Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and the Charles County Department of Health successfully worked to ensure most CCPS students were able to meet the state’s immunization requirements by Monday’s deadline.

CCPS students had until today to get immunized or be excluded from school. As of this morning, 11 CCPS students had not provided proof of immunization. State law requires all students receive specific vaccinations by the 20th day of school or be excluded from school until they receive all required vaccinations. This year, the state required additional vaccinations for both kindergarten and seventh-grade students.

At the beginning of September, more than 700 CCPS students were missing proofs of vaccination. During the past month, CCPS and the Health Department provided additional opportunities for students to receive vaccinations including free clinics and transportation to clinics. Last week, schools and school system staff personally contacted families of students who were still missing updated shot records.

“I am so appreciative of the monumental efforts of our staff and the Health Department that resulted in only 11 students who are out of compliance today. When you talk about a commitment to keeping kids in school, our school nurses, pupil personnel workers and school staffs showed extraordinary dedication to helping students receive the required vaccinations,” Superintendent Kimberly Hill said.

The Maryland State Department of Education on Monday notified school districts that they could apply for a waiver to the 20-day temporary enrollment rule; however, only school systems with more than 250 students out of compliance were eligible for the waiver.

The Health Department is offering another free vaccination clinic this afternoon from 3-5 p.m.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

 

 

The Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously voted to increase grade and attendance requirements for students participating in extracurricular activities and athletics.

The new requirements take effect next school year, but students’ grades the second semester of this school year will impact their eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities in the fall of 2015. The new rules require students to maintain a 2.25 grade-point average with no failing “F” grades to participate in any extracurricular activity, including sports. Additionally, students may not be absent more than 9.5 days in the previous semester.

The change raises the standards from a 2.0 grade-point average and takes effect with the 2015-16 school year. Incoming ninth graders are no longer automatically eligible to participate in fall sports or clubs the first semester; the student’s second semester grades in eighth grade will determine eligibility. Students promoted from fifth to sixth grade are automatically eligible to participate the first semester.

Currently, students must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 2.0 and receive no more than one failing grade per quarter in order to participate in extracurricular activities.

The Board also approved the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Eligibility for fall extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s second semester grade-point average at the end of the previous year.
  • Eligibility for winter extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s second semester grade-point average at the end of the previous year.
  • Eligibility for spring extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s first semester grade-point average.
  • If a student receives a failing grade in any quarter, they are ineligible for the remainder of the season and semester. Students cannot gain eligibility at interim.
  • Any student who receives a failing grade for the semester is ineligible for participation for the following semester.
  • Students academically ineligible at the end of the second semester cannot regain eligibility by enrolling in summer school.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

More than 200 people took a trip to the moon Saturday night at the James E. Richmond Science Center’s sold out International Observe the Moon night.

Moon night was the debut community event for the Science Center, which opened in late August at St. Charles High School. Moon night observers toured the Earth’s nearest neighbor in the digital dome classroom and examined it up close on the center’s six-foot diameter Science On a Sphere. Outside the dome, children created the moon’s phases using Oreo cookies, designed space patches and launched hand-made rockets.

International Observe the Moon night was the first in a series of special events planned at the Science Center this fall. “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure,” a 25-minute show featuring Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky, is now showing through October on Monday through Thursdays at 4:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and all first and third Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 12 p.m. The show also includes a 20-minute planetary tour and is suitable for all ages. Tickets are required; cost is $10 for adults, $8 for children, seniors and military; and children three and younger are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.ccboe.com/sciencecenter/.

Next up is Science Stories, a family story series that explores the science behind folklore and combines storytelling with a digital dome sky presentation. Geraldine Buckley, an award-winning storyteller and educator, will present mythical stories, modern stories and poems about the change of the seasons, the night sky and the constellations. The event is Saturday, Sept. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and show times are 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Learn more about the event on the Science Center website, http://www.ccboe.com/sciencecenter/.

Other upcoming events include:

  • A fall festival featuring a special one-night screening of ‘Super Volcanoes” on Saturday, Oct.18, from 5 to 7pm.; and
  • Flight Night, featuring the movie “Dream to Fly” along with an audience with aviators from 5 to 7 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The James E. Richmond Science Center contains a state-of-the art digital dome classroom, a discovery lab and Science On a Sphere. It offers a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) resources for all Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students and teachers as well as family events on weekends and evenings.

The center allows students to study the impacts of the environment, such as storms, climate change and ocean currents, on Earth and the atmosphere.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

 

The Board of Education on Tuesday plans to vote on a proposal that would increase grade and attendance requirements for students participating in extracurricular activities and athletics.

If approved, students must maintain a 2.25 grade-point average with no failing “F” grades to participate in any extracurricular activity, including sports. Additionally, students may not be absent more than 9.5 days in the first semester. The proposal raises the standards from a 2.0 grade-point average and would take effect with the 2015-16 school year. Incoming ninth graders would no longer be automatically eligible to participate in fall sports or clubs the first semester; however, students promoted from fifth to sixth grade would automatically be eligible to participate the first semester.

Currently, students must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 2.0 and receive no more than one failing grade per quarter in order to participate in extracurricular activities.

The Board is also considering the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Eligibility for fall extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s second semester grade-point average at the end of the previous year.
  • Eligibility for winter extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s second semester grade-point average at the end of the previous year.
  • Eligibility for spring extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s first semester grade-point average.
  • If a student receives a failing grade in any quarter, they are ineligible for the remainder of the season and semester. Students cannot gain eligibility at interim.
  • Any student who receives a failing grade for the semester is ineligible for participation for the following semester.
  • Students academically ineligible at the end of the second semester cannot regain eligibility by enrolling in summer school.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

 

 

 

La Plata High School students recently journeyed through history to help Charles County celebrate the March from Benedict and the War of 1812.

Theater students Andrew Keelan, Kacy Baldwin, Matt Neel, Marissa Keith and Baylen Caldwell re-enacted the Wedding of 1812 during the Celebrate Charles: March from Benedict weekend held Aug. 30 at Maxwell Hall. Students acted out the authentic, simple wedding ceremony of Dicandia Ireland Smith and Clement Dorsey on the steps of Maxwell Hall.

Students researched and rehearsed their characters and were fitted over the summer for authentic period costumes. The bride and groom, played by Keith and Keelan, also had their portraits painted by local artist Nicole Stewart. Organizers hung the wedding portraits in the entrance room at Maxwell Hall.

Baldwin portrayed William Hammond Dorsey, brother of the groom; Neel presided over the ceremony as the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Contee, rector of Trinity Parish from nearby Oldfields Chapel; and Caldwell played Rachel Keech, the wife of Philemon Keech, the purchaser of Maxwell Hall in 1812. Michael Callahan, environmental education assistant at the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Center, was the narrator for the re-enactment.

A local representative of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 approached La Plata social studies teacher Michael Mazzeo to help coordinate the wedding re-enactment; Jennifer Joyner, theater teacher, recommended and worked with the students.

This event was part of The War of 1812 Bicentennial, A Star Spangled Celebration during the Celebrate Charles: March from Benedict weekend. The Crossroads of Hughesville Garden Club, the Ella Houck Holloway Chapter – Maryland State Society U.S. Daughters of 1812, and the La Plata High School Theater Class, presented the re-enactment.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

The Lifelong Learning Center, which offers adult education programs to Charles County community members, is now located at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center in Pomfret. The fall session begins on Tuesday, Sept. 9 and most classes available through the Lifelong Learning Center will be held in Building A on the Stethem campus.

The new address is Lifelong Learning Center, Building A, 7775 Marshall Corner Road, Pomfret, MD 20675. The Lifelong Learning Center was moved this summer from its longtime Waldorf location due to fire damage to the building. Community members can reach Lifelong Learning Center staff by calling 301-753-1774 or 301-645-4549.

The Center offers General Education Development (GED) preparation, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, Citizenship and Civics classes. Additional programs include the National Adult External High School Diploma. Some classes are offered in partnership with the Judy Centers and for students 16 and older who have withdrawn from school.

Classes are held throughout the day and evening and on-site childcare is available. More information about the programs offered at the Lifelong Learning Center is available on the Charles County Public Schools website at http://www.ccboe.com/schools/lifelong.php.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

 

The Board of Education’s next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 9, 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 – Westlake High School

Superintendent’s update to the Board

Reports of officers/boards/committees

  • Correspondence/board member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • Student board member’s update
  • Opening of schools
  • Summer school
  • Visitor management system
  • Capital Improvement Program (CIP) update
  • Report item: FY 2014 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan
  • Computer science
  • Legislative update

Unfinished business

New business and Future agenda items

  • New business – FY 2016 State and Local Capital Improvement Projects
  • Future agenda items

Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items

  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • FY 2015 CIP state and local CIP program
  • Policies 5161.1
  • Athletic eligibility grade-point average
  • Recurring resolutions: American Education Week; American Freedom Week; African-American History Month; Career and Technology Education Month; Gifted and Talented Education Month; National School Counseling Week; Read Across America; Women’s History Month; Fine and Performing Arts Month; Month of the Young Child; National Student Leadership Week; Teacher Appreciation Week; Administrative Professionals Week; Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week; National Physical Education and Sport Week; Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leader; Charles County Teacher of the Year; Employees Retirement; and Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award.

Adjournment

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

The state health department is requiring kindergarten and seventh-grade students to get additional vaccinations this school year. Failure to receive the immunizations or provide proof of updated shot records by Sept. 15 could lead to the exclusion of students from school.

Charles County Public Schools kindergarten students are now required to have two doses of the Varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine and seventh graders must have one dose of the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough) and one dose of the Meningitis (MCV4/Meningococcal) vaccine. These are new requirements for the 2014-15 school year from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and updated shot records for these students must be provided to the school within the first 20 calendar days of the school year.

The 20-day calendar rule is required by law under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). By law, if proof of immunization (an updated shot record) is not provided to the school by Monday, Sept. 15, students will be suspended. Students will be reinstated once proof of the new vaccinations is received.

Students can receive the new vaccinations from their physician. The Charles County Department of Health is also hosting vaccination clinics on Thursday, Sept. 4 and Thursday, Sept. 11, both from 3 to 7 p.m., to provide students in kindergarten and seventh grades with new vaccinations required this school year.

The Charles County Department of Health is located at 4545 Crain Highway, White Plains, Md., 20695. Appointments for either clinic are preferred and can be made by calling the Health Department at 301-609-6900, ext. 6018. Parents attending the clinics should bring a copy of their child’s shot record.

These are in addition to the already required vaccines of DTaP, polio, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), chickenpox (Varicella), hepatitis B, Hib and prevnar.

The MCV4 vaccination protects students from certain meningococcal bacteria that can lead to meningitis or sepsis. After students are initially vaccinated before seventh grade, an additional booster shot is recommended at age 16. Typically, MCV4 is a required vaccination for college/university students; however the State Department of Health has found it necessary for students age eleven and older to receive these vaccinations.

As for Tdap, the original vaccination received in early childhood for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (DTaP) wears off; therefore a supplemental booster shot is suggested at age eleven for continued protection against the bacteria that causes these diseases.

Parents with questions about the vaccinations should contact their child’s physician or the nurse at their child’s school.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

Superintendent Kimberly Hill, and members of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office reminded La Plata High School student drivers this morning that “We Care” about their safety and their driving.

La Plata High School student drivers were greeted Aug. 29 by their principal, the superintendent and officers who passed out fliers reminding the teens of driving rules and driving safety. Across the county, school resource officers also stopped and passed out safe driving flyers to student drivers.

“We care about you and we want you here,” La Plata Principal Evelyn Arnold told students as they drove into the parking lot. Hill reminded students of the dangers of texting and driving as she handed each a flyer with the rules of the road. “We want you to be safe,” she told drivers.

“Seven years ago, well before you were old enough to drive, a series of car crashes took the lives of nine teenagers in Charles County. This was a very sad and frustrating time in our community,” Hill and Sheriff Rex Coffey wrote in a message to students. Working together, the school system and sheriff’s office developed the We Care campaign to engage students in conversations about safe driving. We Care promotes safe driving through a series of checkpoints in school parking lots and school assemblies and other activities. Since 2008, Charles County Public Schools and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office have greeted high school drivers back to school with reminders about driving safely. The program is credited with reducing teen crash deaths in Charles County.

The school system and sheriff’s office plan to continue the “We Care” campaign throughout the year with various activities that keep teen driving safety in the forefront. School resource officers plan to do spot checks in school parking lots throughout the school year to ensure students are buckling up, limiting their passengers to those allowed by law and not texting or talking on cell phones while driving.

In previous years, the program has been highlighted at North Point, Thomas Stone, Westlake, Henry E. Lackey and Maurice J. McDonough high schools. The program was introduced today at the county’s newest high school, St. Charles.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) serves a variety of breakfast and lunch menu items for students at low costs for parents. For the 2014-15 school year, prices for elementary school students are $1.25 for breakfast and $2.45 for lunch. Middle and high school students can purchase breakfast for $1.40 and lunch for $2.70. Some students may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals and CCPS determines eligibility through income guidelines established by the federal government.

The reduced price for breakfast is $0.30 and $0.40 for lunch. All Charles County Public Schools students receive an application for free or reduced-price meals either at school or through the mail. Applications, including a Spanish version, are also available at each school. Families with more than one child attending CCPS only need to complete one application per household.

Applications should be sent directly to Charles County Public Schools, Department of Food Services, 5980 Radio Station Road, La Plata, Md., 20646. There is a 10 business day turn-around time for all applications once they are received by Food Services. School system staff review applications for eligibility and incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Additionally, all provided information may be checked for eligibility verification.

Approved applications are only valid for one school year and need to be resubmitted at the start of each new school year. Benefits for the 2013-14 school year end on Oct. 7 or when notification that benefits for 2014-15 have been approved. Parents can also apply at any time during the school year.

Questions about the application process and free or reduced-price meal benefits should be directed to the Department of Food Services at 301-392-5575.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.