Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Notes from Board of Education Meeting, 12/13/11

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, December 13 will be re-broadcast on Comcast Channel 96, Verizon FIOS Channel 12 and is available via webstream at http://www.ccboe.com/ . 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- 12 p.m.

Call to order- 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance

Superintendent's update to the Board - see report. Extra discussion on tele-presence

Correspondence/Board member updates
  • Pedersen - dinner at Mt. Hope/ Nanjemoy was delicious.
  • Pedersen - Career Day at Mattawoman was very successful
  • Cook - All County Orchestra was fabulous
  • Wade - Joint Military Ball was very colorful and was very valuable for our cadets
  • Wise - Portfolio interviews; North Point...several are done on disc and include videos
  • Bowie - Senior interviews; very impressed; MABE legislative seminar was very informative
  • Wise - Wade was honored for the citizen of the year by Omega Si Phi
Education Association of Charles County update - See report

Student Board member update - See report

Deputy Superintendent update - Maryland State Golf Championship - McDonough High School

CIP update
  • IAC appeal
  • SMECO presentation of refund check - $145,708 for partnership on energy conservation (Demand Response Program)
F. B. Gwynn Center Renovations - see report (Power Point to be added to board docs post meeting)
Student Transfers
  • Dr. Vaira - Principals' meeting changes requested...deadline from March to May. Concerns with item #5 and #6.
  • Mr. Richmond - Recommends leaving the current policy & rules in place and let staff review them and come back to the board with recommendations.
  • Abell - was going to recommend strike #5 & #6 from the committee's recommendation. Current enrollment numbers show 9 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and two high schools with openings due to being under state-rated capacity.
  • Bowie - asked if possible to form committee to include teachers without children in the system.
  • Lukas - concerned with wording on capacity limitations
  • Lukas - questioned reasoning for changing the policy to begin with
  • Abell - board wanted to take a look at the policy/rules based on a report given in August showing the number of out-of zone transfers. Consideration must be given to the legal appeals that come before the board involving out-of-zone transfer denials. The board is tasked with deciding whether or not the Superintendent's denial contains one or more of four elements: illegal, immoral, unreasonable, or arbitrary. The first three aren't an issue. It's the "arbitrary." The committee's recommendation was based on policies in place in other counties across Maryland to close any loopholes and remove the question as to whether or not a decision was arbitrary.
Motion to accept the Superintendent's recommendation by Cook; Second by Lukas
Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

Legislative Update
  • key issues are funding, teacher retention and maintenance of effort
  • do NOT expect any additional funding over last year from the state
  • possible shift of teacher retirement cost to local governments
  • more information after the session begins
Unfinished business
  • Hettel - Subsitutes: 360 had degrees of BA or BS and above. 350 are below. No count on AA degrees because we don't ask, but the question has been asked and they are collecting the data.
New business
  • Lukas - North Point removal of "nest" time.
  • Full discussion took place on the single lunch periods.
  • Bowie - anti-bullying seminar
Future agenda items
  • Pedersen - referenced an article on diversity
Recognition- 4:30 p.m.
  • Students - Duane Kizer, fifth grade, Academic Achievement, C. Paul Barnhart; Arrin Sanders, fifth grade, Personal Responsibility, Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School; Elise Hopkins, eighth grade, Academic Achievement, John Hanson Middle School, Principal; Lashawn Queen, twelfth grade, Career Readiness, Henry E. Lackey High School
  • Staff - Robynn Mudd, first grade teacher, Barnhart; Tina Thomas, secretary, Brown; Brenda Richards, gifted education teacher, Hanson; Laura Buzzell, mathematics teacher, Lackey
  • War of 1812 DVD Project: La Plata High School seniors: Geoffrey Hammersley; Christopher Cheney; Jonathan Teeney; Matthew Bellerose; Casey Gaskins and Jennifer Munoz; and Michael Mazzeo, history teacher, La Plata
Public Forum- 6 p.m.
  • Liz Brown - EACC - still has members that want to speak on how potential changes could affect their lives
  • Mary Fenton - J C Parks Elementary - thank you for allowing her children to attend local schools. Please keep policy that allows this to continue
  • Jennifer Turner - Piccowaxen - 2 children that had attended local school. School family. Supporting colleagues. Daughter got out of zone transfer to LaPlata. Can't believe it got this far.
  • Debborah Hahn - Middleton - 29 years. Son graduated already but had an issue in elementary school and she was allowed to transfer her son. Son got chicken pox at school and was allowed to sit in the office while she completed her class.
  • Cindy Hangartner - Wade - benefits received, enjoys perk. Saves on daycare and can be more involved with her own son's education who attends with her. Teachers will still give 100% but extra curricular activities will be affected. Several colleagues live outside of county and are weighing what their options are if they have to pay tuition.
  • Christy Nelson - Piccowaxen - has a daughter that is nonverbal special needs child who attends out of zone. Very upsetting to think she may need to find another daycare and school for her daughter.
  • Kelly Craft - Risk losing amazing teachers. Consider the life of a teacher: we knew what we were getting into when we became teachers, but bringing our children to school with us lessens the stress. Please reconsider.
  • JoAnn Garner - T.C. Martin - 11 years - lives in St. Mary's county. Has a 4 and 7 year old. Son attends TC Martin. Consider all the contributions the teachers already make prior to imposing tuition. Works from 7 -6 every day and her son is with her. Please reconsider.
  • Sean Starcher - LaPlata HS - son will be entering 6th grade next year. Wants son to attend Somers. 13 years ago, took a pay cut to come here. Will have to reconsider her employment if this policy passes.
  • James Brietinger - moved to La Plata...both students attend LaPlata High School out of zone. Retired but wife is a teacher. Thinks policy change is disguised as overcrowding. Has not seen statistics on enrollment that justify overcrowding. Quoted Item #8 as the only difference he sees that tightened up loop holes.
  • Rick Hood - Band teacher at Somers - daughter is a sophmore at La Plata HS. Lives in Hollywood. Stays after frequently and daughter stays with him. Has received an excellent education.
  • Julianna Herscher - TC Martin - son is an 8th grader at Hanson out-of-zone. Did not feel comfortable with him walking to and from local school Stoddert. IRT so her work location could change from year to year. Children maintain highh academic standards and they are not discipline problems or have transportation issues.
Action items
  • Minutes
  • Motion to accept by Abell; Second by Wade
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • Personnel
  • Motion to accept by Wade; Second by Pedersen
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

REMINDER: Board of Education Meeting, 12/13/11

The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the meeting begins at 1 p.m. and student and staff recognition starts at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS 12 and is rebroadcast throughout the week. All televised Board meetings are also streamed live on the school system Web site at http://www2.ccboe.com/boe/live/.

Executive session- 12 p.m.

Call to order- 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance

Superintendent's update to the Board

Correspondence/Board member updates

Education Association of Charles County update

Student Board member update

Deputy Superintendent update

CIP update

F. B. Gwynn Center Renovations

Student Transfers

Legislative Update

Unfinished business

New business

Future agenda items

Recognition- 4:30 p.m.

  • Students
  • Staff
Public Forum- 6 p.m.

Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Green Ribbon award will recognize eco-friendly schools

Michael Alison Chandler
Maryland Schools Insider/The Washington Post
December 5, 2011

The federal government has long awarded schools with stellar academic achievement a Blue Ribbon. Now there is another way for schools to shine, with a Green Ribbon for environmental achievement.

The new award will go to schools with strong environmental curriculum and healthy and sustainable learning environments.

The Maryland Education Department is looking for the greenest schools to nominate for the first round of Green Ribbons.

Is your school outfitted with solar panels and surrounded by gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms? Are the students working on team projects to come up with new ways to limit greenhouse gases? It might be eligible.

“The greatest privilege we have in our short time on this planet is to make the world a better place for the next generation,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). “We are pleased that our schools will get an opportunity to be nationally recognized for their efforts to create a cleaner, greener and healthier planet.”

Last year, Maryland became the first state to make environmental literacy a graduation requirement. And the state already recognizes “green schools” and “green centers” that promote outdoor learning.

Schools both public and private can apply beginning in mid-December, and the state will select up to four to nominate. The Green Ribbons will be awarded in April.

When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids

Valerie Strauss
The Answer Sheet/The Washington Post
December 6, 2011

Original post:

This was written by Marion Brady, veteran teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author.

A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state’s high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he’d make his scores public.

By any reasonable measure, my friend is a success. His now-grown kids are well-educated. He has a big house in a good part of town. Paid-for condo in the Caribbean. Influential friends. Lots of frequent flyer miles. Enough time of his own to give serious attention to his school board responsibilities. The margins of his electoral wins and his good relationships with administrators and teachers testify to his openness to dialogue and willingness to listen.

He called me the morning he took the test to say he was sure he hadn’t done well, but had to wait for the results. A couple of days ago, realizing that local school board members don’t seem to be playing much of a role in the current “reform” brouhaha, I asked him what he now thought about the tests he’d taken.

“I won’t beat around the bush,” he wrote in an email. “The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that’s a “D”, and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction.

Read more HERE.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

New Out-of-Zone Student Transfer Policy and Rules

Seeking input, comments, and feedback. 

The original policy can be found here and no changes are recommended.

The original Superintendent's Rules can be found here.

The sub-committee's proposed changes can be found here.  The only requested change/addition to the recommendation is a grandfather clause.

Let me know what you think.


Out-of-Zone Transfer report from August Board meeting can be found here.

Current enrollment numbers by school can be found (link coming soon).  (note - due to a recent vote by the commissioners, we are suppose to be using "state rated capacity" not "core capacity)

Tuition for out-of-county students = $6,925
Tuition for out-of-state students = $11,125