How to Qualify for Financial Assistance for the 2018 Summer Enrichment Camps

  • Child(ren) must be registered in a Charles County Public School


  • Families must be enrolled in the federally funded meals program to receive Free or Reduced Meals

If you are not enrolled in the meals program and believe you qualify, visit the MySchoolApps website at  Once this is completed and verified, you may qualify for financial assistance for the Summer Enrichment Camps.

What is Covered by Financial Assistance

The fee for two camps will be waived for a total of $180.00 for each child that qualifies.  
Weekly camp sessions cost $90.00 each for either an AM or PM camp.  If the total exceeds $180.00, you will be required to pay the difference (limited camps are $100.00/each to cover additional costs). In addition, if your child attends an AM and PM camp during the same week and wants to stay for the free lunch and supervised Lunch Activity Time, there is a $10.00 fee that you must register and pay for. 

IMPORTANT: To receive the fee waiver for the student(s) that qualify, in Step 2 of registration, you must select CCPS Students receiving financial assistance.

If you have questions about the financial assistance, please contact Susan Dobbs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Table of Contents

Chartering Authority and Eligibility in Maryland
Beyond the Education Program
Federal Education Program Requirements

Master Plan

Special Education Requirements

Getting Started

The Application Process

Final Approval or Denial

What Will You Need?

Steps in Applying for a Public Charter School


During the 2003 General Assembly session, the Maryland Public Charter School Act was passed and Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. signed the measure into law on May 22, 2003 (SB 75 -- Chapter 358, 2003 Laws of Maryland).  The new law authorizes the establishment of public charter schools in Maryland.  See Appendix A for a copy of the law.  With the enactment of the new law, Maryland joins a growing number of states that encourage the development and operation of public charter schools.  The Maryland statute invites the creation of public charter schools to help introduce alternative means within the public school system to provide innovative learning opportunities and creative educational approaches to improve the education of all students.

Maryland’s law defines a “public charter school” as a “public school” that is nonsectarian, is chosen by parents for their children, and is open to all students on a space-available basis.  A charter school can be either a newly created school or a conversion of an already operating public school.  A public charter school operates with the approval of a local Board of Education in accordance with a written charter executed between the local Board of Education and the administrative entity operating the public charter school.  Just as any other public school, a public charter school is subject to federal, state and local laws prohibiting discrimination and must comply with all applicable health and safety laws.

Chartering Authority and Eligibility in Maryland

A “charter” is a formal agreement or contract entered into by a chartering authority and a statutorily authorized applicant.  This guidance/application document provides assistance to those interested in sponsoring a charter school.  Charles County Public Schools staff will help applicants understand the application process, consult with applicants concerning all requirements, and provide guidance throughout the application process. 

The Board of Education of Charles County is the charter authority and is responsible for final approval of all applications.  Approval is based on standards that are consistent with the state law authorizing public charter schools.  Maryland’s Public Charter School Law defines a charter school as a public school.  Therefore, the public charter schools will generally operate under the same requirements and provisions as all other public schools in the school system.

Beyond The Education Program

Public charter school sponsors are responsible for the management and administrative functions of the charter schools and adherence to Board of Education policy.  The new Public Charter School Law permits a local school system and the designated leadership of a prospective charter school to negotiate a broad range of options that may be mutually agreed upon to both the school system and the chartering school leadership.  The Board of Education policy is included in this guidance packet in Appendix C.

Federal Education Program Requirements

The “No Child Left Behind Act”

Charter schools are subject to a number of requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), signed into law by the President in January 2002.  This act contains the bulk of laws authorizing most federal education programs, including the federal charter schools grant program.  Because charter schools are public schools, charter schools that receive federal funds under any of the NCLB programs are required to comply with the federal requirements for use of the funds.  For example, a charter school receiving Title I funds must comply with: (1) the accountability requirements; (2) Title I public school choice provisions; (3) supplemental educational services provisions; (4) corrective action; and (5) the qualifications of teachers and paraprofessionals. 

Master Plan

The Charles County Public School System has developed a Comprehensive Master Plan, which sets forth objectives to guide the school system as it implements the NCLB and state requirements.  For a copy of this Master Plan, contact the school system.

Special Education Requirements

All schools under the authority of the Charles County Board of Education, including charter schools, are public schools, and as such are specifically required to comply with federal and state special education laws and regulations, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13A.05.01 Provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education, and COMAR 13A.05.02 Administration of Services for Students with Disabilities.  The State Board of Education will provide technical assistance to the operators of a public charter school to help the school meet requirements of federal and state laws, but the charter school will be held responsible for implementing all procedures necessary to ensure compliance. 

Note: The Maryland Public Charter School Act prohibits the Charles County Board of Education from granting a charter to a public charter school whose operation would be inconsistent with any public policy initiative, court order, or federal improvement plan governing the provision of special education and related services.

 Getting Started

 It is important that the applicant(s) and the chartering authority establish open and effective communications.  Additionally, there are a number of national information resources relating to virtually all aspects of establishing and operating good charter schools (see Appendix B).

Note: The Charles County Board of Education is not responsible for content and accuracy of the national information resources.

There are important responsibilities that need to be planned for when establishing a public charter school.  A solid planning process can help prevent serious problems.  Areas that are frequently identified as potential problems are:

  • inadequate capital funding and facilities;
  • cash flow problems and the difficulty of securing credit;
  • a large number of laws and regulations (as paperwork reporting) that are required of all schools, whether traditional or chartered;
  • difficulties managing the business of the schools; and
  • inadequate planning.

The Application Process

The application process is a two-step process.  First is the pre-application phase, where the applicant files an Intent Form and a Prospectus, and begins to assemble the formal application.  The second phase is the submission of the Formal Application to the Board of Education.

During the pre-application phase, the prospective charter school organizing body should complete an Intent Form indicating a serious interest in creating a charter school, develop a Prospectus, and then schedule a meeting with staff designated by the Superintendent of Charles County Public Schools to discuss and examine all aspects of the proposed educational program.  In this way, various administrative functions needed for the planning, opening, and operation of the public charter school can be identified, even before a formal application is submitted to the Board of Education.  The school system staff will review all proposed applications and support materials and make suggestions to the applicants.  Some of the key issues that will be scrutinized by the Superintendent and staff in the pre-application phase are:

·         An education plan which reflects the school’s commitment.

·         A realistic budget that reflects accurately projected income and does not rely on unreliable sources, such as future grants.

·         A lottery provision for student admission that complies with the statute.

·         The purchase of insurance as required by law.

·         A plan for an adequate facility and realistic funding for the facility.

·         The overall quality and completeness of the application.

·         The amount of planning and research that has been invested in the application.

·         The types of curricula to be offered by the school.

Prior to the filing of the final, Formal Application, staff will review the final draft application to ensure that it has been completed (i.e., all required materials and technical information have been provided).  Once a completed, Formal Application has been filed with the Board, the Board will request that the Superintendent make a recommendation concerning the application.  The Board will then either approve the Formal Application, deny the Formal Application, or refer it back for further information.  By law, final approval or denial must occur within 120 days from the filing of the completed, formal application.

Final Approval or Denial

If the Board of Education approves the Formal Application, then a Charter Agreement will be developed.  This agreement is a contract that is binding by law on both the Board and the charter operator and explains in detail the responsibilities of all of the parties involved in the implementation of the public charter school.  Although the founders of a public charter school may propose various programs or procedures in the Formal Application, ultimately the Charter Agreement will control how the charter school will operate.

If the Board denies the Formal Application, then the applicant will be provided information on options for redevelopment of a new application, or appealing the denial to the State Board of Education.

What Will You Need?

Preparing a charter application requires a great deal of time and familiarity with Maryland’s Charter Schools Law and other applicable laws, including legal constraints affecting the state’s public not-for-profit corporations.  Although the specific amount of time required depends to a large degree on the human resources available for the project from the outset, it is a good idea to plan for at least one year to complete the application development, review, and approval process.  Some of the areas to consider are:

·         Financial Resources – The cost of preparing a charter proposal depends on the types of resources available to the applicant’s planning group from the beginning of the process.  Examples of costs could range from printing and publicity, communications-related expenses, filing fees for nonprofit corporation and tax exempt status, and research and travel expenses. 

·         Vision and Clear Mission – The successful public charter school provides a clear sense of purpose and mission shared by parents, students, staff, and the school’s management board.  Consider what it means to be educated and how to bring students to that level in the foundation of a coherent school design.  A clear vision will also give potential employees, prospective students, and parents clear indications of how they will be treated and what will be expected of them in explaining how the charter school is distinct from other public schools.

·         Applicant Team Expertise – Developing a strong proposal for a public charter school requires a team with diverse skills and experience.  A well-rounded team should include individuals who can bring skills and knowledge in educational vision, leadership, and expertise – including standards-setting, pedagogy, behavior management, and curriculum and assessment design.  Other areas should include financial management and entrepreneurial skills, knowledge of the law, real estate and facilities planning, public relations, fundraising, and grant writing. 

·         School Leadership – The school’s leader would be the person running the day-to-day operations of the school once the charter is approved.  This will be the most important personnel decision relative to the ultimate success of the public charter school.  The school leader will be a vital link between the public charter school and the management board, the parents, teachers, and staff, as well as the public school system, in creating cohesive relationships.

·         Community Involvement – Building community involvement around the school’s vision is important for a successful public charter school. 

Steps in Applying for a Public Charter School

At a minimum, the entire process for creating a new public charter school will take many months, and maybe years.  Founders of the public charter school must be dedicated and committed to putting in the required time and energy as the school develops.

Below is a rough sketch of the major steps involved in opening a new public charter school.

  1. Develop the idea, focus, and purpose for the school.

  2. Do research, gather community support, and investigate funding and facilities.

  3. File the Intent Form with the Superintendent.

  4. File the Prospectus with the Superintendent (within 30 days of the filing of the Intent Form).

  5. Schedule and hold meetings with the Superintendent’s staff.

  6. Begin to complete the detailed Formal Application.

  7. Address any concerns raised by the Superintendent’s staff.

  8. Begin to gather commitments from prospective students, parents, and community members.

  9. Revise the Formal Application as necessary.

  10. Obtain Superintendent’s support and positive recommendation, if possible.

  11. File the Formal Application with the Board of Education.

  12. Revise the Formal Application as necessary.

  13. If approved, meet with the Superintendent’s designee to negotiate the Charter Agreement.

  14.  Finalize funding, facilities, staffing, curriculum, and all issues as required by the Charter Agreement.

  15. Finalize and sign Charter Agreement with the Board.

  16.  Advertise school and receive student applications for attendance.

  17. Open the school.

The Board of Education of Charles County on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 held a town hall meeting for support staff. About 20 employees participated in the discussion. The following are the top issues presented at the Support Staff Town Hall, with responses summarized by Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff.  Issues are included below in boldface type.

Student data technicians are paid on the secretarial scale, but the position includes data analysis and is more technical than the secretary role. Although they are paid on the secretary scale, there is no professional development offered to data technicians. Additionally, user roles in Synergy, the new student information system, are not clearly defined. Data staff at schools manage different aspects of the system and points of contact are not outlined.

Staff is currently working with the Office of Human Resources to evaluate current pay scales for positions. Support staff pay scales are evaluated by staff annually, and adjusted with the availability of funding and through negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union. In 2017, staff was able to negotiate with AFSCME a 2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all classified scales and grade increases for eligible employees. The adjustment was made across all support staff pay scales. During annual negotiations, AFSCME members work with staff to negotiate appropriate compensation for all support staff members, including student data technicians.

The CCPS Office of Accountability serves as the central point of contact for student data technicians and Synergy, the new student information system. Synergy launched at the start of the 2017-18 school year and Office of Accountability staff worked with principals to develop user role assignments. Staff who manage data in Synergy have participated in several trainings this school year, with the latest training taking place on March 12 about master schedule use. Additionally, staff in the CCPS Department of Student Services worked with Office of Accountability staff to determine appropriate user roles and to identify staff who need system access. A principal or department supervisor can request Synergy access for a staff member at any time, and can modify a user role at any time.

Behavior among students at schools is becoming increasingly more disrespectful and takes away from instructional time. Consequences are minimal and students are able to demonstrate verbal, physical and destructive behaviors. There is a lack of negative outcomes for negative behaviors for students, and it creates a domino effect among children. One staff member indicated she has anxiety and fears about coming to work because she is concerned for her safety.

Behavior concerns among students is a priority for the school system. Staff is working to implement programs such as Aspire, Parent Shadowing and the In-school Intervention Program.  Since all of these programs are in their first year, it will take time for full implementation and data collection to show positive results. In addition, training has been implemented and will be planned in the future for consistent implementation of the behavior matrix as well as training on building relationships and dealing with disruptive students. The last professional development opportunity for instructional assistants was a successful conference on dealing with behavior issues. Consequences for behavior are decided upon by the school administration and are based on the individual student as well as the behavior matrix. Any staff members who have anxiety and fear about a student should speak immediately to the school administration. 

All students should be held accountable for their behavior.  While some behaviors are able to be managed effectively in the classroom, staff are encouraged to bring more serious behaviors to the attention of school administrators.  Consequences are student specific and factors such as the age and developmental level of the student, intent and impact of the behavior and the student’s particular disciplinary history are all considered in determining disciplinary action. When appropriate and possible, teaching of more appropriate positive behaviors is encouraged.

Instructional assistant (IA) pay is low and Charles County Public Schools is losing dedicated assistants to better paying jobs. Several in attendance echoed this concern and indicated they were living at poverty level. Instructional assistants do more than what is required of them with students and deserve better pay.

Low pay for instructional assistants is also a concern for Superintendent Hill and her staff. The budget-planning model again this year proposes additional pay increases for all support staff employees.  Last year, AFSCME and the Board of Education negotiated a 2 percent COLA for all AFSCME employees. The COLA is a way to increase salaries for all employees since those at the top of their salary scale also receive an increase. Superintendent Hill and her staff plan to work with AFSCME staff next school year to study the salary scales and make suggestions and recommendations for improvements.

Instructional assistants should be allowed to follow the teacher’s schedule concerning two-hour early dismissal days. Teachers often leave the building, but IAs have to stay and work the entire day. This is viewed as unfair. Additionally, IAs with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree do not receive a pay raise.

Instructional assistants should contact John Groat to include this initiative as part of AFSCME negotiations. Teacher work schedules are determined through negotiations between the Board of Education and the Education Association of Charles County (EACC). Instructional assistant schedules are governed through negotiations between the Board of Education and AFSCME. 

If an instructional assistant earned an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, they are responsible for contacting the Office of Human Resources to provide documentation so that additional pay can be assessed.

Raises for staff are necessary, but the Board should also explore other ways to help employees balance work life, such as compressed schedules, alternative work locations and also use current employees to fill openings. Conditional contracts are not necessary when CCPS has employees who can fill teaching vacancies. The new employee orientation process was also discussed and town hall participants voiced concerns over too much information being provided up front to new staff.

Office of Human Resources staff launched a strategic initiative in December 2017 that includes a comprehensive review of employee orientation processes to make improvements. Human Resources staff evaluate all applicants for available positions, a process that includes exploring the use of current employees who meet criteria and have the necessary qualifications and work experiences for available positions.

New technologies present challenges for some staff. Staff members and others who moderate trainings move too fast for those who need additional time to process information, especially when demonstrating how to use new computer applications and programs.

Learning about a new technology can be challenging for anyone, especially those needing more time to process what he or she learns. The concern and feedback received from staff at the Town Hall will be used to plan for future technology training sessions where we can remind those presenting to allow for more processing time.  As a reminder, facilitators may not always know they are going too fast so as best practice, employees should ask questions during the sessions and complete the end of training survey. The survey is a good place to ask follow-up questions or get extra help from the instructor. Employees should also let their supervisor and/or school administrators know of an interest in follow-up training. 

CCPS staff also are looking into providing alternative training options such as web-based training where participants can learn at their own pace. CCPS staff plan to incorporate additional time when planning future professional development opportunities. The next training for instructional assistants is scheduled for April 25.  The topic will be technology and participants will be able to select the topic they are most interested in learning more about. Time will be built into the sessions for practice and implementation by the participants.

Has the Board of Education and CCPS thought of developing a set of conduct guidelines when dealing with parents? Often times parents are disrespectful of school staff and get out of control. Staff are looking for policies or rules that outline guidance for staff when parents become problematic or threatening.

Any CCPS employee who encounters an issue with a parent, student, volunteer, colleague or any other school visitor should immediately contact a school administrator or department supervisor for assistance. School resource officers can be utilized in helping staff to work with problematic visitors or conflict situations. Staff members are encouraged to immediately ask for assistance from a school administrator or the resource officer if they are ever in a situation where they feel unsafe and/or threatened.

There is still concern among IAs of their use as substitutes. Many work in specialized programs and when they are pulled, it hurts student progress. Additionally, students are not respectful to substitutes and when IAs substitute, they have no access to Synergy to take attendance. Some schools allow IAs Synergy access while subbing, and others do not provide access. They are not able to take attendance because they cannot access the new system, and are not able to complete referrals in the system due to no access. Substitute coverage is lacking in certain schools because of continuous behavior issues.

All instructional assistants have access to a Synergy password that should be utilized when taking attendance. CCPS staff continuously meet to discuss ways to improve the recruitment and retention of quality substitute teachers. In the past year, Office of Human Resources staff improved substitute training, increased substitute pay and offered an incentive for teachers to substitute on their planning time. Students, however, must have a quality “teacher” when staff is out. Instructional assistants are often the best person to provide a quality day of instruction even though staff are aware of the conflict it causes. Principals have been instructed to rotate the coverage schedule so no one instructional assistant is relied upon more often than others. In addition, CCPS executive staff are meeting with principals to discuss the needs of a regionalized program. In the future, substituting will be part of the essential job functions when instructional assistants are hired.

Temporary IAs are not given years of service credit. When a temporary employee, such as an instructional assistant, is hired in a permanent position with CCPS, they are not given credit for their temporary service.

Currently, temporary instructional assistants are receiving credit for years of service as a temporary IA.  This practice was changed a few years ago therefore staff should call the Office of Human Resources with specific questions about their salary levels.

Secretarial staff present at the meeting expressed concern over the lack of support in school main offices, and the need for additional secretaries. Students are reportedly sent to school main offices with behavioral issues and there is not enough staff to monitor these students and manage the phones, visitors, teachers in need of help, etc.

At the end of each school year, CCPS staff review the needs of each school, building and center to determine needs for additional supports. Through an extensive staffing process, staff determine additional needs for the coming school year and work to ensure all schools, centers and buildings are equally staffed to support projected student enrollments and staff member totals. At any time throughout the school year, school administrators and department supervisors can submit requests for additional staff needs through the Applitrack system. In order to ensure equity among schools and departments, a CCPS staffing committee reviews all requests.

Support staff are concerned about their ability to attend meetings for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Staff questioned what the AFSCME union does for them and what members should value.

Most support staff members are eligible to join AFSCME and pay required dues; however, the negotiated agreement between AFSCME and the Board of Education applies to all CCPS support staff employees. A copy of the negotiated agreement in place for the current school year, 2017-18, is posted on the CCPS website at AFSCME members who pay dues are eligible to attend monthly meetings held after work hours and participate in discussion among members.

Support staff members who are interested in learning more about AFSCME, including how the union uses paid dues to support its functions, should contact John Groat, AFSCME president, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. AFSCME board members are volunteers and not permitted to conduct union business during their work hours. Interested support staff members can learn more about AFSCME at

IAs who work in Title I schools are required to have additional training, including an associate’s degree or a ParaProfessional certification, but are paid the same as employees in the same position at non-Title I schools.

There is no pay differential for teachers or instructional assistants working in Title 1 schools.  Instructional Assistants are eligible for pay increases if they receive advanced degrees or pass the ParaProfessional exam.

Safety concerns were raised among maintenance and operations staff who travel from building to building and are not aware of possible lockdowns or other safety situations.

Maintenance and operations staff have been advised to check in at the main office as their point of access into a building instead of entering a side or back entrance with their swipe access cards. This ensures they will know whether a building is under a lockdown or conducting a drill. 

Technology staff, including computer analysts (CAs), are not paid enough and the department experiences constant turnover. Staff with technology backgrounds often leave for better paying jobs. This is problematic because there is constant training of new staff and current CAs are required to handle new training while managing ongoing equipment repairs, help desk requests and demonstration of technology in classrooms for staff who are not aware of how to use it.

The CCPS technology department has addressed pay issues among staff by creating leveled positions. The department has Computer Analyst I, Computer Analyst II, Computer Analyst III, Network Engineer, Network Engineer II and Lead Network Engineer positions to enable for growth within the department. The technology department also employs computer interns to assist computer analysts who are assigned to support multiple schools. Technology staff is currently working with the Office of Human Resources to evaluate current pay scales for positions.