Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

CCPS Robotics team sponsoring summer camp at McDonough

The Charles County Public Schools FIRST Robotics team is sponsoring a robotics-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) summer camp for students entering the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grades. The Robo Raptors STEM Summer Camp will offer activities and challenges as part of the LEGO Robotics program and technology. The camp is available in two sessions at Maurice J. McDonough High School: July 7-10, or July 14-17. Both sessions are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and the cost of the camp is $100 or $190 for both weeks.

Registration forms are available at for download. Registration and payment can be sent by mail to Rebecca LaRoque, Office of Instruction, Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, 5980 Radio Station Road, La Plata, Md., 20646. Checks should be made payable to Charles County Public Schools. Registration forms and payment will also be accepted in person from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building. The deadline to register is Friday, June 27.

Transportation and meals are not provided. Contact Charles Centivany, science teacher at McDonough, at ccentivany [at] with questions about the camp. Registration or payment questions can be directed to Rebecca LaRoque at rlaroque [at] Call 301-934-2944 for additional information.

Veteran Board of Education member Donald Wade dies

Col. Donald M. Wade, a four-term member of the Charles County Board of Education and advocate of children and education, passed away on June 1, 2014. He was a four-term Board member and during his 16-year career on the Board he served three, one-year terms as chairman, and three terms as vice chairman. He was a lifelong resident of Charles County.

Col. Wade was known for his passion to provide children with a quality education and for his support of early childhood education and reading programs to help close the achievement gap. Col. Wade was also essential in the implementation of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (JROTC) and three-year-old programs in Charles County Public Schools.

Most recently, Col. Wade was honored with the Charles Willis Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) for outstanding contributions to the Board of Education and school system. First elected in 1998, Col. Wade was a champion for quality education. He regularly met with students, educators and the community, and was highly engaged in the drive to eliminate the minority achievement gap through early childhood and reading programs.

In an acceptance speech for the Willis Award, Col. Wade wrote, “I have been on the Board of Education for 15 years – longer than it takes our students to work their way from kindergarten to high school graduation. I am proud to be a member of the Board of Education of Charles County, and I have never sought any recognition for myself. I serve because my core belief is that all children deserve a good and equitable public education. I believe our children ought to have the best we can give them – our best thinking, quality instruction and well-built, safe and inviting schools. I serve because I have passion for education and I have a responsibility to be the difference in the lives of children. It is my civic and moral duty.”

Col. Wade drove efforts to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs by providing a vision for equitable, quality education for all children. He was the co-founder of the Charles County Think Tank for Education, a community group devoted to the thoughtful enhancement of education.

Often called the “Father” of the annual Charles County Public Schools Joint Services Military Ball for senior members of the JROTC program, Col. Wade gained Board approval for the ceremony. As a former school Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) president, Col. Wade was also the founder of a movement to introduce JROTC at Charles County’s high schools. He used personal time and professional contacts to help the school system gain access to and work with the different military branches. That effort led to the implementation of a JROTC unit at each high school.

As a veteran Board member, Col. Wade often mentored new members and always based his votes on the educational value to children and after consulting with students and staff members who might be affected. Additionally, he worked on both the local and state levels to support the ethical standards of boards of education and consistently attended trainings to learn more about the role and responsibilities of board members.

Col. Wade spent 30 years on active duty with the Air Force and was a professor of aerospace studies at three universities. He was a teacher, a department chairperson and a faculty advisor to 21 JROTC units in Prince George's County before retiring in 2006. He was a member of the Charles County Board of Zoning Appeals, and is a distinguished graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park ROTC program and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. He also received his master’s degree from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University.

Col. Wade was active both with the school system and community. In recent years, several organizations honored him for his lifetime of service. Awards include: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.'s, Tau Lambda Lambda Chapter with the 2011 Outstanding County Citizen of the Year award; Ministers’ Alliance 2011 Service Award for contributions on behalf of children; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Regional Salute to Educational Excellence Award, 2013; and the Years of Service Appreciation Award, Archdiocese of Washington, 2013.

Col. Wade also served on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education; the MABE Conference Planning Committee; as a founder of the Charles County Veteran’s Memorial Committee; and as a member of the Charles County Zoning Appeals Board.

System changes AP testing and payment procedures

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is changing its Advanced Placement (AP) testing and payment procedures.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Amy Hollstein told the Board of Education on May 13 the changes are needed to promote both college and career readiness and to provide equitable resources for all students.

Starting next year, CCPS will eliminate all mock AP exams except U.S. Government, require AP students to take the class final exam and only reimburse payment for tests on which students receive a 3 or better. Currently, students pay for their first AP exam and the school system picks up the cost of any subsequent tests. Additionally, the school system will now pay for career certification tests, such as welding, Parapro or cosmetology exams, if a student passes and receives their certification.

Replacing the mock exams will be formative assessments, which teachers will administer in the first semester in order to address instructional needs. AP students will also take post-tests in February and take the final class exam. Currently, students who take the AP exam are exempt from the final; however, AP exam scores are available until late summer.

“Over the years we have done a good job of encouraging more students to take rigorous AP courses. Just being in an AP course has its benefits, and we will continue to encourage high participation and enrollment,” Hollstein said.

However, Hollstein said, “We want a student to take the test because they are motivated to take it.” Now, she said many students are only sitting for the exam to avoid the class final.

Charles County is one of the last counties in the state paying for most AP exams, Hollstein said. She added that the system would continue to pick up the exam cost for any student unable to pay the fee.

New Gwynn Center hours to include more instructional time

Charles County Public Schools is changing the starting and ending times for the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center to increase instructional time and decrease students’ time on the bus.

The hours for the Gwynn Center are being shifted to a later schedule for the coming school year, with the center opening almost two hours later than currently scheduled.

The start and end times for students change to 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. beginning Aug. 25, 2014.

Amy Hollstein, assistant superintendent of instruction, said the time change provides 15 more minutes of instruction daily, resulting in a 75-minute weekly academic gain for students. Additionally, the bus schedule reduces riding time for some children and allows Gwynn students to ride on buses with students closer to their own ages.

The Gwynn Center, which is located in La Plata, houses several special education programs for students with disabilities. Programs located at Gwynn include:

The STAY Program, which offers positive behavioral and academic support for special and general education students who have not responded to traditional behavioral interventions.

The Autism Program, which encompasses identification, assessment and program planning for students who are suspected of falling within the autism spectrum. The Multiple Intensity Teaching (MIT) classrooms are located at the Gwynn Center and consist of behavioral, social and academic instruction.

The Charles County Infants and Toddlers program, which is an inter-agency program that provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers, birth to 3 years of age who may be delayed in development or have disabilities.

The Gwynn Center is in the process of notifying staff, students and parents of the time changes for next year.

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