Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lights! Camera! Action!!

Another view of televising Board meetings in the American School Board Journal


Broadcasting board meetings can help you build positive relationships with
the community, but a lot of time reception is just as important as perception.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Charles County Schools Set To Become Majority Black

In a Washington Post article today...


African American students are poised to become the majority in Charles County public schools this year, a significant turning point for a system that just five years ago was predominantly white and the clearest sign yet of Southern Maryland's shifting demographics.

When enrollment figures are tabulated this week, Charles school officials predict their school district will become majority black -- the third such system in the region, joining the District and Prince George's County. Last year, the number of black students in Charles surpassed the number of white students for the first time, and the portion of African Americans probably will rise above 50 percent this year.

Read more HERE.

Notes from Board Work Session, 9/24/07

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.

Public Forum

  • Gentleman spoke - 2 sons. 3 year old program at Mt Hope Nanjemoy. Application and acceptance process needs overhaul. Some students (with parents) showed up on first day of school (after being accepted) only to be told that there was a mistake and that they were not eligble for the program because they made too much money. Childrn turned away. Most have since been accepted after a lengthy process. In addition, believes ALL 3 year olds need to be in car seats on the buses.

Action - Intercategory Budget Transfers

*Vote to approve Intercategory Budget Transfers

MABE Committees

  • Reviewed assignments

APFO Committee

  • Wise, Bailey, Cook - No report at this time

Board Travel Procedures

  • Wise, Abell, Pedersen - (See Report on Board Docs)
  • Abell - Requested report to be placed on Board Docs for the public
  • Carrington - Questioned if necessary prior to us taking action (next Board meeting)
  • Abell - Yes because we are discussin in public
  • Richmond - confirmed. document to be placed

Board Work Request Form Committee

  • Wise, Carrington, Cook
  • Chairman would like a form to be completed by Board members when requesting information from staff. Forms will come before the Board to vote on need and approval. Committee to develop form and process details.
  • Wade - His idea, not meant to impede or hinder information.

MABE Program "What Counts" Committee

  • Wise, Pedersen, Cook


Friday, September 21, 2007

Sustainable School Design

An article in the American School Board Journal proves how low-tech design solutions can help the district and staff improve student achievement AND save money!

Would it work in Charles County?

Read more HERE.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stupid in America

This 20/20 documentary was refered to by an anonymous poster in another thread. I thought I would post in a thread by itself and include the link.

Stupid in America

Autism, the Law, and Schools

School districts are facing more IDEA cases as a growing number of students are diagnosed with autism. What policies and procedures should be in place?

In an article in the American School Board Journal...

Autism. The very word sends chills down the spine of school attorneys and tempts board members and superintendents to think about their waning bank accounts.

That description is not meant to be rude or disrespectful. Sadly, throughout the United States, the special education needs of autistic children are a frequent source of conflict. In nearly all cases, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) applies and imposes certain obligations on school districts.

IDEA requires a special team -- including in-school experts -- to collaborate with parents to devise a learning plan tailored to the unique needs of a particular autistic child. Drafting an individualized education program (IEP) can be as traumatic as a no-holds-barred wrestling match -- and with no rounds and no time limit, school districts cannot be saved by the bell.So, both sides battle on, using every law, policy, and procedure at their disposal.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

REMINDER: Board Work Session, 9/24/07

Reminder....there is a Board Work Session Monday, September 24 starting at 6:00pm at the Starkey Building

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

Public Forum

Action Items
Intercategory Budget Transfers for FY 2007

Work Session
Board Travel Regulations
Operating Costs for New Schools

Changes to Writing Curriculum

According to an article on Southern Maryland Online there are "Sweeping Changes Planned for Maryland Schools Writing Curriculum."


A set of sweeping changes to the way Maryland schools teach writing took another step forward Wednesday after approval by a Board of Regents panel.

The panel unanimously approved all recommendations in the PreK-16 English Composition Task Force's report, which aims to boost Maryland students' writing skills.

The proposed changes include better continuity in writing standards from high school to college and reduced teacher workload.

Read more HERE.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace!!!


The Maryland State Board of Education will host a regional hearing Sept. 18 at North Point High School to hear public comments on the Maryland High School Assessment (HSA).

The hearing is at 7 p.m. and the Board will only hear comments on the HSAs. The maximum speaking time is three minutes and time has been scheduled for approximately 40 speakers. Anyone wishing to speak during the hearing must sign up on site beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Although State Board members and education officials will not respond to any comments during the hearing, they will listen and take all comments into consideration as they deliberate education policy.

Written testimony may also be directed to the Maryland State Board of Education, 200 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201; by email at; or by fax to 310-333-2275. Testimony must be submitted by Sept. 20.

What is Ready?

An article in the American School Board Journal delves into the question, "What are we getting students ready for?"


Every few months, it seems, a new group, committee, organization, or industry weighs in on the status of public education, saying that today’s graduates are not prepared to succeed in college or the real world of business and commerce. And, more often than not, they point to public schools as the source, the reason students are not ready for life in the 21st century.

Read more HERE.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Wasted Dollars, Wasted Young Lives"

The below is an excerpt from i an editorial in the Baltimore Examiner.

After five years and almost $2.2 billion spent on trying to boost student performance, only one conclusion emerges. Maryland’s Thornton has
Educators supposedly spent the money on programs to help special needs, low-income and other lagging students. It gets worse. The total wasted by fiscal year end will reach $3.5 billion.
It’s all about The Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002, known as Thornton, the supposed magic spell to conjure up at least adequate education for the neediest students.

Read article HERE.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Grasmick to Change HSA's Again!

According to an article in te Washington Post...

Beginning in May 2009, the Maryland school system will phase out "brief constructed responses" and "extended constructed responses" -- questions requiring a short or long written answer -- from its four tests covering algebra, English, biology and government, said Ronald A. Peiffer, the state's deputy superintendent for academic policy.

Read more HERE

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Students to Take Fewer Texas :(

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, parents were able to make a difference.


In a dramatic shift from recent trends, a quarter million students in Texas schools will actually see less testing this year as the state responds to widespread complaints about too much "field" testing in public schools.

Texas Education Agency officials have informed school superintendents in North Texas and across the state that they are substantially scaling back field testing - giving students tryout exams or questions to help develop new tests or future versions of current tests.

Want to find out how, read HERE.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Notes from Board Meeting, 9/11/07

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.


  • Health Careers Month
Public Forum

  • Male -Doesn't agree with smooth opening of schools. Daughters math and science MS classes do not have teachers only subs. Text books not issued, just given busy work. Central advised him they do not know when teachers will be available. Tried to move daughter to another school; not enough teachers there either. Schools should have sent a letter home to parents advising of situation and working in cooperation with parents to rectify. Gym floor was deemed unsafe by Parks and Rec but CCPS continues to have gym classes.

Action - Approval of Minutes from 8/14/07

*Vote to approve 8/14/07 minutes
Correspondence/Board Member Updates
  • Pedersen - Blue Ribbon Commission - represents education sub-committee. Working with Mr. Cunningham and Judy Estep on presentation to sub-committee. Seeking input on how diversity is or should be addressed in schools
  • Abell - Distributed an information DVD on Autism provided by Richard White
  • Wise - need to make MABE committee assignments. Abell - Budget, Nominating; Cook - Budget; Wade - Board, Conference Planning; Wise - Legislative; Pedersen - Legislative; Bailey - Resolutions.
  • Wade - White House Internship opportunities provided
  • Wade - Charles Conty Economic Summit RSVP's are due

Report – Superintendent – Jim Richmond

  • Work on studio for broadcasting is continuing. Still working ont he panning of cameras and audible clarity. Studio actrually located in the Annex Building. Future broadcasts of student events to complete schedule.
  • College Fair 9/17 at Jaycees. 130 colleges
  • MSDE HSA Forum 9/18 at North Point
  • New staff Reception at Middleton Hall 9/26
  • Research and Assessment Department continues to analyze testing data. No school on state improvement
  • Hired over 260 new teachers
  • Davis MS opened
  • Neal work is still on track
Report – EACC – Bill Fisher
  • Thank you for support of crab feast
  • "I Can Do It" training for new teachers
  • Bus to MSTA convention on 10/19
  • Essay Contest for FEA, "Engineer Your Future, Become A Teacher"
  • Tri-County Forum at SMECO on 9/27. Commissioners Cooper, Patterson and Hodge will be attending.
  • Cook - Format of forum
  • The forum will have a moderator presenting information; power point; lack of funding and budget cuts.

Report - Student Board Member - Ashin Shah

  • New Schedule for CCASC Meetings
  • 10/4 all board members and staff invited 9:00 LPHS
  • Formulating student opinion on HSA data

Report - Deputy Superintendent - Ron Cunningham

  • Smooth school opening; Staff rode buses
  • Staff and students seen happy and eager for the new year
  • Davis opening. Thanks to P. Dorsey for her support and diligence. More students than expected
  • 5 employees promoted to principals all participated in leadership training
  • 22 new vice principals
  • Current enrollment 26,570 (Estimates...Elem = 11,000; MS = 6,200; HS = 9,200) Official count takes place on 9/30/07
  • Wise - Are we above our enrollment projection
  • Cunningham - No; in fact we are under

Report – Registration/Residency Requirements– Keith Greer

  • See Report on Board Docs for all the information presented
  • In order to Register a student you will need ... a physical exam, proof of immunizations, a birth certificate, and proof of residency (detailed in report).
  • Currently 315 students in CCPS are homeless
  • Out of county tuition usually paid on a monthly basis
  • Wise - What happens if parents fall behind or don;t pay tuition bills?
  • Grier - Try to work with the families
  • Carrington - Shocked by #7 on the list (Residency verification of living arrangements, 514 students)
  • Wise - Same sentiments
  • Pedersen - Agrees. # of PPW's required
  • Grier - When students/families are caught attending school illegally we do not bill them, just ask to leave.
  • Abell - Why can't we bill them?
  • Grier - We bill but they don't pay and we would have to file suit civilly.

Report – Update on Russian Partnership - Rosellen Houser

  • Fourth year of an ongoing teaching partnership with Pensa Russia
  • No cost. Grant for fuve years
  • See Report
  • Wise - What happens after 5 years, grant extended?
  • Houser - Yes. Next phase is for the Russian and American teachers involved to visit another country together
  • Shah- How many teachers have actually participated?
  • Houser - 12. Application/selection process

Report – 3 Year old Program - Judy Estep

  • Previously at Mt Hope Nanjemoy and Barnhart; adding Indian Head and J P Ryon.
  • See Report
  • Cook - How many applications received and determination process?
  • Estep - Based on need - free and reduced lunch
  • Pedersen - Would English language learners be accepted
  • Estep - Yes
  • Wise - Safety issues with sharing with the Lifelong Learning Center
  • Estep - No all safety concerns have been addressed
  • Carrington - Transportation?
  • Estep - 3 year olds ride the bus by themselves and we have car seats for those in need

Report – Master Plan Update - Judy Estep

  • See Report
  • Used to address success
  • Above state average on highly qualified teachers in the system
  • One of the state's goals involved the number of suspensions for elementary schools with the requirement being 16% or less. We are under 5%.
  • Shah - Reducing suspension rate; does that interfere with administrative discipline? Are we keeping normally suspended students in schools so as to meet the state requirements and make our statistics look good?
  • Estep - absolutley not; infractions are not occurring
  • Cook - Advanced students
  • Estep - Gifted resource identification and enhancement for those teachers
  • Carrington - Retention rate of those teachers
  • Estep - Most are still with us. Redaing retreat planned for MS and HS principals

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

  • Neal - 35% complete; on target for completion 6/1/08
  • Somers - Roof; work continuing. Completion 8/08; Students in relocateables currently will move to the second floor for the next semester and students currently on the first floor will move to the relocateables.
  • Craik - Roof replacement; ongoing
  • Martin - Boiler replacement complete before winter
  • Henson - carpet/tile replacement
  • Indian Head - Bathroom renovation
  • Piccowaxen - basketball and tennis courts renovated. All middle schools will receive
  • LPHS parking lot renovations
  • McDonough - Irigation system installed; on well water; knocks out AC unit during drought. Limited use.
  • Bailey - Per parking space cost
  • Wineland - $3,500 per spot for 100+ spaces
  • Bailey - cost adding spaces vs adding buses
  • Carrington - Toured Somers today; fabulous work. Annex 1 tour and ability to monitor equipment in all schools; outstanding

Report – Comprehensive Maintenance Plan FY08- Chuck Wineland & staff

  • Scheduled maintenance and replacement of equipment and building facilities.

Report – Budget – Paul Balides

  • Presented August Financials

Report - Intercategory Budget Change

  • No additional funding. $1,975M increase in revenues. (legal settlement; rental facilities, interest income.) Expenses adjusted to compensate.

Report - Staffing Update - Keith Hettel

  • 16 Secondary openings (6 math; 4 science; 2 computer; 4 various)
  • 5 Elementary openings
  • 5 Special Education Openings
  • 12 Support Staff
  • Going to Cleveland area for recruiting
  • Wade - state legislators are well aware of our shortage of teachers
  • Pederson - Utilize our long term subs
  • Hettel - long term subs are treated like new teachers and are generally paired up with a department chair
  • Cook - Long term subs paired with their expertise
  • Hettel- Yes
  • Bailey - compared to last year, how are we doing
  • Hettel - less of a gap last year. Consider opening of Davis
  • Bailey - Program with CSM "homegrown teachers"
  • Hettel - program still in existence and working. pre-hire. program does not include secondary teachers
  • Bailey - Certification Waivers
  • Hettel - Conditional certificate. Currently only about 5%. Hold for 2 years. Have to show progress and reapply.
  • Bailey - Correlation between required certification and lack of enough teachers
  • Hettel - No
  • Bailey - Retired teachers leaving the area? Reaching out?
  • Hettel - 30 retired teachers currently woking in system
  • Bailey - Utilize high % of retired military
  • Hettel - yes
  • Cook - Job share; professionals changing careers
  • Hettel - yes & yes
  • Pedersen - Job share works very well, etc.

Action - Personnel

*Vote to approve Personnel

Action - State 2009 CIP

  • Bailey - New schools - start-up costs- talk with commissioners
  • Wineland - commissioners are required to send a letter of a commitment to the state for their portion
  • Bailey - Heartburn on non-commitment from commissioners for start-up costs.

*Vote to approve State 2009 CIP
Yes - Carrington, Cook, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
Abstain - Abell, Bailey

Action – Schematics for Full-Day Kindergarten

*Vote to approve Schematics for Full-Day Kindergarten

Action - Recurring Resolutions

*Vote to approve Recurring Resolutions
Yes - Bailey, Carrington, Cook Pedersen, Wade, Wise
Abstain - Abell

Unfinished Business

  • None

New Business

  • Wise - 3:30 Executive Session, 4:30 Recognition, 5:30 Meeting, 6:30 Public Forum
  • Abell- 4:30 Executive Session, 5:30 Recognition, 6:30 Public Forum followed by Meeting
  • Pedersen - Communication Survey results
  • O'Malley Simpson - public forum late; recognition 4:30 - 5:30; staff prefers 5:30
  • Wade - Work sessions without recognition start at 6:00
  • Abell - Still reviewing meeting times in January
  • Wise - Yes.
  • Wade - appointing Wise as chair of a committee on how we task staff
  • Wade - Work session we will discuss board travel
  • Bailey - CSM and BOE Meeting
  • Bailey - Requests retreat with county commissioners
  • Bailey - Chairman draft letter to governor about recruitomg/producing more teachers in the state
  • Wise - college for educators

Future Agenda Items

  • Abell - AP scores
  • Estep - October Meeting
  • Abell - Freshman Seminar Update
  • Estep - January Meeting


Monday, September 10, 2007

REMINDER: Board Meeting, 9/11/07

Just wanted to remind everyone there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, September 11th.
(Slightly different format) PS - If you happen to miss it, it will be TELEVISED!!

4:30 - Executive Session
5:30 - Board Meeting begins
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:

  • Superintendent -
  • Board Members - MABE Committee Assignments
  • EACC -
  • Student Board Member -
  • Deputy Superintendent - Opening of School
  • Student Services - Registration/Residency Requirements
  • Instruction Report - Russian Partnership; 3 year old program; Master Plan update
  • Supporting Services Report - CIP Update; FY2008 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan
  • Finance Report - Budget Update; Intercategory Transfers for FY 2007
  • Human Resources Report - Staffing Update

Action Items:

  • Personnel
  • State 2009 CIP
  • Full Day Kindergarten Schematics for 4 schools
  • Recurring Resolutions

Blue Ribbon Committee on High Stakes Testing

Even though this committee was formed in Prince George's County, their report is very interesting. I encourage all citzens to take a gander.

Blue Ribbon Committee on High Stakes Testing Report