the only Maryland school system to continue the PIMA program.