Sonya Ford, a school counselor at Matthew Henson Middle School, was recently named a semifinalist for the 2015 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor of the Year award. Ford is one of 16 semifinalists chosen from school counselors nationwide. The awards program honors counselors who serve as student advocates, are innovative, contribute to student achievement and coordinate effective counseling programs.

In addition to the 16 semifinalists, the ASCA chose five finalists for the award. Earlier this year, Ford was selected to represent Maryland school counselors as the 2014 Maryland Middle School Counselor of the Year by the Maryland School Counselor Association. As a semifinalist for the national award, Ford will be recognized at the ASCA School Counselor of the Year gala in January.

Ford has been a counselor with Charles County Public Schools since 2008, and has worked with students at both the middle- and high-school levels. She started her career with the school system at North Point High School, and moved to Henson in 2012. As a counselor, Ford works with students on personal, academic and social goals, and career development. She develops and implements programs that build and support positive relationships, and a positive school climate. Ford also supports parental and community involvement by sending parent newsletters, managing both a girls mentoring and peer mediation program, and coordinating schoolwide events such as Career and College days.

Ford said she is honored to be named a semifinalist on the national level. “I am humbled and honored to be selected as one of the 16 semifinalists for the 2015 ASCA School Counselor of the Year. I do not take this honor lightly; I am representing all of the awesome school counselors in Charles County Public Schools and the great work we all do each day on behalf of the students we serve. My counseling team helps to make my job not a job, but a joy,” she said.

Ford’s selection as a national semifinalist is not the first recognition she has received for her work in school counseling. In addition to holding the 2014 Maryland Middle School Counselor of the Year title, Ford was nominated for the national award in 2011. She was also the Maryland Elementary School Counselor of the Year in 2004. Prior to joining Charles County Public Schools, Ford held school counseling positions in both Howard and Prince George’s counties.

Ford received a bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University in psychology and a master’s degree in school counseling from The Johns Hopkins University. She also holds advanced certificates in teaching and counseling from Hopkins, and received her doctorate degree in counseling psychology in 2009 from Argosy University.

Visit www.schoolcounselor.org for more information on the ASCA.

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’s It’s Academic team competed in a regional match against Einstein and Loudon County high schools that will on Saturday, Nov. 8 on WRC TV (NBC 4).

The three-member team consists of seniors Rainey Southworth, who is the team captain, and Matthew Trusnovic, and junior Lee Powell. Team coaches are Nancy Jeffrey, a foreign language teacher at Stone, and Sara Thompson, who teaches English at Stone. The team won second place in the Charles County competition in December 2013, which earned them a chance to compete in a televised match this school year.

It’s Academic is sponsored by Giant Food and Morgan State University. The program has been televised for the past 54 years. Visit http://www.itsacademicquizshow.com/ for more information.

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. 

Student actors in Charles County’s seven public high schools are preparing for fall plays and musicals, which began early next month. The following is a list of school plays, ticket and contact information for each high school.

La Plata, Maurice J. McDonough and Westlake high schools are hosting their fall productions during the first weekend in November. La Plata High School is presenting the musical “The Addams Family,” on Nov. 6-8. The musical is about the Addams Family, a ghoulish family that enjoys frightening ways of life. Gomez Addams, head of the family, learns that his daughter Wednesday, who is the ultimate princess of darkness, has fallen in love with a kind and gentle man. The Addams family hosts their daughter’s love and his family for dinner one night, leading to a chaotic evening. Show time is 6:30 p.m. for all three performances. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees can receive one complimentary ticket with their identification badges. Call 301-934-1100 for more information.

Student actors at McDonough are presenting Trey Clarkson’s “Rosie the Riveter,” on Nov. 6-8 at 6:30 p.m., and Nov. 8-9 at 2 p.m.  The play sets stage in 1942 during World War II. Eddie, the owner of an auto parts factory, is struggling with the decrease in demand of auto parts. His secretary, Rosie, suggests the factory secure a government contract to produce plane parts to aid the war efforts, and solicits the help of female workers for use as the labor force. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.mcdonoughdrama.com. Call 301-934-2944 for additional information.

Westlake is presenting Don Zolidis’ comedy “The Election,” the weekend of Nov. 6-8, with performance times for all three dates starting at 7 p.m. The play is about an election in which main character Mark Davenport battles against Christy Martin in the race for student body president. Davenport thinks he has the election in the bag until Martin becomes the favored candidate. As the possibility of losing the election increases, Davenport panics and seeks out the assistance of a campaign manager who has questionable ethics of his own. Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $6 for students. CCPS staff receives two complimentary tickets by showing their identification badge. Call 301-645-8857 for more information.

Student actors at North Point and St. Charles high schools are hosting their fall productions in mid-November. The North Point theatre department is hosting “The Mouse That Roared,” on Nov. 13-15, with all three show times starting at 7 p.m. The show is centered on Duchess Gloriana, ruler of a small country in the Alps. Her country is facing bankruptcy and her solution is to declare war on the United States. Her goal is to actually lose the war and receive free aid for her country. But when her plan backfires, Gloriana has to handle the consequences. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens. Staff members receive one free complementary ticket with their identification badge. Call 301-753-1759 for more information.

St. Charles’ student actors are presenting the “Father of the Bride” on Nov. 14-15 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. The comedy follows Stanley Banks as he copes with the upcoming wedding of his oldest daughter, Kay. Banks has anxiety about his daughter getting married, but also has a hard time realizing that she is growing up. The play follows the Banks family as they plan for the wedding. Tickets are $8 for general admission, $5 for students, senior citizens and military members with photo identification. CCPS staff members are able to attend the show for free by showing their school system identification badge. Call 301-753-2090 for more information.

Student actors at Thomas Stone High School are performing “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani on Nov. 20-22 with a performance time of 7 p.m. for all three nights. The play is comprised of nine short features that explore love and loss in a mythical remote town called Almost, Maine. The nine short scenes are titled, “Her Heart, Sad and Glad, Seeing the Thing, Story of Hope, Where It Went, This Hurts, They Fell, Epilogue and Prologue.” Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Stone also honors the CCPS badge for two free tickets. Call 301-645-2601 for more information.

The theatre department at Henry E. Lackey High School is presenting Seussical in January, but has not finalized show dates or times. Visit the Lackey website at http://www.edline.net/pages/lackey to follow their school news and receive updates about their musical.

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 Board of Education of Charles County and College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Board of Directors will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27 at the Center for Business Industry in room BI 103/104, located on the CSM La Plata campus. The following is a tentative agenda:

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Dinner/Introductions
  • Access CSM
  • Early College Academy proposal
  • Update on Middle College
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between CSM and Charles County Public Schools
  • 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.

The Board of Education presented two resolutions to Charles County Public Schools students and staff at their Oct. 14 meeting. The resolutions are presented to the Board annually. The following resolutions were presented:

  • American Education Week; and
  • American Freedom Week.

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) celebrates American Education Week Nov. 17-21. American Education Week presents all Americans with opportunities to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. Accepting the resolution at the Board meeting were Student Board Member and Westlake High School senior Georgia Benson; Education Association of Charles County (EACC) President and North Point High School French Teacher Linda McLaughlin; and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Executive Board Member and Maintenance Shop employee John Groat. Chairman Roberta Wise presented the resolution on behalf of the Board.

CCPS celebrates American Freedom Week Nov. 4-8. During the week, schools give special recognition to those who serve the country and those who gave their lives to preserve America’s liberty. Special activities take place in all schools to honor and celebrate patriotism. Accepting the resolution at the Board meeting were La Plata High School JROTC cadet Nyeshia Swailes and cadet Chanique Hardy. Vice Chairman Maura Cook presented the resolution.

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 Board of Education honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees at the Oct. 14 Board meeting, including Christine Busey, Debra Haan, Lauren Hoza, Holly Marsh and Matthew Watkoski.

Busey is a prekindergarten instructional assistant at Gale-Bailey Elementary School. She was nominated for recognition for her dedication to students and exemplar work ethic. She primarily works with special education students and creates learning activities to target different levels of learning regularly. Busey also helps with behavior management strategies and assists in data collection for students with Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. She was also recently nominated for a Special Education Citizen Advisory Committee (SECAC) appreciation award and has attended aspiring leadership conferences to expand her knowledge. Gale-Bailey Principal Toni Melton-Trainor said Busey’s patience and gentle guidance help her students learn. “Her support to the students in the prekindergarten program is excellent,” Melton-Trainor said in a nomination statement.

Haan is a longtime physical education teacher at Arthur Middleton Elementary School. She works with students in all grade levels and also teaches adaptive physical education to students in the Life Skills program. Haan is dedicated to student success and supports the Middleton community by not only teaching physical education to students, but assisting with the arrival and dismissal of students, serving as co-bus coordinator, creating seating charts and coordinating bus evacuations. Haan also plans the school’s annual American Freedom Day assembly and recently celebrated 40 years of teaching with Charles County Public Schools. Middleton Principal Sabrina Robinson-Taylor said Haan is an asset to the entire Middleton community.

Hoza has been teaching kindergarten at Mary H. Matula Elementary School since 2006. She was nominated for recognition for her passion for teaching and for serving as a role model for students and her peers. She is part of a nine-member kindergarten team and is committed to the success of her students. She works tirelessly to ensure that her lessons address the individual needs of each student and is known among staff for having an exemplar work ethic. Matula Principal Carrie Richardson said Hoza is an example of a teacher committed to teaching and learning. “Her approach to teaching and learning is outstanding. She is a person who, once she knows what the job requires, will take the necessary steps to ensure that she is well prepared and ready for the task. That dedication and commitment is evident in her daily actions,” Richardson added.

Marsh is an instructional assistant at Milton M. Somers Middle School. She is a member of the special education department team and was recognized for displaying a high degree of pride in all that she does. She is detail oriented and known among her peers as a team player. Marsh spends most of her work day organizing details and assisting the special education department in any task where her assistance is needed. She is professional and task oriented, and completes her work with a high level of integrity. Somers Principal Carrie Akins said Marsh is a true team player. “It is clear that Marsh takes pride in working with our teachers and students as an important and integral part of our instructional team, working to provide students with the best education possible,” Akins said in a nomination letter.

Watkoski has been teaching science and engineering at Maurice J. McDonough High School for the past six years. He was recognized for his dedication to teaching and for serving as a role model for students. He is a talented teacher and educational leader who consistently offers energy, intelligence and commitment to all students and to teaching. Watkoski also serves as McDonough’s lead for the Scholars Targeting Academic Rigor With Success (STARS) program and helped the school earn the designation of a STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, innovation school. McDonough Principal Bradley Snow said Watkoski is a passionate teacher who puts the needs of his students first. “He is steadfast in his belief that he is here to serve in the best interest of his students and to advance his passion for science and technology,” Snow said in a nomination letter.

The Board honors several exemplary employees each month.

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 Board of Education honored five students on Tuesday, Oct. 14 for excellence in academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility. Honored were Allissa Barnes, fifth grade, Arthur Middleton Elementary School; John Thomas “JT” Gibson, fifth grade, Mary H. Matula Elementary School; Jack Goodwin, fifth grade, Gale-Bailey Elementary School; Emily Maljak, eighth grade, Milton M. Somers Middle School; and Jordan Parker, senior, Maurice J. McDonough High School.

Barnes was recognized in the area of academic achievement and is a well-rounded student. She earns honor roll grades each quarter and consistently excels in the classroom. She is enrolled in accelerated math classes and was identified as gifted in reading. Barnes also scores advanced marks on systemwide assessments in reading and math. She is a member of the math and Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) teams and plays piano and violin in the school orchestra. Barnes plans to study computer science after she graduates from high school.

Gibson was honored in the area of personal responsibility and is well known among his peers as a positive role model. His teachers describe him as a caring student that is willing to do any job that is asked of him. Gibson models personal responsibility by demonstrating Matula’s three R’s – Respect, Responsibility and Right to Learn – and earns honor roll grades. He consistently demonstrates a positive attitude and always comes to class prepared to learn. Additionally, he was a member of the Matula Unified Sports basketball team and encouraged his teammates to work hard and have fun while playing sports.

Goodwin was recognized by the Board in the area of academic achievement and is an honor roll student. He is consistently named to the principals honor roll and produces above grade-level work in his classes. He is known among his teachers as a role model for other students, and for always working to help his classmates when they need encouragement. Goodwin is engaged in learning and loves to learn about mathematics. Last school year, Goodwin helped lead the fourth grade math team earn high scores at the Elementary Math Challenge. He also plays soccer on a community league.

Maljak was honored in the area of personal responsibility and excels in the classroom. She maintains honor roll grades and often uses her lunch period to work on projects for several school-related clubs. She is active in the emerging young leaders, Destination Imagination (DI), Future Educators Association (FEA), principal advisory committee and drama clubs. Maljak also excels outside of school and participates in several community-based organizations such as a Humane Society of Charles County volunteer and member of Girl Scouts.

Parker was honored in the area of career readiness and maintains honor roll grades. She is a member of the environmental and scrapbook clubs, the National Honor Society and is a student actor. She is enrolled in the Teacher Academy of Maryland, which is a completer program that allows her to gain college credit through St. Mary’s College. Parker also volunteers as a lunch time pianist at Genesis Health Care Center and works with elementary-school and high school English Language Learner (ELL) students. She plans to pursue a teaching career in social studies after graduation.

Each month the Board of Education honors students for their success in academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility.

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.

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.

New textbooks proposed by Charles County Public Schools are available for review at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, and at La Plata, North Point and Thomas Stone high schools.

The textbooks are proposed for use at St. Charles High School as part of the school’s use of the Windows 7 Operating System. St. Charles is currently the only Charles County Public high school that has transitioned to the new operating system, and the textbooks are required for students to understand new Microsoft Office features and applications. The series of texts, Microsoft Office 2013 Illustrated Introductory, First- and Second-Courses, by David Beskeen feature information on enhanced software offerings and full-color pages that represent what students will see on computer screens when using Microsoft Office 2013. The texts also feature learning outcomes from lesson plans that tie into assessments.

Additionally, the textbooks feature instructor materials, a website and project manuals. The books were evaluated and selected by business teachers, who compared the materials to Microsoft certification exams, course syllabus, ease of use and level of student engagement. All other Charles County Public high schools will upgrade to the texts once the operating systems at their schools are updated.

The Board of Education is reviewing the books and will take action on the books at the Dec. 9 meeting. Community members are encouraged to review the books and provide comment in writing to the Board of Education, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD, 20646; through email to boardmail@ccboe.com; or in person at the Public Forum on Dec. 9, 6 p.m., at the Starkey Building.

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.

Restoring natural habitats is dirty work, but J.C. Parks Elementary School students know someone has to do it. Students and staff in every class from kindergarten to fifth grade recently went outside for 30 minutes and dug in to create an outdoor learning classroom habitat. On Oct. 8 and 9, volunteers helped students dig holes, cut the root balls off each plant and put each plant in the ground. Students added compost, soil and water to help each plant flourish. This project is the second and final phase to a grant Parks received four years ago.

In 2011, Parks received $100,000 from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation for Education in Nature, a project to create outdoor learning areas within restored natural habitats. The first phase of the grant was used to restore and cleanup the wetlands outside their building. The rest of the grant is being used on an outdoor classroom that includes benches, a paved walkway to the outdoor classroom lined with trees, plants indigenous to Maryland and concrete tables for students to use during classroom activities. A variety of learning opportunities are incorporated into the design of each accessible, sustainable and environmentally friendly space. Everyone at Parks benefits from and uses the outdoor space for class assignments and projects.

Parks Principal Thadine Wright says she is proud of what has been accomplished and is grateful for the support her school has received from the community, students and staff. “Our staff at Parks is amazing. Every teacher has jumped right in to help and be a part of this experience,” Wright said.

“One of the great things about this project is that every single student has participated in one way or another. From prekindergarten to fifth grade, students have shown great motivation and excitement towards this opportunity. I think it is wonderful that as the students learn and grow, they can watch their plants grow as well,” she said.

Throughout this four-year experience, Parks has been visited by elected officials, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, community members and businesses all ready and willing to help. “It has been a team effort and I cannot thank each and every volunteer and hard-working individual for making this possible and for being the difference,” Wright added.

The projects from the Lowe’s grant are expected to be complete by the end of this school year. For more information on the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation for Education in Nature grant, visit http://responsibility.lowes.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 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) just made receiving school system news, emergency closings and delay information a lot easier. CCPS has launched a mobile App that puts school system information in one easy to use location. Called CCPS On the Go (OTG), the App makes it easy for parents, students, teachers and community members to access information while on the go, from the device of their choice.

App users can enjoy custom feeds to the CCPS calendar, news, contacts, CCPS Television, transportation, My Payments Plus, meal menus and more. The news feed provides personalized, on-demand access to news and alerts for parents, students, staff and community members. Additionally, parents and students can now easily access their Blackboard/Edline accounts and their personalized activity feeds, grades and calendars.

The App is a free download through the Apple iTunes and Google Play App stores. To download the App:

On your iPhone or other Apple device (iPad, iMac)

  • Launch the App Store on your device.
  • Use the search function and type in CCPS or Charles County Public Schools. A four-color CCPS icon followed by the initials CCPS OTG will appear. Click on the word free to initiate the install process. Your device may prompt you for your Apple iTunes account information in order to verify the App download. Click install.

On your Android or Samsung device

  • Go to the Google Play Store and search for CCPS. Look for the four-square CCPS icon and select install.

Once the App installation is complete, your device will ask you to turn off or allow push notifications. Push notifications require an active Wi-Fi or cellular connection and firewalls and proxy servers may affect your ability to receive notifications. CCPS will only push important notifications like emergency alerts, school closures or early releases. Check the settings tab on your cell phone or portable device to get push notifications.

Once your App is installed, press the three bars to the left of the CCPS icon for a drop down menu of available information. The App is free; however, standard data rates through cell phone carriers apply. Visit http://www.ccboe.com/ccpsotg/ for more App information.

CCPS is also using an updated notification system this school year that allows anyone in the community to sign up for free email and/or text message notification when schools are closed, delayed or closing early due to inclement weather. The Charles County Citizen Notification System (CNS) is a free service that allows community members to receive timely notifications about events and activities throughout the county. Participation with CNS is voluntary, and users must subscribe to receive email and/or text message notifications. Standard text message rates through cell phone carriers apply.

CNS is being offered through a partnership with the Charles County Government, which recently replaced the system to provide enhanced communications. The text message feature was removed from the old system more than a year ago. As of Oct. 20, all CNS notifications will be delivered from the new system.

Registrations from the old system will not be transferred. Parents, staff and community members who were originally signed up for CCPS notifications through CNS will need to register for the new system. Text messages from CCPS will only be sent from CNS when the school schedule changes due to inclement weather or in other crisis situations.

The CNS service is in addition to the standard school system notifications for closings or delays. CCPS will continue to provide closing and delay information on its 24-hour information line, 301-934-7410/301-932-6656, on the school system website at www.ccboe.com, through Twitter and television and radio stations listed on page 10 of the 2014-15 Parent Handbook/Calendar. Closing information will also be delivered to CCPS App users with enabled push notifications.

Participation with CNS is voluntary, and users must subscribe to receive email and/or text message notification. Standard text message rates through cell phone carriers apply. Visit www.ccboe.com and click on the CNS logo featured at the bottom of the home page to access the new system. Select the register for a new account link to subscribe.

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.