Monday, August 30, 2010

Suggested Reading

Below is a list of some books that have been brought to my attention for suggested reading. If you have read any and want to discuss them, here is your thread.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Please Mr. President, don't speak on school time

Class Struggle
Jay Mathews
August 26, 2010

Here we go again. I dodged a lot of electronic tomatoes last year for suggesting that President Obama NOT give his back-to-school speech during class time. Many readers thought that was a stupid suggestion. The president and his staff apparently agree with them, because the White House has announced he is going to do it again on Sept. 14. The White House is again encouraging schools to interrupt class so students can listen.

I am going to stay away from the political issues. I know this is an election year. Here in the Washington area, including D.C. and the Maryland suburbs where I live, Sept. 14 will be primary election day, with a D.C. mayoral race important to the future of D.C. schools. But I don't think the president's speech will affect that much. That is not why it bothers me.

Last year, at least, the speech occurred on or near the first day of school for many students. That day is often a waste anyway, just finding your classrooms, greeting your friends and sizing up your teachers. This year he will be speaking on what is the second week for some students, and for many the third or fourth week, when serious learning should be underway. Why does the White House think this is a good idea?

Read more HERE.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Md., Va. students taking ACT for college entrance, data show

By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 19, 2010

An increasing number of Maryland and Virginia high school students are taking the ACT college entrance test in a region where the SAT has long been dominant, according to data released Wednesday.

In Virginia this year, 22 percent of high school seniors who graduated took the ACT at some point in school, up from 19 percent in 2009, according to the state Department of Education.

This year's SAT data have not yet been released. But the percentage of graduating Virginia high school seniors who took the SAT dropped from 73 percent in 2007 to 58 percent in 2009.

In Maryland, the number of graduating seniors who took the ACT grew this year, too, to 11,924 from 11,317 in 2009, the Iowa-based ACT organization reported. The number of seniors taking the SAT dropped slightly from 2008 to 2009, but it remains the state's most widely used test. The number of D.C. students taking the ACT has been flat since 2008.

Read more HERE.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tasing Demonstration

View Video Here

As a member of the Charles County Board of Education I recently, volunteered for a tasing to demonstrate the safety associated with the deployment of a Taser by a police officer assigned to our county schools.

This demonstration took place on August 13, 2010 at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters in La Plata, Maryland.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Notes from the Board of Education Meeting 8/10/10

The Board Meeting on Tuesday, August 10th will be re-broadcast on Comcast Channel 96, Verizon FIOS Channel 12 and is available via webstream at . 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.

Executive session 10 a.m.

Call to order 11 a.m.

Pledge of Allegiance


  • Sacred Heart Ladies' Auxiliary #301, Knights of St. John International
  • Book donation to school libraries from the Maryland Retired School Personnel Association

Motion by Pedersen; Second by Carrington

(yes) Abell, Bailey, Carrington, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

Reports of officers/boards/committees

Superintendent's update - read report

Correspondence/Board member updates

  • Wise - Pedersen appointment to O'Malleys committee, Maryland Council for Educator Effectiveness
  • Abell - Asked for tasing in the schools to be added to the agenda for September as a discussion item and invited board members to attend tasing on Friday, August 13 at noon.
  • Richmond - Elliot Cohen to attend in October from the Space Foundation and invited board for 10:30 on October 12.

Education Association of Charles County update - Read report

Student Board Member update - Read Report.

Deputy Superintendent Update - Opening of Schools; evaluations; MSA scores

CIP update - See report; renovations to stay current in the technology fields

Instruction Update - Summer Programs, See report. 5,407 students participated

Human Resources Update - Staffing

  • 4 English, 1 Math and 1 of various other openings still need to be filled
  • Pedersen - number hired this year to previous years? Remains steady per Hettel

Legal Update - Board Chairman Election Bylaw

  • Staff recommendations to make the process more transparent rather than by hidden anonymous ballots

Recurring Resolutions

  • Bailey - Questioned what the school system does on 9/17, Constitution Day. Estep will provide update.

Unfinished business

  • Pedersen - Blue Ribbon Commission for Diversity...public is invited to attend and share about experiences of diveristy in the workplace.

New business - None

Future agenda items

  • Wade - Update on athletic preparations
  • Pedersen - Update on overnight field trips
  • Wade - Review of cell phone policy; one modification has been made due to the number of suspensions

Public Forum 3:30 p.m.

  • Paddy Mudd - wants school named Piney Forest High School, gave history
  • Craig Renner - VP Public Relations ACPT - wants school named St. Charles High School gave history

Action items

  • Minutes
  • Motion by Carrington; Second by Wade
    (yes) unanimous

  • Personnel
  • Motion by Carrington; Second by Pedersen
    (yes) unanimous

  • School Naming
  • Motion by Bailey; Second by Cook to delay vote until next month
    (yes) Bailey; (no) Abell, Carrington, Cook, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

    Motion by Pedersen; Second by Carrington to name St. Charles HS

    (yes) Bailey, Carrington, Pedersen, Wade, Wise ;(no) Cook; (Abstain) Abell


Monday, August 09, 2010

REMINDER: Board of Education Meeting, 8/10/10

The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, August 10, at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the August meeting begins at 11 a.m. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12, and is rebroadcast throughout the week. Board meetings are also streamed live on the school system Web site at

Executive session - 10 a.m.

Call to order - 11 a.m.

Pledge of Allegiance


  • Book donation to school libraries from the Maryland
  • Retired School Personnel Association Sacred Heart Ladies' Auxiliary #301, Knights of St. John International

Superintendent's Update to the Board

Reports of officers/boards/committees

Correspondence/Board member updates

Education Association of Charles County update

Student Board Member update

Information Item:

  • Preparations for opening of schools
  • State CIP 2012
  • Summer programs
  • Staffing update
  • Board Chairman Election Bylaw
  • Recurring Resolutions: Health Careers Month; American Education Week; American Freedom Week; African American History Month; Career and Technical Education Month; National School Counseling Week; Read Across America; Women's History Month; Fine and Performing Arts Month; Month of the Young Child; National Student Leadership Week; Teacher Appreciation Week; Administrative Professionals' Week; Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week; National Physical Education and Sports Week; Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leader; Charles County Teacher of the Year; Employees' Retirement; and Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award.

Unfinished Business

New business

Future agenda items

Public Forum

Action items

  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • School naming


Thursday, August 05, 2010

St. Charles Community (SCC) Confirms New High School Fee to School System

The school system and SCC negotiated an agreement last year for SCC to pay $1,000,000 as a fee in-lieu of providing a graded high school site per early county government Adequate Public Facilities requirements (Docket 90). The fee will be paid to county government in three installments and placed in the new high school construction project line item as follows: $250,000 on or before June 30, 2010; $250,000 on or before September 30, 2010; and $500,000 on or before December 31, 2010.