- Several Matthew Henson Middle School students in the Friends of Rachel Club visited Christ Church in La Plata on Nov. 19 to help with ongoing restoration efforts. Students worked from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with church and community members to help paint, rake leaves and clean up the church grounds. The Henson Friends of Rachel Club focuses on spreading kindness in the community. Members of Christ Church were appreciative of the students’ help, which helped the church community prepare for a special visit from Bishop Mariann Budde at its annual “Kirking of the Tartan” event.
- The Matthew Henson Middle School Women’s Chamber Choir was invited to perform at a holiday luncheon held annually at the Charles County Public Schools Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building. This year’s luncheon was held Dec. 15 and hosted by the Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill. The choir performed several holiday songs such as “Joy to the World.” More than 29 students participate in the Henson Women’s Chamber Choir. The group recently also performed in a winter concert at the College of Southern Maryland.
- Fifth graders in Susan Sweeney’s orchestra class at Berry Elementary School had a unique opportunity earlier this month. They took a field trip across the street to Mattawoman Middle School and took part in an eighth grade orchestra lesson. This gave the fifth-grade students, who are in their first year with their instruments, a chance to get an idea of the skill and hard work required to stick with an instrument through middle school. Fifth grader Avalyn Whitten felt intimidated, but excited to go over to Mattawoman. “I want to learn how to play the music they play, and I know I’ll need to practice a lot to be able to do that,” she said.
In the half hour the fifth graders were at Mattawoman, the eighth-grade students played three of their concert pieces and fielded questions about what it takes to be successful in middle school orchestra. David Somerville, the orchestra director at Mattawoman, also gave the fifth graders pointers to prepare them for sixth-grade orchestra next year, such as focusing on note reading and making sure they use proper playing position and posture.
Sweeney, who has been teaching elementary orchestra at Berry for several years, saw this as a great opportunity to integrate the orchestras of the two schools. “My goal was to be able to have the fifth graders be inspired and see that is what they can aspire to be. The eighth graders were in their position once, and through hard work and practice, they’ll be able to get there, too,” she said. Sweeney plans to take her students to Mattawoman again in the spring to play their instruments and practice again with the eighth graders.
- Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School invited students and parents to the school on Wednesday, Dec. 7 for an Evening of Code. The event was held to celebrate Computer Science Education Week, recognized by Charles County Public Schools as Dec. 5-11. Students were able to walk their parents through coding tutorials on Code.org, try their hand at Scratch computer programming, use a computer to program Bee-bots and create binary bracelets. Mitchell staff received positive feedback from its parent community.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 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 Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, 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.