The Board of Education held its Sept. 8 meeting in person at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building for the first time since March when the state closed schools due to COVID-19. The Board provided the Superintendent with direction to work toward a goal of entering Phase 2 of the school system's reopening plans, possibly starting at the end of the first quarter. Read the reopening plan here.

Technology and school lunch services
Superintendent Kimberly A. Hill talked about the start of school year 2020-21. She said there were bumps and challenges as staff and students adjusted to virtual learning and technology. Instead of a bus hotline, the Superintendent said, the school system opened a technology help center. She also talked about the meals and technology help Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) provides to families. CCPS has 17 meal distribution sites at schools and added three community sites this week for meal delivery. Additionally, the USDA adjusted its meal plan to allow CCPS to offer free lunches to all students ages 2 to 18 until the end of December. Read more here.

Educational equity policy
Kim Hairston, director of equity and diversity, and Amy Hollstein, deputy superintendent, discussed a proposed educational equity policy that the Board will vote on next month. The policy states that for student success to occur in lifelong learning and the world of work the Board must prioritize educational equity by recognizing and removing institutional barriers. The policy also calls for ensuring social identifiers are not obstacles to accessing educational opportunities and guaranteeing that bias and students' identities will not predict or predetermine their school success. Read the proposed policy. Send comments about the policy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Reopening of schools
Staff provided Board members a glimpse of virtual learning through pictures and videos from schools. The Superintendent asked the Board to give direction on reopening schools for students identified in special populations before the end of the first quarter. Board members weighed in on reopening of schools and provided the Superintendent direction to begin preparing with a goal of starting Phase 2 at the start of the second quarter on Nov. 4.

Technology update
Charmaine Thompson, chief of instructional technology, provided an update to Board members about funding and laptop distribution. To date, she said, the school system has distributed more than 17,000 student laptops. The school system will complete distribution when pending orders, held up due to a worldwide delay, arrive. The delays are a national issue, with school systems around the country facing the same challenge. Read more about technology here.

Calendar for next school year
Shelley Mackey, communications specialist, presented the Board two options for the 2021-22 school year. Both proposals suggest a pre-Labor Day start. One calendar option offers a full week for Spring Break and the second option proposes a three-day Spring Break. The Board will receive another report on the calendar options at its regular meeting in October. View the options here

County school allocation policy 
County planning employees Jason Groth, deputy director, and Ben Yeckley, planner III, presented the county's plans to change its school seat allocation policy. Groth and Yeckley outlined affordable housing needs, proposed mixed-use development and amendments to the Charles County Zoning Ordinance pertaining to the allocation of school seats to developers. The Board has expressed concerns that the changes are too expansive and will create additional overcrowding challenges for the school system. The Board has also emphasized that the county's proposed changes create a need for the county to forward fund school construction without waiting for state funding. View the report here or watch the presentation starting at the 2:49:19 mark.

Recommendations on continued suspension policies
Staff Attorney Eric Schwartz presented the Board with a list of policies staff recommends for ongoing suspension during virtual learning. Suspended policies include guidance in several areas, including field trips, interscholastic athletic and extracurricular activities, and transportation services. Read the report.

Public Forum
The Board did not hold a public forum. The Board met in person, observing social distancing protocol, but did not open the meeting to the general public. The Board accepted nine emails with comments for Public Forum.

Action items

  • The Board approved certificated personnel actions covering 61certificated appointments, five releases without prejudice, 11 releases with prejudice, one retirement and one leave of absence.
  • The Board approved the fiscal year 2022 local and state five-year Capital Improvements Program. The Board must submit the approved Capital Improvements Program (CIP) with documentation to the Interagency Commission on Public School Construction (IAC) by Oct. 7, for state funding eligibility. View the report.
  • The Board approved the following recurring resolutions: American Education Week; American Freedom Week; Inclusion and Diversity Month Resolution; Black History Month; Gifted and Talented Education Month; Career and Technology Education Month; National School Counseling Week; Read Across America; Women's History Month; Fine and Performing Arts Month; Month of the Young Child; National Student Leadership Week; Teacher Appreciation Week; Administrative Professionals' Week; Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week; National Physical Education and Sport Week; Washington Post Principal of the Year Awards Program; Washington Post Teacher of the Year Awards Program; MSDE Teacher of the Year: Be the Difference; Charles County nominee; Retirement resolution.


Next meeting
The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. CCPS airs Board meetings live on ccboe.com, Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12 and rebroadcasts meetings throughout the week.