Thursday, November 29, 2012

Schools, county must find dollars to combat teen drug abuse

The Gazette
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Duchy Trachtenberg, Bethesda
The writer served as an a-large member of the Montgomery County Council from 2006-2010 and had maintained a private clinical practice specializing in dolescent addiction prior to her election.

Recently, there was an important dialogue that took place at the Montgomery County Council building. A joint Education and Health and Human Services work session addressed the current status of drug abuse in our schools, notably the epidemic of prescription drug abuse by middle and high school students. In attendance were MCPS officials who discussed data trends, administrative challenges and possible school service improvements.

This is a subject I have first-hand knowledge in. For many years I had worked in the community with both students and families touched by the challenge of alcohol and drug addiction. Of course, I brought these skills to the dais during my County Council term as budget decisions were made and the few times MCPS participated in council discussions on this urgent problem. And I must admit after hearing from countless clinicians, parents and students on this topic after this recent public conversation, I find myself frustrated once again by the all-too-familiar finger-pointing and unnecessary delays at swift and decisive action.

The solutions for this growing community crisis are clear.

First off, there needs to be an established protocol for screening, early intervention and responsive services at every school location. This requires a firm commitment from both the Board of Education and our superintendent. That means sufficient dollars to staff the guidance units appropriately. Plenty of other school districts across this country could serve as models for a school-based program.

Read more HERE.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, November 13 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.

Not much extra I can offer this month by way of notes.  If you review the reports & presentations on BoardDocs, you're pretty much covered.

Executive session - 12 p.m.

Call to order - 1 p.m.Pledge of Allegiance, Maurice J. McDonough High School JROTC unit

Superintendent's update to the Board  - See Report

Correspondence/Board member updates - none

Education Association of Charles County update - See Report

Student Board member update - See Report

CIP update - See report
One-room school house - see powerpoint

Mock trial - see report

Recruitment and retention - See Report; lots of statistics and loads of information

Legislative update - See Report.  State legislation on discipline, keep students in schools as opposed to suspension.  Proposed state changes are in report.  [ ] indicate wording to be removed, italics is proposed wording to be inserted.  Recommendation is to oppose these regulation changes

Unfinished business - None

New business

  • Wineland - land transfer (.68 acres) to volunteer fire department to extend parking lot near Smallwood Shopping Center.  Land behind Stoddert.  No vertical construction except a fence.
  • Pedersen - Other uses for property, selling, surplus
  • Wineland - Other schools too close, can't sell
  • Abell - wasn't there a request from Smallwood Association for a park
  • Wineland - never a formal request, some interest, they looked at it & not conducive to  their project
  • Lukas - 40 acres minus the .68 acres...does that make the remaining land unuseable for anything else for us
  • Wineland - No
Motion by Wade to approve the transfer; Second by Pedersen
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • NSBA Resolution on Federal Funding
Motion by Cook to accept the resolution; Second by Pedersen
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

Future agenda items
  • Lukas - Requests a report on the transfers now that the policy has been implemented
Recognition - 4:30 p.m.
  • Students - Orianna Eldridge, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, Dr. James Craik Elementary School; Natalie Chirinos-Deleon, 5th grade, Career Readiness, Dr. Thomas Higdon Elementary School; Addison Kindrick, 5th grade, Personal Responsibility, Malcolm Elementary School; Eric Wood, 5th grade, Career Readiness, J.C. Parks Elementary School; Lauren Holmes, 8th grade, Academic Achievement, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School
  • Staff - Kathleen Reamy, school counselor, Craik; Mary Bailey, reading recovery teacher, Higdon; Jennifer Walsh, speech therapist, Parks; Michele Brucculeiri, first grade teacher, Malcolm; Kevin Wassie, language arts teacher, Stoddert
Public Forum - 6 p.m.
  • Latrina Carr - son at J.P. Ryon and one at Stone.  JP. Ryon, Title 1 school, applaud curriculum and teachers.  Effectiveness with 30 students in class at various levels.

Action items
  • Redistricting Hearing Minutes 11/5/12
Motion by Pedersen; Second by Cook
Yes= Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise; Abstain = Abell
  • Executive Minutes  10/9/12

Motion by Pedersen; Second by Cook
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

  • Minutes 10/9/12

Motion by Cook; Second by Lukas
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

  • Personnel
Motion by Abell; Second by Cook
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • Gifted and Talented Education Month resolution
Motion by Pedersen; Second by Lukas
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • Policy #5171.1 - Epi-pens
Motion by Pedersen; Second by Lukas
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise
  • 2013 Legislative positions
Motion by Pedersen; Second by Lukas
Yes=Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wade, Wise

Pennsylvania high school hockey league bans national anthem to save money on ice time

Comments on this, anyone?

Yahoo! Sports
By Cameron Smith
Prep Rally Blog
November 13, 2012

Veterans Day is usually reserved for honoring the American flag and those who fought to preserve the values it stands for. In Pennsylvania on Monday, it also oversaw ferocious debate over one of the least patriotic things possible: eliminating the playing of the national anthem from all high school hockey games.
As first reported by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League has issued a directive to 183 high school squads in central and western Pennsylvania banning the national anthem from being performed.
"The national anthem should not be played only because of time constrains," PIHL commissioner Ed Sam told KDKA. "It's not that we're not patriotic, that's the furthest from the truth."
While Sam's words might sound like bizarre lip service, there actually is some logic to the PIHL's decision to kick the national anthem out of high school hockey. Sam notes that ice time in western Pennsylvania is quite expensive, making every minute of rented time sacred in an era of cutbacks throughout interscholastic athletics.
Read more HERE.

Friday, November 09, 2012

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

The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 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 website at

Executive session - 12 p.m.  Call to order - 1 p.m.Pledge of Allegiance, Maurice J. McDonough High School JROTC unit Superintendent's update to the Board Reports of officers/board/committees

  • Correspondence/Board member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • Student Board member update
  • CIP update
  • One-room school house
  • Mock trial
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Legislative update
Unfinished business

New business and future agenda items
  • New business
  • Future agenda items
Recognition - 4:30 p.m.
  • Students
  • Staff
Public Forum - 6 p.m.

Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • Gifted and Talented Education Month resolution
  • Policy #5171.1 - Epi-pens
  • 2013 Legislative positions

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Superintendent Search Officially Begins

The Board of Education of Charles County is advertising for candidates to apply to be the next superintendent of Charles County Public Schools.

Ads have been placed nationally and locally, and the application, qualifications and minimum salary can be found on the Charles County Public Schools website at on the “Superintendent Search” link. The Board, after reviewing public input provided at seven community forums, developed a set of six statements defining the qualifications and characteristics they want in a superintendent. The statements include qualities such as an innovative, energetic visionary; a passionate advocate for children; consensus builder; experienced instructional leader; and an experienced, decisive administrator. More details are included in the brochure posted on the website.

“The Board is pleased with the completion of the community input phase that culminated in the development of the characteristics being sought in the new superintendent. The Board is now moving to the application process, which begins the search to replace Superintendent James Richmond, who is retiring June 30 after 44 years of service to Charles County Public Schools, with the last 17 years being served as Superintendent of Schools,” Board Chairman Roberta Wise said.

Qualifications for preferred candidates include: Maryland certification required; doctorate preferred; and at least five years administrative/executive level experience in public education. Minimum salary is $200,000. The amount of the offer will depend on the qualifications of the selected applicant.

The Charles County Board hired the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) as a consultant for the superintendent search process. MABE is accepting all applications and questions from applicants about the position. Prospective applicants may call MABE at 410-841-5414. The Board of Education will not be accepting applications or contacts directly; all applications and questions must be submitted to MABE. Applications for the position are on the Charles County Public Schools website and MABE’s website at

Application reviews will begin Dec. 17 with interviews for invited candidates taking place in February and March. “The Board plans to name a successor in April so the transition in leadership can move forward smoothly,” Wise said.

“Mr. Richmond is leaving the school system in excellent condition. His is a leader in the state,” Wise said. “Through the public forums, we learned our stakeholders –our students, staff, parents, and community – want us to find someone who can implement strategies to promote continued academic growth.  We want a leader who will continue the tradition of personal leadership by measuring success one student at a time,” Wise said.