Thursday, November 29, 2018

System launching new CTE program at McDonough High School

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is expanding its career and technology education (CTE) programs for high school students to include a natural resources course of study. New for the 2019-20 school year is the CASE: Natural Resources Pathway program. The program is Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) and will be available at Maurice J. McDonough High School starting next school year.
Students must apply for enrollment in the program, which has limited availability. The application process is similar to that of North Point High School CTE programs. For the program’s first year, current eighth-graders and high school freshmen can apply. Transportation will be provided by CCPS for students accepted to the CASE program who are not zoned for McDonough.
As part of CASE program requirements, students take four pathway courses: Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Natural Resources and Ecology; Environmental Science Issues; and Agricultural Research and Development. Program curriculum is aligned to national standards for agricultural education as well as NextGen science standards.
The implementation of the program is funded through a grant CCPS received from the Maryland State Department of Education Division of College and Career Readiness. CCPS was awarded more than $143,000 earlier this year for use in launching the program. CCPS CTE staff have already developed partnerships to help with the implementation of CASE, such as working with local 4-H clubs and FFA (formerly known as Future Farmers of America) chapters, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and local agricultural businesses.
“The CASE program prepares students to be successful in numerous careers in agricultural sciences. The program is inquiry-based, incorporates classroom learning, FFA leadership and career development, as well as promotes outside of the classroom experiences through supervised agricultural experiences and internship opportunities. Having a variety of options for college and career opportunities puts Charles County students at the forefront of a growing sector of careers related to natural resources and the environment,” Traci Chappelear, coordinator of career and technology education for CCPS, said.
The application process opens for interested eighth graders on Dec. 3 and ends Dec. 21.  This is the same application window for current eighth graders interested in attending a CTE program at North Point. Additional information about the CASE program, as well as the application, is posted on the McDonough website at: The application opens Dec. 3 and ends Dec. 21 at 3 p.m.
Current freshmen can apply for CASE program enrollment in January 2019, as well as to any other under-enrolled CTE program at North Point. Additional information about under-enrolled CTE programs at North Point and CASE application for current freshmen will be sent by email to parents in January.
Information on all CCPS CTE programs is posted on the CTE website at

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Keeping Up with Kirwan at #MACoCon

Conduit Street
by Kevin Kinnally

The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was formed in 2016 to answer two questions: Should the state revise current education funding formulas? And, what major new education policies must be enacted to put Maryland public schools on par with the best in the world?
The Commission was originally set to complete its work in time for the 2018 session of the General Assembly, but last October asked for an extension when it became clear the deadline was not realistic. Prior to breaking for the 2018 legislative session, the Commission released a preliminary report detailing its preliminary recommendations.
In the meantime, the Commission’s four working groups will continue working to develop a consensus on the design, implementation plan, and cost for each of the preliminary recommendations. The Commission is expected to complete its work next month.
At this year’s MACo Winter Conference, attend this special roundtable session to learn how county governments could be affected by the Commission’s final report.
Read more HERE

Friday, November 16, 2018

School system enhancing badge requirements for staff

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) has enhanced security and identification badge requirements for all staff, including substitute teachers, bus drivers and attendants, retirees and contractors. Any CCPS identification badge will now feature an annual sticker depicting the school year in which the badge is active. This is new for the 2018-19 school year.
Enhancements also include the creation of distinct identification badges for substitute teachers. Substitutes will receive an identification badge at the start of their workday, and return daily at the end of their teaching assignment. Substitute badges are blue and white and include the name of the issuing school or center.
Badges for CCPS bus drivers and attendants are issued by bus contractors and expire at the end of each school year. The badge includes the driver/attendant name, name of the contractor in which the driver or attendant are employed with, and their picture. The badge confirms employment as a CCPS bus driver or attendant and must be worn for school or center access.
CCPS issues badges to employees who retire from the school system. The badges include the name of the retiree and grants free access to CCPS sporting events and other school-sponsored events. Retiree badges are issued to former employees upon request and do not expire. Additionally, retiree badges may be used at local businesses who provide CCPS staff with discounts.
CCPS often employs food and nutrition service employees from Abacus, a company that provides contracted employees in specialized need areas, such as food services. All contractors with Abacus are issued a specialized badge that confirms authorization to work within a CCPS school or center. These badges include an expiration date for when the contracted service ends.
Additional information, including examples of each CCPS issued staff badge, is posted on the CCPS website at The staff badge enhancements are part of the school system’s strategic focus on enhancing school safety and security. “They ensure we know who is supposed to be in our buildings,” Jason Stoddard, director of safety and security for CCPS, said.
The Office of Safety and Security supplies all badges, including the annual school year stickers. CCPS is using funding from the Maryland Safe Schools and Security Grant issued by the Maryland Center for School Safety to support the enhancements to staff identification badges.

School system pilots student identification badge program, plans to launch systemwide in 2019

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is piloting the use of student identification (ID) badges. The pilot program is part of the school system’s increased focus on school safety and security. Pilot schools include J.P. Ryon Elementary School, John Hanson Middle School and La Plata High School. CCPS plans to implement student ID badge use at all schools and centers next year.
Each student will receive an ID badge featuring their name, school of attendance, class grade and school year. The IDs feature a barcode at the bottom for use with procedures such as tracking student late arrivals and early dismissals. Each pilot school has an iPad for use with the barcode that connects to the school system’s student information system, Synergy.
Students will also be able to use their badge barcode to purchase meals in the school cafeteria and check out books in the school library. Principals can implement additional uses for ID badges at their discretion. Students at the pilot schools will receive their ID badges at school, and are responsible for wearing them daily. A main goal of the program is for all students to have a form of identification with them during the school day.
“The program will provide us with an immediate recognition of who belongs in the school, but also creates a 21st century environment for our students. The use of ID cards is a part of our daily lives and a fundamental part of our safety and security strategy,” said Jason Stoddard, director of safety and security for CCPS.
La Plata is launching badge use among students on Nov. 27. Students will receive their ID badges at school Nov. 26 during their English classes. This week, students participated in safety presentations in which school administrators announced the pilot badge use and reviewed its uses at school.
La Plata will initially use the badges for all student late arrivals and early dismissals. The school will also feature an express line in the cafeteria for those students who buy breakfast or lunch. Additionally, seniors who leave school for the day at the start of the school’s one-hour lunch/activity period will use their badge to sign out daily.
Stoddard said the badges are also essential for use during an emergency. “In the event of a school emergency, it will help us be more seamless in accounting for our students. It will also help us if there is a family reunification side of it,” Stoddard added.
Plans for the implementation of the program at both Hanson and Ryon are underway.
All badges will feature student photos taken by Lifetouch, which also provides CCPS with the initial set of badges per school. Students who lose or misplace their badge will have to wear a temporary badge until a replacement is issued by CCPS staff. Principals also can identify consequences by school for the loss of a badge or if the student forgets to wear it during the school day.
New students will have their picture taken at school and provided a badge shortly after. CCPS is using funding from the Maryland Safe Schools and Security Grant issued by the Maryland Center for School Safety to support the badge program.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Kirwan Commission Seeks Public Input

Conduit Street
by Kevin Kinnally
The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is inviting representatives of Statewide and local organizations, as well as members of the general public, to participate in a public hearing on November 29, 2018.
Known as the Kirwan Commission because it is chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, the Commission is set to recommend the first major revision to Maryland’s school funding formula since the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act passed in 2002, potentially shaping pre-K-12 education in the state for a decade or more.
Public Hearing – Thursday, November 29 – Annapolis, Maryland
3:00-5:00 p.m. Representatives of Statewide or local organizations testifying on behalf of
the organization (in Room 120 House Office Building)
5:30-7:30 p.m. Members of the public including those affiliated with organizations
(including above) but not speaking on behalf of the organizations (in the Joint Hearing Room Legislative Services Building)
Sign-up Procedures
To sign up for either timeframe, by 12:00 noon on November 29, send an email to: or call Sarah Bice at (410) 946-5510/(301)970-5510.
Sign-up sheets will also be available the day of the hearing.
Please provide the following information: (1) name and contact information and (2) if you are speaking on behalf of a group, please include the name of the group.
Testimony will generally be limited to 3 minutes per person, however, the Chair has the discretion to make adjustments depending on how many people sign up. While it is not necessary to bring a written statement, if you do, please bring 60 copies with you to the hearing. Staff will collect and distribute it to the commission members. If you are unable to attend but wish to submit written testimony, you may email your testimony to the email address listed above.
Note: The Commission will also hold a regularly scheduled meeting from 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on November 29.
Read more HERE

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Notes from Board of Education Meeting, 11/13/18

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.Executive session – 11:30 a.m.
Call to order – 1 p.m. - Pledge of Allegiance – North Point High School
Superintendent’s update to the Board - Report

Correspondence/board member updates

Education Association of Charles County update - Report

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees update - No report

Student Board member update - Report

Bridge program - Presentation

  • Lukas - how many  450 will need the project for math and English about 600

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) update and Maryland Report Card - Report

  • Lukas - Score is the score, no enhancement.  Addition of bridge project would make a positive to graduations.  Median score for student growth.
  • Kelly - update BoardDocs with presentation actually presented.

Grading policy - Proposed Policy

  • McGraw - why wording change from Rules.
  • Marshall - Concerned about the non-standardization of the INCOMPLETE
  • Abell - Incomplete to be addressed bu Superintendent.

Project status update - Report

High school athletic expenditures - Report

  • Lukas - Page 5 Athletic Boosters vs Page 4 (3 years); Slide 6 miscellaneous - rentals for PG Sports complex or dues for SMAC, CPR, etc; Liability Insurance?  Covered; Utilities -too hard to break out; Security - is under contracted services

2019 legislative positions - Report
Unfinished business

  • Kelly - Official enrollment numbers; Hill will forward in update.
New business - None

Future agenda items - None
Recognition – 4:30 p.m.

  • Students - Pamela Rentz, twelfth-grade; Personal Responsibility; Westlake High School; Principal: Diane Roberts; Adebola Oluyede, eighth-grade; Academic Achievement; Theodore G. Davis Middle School; Principal: Kim McClarin; Donovan Smith, fifth-grade; Career Readiness; Indian Head Elementary School; Principal: Shane Blanford; Nathan Schuessler, fifth-grade; Academic Achievement; Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School; Principal: William Miller
  • Staff - Teresa Higgs, special education teacher; Westlake; Victor Woodland, building service manager; Davis; Andrea Landis, special education teacher; Indian Head; Toni Kim, third-grade teacher; Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy; Paula Schiller, teacher; Infant & Toddler program, F.B. Gwynn Educational Center, Principal: Daphne Burns
Public Forum – 6 p.m.

  • Sean Heyl - Teacher at Mcdonough and parent.  Good-bye to friends, Ms. Marshall, Ms. Kelly, Ms. Palko.
  • Angela Collins - Transportation issue.  resides in Glen Eagles.  Son in CTE at NP.  Over two hours a day on the bus.  
  • Lynn Higgs - lived in county 16 years.  Concerned about Intro to Advanced Math class.  Because it models CSM class she can not modify it for those with special needs.  Please look into it and develop a functional curriculum.  Need adaptive skills and structures.
  • Janet Gomery - Teacher for 32 years, history, Spanish esol, counselor and principal.  Request CCPS begin teaching a second language at the primary level.  Early exposure to other languages increase empathy for others and learning a second language is easier at an earlier age.  Use some of the money allotted from gaming.
  • Melissa Williams - Milton Somers teacher.  Discipline in school continues to deteriorate.  Students cursing at teachers.  Threatening teachers.  Yet nothing is being done.  Every day teachers are being mentally abused, emotionally and physically abused due to a discipline policy that is dysfunctional.  "The Crew" is out roaming the hall again is not an unusual occurrence.
  • Karl Glebe - Son at Milton Somers in Ms. Williams class.  Volunteer at the school.  I've watched the kids do whatever they want.  No one should have to go through what those teachers go through.  Son in Art class with subs and then long term sub that is inadequate.  Teacher is non-responsive.  Finally had child moved to another class.
Action items

  • Minutes
Motion to accept the minutes by Abell; Second by Lukas
Yes = Abell, Crawford, Lukas, Kelly, Marshall, McGraw, Palko
  • Personnel
Motion to accept Personnel by Abell; Second by Marshall

Yes = Abell, Crawford, Lukas, Kelly, Marshall, McGraw, Palko

  • 2019 legislative positions

Motion to accept the legislative positions by McGraw; Second by Lukas

Yes = Abell, Crawford, Lukas, Kelly, Marshall, McGraw, Palko


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Board of Education Meeting Agenda, 11/13/18

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. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12, and is rebroadcast throughout the week.
Board meetings are streamed live on the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) website, Click on the middle of the main page to start the live streaming. The following is a meeting agenda and is subject to change.
Executive session – 11:30 a.m.
Call to order – 1 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance – North Point High School
Superintendent’s update to the Board
Reports of officers/boards/committees
·         Correspondence/board member updates
·         Education Association of Charles County update
·         American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees update
·         Student Board member update
·         Bridge program
·         Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) update and Maryland Report Card
·         Grading policy
·         Project status update
·         High school athletic expenditures
·         2019 legislative positions

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
·         2019 legislative positions