Southern Maryland legislators expressed their support for education at the Board of Education’s recent legislative breakfast while learning a little more about Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and two of its challenges — teacher recruitment and retention, and student discipline.
The annual breakfast is a time for the Board of Education and Charles County’s legislative delegation to share information, concerns and educational issues before the Maryland General Assembly convenes in January.
Superintendent Kimberly Hill familiarized members of the Southern Maryland delegation, which includes state senators and delegates from Districts 27 and 28, with CCPS statistics including its economic impact as the largest employer in the county. She provided a breakdown of student and staff demographics as well as academic achievements.
Deputy Superintendent Amy Hollstein shared challenges the system has with student discipline and how laws impact the school system’s responses to disciplinary infractions. Using two incidents — one where a student overturned desks and emptied shelves, and another where a student scratched a teacher — Hollstein illustrated the frustrations in handling discipline problems, especially with early childhood students. She stressed the main goal of discipline is to change or modify student behavior and to ensure the safety of staff and students.
Hollstein provided examples of the supports CCPS uses in addressing student behavior, including therapeutic implementation, mental health services, restorative practices, expansion of evening high school to include opportunities for special education students and planning for elementary alternative programs. Hollstein also highlighted some of the laws and rules that limit the discipline school administrators can impose.
Nikial Majors, executive director of human resources, presented information about the 282 new teachers hired this school year. Majors said staff attended 39 job fairs and teacher recruitment initiatives included focusing on diversity, expanding utilization of technology and social media, creating an internal talent pipeline, forging relationships with new colleges, extending offers at job fairs and hosting CCPS job fairs. Majors told legislators and the Charles County Commissioners that their support with affordable housing, affordable benefits and adequate funding are the areas where they can have the most impact on the school system’s ability to attract and keep quality teachers.
Hill told legislators that Board members and staff are available for consultation on any education issue that might surface in the coming legislative session. Del. C.T. Wilson requested information on the school system’s priorities and areas of focus within the Kirwan Commission report. Del. Edith Patterson asked to meet with staff more often.
Members of the Charles County legislative delegation, including Senator-elect Arthur Ellis, Patterson, Del. Susie Proctor and Wilson, along with Charles County Commissioners’ President Reuben Collins, Thomasina Coates and Gilbert Bowling, attended the meeting with the Board of Education, Board of Education-elect members and staff.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,108 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.