Charles County’s students’ scores increased on Advanced Placement (AP) exams; decreased on the SAT; and remained flat on the ACT, according to data released this week by the College Board and ACT, Inc.

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) average score on AP exams rose 8.5 percent, up from 2.23 in 2014 to 2.42 in 2015. It is the first significant increase in the past five years. “Taking Advanced Placement classes in high school is one of the best ways to prepare our students for future study and success. AP classes are the most rigorous, and we encourage students to take the courses as a way to challenge themselves,” Superintendent Kimberly Hill said. County AP results are available at http://www.ccboe.com/aboutus/2015CountyAP.pdf.

While the number of students taking the SAT increased, average scores decreased. The average score for the class of 2015 was 1,445, down from 1,462 in 2014. State averages also declined. Participation countywide increased from 613 in 2014 to 742 in 2015, a 4.8 percent gain.  Students’ average score on the critical reading section is 490; the average math score is 487; and the average writing score is 468.

The SAT is used by many colleges as part of an admissions process and designed to demonstrate a student’s mastery of certain subjects. Only scores for graduating seniors are included in the 2015 report. Students in the Class of 2015 were offered more than $62 million in scholarships. SAT results for 2015 college-bound seniors are posted on the CCPS website at http://www.ccboe.com/PDF/testscores/sat2015.pdf.

A growing number of colleges are also using college readiness scores from the ACT, the nation’s other major college readiness exam, for admission. Statewide, the ACT has been making dramatic gains in participation, and CCPS is following the trend, Hill said. CCPS students have increased participation on the ACT during the past several years, and for the past three years, more students took the ACT than the SAT. In 2015, 923 students took the ACT, compared to 915 in 2014 and 782 in 2013. Many students take both the SAT and ACT. CCPS scores on the ACT remained flat. Students’ 2015 ACT composite score was 19.6, down from 19.7 in 2014 and up from 19.3 in 2013. The ACT tests in four areas: English, reading, science and mathematics. ACT results are available at http://www.ccboe.com/aboutus/ACT2015data.pdf.

Charles County Public Schools provides 25,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 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 will host more than 150 colleges and universities at its eighteenth annual Charles County College Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 16, at North Point High School. The fair is open to the public from 6 to 8 p.m. High school juniors and seniors attend the event during the school day as part of the school system’s career readiness goal in the five-year plan.

Students are transported from school by bus and are able to speak with representatives and gather information from participating colleges. Students wishing to attend the fair during the school day must submit a signed permission slip to their school’s college and career advisor.

Community members are encouraged to bring their children to the public session. Two financial aid workshops will be held, one at 6:15 p.m. and one at 7:15 p.m., for parents and students to learn about the financial aid application process. There is no cost to attend the event. For more information, call your child’s school or 301-934-7334.

A list of local scholarships, including a link to Maryland colleges and universities, is also available on the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) website at www.ccboe.com, under the students section.

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 36 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, Sheriff Troy Berry and members of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office reminded St. Charles High School student drivers this morning that “We Care” about their safety and their driving.

St. Charles student drivers were greeted Sept. 2 by their principal, the superintendent and the sheriff who passed out flyers 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 to drive safely,” St. Charles Principal Rick Conley told students as they drove into the parking lot. Hill reminded students of the dangers of texting and driving as she handed each student a flyer with the rules of the road. “We want you to be safe,” she told drivers.

Working together, the school system and sheriff’s office developed the We Care campaign to engage students in conversation about safe driving. We Care promotes safe driving through a series of checkpoints in school parking lots and school assemblies and other activities. “Students are at the core of the campaign’s success; they create posters, develop public service announcements and help coordinate other special events,” Berry said. Since 2008, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and the sheriff’s office have greeted high school drivers back to school with reminders about driving safely. The program is credited with reducing teen fatalities 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.

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 36 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.

 

St. Charles High School Principal Rick Conley reminds student drivers of the rules of the road and encourages them to drive safely.
St. Charles High School Principal Rick Conley reminds student drivers of the rules of the road and encourages them to drive safely.

The Board of Education’s next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 8 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 – St. Charles 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’s update
  • Opening of schools
  • Summer school
  • Project status update
  • Solar update
  • FY 2015 Comprehensive maintenance plan
  • Teacher Academy of Maryland
  • Staffing update
  • Social media policy

Unfinished business

New business and Future agenda items

  • New business
  • Future agenda items

Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items

  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • FY 2017 CIP state and local improvements program
  • 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 36 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.

Board of Education, county and community officials recently reviewed capital improvement projects during a bus tour highlighting repair work at county schools.

Superintendent Kimberly Hill hosted the morning tour on Aug. 20 to provide information about Charles County Public Schools’ (CCPS) Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and to share how projects are funded through multiple sources.

First stop was at T.C. Martin Elementary School, a 570-student school that opened in 1967 and expanded in 2009 to include four new full-day kindergarten classrooms. Parking lot renovations completed this summer streamlined student and bus drop-off areas and provided bus and permanent parking spots. CCPS also completed installation of new playground equipment this month.

Tour guide and CCPS Supervisor of Planning and Construction David Clements talked about the student population growth and special program needs. He said CCPS has the third fastest growing special education population in the state, creating a need for more specialized classrooms to accommodate programs.

Clements highlighted two large projects in the predesign stage – the renovation and expansion of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School in Waldorf and the planned construction of Elementary School 22 off of Billingsley Road. Construction of the new school, Clements said, will relieve overcrowding of nearby elementary schools on the west side of U.S. 301 and the renovation of Dr. Mudd will update the school, which opened in 1967, while adding capacity to help relieve overcrowding in some Waldorf schools east of U.S. 301.

Dr. Mudd has been passed over for renovation during the past decade due to new school construction. The school system began to shift its focus from new construction in 2013 when it contracted a facilities study to compile data about school capacity, student enrollment, physical building conditions, mechanical system conditions and site characteristics. The purpose of the survey was to assess the physical condition of each school building to determine its ability to provide students with an equitable and modern educational program.

The school system is working with the county to develop a long-range building program to address growth while renovating and expanding aging schools. Projects like those underway at Gale-Bailey Elementary School and Benjamin Stoddert Middle School are part of a strategy to move school facility improvements forward through alternate funding sources while reducing future financial burdens on the county. CCPS hopes to improve a school every three to four years in addition to major state and local CIP projects.

Stoddert was the second stop on the tour. The school opened in 1976 and is recommended for renovation and expansion within a decade. Clements said CCPS is using various funding sources to make upgrades that can be incorporated in a larger renovation, reducing future renovation costs. At Stoddert, the hallways are brighter due to a 2014 Energy Efficiency Initiative (EEI) lighting retrofit. EEI is funded through the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) and SMECO rebates. Retrofitting reduces the annual maintenance on the lights and generates savings of approximately $20,000 per school per year. Additionally, at Stoddert, a gymnasium renovation included the new EEI lighting, bleacher replacements, painting, and replacement of the flooring surface. Future renovations include installation of new energy efficient heating and air conditioning equipment to replace original equipment.

At Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School in Waldorf, improvements include the addition of five full-day kindergarten classrooms, including two with special education facilities, EEI lighting retrofits, replacement of an aging underground fuel tank, rooftop HVAC units and boilers.

The Maryland State Department of Education and Board of Public Works have approved acquisition of land off Billingsley Road for a new elementary school along with approval of the planning process. The school now moves to the design stage with expectation of opening in 2018.

The final bus stop was at Gale-Bailey in Marbury. Opened in 1969, Gale-Bailey is an example of the CCPS Planning and Construction and Maintenance departments working to gradually improve a school using multiple funding sources.

Included in Gale-Bailey’s improvements are a 2009 kindergarten addition and partial renovation funded by state and local CIPs. CCPS funded new kitchen service lines and flooring coupled with cafeteria improvements that include a modernized food service area and equipment with State Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) and the CCPS capital maintenance budget. QZAB provides federal funds for capital improvements and repairs at existing schools where at least 35 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Additionally, QZAB funds provided for a new sanitary system meeting updated environmental standards and CCPS will use operating and maintenance funds to replace the roof and rooftop air conditioning units later this school year. EEI funds will be used to retrofit lights this school year.

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 36 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) officially starts the 2015-16 school year on Monday, Aug. 31 as students in grades kindergarten through 12 report back to the classroom. Teachers at 36 schools will welcome back more than 26,000 students. CCPS has a back to school page on the school system website, http://www.ccboe.com/backtoschool2015.php that includes important information for students and parents.

To prepare for the first day of school for students, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill sent a welcome message on Aug. 28 to all parents and staff to highlight the start of another year of teaching and learning. Dr. Hill is also hosting a live Twitter chat next Thursday, Sept. 3, from 4 to 5 p.m. in which parents, students, staff and the general community can offer feedback on the first week of school.

To participate in the chat, follow CCPS on Twitter @CCPS or at https://twitter.com/ccps and use the hash tag #ccpschat in your message. CCPS plans to use Twitter chats throughout the school year to provide another outlet for community engagement.

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 36 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.

 

Thomas Stone High School was recently named a 2015 School of the Year award recipient by the Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE) at Stevenson University. Schools are selected for recognition based on their efforts to promote ethical values and a caring school community, fostering students’ self-motivation, and engaging school staff, families and community members to help with character-building efforts.

In place at Stone is Cougar PRIDE which serves as the foundation of the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program that implements character education principles into the school community. Cougar PRIDE is the standard in which the school community conducts activities and focuses on five principal characteristics: prepared, respectful, involved, diligent and eco-friendly. To help promote positive ethical values and good character, the Stone community highlights a different core value monthly to highlight character education. These values include responsibility, respect, gratitude, caring, perseverance, unity, integrity, service and citizenship and are incorporated into schoolwide activities.

Another part of Cougar PRIDE is providing students with opportunities to serve their community. Students often visit nearby elementary and middle schools to talk with and read to students and serve as mentors to younger learners. Last year, Stone students worked together to create a vegetable garden at the school and design a new court yard area. Students and staff also support several community organizations such as Relay for Life with the goal of having a positive impact in the lives of others. Stone hosts a Fall Festival coordinated by students in which the school is decorated with festive items and children can collect candy in a fun environment.

Additionally, Stone launched a Cougar of Courage social media campaign using Twitter to highlight students who are self-motivated, excel in academics and display exceptional character. The campaign featured photos of teachers and the students they nominated for recognition, and helped to encourage other students to model positive behavior. Students also receive Cougar Paw Points for demonstrating good character, which are entered into weekly drawings for prizes.

This is not the first time Stone has been honored by the MCCE for its character education efforts. In 2012, the school received a School of the Year designation and received a School of Character honorable mention award in 2011. In 2010, the MCCE honored Stone with an Emerging School of Character award and in 2009, Stone received the Maryland School of Character award.

Stone will be recognized during an awards program scheduled for Oct. 8 at Stevenson University and will receive a School of the Year banner and certificate of recognition. The Maryland Schools of Character awards program is sponsored collaboratively through the MCCE, the Character Education Partnership and the Maryland State Department of Education. For more information on character education, visit http://www.mdctrcharacter.org/.

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 36 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.

Christine Wang, a freshman at La Plata High School, is the overall winner of the 2015 Charles County Fair art contest. Her artwork will be displayed as the cover of the upcoming Charles County Fair Guide. She was chosen last month as this year’s winner by the Charles County Fair Board and Charles County Public Schools.

The following students were also named overall winners at their grade level in the art contest for their artwork produced during the 2014-15 school year.

  • Emilee Belmore, kindergarten, St. Mary’s Bryantown;
  • Alison Miller, first grade, T.C. Martin Elementary School;
  • Tabitha Greer, second grade, Martin;
  • Daisy Rojas, third grade, Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School;
  • Peyton Lauterborn, fourth grade, Martin;
  • Corrine Mahaffey, fifth grade, Martin;
  • Samira Stringer, sixth grade, Somers;
  • Christina Walker, seventh grade, Somers;
  • Quinn Duffy, eighth grade, Somers;
  • Erika Bowman, sophomore, St. Charles High School;
  • Cole Carpenter, junior, North Point High School;
  • Eve Moten, senior, North Point; and
  • Nathaniel Weavill, 2015 North Point graduate.

The 2015 Charles County Fair is Sept. 17-20 at the fairgrounds located in La Plata. For more information on the fair, visit http://www.charlescountyfair.com/.

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 36 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.

Several Charles County public schools were honored by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) on Friday, Aug. 14, for their Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. PBIS programs incorporate school activities that focus on creating safer and more effective schools. Program elements include reinforcement of desirable behavior, use of tangible and social reinforcements, and clear and consistent response to behavioral violations.

School-based PBIS teams are supported by school system coaches, usually school psychologists, who have expertise in functional behavioral assessment and system change. MSDE awards PBIS schools with one of three awards: Gold, Silver or Bronze.

Twenty eight schools received a Gold PBIS award:

  • C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School;
  • Berry Elementary School;
  • Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School;
  • William A. Diggs Elementary School;
  • Gale-Bailey Elementary School;
  • Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School;
  • Indian Head Elementary School;
  • Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School;
  • Malcolm Elementary School;
  • Mary H. Matula Elementary School;
  • Arthur Middleton Elementary School;
  • Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School;
  • Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School;
  • Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School;
  • J.C. Parks Elementary School;
  • J.P. Ryon Elementary School;
  • Eva Turner Elementary School;
  • William B. Wade Elementary School;
  • Theodore G. Davis Middle School;
  • John Hanson Middle School;
  • Matthew Henson Middle School;
  • Mattawoman Middle School;
  • Piccowaxen Middle School;
  • General Smallwood Middle School;
  • Milton M. Somers Middle School;
  • Benjamin Stoddert Middle School;
  • North Point High School; and
  • Thomas Stone High School.

T.C. Martin Elementary and Maurice J. McDonough High schools received a Silver PBIS award, and Dr. James Craik Elementary School and the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center received a Bronze award.

Schools are nominated by their school system for the awards. Each school undergoes an on-site visit by members of the Maryland PBIS leadership team. Schools are evaluated using the systems evaluation tool (SET) and benchmarks of quality standards set by MSDE through interviews with school staff and students, and an overall determination of how well the school implements critical features of the program. Gold awards are the highest level award a school or center can receive.

Schools are eligible for PBIS awards if they have an active administration, have a PBIS team that meets monthly, have submitted required forms on time and have collected and reviewed program data and results. Schools are also evaluated on data showing improvement and achievement as a result of the program, and documentation supporting the implementation of PBIS activities in the school.

For more information on PBIS programs, visit the MSDE website at http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/studentschoolsvcs/student_services_alt/PBIS/.

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 36 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 2015-16 school year officially begins on Monday, Aug. 31 for students in grades kindergarten through 12. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) expects to welcome more than 26,500 students this school year. Students enrolled in the prekindergarten and three-year-old programs start back on Tuesday, Sept.8. CCPS staff and teachers are preparing for the start of another school year and are finalizing services and programs for students and parents.

Register your child for school

Registration is currently taking place at all schools. Parents will need the following information in order to register their child for school:

  • A physical examination by a physician or a certified practitioner (completed between nine months prior to and six months after entering school).
  • Proof of required immunizations – a list of required immunizations for students is available on the CCPS website at http://www.ccboe.com/community/parents/health/vrequirments.php.
  • Proof that the student has completed the grade prior to the one in which the parent is seeking enrollment, such as a report card marked promoted.
  • Child’s birth certificate or other acceptable proof of birth (e.g. passport/visa; physician’s certificate; baptismal or church certification; hospital certificate; or birth registration).
  • Two proofs of domicile (address) – a list of acceptable proofs is posted on the CCPS website at http://www.ccboe.com/community/parents/register.php.

Updated vaccination requirements for some students

Maryland law requires students to have minimum immunization levels to attend school. The number of vaccines required depends on the age and grade of the child. Required vaccines include DPT, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, Hib, Prevnar, Tdap and meningococcal. Last school year, the Maryland State Health Department added additional requirements for kindergarten students and students entering seventh grade. For the 2015-16 school year, all kindergarten and first-grade students are required to have two doses of the varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine, and all seventh and eighth graders must have a Tdap and meningococcal vaccines. Students can receive all required vaccines at their physician’s office.

Students can be admitted to school without completed immunizations, but have to show proof of an appointment occurring within 20 calendar days. Students without updated immunizations must show proof of an appointment occurring no later than Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Questions about vaccines can be directed to the school nurse or to a physician.

Bus hotline

The school system is sponsoring a bus hotline for parents to call with questions about bus routes. The hotline can be reached at 301-932-6655, and is available on Aug. 27-28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parents can access bus route information through the School Locator feature available on the CCPS website at http://schoollocator.ccboe.com/.

Free breakfast

For one week only, CCPS is offering free breakfast for all students. The universal free breakfast is scheduled for the week of Sept. 7 and will include meals with cereal, milk and assorted fruit. The free breakfast week is a celebration of the success of the CCPS breakfast program, which has grown from serving 3,000 students per day in 2010 to 9,000 per day in 2014. “It’s extremely important that students have an opportunity to eat breakfast,” said Sylvia Lawson, assistant superintendent of school administration. The free breakfast week is intended to expand students’ exposure to the program.

Orientation events for schools

All schools are hosting orientations during the week of August 24 for new and returning students. A complete list is posted under the Charles County Public Schools press releases section at http://www.ccboe.com/pr/student-orientations-planned-for-schools-3/. Contact the specific school for additional information.

Lunch prices increase by $.10

Lunch prices for all students increased by $.10 this school year. There is no change in the cost of breakfast for students this year. For elementary school students, lunch is $2.55 and breakfast is $1.25. For middle and high school students, lunch is $2.80 and breakfast is $1.40. Menus are available at all schools, and on the CCPS website at http://www.ccboe.com/meals/meals.php. The school system uses a cafeteria prepayment system called MyPaymentsPlus, which is a secure, Internet-based system that allows parents to deposit funds electronically on their child’s cafeteria account. Visit https://mypaymentsplus.com/default.aspx for more information.

2015-16 Parent Handbook/Calendar

Students and staff will receive a copy of the 2015-16 Parent Handbook/Calendar during the first week of school. The calendar is available on the Charles County Public Schools website at http://www.ccboe.com/PDF/calendar/1516calendar.pdf. Requests for additional copies will be honored the first week of September.

We Care program kick-off

School resource officers at each of Charles County’s seven public high schools are helping to launch the “We Care” program on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The program is a safe driving initiative for teens by teens with guidance from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and CCPS. Police officers will be on hand at each high school Sept. 2 to distribute safety flyers to all student drivers. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill and Sheriff Troy Berry will greet student drivers at St. Charles High School Sept. 2 as they arrive at school.

We Care was officially launched eight years ago following a series of car crashes that took the lives of nine teenagers in Charles County.  The campaign continues to engage students in conversation about safe driving while promoting safety through a series of checkpoints in school parking lots and other activities.

Board of Education forums

The Board of Education has scheduled community engagement forums to provide parents and community members with school system information and to solicit information about community values, concerns and goals for the school system.

A Town Hall is set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 28, at St. Charles High School in the cafeteria. Board members and Charles County Public Schools staff will be available to accept comments and answer questions from the audience.

Two public forums are scheduled next school year for the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary community. Dr. Mudd is scheduled for a complete renovation starting in the 2016-17 school year. The school system will temporarily relocate students during construction. Parents and the community will learn about the renovations, improvements to the schools and plans for students during construction. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions during the forum.

Dr. Mudd forums are scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 14, and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The Board will hold both forums at Dr. Mudd.

SMAC piloting divisional play this fall

The Southern Maryland Athletic Conference (SMAC) is piloting divisional play across all sports starting this fall. There will be two divisions – the Chesapeake and Potomac divisions. The winner of each division will be the school with the best record among other schools in their division. If two schools in a division have similar records, they will compete against each other to break the tie. In sports such as field hockey, soccer, baseball and lacrosse, divisional champions will play each other to determine a conference champion before any state play-off game. In sports such as track and field and swimming, conference champions will continue to be determined at a culminating event for all SMAC schools.

The pilot divisional play allows for all schools in the conference to play against each other which results in one conference champion. The pilot period is for two years and may be adjusted based on feedback from the SMAC Board of Control.

Science Center hosting Back to School bash Sept. 18

The James E. Richmond Science Center, located on the St. Charles High School campus, is hosting a Back to School bash on Friday, Sept. 18. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and each ticket holder can experience three movies in the digital dome theater. Choices include Big Bird’s Adventure: One World, One Sky; Accidental Astronauts; Perfect Little Planet and Dinosaur Passage to Pangaea. Hands-on activities will be featured in the discovery lab from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit http://www.ccboe.com/sciencecenter/back-to-school/ for more information and to purchase tickets.

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 36 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.