Month: September 2016


The Charles County Board of Education’s School Naming Advisory Committee is holding a public hearing to accept information or comment on names submitted and to accept additional school naming suggestions from the public. The hearing is set for Monday, Oct. 17, 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building at 5980 Radio Station Road in La Plata. The School Naming Advisory Committee is considering names for the new elementary school to be built off Billingsley Road in White Plains. The school is scheduled to open at the start of the 2018-19 school year. Board policy requires Read more…


The Charles County Sheriff’s Office Automated Speed Enforcement Unit is adding two new school zones to the automated speed enforcement program in October. The new locations are T.C. Martin Elementary School at 6315 Oliver Shop Road in Bryantown, and St. Charles High School at 5305 Piney Church Road in Waldorf. The sheriff’s office currently has four mobile cameras that are moved every two weeks to approved school zones including: • Thomas Stone High School, 3785 Leonardtown Road, Waldorf • Westlake High School, 3300 Middletown Road, Waldorf • Maurice J. McDonough High School, 7165 Marshall Corner Road, Pomfret • General Smallwood Read more…


Missing a school day here or there can be managed with some focused catch-up, but chronic absenteeism — missing at least 10 percent, or 18 days a school year — widens a gulf that many cannot bridge. Over time, gaps in a child’s education as a result of not showing up — excused or not —may result in falling behind academically and failing to graduate. September is Attendance Awareness Month. Nationwide, more than 3 million, or 18 percent, of high school students were chronically absent in 2013-14, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection. By high Read more…


Charles County Public Schools is looking for a few good people to serve on its elementary school redistricting committee. The school system will select 11 parents to serve on the committee —  two each from the middle and high school levels and seven from the elementary schools. Additionally, the Board will select three community members for the committee, which also includes principals, county government planners and Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) staff. The school system is starting a comprehensive elementary school redistricting process that will create an attendance zone for the county’s 22nd elementary school and reduce overcrowding at other Read more…


The Board of Education of Charles County is researching alternatives to the school calendar for next school year and would like feedback from the community. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan recently announced an executive order that requires all public school systems in Maryland to start their school year no earlier than the Tuesday after Labor Day and end by June 15. The Board approved a 2017-18 school calendar earlier this year that does not reflect the mandated changes. The Board is seeking community feedback on two options developed to meet the new start and end date requirements. A short, seven-question survey Read more…


Harold Watts was playing gigs at nightclubs like the Flamingo Club at 14th & W in Washington, D.C. A saxophone player, he was booking jobs in Baltimore too, and was a member of the band at the Howard Theatre. It was at Howard where he met someone who mentioned a high school in Charles County was looking for a band director. Watts, an educator in his native South Carolina, figured he could look into the job. He traveled to Pomonkey High School and met the principal, Charles Coates, who offered him the position. During a presentation Friday at the Charles Read more…


Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is launching several new programs and initiatives this school year geared at better infusing technology into curriculum and enhancing teaching and learning for students. While students and teachers enjoyed their summer break, school system technology staff were busy working to increase Internet access and networking capabilities at all schools, centers and system buildings. According to Pete Cevenini, chief of technology for CCPS, changes were made to increase the bandwidth access, which helps to support new technologies and network access at schools. “We increased our bandwidth to handle a larger caseload. We have quadrupled access for Read more…


Teams from 37 Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) attended training for the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program in August. “We are very excited to finally have all 37 schools and centers trained as PBIS schools this year,” Jennifer Conte, coordinator of Student Intervention Programs with CCPS, said. “St. Charles, La Plata and Westlake high schools and Mary B. Neal Elementary School were all trained this past year and make Charles County 100 percent PBIS schools.” “PBIS is so important in schools because it gives each school a framework for teaching students and staff the school wide expected behaviors and Read more…


Over two days at the Charles County Fair, community members will discuss the history of school segregation and desegregation in the county through the eyes of students and educators who lived it. The McConchie One-room Schoolhouse at the fairgrounds will host more than 10 guest speakers Sept. 16 and 17. The presentation is part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the Charles County Board of Education. Friday, Sept. 16 speaker schedule: • 10:30 a.m. — Anna Kephart will present “A History of Segregation in Charles County Public Schools.” • 11:30 a.m. — Cecelia Spinks will present “1952-1965: Segregation — The Read more…


Motivator. Kind hearted. Motherly. Supporter. These are characteristics a group of Westlake High School student athletes recently used to describe Beth Shook, a special education teacher and coach at the school. If you are a Westlake student athlete, chances are pretty high that Coach Shook not only knows who you are, but knows your academic status, too. Shook is a longtime high school track and field coach in Charles County and well respected among the student body. She also is highly regarded among the academic and athletic community. So much so that a committee of her colleagues from the U.S. Read more…

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