Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) officially starts the 2019-20 school year on Tuesday, Sept. 3 as an anticipated 27,000 students head to the classroom. Students in the three-year-old and prekindergarten programs start school on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
New this school year is the opening of Billingsley Elementary School, the 22nd elementary school for CCPS, an expansion of the student ID badge program at all high schools, changes to the student cell phone policy and dress code, and an online student registration process.
CCPS has several important programs and information for parents, students and staff as the new school year takes shape. Read below for important information and updates on system news.
Billingsley Elementary School opens
CCPS is kicking off its school year with several special events, including the opening of its 22nd elementary school. Located off Billingsley Road in White Plains is Billingsley Elementary School, home of the Bobcats. Billingsley is expected to open Sept. 3 with about 700 students. The school includes environmentally friendly design features, two floors for learning and several playing fields for students. Sabrina Robinson-Taylor is principal at Billingsley and manages an active Twitter account, @Billingsley_ES. Check out how Billingsley staff is preparing for the school year.
Elementary redistricting takes effect
With the opening of Billingsley this school year, the systemwide elementary school redistricting takes effect. To create an attendance zone for Billingsley, as well as alleviate overcrowding at several other elementary schools, the Board of Education approved an elementary school redistricting in 2018. To see what school zone your child attends, use the School Locator feature on the CCPS website: https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/school-locator2.
Student ID badge program expands to include all high schools
CCPS has expanded the use of student identification (ID) badges to all seven high schools, two middle schools and one elementary school. The badge program is part of the school system’s increased focus on school safety and security. Badges include a student’s name, school of attendance, class grade and school year. Each ID features a unique barcode for use with procedures such as tracking late arrivals and early dismissals, purchasing meals in the cafeteria or checking materials out of the school library. The program was piloted last school year at La Plata High, John Hanson Middle and J.P. Ryon Elementary schools. Hanson and Ryon will continue use this year. General Smallwood Middle School will also launch the program this school year. Plans are also underway to launch the program at Billingsley later this school year. Read more about the program here on the CCPS website.
Updated dress code and cell phone policy for students
The Board of Education in June approved an updated cell phone policy and dress code for students. Both take effect this school year. The updated dress code addresses ripped jeans and pants, different types of headwear and leggings. The updates are included in the 2019-20 Code of Student Conduct posted online at https://www.ccboe.com/ss/wp-content/uploads/CodeofStudentConduct20192020.pdf.
Changes to the cell phone policy include permission of use by students on school buses or school-chartered vehicles as long as they do not cause a disruption, and permitted use among high school students during their lunch and/or activity period only. The changes also allow for elementary school parents to request principal approval for their child to be able to bring a cell phone to school for a specific reason. The updated policy is included in the 2019-20 Code of Student Conduct.
Additionally, updates were made to the Code of Student Conduct that include increased levels of response for behavioral infractions, such as disrespect and threats of violence. Students receive a copy of the Code on the first day of school; parents are required to review the Code and complete a review form and send back to their child’s school.
Procedures for volunteers, chaperones
Parents and community members interested in volunteering in CCPS schools as well as those who attend special events, such as field trips, must complete registration procedures in order to volunteer. All volunteers are required to complete a background screening and participate in training requirements. Volunteer approval is for one year, meaning any approved volunteer from last year must complete the process again for the 2019-20 school year. Visit the volunteer page for additional information: https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/volunteer-information-ql. CCPS staff is no longer required to complete the screening, as CCPS launched additional background screenings for staff this school year.
See Something, Say Something
CCPS is continuing its efforts to provide safe, inviting and welcoming learning environments for students and staff. The See Something, Say Something campaign continues this school year with an emphasis on reporting unsafe or threatening behavior. CCPS encourages students, staff, parents and community members to report anything that threatens the safety of others. An anonymous reporting tool is located on the CCPS website at http://www.ccboe.com/index.php/see-something-say-something.
The CCPS Office of School Safety and Security investigates all reports, often with the assistance of School Resource Officers (SROs). The school system also has an anonymous reporting hotline, 301-302-8305.
Meal prices increase by 5 cents this year
Breakfast and lunch prices increased by 5 cents this year for students. Breakfast is $1.35 for elementary school students and $1.45 for middle and high school students. Lunch prices are $2.70 for elementary school students and $2.95 for middle and high school students. Meal selections are posted online at https://ccboe.nutrislice.com/.
CCPS uses an online cafeteria prepayment system called MyPayments Plus. Parents can add money and monitor their child’s meal accounts. Visit https://www2.mypaymentsplus.com/welcome to sign up or access your account. Some students may be eligible for reduced price or free meals. Parents can apply online for free and reduced price meals at https://www.myschoolapps.com/Application. The application for the 2019-20 school year will be available Aug. 16.
New online registration system
Over the summer, CCPS launched a new online registration system for parents. The system is available on the school system website at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/online-registration.
The page features details about the registration process, what is required for parents enrolling a student new to CCPS and an easy-to-follow video tutorial. The registration website also includes step-by-step directions for users. Parents with students already enrolled in CCPS can register another child using an active ParentVue account. A registration tab is located in the upper right-hand corner of all active ParentVue accounts. Click the tab to begin registration.
Parents new to CCPS must first create a ParentVue account to register online using a valid email address. Click here to start the registration process. New users must select create new account from the more options menu area (located underneath the word Login).
The online registration process requires users to upload document copies and/or images of required documents. A school staff member will review all online registrations and screen submissions to ensure all required information is submitted. Parents can also complete the registration process in person using a computer or kiosk at their child’s zoned school. Parents should contact the school to see if they need to set up an appointment. Read more about student registration and what information is required by parents here.
Dr. Mudd renovations complete, work at Middleton continues and Turner and Stoddert projects begin
Students and staff at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School return to a new building this school year. The school underwent a major renovation that took two years to complete and includes a new main entrance, and the building of a separate cafeteria and gym. Check out some of the construction progress in this video.
Arthur Middleton Elementary School has received several building enhancements during the last year. The school building that once included an open-space floor plan now features classrooms with walls, providing a more structured learning environment for students. Spaces such as the media center have been enclosed, and the building features a new entrance that allows staff to monitor who is entering and leaving the building. Additionally, a contractor is working to install a new roof.
Students at Eva Turner Elementary School will begin their school year at a different location: the Transition School in Waldorf. Turner is set to undergo a renovation CCPS staff expect will take two years to complete. The renovation will modernize the building, increase space to maximize instructional opportunities and upgrade both the mechanical and electrical systems. Construction begins in September and is expected to be complete in June 2021. The Transition School is located at 3155 John Hanson Drive in Waldorf. Telephone numbers are 301-885-0032 or 301-753-2087.
Work will soon begin to expand space at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School. A renovation is planned for Stoddert that includes the expansion of classroom space to accommodate an additional 250 students. The renovation project is in the contract bidding stages but work is expected to start on the Stoddert campus this fall. The renovation will take place in phases and students will not relocate off campus during construction; different parts of the building will be sectioned off during construction. The renovation is expected to take three years to complete.
Make sure your child’s vaccinations are up to date
State law requires students to have minimum immunization levels to attend school. Vaccine requirements range depending on the age and grade of a student, and include DPT, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, Hib, Prevnar, Tdap and meningococcal. Students can receive all required vaccines at their doctor’s office. A chart including what vaccines are required by age and grade level is posted here.
Students can attend school without completed immunizations, but parents have to show proof of an appointment occurring within 20 calendar days from the first day of school, Sept. 3. The Charles County Department of Health is holding vaccine clinics by appointment. Click here for more information about the clinics.
Visiting a CCPS building? Bring a photo ID along
CCPS requires all visitors, including staff, to provide a government-issued photo ID prior to gaining access to any school. Schools are equipped with a video monitoring system. Visitors must first press a doorbell and present photo id to gain entry to schools and centers. Visitors must also sign in at the main office using the ScholarChip system, which scans photo IDs. ScholarChip compares visitor information against the National Sex Offender Registry.
What bus does my child ride?
The school system is sponsoring a bus hotline for parents to call with questions about bus routes. Call 301-932-6655 from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 29-30, and 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 3-4 to reach the hotline. Bus route information will be available through the School Locator application the week of August 19. School Locator can be accessed here.
Plan the 2019-20 school year with our calendar
The 2019-20 CCPS Parent Handbook/Calendar is available online at www.ccboe.com. All students and staff receive a copy the first week of school.
Share your back-to-school excitement with us
Help CCPS celebrate the start of another exciting school year. Send us your photos at email@example.com or tag us in your social media posts with #btsccps19. A gallery featuring shared content will be posted on the school system website, ccboe.com.
CCPS has an online gradebook program for parents and students to track grades, attendance, assignments and more. The system, ParentVue for parents and StudentVue for students, will be live for the 2019-20 school year the week of Aug. 26. Parents who do not receive account activation information should contact their child’s school. Parents will need to provide photo identification in order to pick-up account activation information for their child. An overview of how to use ParentVue is posted on the CCPS website at https://www.ccboe.com/index.php/parentvue-account-overview.
Receive email, phone and text notifications from CCPS
CCPS uses email, phone call and text message alerts as part of systemwide and school-based parent and staff communication. The notification system, School Messenger, pulls data from the CCPS student information and staff data systems. It is important parents provide a valid phone number and email address on their child’s emergency card. Parents should notify their child’s school of any changes. Text message alerts are available as an opt-in feature, meaning parents must opt-in to receive messages. Text Y or YES to 67587. Standard message rates by cell phone carrier apply. Text STOP to 67587 at any time to opt out.
Community members can receive CCPS emergency text message notification through the Charles County Citizen Notification System (CNS). Sign up at http://www.charlescountymd.gov/CNS and select Charles County Public Schools under notifications.
Visit your child’s school
Orientations and back-to-school events are planned for August, September and October. A complete list of school orientation and open house events is posted under the In the News section of the CCPS website, www.ccboe.com/pr. Click here for a list of orientation events set for August. A list of set open house and back-to-school nights is posted online at https://www.ccboe.com/pr/open-houses-planned-for-schools-4/.
Students interested in taking AP exams must register and pay by Nov. 15
The College Board has implemented a new Advanced Placement (AP) exam registration process; CCPS piloted the process last school year. Any student enrolled in an AP class this year who is interested in taking the accompanying exam in May 2020 must register and pay for the exam by Nov. 15, 2019.
At the start of the school year, all AP teachers will provide students with access codes to an online College Board account at https://myap.collegeboard.org/login. Students must first create a College Board account to link an access code from their teacher to class resources. Students also will use their class account to register for any AP exam.
Cost per exam is $94; however, any student who decides to take an AP exam after the Nov. 15 deadline will be charged a late fee of $40 per exam. Additionally, any student who cancels an AP exam is subject to a $40 cancellation fee. Visit https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/exam-policies-guidelines/exam-fees for more details.
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 37 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.