Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Northrop Grumman executive challenges Maryland businesses to support education

Baltimore Business Journal
Nov 20, 2014

The head of Northrop Grumman's $7 billion Electronic Systems sector called on local business leaders Thursday to back education.

"I challenge us as a community to make sure that we're supporting education here in Maryland," said Gloria A. Flach, president of the defense contractor's Electronic Systems operating unit, which is based in Linthicum near Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Flach was the keynote speaker at the BWI Business Partnership's November breakfast.

Northrop Grumman employs about 10,000 people in Maryland, making it one of the state's largest employers.
For the Electronic Systems sector, education in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — is a foundation for business success, Flach said. It prepares students to succeed in the workplace.

The country needs more employees with technical skills, Flach said. And Northrop Grumman promotes STEM education through awareness, mentoring and financial support. But that doesn't mean there's a lack of talent in Maryland.
"I can tell you, ladies and gentleman, that the talent coming out of our education system is eye-watering," Flach said. "Think of the opportunity for our young people in terms of careers."

Read more HERE

Monday, November 24, 2014

REMINDER: Board of Education Work Session Tonight, 11/24/14

The Board of Education will hold a work seesion on Monday, Nov. 24, at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the meeting begins at 6 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 www.ccboe.com. Select CCPS TV and then choose the Live Broadcast tab.

Call to Order – 6 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance 

Public Forum 

GWWO School Facilities hearings results 

 Report - Academic Eligibility Proposal #6431


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Satanic worship group seeks to hand out coloring books to high school students prompting Florida school board to consider banning distribution of all religious materials

  • The Satanic Temple, a worship group, has asked to distribute a coloring book to Florida high schoolers
  • Florida allows religious groups to distribute bibles and other materials in schools
  • The board is thinking of changing the policy so that no one may hand out any religious material   

 A Florida school board may change a policy allowing groups to distribute religious materials in high schools after a satanic worship group has asked to distribute coloring books about their faith.
The board discussed changing their current policy during a workshop on Thursday but the earliest it could vote to change would be late January or early February, said officials.
A spokesperson for The Satanic Temple says that they should be able to hand out coloring books that feature children performing satanic rituals and drawing pentagrams just like any other religious group.
'It strongly implies they never intended to have a plurality of voices,' said Doug Mesner, co-founder and spokesman for The Satanic Temple, who also goes by the name Lucien Greaves.
The content in the coloring books are puzzles that ask children to search for words like, empathy, love, care, and friendship.
Another typical page of the coloring book shows a young girl named Annabel who is 'spreading knowledge and helping to dispel fear and ignorance by demonstrating her satanic ritual for her class.'
The satanic group is not the only one that hands out materials, either. 
An evangelical group called World Changers of Florida has given out Bibles in Orange schools three times, reports WPTV.
District counsel Woody Rodriguez said that the satanic group is the only one that submitted a request but that the evangelical group said they will hand out their material as well.
'They seem to be moving against the interests of a large part of the community,' said World Changers of Florida Greg Harper of the Static Temple's Desire to hand out material.
'The Bible will open somebody's heart, somebody's mind, and cause them to pursue answers.'
Board Member Christine Moore said that people are having trouble with a policy change on Christian groups.
'Everyone's upset about the Satanists and the atheists coming,' she said.
An atheist groups saw the upside of the potential policy change and has given out atheist materials in the past in opposition to Bible distributions.
'It's a bit of a relief,' said David Williamson of the Central Florida Freethought Community.
'Given that there's a potential change in the policy, we won't be allowing distribution,' Rodriguez said. 
'We're going to wait.'
Read the original article HERE.

Friday, November 14, 2014

States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F

New York Times

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — Florida embraced the school accountability movement early and enthusiastically, but that was hard to remember at a parent meeting in a high school auditorium here not long ago.
Parents railed at a system that they said was overrun by new tests coming from all levels — district, state and federal. Some wept as they described teenagers who take Xanax to cope with test stress, children who refuse to go to school and teachers who retire rather than promote a culture that seems to value testing over learning.
“My third grader loves school, but I can’t get her out of the car this year,” Dawn LaBorde, who has three children in Palm Beach County schools, told the gathering, through tears. Her son, a junior, is so shaken, she said, “I have had to take him to his doctor.” She added: “He can’t sleep, but he’s tired. He can’t eat, but he’s hungry.”
One father broke down as he said he planned to pull his second grader from school. “Teaching to a test is destroying our society,” he said.
Where once these frustrations were voiced in murmurs, this year not only parents but also educators across Florida are rebelling. They have joined a national protest in which states have repealed their graduation test requirements, postponed the consequences of testing for the Common Core — national standards in more than 40 states — and rolled back the number of required exams.
In August, Education Secretary Arne Duncan added to the chorus when he wrote in a blog post that “testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools,” and that teachers needed more time to adapt to new standards and tests.
Read more HERE.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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

The Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, November 11 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 – La Plata High School

Superintendent’s update to the Board - Report

Correspondence/board member updates
  • Lukas - fantastic job to chess tournament
  • Wise - Kudos to McDonough Football
  • Cook - Kudos to LaPlata Volleyball
  • Abell - Kudos to McDonough Volleyball
  • Pedersen - Congratulations to newly elected board members 
Education Association of Charles County update - Report
Student Board member’s update - Report
Academic eligibility proposal update - Report
  • Change from semester to quarter
  • Pedersen - Ensure the policy is adhered to across the board.  Feedback from students and coaches. 
CIP update - Report
  • Enrollment Numbers
  • Abell - requested review and verification on totals; errors on spreadsheet.
Technology through the eyes of students - Oral Report

       (CSM Access pilot telepresence program at LaPlata High School)
  • Daja Lewis - Access CSM; Class helped her be more responsible; counts towards college GPA; Pop Culture class; wouldn't have taken AP course because they are so intimidating but tried this and found out college courses arent so scary.
  • Kayla Gretgen - Collaboration amongst other students; professor sometimescomes to the school and telepresence back to the college; sometimes technical difficulties but nothing not able to oversome.  still feel apart of your home high school
  • Trevor Abell - earn 12 credits before entering college.should be offered to all of Charles County students.  intro to college classes....only one class no pressure.  saves on gas money
  • Hill - interaction with CSM Students; any feedback or suggestions before rolling it out to other schools.
  • Students - Pop Culture first class; second class, technology; interesting topics.
  • Lukas - would you consider doing it after school
  • Students - more difficult due to other activities, jobs, etc.
      North Point Technology Classes (DTS & CSB)
  • Students - affected future by opening doors to technology and how they can related to current studies such as medical (medical + technology); need more women in technology.
  • How to encourage more females?
  • Students - not sure; started a club Women in Computer Sciences to entice and gain interest.
  • Pedersen - if you were given a chance to talk to elementary age girls what would you say?
  • Students - Equal Rights in jobs and salaries; opportunities.
  • Joe Greenwalt - STI program in Charles County is the only one that has achieved enrollment in program similar to demographics in entire system.  We are a model across the nation.
  • Lukas - offer more certificated programs
        PARCC Requirements
  • Students will need to pass HSA's
  • Fall of 16-17 PARCC will become part of the graduation requirements (Algebra & English scores will be combined in some fashion for requirement but we dont have full information as of yet.)
  • Pedersen - Affect on the bridge plan, # of students involved
  • Amy Hollstein - there will be changes but not known right now.  Will get numbers
Microsoft Office 2013 Textbook- Report
Pension policy #3920 - Report
Legislative update - Report
  • New Govenor - unknown policies and direction; change coming
  • PARCC assessments delayed as graduation requirements by the state
  • Abell - Requested Mr. Schwartz report be placed on BoardDocs
Unfinished business
  • Abell - Where are we losing teachers to? Asked at last board meeting.
  • Abell - Board Goals review
New business
Future agenda items
  • Abell - Update on Out-of Zone Transfers
  • Abell - World History Textbook Review
  • Pedersen - Portable classrooms review, condition, etc.
Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Nicholas Long, 5th grade, Personal Responsibility, Dr. James Craik Elementary School, Principal: Debra Calvert
  • Amir Moore, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, Malcolm Elementary School, Principal: Wilhelmina Pugh
  • Morgan Martin, 5th grade, Academic Achievement, J.C. Parks Elementary School, Principal: Thadine Wright
  • Devyn Thompson, 8th grade, Career Readiness, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, Principal: Kenneth Schroeck
  • Jeanne Franchesca Dela Cruz, 11th grade, Career Readiness, St. Charles High School, Principal: Richard Conley
  • Jane K. Pilkerton, reading resource teacher, Craik
  • Melissa F. Gross, secretary to the Principal, Parks
  • Erin L. Berfield, music teacher, Malcolm
  • Danielle M. Carpenter, social studies teacher, Stoddert
  • Latisha S. Chase, instructional assistant, St. Charles
Public Forum – 6 p.m.
  • Margaret Martin - school bus driver; no salary increase unless mandated by the county budget, haven't received a raise since 2009, all the other duties related to job other than driving a bus.
  • Debbie Vahle - school bus driver; no bus aide on normal bus runs, always on call, no pay on days off. (gave a hard copy report/presentation to all board members)
  • Dominique Mars - member of community, support school bus drivers, 2 children in school, bus drivers put up with alot.  Support all employees for a system that works.
  • David Leach - School bus driver; wants a union to represent all of Charles County bus drivers, mutual respect from the contractors.
  • Sue Manning - Adoption of Common Core standards has affected her child.  Age 9 but  developmentally on age 5. Suffered anxiety, and a former teacher stated to not to bring him back. Withdrew him and now homeschools.  High standards need to be realistic and for HIM.  These standards actually hurt him. 
  • Tony Piacente - CCBOE website states beliefs (cites), not working for us, LPHS incident, hundreds of emails of concerns went unanswered, violates a parents rights of religions. 
  • Male ????(didn't hear name) - Bus driver, 18 different contractors, who to answer to?  All here together for fairness and equality.
  • Christine Pate(?) - Pres. of the NAACP Youth Council, student - requests return of activity buses.  More students could stay after for extra curricular activites, sports, clubs, and tutoring.  2008 they were implemented.  Budget has increased, can they reinstate. Maybe not 430 and 600 but just 6:00 p.m.
  • Melissa Queen (?) - Student at Thomas Stone High School, reinstate activity buses.  Ensured all students equal opportunity for participation.  Has been stopped twice by strange men in cars in her walk home from school at night.
  • Kyle Smith - NAACP Youth Council, Student at Thomas Stone, activity buses reinstate, wants to start a petition among all students.
  • Faye Weekly(?) - two children in middle school - we are the parents not you.  letters from schools about what to feed our children and nutrition content, and now an administartor assuming the content of a class being taught.  parentsshould be allowed to opt their child out.  not the schols job to judge a parent.  Parents responsible for their child.  Not schools job to protect a child from their parent.  Schools undermine a parents authority.  Reminder and cautioned not to cross the line.  Parents are protective of their children.
Action items
  • Minutes
Motion to accept the Minutes by Cook; Second by Abell
Yes = Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise; Absent = Bowie
  • Personnel
Motion to accept the Personnel by Abell; Second by Lukas
Yes = Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise; Absent = Bowie
  • 2015 Legislative positions
Motion to accept the 2015 Legislative Positions by Cook; Second by Pedersen
Yes = Abell, Cook, Lukas, Pedersen, Wise; Absent = Bowie


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

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

The Board of Education’s next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 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. 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 www.ccboe.com. Select CCPS TV and then choose the Live Broadcast tab.

Executive session – 12 p.m.
Call to order – 1 p.m.- Pledge of Allegiance – La Plata High School

Superintendent’s update to the Board

Reports of officers/boards/committees
  • Correspondence/board member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County updat
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees update
  • Student Board member’s update
  • Academic eligibility proposal update
  • CIP update
  • Technology through the eyes of students
  • Microsoft Office 2013
  • Pension policy #3920
  • Legislative update
Unfinished business
New business and Future agenda items

Recognition – 4:30 p.m.
  • Students
  • Employees
Public Forum – 6 p.m.
Action items
  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • 2015 Legislative positions