Friday, February 29, 2008

Notes from Board Work Session, 2/29/08

This meeting wil be re-broadcast on Channel 96 on Wednesdays at 9:00 am and Sundays at 2:00 pm.

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.

The board had a work session with a MABE facilitator, Ms. Kitty Blumsack, to discuss priorities for the coming year. We reviewed our priorities from last year...viewed here, discussed our progress, and which priorities still need to be addressed.

  • Code 8140, Board Code of Behavior, will be reviewed at a future meeting.
  • Abell - requested a complete calendar of all tests given system-wide
  • Pedersen - requested a report on % of new teachers and what is a good %
  • Current teachers being used to recruit in their home areas
  • 100 - 150 teachers needed for next year
  • Richmond - possibility of hiring some CSM professors to teach higher level classes
  • Evening classes and Saturday classes to acccomodate student scheduling. Use of technology
In addition each board member and the superintendent was instructed to list their two priorities for the coming year.


  • Budget 09,10,11
  • Opening new high school and operating budget


  • Dual enrollment; AA degree by 12th grade
  • School Capacity
  • Teacher training through CSM


  • Encourage rigor and depth in learning
  • Continue open communication with community


  • Alternative funding
  • Teacher retention


  • Get students interested in careers in teaching
  • Show case programs available to students


  • JROTC Joint Ball
  • Strategic planning (personnel; staff)


  • Recruit more minority teachers
  • Showcase 3 year old program


  • Alternative funding for school construction (overcrowding; developer built; state legislation)
  • Academic Rigor (Qualified teachers in higher level classes; dual enrollment; etc.)

Virginia considers leaving education act behind

By Richard Quinn
The Virginian-Pilot
© February 25, 2008

The General Assembly is flirting with abandoning a landmark federal law that governs schools in the United States.

The decision could make Virginia the first state to set a deadline – summer 2009 – for planning a pullout from the No Child Left Behind Act, which ties billions of dollars to federally mandated testing standards in public schools.

State politicians have balked at some of those standards in the past few years. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has signed bills asking the U.S. Department of Education to waive parts of the federal law.

Most of those exemptions were granted, but the notable ones that have not been approved frustrate educators and annoy legislators.

Read more HERE

County students participate in SAT/ACT Podcast

More than 10 Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students were recently invited to participate in a SAT/ACT Podcast multimedia project to help students and parents better prepare for the college-entrance exams.

Students from five county high schools were chosen by teachers and/or guidance counselors to participate in a focus group for the project and were required to have taken either the SAT or ACT exams, or both. The students were then filmed discussing advice and strategies about how to successfully prepare for the exams.

The Podcast covers topics such as which test is appropriate for students to take, the format of each exam, how to best prepare a study plan, where students can go or ask for additional help and what to expect after the exam. Student input and advice comes directly from those who have taken the test and are based on personal test-taking experiences. Their comments are meant only as helpful hints for other students.

The Podcast was recently added to iTunes, a popular audio/video application, and is available for free to download on the school system website at

Thursday, February 28, 2008

USDA Beef Recall

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notified Charles County Public Schools on Friday that it might have received two cases of frozen, precooked hamburgers affected by a recent recall. The products contain beef processed by Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, which is under investigation for animal cruelty and possible processing violations. No illnesses related to the products have been reported and federal officials said the possibility that the beef would cause illness is remote.

According to Patrick Tague, supervisor of food service, two of 122 cases of frozen hamburger patties received on Jan. 24 from Zartic Food Company were processed with meat from Westland Meat Company. The school system received information on Feb. 11 from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) that the shipment might be involved in a secondary recall as a result of the ongoing investigation into Westland's practices. Formal notification from USDA was received by email on Feb. 22.

Food service workers at all schools immediately checked inventory and the two cases, which contain 240 hamburgers each, were not found. The school system served 14,468 hamburgers between the receipt of the shipment and the date it was notified of the possible recall by MSDE. Food service managers continue to check production dates and lot numbers on all hamburgers before using any additional products from Zartic.

Superintendent James E. Richmond said, "The school system's food service department responded immediately to the recall information and is working to ensure that no other beef provided by this company is served to our students. We continue to monitor the investigation for additional information and will make any needed adjustments to our food and nutrition program. At this time, we are assured that the recall of all the meat from this processing company is precautionary."

Florida Adds 'Evolution' to Statewide Science Standards

Florida’s state board of education today approved science standards that for the first time refer specifically to the theory of evolution, and give what many supporters say is a more coherent and concise treatment to important topics across science.

The board adopted the new document by a 4-3 vote, after making a change to the language that seemed aimed at mollifying criticism from Florida parents and religious organizations.

That change inserts the words “scientific theory of” before various references to evolution and other major scientific concepts, such as the Big Bang in cosmology, and plate tectonics in geology. A second alteration adds the words “law of” in front of other terms, such as gravity and the conservation of mass.

Read more HERE

Notes from Board Work Session, 2/25/08

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.

The Communication Goal was originally submitted by a committee including myself, Mark Crawford and Cecil Marshall an approved on May 10, 2005. It was last reviewed on October 11, 2005. The intent was for the committee to devise goals to improve the Boards communication with national, state, and local leaders, faculty, businesses, the community, and each other in order to create a more consumer-friendly school board and public school system.

My notes are a little sparse because I was tasked with reading the communication goal item by item with the Board discussing and coming to a consensus on each individual bullet. My notes on the individual discussion portion are lacking and I apologize.

The benchmarks were discussed following the communication goal and it was late. I suggested staff give us some facts/statistics on how are faring to date with these. Once again, Col. Wade opposes tasking staff with any additional work. I explained that these statistics were readily available to them, nothing new, easily at hand, etc. Wade opposes. I volunteered to pull the statistics myself and report at the next meeting. Mr. Richmond volunteered staff to report and explained to Col. Wade that it’s not additional work. Board consensus was that staff will report on the benchmarks at a future meeting and then the Board will discuss which ones to keep or discard.


The Charles County Board of Education will meet with federal and state elected representatives on an annual basis.
The Board has been meeting this goal. Consensus was to keep this as a goal.

The Charles County Board of Education will meet with the Charles County Commissioners four times a year.
After lengthy discussion about whether to change the number of times to three and what exactly constitutes a meeting, i.e. a retreat vs. a presentation at the commissioners’ office. A consensus was reached to leave this goal as stated and further clarification on what constitutes a meeting was not decided.

The Charles County Board of Education will meet with the College of Southern Maryland Board and a representative from the University of Maryland annually.
The CSM portion of the goal has been met. Discussion. Consensus was for a rewording of this goal. It will now read…
The Charles County Board of Education will meet with the College of Southern Maryland Board and other post-secondary educational institutions.

The Charles County Board of Education will confer with other county Board of Education’s on “best practices” and share them with the public during a special meeting to determine what, if any, of these can be instituted here in Charles County.
Has not been met on a consistent basis. Discussion. Consensus was for rewording. This goal will now read…
The Charles County Board of Education will confer with other county Boards of Education.

The Charles County Board of Education members will attend at least one in-service activity or MABE meeting a year.
Consistently meeting this goal. Consensus was to keep this goal.

The Charles County Board of Education will meet with staff/faculty on an annual basis to gather input, concerns, desires, etc. Develop a project plan for tracking/follow-up.
A considerable amount of discussion on this goal. Some considered it the Superintendent’s job. Micro-managing. Abell suggested rewording. Actual vote take to strike this goal from the document.
Abell – NO. Bailey, Carrington, Cook, Pedersen, Wade – YES.
This goal is no longer part of the communication goal.

Seek out more business partnerships through exploration of different partnerships, such as enrollment in the Academy of Finance Research.
Consistently meeting this goal. Consensus was to keep this goal.

Enhance existing partnerships with groups such as the Economic Development Commission and Charles County Chamber of Commerce.
Consistently meeting this goal. Consensus was to keep this goal.

Continue communication efforts that have proven to be successful including the Parent Handbook/Calendar, web site, hotline,, etc.
Consistently meeting this goal. Consensus was to keep this goal.

Ensure all schools have an up to date, functional website. Additionally, if a teacher chooses to have his/her own website, he/she must keep it up to date.
Discussion on verbiage. Consensus was to reword. This goal will now read…
It is the desire of the Charles County Board of Education that all schools have an up-to-date, functional website.

Request the Superintendent to review Policy 1240 and associated rules, and offer his recommended changes for parents/guardians to be encouraged to observe/volunteer at their child’s school. In addition, the resulting policy and rule shall be effectively communicated at the start of the school year and implemented consistently throughout the school system.
This goal was considered to be completed. Consenus was to strike this goal.

Each school shall develop a communication plan and share that plan with parents at the beginning of each school year.
Consistently meeting this goal. Consensus was to keep this goal.

Meet with members of the community at various locations throughout the county in town meetings three times during the school year. Procedures and dates for the meetings shall be developed well in advance of the first meeting.
Not consistent in meeting this goal. Only one town meeting since 2005 and it was not considered effective or productive. Consensus was to strike this goal.

Better utilize educational television station to include regular programming and promotion of Charles County Public Schools. Improve content and frequency of programming. This could include, but should not be exclusive to, the addition of televised Board meetings. Develop a lending library of tapes for those without access to cable television.
Consensus was that this goal has been completed and will no longer appear in this document.

Conduct a survey to assess: a) the communication measures in place, and b) where parents and community members get their information about schools. The collected data shall be utilized in updating communication strategies.
Consensus was that this goal has been completed and will no longer appear in this document.

Develop use of BoardDocs, which will place Board meetings, agendas, decisions and policy on-line for easy access to all. Continue to provide hard copies of policies to county libraries and schools.
Consensus was that this goal has been completed and will no longer appear in this document.

The Board will meet in a retreat twice annually.
Discussion. Bailey opposed. Reworded.
Abell, Carrington, Cook, Pedersen, Wade – YES; Bailey – NO.
The goal will now read…
The Board will meet in a retreat once annually.

Continue to participate in opportunities for social interaction with school system personnel and other Board member, such as Back-to-school and end-of-school events.
Consistently meeting this goal. Consensus was to keep this goal.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Invitation from NSBA

Once again, I have been invited to participate as a national blogger at the upcoming National School Board Association Conference to beheld in Orlando this year. I have accepted this wonderful opportunity and anxiously look forward to fulfill my obligations.

In addition, last November (I thought I posted about this, but I couldn't seem to locate it) I was invited to co-present a seminar at the upcoming NSBA conference and I accepted that opportunity as well. The title of the seminar is “Blogging School District Leaders: Directly Engage Your Community Using the Internet." More to come later.

Thank you for your support and maybe, one day, all elected officials will have a blog :)

HEADS UP!! Two New Meetings

FEBRUARY 29, 2008
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Board room @ the Starkey Building
This meeting will be televised.
The Board of Education will be meeting with Ms. Kitty Blumsack
to discuss board priorities for the coming year.

MARCH 4, 2008
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Commissioners Office

The Board of Education will be meeting with the
county Commissioners to discuss the new high school.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This Week's Live Chat

When: Monday, Feb. 25, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time

Submit questions in advance.

Join us for a live chat with Lew Smith, author of Schools That Change: Evidence-Based Improvement and Effective Change Leadership, a new book from Corwin Press.

Drawing from the findings of an eight-year national research project, Schools That Change looks at schools that have significantly improved. The book examines why change is often met with resistance and why it is often difficult to implement. Mr. Smith also explores how to measure change in schools, as well as providing “portraits” of four elementary schools that changed for the better.

Mr. Smith will answer your questions about change, school improvement, and his conceptual framework for change based on three components: context, capacity, and conversations.

About the guest:
Lew Smith is the director of the National Principals Leadership Institute, Panasonic National School Change Awards. He has served as associate professor in educational leadership and associate dean, program development and outreach, at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education. Mr. Smith, who also was a principal of a New York City high school, conceived and directed the New York City Middle School Initiative, which launched reform in 26 of the city's 32 community school districts.

Submit questions in advance.

No special equipment other than Internet access is needed to participate in this text-based chat. A transcript will be posted shortly after the completion of the chat.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Reading, math eat up class hours

Driven by stress on test scores, systems trim other subjects

The pressure for elementary schools to show progress under No Child Left Behind has come at a cost - less time is being devoted to social studies, science, art and music.

But time for reading and math has received a substantial boost, according to a study that examined 349 of the nation's school systems.

The report released yesterday by the Center on Education Policy shows that some school districts increased math and reading time by as much as 150 minutes a week, while cutting time for social studies, science, music and art by one-third.

Read more HERE

County offers local scholarship opportunities

The Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc. is offering more than 35 scholarships to Charles County high school seniors. Applications are available at all county high schools and must be submitted by March 1.

Applications are also available on the school system website,, under the students section, located on the left-hand side of the home page. Click on the Scholarship & College information tab. Seniors can also contact their guidance counselor or Career Center coordinator for more information.

Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria and information regarding eligibility is located on page two of the applications. The following scholarships are available through the scholarship fund:

American Rental Management Company, $1000;

Apartments of St. Charles, $1000;

Jeremiah and Elijah Borgnis Memorial, $500;

Unnae Pak Borgnis Memorial, $500;

Charles County Chamber of Commerce, $1000;

Charles County Health Department and School Nurses, $250;

Charles County Retired School Personnel Association, $500;

Charles County Teacher Education Assistance Grant, $1000 (renewable);

Charles County Retired School Personnel Association, $500 (five awards);

Kiwanis Club of La Plata, $500 (two awards);

John H. Cox Memorial Scholarship, $500;

Kate Donahue Memorial, $400;

Lisa Michele Duckett Achievement Award, $1000;

William and Vivian King, $1000;

Thomas Kurtz Memorial, $1000;

Harold Allen Levy, $1000;

Mary Matula, $300;

Grote Memorial, $500;

Timothy Minor Memorial, $1,000;

Timothy Minor Criminal Justice, $500;

Stephen E. Mitchell Educational Scholarship, $500;

Thomas B.R. Mudd, nurse, College of Southern Maryland, full two years;

Thomas B. R. Mudd, teacher, College of Southern Maryland, full two years;

Mildred Rice O'Callaghan Memorial, $500 (two awards);

Katherine D. Racey Memorial, $1500;

Edward Rorer Memorial, $500;

St. Charles Community, $1000 (three awards);

Starkey Memorial, $500;

Robert Dean Stethem National Memorial, $1000;

Robert Dean Stethem Thomas Stone, $1000;

Patricia Sugg Weiers Memorial, $250;

Woman's Club of Southern Maryland, $1000; and

Zonta of Charles County, $1000 (two awards).

Contact Jeannette Kaufman, Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc., at 301-934-7314, for more information.

County to host College Savings Plan parent workshop

Charles County Public Schools will host three College Savings Plans of Maryland workshops at three county schools to inform elementary and middle school parents of opportunities to prepare for their child's college expenses.

The sessions will cover two college savings plans being offered by the Maryland Savings Plan: The Maryland Prepaid College Trust plan and the Maryland College Investment Plan. Sessions are as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Gale-Bailey Elementary School;
Thursday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m., J.P. Ryon Elementary School; and
Monday, March 10, 6:30 p.m., Benjamin Stoddert Middle School.

The Maryland Prepaid College Trust Plan offers tuition plans and payment options for parents to save money for future use at any Maryland public college or an eligible private or out-of-state college or graduate program. The trust plan also has state and federal tax benefits and is backed by a Maryland Legislative Guarantee.

The Maryland College Investment Plan offers 13 investment portfolio options for parents, ranging from aggressive to conservative investment strategies, which are managed by T. Rowe Price. The funds can be used at nearly any public, private or technical college nationwide and Any portfolio earnings are state and federal tax free when used toward college expenses.

Visit or call 1-888-4MD-GRAD for more information.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Maryland State Board of Education Meeting, 2/26 - 27

For the agenda click HERE.

Lawmakers seek to hold schools accountable

ANNAPOLIS — Local educators have asked the state for years for more and more money to fund their programs. But this General Assembly session, some lawmakers are pushing harder to make sure those dollars are spent wisely.

Some have introduced legislation to hold school systems more accountable for how their money is used. Other lawmakers are pushing bills to repeal the hotly contested High School Assessments or speed up the time it takes to calculate the scores.

The bills point the finger not only at lawmakers, but at the state school board and the Department of Education for moving forward with the test without preparing students to pass, said Del. Jay Walker, whose legislation would repeal the HSA as a graduation requirement altogether.

Read more HERE

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lack of Services Causes Juvenile Detention, Court Review Shows

According to Advocates for Children and Youth...

Youth end up in a cycle of delinquency in Maryland because of a failure to link them to existing, effective community supports and interventions, according to a review of court records by Advocates for Children and Youth, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization. In a quarter page ad in The Washington Post, Advocates for Children and Youth said that full use of evidence-based community services like Multi-Systemic Therapy could allow the State to reduce significantly new spending on juvenile facilities that offer “degrees in delinquency.”

Evidence-based community programs can save $20 million in the first year alone, based on a new budget analysis Advocates for Children and Youth completed with the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute.

Read more HERE

School Suspensions Spike

School suspensions spiked and hit near record levels last school year, according to a new analysis by Advocates for Children and Youth. Records were broken in Prince George’s and Baltimore Counties, and the number of students receiving multiple suspensions increased. Racial disparities reached new highs. The negative trend demonstrates the need to expand effective alternatives like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Governor O’Malley proposed statewide expansion of PBIS as a candidate, and The Baltimore Sun recently endorsed PBIS. Some schools are adding mental services to PBIS, a far better solution for students with extra needs than segregating students in separate schools.

For the full analysis, click here. For the Technical Appendix, click here

Friday, February 22, 2008

House Bill 920

I wanted to bring House Bill 920 to every one's attention because it is one I personally support and have stressed/worried over issues surrounding these events previously. The hearing will be held on March 19th at 1:00 p.m.

Currently if a student is a victim of a violent crime and the perpetrator is also a student at the same school, the only legal solution to the uncomfortable situation is for the victim to request a transfer to another school, which of course the system legally grants. How wrong is this? The VICTIM has to change schools according to current laws. The above legislation would provide legal grounds for the perpetrator to be moved. YEAH!!!

REMINDER: Board Work Session, 2/25/08

Just wanted to remind everyone there is a Board Work Session on Monday, February 25th.
Can't can watch it live on Channel 96. It will also be re-broadcast on Wednesday at 9:00 am and Sunday at 2:00 pm.

6:00 - Student Recognition at North Point
7:00 - Travel to Starkey Building (Central Office)
7:30 - Work Session/ Public Forum

The remainder of the meeting immediately follows Public Forum

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

Board to discuss 2005 Communication Goal and Benchmarks

Notes from Board Meeting, 2/19/08

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.

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

Superintendent - Report

  • Upcoming Events
  • Meeting with US Senate staff & partners from the Space Foundation
  • "Go Places with Math & Science" NSWC & CSM partnership
  • Staff meetings with teachers regarding testing and workloads
  • New teacher breakfasts
  • Residency proof required for incoming 6th & 9th grade students
  • Neal Elementary work progressing. Spirit group for mascot naming being formed
  • Russia and Japan partnerships

Approval of Minutes from 1/8/08 & 1/28/08

*Motion by Carrington, seconded by Wise to approve Minutes

Board Members Update

  • Carrington - Indian Head Elementary - 2/22 Black Saga Program
  • Wise - Message to news agencies; quotes directly in paper incorrectly. DO NOT summarize and use quotes. Ensure credit is given to the appropriate board member.
  • Abell - McDonough Wind Ensemble asked to performa th the Kennedy Center on Tuesday, March 4th at 6:00 p.m. in celebration of Music in Our Schools Month. Admission is free.

EACC - Update

  • Roundtable discussion of teacher workload and testing results and suggestions
  • Comments were forwarded to the board
  • Requests one early dismissal day per week
  • Prepared lesson plans for teachers and for substitutes
  • BOE buy materials of instruction that have plans and lessons
  • address special education paperwork issues
  • Hire IEP facilitators
  • IEP planning days
  • Hire more speech language pathologists
  • Increase mentoring efforts with formal training
  • hire employees for hall/bus duty etc.
  • reduce mandated paperwork and plans to be turned in
  • Invite to Read Across America event @ Old Country Buffet
  • Abell - requested copies of teachers comments from roundtable discussions. Board has NOT received.
  • Pedersen - Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Student Board Member

  • Senator Middleton and Sheriff's Office meeting regarding teen driving - more next month
  • MASC legislation session at Chopticon
  • MASC state convention in March in Ocean City 3/5 - 3/7
  • CCAC meeting last one in April. Elections
  • Freshman Seminar discussed and forwarded to staff
  • food service taste test for breakfast & lunches for next year
  • 2/29 Senior Prom at Jaycees "When Hollywood was Young"

Deputy Superintendent - Student Service Guidance

  • See report
  • Bachelor's Degree; Master degree in school counseling, 48 graduate credits and 600 hours internship
  • 73 in system; 7 nationally certified
  • 1 in all Elem.; 2+ in Middle; 4+ in High
  • system goal is one for each grade level 6th grade and up
  • 759 crisis interventions already this year
  • MSDE recommends ration 1:250
  • CCPS Elem = 1:434; Midd= 1:296; HS = 1:344
  • Wise - appaled @ number of students counselors have to work with
  • Pedersen - Where is diversity discussed in MD and HS.
  • Grier - Beginning MS; HS it is not discussed due to difficulty with scheduling. Freshman Seminar it is discussed as is suicide
  • Pedersen - staff support and counseling
  • Grier - Yes
  • Shah - Retention rate for counselor
  • Grier - Not an issue
  • Pedersen - work on reaching MSDE goal. How do we compare locally?
  • Grier - Published throught he state of Maryland; don't have on hand

Instruction Report - Middle School Programs

  • Extensive powerpoint presentation....very informative
  • Wise - Geometry in 8th grade
  • Estep - Transportation is busing students to HS

Supporting Services Report - CIP Update

  • Neal 77% complete
  • Somers - chimney restoration; Phase II of renovation
  • Craik - almost done, no longer on report
  • Diggs - 8 modular classrooms installed
  • Bailey - Trailers at Diggs, amazing yet APFO doesn't indicate a shortage of allocations :)
  • Pedersen - Retreat with commissioners...state capacity to core did we get here? :)
  • Carrington - Can't cut funding when things slow down; perservance...ridiculous :)

Finance Report - Workers Compensation Policy #3541; Rule

  • No discussion. Action next month

Legislative Update - Schwartz

  • HB21 - Compulsory attendance to 18 - large fiscal impact
  • HB199 - Bullying
  • HB546 - Bullying
  • HB732 - Bullying
  • SB850 - public school labor relations board - oppose
  • SB96 - high truancy
  • SB77 - In-county transfers
  • HB169 - In-county transfers
  • HB920 - transfer students of violent crimes per victims requests
  • HB841 - 2 credits physical education and certain # of minutes per week
  • HB1411 - Increase opportunities for disabled in athletics
  • SB849 - Increase opportunities for disabled in athletics
  • HB760 - Allow students who don't make an athletic team at one HS to try out for the same program at another school
  • Pedersen - HB841 affects on CCPS
  • Shah - compulsory attendance age - old or new?
  • Schwartz - a version of this has been submitted for the last 5 - 6 years
  • Bailey - # of students affected by HB21
  • Cunningham - dropout rate approx 3% of all HS students. Don;t have exact #'s
  • Wise - HB21...MABE voted to support with age change to 17
  • Schwartz - hard to implement in some schools because of shared space gym/cafeteria

Action Items: Personnel

*Motion by Wise, seconded by Pedersen to approve Personnel

Unfinished Business

  • Bailey - staff development for counselors & person in charge
  • Cunningham - they attend regular staff development meetings and specialized ones
  • Wise - Task committee has met and will be forwarding in update for discussion at work session
  • Pedersen - APFO committee - include a review every 3,5,10 years?
  • Abell agreed

Future Agenda Items

  • Emily Ferren - Charles County LIbrary requests time on the agenda to brief the board with opportunities available

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Evaluating Teachers


Research suggests teaching matters more to student achievement than anything else schools do. This year’s Quality Counts 2008 report focuses on states’ efforts to improve the teaching profession. One set of indicators in the report—and the focus of this stat of the week—concerns states’ teacher evaluation policies.

To shed light on teacher evaluation policies, the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center examined whether states require: (1) all teachers' performance to be formally evaluated; (2) teacher evaluations to be tied to student achievement; (3) teacher evaluations to occur on an annual basis; and (4) evaluators to receive formal training.

Read more HERE

City hires independent auditing firm to explore School System spending

In Richmond...

To view a video of this press conference, click here.

The City of Richmond has engaged an independent auditing firm, TCBA of Washington, D.C., to immediately begin an audit of the Richmond Public School System’s spending practices.

“When people are writing to me on a regular basis that their real estate assessments are going up 100 percent and the people who spend those taxes pay no heed, then the Richmond Public Schools’ situation has reached crisis proportions,” said Mayor L. Douglas Wilder. “It is very difficult for people to hear the truth sometimes, but we need to be clear that the City of Richmond has a responsibility to ensure the prudent use of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Two prominent educational leaders, Dr. Robert Holsworth and Dr. William Bosher, spoke of the need for prompt action by the School System to implement ways to make more efficient use of its available funding. They were joined by John Gerner, the City Administration’s consultant on School System funding.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

AP Trends: Tests Soar, Scores Slip

From Education Week...

While more American public school students are taking Advanced Placement tests, the proportion of tests receiving what is deemed a passing score has dipped, and the mean score is down for the fourth year in a row, an Education Week analysis of newly released data from the College Board shows.

Data released here this week by the New York City-based nonprofit organization that owns the AP brand shows that a greater-than-ever proportion of students overall—more than 15 percent of the public high school class of 2007—scored at least one 3 on an AP test. The tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, the highest score.

Yet, as the number of AP exams taken in U.S. public schools has ballooned by almost 25 percent over the four years that the College Board has released its “AP Report to the Nation,” the percentage of exams that received at least a 3—the minimum score that the College Board considers predictive of success in college—has slipped from about 60 percent to 57 percent.

Read more HERE

Parents Rise Up Against A New Approach to Math

By Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2008; Page A01

Greg Barlow, an Air Force officer in the defense secretary's office at the Pentagon, was helping his 8-year-old son, Christian, one recent night with a vexing problem: What is 674 plus 249?

The Prince William County third-grader did not stack the numbers and carry digits from one column to the next, the way generations have learned. Applying lessons from his school's new math textbook, "Investigations in Number, Data, and Space," Christian tried breaking the problem into easier-to-digest numbers.

But after several seconds, he got stumped. He drew lines connecting digits, and his computation amounted to an upside-down pyramid with numbers at the bottom. His father, in a teacherly tone, nudged him toward the old-fashioned method. "How would you do that another way?" Barlow asked.

Read more HERE

Greenip: Spend 65 percent of education budget in classroom


State Sen. Janet Greenip, R-Crofton, wants to make sure students aren't overlooked in education budgets by mandating local boards of education spend 65 percent of school funds in the classroom.

Mrs. Greenip told the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee yesterday her proposal would boost classroom funding by millions of dollars without any tax increases.

Read more HERE

Monday, February 18, 2008


This Weeks Live Web Chat

When: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2 p.m. Eastern time

Please join for this live Web chat to talk about the growing use of and interest in "response to intervention," an educational approach for identifying students' academic problems and putting measures in place to help them succeed in school.

Response to intervention, also known as RTI in education circles, offers the promise of helping struggling learners early in their school careers by providing targeted, scientifically-based instruction. Congress, in the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, said that RTI can also be part of the process for diagnosing children with specific learning disabilities. Although interest in this approach is growing across the country, educators still have many questions about how to effectively implement the practice.

For background, please read:
"'Response to Intervention' Sparks Interest, Questions"
"Embracing 'Response to Intervention.'"

About the guests:
Maurice McInerney, the managing director of the American Institutes for Research and the co-project director of the National Center on Response to Intervention, a federally-funded center that seeks to support widespread use of evidence-based practices in RTI; and

Evelyn Johnson, an assistant professor at Boise State University and the co-author of RTI: A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Response to Intervention. Submit questions in advance.

No special equipment other than Internet access is needed to participate in this text-based chat. A transcript will be posted shortly after the completion of the chat.

Md., Va. Among Top 3 In Passing '07 AP Tests

In the Washington Post...

Maryland public schools had the second-highest percentage of graduating seniors who passed Advanced Placement tests last year, and Virginia's had the third-highest, College Board officials disclosed yesterday. Maryland also ranked second in the nation for gains on that measure of college readiness.

High marks for the two states were driven largely by dramatic increases in AP test-taking in the Washington suburbs, particularly Northern Virginia and Montgomery County. Some educators are worried, however, that budget cuts will limit that growth. Fairfax County, for example, is weighing a proposal to force many students to pay for their AP exams.

Read more HERE

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Some States Shift IEP Burden of Proof to School Districts

At Education Week...

New Jersey lawmakers recently changed state law to require schools to bear the burden of proving, if there is a dispute with parents, that the educational plans they create for students with disabilities are appropriate.

The state’s action, which follows a similar move by New York state in August, is considered a success by parents and advocacy groups interested in chipping away at the public-policy change made by a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the issue.

Read more HERE

Friday, February 15, 2008

Notes from BOE & Commissioner Retreat

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. Although official minutes were not taken, to my knowledge, Denise Ferguson from the Commissioners office did record notes for them.

In addition, I did not take detailed notes, most of the presentations were on handouts. Please contact the appropriate entitys to request copies.

Government Budget

  • Housing market; county is 2nd highest in state for forclosure
  • 52% from property tax; 28% income tax; 7% Recordation; 3% HIghway user; 10% other
  • HB #1 - BOE takes the largest decrease in revenue growth
  • Commissioners action - hiring freeze; reduce discretionary spending by 10%
  • 13th in state on per capita net taxable income; 23rd in net taxable income

CCPS Budget

  • 52.4% of UNDESIGNATED county funds. Funds that use to be undesignated is now designated. The undesignated piece of the pie has gradually decreased therefore making the BOE portion slightly smaller.

New High School

  • Presentation on schematics
  • Green Building - Gold level
  • $23M per year to operate; average for all high schoools
  • 1600 students - 1900 core capacity

New School Construction

  • Enrollment Trends
  • School construction predictions
  • Prototype schools

So. MD Assoc. of Realtors

  • Presentation on letter of positions involving APFO

Commissioners Task Force on APFO

  • Report to commissioners on findings
  • Recommendations

Commissioners & BOE APFO Subcommittee Report

  • Recommendations

Workforce Housing

  • Keys for Employees Program
  • County is working on affordable housing
  • considering changing house size restrictions from 1650 square feet to 1200 square feet
  • Looking into building apartments on a parcel of land near an elementary school in Waldorf
  • Mobile homes are acceptable and allowed in Charles County contrary to popular belief

Goals and Future Needs

  • Wade - Committee and board meet three times a year; June, Sept., Feb
  • HSA graduation requirements
  • Discussion
  • Relayed via commissioners, possible sale of something to do with negotiations with companies from overseas...could provide substantial UNDESIGNATED income.
  • County to go to New York in a couple of weeks to present and receive bond rating.


  • Item #1 - CIP Schools - Discussion
  • Comm. Patterson unprepared to take action at this time.

*Motion by Patterson, seconded by Graves to postpone action until July
Yes = Patterson, Graves, Cooper; No=Hodge; Collins

REMINDER: Board Meeting, 2/19/08

Just wanted to remind everyone there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, February 19th.
Can't can watch it live on Channel 96. It will also be re-broadcast on Wednesday at 9:00 am and Sunday at 2:00 pm.

3:30 - Executive Session
4:30 - Recognition
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 BoardDocs.

Superintendent - Report
Board Members - (report not available yet)
EACC - Update
Student Board Member - (report not available yet)
Deputy Superintendent - Student Service Guidance
Instruction Report - Middle School Programs
Supporting Services Report - CIP Update
Finance Report - Workers Compensation Policy #3541; Rule
Legislative Update - (report not available yet)

Action Items:

Minutes from 1/8/08 & 1/28/08

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

REVISED/UPDATED Agenda for BOE & Commissioner Retreat

Just received a revised an updated agenda...

February 13th
9:00 - Opening Remarks (Cooper & Wade)
9:15 - 2008 Budget Challenge (Deborah Hudson CC Gov)
10:00 - 2008 Budget Challenge (Paul Balides (CCPS)
10:45 - Break
11:00 - New School Construction/New High School Update
12:00 - Lunch
1:00 - Work Session: APFO (Comm. Task Force & SMAR & Committee Report)
4:00 - Break
4:15 - APFO Wrap-Up
5:30 - Dinner

February 14th
7:30 - Breakfast
9:00 - Workforce Housing (Keith Hettel CCPS & Paul Comfort CC Gov.)
10:00 - Break
10:15 - Goals and Future Needs
11:15 - APFO Action
12:00 - Unfinished Business/Wrap up (Wade/Cooper)
12:30 - Lunch/Adjourn

Governor O'Malley Hosts P-20 Leadership Council

Council Charged with Aligning State’s Education and Workforce Programs

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 11, 2008) – Governor Martin O’Malley hosted the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s P-20 Leadership Council today and charged the Council with better aligning Maryland’s education systems with workforce demands. The P-20 Leadership Council, created in 2007 by Executive Order 01.01.2007.20, was established to create an integrated statewide system to better prepare Maryland students for the jobs of the 21st century while enhancing the State’s economic competitiveness by creating a workforce with 21st century skills.

“The people of Maryland are our greatest asset and our continued economic strength depends upon our ability to invest in them, and prepare our children today for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Governor O’Malley. “This Council fosters partnerships between the State of Maryland educators and the business community to generate new ideas to align our education systems with the needs of employers that are innovative and ambitious to prepare our students to compete in the 21st Century.”

The P20 Council is made up of 35 stakeholders from all levels of education, labor and business sectors with the charge of seeking the best way to better prepare Maryland students for the jobs of the 21st Century while enhancing the State’s economic competitiveness by creating a workforce with 21st Century skills. Governor O’Malley charged the Council to action by establishing the current Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) baselines, identifying the gaps between baseline and current needs and developing a strategic plan to fill those gaps.
Read more HERE

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dropout Rate Targeted

From the Baltimore Sun...

Requiring Maryland students to remain in school until they turn age 18 could drastically reduce dropout rates but would cost the state $200 million a year and worsen the existing shortage of teachers, classroom space and other resources, according to a new report.

A yearlong study by a statewide task force of 50 educators, community leaders and legislators recommended raising the public school compulsory attendance age from 16. Maryland law allows students to drop out at age 16 with parental permission.

Read more HERE.

Commissioners and BOE Retreat

Good morning! The commissioners and the BOE will be meeting for a retreat at the Harry Lundeberg Seamanship School, Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training (45353 St. George's Avenue, Piney Point, Maryland 20674) on February 13th and 14th. I'm not certain if the agenda has been publicized anywhere but you will find the outline I have received below.

*check-in time is 8:00 a.m. or anytime thereafter

Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (½ day discussion)

  • Where we were
  • Where we are
  • Where do we go from here
    APFO Committee Report

2008 Budget Challenge

  • Comments by Commissioner President and BOE Chairperson

New School Construction

  • Revised Plan/update

Friday, February 08, 2008

Teen Driving Bills Introduced

Two bills (one Senate and one House) will be presented in Annapolis in two weeks. If anyone feels strongly about either of these and would like to testify at these hearings, please contact me as soon as possible . The Senate bill is on February 19th and the House Bill is on February 20th

Senate Bill 460
Senators Middleton and Dyson
Vehicle Laws - Moving Violations by Minors - Notification of Parent or Guardian
Requiring the Motor Vehicle Administration to notify the parent, guardian, or other cosigner of a minor's driver's license application if a citation is issued to the minor charging the minor with a specified moving violation; requiring the notice provided by the Administration to contain specified information; etc.

Delegates Levy, Jameson, Murphy, Bohanan, and Wood
Vehicle Laws - Moving Violations by Minors - Notification of Parent or Guardian
Requiring the Motor Vehicle Administration to notify the parent, guardian, or other cosigner of a minor's driver's license application if a citation is issued to the minor charging the minor with a moving violation; requiring the notice provided by the Administration to contain specified information; etc.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Teacher Retention/Highly Qualified

Cowboy had requested information on teacher retention in another thread. Here's the answers I received from Human Resources.

We hired about 350 teachers in the last year.
We had the following number of teachers leave:
Step 1= 53
Step 2= 73
Step 3= 36
Step 4= 13
Step 5= 6

You can see that the number tends to decrease after the first two years. There is always movement in these two years.

Maryland Dept of Education reports the following statistics in regard to the percent of classes being taught by Highly Qualified teachers. This means that the teacher is deemed Highly Qualified by state standards and is teaching that particular class.
2,445 classes reported
447 classes not taught by HQ teacher
82% taught by HQ teachers

However, the total number of HQ teachers employed by Charles County Public Schools is closer to 92%. This means that 92% of our teachers are certificated/highly qualified in a grade(s) or subject area. The difference of the 10% happens when a teacher is assigned to teach a class out of their area of HQ status. Ex:- HQ Physics teacher teaching a general science class.

Students With Disabilities Said to Benefit From NCLB

At Education Week...

The accountability systems created by the federal No Child Left Behind Act have led to some benefits for students with disabilities, but it’s too soon to link the law with improved academic outcomes for such students, according to a presidential advisory group.

The 15-member National Council on Disability—which makes recommendations to the president and Congress on issues relating to Americans with disabilities and their families—released the report today at its quarterly board meeting in New Orleans. Much of the information gathered in the report came from interviews with dozens of researchers and state officials. In addition, the council looked closely at the performance of students with disabilities in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Read more HERE

School system publishes its Annual Report

Charles County Public Schools recently published its 2008 Annual Report. The report contains student and faculty accomplishments, school system budget information and a partial calendar for the 2008-09 school year.
The report is created and by the CCPS communications department and is required by law to be published.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

O'Malley Backs Off Plan To Oust Education Chief

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley asked legislative leaders yesterday to shelve a bill that would have effectively rescinded the new term of State Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick. He pledged instead to work with the long-serving educator on policy priorities that include signing bonuses to lure principals to troubled schools.

O'Malley (D), who has feuded openly with Grasmick, made the announcement at a news conference at which the two sat side by side and said they will also work to expand vocational course offerings and regularly survey teachers in an effort to improve the environment in classrooms.

As recently as last week, aides said O'Malley supported legislation that would have allowed his new appointees to the state school board to decide whether Grasmick would retain her job beyond this year. In December, Grasmick was awarded a four-year contract extension, at an annual salary of $195,000, by a board controlled by appointees of O'Malley's predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Read more HERE.