Fifth graders shadow Board of Education, Superintendent

Fifth graders shadow Board of Education, Superintendent


Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) annually highlights Job Shadow Day activities throughout the month of February. Today, the Board of Education participated in the program and invited a group of fifth graders to shadow them during the first part of their monthly meeting.

Shadowing the Board today, as well as Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill, were nine students from Malcolm, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd and William B. Wade elementary schools. Principals chose their students to represent their respective schools and all student shadows were randomly assigned.

Participating from Malcolm were Donovan Russell, Brayden George and Madison Chramek. Representing Dr. Mudd was Aaron Smith, Khalib Norcome and Maysa Moujami. Wade fifth graders Joel Brevard, Ryan Casas and Morgan Hawkins participated. The students experienced the meeting firsthand by sitting next to their assigned member in the boardroom for two hours.

At the start of the meeting, Dr. Hill introduced her shadow, Donovan Russell. Russell read some of her report and asked his peers participating in the program to stand and introduce themselves. Malcolm student Brayden George was paired with Board Member Victoria Kelly, and Madison Chramek shadowed Drew Carter, the Student Member to the Board.

Khalib Norcome from Dr. Mudd shadowed Board Chairman Barbara Palko. His classmate, Aaron Smith, was paired with Board Member Margaret Marshall, and Maysa Moujami shadowed Board Member Michael Lukas.

Wade student Joel Brevard was paired with Board Member Virginia McGraw. The experience was extra special for he and his peers, Ryan Casas and Morgan Hawkins, as all three had McGraw for a principal during her time leading Wade. Casas was paired with Board Member Mark Crawford and Hawkins shadowed Board Vice Chairman Jennifer Abell.

The visiting students used the opportunity to learn about CCPS, how the school system operates and how the Board oversees education in Charles County. They were encouraged to ask questions and kept the discussion interesting. Several students shared ideas on policy and activities to incorporate into schools.

“Kids should have recess up to high school. We are doing so much work and need a break,” Hawkins suggested. After hearing a report on the Infants and Toddlers program that operates out of the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center, Casas recommended a program in which students could work with their disabled peers. “Sometimes kids help other kids learn better,” Casas said.

Office of Accountability staff presented to the Board a new online course selection process for middle and high school students. Brayden George asked how easy the system was for teachers to use for things such as updating grades. “If the student is not there and owes an assignment, but is out for a reason like a job shadow experience and then turns it in, can their grade be changed?” he asked.

The students also participated in a recognition with the Board of CCPS students who were selected to participate in the Maryland General Assembly Legislative Page program. The shadows joined the Board and Dr. Hill in shaking the students’ hands and had their photos taken. Palko thanked the students for their participation and said she enjoyed the shadow opportunity.

“We appreciate all of your ideas. Thank you for them and for joining us this afternoon,” Palko said.

The goal of the students’ participation was to learn about the functions of the Board of Education, CCPS and the link between school work and class lessons to the world of work. Job shadow experiences also allow for students to explore careers. This was the seventh year the Board’s student shadow opportunity was extended to county elementary schools. Each year during the month of February, students from all grade levels participate in job shadowing activities, both in their communities and at school.

Job Shadow Day meets the objectives for one of the school system’s focus areas – career readiness. While the activity is associated with Groundhog Day, students participate in shadowing experiences throughout the month of February. More than 5,000 CCPS students participate in Job Shadow activities annually.

Schools coordinate a variety of Job Shadow activities for students, ranging from hosting guest speakers and coordinating career fairs to working with community partners to build support to career partnerships. Students also participate in on-the-job experiences ranging from professions such as retail, the medical field, government agencies and clerical work to vocational-based opportunities.

The Boston Private Industry Council first started Groundhog Job Shadow Day in 1996 as part of its School-to-Work effort. In 1998, a coalition including Gen. Colin Powell’s America’s Promise was formed to encourage national participation. CCPS joined the effort in 1999 and has participated annually. 

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 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 Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, 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.

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