Oct. 12 Board of Education meeting update

Oct. 12 Board of Education meeting update

The Board of Education of Charles County met Oct. 12, 2021, for its regular meeting. A complete meeting agenda is posted on Board Docs here. Board meetings are streamed live at ccboe.com, and archived on the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/c/ccpsmd/featured.

Important meeting updates

COVID-19 update

Superintendent Maria Navarro and Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna Abney provided a COVID-19 update, and how CCPS is focusing on keeping students and staff safe in schools. The presentation included COVID-19 case data about CCPS students and staff, quarantine processes in place, county COVID-19 and vaccine data, and the county’s plan for the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Dr. Navarro also highlighted the free COVID-19 weekly screening program available for students and staff. A copy of the presentation is posted online here.

Instructional supports update

As part of the COVID-19 update, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Lowndes shared information about instructional supports in schools, Proximity Learning and the kindergarten through Grade 8 virtual program. Lowndes shared that it has taken longer than anticipated for Proximity Learning to fully staff the virtual program. The elementary virtual program will be fully staffed with 24 permanent teachers by Oct. 15. The middle school program currently has three teacher vacancies.  Lowndes further clarified how the programs are being supported through staffing vacancies.

Lowndes shared plans in place to enhance the virtual program that include increasing the number of instructional days. One-on-one tutoring services will also be offered for all virtual K-8 students starting next month.

Staffing update

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Nikial Majors presented a staffing update. Joined by members of her team, Majors shared important demographic hiring data with the Board and efforts by CCPS to diversify its workforce. Staff shared that in 2015, minorities represented only 21 percent of Charles County teachers. For the 2021-22 school year, minorities now account for 31.2 percent of Charles County teachers, an increase of 10 percent in six years. CCPS also expanded its number of male teachers from 517 in 2015 to 573 for 2021. Additionally, human resources staff shared that CCPS is hiring many second career and non-education major teachers for vacancies. CCPS will work with these teachers to obtain certification through MSDE. The complete presentation is available here.

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget change

Assistant Superintendent of Fiscal Services Karen Acton presented a budget change to the Board. The change includes a $90,000 allotment provided separately from the original budget. The funding will support staff mental health programs. The budget change was an action item for the Board.

Project status update

Assistant Superintendent of Supporting Services Mike Heim provided an update to the Board on CCPS construction and renovation projects underway at Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School and Benjamin Stoddert Middle School. The report also includes future projects planned as part of state and local funding/Capital Improvements Plan (CIP). The report is posted here.

T.C. Martin Elementary School Renovation

Staff from GWWO Architects joined Mike Heim and Steve Andritz, director of planning and construction, for a presentation to the Board about the renovation planned for T.C. Martin Elementary School. The renovation is slated to begin in 2022 pending construction funding approval from the State and will add a new gymnasium and additional classroom space to the original school design. The presentation is posted here.

Elementary School #23 construction

Staff from Smolen, EMR and Ilkovitch Architects joined Mr. Heim and Mr. Andritz for a presentation to the Board about site and design plans for Elementary School #23. The site is located off St. Charles Parkway in the new St. Charles neighborhood, the Highlands. Plans estimate a 2024-2025 school year opening pending construction funding approval from the State. The presentation is posted here.

2022 Legislative Positions

CCPS Staff Attorney Eric Schwartz updated the Board on 2022 legislative issues. His report included issues such as funding under the Blueprint for Maryland, school construction, curriculum issues, student assessments, employee matters, transportation, and teacher recruitment and retention incentives. The Board also discussed language for use by Realtors about school zones with potential buyers, and legislative changes that may impact the school resource officer (SRO) program in schools. The Board has an Oct. 25 legislative meeting set with the Charles County Commissioners and Southern Maryland delegation. Read the full report here.

Charter School update

Mr. Schwartz provided an update on the charter school agreement with Phoenix International School of the Arts (PISOTA). He shared that the agreed-upon facility in the original approved application was changed by PISOTA, and staff are concerned the newly identified facility would not be ready to open in time for fall 2022. The agreement includes a projected opening date for the 2023-2024 school year. Schwartz said the agreement can be revisited at any time if the facility is ready to open sooner than 2023 and asked the Board to take a vote on the revised agreement. The Board approved the revised agreement.

New business

The Board discussed and acted on three items under new business.

  • Suspension of Board policies
  • 2022 daily and hourly rate revisions
    • Karen Acton provided an update on the daily and hourly pay rates to support classrooms. Included in the revision was an increase in the daily pay rate for substitutes with four-year degrees from $107 to $120 per day; and a change in the waiting period for degreed long-term substitutes to receive $187 per day. Previously, degreed long-terms substitutes were paid $141 for their first 60 days of coverage, and then $187 for any subsequent days. The revision eliminates the waiting period of any degreed long-term substitute to earn $187 per day.
  • Calendar change
    • The Board of Education recommended a change to the 2021-2022 calendar. Board Chairperson Latina Wilson introduced a recommendation to close CCPS on Friday, Nov. 12, to support staff during unprecedented times. The Board unanimously approved a systemwide closure for Nov. 12 and added the school day to the end of the school year, extending the calendar by one day for students and teachers. Details are posted here.


The Board recognized two resolutions: American Freedom Week and American Education Week

The Board recognized five students and five staff members from C. Paul Barnhart, Dr. Gustavus Brown and T.C. Martin elementary schools, John Hanson Middle School and Henry E. Lackey High School.

Action Items

The Board approved the following items.

The Board did not approve the Superintendent’s recommendation for the middle school redistricting process. After a failed vote for the Superintendent’s recommendation of Proposal A, the Board asked staff to bring the redistricting vote back to the Nov. 9 meeting.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 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 based on 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. 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).

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