Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) held New Teacher Orientation Aug. 17 to 19 — a three-day hybrid of virtual and in-person trainings. Topics covered an analysis of standards, curriculum and instructional resources, classroom management in a virtual world and training on Synergy, the student management system. Other trainings targeted each grade, subject or educational program. CCPS has hired 149 new teachers for this school year. The school system has 33 teaching positions open as of mid-August.
This school year will start unlike any other in the history of CCPS. Students return to school on Aug. 31, without physically going into buildings. Teachers will conduct classes virtually.
“The not knowing what it’s going to be like,” is a question, Hannah Brown, a special education teacher at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center, said. “… Not knowing what to expect. But I’m looking forward to the opportunity to build relationships with my students’ families. That’s an upside.”
Brown’s mother is an occupational therapist who inspired her to want to work with children with special needs. Working at Gwynn is a sort of homecoming for Brown who will set up in the same classroom she helped out in while in the Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) program at La Plata High School.
Charmen Holbrook taught kindergarten for two years in Prince George’s County Public Schools before coming to CCPS where she’ll teach the same grade at J.P. Ryon Elementary School. She is still working on different ways to keep her students engaged and energized, knowing she will have to bring something extra. “I’m going to make it as interactive as possible,” she said. “There has to be something fun to engage them.”
Middle-school band students seem eager to get back to school and their instruments, Zoë Smith, a new instrumental music teacher at Mattawoman Middle School, found out.
Smith recently moved to the area with her husband, a trumpet player in the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers. Smith, who also plays the trumpet, was influenced to go into teaching after having college professors who worked with her improve her musical skills. “I wanted to give that back to someone else,” she said. “I wanted to help kids.”
“Figuring out how to teach when the kids can’t be together, playing at once,” might prove to be a challenge, she said. But Smith is heartened to see that starting the school year virtually didn’t dampen students’ interest in band. “I was happy to see that so many kids still signed up for band, even though band is not what it used to be.”
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,521 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 M. 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.
CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).