The Charles County Board of Education held its monthly meeting May 12, 2020. The Board conducted its meeting online because of the school system’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The complete meeting is available for viewing here on the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) website.

COVID-19, graduations and last day of school
Schools delivered yard signs to the homes of the Class of 2020, graduations include an in-person component, and the last day of school for students is June 11. Superintendent Kimberly A. Hill provided the latest information about changes caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the school system continues to deliver instruction and services to children and families. Read the full report here.

Student Board member signs off
Student Board Member DeJuan Woods gave his student report at his last official Board meeting. Woods thanked the Board, Superintendent and staff for working with him throughout the year. He talked about the changes to the Advanced Placement (AP) testing and the extra support teachers provided to their students. He also reviewed an April 28 meeting with Dr. Hill and 22 members of the Class of 2020 held to discuss alternative solutions to traditional commencement ceremonies. “I am extremely proud of the students who served on this council, with them contributing thoughtful and honest ideas and feedback about what CCPS can do for seniors during this time. Their concerns and voices were important in this process and I’m so thankful for Dr. Hill for extending me this opportunity,” he said. Woods’ report is posted online here.

Graduation plan includes an in-person option
Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) graduation day is an online event because of the school system’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Graduations for all seven high schools will be available on-demand and beginning at 7 a.m. on Thursday, June 11, by going to the Charles County Public Schools YouTube Channel and Vimeo. CCPS will televise graduations on a rotating schedule on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS 12. CCPS will make a complete television schedule and links available closer to June 11.

Dr. Hill told the Board she met with students and staff, and based on input, she developed three options for the Class of 2020 graduation celebration. Hill reviewed the options with the Charles County Department of Health and law enforcement agencies that recommended completely virtual graduations. Days later, law enforcement officials updated their essential travel guidelines and notified school systems that they could include limited in-person options in graduation plans. The CCPS graduation plan is a hybrid model. Students can, by appointment from their school, walk across the stage, pick up their diploma, have a photograph taken, or send schools a cap and gown photo for placement in the virtual graduation video. Listen to the complete report online here. The graduation report starts at the 25.27-minute mark.

Learning from a distance
Deputy Superintendent Amy Hollstein congratulated parents who have helped make distance learning a positive experience for their children. She said staff is providing a multilayered approach and creating lessons. The data, Hollstein noted, shows that 82.1 percent of students are working online, participating in TEAMS lessons and through APEX. Approximately 15 percent of students are learning by completing paper packets and some students are combining virtual and packet work. About 2.9 percent of students are not accessing any CCPS learning opportunites. Pupil Personnel Workers are working to contact families to help them connect with CCPS. Hollstein outlined other distance learning opportunities, including adjusted lessons for special populations, phone interventions for Reading Recovery students, a 24-hour Spanish hotline, social and emotional mental health services for families, and virtual counselor meetings to help parents secure services. Listen to the full report online here. The report starts at the 32-minute mark.

Technology update 
Charmaine Thompson, chief of instructional technology, provided an overview of technology services since schools closed March 16. She said CCPS initially put out a survey to students and teachers to learn about Wi-Fi needs. Based on that information, and requests through the AskCCPS feature on ccboe.com, technology staff has reprogramed, sanitized and distributed nearly 7,400 laptops to students, staff and teachers. Additionally, technology has helped develop virtual networks through Microsoft Teams and WebEx for teachers and staff as well as partnered with the University of Maryland to offer distance learning and staff development. Technology worked with the Safety and Security Office to create hotspots in several school parking lots to make the Internet more accessible to communities without Internet access. Listen to the full report here. The technology report begins at the 46-minute mark.

Renovation projects are moving forward
Renovations and expansions at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School and Eva Turner Elementary School are progressing as planned. Contractors are moving ahead with the projects and working in a way that meets state COVID-19 guidelines. Site work continues at Stoddert and the Turner roof is complete. Supporting services staff has also started work on a secure entryway at Matthew Henson Middle School. A comprehensive facility status report is posted here.

Meal sites serving thousands each day
CCPS Food Nutrition Services (FNS) Supervisors William Kreuter and Crystal Richardson provided an update on meal distributions during the school closure. CCPS FNS staff are working at 11 meal sites to provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack to any child under the age of 18. The presentation includes a timeline of meal implementation, and totals of meals served by week during the closure. Since the meal sites opened on March 16, CCPS FNS staff have served more than 200,000 meals to children. Listen to the full report here. The FNS report begins at the 1 hour and seven minute mark.

Students’ last day of school is June 11
The Board unanimously approved the school system’s request for a five-day waiver to the 180-day school year rule due to the lost time caused by COVID-19. The state has also approved the exemption, making June 11 the last day of the 2019-20 school year for students.

Temporary policy waivers
The Board voted to extend suspensions of several Board policies that guide instruction, grading and extracurricular activities. The Board directed Superintendent Hill to create eligibility guidelines for the fall based on a student’s final grade. If students earn a 60 percent or higher, or if quality points help a student earn a 60 percent or higher, they will be considered eligible to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities at school. The temporary guidelines apply to all rising 10-12 graders.

Public Forum
There were no submissions for the public forum.

Action items
The Board approved the minutes of the April meeting and the Superintendent’s recommendations for certificated appointments.

The meeting adjourned at 2:53 p.m.