Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Notes from Board Meeting, 6/25/07

The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes. Please follow-up for official minutes upon approval. For copies of printed reports presented visit Board Docs.

(Board member Pam Pedersen absent)

Action - Personnel

*Vote to approve Personnel
Unanimous (Pedersen absent)


Action - Educational Facilities Master Plan

*Vote to approve Educational Facilities Master Plan
Unanimous (Pedersen absent)

Action - High School #2 Educational Specifications

  • Wise - attended MABE Leadership Conference this week. Charles County is ahead of the times. Current students are raised in a digital world.
  • Wise - asked about a classroom specific for ESOL class
  • Richmond - classroom assignments are still open

*Vote to approve Educational Specifications
Unanimous (Pedersen absent)


  • Richmond - attended a church service yesterday by request and spoke with congregation on school issues


Monday, June 25, 2007

REMINDER: Board Work Session, 6/25/07

Reminder....there is a Board Work Session Monday, June 25.

To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit Board Docs.

Action Items include:
Education Facilities Master Plan
High School #2 Educational Specifications
Approval of Minutes from Board Meeting 6/12/07

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lotteries and Education

Lotteries may seem like the shortest route to instand cash for schools, but they're proving to be a high-risk gamble according to Bruce Buchanan, contributing writer for the American School Board Journal.

Read more of his article HERE.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Schools Violate Contract with Parents

Letter to the editor of the Baynet from David Hapner

I want to caution all parents of Charles County public school students to thoroughly read the school system’s “Code of Conduct” before they sign, or allow their children to sign, this document. They should also make sure they retain the copy for the entire year.

Why give this advice to all parents? Three very important reasons.

Read more HERE.

Youth Suicides Increasing

From 2003 - 2004 the suicide rate for Americans under age 20 climbed by 18% according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Whats to blame? Some experts blame the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a regulatory action that led to a black box warning on antidepressant packaging cautioning that the medication could cause suicidal behavior.

Read more HERE

Monday, June 18, 2007

Corporate Support or Commerical Infringement?

Faced with increased advertising in schools how can districts find the right balance between corporate support and commercial infringement? April Moore, a freelance writer broaches this question in an article published in the American School Board Journal.

Read what she has to say HERE

Let me hear some of your ideas on this topic. For example, contracts with Coca Cola, CISCO, IBM, Sprint, etc.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Sign of the Times - "Bong Hits 4 Jesus"

The battle over a principal's right to discipline a student for offensive and disruptive speech is perhaps the biggest of its kind since the Vietnam War." says Gleen Cook, Editor-in-Chief of the American School Board Journal.

It should have been a sign. And in this particular case, one that could have far-reaching consequences for public schools, it actually was.

The U.S. Supreme Court is debating whether to overturn a lower court decision in what has become known as the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case. Known formally as Morse v. Frederick, the battle over a principal’s right to discipline a student for offensive and disruptive speech is perhaps the biggest of its kind since the Vietnam War.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bible vs. Board

In the church-state debate, districts often are caught in the middle of a controversial and costly quandry over religion's role in schools according to Richard D. Sorenson, Assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations at the University of Texas.

In a recent article, he answered the following questions...

  1. Can the Bible be taught in schools?

  2. Can Bibles be distributed throughout schools that teach a Bible course?

  3. Can students read the Bible in any class or subject?

  4. Can students read the Bible on their own in any class?

  5. Can students pray at school?

  6. Can schools start the day with a prayer?

  7. Can schools sponsor silent prayer or meditation?

  8. Can schools sponsor a moment or minute of silence?

Read his answers HERE.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Four New Principals Appointed

...and they were all vice principals at their respective schools

  1. North Point - Kimberly Hill
  2. Stoddert - Sue DelaCruz
  3. Diggs - Sandra McDuffie
  4. Jenifer - Thadine Wright
Read the complete press release HERE.

County Ranks High in AP Enrollment

Maryland Independent, 6/13/07

Four Charles County high schools are among the top 4 percent of U.S. schools in getting students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, according to ratings in a national newsmagazine.

But three county school board members recently voiced concerns that with rising enrollment in AP courses, the quality of the courses might be going down — an assertion school system administrators strongly dispute.

Read the Indy story HERE

Take a wild guess as to who is one of the board members with a concern.

Notes from Board Meeting, 6/12/07

The below notes are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the Board of Education meetings and are provided as a request from my supporters and the general public in a personal effort to be more transparent. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as unbiased and accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes. Please follow-up for official minutes upon approval. For copies of printed reports presented visit Board Docs.

(Board member Maura Cook absent)

Public Forum

  • Female - Grandchildren in CCPS. Why so many dropouts? Can name 5 dropouts due to failing. Grandson has to repeat 8th grade. Correspondence from school staff was lacking. Parents and grandparents tried to resolve.
  • Female - Daughter did not get to graduate with class at Westlake due to staff misguidance. Honor roll student taking AP classes. Tried to get help and removal from the class. One counselor for 494 students. Overwhelmed. Targets students failing 4 or more classes first; then 3 or more; etc. Since her daughter was only failing one class she was not targeted until 3 weeks before the end of the school year and it was too late.

Action - Approval of Minutes from 4/3/07 and 4/23/07

*Vote to approve minutes
Unanimous (Cook absent)
Correspondence/Board Member Updates
  • None
Report – EACC – Bill Fisher
  • School policy on student discipline matters take a back seat when a complaint goes over the heads of the school administration and teacher. The teacher and administration need to know their enforcement of discipline will be reinforced by central office.
  • Members will participate in the NEA convention to work on major revisions to NCLB
  • Participation in MSTA Leadership Training workshops
  • Thank you to current and retiring educators for a job well done
  • Annual Back to School Crab Feast August 24th.

Report - Student Board Member – Asin Shah

  • None

Report – Superintendent – Jim Richmond

  • Graduations a success. Thank you for attending and thanks to Darlene Kahl, staff and community partners for a successful project graduation.

Report – Deputy Superintendent – Ron Cunningham

  • Relay for Life - he accepted a plaque on behalf of the Board support. $245,000

Report – Student Services - Keith Greer & staff

  • Attendance - NCLB requires system @ 94% attendance. We're at 94.6%
  • Pupil Personnel Workers
  • Counselors
  • School Nurses
  • Resource Officers & Juvenile Probation Officers
  • PBIS
  • Homeless Students
  • Section 504 Students (disabled)
  • Wise - Requests copy of slides with statistics. Also would like to see a report on out-of-county students attending
  • Greer - Most in-county out-of-zone is for daycare exceptions
  • Abell - Requests presentation to be place on Board Docs for public to view.
  • Abell - Requests report to include lots being bought and students attending schools with no house on lots.
  • Carrington - Who is punished when students are referred to the states attorney?
  • Greer - Both the parents and students could be punished depending on the circumstances.
  • Bailey - 184,777 medical interventions. Is the data organized to determine how many individual students?
  • Greer - No
  • Pedersen - Hospitalized students count against our NCLB requirements?
  • Greer - Yes
  • Bailey - What are our consequences for failing this NCLB mandate?
  • Greer - Just one of the factors figured into our overall requirements to meet adequate yearly progress.
  • Shah - Excused vs. unexcused; can the data show the comparison.
  • Greer - Yes

Report – Curriculum (Summer Programs) - Judy Estep & staff

  • Summer Reading and Math Academies at all 3 levels
  • SHIP (Summer Programs for Children with Special Needs)
  • Enrichment Opportunities (Algebra, SAT, PSAT)
  • Shah - How are students identified and targeted for invitation to programs? Open enrollment?
  • Estep - Prospective list is generated by central office and distributed to schools. Those students are invited first and then open enrollment based on space available
  • Carrington - 18 - 22 year old program.
  • Estep - Job placement and transportation assistance in a natural environment
  • Bailey - Do we see benefits of hiring aids and possible teacher recruiting efforts?
  • Hettel - Yes
  • Pedersen - Can't find summer information on web site. Is it available?
  • Estep - Working on web-site. Advise parents to call office for more information

Report – Supporting Services (CIP)- Chuck Wineland; Steve Hagis, Jerry Barrett

  • Davis (Falcons) furniture and equipment being delivered
  • Neal - masonry and footings being done
  • Craik - Roof-top replacements; contract gone to state
  • Martin - Bids are within budget; going to state
  • Pedersen - Possibilty of board touring Davis. Date TBD
  • Pedersen - Orientation for students
  • Cunningham - Orientation and transition dinner will be done when building is ready

Report – Supporting Services (New High School)- Chuck Wineland & staff

  • "Green" school and program
  • Planetarium and digital dome
  • complete 6/2011
  • 285,000 square feet + 4,000 square foot domed theater
  • Was NOT approved by the state for FY 2008. Schematic development and design will continue and planning approval from the state will be requested in the FY09 CIP.
  • County commissioners approved project budget request at total state and local costs of $97.6M
  • Educational specifications must be submitted by July 1. Will vote on at next work session
  • Shah - Any other schools have integrated planetariums
  • Wineland - We will be the first in the nation and the digital dome could become a laser dome based on the latest technology available
  • Shah - How much of construction cost is dome/planetarium?
  • Wineland - $2M. Biggest and the best

Report – Supporting Services (Educational Facilities Master Plan)- Chuck Wineland & staff

  • Elementary School #3 may not be Pinefield but may be Heritage Green
  • Scheduled school openings
  • Fall 2007 - Davis Middle School
  • Fall 2008 - Neal Elementary School
  • Fall 2009 - No School
  • Fall 2010 - Elementary School #3 (Heritage Green or Pinefield)
  • Fall 2011 - High School/Planetarium
  • Fall 2012 - No School
  • Fall 2013 - Elementary School #4 (Heritage Green or Pinefield)
  • Fall 2014 - Middle School #2
  • Fall 2015 - No School
  • Fall 2016 - Elementary School #5

Report – Budget – Paul Balides

  • See report
  • Everything on track. Revenue slightly up. Expenses slightly down.
  • Fund balance to be used for support/start-up costs at Davis Middle School, television studio equipment, textbooks, school priority requests and various building maintenance projects.
  • Abell - formula used for school appropriations
  • Balides - yes. Equal allocations based on enrollment and equipment

Report - Technology Update - BJ Devakota & Lora Bennett

  • Vital Source presentation
  • Textbook, curriculum, lesson plans, references all contained on laptops given to teachers.
  • Adding courses annually
  • Currently 100 laptops with LCD carts have been distributed. Adding 75 more next school year

Action - Personnel

*Vote to approve Personnel
Unanimous (Cook absent)


Action - FY2008 Budget

*Vote to approve FY2008 Budget
Unanimous (Cook absent)

Action - Out-of-County Tuition Fees

*Vote to approve Out of County Tuition Fees
Unanimous (Cook absent)

Action - New Textbooks

*Vote to approve New Textbooks
Unanimous (Cook absent)

Unfinished Business

  • Diversity Blue Ribbon Committee
  • Wade - Pedersen will represent the board

Future Agenda Items

  • Abell - Freshman Seminar Update
  • Carrington - Possibility of Diversity Training for students
  • Bailey - Grades in database on a % instead of letter grade
  • Wade - Ways to upgrade the board
  • Pedersen - Trying to be present at all events
  • Abell - Interactive Board calendar


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Board Considers School Uniforms

Got your attention but no, not in Chuck County...in Harford County :)

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, Harford county schools officials are seeking input about the proposal; report planned for December.

One of the goals listed in the school's five-year strategic plan is to conduct an inquiry about uniforms in Harford schools. For more than 10 years, the school system has allowed individual schools to enact voluntary uniform policies, but no Harford County schools require students to wear uniforms.

Harford County public school officials are exploring the possibility of mandatory uniforms for students.

Read the complete article HERE.

Monday, June 11, 2007

'Huge Gap' Found in States' Student Testing

An article in the Washington Times...
Read the complete article HERE.

There are big differences in how states are measuring student achievement in reading and math, and many state test standards set the bar far lower than national test standards, a new federal report released yesterday shows.

The study -- by the research arm of the Education Department -- is the government's first official comparison of states' testing standards since 2002 enactment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.

It will likely play a role in this year's effort to renew that law, which requires states to test students and set goals to bring all to proficiency level in reading and math by 2014, but doesn't mandate specific standards or define "proficiency."

Saturday, June 09, 2007

REMINDER: Board Meeting, Tuesday, June 12th

Just wanted to remind everyone there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, June 12th.

4:30 - Student and Staff Recognition
5:30 - Closed Session (Board and staff only)
6:30 - Public Forum (Must sign-up prior to 6:30)
The remainder of the meeting immediately follows Public Forum

To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit Board Docs.

Reports include:

  • Board Members
  • EACC
  • Superintendent
  • Deputy Superintendent - Student Services
  • Instruction Report - Summer Programs
  • Supporting Services Report - CIP Update; New High School Ed. Specs.; Educational Facilities Master Plan
  • Finance Report - Budget Update
  • Technology Report - Update

Action Items:

  • Personnel
  • FY2008 Budget
  • Out-of-County Tuition Fees
  • New Textbooks

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Scores Up Since 'No Child' Was Signed

Study's Authors Unsure Whether to Credit Law for Gains

The nation's students have performed significantly better on state reading and math tests since President Bush signed his landmark education initiative into law five years ago, according to a major independent study released yesterday.

The study's authors warned that it is difficult to say whether or how much the No Child Left Behind law is driving the achievement gains. But Republican and Democratic supporters of the law said the findings indicate that it has been a success. Some said the findings bolster the odds that Congress will renew the controversial law this year.

Read the complete Washington Post article HERE.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Project Graduation 2007

The Project Graduation event for Charles County Public Schools graduating seniors will be held from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. June 4 and 5 at the College of Southern Maryland.

The event is sponsored by The Chemical People of Charles County and is held after graduation ceremonies to offer seniors a chemical-free place to celebrate. Graduating seniors from Maurice J. McDonough, Westlake and Thomas Stone high schools will attend the event scheduled for June 4. Henry E. Lackey High School and La Plata High School graduates will attend the June 5 event.

Activities include dancing, swimming, make-your-own DVDs, defender dome and gladiator games, moon bounce, Lazer Tag and other carnival-type games. Each graduating senior will receive a complimentary beach towel and scope photograph key chain. Free food and drinks will be provided, and attendees are eligible to win prizes, such as televisions, radios and mini-refrigerators, through random ticket drawings.

Ticket books for the event will be distributed by each high school for all graduating seniors. These tickets allow graduates and one guest entrance to the event. Attendees must have a ticket to enter the CSM campus, and participants who leave the event will not be allowed to return.

The event is chaperoned and monitored by law enforcement officers. The Chemical People of Charles County have sponsored Project Graduation for more than 20 years to provide graduates with a safe place to celebrate.

For more information on Project Graduation or to volunteer call 301-934-7732 or 301-870-3008, Ext. 7213

Open Thread Saturday!

"Open Thread" Saturday is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. So here you go, give me your feedback.