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The Board of Education of Charles County met March 12 for its regular monthly meeting. The Board, along with the Charles County Commissioners, recognized winter sports athletic state champions, including Maurice J. McDonough High School’s Unified Bocce team, La Plata High School’s swimming and wrestling champions, Henry E. Lackey High School’s individual champions in girls’ and boys’ track and field as well as girls’ wrestling open tournament; North Point High School’s boys’ individual track and field champions; Westlake High School’s girls’ and boys’ indoor track and field champions; and students recognized for accomplishments in Gifted and Talented Education.

Superintendent reviews security enhancements
Superintendent Kimberly Hill updated the Board on the school system’s See Something, Say Something campaign and a sample of the safety enhancements Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) has completed this school year. Over the past year, CCPS has changed the way visitors enter a school, completed more than 8,000 background checks for volunteers, increased training and background checks for substitutes and new employees, and completed construction of 10 vestibules that limit open access to our schools. CCPS has also provided 31 training opportunities for employees in active shooter and emergency response, conducted a safety symposium for administrators and presented safety information at 14 PTSO meetings. Superintendent's Report icon acrobat

Discipline on review
Deputy Superintendent Amy Hollstein, student services staff and principals reported on student discipline and presented five years of data showing the most common infractions. At the elementary level, frequent infractions include physical attacks on a student, physical attacks on staff and extreme disruption. At the middle and high schools, the main infractions are disruption, fighting and physical attacks on a student. Staff outlined supports offered to students including alternative assignments, evening high school, counselors, psychologists, behavioral specialists, restorative practices and parent shadowing. Safe and Orderly Environment: Addressing Student Behavior Concerns Presentation icon acrobat

Principals highlight programs that work
Several principals presented school highlights. Sonia Blue of Mattawoman Middle School shared staff development activities that help staff members analyze personal bias. John Hanson Middle School Principal Benjamin Kohlhorst shared Black History Month activities while Piccowaxen Middle School Principal Wendell Martin showed off how students at his school #choosekind. William A. Diggs Elementary School Principal Debra Calvert shared its 4 Corners Activity, “What to do on a Snowy Day,” and Theodore G. Davis Middle School Principal Kim McClarin presented staff development to help improve co-teaching. School Highlights Presentation icon acrobat 

Board considers grading policy change
The Board reviewed grading policy changes to include an exception for students when they first enter the Robert D. Stethem Educational Center. The policy change allows students entering the therapeutic program at the center a one-time grade adjustment that changes a student’s failing grade to a minimum of 50 percent. The Board will vote on the changes next month. Policy changes icon acrobat

Project status update
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School, along with Billingsley Elementary School topped the Supporting Services report on construction updates. Construction on the Mudd renovation and expansion is 85 percent complete and Billingsley is 99 percent complete. Project Status Report icon acrobat

Stop-arm cameras and enforcement
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office and CCPS joined to present information about stop-arm cameras for buses and a possible agreement to outfit 72 school buses with the cameras before the end of the school year. Proposed Stop-arm Camera Enforcement Presentation icon acrobat 

Kirwan recommendations move forward
Staff Attorney Eric Schwartz updated the Board on legislation, including a bill to implement recommendation of the Kirwan Commission, two bills affecting superintendents’ contracts and legislation that would expand membership for the Maryland State Board of Education from 12 to 15 by adding two certificated teachers and one parent of a public school student

Board eliminates snow day in 2019-20 calendar
The Board voted six to one to change the 2019-20 school year calendar by eliminating one inclement weather day to allow for closing schools April 28, 2020 for Primary Election day. 2019-2020 Calendar Revision Options icon acrobat

The Board presented resolutions for the Month of the Young Child and National Leadership Week.  

The Board honored five students for their accomplishments in the areas of academic achievement, personal responsibility and career readiness.

  • Lashauna Barbour, senior, academic achievement, Henry E. Lackey High School
  • Angelica Proctor, eighth grade, personal responsibility, John Hanson Middle School
  • Lilibeth Pineda-Mendez, fifth grade, career readiness, C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School
  • Amy Costa, fifth grade, personal responsibility, Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School
  • Griffin Birmingham, fifth grade, academic achievement, T.C. Martin Elementary School

Read more about the students.

The Board recognized five exemplary employees.

  • Robert Castellano, ROTC instructor, Lackey
  • Jacob Terlecki, science teacher, Hanson
  • Rebecca Wheaton, fourth-grade teacher, Barnhart
  • Donna Fowler, technology facilitator, Brown
  • Juliana Herscher, first-grade teacher, Martin

Read more about the employees. 

Public Forum
Six people spoke at public forum. Topics included the need for updates in the CCPS curriculum and programs to accommodate the different personalities of children. A speaker suggested building a school dedicated to gifted learning. Additionally, three teachers provided possible solutions to discipline issues including hiring more counselors and psychologists, adding age-appropriate character education and changing the teacher in-service toolkit to include restorative practices, instruction and sensitivity training. A parent spoke about the role of teachers in helping her children succeed in school and another parent commended the school system for improved pedestrian walkways near her child’s school.

Action items
The Board unanimously approved certificated personnel recommendations including six certificated appointments; 10 releases without prejudice; one release with prejudice; one recommendation for termination; two retirements; one leave of absence; and one administrative appointment. The Board also approved the February meeting minutes.

Board meeting video
Watch the Board meeting on Comcast channel 96, Verizon Fios channel 12 or on the CCPS TV website.