Friday, February 27, 2009

Gaps persist on Advanced Placement in Md.

By Liz Bowie

Maryland may rank No. 1 in the nation for the percentage of its high school graduates who pass an Advanced Placement test, but behind that distinction is a wide disparity between counties and high schools. [Sun]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

O'Malley sets goals for schools

Governor would measure students against world's
By Liz Bowie
February 25, 2009

Gov. Martin O'Malley laid out an ambitious education agenda for the state school board yesterday, saying that he wants to take Maryland's schools from being ranked No. 1 in the nation to being regarded as "the best public school system in the world."

In remarks that were both broader in scope and more detailed than he has been in the past on education, O'Malley laid out seven key goals that he wants the state board to meet. Several of the initiatives would take advantage of unprecedented levels of federal funding and would require Maryland to raise standards, particularly in middle and high school.


State education board adopts new bullying policy

Associated Press

The State Board of Education has approved a model policy intended to stop bullying.

The policy applies to both physical bullying and bullying by way of cell phones or the Internet.

State Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick said the policy reflects the fact that "today's bullies come in many forms, including those who use electronic means."

It directs local school systems to submit copies of their anti-bullying policies to Grasmick by July 1 for review. [Sun]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Student Recognition

Tonight I had the privilege of attending one of the many student recognitions taking place around the county. I went to Mcdonough where not only McDonough students were being recognized, but also Stoddert, James Craik, Eva Turner, and Brown. As always, Ms. Petty and staff were well prepared, the McDonough Wind Ensemble was phenomenal, but...the attendance by parents and students was once again lacking. I am very disappointed when looking out into the audience and see principals attending these recognition events, taking time away from their families, and have NONE of the students or parents show up. What is the answer? Should we not give out recognitions? Very sad right now.

Friday, February 20, 2009

SB 857

Don't know MABE's or the BOE's position on this bill but have a request in to verify.
SB 857
Sponsored By: Senators Pugh and McFadden
Education - Public High Schools and Public High School Students - Revisions and Requirements

Requiring the State Department of Education to develop a data collection system for students who graduate from high school in 3 years, 4 years, or 5 years; requiring the State Board of Education to report the reasons students opt to take the GED; requiring county boards of education to partner with community colleges in order to offer a 50% discount on tuition to students who take college courses while still in high school; etc.

The below comments are from an email I received. NG = Nancy Grasmick

IF there is a 50% reduction in tuition on college credits for hs kids that are dual enrolled, where is the $$ going to come from to pay the college professors for educating high school kids? NG is only behind this because she will have to educate fewer kids but gets to keep the full amount of $$ from the September 30 head count. As I see it (and I admit it was quickly read on my part) this bill is quite craftily worded to suit NG's never ending thirst for black hole money.

Why is she doing this? Because she is now seeing the financial gain as more and more parents have caught on to the AP bull shit games school systems play. Now, more parents are choosing to dual enrolling their kids rather than play roulette with AP classes and exams.

In other words, a kid sits in homeroom on September 30. Because he is enrolled in public school (no matter what % of the day) NG gets to charge the state's taxpayers what..... $6K and gets to charge the feds.... $2K (?) to educate just one kid. But the kid spends 50% of his time being educated by the college. NG keeps $8K but theoretically only has to shell out $4K. She makes the colleges do the work she should be doing and then has the nerve to tell them they need to do it for 50% less than the going rate. Now, mulitply that $4k net gain by hundreds or thousands of kids all over the state as parents slowly catch on to the AP scam. That's a tidy little sum NG can rack up.

While, as a parent, I love the idea of a 50% tuition reduction, this accounting system is BS. Now, if NG wants to prorate the amount of $$ she keeps and forwards the rest on to the corresponding colleges, then I say have at it. Better yet, only collect a prorated amount from the taxpayers to begin with. We all know that won't happen. Do you see that worded anywhere in the bill? (I did read it rather quickly.)

Tracking why people take GED's or why some graduate in 3 or 4 or 5 years - I have no problem with that. BUT...... what other information will Ms. G (as in KGB) be tracking? Sounds good, but the devil is in the details. And, I can guarantee you, even the state board members will not have a clue as to what NG is really tracking.

IF it sounds too good to be true and it involves NG, there's always a catch. She just thinks we're too dumb to figure it out. I'd bet $$ that this wasn't the sponsoring senators' ideas. None of them know about or give a rat's ass about education. This came from (or was seriously tweaked by) NG and the teachers unions. (more money available for raises and smaller class size)

School system to upgrade substitute-calling system

Charles County's school system is upgrading its substitute-calling system to include more technology options and to increase its daily fill rate, according to a system press release.

The new system takes effect at 5 p.m. March 8.

School system human resources staff is training teachers on the new system, SmartFind Express.

Training for substitute teachers is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at Westlake High School. Substitutes planning to attend the training must RSVP at 301-934-7233 or send an e-mail to

Read more HERE

D.C. Area Schools Chiefs' Perk That Refreshes: Travel

School superintendents in the Washington region work punishing hours as a rule, with duties that blur day and evening, week and weekend. Some ease the strain by getting away from the office -- far away, and often.
Several superintendents from the Maryland suburbs traveled relatively infrequently, including Charles County's James E. Richmond, who nonetheless squeezed in six days in Stockholm for a conference and Nobel Peace Prize events. [Wash. Post]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Abell to Hold Q & A

Charles County Board of Education member Jennifer Abell will hold a question & answer session for interested residents on Thursday, February 19 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at Unique Sports Academy, 109 Post Office Road, Waldorf. For more information call Jennifer Abell 301-659-4112 or e-mail .

Winter Student Recognition


Will be taking place at all six high schools on Monday, February 23rd at 6:00 p.m. Since they are all at the same time, board members will be dividing to conquer :)

Wade - Westlake
Wise - Lackey
Abell - McDonough
Bailey - Thomas Stone
Carrington - LaPlata
Cook - LaPlata
Pedersen - North Point

Governor Martin O'Malley Unveils First Ever Statewide Teacher Survey

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 17, 2009) – Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by state and local education officials, students, and teachers, today unveiled the first ever statewide survey of Maryland educators, an initiative titled “TELL Maryland.” The survey serves as a unique opportunity to gather information about school conditions, teacher satisfaction, and opportunities for improvement in the teaching and learning environments throughout the State. This web-based tool will be available to over 70,000 educators in Maryland’s 1,433 public school locations.

“We know the recruitment and retention of quality, dedicated teachers has a direct impact on student achievement,” said Governor O’Malley. “This data has the potential for both dramatic and subtle improvements in teaching and learning environments throughout Maryland, each with its own unique impact on student achievement. We honor our educators by listening to them, by including them in the process, and by engaging them so that we may continue to build upon our progress as the number one public school system in America.”

Read more HERE

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stimulus aid to stave off school cuts

By Brian Witte

Proposed reductions in state aid to Maryland schools will be more than offset by the federal stimulus measure President Barack Obama is poised to sign, Gov. Martin O'Malley said today.

Of Maryland's 24 school jurisdictions, 16 received a total of about $69 million less in O'Malley's current budget proposal, which was submitted last month, compared to last year. Prince George's County and Baltimore city received the biggest reductions, about $35 million and $23 million, respectively. [Balt. Sun]

Friday, February 13, 2009

Abell protests meeting


A Charles County Board of Education member publicly cried foul on other members after an unannounced meeting regarding the health curriculum.

For several months, a hot topic around the community and the school system has been a health curriculum addressing sex education.

Recently a brief meeting held by the Charles County Board of Education raised a red flag with board member Jennifer S. Abell about whether or not there was a discussion on the topic in violation of the Maryland Open Meetings Act. [Indy]

Related: Dismissed Myself...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Charles School Board Seeks $4.1 Million for Pay Raises

By Jenna Johnson and Megan Greenwell

The Charles County Board of Education on Tuesday tacked $4.1 million for salary increases on the preliminary schools budget for next fiscal year. The revised $308.7 million spending plan now goes to county commissioners.

In January, Superintendent James E. Richmond presented the board with a $304.6 million budget. It called for an increase of $5.1 million over this fiscal year's budget so that the school system could cover mandatory cost increases in health insurance, student transportation, utilities and service contracts. The budget did not include money for employee salary adjustments. [Wash.Post]

End of an era: School closing after 50 years


After nearly 50 years and many recent efforts to stay a float, St. Mary, Star of the Sea School in Indian Head will close its doors at the end of the school year. [Indy]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

NOTES: Board Meeting, 2/10/09

The Board Meeting Tuesday, February 10th will be re-broadcast on Channel 96 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.

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.


  • See report
  • inclement weather school closings
  • Up 4 the Challenge w/Joe Krebs Ch. 4 @ Westlake


  • Cook & Pedersen presented at PAC meeting regarding What Counts?
  • Carrington - Stones JROTC dining in event


  • teacher funding
  • NEA's position
  • Participation in Gov. survey called Tell.


  • >100 students from Charles County participated in legislative session
  • planning for senior prom


  • Tell Program from Governor


  • Barnhart - FDK additin - 5 months ahead of schedule
  • G. Bailey - FDK addition - Complete 6/09
  • T.C. Martin - FDK addition - Complete 6/09
  • Redistricting committee will be presenting recommendations next month
  • Abell - clarification on what is being redistricted
  • NP & Davis new sites and developments with no children or houses
  • Bailey - stimulus package - board is not taking a position


  • 2011 - 2012 Calendar; requesting input via web-site, parent groups, etc.
  • about to send out letters of intention


  • Gov. proposed budget not good for public education, about 1.8M less


  • Carrington - financial literacy
  • Wise - Bill passed Senate, in House


Motion by Wise to renew Superintendent's contract. Second by Pedersen. Vote was unanimous.

  • Abell asked for the motion for the minutes to be divided since she was not in attendance for the Friday, February 6th conference call

Motion by Wise to approve the minutes from 1/13/09 and 1/26 09. Seconded by Carrington. Vote was unanimous.

Motion by Wise to approve the minutes from the February 6th conference call. Seconded by Cook. Vote was all to approve; Abell abstained.

Motion by Wise to approve Personnel. Second by Pedersen. Vote was unanimous.

Motion by Bailey to approve the Health Curriculum. Second by Carrington. Bailey motioned to amend the motion to include specific changes that he distributed to board members. No second. Amendment failed. Vote was unanimous to approve original motion.

Motion by Abell to approve the Superintendent's proposed FY 2010 Budget. Second by Cook.

  • Abell - How much does it cost to fund a salary step/level increase for both bargaining units?
  • Balides - $4.1M
  • Cook - If we were to ask for funding for a step increase, how much would that increase our total request for County funding?
  • Balides - $9,460,500
  • Abell - What would the total FY2010 budget request?
  • $308,737,000

Cook motioned to amend the motion to add the cost of the salary step and level. Second by Wise. Vote was unanimous for the amendment.

Vote was unanimous for the original motion.

"Peanut" Food Recall

FYI - I did request verification from CCPS as to their status with the peanut situation.

The food service department does not use or stock bulk peanut butter. In addition, Smuckers offered a letter of assurance stating their "Uncrustables" are NOT involved with the recall.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Local School Hosts Education Secretary as Stimulus Pitch Continues

Arlington, Va. - For students at Arlington's Wakefield High School, today's lessons included more than reading and writing: arithmetic in the billions was a part of the lesson plan as well, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan paid them a visit to pitch the president's stimulus plan. [WJLA-TV]

Rhee Says Economy Forces D.C. to Cut Wage Proposal

By Bill Turque

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said yesterday that the deteriorating economy will force the District to cut the wage proposal in its contract offer to the Washington Teachers' Union. At the same time, Rhee spoke in upbeat and conciliatory terms about negotiations with the union, now in their 15th month.

The financial package Rhee offered in July called for a minimum increase of 28 percent over five years, depending on which salary "tier" teachers selected. But with the District expected to collect at least $456 million less in tax revenue during the 2010 fiscal year, she said the situation has changed. Rhee said she would soon submit a revised final offer. [Wash. Post]

Monday, February 09, 2009

Scholastic chided for selling toys in book clubs


NEW YORK – Scholastic Corp., the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books, has come under criticism from a children's advocacy group for using its vast, venerable network of school-based book clubs to market toys and other non-educational items such as video games to lip gloss.

The world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, Scholastic earned nearly $337 million last year from the book clubs, which it inaugurated in 1948. The company estimates that three-quarters of U.S. elementary school teachers — and more than 2.2 million children — participate annually in the clubs. [AP]

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Schools Face Sharp Rise In Homeless Students

Educators Rush to Offer Help Amid Bad Economy

By Maria Glod

The economic plunge has generated a growing wave of children nationwide who are sleeping in shelters, motels, spare bedrooms or even the family van as their parents seek to keep them in school. Educators are scrambling to help, with extra tutoring, clothes, food and cab fare. [Wash. Post]

Friday, February 06, 2009

Dismissed Myself...

For the record, I was in Central Office today for a couple of meetings. One was the policy review committee which Maura, Pam, and myself serve on and will be presenting policy update recommendations to the board and public over the next several months. Second was a phone conference with all board members to discuss next week's action item, Health (Sex Education) Curriculum. I relayed my concerns over the topic of the conference and the fact that, in my opinion, it was a topic and discussion that should be discussed during public session. I believe this conference was in violation of the Open Meetings Act. I dismissed myself from the meeting and left the room.

Suspect Peanuts Sent to Schools

Schools in California, Minnesota and Idaho received the suspected peanut products between January and November 2007

By Lyndsey Layton

Peanut Corporation of America sold 32 truckloads of roasted peanuts and peanut butter to the federal government for a free-lunch program for poor children even as the company's internal tests showed that its products were contaminated with salmonella bacteria. [Wash Post]

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Incident at Lackey High School

Yes there was an incident of alleged sexual assault at Lackey High School. A student has been charged. I cannot release specifics of the incident, but here is a news report.

Teen Arrested for Sexual Assault at Lackey High School

LA PLATA, Md. (Feb. 5, 2009) -- Serious violence in the public schools seems to be Charles County's latest social issue. In early January, a 16-year-old female student was stabbed in the back by a like-aged male student at Maurice McDonough High School in Pomfret. Yesterday, a student at Henry Lackey High School in Indian Head says she was sexually assaulted in an empty classroom around 2 pm. Anthony Hansley, 18, of White Plains, was arrested today and charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault in connection with the incident.

Read more HERE

Interesting Statistics

Below is some statistics sent to me by a reader. I've taken out the commentary, just statistics comparing Lackey to Paint Branch HS in Montgomery County (designation as the school in the U.S. with the highest percentage of African American students passing an AP exam)...interested in seeing what my readers think.

Teacher Qualifications

Lackey ---Paint Branch

31.4------- 34.6 Standard
50.0 -------56.8 Advanced Professional
0----------- 0 Resident
10.--------- 2.5 Conditional
12.3 --------6.3 % of classes not taught by HQ teachers


11.9 --------7.4


1521 -------1784 Total Enrollment

876---------- 829 African American
568 ----------401 White
25 -----------189 Hispanic
28 -----------357 Asian

769 ----------883 Male
752 ----------901 Female

2008 -25.6 ------22
2007- 22.5 ------20.1
2006 -20.3------ 18.7
2005 -18.1 ------14.8
2004 -19.3 ------12.9
2003 -22.3 ------12.9
2002 -22.9 ------11.3
2001 -24.4 ------11.3
2000 -24.8------ 11.8


2008 -8.6------ 8.4
2007 -7.7 ------8.6
2006 -8.0 ------8.8
2005- 8.2 ------8.8
2004 -9.0------ 8.8
2003- 8.1 ------9.7
2002 -9.4 ------8.6
2001 -11.0 -----9.2
2000- 14.9 -----7.6
1999 -12.4 ------8.5


2008 -.6-------- .9
2007 - *-------- .8
2006 - * --------1.0
2005 -*--------- 1.0
2004 -* ---------.7
2003 -*--------- .5
2002- .4 ---------1.1
2001-- .5 ---------1.0
2000 --*---------- 1.3
1999 --* -----------.4


2008- .9 -------.8
2007 -.8 -------2.0
2006 -.9 -------2.4
2005- 1.4 ------2.7
2004- .8 -------2.6
2003- .5------- 1.8

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

REMINDER: Board Meeting, 02/10/09

Reminder... there is a Board Meeting Tuesday, February 10th. Can't 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.

Items that may be of interest:

  • Action - Health Curriculum
  • Action - Budget 2010

**Please see the link to the agenda above. I will no longer be rewriting the full agenda on this blog due to time constraints on my part. If any reader really uses my agenda postings, please contact me and we can see what I can work out. Otherwise, click on the link above for the complete agenda and review my items of interest.

Maryland Takes First Place in AP Exams

By Daniel de Vise

For the first time, Maryland ranks first among states for the share of graduating seniors who passed at least one Advanced Placement exam, a measure of college preparation that has become the new standard for accelerated instruction in high school. [Wash. Post]

Five T. Stone Wrestlers Charged With Hazing

By Katie Carrera

Five Thomas Stone varsity wrestlers have been charged by the Charles County Sheriff's Office with misdemeanor hazing for their involvement in an incident on the team bus last month. All five have been suspended from school indefinitely, and first-year coach Michael Larson has been removed from his position for at least the remainder of the season. [Wash Post]

Survey: College increasingly important but pricey


The number of Americans who think a college degree is essential for success has risen dramatically in recent years, a new survey shows, but two-thirds of them also believe that higher education is priced out of reach for some qualified students.

The survey, released Wednesday by the groups Public Agenda and the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education, underscores the uptick in public anxiety about college affordability during the current recession. [AP]

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Could stimulus make your kids fat?


There’s been plenty criticism of the hefty economic stimulus package. But here’s a new one: Could it make your kids fat?

The American Heart Association warns that confusing language in both the $819 billion-plus House and Senate stimulus bills could dissuade some schools from spending money on gymnasiums and stadiums and other shovel-ready projects that combat childhood obesity.

With the slumping economy curtailing family funds for expensive gym memberships and traveling soccer teams, health lobbyists say the school gym is vital to keeping students healthy. [Politico]

Monday, February 02, 2009

First Lady Visits Department of Education

By Maria Glod

In the first stop of a planned series of visits to federal agencies, first lady Michelle Obama went to the Department of Education today to energize workers by announcing: "I am a product of your work."

During a 10 minute speech with a pep rally atmosphere, Obama plugged the president's stimulus plan, which would pay to renovate thousands of schools, add funding for preschool for disadvantaged children and increase federal dollars for Pell Grants for college students. She said the infusion of cash would prevent teacher layoffs and help children in poverty and those with disabilities. [Wash. Post]

Enrollment in faith-based schools down nearly 20 percent

By Leah Fabel

Urban faith-based schooling options have declined by nearly 20 percent in 20 years, according to a recent report by the White House Domestic Policy Council, and officials warn that poor and minority students are most adversely affected.

Nationwide, the number of students enrolled in urban religious schools declined by 18 percent to about 1.8 million between 1989 and 2006, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the Department of Education. [WTOP]

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Longer school year worries Ohio's tourism industry

By JOHN SEEWER | Associated Press Writer

TOLEDO, Ohio - Adding four weeks to Ohio's school year will create a shorter summer travel season and hurt everyone from big amusement parks to family-run campgrounds, those in the travel industry say.

Some argue that the proposal for an extended school year announced last week by Gov. Ted Strickland will cost jobs and shrink tax revenue at a time when the state can't afford it.
Adding 20 days to the school year is just one piece of Strickland's plan to overhaul Ohio's public schools and increase learning in the classroom.

School districts will be able to determine when to add the extra days that will be phased in over the next decade, Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said. [Chicago Tribune]

Group Aims To Reform School Bullies

Local Effort Will Dovetail With Statewide Policy

By Jenna Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

In response to a statewide crackdown mandated by last year's General Assembly, the Maryland State Board of Education plans to release a model policy next month about how schools should confront and counsel bullies.

But the Tri-County Youth Services Bureau in Southern Maryland is getting a head start on the initiative by launching anti-bullying programs in communities and schools. The organization's Community Conferencing Project facilitates meetings between bullies and their victims to discuss incidences of bullying and how the people involved are affected. [Wash. Post]

Freeze in Md. tuition could be tough sell

Legislators worry that cap limits growth for state's universities

By Stephen Kiehl and Gadi Dechter

The freeze on state university tuition - which Gov. Martin O'Malley wants to extend into a fourth year - is sure to score points with recession-weary voters. But critics wonder if it's in the best interests of the universities.

Keeping tuition artificially low limits growth at a time when colleges are seeing record numbers of applications, and it stalls university improvements. And while state university students benefit from the freeze, those attending community colleges are not as fortunate. O'Malley has not provided money to hold the line on tuition for the 128,000 credit-earning students at community colleges. [Balt. Sun]

Man Charged With Sending Lewd E-Mails

Suspect Is Accused of Posing As St. Mary's Superintendent In Notes to School Officials

By Megan Greenwell
Washington Post Staff Writer

A former St. Mary's County school system employee was charged last week with sending lewd e-mail messages to two school officials while posing as Superintendent Michael J. Martirano.

Brian L. Still, 45, of Issue is accused of harassing Board of Education member Mary M. Washington and Esperanza Middle School Principal Jill Snyder-Mills from Martirano's e-mail address, through a process known as "spoofing." Spoofing, commonly used to send spam, changes the "from" line in an e-mail to appear as though it were sent from a different address. [Wash. Post]