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Superintendent’s report
Superintendent Kimberly Hill updated the Board on a $374,000 safety and security grant from the Maryland Center for School Safety that will help Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) expand health services for students, implement student identification badges, broaden delivery of restorative practices, buy more school bus cameras, offer more professional development and enhance alert systems. Additionally, the Superintendent thanked outgoing Board members for their service to children.
Superintendent's Report icon acrobat

Board honors state champion
The Board recognized golfer Bailey Davis, a sophomore at North Point High School, for winning the  2018 Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Golf Championship: Class 3A/4A Girl’s championship. She posted the lowest round of any boy or girl golfer in the championship.

CCPS TV On Air video "Bailey Davis Does It Again" 

Grant funding
CCPS relies heavily on grant funding for instructional and special programs. On average, CCPS receives $16.8 million annually. Instructional staff provided a snapshot of how much each area receives and how CCPS uses the money. “We rely on grants to do business,” Deputy Superintendent Amy Hollstein said. Instructional staff shared information on how grants fund career and technology education, teaching and staff development, student support and academic enrichment, reading literacy, English Learner programs, the Judith P. Hoyer Early Childhood Centers, special education and the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training.
Instructional Grant Funded Projects Presentation icon acrobat

Discipline: The data, the law and the alternatives
The main goal of discipline is to change student behavior and to ensure the safety of staff and students. During a presentation about discipline, staff reviewed the Code of Student Conduct and the guidelines it offers to respond to misbehavior as well as the level of responses available to principals. Additionally, the Board learned about Synergy Analytics, a new program that allows principals to use data to track incidents and particular behaviors. Staff also talked about out-of-school suspensions and provided historical data that shows a slight decline over the past several years. Additionally, staff talked about hearing dispositions and the supports offered to students, including schedule changes, restrictions, behavior and attendance agreements, Teen Court and more. Staff also discussed available options for removing students from school, such as extended suspension and 45-day placements at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center. As part of the presentation, staff outlined the laws that govern discipline as well as the layers of support used to help students as schools address student behavior. Supports include expansion of a therapeutic intervention program, expansion of Evening High School to include opportunities for special education students, expansion of parent shadowing at schools and planning for an elementary alternative program.
Discipline Presentation icon acrobat

The Husky approach
Matthew Henson Middle School Principal Christina Caballero presented an in-school program called Henson Utilizing Strategies to develop Kind, Interpersonal, Engaged Students (HUSKIES) that has helped reduce out-of-school suspensions. Students are required to attend their classes in one room and must earn points in order to return to the regular classroom. Caballero said she has tried a number of things, including parent shadowing and after-school detention, but HUSKIES  is producing solid results. The program provides students an opportunity to stay in school and complete their work while receiving therapeutic intervention. She quoted one seventh grader who completed the program as saying the assignment to Huskies was a more severe consequence than being suspended.

Insurance
Assistant Superintendent of Fiscal Services Randy Sotomayor provided information on a five-year contract with CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield obtained through a competitive procurement process. CCPS has maintained stable premiums for employees due to its competitive procurement process and slow expenditure growth. Representatives from CareFirst and CVSHealth, which provides prescription benefits, also provided overviews.
Carefirst Plan Overview icon acrobat

Project update
The Board rescheduled its update on Billingsley Elementary School to the January meeting.

Public Forum
Three people spoke at Public Forum. Christy Wright, a parent, talked about bus safety and encouraged the Board to place monitors on buses to keep children safer. She suggested possibly recruiting community volunteers to serve as monitors. Melissa Williams, a teacher, spoke about discipline problems. She asked the Board to come up with solutions to address the small percentage of students who are causing disruption in schools. She suggested streamlining the process to place students to the alternative program at the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center and to remove limits on the days students attend classes there. Yolonda Coleman Brown, a parent, talked about suspensions and said she feels the process is backward. She questioned why she had to wait until an incident occurred to learn about free mediation services at the College of Southern Maryland and other interventions available to students. She said communication is not getting out to parents.

Student recognition
The Board recognized the following students for excellence in one of the school systems three focus areas: academic achievement, personal responsibility and career readiness.

  • Ja'Nae Pickeral, senior, personal responsibility, La Plata High School
  • Steven McPhee, eighth grade, academic achievement, Piccowaxen Middle School
  • Brandon Lin, fifth grade, personal responsibility, Berry Elementary School 
  • Anthony Cave, fifth grade, career readiness, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School
  • Tre'Joir Washington, third grade, academic achievement, Eva Turner Elementary School

Click here to learn about the students’ accomplishments.

Employee recognition
The Board honored the following exemplary employees.

  • Jennifer Joyner, theater arts teacher, La Plata
  • Maggie Fitzgerald, Spanish teacher, Piccowaxen
  • Eileen Holden, third-grade teacher, Berry
  • Laura Kelly, art teacher, Higdon
  • Keith Juarez, technology facilitator, Turner

Click here to learn more about the employee recognition.

Future agenda items
Board Member Jennifer Abell suggested scheduling a discussion about a new Board retreat.

Action items
The Board unanimously passed the following action items:

  • Personnel, including recommendations for  14 certificated appointments, one release without prejudice; one release with prejudice; one retirement, and one leave of absence.
  • Minutes, including open session and executive session.
  • A grading policy that requires all schools to use the same scale, 0-59, for an F grade. The policy goes into effect at the start of the second semester.
    Click here to read about the new uniform grading scale.


Click here to watch the Dec. 11 Board Meeting on CCPS TV.