What We Do
School counselors are available in every Charles County public elementary, middle and high school. Counselors work with students, parents and school staff to ensure that all students become effective learners, achieve success in school and become contributing members of society.
School counseling programs are guided by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and follow standards set by the American School Counseling Association. The school counseling program integrates academic achievement, college and career readiness and personal responsibility. Please also contact the school counselor at your child’s school regarding concerns with bullying, harassment, and/or intimidation.
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- High School
- Responding to a Crisis
- Helpful Links for Students and Parents
Elementary school counselors provide classroom lessons on a variety of skills, from decision-making to communication and friendship skills. They also work with small groups of students and individuals on particular topics, as needed. Elementary school counselors can provide a wealth of information to teachers and parents on behavior management and child development issues and can provide referrals to community-based resources.
Middle school counselors assist with registering and transitioning new students, as well as advising parents and students on course scheduling. They provide classroom lessons and small group sessions on particular skills like conflict resolution, and they meet individually with students in need of additional assistance with personal-social issues. They track students who are failing subjects and offer organization, study skills and goal-setting lessons. In the later years of middle school, there is a focus on college and career exploration to assist students in preparing for high school programming.
Middle School Promotion and Retention Policy
Except as provided in Superintendent Rule 5131.33, in order for a sixth, seventh, or eighth grader to be promoted, the student must:
- Pass Language Arts/Reading; and
- Pass Mathematics: and
- Meet one of the following:
- Pass Science and Social Studies and at least one Related Arts course; or
- Pass Science and at least two Related Arts classes; or
- Pass Social Studies and at least two Related Arts classes. Students failing a required core subject during the school year may attend summer school to achieve a passing grade.
Middle School Required Courses
The following subjects are Middle School Core Subjects and Related Arts:
|Family & Consumer Science
High school counselors advise all students on course scheduling, assisting them in making appropriate choices to achieve their future goals. They provide information on programming available in career technology areas, as well as the various levels of academic coursework. They assist with the organization of PSAT/SAT/ACT testing, college/military/business recruitment efforts, scholarship and financial aid opportunities and more. And, as at all levels, they offer counseling services to students who are experiencing problems in any of these areas.
College and career advisors are part of the counseling program in each high school career center. The main focus of these staff members is to provide information to students and their parents on post-high school opportunities. They assist students in the application process for college, arrange opportunities for college, military and business representatives to meet students during the school day, organize the annual college fair, and disseminate information through a monthly newsletter and website.
To be awarded a diploma, a student shall be enrolled in Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and have earned a minimum of 23 credits that include the following:
Specific Credit Requirement
English (See pages 43-46)
2 in Algebra
Each student shall enroll in a mathematics course in each year of high school that the student attends, up to a maximum of 4 years of attendance, unless in the 5th or 6th year a mathematics course is needed to meet a graduation requirement. A student must earn four math credits, including one with instruction in algebra aligned with the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment for algebra or one or more credits in subsequent mathematics courses for which Algebra I is a prerequisite, and one with instruction in geometry aligned with the content standards for geometry.
Students in PLTW programs/North Point Academy of Health Professionals-CNA, Biotechnology, and Engineering programs ONLY
½ credit Fitness for Life
2 credits of the same World Language
AND any remaining credits in electives OR 3-5 credits through the completion of state-approved career and technical education program AND any remaining credits in electives
The Maryland High School Assessment (MHSAs)
Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Curriculum,
Assessment, & Accountability
MCAP Algebra I
Participate only and pass Algebra I course
MCAP English II
Participate only and pass English II course
MCAP LS MISA
Participate only and pass Biology course MCAP will count as 20% of student’s final grade
Participate only and pass LSN Government course MCAP will count as 20% of student’s final grade
Talking to Children About Violence
From the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
NASP has additional information for parents and educators on school safety, violence prevention, children’s trauma reactions, and crisis response at www.nasponline.org. ©2016, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway #402, Bethesda, MD 20814
High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help children feel safe by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and talking with them about their fears.
- Reassure children that they are safe. Emphasize that schools are very safe. Validate their feelings. Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs. Let children talk about their feelings, help put them into perspective, and assist them in expressing these feelings appropriately.
- Make time to talk. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their feelings readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. Some children prefer writing, playing music, or doing an art project as an outlet. Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.
- Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
- Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should be balanced with reassurances that their school and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety like reminding children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills practiced during the school day.
- Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools.
- Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines (e.g. not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to the school safety made by students or community members, etc.), communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.
- Review safety procedures. This should include procedures and safeguards at school and at home. Help children identify at least one adult at school and in the community to whom they go if they feel threatened or at risk.
- Observe children’s emotional state. Some children may not express their concerns verbally. Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s level of anxiety or discomfort. In most children, these symptoms will ease with reassurance and 2 time. However, some children may be at risk for more intense reactions. Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater risk for severe reactions than others. Seek the help of mental health professional if you are at all concerned.
- Limit television viewing of these events. Limit television viewing and be aware if the television is on in common areas. Developmentally inappropriate information can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children. Adults also need to be mindful of the content of conversations that they have with each other in front of children, even teenagers, and limit their exposure to vengeful, hateful, and angry comments that might be misunderstood.
- Maintain a normal routine. Keeping to a regular schedule can be reassuring and promote physical health. Ensure that children get plenty of sleep, regular meals, and exercise. Encourage them to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children
- Schools are safe places. School staff works with parents and public safety providers (local police and fire departments, emergency responders, hospitals, etc.) to keep you safe.
- The school building is safe because … (cite specific school procedures).
- We all play a role in the school safety. Be observant and let an adult know if you see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened.
- There is a difference between reporting, tattling or gossiping. You can provide important information that may prevent harm either directly or anonymously by telling a trusted adult what you know or hear.
- Although there is no absolute guarantee that something bad will never happen, it is important to understand the difference between the possibility of something happening and probability that it will affect you (our school community).
- Senseless violence is hard for everyone to understand. Doing things that you enjoy, sticking to your normal routine, and being with friends and family help make us feel better and keep us from worrying about the event.
- Sometimes people do bad things that hurt others. They may be unable to handle their anger, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or suffering from mental illness. Adults (parents, teachers, police officers, doctors, faith leaders) work very hard to get those people help and keep them from hurting others. It is important for all of us to know how to get help if we feel really upset or angry and to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
- Stay away from guns and other weapons. Tell an adult if you know someone has a gun. Access to guns is one of the leading risk factors for deadly violence.
- Violence is never a solution to personal problems. Students can be part of the positive solution by participating in anti-violence programs at school, learning conflict mediation skills, and seeking help from an adult if they or a peer is struggling with anger, depression, or other emotions they cannot control.
PBS.org – Talking With Kids About the News
Develop strategies for discussing today’s headlines with children. Learn how to calm their fears and stimulate their minds.
Documents and Publications
Parent Guide on How to Support Grieving Children
The National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and the New York Life Foundation have partnered to develop a booklet providing practical advice on how parents and other adults can support grieving children.
Coping With the Sudden Death of a Student
A crisis handbook for schools and students dealing with death and grief. The development of this report comes from a belief that schools are a community of people who care for one another.
Links for Students
Links for Middle and High School Students
A complete listing of historically black colleges and universities, along with other college and financial aid information
Student Success With Less Debt
Maryland state government website that guides students and parents through the application process for state funding for higher education
Links for Parents
For questions regarding the school counseling program, contact Ms. Cheaves.
Ms. Cheaves is also responsible for International Student Enrollment.