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Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs


Former Board chairman Wise honored with leadership award

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill, right, presents longtime Board of Education member Roberta S. Wise, left, with the James E. Richmond Leadership Excellence Award at a Dec. 9 meeting. Wise was honored with the award for her leadership while serving two terms on the Board.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill, right, presents longtime Board of Education member Roberta S. Wise, left, with the James E. Richmond Leadership Excellence Award at a Dec. 9 meeting. Wise was honored with the award for her leadership while serving two terms on the Board.

Roberta S. Wise, former chairman of the Board of Education of Charles County, was recently named as the first recipient of the James E. Richmond Leadership Excellence Award. The award was established in 2013 to honor school system leaders who exhibit the standards of leadership and excellence demonstrated by Richmond during his career. Richmond spent his entire 47-year career in education with Charles County Public Schools, and served four terms as superintendent. Wise was presented with the award by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill at the Dec. 9 Board meeting.

In her comments about the award, Hill said Wise’s service to the school system has epitomized the phrase be the difference. “Great leaders lead by example. Mrs. Wise has shown that she is willing to put in the work to accomplish whatever task is at hand. She is a visible and vocal advocate for public education,” Hill said during the award presentation.

Wise served two four-year terms on the Board of Education, from 2006 to 2014, and was chairman for the last five years of her time on the Board. Wise said she was honored to be chosen for the award. “I am so honored to have received an award in the name of former Superintendent James Richmond, whom I have great respect for. I give all of the credit for my leadership skills to the many outstanding people I have worked with and been mentored by over all of my years in education,” Wise said.

During her time on the Board, Wise was well known for her leadership. Hill said not only did Wise have a solid understanding of herself and the ability to handle difficult decisions, but she is an excellent communicator. “Mrs. Wise knows how to reach a variety of people in many different ways to build consensus. She communicates with strength and with humor, always advocating the needs of our students,” Hill said during the award presentation.

Prior to her election to the Board in 2006, Wise worked for Charles County Public Schools as a mathematics teacher at Henry E. Lackey High School, a mathematics resource teacher at the system level and as a coordinator of the Educational Partnership Team. During her teaching career, she received the Charles County Public Schools Teacher of the Year award, and was honored by the Washington Post as a recipient of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991. Wise retired in 1999.

The idea behind the award came from former longtime Board of Education member Col. Donald Wade, who served on the Board with Wise and passed away earlier this year. Wade introduced the award as a way to honor outstanding school system leaders and to honor Richmond for his service to Charles County Public Schools. Wise just completed her second and final term on the Board and said she considers being chosen for the award as a highlight of her career. “This award highlights what service to children is all about – being the difference for them and believing in them is what counts,” she said.

A plaque naming Wise as the first recipient is on display near the boardroom at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, which houses Charles County Public Schools administrative offices.

Westlake students pitch business ideas to local judges

Westlake High School senior Rose Sciarratta pitched her idea for a thought recording product to a panel of judges on Dec. 10, as part of a business and financial literacy class.
Westlake High School senior Rose Sciarratta pitched her idea for a thought recording product to a panel of judges on Dec. 10, as part of a business and financial literacy class.

Imagine finding out your location, directions, maps and history from a tiny device on your eyeglasses. Westlake High School senior Robert Spruill, III, and sophomore Travil Greene have a business plan to create it and they recently pitched the idea in their business and financial literacy class.

Welcome to the Wolverine Bank Tank, Westlake’s version of the popular television show, “Shark Tank.” Created by business education teacher Adrian Carroll, the format provides students with an opportunity to present products and ideas to a panel of judges.

More than 75 Westlake students presented ideas and products to a panel of judges at the first Wolverine Bank Tank. The judges spent time judging student ideas and business plans from Dec. 8 through Dec. 10. The Bank Tank was composed of several administrators from Charles County Public Schools and Charles County government as well as business executives from national and local companies including Sam’s Club, Chick-Fil-A and Elena’s Deli restaurant.

Participating students are enrolled in business and financial literacy classes at Westlake and spent the past couple of months refining their products and developing business plans. During the three-day event, students headed to the school auditorium and spent three minutes pitching a product or idea to the Wolverine Bank Tank.

Spruill and Greene said the presentation experience was nerve racking but extraordinary. Others, like senior Rose Sciarratta, felt confident in front of the judges and her peers. Sciarratta came up with the idea to create a thought recorder. The recorder, when connected to Wi-Fi, would upload daily thoughts, including the time, location and date of the thought.

Both Spruill and Greene aspire to be businessmen. “This assignment has made me realize to never be scared to express your ideas and who you are,” Spruill said. “You have to remember that it is also extremely important to be smart with your money and investments,” Greene added. Sciarratta plans on starting her own business after high school. “I meet with close friends all the time to discuss business opportunities,” Sciarratta said.

Carroll plans to expand the event for the second quarter and incorporate prizes for the top three products/ideas. “ My belief was that each student walked away with a better understanding of how the real business world works, and each of them understands what it takes to research and develop products to be pitched to potential buyers or investors. Also, the project demonstrates the importance of public speaking and what methods to use to get up and deliver a powerful and well thought out presentation,” said Carroll.

Smallwood student attends STEM leadership program

General Smallwood Middle School seventh grader Shawn Jenkins earned the chance to participate in a unique academic development program this past summer. He attended the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Explore STEM program held at Occidental College, located in Los Angeles, from June 28 through July 3. The six-day program introduces high-achieving middle school students to innovative and rewarding academic experiences and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as the medical field.

While attending the program, Jenkins learned how to apply engineering design processes to program robots, analyze the influence technology has on sustainability and green communities, and worked with professionals in STEM-related careers as part of a real-world simulation in which a fictional town sustained growth. Program participants also created personal success plans in which they outlined academic options for high school to help them better plan for their future.

Jenkins was nominated to attend the program by one of his science teacher’s at Smallwood, Holly Fallica. The STEM summer program, sponsored by Envision, is for middle-school students only. Participants are either nominated by a teacher or community member, or can choose to enroll themselves to attend. There are costs associated with program participation, and Envision provides scholarship opportunities for students who wish to attend.

Envision is an education organization dedicated to enabling students of all ages to explore their interests and gain learning experiences beyond the classroom. Envision sponsors several programs for students at the elementary-, middle- and high-school levels, as well as college students. These programs range from the medical field, digital media and law to youth leadership and business.

For more information on Envision programs available to students, visit http://www.envisionexperience.com/explore-our-programs.

North Point junior attends national summer medical program

Kaitlyn Freeland
Kaitlyn Freeland.

North Point High School junior Kaitlyn Freeland was nominated and attended the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Medicine held July 12-17 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The program provides students interested in careers in the medical field with opportunities to have hands-on experiences and learn about technology used in medical facilities. Participants also take part in lectures and small-group seminars with medical students, physicians, surgeons and biomedical researchers, which provide them with a comprehensive view of the medical field.

As part of the nine-day forum, students also examine diagnostic tools and future medical specialties. Participating institutions range from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and The George Washington University Hospital to the Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. The forum is sponsored by Envision, an education organization dedicated to enabling students of all ages to explore their interests and gain learning experiences beyond the classroom.

The medical forum is reserved only for students who demonstrate leadership skills and an interest in medicine. In order to be eligible for the program, students must be in grades 9-12 and nominated by a teacher or school administrator.

Freeland is enrolled in the health occupations program at North Point and was nominated to attend the forum by her health occupations teacher, Jill Bodamer. Freeland plans to major in neuroscience after she graduates and hopes to attend the University of Minnesota. Envision sponsors several programs for students at the elementary-, middle- and high-school levels, as well as college students. These programs range from the medical field, digital media and law to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), youth leadership and business.

For more information on Envision programs available to students, visit http://www.envisionexperience.com/explore-our-programs.

North Point student attends Georgetown Medical Institute

Abrianna Broomes.
Abrianna Broomes.

North Point High School senior Abrianna Broomes was nominated and attended the Medical Institute held July 21-27 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The program provides students interested in careers in the medical field with opportunities to learn about the medical field, and participate in hands-on learning experiences. The program features topics such as human anatomy and physiology, microbiology and infectious diseases, surgery, cancer and biomedical ethics.

Participants also work in the gross anatomy lab and with a patient simulator to focus on current medical issues, such as preventative medicine and heart disease. Students are also able to use surgical box simulators, practice dissection and taking blood pressure, work in the suture lab and with Georgetown Medical students and professors.

Broomes plans to study nursing at Stevenson University after she graduates from North Point, and applied to participate in the Institute last school year. Interested students must submit an online application, a personal statement about why they want to attend the program and provide their guidance counselor with a form to complete on behalf of their application.

The Medical Institute is an eight-day long program and Georgetown sponsors four sections for students to choose from annually during the summer. Other topics covered include introduction to alternative medicine, intensive-care unit (ICU) medicine, emergency medicine and trauma surgery. Participants also take part in lectures and small-group seminars with medical students, physicians, surgeons and biomedical researchers, which provide them with a comprehensive view of the medical field.

Georgetown hosts several summer programs for interested high school students, some of which can be completed for college credit. More information is available on the Georgetown University website at http://scs.georgetown.edu/departments/21/summer-programs-for-high-school-students/home.

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