Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

School system closures

CCPS administrative offices and schools are closed on Monday, Jan. 20, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Henry E. Lackey and North Point high schools indoor pools will follow a modified schedule. The indoor pools will be open from 1-9 p.m.

Schools are closed for students only on Monday, Jan. 27, for semester break.

School times adjusted, set for next school year

Charles County Public Schools is changing starting and ending times for three schools and establishing hours for St. Charles High School, which opens in August. The changes are necessary to accommodate additional bus routes created with the opening of St. Charles.

The opening times for Berry Elementary School and Theodore G. Davis Middle School are being slightly adjusted for the 2014-15 school year. The hours for Mattawoman Middle School are being shifted to a later schedule for the coming school year, with the school opening nearly an hour later than currently scheduled.

The following are the time changes for next school year, and are effective August 2014:

-- Berry – times change to 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., which is a 10-minute change.

-- Davis – new times will be 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., which is a 10-minute change.

-- Mattawoman – new hours are 8:25 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. This is a 55-minute change.

-- Hours for St. Charles High School are 7:25 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

To accommodate the changes, the school system plans to implement a four-tier route structure with the selected schools. Buses for Berry, Mattawoman and Davis will first service routes for Westlake High School, followed by routes for Mattawoman, and Davis and then Berry. These schools were chosen for the length of their bus routes and their close location to each other.

Schools are in the process of notifying staff, students and parents of the time changes for next year.

Science teacher named national Presidential award recipient

Timothy Emhoff, a Charles County Public Schools environmental education resource teacher, was recently named one of 102 national winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) by the National Science Foundation. The award is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through grade 12 mathematics or science teacher can receive in the United States.

Emhoff was nominated for the award by Monique Wilson, director of the science center at St. Charles High School and former coordinator of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for Charles County Public Schools. He was chosen as an award winner from selected mathematics and science teachers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and is the science recipient from Maryland. The competition alternates each year between kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers and seventh- through twelfth-grade teachers. National winners are chosen by a panel of distinguished scientists and mathematicians.

As a national recipient, Emhoff receives a $10,000 grant and said he is honored to receive such a prestigious award. “The award is validation that I am on the right path in terms of my approach to education. I am thankful for my supervisors, colleagues, students, and family for their support that has helped me along this path in becoming an effective facilitator,” he said.

Emhoff was named an environmental education resource teacher in 2013 and oversees the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center for Charles County Public Schools. He previously taught science at Indian Head Elementary School for 13 years, where he used hands-on activities and inquiry-based labs to connect students with real-world scenarios. Emhoff also coordinated after school sessions for students in need of assistance, and served as a coach for the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) and LEGO teams at Indian Head.

In addition to his involvement with the Indian Head community, Emhoff helped design the elementary portion of the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program Go Places! With Math and Science, and served as a STEM master teacher for the Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) Educator Effectiveness Academies. Additionally, he has also helped to facilitate environmental institutes through a partnership with the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

Principals, parents, students or community members can submit nominations for the award and nominations can be submitted for more than one teacher. Teachers can also nominate themselves. Once all nominations are received, nominated teachers are notified and must continue the application process to be considered for an award.

Emhoff, along with all other awardees, will be honored during a ceremony later this year. For more information about PAEMST, visit

Wise and Cook re-elected to Board leadership positions

The Board of Education of Charles County re-elected Roberta Wise as chairman and Maura Cook as vice chairman at its Jan. 14 meeting. The Board elects a chairman and vice chairman each January and officers serve a one-year term.

Board members voted unanimously to re-elect Wise to the chairmanship position that she has held for the past four years. In accepting the nomination, Wise thanked the Board for their continued support and said she looks forward to continuing her role as chairman.

Wise is currently serving in her second term on the Board and also served as vice chairman for two years. She was first elected in 2006 and is a retired Charles County Public Schools mathematics teacher with 34 years of experience. During her teaching career, Wise was named as the Charles County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and was honored by the Washington Post with their Agnes Meyer award for outstanding teachers in 1991. For most of her career, she taught at Henry E. Lackey High School. She was a coordinator of the Educational Partnership Team and a math resource teacher before retiring in 1999.

The Board also unanimously voted to re-elect Cook as vice chairman. This is her fourth year serving as vice chairman. She is a nurse case manager for Restore Rehabilitation, Inc. and a parent volunteer. She is a co-founder of the Women’s Exercise Research Center of the George Washington University and a past presenter at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual conference. She is active with the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. Mrs. Cook has a bachelor’s degree in science and nursing from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and a Master’s degree in education and human development from George Washington University.

Proposed government and health textbooks on display

New textbooks proposed by Charles County Public Schools for the 2014-15 school year are available for review at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building in La Plata, and several county schools.

One new series of textbooks is proposed for use at the middle school level as part of the health curriculum. The text, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill’s Teen Health, is a series of eight texts that supplement the Maryland health curriculum. The text includes online assistance for students and teachers, quizzes and tests, journaling opportunities and health skills activities. The books are on display at the Starkey Building, and Theodore G. Davis and Benjamin Stoddert middle schools.

One new textbook is proposed for use at the high school level with ninth-grade students. The text, United States Government – Principles and Practices, is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is proposed as an alternative and potential replacement for the current ninth-grade government text. The new textbook includes accompanying teacher resources created specifically for the Maryland High School Assessment (HSA), activities incorporating Common Core reading and writing literacy skills. The book also provides student resources that utilize partnerships with the Center for Civic Education, American Bar Association and the History Channel.

The proposed government text is on display at Maurice J. McDonough, North Point and Westlake high schools. The Board of Education is reviewing the books and will take action on the books at the March 11 meeting. Community members are encouraged to review the books and provide comment in writing to the Board of Education, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD, 20646; through e-mail to; or in person at the Public Forum on March 11, 6 p.m., at the Starkey Building.

MSDE announces annual parent award

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recently announced the Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA) program for 2014. The annual award recognizes parents and guardians whose contributions have led to improvements in Maryland public schools.

The award was created by MSDE to highlight the positive impact parents have on public schools and to encourage parental involvement. MSDE is now accepting applications for award nominees. Nominees should be parents or guardians who have demonstrated a significant and positive impact on public education within their communities.

In order to be eligible for the award, nominees must be the parent/legal guardian of a child in a Maryland public school, and a consistent advocate of public education. Nominees must have also demonstrated involvement in one of the five following areas within the last 24 months:

-- Communicating – fostering communication that impacts the school community;

-- Volunteering – recruiting or organizing volunteers, or supporting school activities, both internal and external;

-- Learning – organizing or coordinating learning activities that reinforce homework or classroom skills;

-- Collaborating with Community – Coordinating resources and services for the school community, which could include fundraisers that would enhance a school’s services environment, or coordinating resources or services from the school community that may serve an external community; and

-- Decision making – participating on decision-making committees, or in programs that advocate system or policy changes, or serving as a representative for the school or education community.

Nominations must include three letters of recommendation, a two-page narrative essay describing the nominee’s contribution to public education and completed nomination forms. Judges will select 24 semifinalists – one from each Maryland county, and one from Baltimore City. A second group of judges will select five finalists for the statewide award. All finalists will be interviewed by a third panel of judges and recommend one state winner. The state winner will be announced at a special ceremony scheduled for May 16. During the ceremony, all semifinalists and finalist will also be recognized.

As part of the program, semifinalists, finalists and the state winner have opportunities to promote parent involvement that include speaking at educational events and conferences; appearing at Maryland State Board of Education and/or local Board of Education meetings; participating on educational task forces or committees; and participating in a best practices publication and/or website that serves to inspire parents as well as give them practical advice.

Nomination forms are available on MSDE’s website at Nomination packets must be postmarked by Friday, Jan. 31, and should be sent to: Maryland State Department of Education, Office of Communications, Partnerships and Grants, 7th Floor, Attention: PIMA, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered and submissions will not be accepted online or by e-mail.

To learn more about the PIMA program and previous award winners, visit

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