Three Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teams advance to the Special Olympics Maryland 2016 State High School Indoor Bocce Tournament next week after earning first place in their division at the district event held Feb. 2. Teams from La Plata and Maurice J. McDonough high schools, as well as a team of students from Henry E. Lackey and Westlake high schools, will advance to the state event set for Feb. 11 at Hagerstown Community College.

The district event was separated into three levels of competition – divisions one through three – and teams from all seven Charles County public high schools competed. The first place winners in each division are invited to compete at the state level with teams from other high schools across the state.

Bocce is a sport played on a bocce court, or an area of play featuring a hard surface. The goal of the sport is to roll a bocce ball closest to a target ball, which is called a pallina. Teams earn points for how close their bocce balls roll or end near the pallina.

Teams are split into divisions of competition according to criteria such as age, gender and physical ability levels to ensure that all participants have equal opportunities to participate and be recognized for being a part of a team. Unified sports teams are composed of a combination of students with and without abilities who train together and compete against other unified teams.

The Lackey/Westlake team earned first place among teams competing in division one of the event. Team members are Max Bode, senior; Blake Demby, freshman; Shawn Edwards, sophomore; Eli Frimpong, Adult Independence Program (AIP) student; Kavon Green Johnson, junior; Megan Luskey, sophomore; Anthony Macri, sophomore; and Alyson Roberts, freshman. The team coaches are Lackey special education teachers Jake Fladd and Kylie Swanson.

A team from La Plata earned a first-place win among teams competing in division two of the event. Team members are Mai Dinh, senior; Trisha Enesperos, senior; Sarah Gough, junior; Heba Habib, senior; Danielle Murphy, AIP student; Justin Ryan, senior; Rebecca Stine, senior; and Paige Upright, junior. Team coaches are William Boehm, technology education teacher at La Plata, and Matthew Petricoin, vision teacher at Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School.

A team from McDonough received a first-place award among competing teams in division three of the tournament. Members of the team include Keydrea Harris, freshman; Michael Malherek, senior; Aaron Morphew, sophomore; Robert Mullins, AIP student; Jodie Parlett, senior; and Michael Proctor, AIP student. Coaches of the team are David Bradshaw, physical education teacher at McDonough, and Jeff Mathews, special education teacher at McDonough.

CCPS partnered with Special Olympics Maryland in 2008 to offer high school students of all abilities the opportunity to participate in sports programs. Participation in the CCPS Unified sports program has increased over the past several school years. For more information, visit the Special Olympics Maryland website at http://www.somd.org/.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.

Not many fifth-grade students can say they have gone swimming in below freezing temperatures, but those at Mary B. Neal Elementary School now can.

Safely indoors in the humid air of the Donald Wade Aquatics Center at St. Charles High School with the water at a comfortable 84 degrees, and surrounded by seasoned swim instructors, the students took part in activities designed to teach them how to stay safe around water.

Instructors — some who had gone through the same program when they were in elementary school — also stressed keeping a level head during an emergency and offered tips about how to help someone who is drowning or who needs help in the water.

“Think so you don’t sink,” said Don Layton, aquatics director at Henry E. Lackey High School, who lead the presentation. “Take a few seconds to get your head together.”

Each year about 1,900 fifth-graders wade through the program where they learn how to help someone in distress in the water and what to do if they were to find themselves in such a situation.

Hope Smith, an Indian Head Elementary School physical education teacher, started the program about 35 years ago with the help of Rob Chamberlain, aquatics coordinator at the College of Southern Maryland for 30 years, following the drowning deaths of two young boys in Western Charles County.

The program was held at the Indian Head naval base for the first two years. “We used to do it at the end of May in an outdoor pool and it was brutal,” Chamberlain said. The program branched off to schools in areas that didn’t have access to public pools, but by the mid-1980s it expanded countywide to all fifth-grade students, Chamberlain said.

Making a splash

Students don’t walk into the pool uneducated. Physical education teachers prepare students before the field trips.

“They not only prepare the students with program information, they secure parent permission, volunteers, transportation, on deck supervision and safety, and many teachers join us in the water working with the students,” Layton said. “Each school has the American Red Cross Whales Tales video lessons and posters.”

Some teachers delve further into the water safety program. Debbie Haan at Arthur Middleton Elementary School goes over the lessons with each of her students, no matter their grade.

“If a student attends Middleton for all five years, they go through the in-school portion of Whales Tales five times by the time they see us,” Layton said.

Haan has been with the school system for more than 30 years. She used to teach water safety to just her fifth graders, but in 2007 she lost a fourth-grade student to drowning and decided regardless of their age, children should learn about water safety.

“I don’t want to lose another child to drowning,” she said.

Water, water everywhere

The county is surrounded by water.

“We have the Potomac, Patuxent and the many feeder creeks and streams around and within our county,” Layton said. Even asphalt- and lawn-covered neighborhoods have lakes, ponds, private and public swimming pools.

“This is not a ‘play day’,” Layton said. “It is an instructional program to help our students learn how to be safe in, on and around the water. How to not panic if they find themselves in an emergency situation and how to assist without putting themselves in danger if someone else is in trouble.”

“They might not have to save themselves, but they might have to save someone else,” Haan said.

“I learned that you are not supposed to go into the water if someone is drowning,” said Elizabeth Nambooze, who said she is a pretty good swimmer. She added that she was going to tell her parents what she learned in the program to ensure they would know what to do if they were in a situation where they needed to help someone in trouble.

“It’s the best program. They come back to school with wet heads and talk about [the program]” Haan said. “It’s not testing; they don’t have to study for it. It’s a life lesson.”

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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 Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Hill recently named Randy Sotomayor executive director of the Office of Finance and Business for the school system.

Sotomayor, who came to CCPS as a financial analyst, has always had a head for numbers.

“I find math fascinating,” he said.

Sotomayor will officially step into the role May 1 following the retirement of Paul Balides, assistant superintendent of finance and business, who has been with the school system since 1995. Sotomayor and his team will continue to support Hill’s vision for the school system as much as possible, he said.

“Randy Sotomayor has the experience and the temperament to lead our Office of Finance and Business,” Hill said. “His more than 30 years of experience in the field, including 20 years here in Charles County Public Schools make him a perfect fit to assume leadership of this vital part of our organization. Randy is thoughtful and deliberate in his decision making and has earned the trust of his team in the Office of Finance and Business.”

“I have a good team,” Sotomayor said. “I’m blessed to have a good team. We are very proud of keeping a clean audit. We’ve had a clean audit for four years straight and we really want to achieve five years of a clean audit.”

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Sotomayor and his family moved to New Jersey when he was in the sixth grade. Attending school in the Penns Grove — Carneys Point school district, Sotomayor took advanced math classes.

“I was definitely a geek,” he said. “I loved calculus.”

His parents instilled in him the value of education, while teachers kept his interests sparked.

“I love math because I had teachers who were great teachers,” Sotomayor said.

He remembered his high school calculus teacher Mr. Helms who was supportive, funny and who made equations simple.

Graduating from Drexel University in 1984, Sotomayor worked as a budget officer with American University in Washington, D.C. After 10 years at American, he went to Indiana University Bloomington where he was offered a fellowship by the Commission for Higher Education. He earned his master’s of science in education at Indiana and after 12 years of getting the college perspective, he was interested in working for a school system that was focused on prekindergarten through 12th grade students. 

Balides, a colleague from American, called asking if he wanted to come to Charles County and be a member of the finance team.

“I knew he had the skills and personality to help me accomplish the things that needed to be done,” Balides said. “A lot of the work at the time was replicating and refining things that I had developed at AU, and he was someone I could trust to get it done.”

Sotomayor had one major request when he arrived in Charles County in the late 1990s.

He would need a new computer. Technology had just started to eek its way into offices, homes and schools and Sotomayor wanted to be as cutting edge as green text on a black screen would allow.

Sotomayor likes seeing science, technology, engineering and mathematics — STEM — programs flourish in CCPS. With the opening of James E. Richmond Science and Technology Center at St. Charles High School providing a “wow factor for the kids,” maybe more will go into STEM fields. “Mars is not as far away as we think,” Sotomayor said.

“Randy will bring an element of continuity, experience and history, which is extremely useful in an organization undergoing change,” Balides said. “He is well thought of by his peers within and outside the system. He already has a good relationship with the finance staff, who are all very experienced and perform at a high level.”

Sotomayor has been the treasurer for the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) for two years. He joined the association when he began working for Charles County Public Schools in 1996.

“It’s a great organization for networking with people all around the country,” Sotomayor said.

“Randy brings a calm into every environment that he enters, he articulates with an honest opinion portraying his wisdom and leadership style,” said Glenn Belmore, immediate past president of ASBO and risk manager for CCPS. “He is a leader who leads by listening, learning and being responsible in all that he does.  It has been a pleasure to work with him over the last few years as he been open minded, respectful and honest in all that he does.”

Sotomayor and his wife Arden, director of special education with CCPS, were married in 2005. The couple have a basset hound, Bogey. They like to say they have “26,000 kids.”

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.

  • North Point High School is hosting a coffee house event this weekend, 7 p.m., Feb. 4-6, in the school cafeteria. This is the 10th annual event, Coffeehouse 2016: Deja Brew All Over Again, for the school and will feature alumni students and student performances such as singing, dancing, poetry and other talents. Hot drinks and desserts, made by students in the North Point Culinary Arts program, will be available for purchase. Cost of attendance is $8 general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens. North Point is at 2500 Davis Road in Waldorf. Call 301-753-1759 for more information.
  • The Mattawoman Creek Art Center is hosting the “Seven Up High School Exhibit” now through Sunday, Feb. 7. The exhibit features artwork from students at all seven Charles County Public high schools and includes paintings, drawings, photography and multimedia pieces. The exhibit is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A panel of judges selects student artwork to be included in the exhibit annually.
  • Students in the North Point High School Academy of Health Professions program are participating in a “Pink Goes Red” event from 4 to 8 p.m., this Friday, Feb. 5 at St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf. The event will take place on the first floor of the mall, near the central escalators and main elevator. The students will help promote healthy habits to mall patrons and provide information about heart disease and prevention. The event also will feature registered nurses from the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center who will be on site to provide blood pressure screenings. The event is coordinated by the Nu Zeta Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. annually.
  • Henry E. Lackey High School is hosting the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26. Admission is free and the concert is open to the public. The 18-member group is led by Senior Chief Musician William C. Mulligan. Their performances feature a mix of traditional big band music, jazz vocal arrangements and new instrumental music written specifically for the Commodores. Visit http://www.navyband.navy.mil/commodores.html to learn more about the Commodores.
  • The North Point High School Skills USA chapter is hosting a meal at 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11 at Our Place, a soup kitchen located at Good Shepherd Methodist Church in Waldorf. Meals will be prepared by the North Point Culinary Arts students, and Skills USA students will serve visitors. Visitors will also receive weekly care packages purchased through donations from the North Point CISCO Academy program and Our Place will receive additional donations from North Point students to help their efforts. To learn more about Our Place, visit http://www.ourplacewaldorf.com/.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.

With the addition of full-day kindergarten blooming in every elementary school in the state more than eight years ago, some buildings have experienced growing pains.

But with construction projects on the books, two more Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) will soon have additional space to accommodate students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Eight schools in the county have had additions built for full-day kindergarten programs.

Comptroller of Maryland Peter Franchot visited Mary H. Matula Elementary School Feb. 1 to see the “before” phase of a project that will add five enclosed kindergarten classrooms to the La Plata school.

The addition, which gained state contract approval in January, will likely start March 1, said David Clements, supervisor of planning and construction for CCPS.

If all goes according to plan, the construction will take about six months, Clements said, crossing his fingers. It is projected the addition will be complete by the first day of the 2016-17 school year, which is Monday, Aug. 29.

Even if the projects — Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School in Waldorf will undergo a similar addition this year — aren’t 100 percent complete, they will be well on their way, Clements said.

In 2003, each of the state’s 24 school systems submitted a master plan to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), outlining how each would implement full-day kindergarten by the 2007-08 school year, according to a MSDE fact sheet.

When an all-day kindergarten program is introduced, “you automatically run out of space,” Clements said. “There’s an immediate shortage of space throughout the school.”

“We are bursting at the seams,” said Matula Principal Carrie Richardson, adding that the school has enrolled 68 new students since the beginning of the school year.

Franchot was interested in portable classrooms, which at Matula are used for after-school club meetings, staff offices and testing space. Clements said the county’s modular classrooms are equipped with whiteboards — some have smartboards — and the portables are outfitted with everything a classroom in the school’s main building has including fire alarms and public address systems.

The kindergarten addition will extend off of Matula’s main hallway, built on what is now the playground. The recess area will be relocated on the property and the emergency vehicle lane will be moved, Clements said.

CCPS is awaiting planning approval from the state to start planning additions to Berry and Dr. James Craik elementary schools, Clements said. A study will be needed to determine additions at other schools based on enrollment, future building work and state funding, he added.

During his visit Franchot gave Cassandra Ament, a third-grade teacher, a Comptroller’s Medallion and Bryce Edelen, one of Ament’s students and the son of a Maryland State Trooper, was given Franchot’s latest coin, a Maryland Hero medallion, which honors law enforcement and other first responders.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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’s next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 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. and student and staff recognition starts at 4:30 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 at www.ccboe.com. Click on the slideshow image located in the center of the homepage. The following is a tentative meeting agenda and is subject to change.

Executive session – 12 p.m.

Call to order – 1 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance, Thomas Stone High School JROTC

Superintendent’s update

Reports of officers/boards/committees

  • Correspondence/Board Member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees update
  • Student Board Member update
  • Fall athletics participation
  • Project status
  • ELL (English Language Learners) in elementary schools
  • School years 2016/17 and 2017/18 calendar update
  • Legislative update

Unfinished business

New business and future agenda items

  • New business
  • Future agenda items

Recognition – 4:30 p.m.

  • Resolutions: Read Across Charles County; Women’s History Month; and Fine and Performing Arts Month
  • Students
  • Staff

Public Forum – 6 p.m.

Action items

  • Minutes
  • Personnel
  • Algebra I textbook
  • Superintendent’s proposed FY 2017 operating budget

Adjournment

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.

 

 

A software upgrade will soon make it easier for Charles County Public Schools employees to access email, calendars and other tools from any computer, tablet, smartphone or device that has an Internet connection.

Office 365 is set to roll out in March, with every school and center having access to the system by the end of April, although the dates are subject to change.

“This upgrade will mean that email, and other tools like calendars and even word processing, will be available 99.99 percent of the time by CCPS employees,” said Peter Cevenini, chief of instructional technology. “It will also mean that we can share documents with each other like curriculum resources from wherever to wherever, not just within the CCPS network.”

Storage will be increased by 200 percent with Office 365, Cevenini said.

“There are several things that I think will be very impactful from the start,” he said. “First, the size of your email storage goes from 20 megabytes to 40 gigabytes. Second, CCPS employees will have 1 terabyte of storage for any other things like documents and resources. All of this will be accessible anywhere from any device.”

Training is offered for any current Microsoft product, including Office 365, by request.

Cevenini believes Office 365 will be a game changer for CCPS employees.

“We are just touching the capabilities that 365 has,” he said. “CCPS staff will be able to take it to the next level by using tools and showing us how to improve instruction in Charles County Public Schools.”

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.

According to the Maryland School Counselor Association (MSCA), an outstanding school counselor is an individual who not only advocates for the school counseling profession, but a person who brings about positive change for students and is dedicated to the success of children. For the past five years, Alicia Jones has served as the supervising school counselor for Charles County Public Schools and is well known among her colleagues as a strong, vocal supporter for school counselors. She works diligently to create and maintain positive relationships with parents, students, staff and community members.

Jones also works closely with counselor specialists at the Maryland State Department of Education to ensure all Charles County counselors are aware of the latest trends and changes in school counseling services. Jones’ accomplishments are admired by her colleagues and her passion for school counseling is evident in all that she does. For her passion and commitment to school counseling, Jones was recently named the 2016 Advocate of the Year by the MSCA. She will be honored at the MSCA National School Counseling Week gala Feb. 5.

Jones said she is honored to represent her colleagues and the school counseling profession. “I feel honored that my advocacy for school counseling has given Charles County school counselors a voice and a seat at the table of decision making for our students. I’m honored to be the representative for school counseling to show school leaders how passionate school counselors are about supporting achievement and student development through a comprehensive guidance program,” Jones said.

As the supervising school counselor, Jones oversees the Charles County Public Schools school counseling program and supports more than 35 school counselors daily. She works diligently to align the school counseling program with standards established by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). She advocates for the best interests of school counselors, but most importantly students. Jones strives to exemplify professionalism and excellence among school counselors and provides professional development opportunities to help streamline the work of school counselors and ensure consistency across all grade levels.

An example of Jones’ commitment to the success of students is her recent leadership in implementing Maryland College Application Campaign Week for high school seniors this school year. The goal of Maryland College Application Campaign Week, held earlier this school year, was for every graduating Charles County Public Schools senior to complete and submit an application during the school day to a college, university or trade school. The program was piloted at five high schools this year with plans to expand it to all seven high schools. Jones coordinated all elements of the campaign from working with high school college and career advisors to promote the program and coordinating volunteers to help students complete their applications, to securing financial aid and college admissions staff to meet with students to educate them on the college application process.

Jones was nominated for the award by Dr. Sonya Ford, a longtime school counselor with Charles County Public Schools. Ford is not only a colleague of Jones’, but is familiar with her as a parent. Prior to her transition as supervising school counselor in 2011, Jones was a school counselor at William A. Diggs Elementary School for five years where Ford’s children attended. Ford said Jones is an exemplary role model for her peers and children.

“I have seen the transformation here in Charles County under Ms. Jones’ leadership. She has aligned this local profession to meet state and national standards. She was my son and daughter’s school counselor when they were at Diggs and they are both in high school now…so I have seen her work first hand, from the ground level!,” Ford wrote in a nomination statement.

The purpose of the award is to recognize a person or organization whose advocacy of school counseling services in a school setting has had a positive effect on school counseling on a local, state or national level. Nominees can be anyone who has made a significant contribution to the improvement of school counseling services, and contributed to the improvement of existing school counseling programs in Maryland.

Jones began her career with Charles County Public Schools in 2002 as a counselor at Dr. James Craik Elementary School, where she worked for four years before taking a position at Diggs. In 2011, she received a Charles County Special Education Citizens Advisory Teacher Appreciation Award and a Charles County Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Leadership Award in 2008. Jones also was recognized by the Board of Education as an exemplary employee in 2005.

She is a member of the ASCA and the MSCA, the University of Illinois Alumni Association, Chicago State University Alumni Association, and the Delta Sigma Theta Public Service Sorority. Jones also served as a counselor and teacher at two schools in Illinois before joining CCPS. She has a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Illinois and a Master of Science in Education, school guidance and counseling, from Chicago State University.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, a Michigan-based law firm filed a lawsuit in federal court against Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) on behalf of two parents who objected to their daughter completing a high school World History assignment involving Islam.

The case is now in litigation, and the school system will not comment on allegations or statements in the lawsuit.

The concern about the assignment was initially made to the school system in October 2014. At that time, CCPS released the following statement to clarify what is taught in its high school World History curriculum:

There has been a lot of public discussion about what Charles County Public Schools teaches or does not teach in World History classes. The issue revolves around a unit focusing on the development of the Middle Eastern empires and the role of the Islamic faith in the history of those empires. The following is clarification of what CCPS teaches.

The CCPS social studies curriculum adheres to the Maryland World History curricular standards that are a requirement for all counties in the state. These standards include an analysis of the elements of culture such as art, music, religion, government, social structure, education, beliefs and customs in societies throughout history.  Regarding the study of history specifically, the standards also state that students should be able to analyze the customs and beliefs of world religions and their expansion, as well as how their establishment has impacted other areas of culture, and in certain times and regions, even caused conflict.

The particular unit in question is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East. Other religions are introduced when they influence or impact a particular historical era or geographic region. For example, when reviewing the Renaissance and Reformation, students study the concepts and role of Christianity. When learning about the development of China and India, students examine Hinduism and Buddhism.

Here is a link to the state World History class curriculum standards http://www.ccboe.com/PDF/worldhistorystandards.pdf.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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 Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc. is offering more than 50 scholarships to Charles County high school students. Applications for scholarships are available at all county high schools. Interested students must submit completed applications by Tuesday, March 1, to their college and career advisor. Award notification will be announced at high school senior awards ceremonies this spring. Students need only to submit one application.

Applications are also available on the school system website, www.ccboe.com, under the students/parents section. Click on the Scholarship Information link from the menu. Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria; information regarding eligibility is listed in the application.

Additional application requirements include a resume, personal statement that details academic and career goals, two letters of recommendation, a high school transcript and copy of the first semester senior year report card. Students who have received SAT/ACT scores can also include them with their application.

Students who apply for any scholarship that lists demonstrated financial need as criteria should also include a student aid report (SAR) form for the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form is available at www.fafsa.gov. The deadline to complete the FAFSA for Maryland students is March 1. Students in need of assistance with the form or completing the FAFSA should contact their college and career advisor.

The following scholarships are available:

  • Apartments of St. Charles Scholarship, $500;
  • Ashley Jayne Younger Memorial Scholarship, $500 (for Westlake High School students);
  • Charles County Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, $1,000;
  • Charles County Health Department and School Nurses’ Scholarship, $250;
  • Charles County Retired School Personnel Association Scholarship, $500 (one for each Charles County public high school);
  • Charles County Teacher Education Assistance Grant, $1,000 (renewable);
  • Darren A. Bowie Scholarship, $1000 (for Henry E. Lackey High School students);
  • Edward Rorer Memorial Scholarship, $500;
  • Eric Sawchak Memorial Scholarship, $1,000;
  • GFWC, Charles County Woman’s Club, $500;
  • Grote Memorial Scholarship, $500 (for La Plata High School students);
  • Guy and Blondell Toye Scholarship, $200;
  • Harding Memorial Future Educator Scholarship, $1,000;
  • Jeremiah and Elijah Borgnis Memorial Scholarship, $500;
  • John H. Cox Memorial Scholarship, $1,000;
  • John Howie Memorial Scholarship, $500 (two awards);
  • Kate Donahue Scholarship, $400 (for Lackey students);
  • Katherine D. Racey Memorial Scholarship, $1,500 (for Lackey and Maurice J. McDonough High School students);
  • Ken Stump Memorial Scholarship, $500;
  • Kenneth Bernard Proctor Sr. Scholarship, $500;
  • La Plata Garden Club Scholarship, $1,000 (two awards);
  • Lisa Michele Duckett Achievement Award, $1,000;
  • Lizbeth Frazer-Fatig Helping Hand Scholarship, $4000 (for North Point students);
  • Mary Matula Scholarship, $500 (for La Plata students);
  • Michael J. Anderson Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for La Plata students);
  • Michael S. Tayman Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for McDonough students);
  • Michael S. Tayman Memorial Music Scholarship, $1,000 (for McDonough students);
  • Michael S. Tayman Memorial Nursing Scholarship, $1,000 (for McDonough students);
  • Mildred Rice O’Callaghan Scholarship, $500 (for Lackey students);
  • Nicole Pitonyak Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for North Point High School students);
  • Parker Financial Literacy Scholarship, $250;
  • Patricia Sugg Weiers Memorial Scholarship, $250;
  • Professor V. Phillips Weaver Scholarship, $1,000;
  • Rachel Myers Trade School Scholarship, $500;
  • Richard J. Abela Scholarship, $2,000 (for North Point students);
  • Robert Dean Stethem National Memorial Scholarship, $1,000;
  • Robert Dean Stethem Thomas Stone Scholarship, $1,000 (for Thomas Stone students);
  • Ronald G. Cunningham Scholarship, $2,500 (one for each Charles County public high school);
  • Ronald G. Cunningham Nursing Scholarship, $500;
  • St. Charles Community Scholarship, $500 (three awards);
  • Starkey Memorial Scholarship, $500;
  • Stephen E. Mitchell Educational Scholarship, $500;
  • Thomas B.R. Mudd Nurse Scholarship, College of Southern Maryland, full two years;
  • Thomas B.R. Mudd Teacher Scholarship, College of Southern Maryland, full two years;
  • Thomas Kurtz Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for Lackey students);
  • Thomas W. Weirich Scholar-Athlete Award, $1,000;
  • Timothy Minor Criminal Justice Memorial Scholarship, $500;
  • Timothy Minor Memorial Scholarship, $500;
  • Tiny Hopes Scholarship, $1,000 (three awards);
  • Unnae Pak-Borgnis Memorial Scholarship, $500;
  • William and Vivian King Scholarship, $1,000 (one for each Charles County public high school); and
  • Zonta of Charles County Scholarship, $1,000 (two awards).

The Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to Charles County students. The Charles County Commissioners, Charles County Public Schools, the College of Southern Maryland and the Chamber of Commerce are always represented on the Scholarship Fund Board. All other community members are selected from the community at large.

Contact Alicia Jones, Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc., at 301-934-7334, for more information.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,300 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.