Sunday, October 28, 2012

Board to hold redistricting information meeting

The Board of Education is holding its first high school redistricting meeting on Monday, Nov. 5 to provide information about the process to develop new high school attendance zones. Staff members will explain the redistricting timeline, committee selection process, how alternatives will be developed and opportunities for community input. The meeting is at 7 p.m., Nov. 5 at Westlake High School in Waldorf. A question/answer period will follow the presentation.

The committee has not yet developed alternatives or proposals. Committee work begins following the Nov. 5 public meeting.

The redistricting committee's purpose is to develop and evaluate potential high school attendance zones for consideration by the Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education. The high school redistricting committee, which was selected at the Board's Oct. 9 meeting, may take as long as five months to develop proposals. The Board of Education, through policy, requires the committee to submit two different proposals. Public hearings on the committee's proposals will be held in the spring.

High school redistricting will create an attendance zone for the new St. Charles High School scheduled to open in August 2014 and balance the student enrollment at the six existing high schools. The plan, once complete, will shift students entering grades 9, 10 and 11 in August 2014 and will impact students across the county. Staff regularly posts information about the redistricting on the school system's website,

Tentative redistricting timeline

  • Starting in November, the redistricting committee meets weekly at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building in La Plata for as long as it takes to develop two different proposals for the high school redistricting. Dates and times will be determined after the Nov. 5 public information meeting.
  • The tentative recommendations for 2014 redistricting will be presented to the community at two public meetings. The meetings will be scheduled in the spring and after the recommendations are complete. Tentatively, the committee will present its proposal to the Superintendent at the April 9 Board of Education meeting. A public hearing on both proposals will be held shortly after that presentation.
  • The Superintendent's recommendation will be presented to the Board of Education the following month, on May 14. The Board will schedule a public hearing prior to approval of the boundary changes and following the Superintendent's recommendation to the Board.
  • The Board will approve the school attendance areas for the 2014-2015 school year at its June meeting. The redistricting decision occurs one year prior to the opening of St. Charles High School in August 2014. Students affected by the redistricting change schools in August 2014.
  • This schedule may change depending on the length of time it takes the committee to develop its alternatives.
Throughout the process, information will be provided through telephone calls and e-mails, mailings/backpack fliers, Charles County Public Schools television stations Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS 12, and the CCPS website at The Board is also accepting written comments. Send comments or questions to or Charles County Public Schools, Redistricting, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Notes from Board of Education Meeting, 10/9/12

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, October 9 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, La Plata High School's JROTC unit

Sheriff's update – Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey

  • 11-12 school year - 8,039 Juvenile contacts; 382 Criminal Incident Reports; 299 Juvenile Offense Reports; 21 Physical arrests; 1,963 6th Graders in the DARE Program; 2,456 9th graders Truth & Consequences Program
  • Crime Solvers - 349 Tips; 97 cases solved; $3,230 Payout
  • Teen Court - 199 cases
  • Drug Court - 14 juveniles assigned
  • $10,000 grant from Cal Ripkin Association for special events and summer programs
  • Sheriff Coffey doesn't see a need to bring the drug dogs through the schools
Superintendent's update to the Board  - see report
  • Selection of redistricting committee members - see report
  • The following members were selected:
    • Betty Tayman, Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School;
    • LaCharles Earle, Eva Turner Elementary School;
    • Karen Haskins, Mattawoman Middle School;
    • Kristopher Foote, Milton M. Somers Middle School;
    • Joanna Wilson, community member;
    • David Cooksey, community member; and
    • James Hooper, community member.
Correspondence/Board member updates
  • Pedersen - attendance at MABE conference; telepresence
  • Bowie - Waldorf West library to open in November; science projects, please let the students do their own projects
  • Lukas - college fair, very impressed and and excellent opportunity
  • Wade - Dr. Carl Smith, Executive Director of MABE is retiring on December 30th.
  • Wise - Attended Reading Partners Luncheon
Education Association of Charles County update - no one in attendance

Student Board member update - see report

FY2012 Independent financial audit - annual financial report - see report
  • Page highlights 1, 3, 13, 15, 20, 50, 61, 62,
  • highest ratings throughout the report in all areas
  • major impact on budget forcast - pension planning
Budget update - see report

Middle School Program  - see report for more information on the programs at the individual schools
  • my opinion - organized, guided, fancy study hall
  • I personally have received praise and complaints from various parents throughout the community.
School Audit Update
  • North Point - 37 students identified in violation and withdrawn; 19 out-of-county; 10 additional siblings in other schools identifed
  • LaPlata - 21 ongoing investigations; 5 out-of-zone, out-of-county, or out-of-state
  • All have been sent letters with tuition owed
CIP update - see report

Annual Bridge to Excellence - see report

Gifted and Talented Education Month resolution - see report

Human Resources Update - In need of Math, Science, Special Ed, English

Policy #5171.1 – Epi-pens - demonstration

Unfinished Business - none

New business - none

Future agenda items - Schedule for first redistricting meeting; date set November 5th.

Recognition- 4:30 p.m.
  • Students - Khloe Sedlack, 5th grade, Career Readiness, Gale-Bailey Elementary School, Principal: Carolyn Richardson; Meybel Alvarado-Huezo, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, Mary H. Matula Elementary School, Principal: Timothy Rosin; Casey Nottingham, 5th grade, Personal Responsibility, Arthur Middleton Elementary School, Principal: Sabrina Robinson-Taylor; Sarah Chen, 8th grade, Personal Responsibility, Milton M. Somers Middle School, Principal: Stephanie Wesolowski; Jenette Phillips, 12th grade, Academic Achievement, Maurice J. McDonough High School, Principal: Bradley Snow
  • Staff - Nina Ogasaware, school counselor, Gale-Bailey; Tracy Bell, third grade teacher, Matula; Shirley Turner, first grader teacher, Middleton; Crystal Holm, mathematics teacher, Somers; Jason Bursick, athletic director, McDonough
  • Resolutions – American Education Week and American Freedom Week
Public Forum – 6 p.m.  - none

Action items
  • Minutes
Motion to accept the Minutes by Cook; Second by Bowie
Yes = Abell, Bowie, Cook, Pedersen, Wise, Wade; Abstain = Lukas

Motion to accept the Work Session Minutes by Cook; Second by Bowie
Yes = All

Motion to accept the Executive Session Minutes by Cook; Second by Wade
Yes = All

  • Personnel
Motion to accept the Personnel by Cook; Second by Wade
Yes = All
  • FY2013 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan
Motion to accept the Comprehensive Maintenance Plan by Pedersen; Second by Lukas
Yes = All
  • Gifted and talented education policy
Motion to accept the Gifted and talented education policy by Pedersen; Second by Cook
Yes = All

Redistricting Committee Selected

Members of the Charles County Public Schools high school redistricting committee were selected today by the Charles County Board of Education. Seven committee members were chosen in a random drawing that included names from each middle and elementary school, as well as community members who applied to serve. Today's drawing selected two representatives at the elementary school level, two representatives at the middle school level and three representatives from the Charles County community. The following members were selected:
  • Betty Tayman, Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School;
  • LaCharles Earle, Eva Turner Elementary School;
  • Karen Haskins, Mattawoman Middle School;
  • Kristopher Foote, Milton M. Somers Middle School;
  • Joanna Wilson, community member;
  • David Cooksey, community member; and
  • James Hooper, community member.
Those committee members selected today will work with a representative from each of the county's six high schools, as well as school system and county staff, on the high school redistricting committee. Each high school advertised the opportunity to represent the school as part of the redistricting committee, and each high school principal held a public drawing to randomly select their representative. The following members were selected at the high school level:
  • Tawanda Rooney, Henry E. Lackey High School;
  • Cindy Arnone, La Plata High School;
  • Suzanne McCarthy, North Point High School;
  • Suzann Martin, Thomas Stone High School; and
  • Christina Adeboyejo, Westlake High School.
McDonough's rep will be selected at a public meeting tonight.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

REMINDER: Board of Education Meeting 10/9/12

The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 9 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 Channel 12 and is rebroadcast throughout the week. All televised Board meetings are also streamed live on the school system website at

Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance, La Plata High School's JROTC unit

Sheriff's update – Charles County Sheriff Rex Coffey

Superintendent's update to the Board

  • Selection of redistricting committee members
Correspondence/Board member updates

Education Association of Charles County update

Student Board member update

CIP update

FY2012 Independent financial audit

Budget update

Annual Bridge to Excellence

Gifted and Talented Education Month resolution

Policy #5171.1 – Epi-pens

Legislative positions 2013

Unfinished Business

New business

Future agenda items

Recognition- 4:30 p.m.

  • Students
  • Staff
  • Resolutions – American Education Week and American Freedom Week
Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • FY2013 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan
  • Gifted and talented education policy

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

North Point student attendance zone audit continues; investigation expands to La Plata

Thirty-five students have either been denied enrollment or withdrawn from North Point High School during the past month as a result of a crackdown on out-of-zone students at the school.

The school system has expanded its audit to include La Plata High School, where students and parents were notified today of a residency audit of students enrolled there. Superintendent James E. Richmond sent a letter informing La Plata parents and students of the audit, asking for their cooperation and providing an Oct. 12 deadline for voluntary withdraw of a student attending under false information.

The student attendance audit at North Point, which began in mid-September, has already led to 35 students being stopped from enrolling or withdrawn from Charles County's largest high school. According to Richmond, the 35 students include seven who were prohibited from enrolling with false information, two students who voluntarily withdrew after receiving a letter and 26 students who were asked to leave the school.

Of the 28 students who have withdrawn from North Point, 17 were out-of-county residents. Additionally, seven siblings of out-of-zone students attending North Point were also withdrawn from other Charles County schools.

The school system is still investigating the residency of about 250 North Point students, including those with more than one family using the same address. The formal audits supplement daily efforts by schools and the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) student services department to monitor enrollment numbers and to ensure children are enrolled at the schools they are zoned to attend. The school system's audit to confirm students' residency status includes, but is not limited to:

  • A complete review of all residency documents, including lease agreements and statements of residency;
  • Unscheduled home visits to confirm the accuracy of residency documents; and
  • A review of publicly available information regarding property ownership.
Parents of students enrolled at La Plata under false information can withdraw their child by Oct. 12 with no questions asked. "I hope parents will respond before we need to take action," Richmond said in the letter sent home today through e-mail and with students. Students found to be fraudulently attending a school will be sent to their zoned school or removed from the school system if they are not a resident. Nonresidents will be charged tuition, retroactively, for the time they attended school here. County students attending a school under false information will be ineligible to participate in athletics. Richmond asks anyone with knowledge of a family that is attending school who does not reside in the school's attendance zone to contact the school or anonymously call the school system's fraud hotline at 301-302-8305.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Views: World's Greatest Teacher

Brad Meltzer
Published September 30, 2012
The Parade Magazine:Views

A best-selling author goes back to his high school to thank the person who first encouraged him to write.

The teacher who changed my life didn’t do it by encouraging her students to stand on their desks, like John Keating in Dead Poets Society. Or by toting a baseball bat through the halls, like Principal Clark in Lean on Me. She did it in a much simpler way: by telling me I was good at something.

When I met Ms. Shelia Spicer, I was in the ninth grade and had just moved to Florida from Brooklyn. Most of my teachers at Highland Oaks Junior High seemed to look past me; I was one more student among hundreds. Ms. Spicer, however, took a special interest.

“You can write,” she said, explaining that she wanted to move me into the honors English class. But because of scheduling conflicts, transferring wasn’t an option. So instead, Ms. Spicer told me to ignore everything she wrote on the blackboard for the rest of the year. “Ignore the discussions. Ignore the assignments. You’re going to sit here and do the honors work.”

A decade later, when my first novel was published, I went back to Ms. Spicer’s classroom and knocked on the door. “Can I help you?” she asked, trying to place me. I’d had a lot more hair the last time we saw each other. “My name is Brad Meltzer,” I said, handing her a copy of my book. “And I wrote this for you.”

Read more HERE.