T.J. Maxx sister store Sierra Trading Post Eyes Frederick Location

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.40.31 AMFREDERICK, Md. — T.J. Maxx sister store Sierra Trading Post is eyeing one its first — if not the first— Maryland locations in Frederick.

A leasing flyer for Riverview Plaza, 5425 Urbana Pike, shows a proposed location for Sierra Trading Post. Think of Sierra Trading Post as an Eddie Bauer or L.L. Bean outlet, but with a variety of brands for outdoor clothing and recreational gear. The company boasts overstock gear from brands like Marmot, Haglofs, Browning and New Balance.

You’ll find fly fishing gear, hiking boots, ski and snowboard gear and clothing and camping supplies.

Sierra Trading Post’s website doesn’t show any Maryland stores on its listing yet. So far, Sierra Trading Post only has 16 stores in 11 states, as of July 29, according to the company’s website. The chain is part of TJX Companies, whose portfolio includes T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Homesense. The company is headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyo.

No job openings are advertised for this location as of yet.

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Work Beginning in Former Hagerstown Macy’s at Valley Mall

valleymall2(Update: Read this post about Tilt, Onelife Fitness coming to former Macy’s.)

Washington County, Md. — Work is underway to split up the shuttered Macy’s in the Valley Mall for future tenants.

Building permits were approved this month to create two shell spaces in Macy’s. It doesn’t sound like the Washington County Board of Elections will be in the immediate plans for that space. The Herald-Mail reported on Oct. 17 that the Board of Elections is still deciding on a space.  The story mentions a second-floor space, which I only knew Bon-Ton having a second floor that is mothballed that was part of the mall’s old second-floor loft of shops. Anyone know if Macy’s, which was built as Hecht’s, had second-floor office space?

In any event, that’s not going to effect shopping space. No tenant names were attached to the building permit application but we might not have to wait too long.

The mall’s owner, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, or PREIT, has its third-quarter earnings call scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2. An announcement could be made during that call to impress investors.

It’s hard to say what will fill those spaces. The trend for malls has been filling in department stores with dining, entertainment options that are on a more affordable scale of a Dave and Busters or Lucky Strike—think TILT or Round 1 Entertainment; boutique grocers (Lucky’s Market; Spouts); outlet-type stores like Nordstrom Rack or HomeGoods, sporting goods retailers like Cabela’s or Field and Stream. It all depends on the population, market area and income base of the mall’s shoppers.

Just to give you an idea, here are retailers who have filled large vacancies in PREIT-owned malls within the last year. Some of these malls (Capital City; Plymouth Meeting; Woodland) are in much larger markets than Hagerstown.

Capital City Mall — Harrisburg, Pa.

Plymouth Meeting Mall — Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (Outside of King of Prussia)

Exton Mall — Exton, Pa.

Viewmont Mall — Scranton, Pa.

(all three replacing Sears)

Magnolia Mall — Florence, S.C.

  • Burlington  [Formerly, Burlington Coat Factory] (Opening fourth quarter 2017)

Woodland Mall — Grand Rapids, Mich.

Cumberland Mall — Vineland, N.J.

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods (opened)

Cherry Hill Mall — Cherry Hill, N.J.

  • Zara (26,000 square feet)

Here are my guesses as to what would be a good fit based on the above:

Field & Stream, HomeGoods, Burlington and Round 1 Entertainment.

Field & Stream — This region has plenty of hunters and anglers to satisfy a Field & Stream. With Cabela’s and Bass Pro becoming one, Hagerstown would be a better fit with a mid-size store like Field and Stream. While Hagerstown checks off a lot of lists for something like Bass Pro (interstate visibility, market) I’m not sure if we’re there yet. Bass Pro is a destination store and the traffic to the Arundel Mills Malls is too much to bear on most days and the drive to Harrisburg can also be a pain with tractor-trailer accidents or wintery conditions. Bass Pro showed a willingness to build stores closer together in some areas, but maybe the merger changed things.

HomeGoods — Hagerstown is full of bargain shoppers. Marshall’s and Ross does well. HomeGoods would add a nice dimension for your domestic purchases.

Round 1 Entertainment — This is one of your runner-ups to Dave and Busters. A lot of people in Hagerstown say they want a D&B’s but they are built in much larger cities. Round 1 is going into areas that are more like Hagerstown. How will this fare against Seven Ten beside Longmeadow Shopping Center. I thought another concept that would compete against this was being planned near Breakaways but I could be imagining things.

Burlington — See HomeGoods above. God bless this store finding a way to survive in the Chambersburg Mall. However, the tenant mix for bargain hunters and lower-end stores plays well for Burlington at its current location. Would PREIT be able to woo Burlington away from the mall that it once owned, as recent as 2013? I don’t know the lease or ownership status of the Burlington building to say one way or another. Or the willingness of the retailer to add a location between its Chambersburg and Frederick stores.

Now, keep in mind that not only is PREIT filling Macy’s with two retailers but it now has to work with Seritage to find a retailer (or retailers) for Sears. That could lead to all of what I mentioned that are good fits plus a surprise to come.

Verizon to Open First Washington County Store at Valley Mall

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — Verizon will open its first wireless retail store in Washington County inside the former Sears Auto Center at the Valley Mall.

Verizon filed a building permit on Thursday, Oct. 19, for a 3,652 square-foot space in a renovated building that will also house BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. The application shows the store will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Saturday, and number of employees will range from eight to 10. No opening date is provided.

It’s been a longtime coming for Verizon to finally break into Hagerstown. The LTE coverage map shows that most of Washington County is now covered, but it’s surprising it hasn’t happened sooner considering the number of residents who commute daily from the Hagerstown region into the Verizon coverage area.

Unfortunately, this does not mean Verizon FIOS TV and Internet will be available in the county. Verizon offers “high speed” Internet up to 15 Mbps through DSL but no broadband service, leaving Schurz Communications’ Antietam Cable, I’m sorry, Antietam Broadband, as the only game in town. Only certain parts of the county have Comcast as an option.

A New Pathway to Teaching: An Education Diversity Experience Taking Shape in Maryland Schools

brianna-photo.jpg
Frostburg State University alumna Brianna Hopkins teaches math at Gwynns Falls Elementary School in Baltimore. Photo courtesy of Coppin State University

Sometimes you have to let programs simmer for awhile until they’re ready. I’ve been waiting for this day to come for over a year, when Frostburg State University faculty were excited about a new federally grant-funded program. It was promising that they were part of a Coppin State University-led program that just received a $3.6 million infusion from the U.S. Department of Education.

Today we’re at the point we’re ready to share and demonstrate the promise of the program with a success story and the launch of the first phase of the program. We packaged this feature I wrote with the press release we distributed with Coppin to show two sides of the program: the nuts and bolts and then the human interest story.

Like the program itself, the communication of Pathways to Professions (P2P) is a joint venture with FSU and CSU’s media relations offices working as one.

The human interest story also includes key information about P2P so readers can grasp this mammoth undertaking. Expect to hear more about P2P over the next five years and beyond. The hope is that this a model for other universities and K-12 school districts.

By Charles Schelle

When Brianna Hopkins needed a student to behave, she thought staring down the student with a stern look might do the trick.

In Baltimore’s Gwynns Falls Elementary School, it worked flawlessly. At Mount Savage Elementary School, located in a small Allegany County town, the student giggled. Lesson learned for Hopkins.

“It was funny because she said ‘Miss Hopkins, why are you looking at me like that? Is there something in your eye?’” said Hopkins, a 2017 graduate of Frostburg State University. “I thought that it was funny because it was such a culture difference.”

That’s the point of a new U.S. Department of Education grant-funded program implemented through Coppin State University and Frostburg State University: to allow teacher candidates be prepared for anything in any classroom. It’s called Pathways 2 Professions and has officially launched this fall.

Maryland is in many ways a miniature America with snowy mountains in the west transitioning to farmland and urban cities and then to sandy beaches along the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The population is as diverse across the state as the geography, and if teacher candidates can figure out how to scale unfamiliar terrain in two starkly different Maryland classrooms, they can teach anywhere in the country.

To make this program possible, Coppin State and Frostburg State — both part of the University System of Maryland—collaborated to redesign curriculum to improve teacher effectiveness and student success. Their efforts resulted in a proposal where Coppin State was awarded a five-year, $3.6 million Teacher Quality Partnership Grant to develop the Frostburg State partnership.

Dr. Yi Huang, associate dean/associate professor of CSU College of Arts & Sciences and Education is the author and principal investigator of the grant. Dr. Kim Rotruck, acting associate dean of FSU’s College of Education, is the co-principal investigator. Both are joined by several other faculty members from both institutions as well as partners with various agencies to design the program.

“Teachers are the single most important factor in terms of impacting if a student can learn and improve or not,” Huang said. “By improving teacher effectiveness, you have a much greater chance to improve student learning. That was the ultimate goal. We have a greater goal of inclusive excellence.”

The challenge was worth pursuing for faculty at Coppin and Frostburg to take prospective teachers out of their comfort zones to expand their skillset by managing classrooms in a different part of the state, Rotruck said.

“FSU instructors believe their students need every opportunity to meet the challenges of today’s classroom. We want to provide as many opportunities for their success,” Rotruck said. “This Coppin partnership has definitely changed their perspective and allowed them to grow as teachers.”

 

 

How Pathways 2 Professions Works

 

To understand how teacher candidates can work outside of a system, it’s important to know how they work within a system to become a teacher.

Maryland has a Professional Development School Network that identifies at which K-12 schools teacher-candidates can complete their required 100-day internships. Those schools are affiliated with a higher education institution within their region.

FSU, for instance, has partner schools in Allegany County, Washington County, western Frederick County and eastern Garrett County. CSU’s network extends to a several Baltimore city schools in a one-to-three-mile radius of the campus.

CSU and FSU, both with nationally accredited teaching programs, ensure that the schools and teachers they work with in these K-12 PDSN sites are meeting standards to teach future teachers. Also, it helps that the schools are in a defined area to prevent, for example, a Garrett County teacher having to drive to Ocean City for a required site visit.

The multi-layered P2P program provides an additional opportunity to the 100-day internship to practice teaching to a different demographic in a contrasting geographical setting in Maryland by establishing support at each university and PDSN sites. The Coppin-Frostburg partnership works because it’s a defined set of schools, along with college faculty familiar with each other who worked together to define standards and expectations of what this would look like.

These one-week internships take place following the education majors’ six-week internship at their home institution’s professional development schools. Students also complete group site visits to partner schools earlier in the process.

“We tried many different models of people observing and spending time in Baltimore classrooms, but we never found a collaborative model that is so well coordinated to provide these students with experiences beyond observation,” Rotruck said. “Now they are participating in diverse environments.”

These teacher candidates examine their own stereotypes, their background, upbringing and misconceptions about teaching in urban or rural schools and check them at the door.

“Until somebody asks you to do it, you don’t think about how your culture influences your instruction and your decision making,” said FSU Professor of Educational Professions Dr. Janet Mattern, who is the FSU site director for P2P.

Here’s how students unpack how their personality and way of life influences their teaching:

 

  • In the first phase, FSU and CSU education majors will conduct site visits at professional development schools to observe classrooms and gain initial exposure to schools in a different part of the state. The first visits will take place in October.
  • FSU and CSU students collaborate on assignments online through Blackboard and work on developing curriculum together.
  • In the second phase, planned for the spring of 2018, FSU students have a one-week internship, or residential clinical rotation, in an urban professional development school near Coppin. CSU students do the same at a FSU professional development network school. Teacher-candidates must complete P2P competency-based activities in order to be part of this experience. The first clinical rotations are planned for spring 2018.

Students who successfully complete components of the program are awarded P2P MicroCredentials that will appear on their transcripts to show they acquired specialized skills through this unique experience. The pilot implementation of the P2P MicroCredentials in Teaching Effectiveness will begin in fall 2017 at CSU and FSU. Plans are in the works to develop MicroCredentials that teacher candidates could earn during their two-year induction phase, and convert into Continuing Professional Development credits for teacher certification.

 

 

From Big Savage Mountain to Baltimore

 

When students traded places in a pilot clinical round, their perceptions changed.

FSU students learned why Baltimore public schools require uniforms, experienced a city where minorities are the majority, and saw students facing the same issues that students in Western Maryland face. CSU students could see the effects of poverty in some rural communities and the lack of racial diversity in K-12 schools.

“One of the students’ assumption was that African American students would face economic challenges. In rural areas that are predominately white, poverty is still a major aspect that impact a student’s life, emotional development,” Huang said. “That’s one thing that they were able to connect to — that students faced challenges in rural and urban environments.”

The experiences help teacher candidates make adjustments. That could be something as little as enforcing certain classroom rules like raising a hand to ask or answer a question or if certain students are more comfortable with using a tablet instead of pen and paper, Mattern said.

“Until you start unpacking those things, you don’t even realize you do it because it’s just a part of who you are,” Mattern said. “What do you value? What do you believe? The way you were raised influences every interaction you have.”

The program isn’t intended to make teachers feel like they have to have all the answers, said Dr. Boyce Williams, interim dean for FSU’s College of Education.

“You give them the tools they need, not to be able to solve all the problems children come with but to have been exposed to best practices and to know that I need to seek help,” such as from a school nurse or psychologist, Williams said. “I’m expected to teach all students, but I can’t be everything to all. But I certainly ought to know and identify when there is some type of need, an issue or a challenge, and be able to go to the resources for support.”

 

‘They want to be loved’

 

Hopkins, a Baltimore resident, was part of a pilot test of the program before the official launch, teaching at Gwynns Falls Elementary in Baltimore and at Mount Savage Elementary School, outside of Frostburg. She also interned at Route 40 Elementary School in Garrett County, where she opened up the eyes of some rural, white children.

“I had kids who were brushing my skin because they thought my skin was going to feel different because it was brown. I didn’t mind, and I was happy to share with them that we’re all humans,” said Hopkins, who is African American.  “We have different shades of skin but that doesn’t matter. You get hungry, I get hungry. You get thirsty, I get thirsty. If someone says something mean to you, it hurts your feelings. The same with mine. It was nice to have that experience.” 

Hopkins learned how much and how little race is part of the conversation in education. Hopkins grew up in Catonsville and attended a predominately white elementary school. She said she had to adjust to the culture in middle school, which was more of a diverse melting pot, then adjust again at a predominately African American high school in Baltimore city, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Her schooling background taught her a lot, but it’s another aspect to teach students accustomed to certain environments.

The young students Hopkins taught were not fixated on race, she said.
“I realized after this internship that children don’t see color unless you make it a big deal. They just want to be loved, regardless if it’s Allegany County or Baltimore City Public Schools,” Hopkins said. “They just want to learn, and they want to be loved.”

That’s the key: that all children deserve to be taught and to feel validated. And if teacher candidates like Hopkins can recognize that, the program will be a success by improving both teachers and students.

“Brianna will be able to teach anywhere. The idea is that sometimes urban and rural schools are very similar but also very different,” Huang said. “The idea is now they have the advantage over the typical teacher preparation program. They actually have that kind of experience.”

Domino’s Planning Store in Hagerstown’s North End

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. — Domino’s Pizza will be opening a new restaurant beside Martin’s Food Market off of Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown.

Domino’s filed a building permit to remodel a space at 18728 North Pointe Drive for a new location, according to Washington County building records. The 2,532-square-foot restaurant would be open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to midnight. The same shopping center had a Fox’s Pizza Den that is now closed.

Domino’s has operated inside the Rocs convenience store at 18404 Maugans Avenue since it was built in 1999. It’s unclear if this is an additional location or if it is relocating.

Domino’s, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has undergone a wave of encouraging franchisees to either renovate/remodel or move into a new space for its next-generation stores with what they’re calling a “pizza theater.”

Here’s how The Seattle Times described pizza theater:

A pair of mustachioed pizza makers in blue aprons — visible from behind a glass display at a new Domino’s store in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood — tossed dough into the air as a handful of corporate executives looked on Tuesday.

Domino’s calls the concept “pizza theater,” because customers now can come in and watch their orders being made.

“This is the way we always made our pizzas. A lot of people just had no idea,” said Domino’s Chief Executive Patrick Doyle, who was in town Tuesday to see the new store at 4436 Rainier Ave. S. “It was sort of one of those lightning-bolt moments where we said, ‘Gee, maybe we should show them.’ ”

The new look is part of a four-year-long effort to freshen the pizza chain’s image and boost its growing ranks of carryout customers.

The open-kitchen format includes seating for a dozen or so people, a chalkboard where customers can leave comments and a refrigerated section for grab-and-go items such as salads and milk.

Will this be enough for you to switch to Domino’s or give it another try? They will have less pressure now that Pizza Hut closed on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown to make way for an urgent care office. But you still have Papa Murphy’s Take N Bake around the corner, King’s New York Pizza in Fountainhead Plaza and anywhere else you can grab a slice.