Friday, February 21, 2014

Board of Education and CSM Work Session, 2/24/14

The Board of Education of Charles County is hosting a joint work session with the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) on Monday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. in the Board room at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building. The following is a tentative agenda:

Call to Order- 6 p.m.

  • Pledge of Allegiance

Work session
  • Review of agenda
  • Fact sheet
  • Destination College
  • Dual enrollment
  • College and Career Readiness Act
  • New initiative: Joint Telepresence classes offered via virtual classroom
  • New initiative: Charles County Middle College
  • Board-to-Board communications

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Implementing the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative Mission Statement:

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

See for a detailed look at what "common core standards" is all about, and what the specific Mathematics and English Language Arts Standards are.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Autism Speaks: Please Share Your DSM-5 Experiences

An earlier post - Asperger': No longer a diagnosis - generated discussion about the possible impact of changes in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), updated by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) in 2013. 

There was concern (nationwide) whether the new way to refer to this autistic disorder would impact both medical and educational services for individuals who had been previously been diagnosed with Asperger's.

Autism Speaks is conducting a survey regarding the change; if you have had an experience -- positive or negative, as a parent, family member, educator or clinician -- with the new diagnostic references, please consider taking the time to make input for this organization. 

I have included Autism Speaks as a "Link of Interest" on my blog; please check it out!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Do we have to make up all these snow days?

Have you kept count of the snow days?  It's been hard but including today, Charles County Public Schools has used a total of seven snow days this school year. 

So where does that leave us as far as making all these up?

We had four automatically built into the school calendar.

Yay, down to three.

We were supposed to have this coming Monday, February 17th off for President's Day.  That has been recalled.  All students and teachers are to report to school now.

Yay, down to the last two.

The Governor issued a State of Emergency but that does NOT automatically excuse those days for the school system.  We must first apply for a waiver, which is yet to be determined.

Please see the below to an article which explains the process statewide and what is happening in other districts in Maryland in a little more detail.


According to the calendar the Board decided to first use President's Day and then start taking away from Spring Break, unless we are waived and excused for the last two days.  I will keep you posted. 

Stay warm and stay safe.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Maryland Ranks #1 in College Board’s AP Report

Conduit Street
by Robin Clark

Maryland is No. 1 in the nation in the percentage of graduates who have passed at least one Advanced Placement exam, according to a report released Tuesday by the College Board. As described by the College Board,

Since 2003, there has been a 7.9 point increase in the percentage of U.S. public high school graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam, with 17 states exceeding the national average for this percentage change. Once again, Maryland led all other states in the percentage of its public high school graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam.
The Baltimore Sun describes one possible reason for Maryland’s consistent success in this category,
Maryland’s No. 1 ranking comes in part because so many students take the courses and exams. Nearly half of all Maryland graduates are taking the exams — about 47 percent. Far more than half of graduates will have taken a class, though about 20 percent take the courses and never sit for the exams.
Charles County, Maryland showed a particularly steep increase in passing AP scores over the past five years, as reported in The Sun
To celebrate the news, Gov. Martin O’Malley held a video conference Tuesday with AP students from two Charles County high schools, a district that saw a 20 percent increase in scores of 3, which is passing, or higher since 2009.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Notes from Board of Education Meeting, 2/11/14

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, February 11 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, North Point High School JROTC

Superintendent’s update - See report

Correspondence/Board Member updates

  • Bowie - Westlake - Thank you for hosting and received certificate
  • Cook - can be used with any subject
  • Wise - Scholarship Committee - seniors deadline is March 1.  48 different scholarships with 70 available.
  • Wise - EACC Legislative Breakfast
  • Testify for stipend raise for board members
Education Association of Charles County update - See report

Student Board Member update - See report

New school discipline regulations - Addressed in Superintendent's comments

St. Charles High School
  • Lockers, lights, doors, cabinets, gym paint and wood floors installed. 
  • Interviews of staff transfers underway.
CIP update
  • Public works appeal
  • LaPlata HVAC approval
  • St. Charles $6M approval
  • John Hanson gym railing improvement welding done by students
  • Abell - loves to see this opportunity for students --  It's a win/win situation -- and hopes to see more of this in the future
  • Student shadow asked why students were doing it instead of professionals   :)
SMECO check presentation - rebate check for $286,075

Ninth grade Earth science textbooks - see report; available as e-book

Middle school health textbooks - Due to weather, will be available for another 30 days

High school government textbooks - Due to weather, will be available for another 30 days

Curriculum Repository
  • One stop shop for lesson plans, development, videos, etc.; Share across counties and with other counties;  Make some self-help videos available to public for homework
  • Abell - We do a subject?  Another county do a subject? etc.....   yes
  • Pedersen - Announce when ready and ask for feedback from teachers?  Constantly ongoing and testing with a handful of teachers...should be ready to test drive in the fall
Budget update

Technology planning for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers
(PARCC) assessments - see report;  COST $7,126,656

SY 2015-2016 calendar
  • Abell - How will you get public input?
  • Balides - Communications will put out a survey
Legislative update
  • SB203/HB209 - Charles County board member salary
  • SB332/HB297 - optional grant expand pre-K options to add students; no facilities
  • HB117 - MSDE request waiver for state mandated testing
  • SB779/1198 - school system burden of proof on special education
  • SB232/HB727 - amend prevailing wage law 25% of state funding
  • HB300 - alcohol beverage license in Charles County
  • Baltimore - adopted new discipline practices, policies, rules, etc state-wide.  Staff has started making changes and will bring forward to Board as changes are made.

Unfinished business
  • School APFO committee report - Kudos and thank you to staff;
  • Wise - agree with report; concerned on public/private partnership
  • consensus
New business
  • Bowie - One room school house tours
Future agenda items
  • Lukas - Leadership Council Task Force on Arts; concerned with losing the arts to other programs
Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Students - Reginald Alexander, 5th grade, Career Readiness, Berry Elementary School; Laura Bond, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, Eva Turner Elementary School; Madison Mote, 8th grade, Academic Achievement, Piccowaxen Middle School; Kim Jacks, 11th grade, Academic Achievement, Henry E. Lackey High School; Alec Hunsaker, 12th grade, Personal Responsibility, La Plata High School
  • Staff - Olivia Coffey, school counselor, Berry; Stephanie Boyer, music teacher, Turner; Sandra Chisolm, computer teacher, Piccowaxen; Chief Larry Adams, Air Force ROTC Instructor, Lackey; Vicki Kenworthy, instructional assistant, La Plata; Cynthia Fitzsimmons, special education teacher, F.B. Gwynn Center, Coordinator: Todd Wonderling
  • Resolutions: Read Across Charles County; Women’s History Month; and Fine and Performing Arts Month
Public Forum – 6 p.m.
  • Ms. Marki - Berry Elementary - Scotland Heights approval, redistricting, overcrowding Berry, 900+ students, security of trailers, more teachers needed for specials
  • Francesca Acheana(?) - Berry Elementary - Bad Table Cafeteria, Reflection Walk, 150+ more students
  • Maresha Fieldo - Berry - more trailers, security, no window on door of two trailers, fence around school incomplete
  • Ms. Campbell - Berry - Ditto - New traffic pattern dangerous....requires a U turn on Berry road, students not wanting to go to school
  • Tony Johnson - Berry - Scotland Heights - redistricting - don't we talk to commissioners?

Action items
  • Minutes
Motion to accept the Minutes by Cook; Second by Pedersen
Yes=All; Absent=Wade
  • Personnel
Motion to accept the Personnel by Pedersen; Second by Lukas
Yes=All; Absent=Wade
  • Superintendent’s proposed FY 2015 operating budget
Motion to accept the Superintendent's Proposed FY15 Operating Budget by Abell;
Second by Lukas
Yes=All; Absent=Wade

APFO Committee DRAFT Report

The below is a link to the DRAFT report proposed to be submitted to the Commissioners.  The committee has until Friday, February 14th to submit any final minor tweaks without another meeting.  Any major changes requested by any member of the committee at this point would require the committee to reconvene.

APFO Committee DRAFT Report

Monday, February 10, 2014

REMINDER: Board of Education Meeting, 2/11/14

The Board of Education’s next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 11, 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. Board meetings are also streamed live on the school system website at Select CCPS TV and then choose the Live Broadcast tab. The following is a tentative meeting agenda.

Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance, North Point High School JROTC

Superintendent’s update

Reports of officers/boards/committees

  • Correspondence/Board Member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • Student Board Member update
  • New school discipline regulations
  • School security initiatives
  • CIP update
  • SMECO check presentation
  • Ninth grade Earth science textbooks
  • Middle school health textbooks
  • High school government textbooks
  • Budget update
  • Technology planning for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments
  • SY 2015-2016 calendar
  • Legislative update
Unfinished business
  • School APFO committee report
New business and future agenda items

Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Students
  • Staff
  • Resolutions: Read Across Charles County; Women’s History Month; and Fine and Performing Arts Month
Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • Superintendent’s proposed FY 2015 operating budget