Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Policy 1323

Below is Charles County Public School Policy 1323. It is currently up for revision. I have received several emaiols rergarding "Mr. Money" visiting the schools. Please provide your input on how best to revise.

Public Activities Involving Staff, Students or School Facilities: Activities Involving Students: Soliciting Funds From Students

Schools may educate pupils in the services performed by humanitarian agencies.

Fund-raising drives divert time, energy and attention of the staff from their educational tasks; therefore, the Board recommends that such drives be kept to a minimum and be approved by the principal.

Tickets for non-school affairs sponsored by outside agencies shall not be sold on school premises during regularly scheduled school hours.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Charles School Suspensions on the Decline

Interesting...this could be good or... it could mean that we just aren't suspending the problem students anymore. Hmmmmph...how to tell?

From the Baynet

Charles County Public Schools student suspensions decreased for the fourth consecutive year, according to a recent report sent to the Maryland State Department of Education. Suspensions dropped slightly from 5,662 in the 2006-07 school year to 5,490 in 2007-08, even with an increase in student population and the opening of a new school.

A key factor in the continued reduction of suspensions is the positive behavioral interventions and supports program used in most schools. While school suspensions have increased in Maryland, the number of suspensions and multiple suspensions in Charles County has declined. Charles County Public Schools successful PBIS program was recently recognized by Advocates for Children & Youth, which credits the school system’s commitment to positive reinforcement for the reduction.

Charles County Public Schools continues to work to reduce disruptions in schools and to keep students in class. “When students engage in negative behavior, it disrupts learning in the classroom. If students miss school due to suspension, they are not learning. It’s a cycle that we are working hard to prevent,” said Ronald Cunningham, deputy superintendent. Cunningham said the school system continues to distribute the Student Code of Conduct to all students at the beginning of each school year with the expectation they will read it with their parents, who will re-enforce the rules at home. Some offenses, such as possession of a weapon or illegal drugs, will always result in suspension, Cunningham said.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Strong American Schools

Found this great site, ED in '08 check it out

Strong American Schools is a nonpartisan public awareness and advocacy effort aimed at elevating discussion amongst America's leaders about the need for education reform.

This campaign seeks to unite all Americans around the crucial mission of improving our public schools by elevating the discussion to a national stage.

Their Focus

America’s students are losing out. The world is changing, jobs are evolving, and far too many students are simply not being prepared to be successful adults:

  • Seventy percent of eighth graders are not proficient in reading—and most will never catch up.

  • Every year, more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school.

  • Compared to students in 30 industrialized countries, American 15 year olds ranked 25th in math and 21st in science. Even America's top math students rank 25th out of 30 when compared with top students across the globe.

  • Many of those who do graduate are not ready for college, for the workplace and for life.
We have to act now to improve education before more American students lose out on the best jobs, hurting our economy and impacting each and every one of us.

Visit the site to read more.

CHECK OUT THIS REPORT - "Diplomas to Nowhere"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

State won't release school test results until October

Delay could alter graduation requirement's effect on Class of 2009

By Liz Bowie
September 21, 2008

Maryland education officials said they will wait until late October to release detailed data on how many seniors in each county and school risk not graduating in June because they have not passed the High School Assessments.

The delay pushes back the time when the state school board can take up the issue of whether to adjust the test policy for the Class of 2009, the first graduating class that is being required to pass exams to graduate.

The data, which was expected this month, is not ready, state officials said, because local school districts have not given the state complete files on each student in the class and where he or she stands academically.

One school system, which the state would not identify, has "half a million errors in their files," said Leslie Wilson, who is in charge of testing programs at the state level.

Data showing a large percentage of students in a given school or district falling behind on the tests could add fu el to arguments that implementing the graduation requirement should be pushed back. The state is being cautious about releasing the data to make sure it doesn't include students who weren't on track to graduate anyway, because those cases might make the impact of the tests seem greater than it is.

"That is the reason you want accurate data, because it is an important year," said Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools. "We are very strict about ensuring that information is correct before it is released."

Read more HERE.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The high cost of high school dropouts

Our view: Maryland loses millions of dollars a year when kids leave school without graduating

September 21, 2008

Last year, about 27,000 Maryland high school students dropped out of school before graduating. That was nearly a quarter of the state's Class of 2007, and Marylanders pay dearly for it. A study by the Maryland Public Policy Institute estimates that each class of high school dropouts costs the state about $50 million every year in lost tax revenues, higher Medicaid costs and the expenses of incarceration - dropouts are twice as likely as graduates to spend time in jail. Kids who drop out shortchange not only their own chances for success but also those of everyone around them.

That's why Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso has ordered high school principals to make every effort to get students who have dropped out back into the classroom. Baltimore's dropout rate, which has been estimated at between 40 percent and 60 percent, is among the highest in the state. More than 900 students have dropped out so f ar this year. There's no way a school system can ignore those numbers and call itself successful.

Mr. Alonso wants principals to track down every student who has left school and contact him or her at least three times, by phone or through personal visits, to try and lure the student back. That's a tough assignment for administrators whose hands during the first month of classes are already full just managing the students they have; in some schools, as many as a 100 kids have gone missing. But nobody ever said the kinds of changes Baltimore needs would come easy.

Read more HERE

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Help Pass Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act


Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of sexual abuse each year. Due to the sheer lack of resources, law enforcement is unable to follow up on the majority of leads they have.

The PROTECT Our Children Act will:
  • Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
  • Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
  • Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

Act Now!
Your U.S. senators will be voting on the bill soon, so it is crucial you contact them immediately.
Go to http://www.senate.gov/ to find contact information for the senators in your state. Search for your senator by name or state by clicking on the arrow from either dropdown menu. Contact information is provided here. To send an e-mail, click on "Web Form" below his or her name, and e-mail your letter to make a difference!

Maryland Senators

Benjamin Cardin

Barbara Mikulski

Call Your Senators
If you choose to contact your senators by phone, be sure to tell them, "Vote yes on Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act."

Write to Your Senators
If you choose to write a letter, fax, telegram or e-mail, you may use the following sample letter—and modify it how you see fit.

Dear Senator:

I know that you believe, like I do, that we must do everything possible to protect children from sexual predators. That is why I am asking for your help.

Last year alone, U.S. law enforcement identified over 300,000 criminals who were trafficking in movies and pictures of young children being raped and tortured. Experts say that one in every three of these criminals has local child victims. Child pornography trafficking over the Internet has given us a trail of evidence that leads straight to their doorsteps, but the vast majority of these children will never be rescued because investigators are overwhelmed, outnumbered and underfunded.

As your constituent, I urge you to do everything in your power to pass the PROTECT Our Children Act (S. 1738, Biden-Hatch). This bipartisan legislation passed the House 415-2, but it is now the victim of petty partisan politics.

Now that we know where these children are and how to protect them, there is no
excuse for the Senate to fail to take action this session.

(Your name here)

Instructions for How to Copy and Paste the Letter
To copy and paste the letter into your senator's web form at http://www.senate.gov/ , point your mouse arrow at the beginning of the text that you want to copy. Click your left mouse button and hold it down. While holding the left mouse button, drag your arrow to the end of the text that you want to copy. Release the button. The text should be highlighted. Place your mouse arrow over the highlighted text, click your right mouse button once and let go. A new menu should appear. Select Copy from the drop down menu. When you get to the message form field for your senator at http://www.senate.gov/ , point your arrow at the beginning of the message field that you want to copy your text to and right click with your mouse. Click Paste from this menu. Submit your form and help our children!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Abell to hold Meetings

Charles County Board of Education member Jennifer Abell will hold a question & answer session for interested residents the second Thursday of every month from 6:00-8:30 p.m. beginning October 9th at Unique Sports Academy, 109 Post Office Road, Waldorf.
Call Jennifer Abell 301-659-4112 or e-mail abell4edu@verizon.net .

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Open Thread Sunday!

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Financial Resources for College

Financial resources are available to help pay the costs of a college or university education, but too many area students are missing out. To encourage more students to seek and obtain financial support for higher education, Universal Sports and Academics is hosting an "Understanding the Financial Aid Process" workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sep 26 at Unique Sports Academy, 109D Post Office Road, Waldorf, MD 20602.

Financial aid can be the only key that opens the door to higher education for deserving students, so efforts to help education parents and students about financial aid resources are essential. This support provides students with access to higher education, which ultimately helps them achieve career goals as well.

Both students and parents are encouraged to attend the workshops. The workshops are $15 per family. For more information about the Sep 26 workshop in Waldorf, please contact Kevin Wagner at (301) 609-0756 or by email at kevin@u-s-academics.org.

Other workshops that are currently planned:

"Scholarships 101: Where to Find the Money You Need" – Oct 10

"Athletes and Recruiting: How Do I Get Started" – Oct 24

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

School system to add intramural lacrosse program

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) plans on adding a varsity-level intramural instructional lacrosse program to its spring sports lineup.

Starting this spring, the school system plans to begin offering lacrosse at all six high schools. The sport will start as an instructional program and hopefully grow into a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference competitor after two years.

The first year, students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate in the program, which will be limited to competition with other Charles County high schools. There will be both boys' and girls' lacrosse teams, and each team will have a 14-game schedule to include both home and away games. All games will be officiated by certified officials and the league will follow all criteria as set forth by the CCPS athletic handbook as well as the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. Criteria include eligibility, including academic requirements, number of contests played and sportsmanship rules.

The second year, the school system will evaluate the first-year program, and dependent upon participation and interest, will divide into a junior varsity and varsity intra-county, instructional program. If needed, the program will continue as a 9-12 varsity intramural program for the second year.

"The goal," said Jan Johnson, specialist in athletics and health for CCPS, "is that by 2011 Charles County Public Schools enters SMAC with a junior varsity and varsity team from each of our six high schools."

Lacrosse players will receive awards, recognition at spring sports awards ceremonies and earn school awards letters from the beginning of the program.

The next steps, said Johnson, include clinics for coaches, advertising in schools for potential players and securing officials for the upcoming season. Equipment for the sport was purchased at the end of last school year in anticipation of starting the program this year.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

REMINDER: Board Meeting, 09/09/08

Reminder... there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, September 9th. Can't attend...you can watch it live on Channel 96. It will also be re-broadcast on Wednesdays at 6 p.m.; Fridays at 9 a.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. . To view the full agenda and the various reports, please visit BoardDocs.

Executive session - 12 p.m.
Call to order - 1 p.m.

  • Pledge of Allegiance, Henry E. Lackey High School's JROTC unit

REPORT - Superintendent's Update to the Board
REPORT - Board Member Updates (no reports available)
REPORT - Education Association of Charles County update
REPORT - Student Board Member update (no report available)
REPORT - Opening of school - Oral Update
REPORT - CIP update
REPORT - FY 2009 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan
REPORT - Early Childhood Title I; Video 1; Video 2
REPORT - Hiring - Oral Update
REPORT - Communications Update


NEW BUSINESS - Budget intercategory transfers for FY 2008


RECOGNITION - 4:30 p.m.

PUBLIC FORUM - 6 p.m. (Rules)

ACTION - Minutes August 12, 2008; Motions August 12; Minutes August 25, 2008
ACTION - Personnel
ACTION - State 2010 CIP
ACTION - Recurring resolutions: Health Careers Month; American Education Week; American Freedom Week; Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leader; African American History Month; Career and Technical Education Week; National School Counseling Week; Read Across America; Women's History Month; Fine and Performing Arts; Month of the Young Child; National Student Leadership Week; Teacher Appreciation Week; Administrative Professionals' Week; Salute to School Food and Nutrition Service Personnel; National Physical Education and Sport Week; Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award; Charles County Teacher of the Year; Employees' Retirement
ACTION - Classified pension plan documents

Open Thread Sunday

"Open Thread" is a place for you to tell me what you would like to see on this site. What can I do to make it more user-friendly, topics you would like to see discussed in the future, questions or concerns. If I missed your questions on another thread, please direct me to them here.

So here you go, give me your feedback.

Friday, September 05, 2008

SAT Scores

If you were to glance over the press release below, you might think we have done well. However, if you delve a little deeper...I for one am disappointed. Okay, big whooppee, we're above the state average. Hello!!! We couldn't surpass the NATIONAL AVERAGE!! And considering our location and the fact that we are one of the "wealthiest counties in the nation" I think it's down right disgusting. The number of students in the county taking the test went down. So is more of our students opting for good ole' CSM which doesn't require SAT scores? Or parents, teachers, counselors being more lax about supporting students to TRY and achieve the unthinkable? Okay, okay...the test is not mandatory, but maybe it should be. What do you think?


SAT scores above state average

Charles County Public Schools average score on the SAT, a nationally known college entrance test, is 1511, which is above the state average and the same as the national average.

Students' average score in the mathematics section of the test is 505, the average score in the writing section is 500 and the average score on the critical reading portion is 506. SAT scores decreased 12 points from 1523 the previous year. SAT tests are designed to demonstrate a student's mastery of certain subjects to colleges. Many colleges use the test as a part of the admissions process.

Charles County's score is 13 points above the state average of 1498 and the same as the national average of 1511. Only scores for graduating seniors are included in the 2008 report. Students in the class of 2008 were offered more than $27 million in scholarships.

Maurice J. McDonough High School was the highest performing school with a score of 1613. La Plata High School students posted an average score of 1602 and Thomas Stone High School students posted a 1495 average. Westlake High School students' average score is 1483 and Henry E. Lackey High School students averaged 1427.

Charles County Public Schools provides all high school students access to the on-line SAT preparation, which can be used as a classroom teaching aid, a component of English and math courses, a test-preparation resource or an independent study tool. School staff will help students set up an account and profile this school year. Students may access the program from home after they have created their profile. The school system also offers other in-school preparation programs, summer and after-school preparation programs and in-class preparation by teachers.

A chart of SAT results for Charles County Public Schools 2007-2008 college-bound seniors

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

REMINDER: What Counts Forum Tomorrow Night

What do you think counts in education? The Board of Education wants to know.

"What Counts" is the topic for discussion at a community forum set for Thursday, Sept. 4, 7-9 p.m., in the Maurice J. McDonough High School cafeteria. McDonough is located in Pomfret.

Invitations have been sent out to a cross-section of county residents to ensure well-rounded participation, but the public is invited to attend and participate as well.

The goal of the forum is simple. Board members want to learn what Charles County residents think counts in education and explore how the effectiveness and quality of public schools should be measured. The Board hopes to engage participants in small round-table discussions about what the community wants from its public schools.

Col. Donald Wade, chairman of the Board of Education, said, "The forum is to hear everyone who has opinions on what their expectations of schools are, especially in these times of high accountability and state-mandated testing. Beyond high test scores, what do people think makes a good school system? Is it college matriculation, advanced courses, small classes, quality facilities or advanced technology? We hope to find out during this forum and to use this information as we set our direction for the next three to five years."

Participants will be asked to fill out a handout listing quality school characteristics and be placed in small groups of six to 10 people. After each person has made their individual selections, a facilitator will ask participants to share their rationale for their selections. Each group will have to decide on the top eight most important indicators, with a rational for each.

Following the forum, a summary report will be provided to each public school and each participant. Additionally, the Board will share the report with local leaders and business owners and post it on the Charles County Public Schools Web site.

Anyone who would like to participate in the forum should call or e-mail Kessandra Stubblefield, executive assistant to the Board, at 301-934-7224 or kstubblefield@ccboe.com.

"We hope people will join us and let us know what counts," Wade said.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

D.C. Tries Cash as a Motivator In School

I know this is an older article, but I'd like to know your thoughts...

By V. Dion Haynes and Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, August 22, 2008; Page A01

Initiative Is Aimed At Middle Grades

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee announced plans yesterday to boost dismal achievement at half the city's middle schools by offering students an unusual incentive: cash.

For years, school officials have used detention, remedial classes, summer school and suspensions to turn around poorly behaved, underachieving middle school students, with little results. Now they are introducing a program that will pay students up to $100 per month for displaying good behavior.

Beginning in October, 3,000 students at 14 middle schools will be eligible to earn up to 50 points per month and be paid $2 per point for attending class regularly and on time, turning in homework, displaying manners and earning high marks. A maximum of $2.7 million has been set aside for the program, and the money students earn will be deposited every two weeks into bank accounts the system plans to open for them.

Read more HERE