Monday, June 18, 2012

Club 2012: Black parents who made sure their sons succeeded in school

The Washington Post
Post Local
By Michael Alison Chandler
Published: June 14, 2012

For six years, their parents had nagged and prodded and pressed them to perform.
Now these African American seniors in Loudoun County were marking the end of high school with a private ceremony organized by their parents, who had banded together back in middle school to make sure their sons made it successfully to graduation day.
“For the last six years, we’ve told you to do more, do better. We’re never satisfied, right?” said John Johnson, an Ashburn father addressing the 18 students in dress shirts and suit jackets in the auditorium at Lunsford Middle School in Chantilly.
“Well, tonight,” he declared, “we are satisfied.”
He flashed through a slide show of the core members’ accomplishments: 100 percent graduation rate, 92 percent enrollment in Advanced Placement classes, a cumulative 3.7 grade-point average and a combined $1.3 million in college scholarships.
Then he estimated, only half jokingly, how much volunteer time the parents seated behind them had invested in their success: 1,173,266 hours.
Read more HERE.

The technology mistake: Confusing access to information with becoming educated

The Washington Post
Post Local
The Answer Sheet, by Valerie Strauss
Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 06/18/2012

This was written by Larry Cuban, a former high school social studies teacher (14 years, including seven at Cardozo and Roosevelt high schools in the District), district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, VA) and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His latest book is “As Good As It Gets: What School Reform Brought to Austin.” This appeared on his blog.

By Larry Cuban
“There won’t be schools in the future …. I think the computer will blow up the school. That is, the school defined as something where there are classes, teachers running exams, people structured in groups by age, following a curriculum—all of that…. But this will happen only in communities of children who have access to computers on a sufficient scale.”

That’s Seymour Papert, cognitive scientist and designer of software application Logo, writing in 1984 about dramatic changes in schooling with the advent of the desktop computer. Nearly 30 years later, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, spoke at the Association of American Publishers Annual Meeting in 2010 on the national plan for technology. “We have the opportunity to completely reform our nation’s schools. We’re not talking about tinkering around the edges here. We’re talking about a fundamental re-thinking of how our schools function and placing a focus on teaching and learning like never before.”
Claims about the power of new electronic devices to “revolutionize” schooling are a dime a dozen. Yet, if they are nearly worthless, why have smart people said them over and over again?
The answer is deeply embedded in American culture: a love affair with technology as the elixir of everlasting improvement in all things personal and institutional. In the past quarter-century, quasi-miraculous changes have occurred in communication, information accessibility, business and commercial activities, combat operations, medical diagnosis and treatment, and so many other activities. Why not schooling?
Read more HERE.

U. Va. research: Arguing kids could have benefits

Monday - 6/18/2012, 7:57am  ET
The Daily Progress 

WTOP Local VA 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Though parents have been teaching their children not to argue with adults for generations, new research from the University of Virginia shows that young teenagers who are taught to argue effectively are more likely to resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol later in adolescence.
"It turns out that what goes on in the family is actually a training ground for teens in terms of how to negotiate with other people," said Joseph Allen, a U.Va. psychology professor and the lead author of the study, results of which were published in a recent edition of the journal Child Development.
Allen said that parents are often "scared to death about peer pressure," but also frustrated by argumentative children.
"What we're finding is there's a surprising connection between the two," he said. Allen noted that teens "learn they can be taken seriously" through interactions with their parents.
"Sometimes, it can be counterintuitive to tell parents to let their teens argue with them," said Joanna Chango, a clinical psychology graduate student at UVa who worked on the study. In fact, learning effective argumentation skills can help teenagers learn to "assert themselves and establish a sense of autonomy," she said.
Read more HERE.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Overcrowding at Ballou Graduation Forces Out Some Parents


View more videos at:

Due to bad weather, the ceremony was moved indoors -- but security offers [sic] thought there wasn't enough room for everyone.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Notes from Board of Education Meeting 6/12/12

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, June 12 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 – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance – Westlake High School's JROTC Unit
  • Swearing-in of new Student Board member
Superintendent's update - See update
Correspondence/Board member updates
  • Wade - Picnic Building Service Workers
  • Bowie - Graduate congratulations; Thank you to teachers & staff; Library in Waldorf opening
  • Pedersen - Congratulations to graduates
  • Lukas - Thank you to all who support Project Graduation
Education Association of Charles County update

Student Board Member update - See report

Adult Independence Program staff recognition
  • Wise - & Cook attended the AIP graduation.  Largest class in history (16)
  • Cook - Spoke of how moving the program was and has attended it for many years.  Thank you to staff
CIP update - See report

JROTC - See report

LifeStyles of Charles County - See report; summer meals; bring children to the meals

Budget update - Governor's proposals on budget and county retirement obligations.  On target to reach fund balance.  Funding OPEB is still an issue.

Breakfast participation program - See report; grab & go breakfast; second chance breakfast

Unfinished business - None

New business - None

Future agenda items
  • Abell - Research high school start times and see if delaying them based on teenage sleep studies and study habits would be more beneficial to our students
Recognition - 4:30 p.m.
  • Students - Hunter Youngblood, 7th grade, Piccowaxen Middle School, first place winner in Major League Baseball's Breaking Barriers essay contest
  • Outstanding vice principal award - Caroline Timmons, Vice Principal: T.C. Martin Elementary School
  • Outstanding support staff awards - Donald "Bruce" Elliott, food service manager, Westlake High School; LaVerne Hicks, special education instructional assistant, Berry Elementary School; Michael Mickey, network engineer, Jessie L. Starkey Administration Building; Hubert Robey, HVAC mechanic II, Radio Station Road Annex; Connie Bannister, secretary, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School
  • Resolution – Charles County Teacher of the Year – Kerrie Seberg, third-grade teacher, William A. Diggs Elementary School
  • Employee retirement resolution
Reappointment of Eric Schwartz

Motion to accept the reappointment by Cook; Second by Lukas
Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
Public Forum – 6 p.m.  - None
Action items
  • Minutes
  • Motion to accept Minutes by Cook; Second by Pedersen
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • Personnel
  • Motion to accept Personnel by Pedersen; Second by Wade
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • Educational facilities master plan
  • Motion to accept Educational Facilities Master Plan by Cook; Second by Pedersen
    Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

Ex-Commissioners Point of View on DRRA's and School Allocations

Below you will find a letter submitted to the Charles County Board of Commissioners and copied to the Board of Education by Ex-Commissioner, Murray Levy who is now a Government Relations Consultant with ALEXANDER & CLEAVER, PA. 

Please review and leave your thoughts.

Murray Levy Letter to Commissioners regarding DRRA

REMINDER: Board of Education Meeting, 6/12/12

The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, June 12, 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 recognition begins at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12, and is rebroadcast throughout the week. Schedules for Channel 96 are available on the Charles County Public Schools website at

Executive Session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance – Westlake High School's JROTC Unit
Swearing-in of new Student Board member

Superintendent's updateReports of officers/boards/committees

  • Correspondence/Board member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • Student Board Member update
  • Adult Independence Program staff recognition
  • CIP update
  • LifeStyles of Charles County
  • Budget update
  • Breakfast participation program
Unfinished business

New business and future agenda items
  • New business
  • Future agenda items
Recognition - 4:30 p.m.
  • Students
  • Employees
  • Outstanding vice principal award
  • Outstanding support staff awards
  • Resolution – Charles County Teacher of the Year – Kerrie Seberg, third-grade teacher, William A. Diggs Elementary School
  • Employee retirement resolution
Public Forum – 6 p.m. Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • Educational facilities master plan

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Board of Education announces public meeting TODAY

The Board of Education of Charles County is holding a public meeting at 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, June 5, in the faculty lounge at North Point High School. The meeting is being held to approve a contract for the guaranteed maximum price to the construction manager at risk (CMR) for St. Charles High School.

CCPS seniors receive nearly $52 million in scholarship offers

Charles County Public Schools honored 2,192 seniors on June 4 and June 5 during graduation ceremonies for six high schools. Students in the Class of 2012 were offered nearly $52 million in scholarships.
Valedictorians and salutatorians were announced last week at awards ceremonies. These positions are determined by students' grade point averages and represent the top academic achievers at each school.

Henry E. Lackey High School's valedictorian is Emily Macri of Nanjemoy and the salutatorian is Crystal Dionisio of Marbury. Macri plans to attend the University of Maryland College Park to study architecture. Dionisio plans to study psychology at Mount St. Mary's University.
La Plata High School's valedictorian is Raleigh Joyner of Charlotte Hall and salutatorian is Casey Rollins of La Plata. Joyner plans to attend the University of Maryland College Park and major in linguistics. Rollins is headed to the University of Virginia where she will major in engineering.

Erica Richardson of La Plata is Maurice J. McDonough High School's valedictorian. She is attending the University of Maryland College Park in the fall to study political science. McDonough has two co-salutatorians – Katie Turner of Newburg and Matthew Haldeman of La Plata. Turner, who has not declared a major, plans to attend the University of Maryland College Park and Haldeman will study physics at Marshall University.

North Point High School has two co-valedictorians – Cayley Dymond and Natalie Griffin, both of Waldorf. Salutatorian is Christopher Hartline of La Plata. Dymond plans to attend Purdue University and major in aerospace engineering. Griffin will attend the University of Maryland College Park and plans to major in journalism and international relations. Hartline plans to major in cellular and molecular biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Representing Thomas Stone High School are Jemm Excelle Dela Cruz of Waldorf as valedictorian and Daryllee Hale of Waldorf as salutatorian. Dela Cruz will attend Georgetown University and plans to study science, technology and international affairs. Hale has not declared a major, but will attend Towson University.

Westlake High School's valedictorian is Felicia Dillard of Waldorf and salutatorian is Misha Stone, also of Waldorf. Dillard plans to major in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. Stone will attend Brown University in the fall and plans to study economics.

2012 graduation numbers by school – (unofficial data as of 6/5/2012)

Henry E. Lackey High School
•Total graduates: 284
•Total scholarship money offered: $5,500,000
La Plata High School
•Total graduates: 341
•Total scholarship money offered: $6,937,688

Maurice J. McDonough High School
•Total graduates: 287
•Total scholarship money offered: $6,502,277

North Point High School
•Total graduates: 542
•Total scholarship money offered: $13,978,586

Thomas Stone High School
•Total graduates: 380
•Total scholarship money offered: $10,396,000
Westlake High School
•Total graduates: 358
•Total scholarship money offered: $8,651,552

Charles County Public Schools Totals
•Total graduates: 2,192
•Total scholarship money offered: $51,966,103