Charles County Public Schools News Briefs

Elementary teacher honored by students for excellence

Stacy Burkheiser, a fifth-grade literacy teacher at Malcolm Elementary School, was named the 2008 Sam's Club Teacher of the Year on Thursday, Sept. 25, at the school. She was chosen by students for the award, who wrote and submitted letters of recommendation to the Waldorf store last school year.

As the 2008 Sam's Club Teacher of the Year, Burkheiser received a $100 gift card to use for school supplies and a certificate of appreciation. Sam's Club staff also presented Malcolm with a $1,000 grant. Burkheiser said she and Malcolm Principal Wilhelmina Pugh have yet to decide how to spend the grant funds.

Burkheiser began her career with Charles County Public Schools in 2003 at Malcolm and has taught second, fourth and fifth grades. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and education from Lycoming College and is working toward a master's degree in curriculum and instruction with leadership from McDaniel College.

Each year, Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Club locations award a local teacher with the Teacher of the Year award, a gift card for classroom supplies and a grant for their school.

School system, students recognize Service Learning Week

Charles County Public middle and high school students celebrated student service-learning (SSL) programs last week as part of National Learn and Serve Challenge Week, Oct. 6 - 12.

Middle and high schools used school-based newsletters, morning announcements, poster and table displays, and bulletin boards to highlight service learning initiatives and programs. Students complete service-learning programs in grades 6 - 9 as part of Maryland state graduation requirements, and the program is embedded into health, language arts, science and social studies curriculum.

The requirement encourages students to support and build relationships within their communities.

Additionally, Charles County Public Schools staff presented a watershed restoration project at the Maryland State Learn and Serve Challenge Conference held Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Baltimore. Many CCPS students completed their service-learning requirement by participating in the project, constructed at Arthur Middleton and Dr. Gustavus Brown elementary schools.

Each school year, approximately 9,000 CCPS students participate in some form of service learning. Student service learning is an unpaid activity that provides a service to a non-profit organization or group.

All SSL projects are approved by the school program coordinator or the local, state and national government teacher at the school.

For additional information on SSL programs, visit the CCPS Web site at or the Maryland State Department of Education service learning Web site at

CCASC to implement student driving task force in high schools

The Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC) addressed teen driving safety as a priority at its first meeting of the 2008-09 school year on Thursday, Oct. 4, at La Plata High School.

More than 80 student council representatives from all six county high schools split into groups with Charles County Public Schools juvenile intervention officers to gather ideas on implementing a teen driver safety task force as part of the school system's and Charles County Sheriff's Office "We Care" teen driving safety campaign.

The task force would allow students to take ownership of a proactive driver safety program to emphasize the necessary enforcement and importance of following driving laws.

Each group discussed preliminary steps to encourage student participation, such as offering athletic event incentives, staging mock accident scenes at schools, creating monthly student assemblies and public service announcements.

The CCASC is also considering requiring students who violate parking permit requirements to participate in a driver safety course, reviewing parking permit regulations and applications, and hosting the "Alive at 25" presentation, sponsored by the non-profit organization Driver's Edge, at each high school.

CCASC members were asked to present and discuss the program with their student government associations and will revisit how to launch the student task force at its next meeting in December.

LA PLATA VFD VISIT: Students at Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School welcomed members of the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department on Thursday, Oct. 9, as part of Fire Prevention Week, held Oct. 5 - 11. Volunteers spoke to Prekindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students about fire safety and the importance of establishing a fire escape plan in the home. Students were also invited to board a fire truck to see what the volunteers do each day first hand.

COLLEGE NIGHT: The Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) at Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School hosted a "College Night" for students and parents on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Brown staff spoke to parents about the College Savings Plans of Maryland, programs that offer payment plans and investment options for parents to save for future college expenses. Teachers and administrators showed support for the event by wearing clothing from their alma maters.

Source: Charles County public school system

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