Middle, high school teams compete in CSM Robotics Challenge
Eighteen teams from nine Charles County public schools competed in the 2014 College of Southern Maryland s VEX League Robotics Challenge held Saturday, Feb. 8, at the La Plata campus. The challenge is part of CSMs Institute of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (iSTEM), which provides programs to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Six CCPS teams qualified to compete in the VEX Robotics Maryland State Championship scheduled for March 8. Teams that earn the Excellence, Tournament Champion, Tournament Finalist and Design awards at the regional level automatically advance to the state event. Additional teams are invited to participate at the state level based on their overall skill rankings at the regional event.
The Teal Dimensions team from Mattawoman Middle School was named Tournament Champions and advance to the state event. They share the award with teams from Calvert and Great Mills high schools. Team members are eighth graders Hannah Sturgill, Marco Viray and Gabriel Dizon, and their coach is Jeffrey Wester, an art teacher at Mattawoman.
More than one team can receive the Tournament Champion award based on how the event is structured. The challenge, titled Toss Up, is divided int o qualifying rounds, team alliance selection rounds and elimination rounds in which teams maneuver their robots to compete in a 12-foot by 12-foot square area. The playing area is equipped with red and blue rings and moveable goals with posts. Two goals are connected together and two alliances, one red and one blue, composed of two teams each, compete against each other. The object of the game is to score the most points by scoring balls in designated goal zones.
The Angle Warriors (5977A) team from La Plata High School received the Tournament Finalist award and advances to the state level. They share the award with teams from Huntingtown and Patuxent high schools. The Tournament Finalist award goes to the top two runner-up alliances. The team also earned the Create Award, which recognizes teams for using a creative engineering solution to work with the design challenges of the game.
Team members are seniors Sarah Bard and Deonte Hall; juniors Peter Calomeris, Michael Humphrey and John Hungerford; sophomores Matthew Eppley, David Puhalsky and Gavin Staples; and freshman Elizabeth Beaton, Hunter Blumenstein and Robert Yorio. The team coach is Garrick Baker, a technology education teacher at La Plata.
An additional four teams two teams from La Plata, one team from Mattawoman and a team from North Point High School qualified to compete at the state level through their overall skill rankings. Two La Plata Angle Warriors teams, 5977B and 5977C, automatically advance to the state event. Team 5977B includes seniors William Bermudez and Dedra Hammond; juniors David Beaton, Travis Earnshaw and Blaine Hoffman; sophomores Emma Dawson and Thomas Hancock; and freshman Andrew Kret, Anant Patel and Joseph Patterson. Baker is also the coach of this team.
Members of the La Plata Angle Warriors 5977C team are senior William Coggins; juniors Matthew McElhaney, Kyle Morgan and Bethany Riege; sophomores Sarah Dawson and Gavin Staples; and freshman Millicent Szalapski and Liam Vienneau. This team also earned the Amaze Award, which recognizes teams for their robot performance. Baker also coaches this team.
Mattawomans The Elements team also advances to the state competition next month. Team members are eighth graders Alexander Booth, Caleb Payton and Cameron Revelle. Their team also received the Judges Award, which highlights teams that demonstrate exemplary effort and performance. The team coach is Lynnette Baker, a computer teacher at Mattawoman.
North Points Eagles team of sophomores Sierra Early, Josh Hills, Darius Humphries, Isaiah Sauls and James Swann also advances to the state level for their overall skill performance at the regional CSM event. The team also received the Build Award, which recognizes teams for building a well-constructed robot and paying attention to detail. Team coach is Ryan Novitski, a technology education teacher at North Point.
Teams from Maurice J. McDonough, Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools, and John Hanson, General Smallwood and Piccowaxen middle schools also competed in the event. A total of 45 teams from the tri-county area competed in the event. The state competition will be held at the Carroll County Agricultural Center on March 8.
Employees, St. Charles High School top budget request items
Salary step and scale increases, health insurance, St. Charles High School and learning resource teachers are among the Boards priorities in a $342.7 million funding request sent this week to the Charles County Commissioners.
The Board of Education on Feb. 11 approved its fiscal year 2015 operating budget, adopting Superintendent Kimberly Hills proposal for the next school year. The FY2015 proposed operating budget represents a 6.4 percent increase from this school years budget, or $20.7 million. State funding is expected to increase by about $2.4 million, and the Board is asking the county to fund $19.7 million, or a 12.4 percent increase.
Costs for employee compensation and the opening of St. Charles High School compose the majority of the Boards requested increase. The Board is requesting $8.8 million for contract negotiations with the Education Association of Charles County (EACC) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The reserve amount includes two step/level increases, which were deferred in fiscal year 2011.
Additionally, the budget request includes $7.7 million for phase one of the recurring operating costs for St. Charles High School, which opens in August 2014. Expected enrollment the first year is 1,000 students. A total of 74.8 new staff positions were created to support the school, in addition to the 44 positions that will be transferred from other high schools. The request excludes start-up costs.
School lunch prices will also increase 10 cents next school year. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires school systems to set meal prices equal to the Federal reimbursement rate for free and reduced meals. Lunch prices will rise to $2.45 for elementary-school students and $2.70 for secondary students.
The Board also included a supplemental budget to the Commissioners in the event additional funding becomes available. Items included in the supplemental budget include school requests, including technology, classroom supplies and security; instructional programs, including Springboard, Common Core State Standards and continuation of Race to the Top programs and supporting services projects including facility upgrades, playgrounds and carpeting. The supplemental budget includes $19.1 million of additional funding requests.
Employees honored for years of service to school system
The Board of Education on Thursday, Feb. 27, honored Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees for their years of service to the school system and children during a ceremony held at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building. Honored were those employees who have contributed to the school system with careers that total 45, 40, 35, 30 or 25 years.
Maria "Mollie" Johnson is the supervising pupil personnel worker (PPW) for CCPS and was honored for 45 years of service. She began her career with the school system as a teacher at Indian Head Elementary School in 1968. Johnson also worked for several years as a special education teacher at Gale-Bailey Elementary School, and then served as an IEP facilitator at Gale-Bailey, Indian Head and Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy elementary schools, General Smallwood Middle School and Henry E. Lackey High School. Johnson became a PPW in 1988 and worked with students and families at Indian Head, Gale-Bailey, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy, Smallwood and Lackey. She was named the supervising PPW in 1998.
Additionally, the Board of Education honored 79 other CCPS employees with 40, 35, 30 and 25 years of service.
Employees with 40 years of service are:
-- James Morrow, pupil personnel worker, Mattawoman Middle School;
-- Barbara Pennington, physical education teacher, John Hanson Middle School;
-- Sandra Shegogue, secretary, Piccowaxen Middle School;
-- Henry Sinkey, instructional resource teacher, William A. Diggs Elementary School; and
-- Brenda Warren, media specialist, Gale-Bailey Elementary School.
Employees with 35 years of service are:
-- Melbourne "Butch" Arbin, career and technology resource teacher, Starkey;
-- Brenda Bivins, pre-school instructional assistant, William B. Wade Elementary School;
-- Frances Bugin, staff accountant-investment accounts, Starkey;
-- Lee Clark, mail truck driver, Starkey;
-- James Dunleavy, physical education teacher, La Plata High School;
-- Clifford Eichel, director of research and assessment, Starkey;
-- Catherine Flowers, kindergarten teacher, Mary H. Matula Elementary School;
-- Charles Kelly, acting maintenance foreman, Maintenance Shop;
-- Nicolette Kirby, child care teacher, North Point High School;
-- Billie Laub, speech therapist, Matula;
-- Diane McGuire, second-grade teacher, Berry Elementary School;
-- Arnold Miller, physical education teacher, Milton M. Somers Middle School;
-- Oksana Mouchyn-Dobbs, special education teacher, La Plata;
-- Jerome Petty, vice principal, Somers;
-- Patricia Pugliese, science teacher, Hanson;
-- Dawn Schaeffer, coordinator of staff development, Starkey;
-- Mary Seremet, gifted education resource teacher, Starkey; and
-- Dell Simmons, building service manager, J.P. Ryon Elementary School.
Employees with 30 years of service are:
-- Roberta Bragunier, special education teacher, Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School;
-- Joseph Brawner, building service manager, Henry E. Lackey High School;
-- Constance Conover, third-grade teacher, Mitchell;
-- Thomas Edwards, physical education teacher, Wade;
-- Mary Ann Farmer, printing technician, Starkey;
-- Debra Haan, physical education teacher, Arthur Middleton Elementary School;
-- Carol Leveillee, principal, Mary B. Neal Elementary School;
-- Linda Lund, kindergarten teacher, Wade;
-- Elizabeth Miller, accounting manager, Starkey; and
-- Wanda Scott, secretary to director, Starkey.
Employees with 25 years of service are:
-- Suzanne Alpert, student data accounting clerk, Somers;
-- Gerard Barrett, coordinating supervisor of planning and construction, Annex Building;
-- Diane Bicknell, physical therapist, F.B. Gwynn Educational Center;
-- Andrea Binetti, psychologist, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School and Piccowaxen;
-- Diane Brawner, building service manager, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School;
-- Melanie Cole, business education teacher, North Point;
-- Richard Conn, pupil personnel worker, Maurice J. McDonough High School;
-- Sue DelaCruz, pupil personnel worker, Higdon and Piccowaxen;
-- Armand DelaCruz, Spanish teacher, Westlake High School;
-- Karen Dempsey, gifted education teacher, Berry;
-- Levi Dent, building service manager, Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School;
-- Donna DePamphilis, special education IEP facilitator, Gale-Bailey;
-- Ernest Downs, foreman of electrical-mechanical group, Maintenance Shop;
-- Janice Earnshaw, third-grade teacher, Higdon;
-- Ellen Estevez, science teacher, North Point;
-- Donna Griffin, fourth-grade teacher, Wade;
-- Carl Hamilton, carpenter II, Maintenance Shop;
-- Connie Harris, physical education teacher, Westlake;
-- Beverly Hoy, psychologist, Lackey;
-- Pamela Jackson, special education instructional assistant, Mitchell;
-- Elizabeth Jameson, second-grade teacher, T.C. Martin Elementary School;
-- Larry Johnson, building service worker, Lackey;
-- Jennifer Jolliffe, fifth-grade teacher, Wade;
-- Anita Latham, guidance secretary, Thomas Stone High School;
-- Angela MacKay, fourth-grade teacher, Mitchell;
-- Nancy Mathena, special education instructional assistant, Lackey;
-- Betty Mazzeo, music teacher-vocal, McDonough;
-- Andrew McKibbins, English teacher, Westlake;
-- Katherine Miles, mathematics teacher, La Plata;
-- Jeannie Proctor, kindergarten teacher, Berry;
-- Mary Quade, food service manager, Matthew Henson Middle School;
-- Victoria Ramos, fifth-grade teacher, Martin;
-- Cherie Reynolds, secretary to the principal, Piccowaxen;
-- Carolyn Richardson, principal, Matula;
-- George Risko, HVAC mechanic II, Maintenance Shop;
-- Scott Sisolak, specialist in mathematics, Starkey;
-- Constance Sorzano, media instructional assistant, Martin;
-- Glenn Stergar, computer resource teacher, North Point;
-- Maureen Stewart, Spanish teacher, North Point;
-- Michael Sturman, physical education teacher, La Plata;
-- Sherella Swann, secretary in instruction, Starkey;
-- Ernestine Swann, guidance secretary, Somers;
-- John Thompson, painter II, Maintenance Shop;
-- Katrina Thompson, student data accounting clerk, Lackey;
-- Gloria Ward, head of accounts payable, Starkey; and
-- Jean Washington, reading instructional assistant, McDonough.
The Board of Education honors employees annually for years of service to Charles County Public Schools.