Wednesday, October 31, 2007




The Maryland State Board of Education today voted to maintain the High School Assessment program as a graduation requirement for the class of 2009. The Board also approved the additional measure of a senior project for those students for whom passing the HSAs has proven difficult even after remediation.

The HSA program was reaffirmed by an 8-4 vote. Today’s action followed many months of Board debate, public hearings, and detailed presentations.

“The State Board today, after deliberating for an extended period of time, made the difficult and important decision to continue Maryland’s educational progress,” said State Board President Dunbar Brooks. “The HSA program begins to put us on the path toward where we need to be. It is not a panacea.”

State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick, who has championed improved educational standards since taking office in 1991, said that the State Board has taken a strong stand for Maryland children.

“It is never easy to raise standards, but the State Board has made a courageous decision,” Dr. Grasmick said. “Our students will rise to the occasion.”

Maryland’s High School Assessments are four end-of-course exams—one each in algebra/data analysis, biology, government, and English—that all students must take and pass in order to graduate, beginning with the class of 2009 (this year’s juniors). The HSA exams are based on the Maryland High School Core Learning Goals, incorporated into the state’s public school curricula in the 1990s. The freshman and sophomore-level tests were developed by Maryland teachers.

Students take each assessment as they complete the related course. Passing the tests is one of several high school graduation requirements, which also include passing each course, earning state-specific credits, completing service-learning requirements, and fulfilling attendance requirements.

Maryland students will have as many as five times per year to take the exam. Students having difficulty will be provided with online tools and other targeted assistance to strengthen their ability to pass each exam.

The State Board today amended the original HSA regulation to include the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation for those students who have been unable to pass the test despite remediation. Dr. Grasmick proposed the Bridge Plan in August, noting that test data had indicated some students were having difficulty passing the exams despite an understanding of the material.

The Bridge Plan grew out of the work of two panels—the Task Force on Comparable Testing Methods for the Maryland High School Assessment and the Task Force for Review of High School Assessment Options. The plan also reflects research into similar alternatives to passing State assessments currently in place in numerous states across the country.

Under the Bridge Plan, students who have passed all of their other requirements could pass the HSA by completing a rigorous Academic Validation project. State-developed project modules would address the tested content areas where a student has demonstrated a deficiency. For example, a student unable to pass the biology assessment might develop a project delving into the structure and function of molecules, or the inheritance of traits. Projects would be administered locally, but state managed and assessed to assure consistency and difficulty level.

Nearly half the states have instituted some form of graduation assessment, and more than 60 percent of all high school students in the nation must past a series of exams in order to graduate.

For further information about the HSA Program, please go to MSDE’s dedicated HSA site (

APPROVED: A Bible Textbook??

No I didn't suggest it and it's not in Charles County...a little further south in Alabama :)

Alabama has became the first state in the Union to approve a textbook for a course about the Bible in its public schools, and its surprisingly uncontroversial decision may prove to be a model for others.

Read more HERE.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maryland Public Information Act Request

During my campaign, I vowed to be open and transparent as a Board member. With that in mind and in attempt to squelch some of the rumors, yes I did file a Maryland Public Information Request for the AP scores broken down by school and subject. To view a copy of what I filed, click HERE.

I filed this request because I truely believe that as a Board member, I am suppose to be making data-driven decisions about our system and I don't see how it is possible without the data. How can we as a Board correct any deficiencies or redirect staff and resources if we don't have ample data to analyze?

In addition, I believe this information should be available to the public because it is a PUBLIC school system. You are the citizens of this county and as citizens you pay for the schools and staff and we ALL (Board members & staff) are accountable to YOU!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Building the Perfect School

As school design moves into the 21st century, architects and planners look at trends that are taking hold in this months American School Board Journal.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Looking for Something to Do?

How about catch a play?

  1. Maurice J. McDonough High School starts the action with their rendition of "Zombie Prom," which begins on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. The show will continue through the weekend, at the same times, and will end Oct. 28 with a matinee showing at 2 p.m. To order tickets, call 301-609-8198 and reserve a spot for the play. Adults enter for $10, students and seniors for $8, and thespians for $7.
  2. La Plata High School takes a trip down the rabbit hole to show their magical journey to "Alice in Wonderland." La Plata students start acting on Nov 1. at 7:30 p.m., and will continue through Saturday evening Nov 3., also at 7:30 p.m. Allow the actors and actresses to take you through their story for $8 for adults, $5 for students, and $3 for children under five.
  3. North Point High School tries their luck against the headless horseman in "Sleepy Hollow." Their festive performance starts on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. and will run Nov. 9 -10, also at 7 p.m. Adults can experience the tale of Ichabod Crane for $8, and students and seniors for $5.
  4. Thomas Stone High School starts its play Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m., with follow up performances on Nov 9-10, also at 7:30 p.m. "The Crucible," fits right in with this time of year featuring the plot surrounding 17th century Salem witchery. Thomas Stone is selling tickets to the performance for $7 per adult, and $5 per student or senior.
  5. Westlake High School hosts performances of "The Miracle Worker." The public is invited to share an evening with the Westlake performers from Nov. 15  Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Adult tickets are $7, student and senior tickets are $5, and thespian tickets are $4.
  6. Henry E. Lackey High School wraps up the season with a version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The classic story, written by William Shakespeare, will be acted out Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m., and with an afternoon showing Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, and $6 for thespians.

    To catch a sneak peak of any of the six high school plays tune in to Comcast channel 96 or log on to for the on-air schedule.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Teacher Salaries

MSDE Released their Annual Report on Professional Salary Schedules in Maryland Public Schools last week.

Another disappointment...Charles County starting teacher salary has slipped from 3rd in the state to 5th in the state.

  1. Montgomery = $44,200
  2. Prince George's = $43,481
  3. Calvert = $42,650
  4. Howard = $42,407
  5. Charles = $42,245

Charles County ranks 3rd for Superintendent salaries

  1. Baltimore County = $278,520
  2. Prince George's= $273,000
  3. Charles = $249,900

Charles County ranks 3rd for Deputy Superintendent

  1. Howard = $193,856
  2. Montgomery = $192,895
  3. Charles = $188,320

Charles County ranks 1st in the state Assistant Area Superintendent Salaries

  1. Charles = $173,340
  2. Prince George's = $167,222
  3. Montgomery = $154,879

Charles County ranks 9th for Principal salaries and 11th for Vice Principals.

To view the entire report, click

Living Water

This does not involve education directly but it does involve a number of our children and students in Charles County. Please consider volunteering for this most worth while cause.

Did you know there are families in Charles County without running water?

Did you know there are families in Charles County without a septic system or a toilet?

Living Water is a new program started by New Life Church to help provide the basic necessities to families in our community. The first informational meeting will take place at New Life Church (White Plains) on Tuesday, October 30th at 6:30 pm. Everyone welcome!

In particular we are looking for trades people to assist in providing the less fortunate with running water into their home. This may include digging a well, building a kitchen/bathroom onto a home, and/or installing a septic system. Carpenters, Drywall installers, Painters, Roofers, Septic Tank Installer, Well Drillers, Plumbers, Electricians, Tile Layers, Laborers

Please join us for the informational meeting no matter your skill level. Monetary donations also accepted.

For more information contact Jennifer Abell at

AP Scholars

Below you will see a recent Charles County Public Schools Press Release. I guess it's "okay and NOT emabrassing" to release some students names. Very interesting though. Let me know if you notice anything about this list.
County students named AP Scholars

More than 170 Charles County Public Schools students have been named AP Scholars by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college level Advanced Placement Program exams.

The College Board's Advanced Placement Program offers students the opportunity to take challenging college level courses while still in high school, to receive college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP exams. About 17 percent of more than one million high school students in more than 15,000 secondary schools worldwide who took AP exams performed at a sufficiently high level to merit the recognition of AP Scholar.

Students took AP exams in May 2007 after completing challenging college-level courses at their high schools. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on student's performance on AP exams.

One student, Ashin Shah of Thomas Stone High School, qualified for the National AP Scholar Award. Shah qualified for the highest AP honor awarded for earning an average grade of 4 or higher on a 5-point scale on all AP exams taken and grades of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

Twenty students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction award by earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. They are:

Abe Massad, La Plata High School;
Jena Brinjak, La Plata;
William Flerlage, La Plata;
Kristin Preuss, La Plata;
Andrew Szoch, La Plata;
Shijie Shen, La Plata;
Erin Toczek, La Plata;
Eric Leadbetter, Maurice J. McDonough High School;
Daniel Lubey, McDonough;
Patrick Tillman, McDonough;
Timothy Van Blarcom, McDonough;
Kathleen Ford, Stone;
Sarah Hutton, Stone;
William Le, Stone;
Marla Rhem, Stone;
Ashin Shah, Stone;
Barrett Johnson, Westlake High School;
Hyun Koh, Westlake;
Allison Ripley, Westlake; and
Elisabeth Stevens, Westlake

Nineteen students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. They are:

Jennifer Cusick, La Plata;
Andrew Gill, La Plata;
Matthew Grimes, McDonough;
Andrew Merki, McDonough;
Caitlin Floyd, Stone;
Christina Langley, Stone;
Joseph Langley, Stone;
Carol Partonen, Stone;
Angela Rueda, Stone;
Eric Schnitzler, Stone;
Mary Stillwaggon, Stone;
Michael Wallio, Stone;
Kaitlyn Gallant, Westlake;
Asya Jones, Westlake;
Amy Mapes, Westlake;
Samantha Monk, Westlake;
Jacob Overfield, Westlake;
Catherine Rappole, Westlake; and
Paul Skym, Westlake

One Hundred and Twenty-two students qualified for the AP Scholar award by completing three or more AP exams with grades of 3 or higher.

They are, from Henry E. Lackey High School: Rebecca Abell, Eric Ashby, Danielle Bailey, Christopher Markomanolakis, Mitchell Mismash, Kira Mohler, Irene Posey, Kelly Richards, Samantha Skinger, Laura Snow, Lacy Thomas, Lorin Willett and Alysa Younger.

From La Plata they are: Zachary Andrews, Lauren Armstrong, Brynn Bales, Patrick Barock, William Bingham, John Bowling, Leslie Clower, William Crozier, Rachel Eaby, Kyara Fisher, Jessica Garner, Emily Gore, James Gregor, Annalyse Hamill, Theresa Kummerer, Monica Laidley, James Lassahn, Melissa Loeper, Jordan McGraner, Scott Moore, Alexandra Peters, Nicholas Potter, Kevin Qualters, Jamie Quinn, Xyan Rose, Heather Runyon, Paul Shaffer, Amanda Slack, Svetlozara Stoytcheva, Brandon Thomas, Whitney Underwood, Heather Valvert, Jennifer Van Deven, Samantha Welniak, Mary Wilson and Adam Young.

From McDonough they are: Angela Brockunier, Kristen Chen, Benjamin Coghan, Amy Coker, Matthew Donohue, Lauren Friedrich, Peter Garvey, Carey Hill, Amanda Langston, Kevin McCormick, Katherine Rice, Renita Riddick, Helen Shin, Ellen Slobodnik, Jasmin Watson, and Aleida Young.

From Stone they are: Taryn Alverson, Kristen Brown, Natalia Ceaicovscaia, Mariama Cox, Tiara Cunningham, Sean Daley, Kristine Deprey, Michael Gioia, Lisa Grimes, Ashlie Grimsley, Matthew Hanson, Michelle Hardesty, Lauren Hume, Bryant Jackson-Green, Lauren Kellough, Maris Mosley, Rebecca Parker, Nicholas Pennington, Caitlin Quinn, George Rawlings, Caitlin Rizzo, Joshua Sanders, Renee Saulsbury, Amanda Sparrow, Justin Tavares, Kelliann Wachrathit, Miles Wallio, Justin Walters and Michael Ward.

From Westlake they are: Maryam Aftab, Charmagne Arengo, Jessica Bader, Lindsey Bannister, James Butters, Chanel Celestine, Najee Clancy, Jeffrey Crouse, Karen Fletcher, Kevin Gerrity, Weston Harlan, Mathew Hoffman, Joyce Hones, Colleen Jarrett, Brandon Kaufmann, Katelynn Levanduski, Simon Liu, Ashley-Mae Mangalindan, Angela Maki, Katera Marshall, Nicholas Montes, Djuan Nash, Ayanna Osborne, Stephen Palma, Zachary Rahm, Ian Ray, Abigail Remo, Julia Steinsberger, Matthew Thompson, Erin Watson, Victoria Weavill, Brooke Wehausen, Nicole Willis, and David Wilson.

Most of the nations' colleges and universities award credit, advanced placement, or both based on successful performance on the AP exams. Thirty-seven AP courses and exams are offered in a wide variety of subject areas, each consisting of multiple-choice and free-response (essay or problem-solving) questions except for the Studio Art Exam, which evaluates students' original artwork.

The College Board is a nonprofit membership association dedicated to preparing, inspiring, and connecting students to college and opportunity. The association is composed of more than 5,200 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves 7 million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment and teaching and learning.

Resolving School Concerns and Complaints

A few months back the Board of Education and CCPS staff devised a brochure to help aid parents when they have a concern or a complaint. These brochures can be found in the office of every school or by clicking on the link below.

Resolving School Concerns and Complaints Brochure

In short...
Informal Complaints

  1. Address the issue with school based staff, i.e. teacher
  2. If not resolved, contact the school administrator
  3. If not resolved, contact the Office of School Administration and Operations to file a formal complaint.

Formal Complaints

  1. Contact the Office of School Admnistration and Operations to file a complaint
  2. Contact with all parties will be made and a decision or resolution will usually be made in five school days.
  3. If not resolved, a review by the Deputy Superintendent of Schools must be filed within 10 days

For more details, please view the actual brochure at the above link

Special Ed and HSA's

In an article in the Baltimore Sun today...

Special ed is drawn into exam debate
Parents, advocates split over requiring students to pass tests to graduate

With thousands of special-education students in Maryland high schools failing the state's graduation exams, parents and advocates are deeply divided about whether these students should have to pass the tests.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Student Suspensions, Expulsions Soar

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun yesterday, school suspensions and expulsions have risen significantly in Maryland, with African-Americans, boys and special education students more likely to be disciplined...

Read More HERE.

Staphylococcus Paralyzes School System

As national estimates focus on an increase in serious infections caused by an antibiotic-resistant germ, officials in the Washington region have identified more than a dozen cases among students and are organizing extensive cleanups of numerous schools.

Read more HERE.

What you need to know to Avoid, Identify And Treat Staph Germ

Middle School to Pass Out Birth Control Pills & Patches

No, not here. Shew!
Late last night, the Portland School Committee (board) voted 5-2 to allow pupils at a city middle school to get birth control pills and patches at their student health center.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stabbed at School by a Classmate!

An article on the Baynet regarding an incident at LaPlata High School. Read more HERE.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Building the Perfect School

An article in the American School Board Journal takes a look at school design as it moves into the 21st century; architects and planners look at trends that are taking hold.

Read more HERE

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Blame Game

Business leaders and educators often take opposite approaches to school reform. How can they work together? Find out more in an article in the American School Board Journal.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


For those of you requesting the AP scores by subject and by school, I'm sorry to report the Board decided against obtaining this information. I have requested the data be presented in this fashion on three separate occasions...(1) during the September Board meeting, (2) via email on 9/27/07 and (3) by email on 10/09/07. I even received a return email from Mr. Richmond on 9/28/07 stating the information requested was being compiled and would be presented at the October Board meeting.

Upon leaving the Board meeting last night, I had a heavy heart and am greatly disappointed in my fellow Board members. Some of the same Board members who just months ago stated they were running for election based on openness and transparency have voted against not only releasing these scores to the public, but also for the Board even obtaining these scores. I ask, how are we as a governing body suppose to make decisions on our ability to educate ALL students if we don't have ALL the data? How are we to ensure equality in courses for ALL students in ALL schools?

The argument was made, the release of this information could embarrass individual teachers. If a teacher feels embarrassed than I am sorry. However, it is my belief, they are teaching in a public school system and therefore their performance is a public matter.

I would like to thank Ms. Cook and Ms. Pedersen for adhering to their campaign promise of being open and transparent as well as our student Board Member, Mr. Shah for speaking up and requesting the scores in this fashion. To my constituents, I'm truly sorry.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Notes from Board Meeting, 10/09/07

The televised Board Meeting will be replayed on Channel 96 on Wednesdays at 9:00 am and Sundays at 2:00 pm for your viewing enjoyment :)

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
  • Male - one child at Stone. Don't restrict schools too much. Rule books and policies set forth by BOE are not being followed when it comes to discipline and student conduct. Student behavior towards each other and teachers appalling. Incidents NOT being reported, not following rules of respect for one another. Not being enforced.

Action - Approval of Minutes from 8/14/07

*Vote to approve 9/11/07 and 9/24/07 minutes
Correspondence/Board Member Updates
  • Carrington - Visiting schools was an absolute joy
  • Wise - Dr. Brown planting of wetlands was phenomenal
  • Pedersen - Thank you to schools for welcoming us
  • Cook - received a 6ft banner from a school saying "Welcome Ms. Cook"
  • Wade - BOE Calendar - one day retreat with Commisssioners has been requested. Date TBD. 10/25 Meeting with CSM needs to be rescheduled due to staff availability. Date TBD. 11/29 Legislative Breakfast 7:30 am - 9:00 am - Middleton, Levy, Graves, Hodge all confirmed.
  • Wade - MABE Conference in OC - Wade, Pedersen, Cook, Wise attended. Wise asked to Chair MADE Legislative Committee. She accepted.
  • Cook - Discussion during seminar regarding technology. Charles way ahead of the rest of the state.
  • Pedersen - Seminar on listening to your public. Gave example of how our focus changed on planetarium to include the Arts.
  • Wise - Educating students for an unknown future

Report – Superintendent – Jim Richmond

  • Enrollment not as high as anticipated
  • Met with Mikulski, interested in assisting with alternative funding for new high school
  • Minority Achievement Meeting
  • College Fair well attended. 134 colleges/universities. 1500 students transported during the day. 1750 attended in evening.
  • Various student congratulations
  • Rebroadcast of meetings will occur on Wednesdays at 9:00 am and Sundays at 2:00 pm; future webstreaming
  • Parents@ School website launch
  • Activity buses are a success
  • 10/18 Adult Education Graduation
  • 10/23 Communication Advisory Meeting/Parents Advisory Meeting
Report – EACC – Bill Fisher

  • Thanks to Pederesen, Wise, Cook for attendance at community forum
  • 10/19 bus to MSTA Convention
  • 10/10 FEA Deadline for essay contest extended until 10/15
  • EACC & MSTA visited Hoyer to discuss changes to NCLB
  • Also in discussion with Gov. O'Malley's plan on freezing Thorton funding

Report - Student Board Member - Ashin Shah

  • CCASC Meeting discussed staffing concerns and HSA's
  • Activity buses
  • HS 2011
  • Cunningham & Richmond attended and addressed students
  • Task Force to target School lunches
  • St. Mary's & Calvert - joining forces to advocate for So. MD
  • MS Meeting - discussion on ideal MS
  • Wise - intersted in outcome of staffing and HSA's discussion
  • Shah - Doesn't have official responses yet
  • Cook - Interested in school lunch results

Report - Deputy Superintendent - Ron Cunningham - Sheriff's Office Update

  • See Report on Board Docs
  • Statistical Review
  • Truth & Consequences - High school 5-day program
  • Crime Solvers Program - successful $500 handed out thus far
  • Abell - New fashion accessory in school...ankle bracelets...
  • Grier - generally for non-violent offenders; monitored daily
  • Abell - Public perception that CCSO & CCPS are concealing incidents in schools. Sited new Montgomery County Report - comprehensive School Safety Report provides a running talley of student offenses involving weapons, drugs, sexual misconduct and violence at each school.
  • Rye - CCSO & CCPS is NOT concealing incidents. Publicizing all. Report is a possibility if that is what the two parties want.
  • Abell - Juvenile Drug Court - # of graduates? Program successful?
  • Rye - One graduate so far. Another in Nov. Program is successful.
  • Wise - Attended graduation and was impressed
  • Carrington - also attended. 14 arrests include arrests at sporting events
  • Rye - No. Only Juvenile Intervention Officer arrests during school
  • Cook - Are the schools safe?
  • Rye - yes
  • Bailey - Teen Court - 199... are they all CCPS?
  • Rye - No some are from private schools , etc.
  • Pedersen - After school events - statistics included?
  • Rye - No. Only Juvenile Intervention Officer during school
  • Pedersen - Football games, confrontations prevelant...what can we do?
  • Rye - not sure. Thinks we are doing all we can
  • Carrington - Officers have made a big difference in our schools
  • Richmond - Thank you. Meets quarterly with Sheriff's Office and plans for the future

Report – Testing - Judy Estep

  • See Report on BoardDocs
  • HSA/MSA - Ayp explanation and statistics
  • SAT - Statistics...scores dipped a little
  • See pie chart on # of students taking various tests
  • AP statistics
  • AP Action Plan - CCPS worked with CSM and MSDE and College Board on an action plan to improve AP scores. Plan outlines with a timeline on BoardDocs. Essentially review data and provide support for AP teachers as well as enhance feeder courses for AP classes
  • Cook - Thank you for AP Action Plan
  • Wise - Switch from BCR testing to multiple choice and effects
  • Eichel - Should not affect our teaching. All students still need to know how to write.
  • Wise - Perception of dumbing down test
  • Eichel - Enrichment part (writing) state never really needed them for accurate assessment. Analogy of cool whip on a sundae.
  • Pedersen - 8th grade HSA Test for Algebra ho is this reported
  • Eichel - Scores are held until they get to 9th grade
  • Abell - SAT's are for seniors only? Dropping scores for county as opposed to rising scores for state and nation
  • Eichel - Yes graduating seniors scores and analyzing the drop in scores and another report will be forthcoming date TBD
  • Bailey - HSA; MSA; BCR; ECR; AYP;NCLB Explain to general public
  • Jepsky - Explanation of acronyms. For example, one 3pt BCR will be replaced with three multiple choice
  • Abell - AP Action Plan - Great. Wish we had this a few years ago. Scores droppinf...hope this action plan succeeds. Asked again for scores by subject and by school.
  • Wade - We will discuss this ...whether we want to task staff
  • Abell - Don't we already have this information?
  • Eichel - College Board reports by system and school average...
  • Wise - Has a hang-up with producing statistics by schools. May single out and emabrass specific teachers; what we have is sufficient
  • Eichel - scores with 5 or less stuidents would have to be omitted from singling out specific students.
  • Abell - Reminded everyone that we have received this documentation in previous years as a Board and staff document only, not publicized.
  • Shah - Funding for Kregar's specialized participation with SAT doesn't appear to be raising scores.
  • Estep - Kregar's involvement is not portrayed in these results
  • Bailey - Asked Estep to speak about students requiring emedial courses in college
  • Jepsky - long explanation; question not answered
  • Bailey - Asked again
  • Jepsky - Some students take time off between high school and college and therefore require remedial courses.
  • Abell - Ap Audit performed by College Board in Spring/Summer...results
  • Estep - All classes passed. Some in process of audit due to new teachers
  • Wise - Reiterate about remedial college courses
  • Jepsky - Some students wait to take placement exams
  • Pedersen - Doesn't matter where they are going to school as long as their acquiring knowledge. Encourage SAT testing.

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

  • Neal - 50% complete on schedule
  • Somers - still ongoing - on schedule
  • Martin - sign for Gov. contibution mandatory. New boilers complete
  • Craik - sign for Gov. Re-roof accomplished. AC & heating still ongoing
  • Mt. Hope - pre-construction meeting
  • Pedersen - Update on Mattawoman gym floor
  • Wineland - water damage and humidity problem. Prices from two companies, hopefully start during winter break, four weeks long
  • Abell - Auxillary gym?
  • Wineland - No. Hopefully weather will participate
  • Wineland - Award for North Point Common Areas

Report – Budget – Paul Balides

  • Presented September financials
  • Annual audit completed; present in November - no findings or issues in the managment letter.
  • Trans fats discussion by commissioners. Analysis very small amount in system. mainly in snack items and commodity items.
  • Presentation on Bridge to Excellence funds in November
  • Wise - Health Care Costs - system encourage healthy lifestyles
  • Balides - Health Plan encourages annual physicals and exams
  • Wise - Encourage Cunningham to get principals to share programs
  • Carrington - How often do we bid out health care
  • Balides - Look at it and weigh costs and benefits every year
  • Pederson - Husband receives gift certificates from employer for exercising. Suggests similar program for CCPS
  • Pederson - Trans fats - snack machines?
  • Balides - Restrictions and guidelines must be followed by federal and state guidelines. Timers are used to prohibit sales during the day. 4 out of 35 items had trans fats

Report - Housing/Staffing Update - Keith Hettel

  • Smart Keys 4 employees offered to CCPS and funded by county
  • Wise - Any fine print that the teachers need to adhere to for example teach here for X # of years?
  • Hettel - None seen thus far
  • Abell - County funds all? Not taken from our budget at a later date?
  • Hettel - County fully funding
  • Pedersen - concerned with 10 mile stipulation
  • Hettel - first time home buyers, 10 mile stipulation not restrictive; in county
  • Hettel - consensus of Board requested
  • Abell - In agreement
  • Unanimous among Board members
  • Hettel - Update on remaining staff openings
  • Bailey - Quality of long term subs/certification
  • Hettel - List kept by level and subject. Principals familiar with subs, lined up in advance

Action - Personnel

*Vote to approve Personnel

Action - FY08 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan

*Vote to approve FY08 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan


Action – Board Travel Guidelines

*Vote to approve Board Travel Guidelines

Unfinished Business

  • Abell - Motion for to obtain AP scores by subject and by school.
  • Bailey - Seconded for discussion
  • Bailey - found prior year reports inspirational to show growth and beneficial. interested in staff time involved?
  • Wise - Why by school?
  • Cook - was intersted in the same informaiton; but swayed otherwise
  • Abell - Ensure progress and equality across the county amongst all schools
  • Shah - Individual school data is essential; students want assurance that course quality is equal amongst schools.
  • Pedersen - Is also interested in information. However, is well aware statistics and figures can be used against you but we swore to our public that we would be open and honest during our campaign. Without this information, are we?
  • Wise - Against publicizing information, embarassing to individual teachers
  • Carrington - all schools have the same subjects and good teachers. Publicizing won't make a difference.

*Vote to obtain AP Scores by subject and school
Yes - Abell, Cook, Pedersen, Shah (opinion only)
No - Bailey, Carrington, Wade, Wise


New Business

  • Bailey - Legislative Breakfast - invite St. Mary's and Calvert legislators?
  • Abell - Parent concerns over inconsistency of use amongst the schools in regards to the automated phone and email messaging system. Some schools are implementing and use daily while others don't use at all.
  • Cunningham - will follow-up with the schools

Future Agenda Items

  • Pedersen - Procedures for disciplinary actions for students taken by Principals and Vice Principals


NEA Lists Its Goals and Democrats Agree

Found this interesting little article which includes...

  • Marc Tucker's Warmed-Over Plan
  • Another Big Spending Boondoggle
  • Opportunity to Restore Parental Rights

Read more HERE.

Mandatory Course on Islam

While this is playing out all the way across the country in California...I'm interested in hearing what you think...

In California, a federal court approved the public schools' requirement that a course in Islam be taught to 7th-graders. The course included giving the students Muslim names, having them recite Muslim prayers and passages from the Koran, wear Arab clothing, and write a "positive" essay about Islamic culture. Parents lost their case and the Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal.

Read more HERE.

Monday, October 08, 2007

REMINDER: Board Meeting, 10/09/07

Just wanted to remind everyone there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, October 9th.
(Format and times change again. Pay close attention! ) PS - If you happen to miss it, it will be TELEVISED!!

3:30 - 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 -
  • EACC -
  • Student Board Member -
  • Deputy Superintendent - Sheriff's Office Update
  • Instruction Report - Testing Update
  • Supporting Services Report - CIP Update
  • Finance Report - Budget Update
  • Human Resources Report - Update on Housing/Staffing Update

Action Items:

  • Personnel
  • FY2008 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan
  • Board Travel Guidelines

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Aretha Franklin said it best in her 1967 song "RESPECT" that would later go on to become her signature song.

After serving on the Board of Education for the last three years, visiting the schools, talking to educators and legislators, and raising four children of my own, I have a observed an overall lack of respect for one another.

  • Students don't respect teachers (we hear this one all the time) but...
  • Teachers don't respect students
  • Children don't repect parents
  • Parents don't respect children
  • Teachers don't respect parents
  • Parents don't respect teachers
  • and it goes on and on through administrators, board members, legislators and overall society in general doesn't respect one another as human beings.

Just my opinion, this is one of the core foundation principles that our educational system, (county, nation, and world) is lacking. If everyone could take the time to respect, listen, recognize, one another as a human being with feelings, ideas, and blood pumping through their veins maybe we could build a greater love, understanding, and compassion for another that will evolve into a great collaboration of effort to better not only our educational system but society in general.

I'll step down from my soap box now....

Maryland Governor Sets Up Education Leadership Council

On yesterday...

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Monday moved to set up a leadership council that will focus on doing more to prepare Maryland students for highly skilled jobs.

O'Malley issued an executive order to create the P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland. The governor said the council is needed to improve Maryland's ability to compete in a job market that needs more skilled workers.

"This council builds an integrated partnership between the state, educators and the business community to meet this demand and will create a stronger work force," O'Malley said in a statement.

Read more HERE.

CCPS to Launch Parent@School Website

CCPS Press Release

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is launching an interactive website, titled Parent@School, to make it easier for parents to be informed of their child's activities and achievement at school.

The system will be available for use Nov. 1. The site will be available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parents will be able to access the site from the CCPS website,

Information available for elementary students includes student information, attendance records, class schedules, immunization records and links to other websites.

Information available for middle and high school students includes student information, attendance records, class schedules and immunization, as well as interim and end-of-quarter grades, graduation requirements, student transcript records and classroom assignment grades.

Information on lunch account balances and homework assignments for elementary, middle and high school students will be available in mid-January.

Informational open house registration sessions will be held this month at county schools. Schools are notifying parents of dates and times of open houses by sending emails to the addresses listed on student emergency cards and through phone messages.

Parents can also register for the service online. Once the registration process has been completed online, the parent will be notified by their child's school to obtain their user name and password. Parents must obtain their password in person from their child's school and will be asked to show photo identification.

Parents with more than one child attending CCPS only need to register once and will be notified by the school their oldest child attends to obtain their system password.

Starting Nov. 1, the system can be accessed by parents who have registered by following the steps listed below:

  • Go to;
  • Go to the Parents & Community section;
  • Click on Parent@School under the Parent Links section;
  • Click Login to Parent@School; and
  • Sign on with the user name and password assigned to you.

Call your child's school for more information or for registration dates and times.