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

Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Schools opening for three days during spring break

Charles County Public Schools will open for students and teachers for three days during spring break – Monday, March 30; Tuesday, March 31; and Wednesday, April 1. Wednesday, April 1 will be a two-hour early dismissal day for students and afternoon prekindergarten students attend that day. The school system has used seven inclement weather days so far this school year, of which only four are built into the school calendar. The use of spring break days for lost instructional time is outlined in the Charles County Public Schools Parent Handbook/Calendar annually.

The Board of Education generally approves the school calendar two years in advance, and has already approved the use of spring break for make-up days this school year. Charles County Public Schools will not submit a waiver of inclement weather days to the Maryland State Board of Education, as waivers are generally granted only in extreme cases and when school systems have made efforts to make up missed days.

Schools will be closed for spring break April 2-6 (unless more inclement weather days are used), and reopen on Tuesday, April 7. Administrative offices are closed on Friday, April 3 and Monday, April 6. Students who are absent from school March 30, March 31 and/or April 1 should submit a note to school upon their return. The note should indicate the reason for absence so it can be properly coded. Some students may be absent due to plans made to take advantage of the expected spring break. Students who have arranged college tours or have circumstances that, in the judgment of the principal, constitute a sufficient cause may receive an excused absence from school.

Maryland law requires school to operate 180 days for students each school year. The school system builds four inclement weather days into its calendar each year, which are deleted from the end of the year if not used. All days have been used this school year, making Tuesday, June 16 the last day of school for students.

Information regarding inclement weather make-up dates is also published on the CCPS website, and on page 10 of the 2014-15 Charles County Public Schools Parent Handbook/Calendar. Schools were closed due to snow and ice storms on Jan. 14, Jan. 27, Feb. 17, Feb. 18, Feb. 26, March 5 and March 6. Delayed openings or early closings do not affect the use of inclement weather days.

Learn about the National Board Certification process

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teachers and specialists who hold a Standard Professional or Advanced Professional Certificate and have a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience in Charles County on a Maryland professional certificate (SPC or APC) are eligible to apply for National Board Certification (NBC). Applicants must submit a candidate packet, which includes a letter of interest indicating the certification area they wish to pursue and why they want to pursue National Board Certification; a writing prompt activity (distributed by CCPS) in conjunction with NBC standards; a letter of recommendation from their principal or supervisor; and a current resume.

CCPS is holding an information session on Tuesday, March 24 at 4:30 p.m. The session is at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building in the cafeteria, and current NBC teachers will be available to speak about the application process. Those planning to attend should RSVP by email to Barbara Simmons at by March 20.

Candidates are screened by a review committee to determine who will represent Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) in the 2015-16 program. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has updated the process this school year. Educators interested in pursuing National Board Certification must complete a demanding four-part demonstration of their knowledge and skills over a three-year period by developing a portfolio component that reflects aspects of their teaching. Candidates are also required to attend an assessment center.

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) limits the number of applicants for the school system to 10 candidates, and the $1,900 application fee is funded by MSDE and CCPS. There are 25 certification areas and educators who earn National Board Certification earn six approved professional development credits and may receive an annual stipend (pending funding/negotiated agreement approval).

Applicants must submit completed candidate packets to Pamela Murphy, executive director of human resources, by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16. Email submissions will not be accepted. For more information, visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website at or call 301-934-7239.

Kindergarten registration begins April 13

The registration process for the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) kindergarten program begins on Monday, April 13 at all Charles County public elementary schools. To be eligible for kindergarten for the 2015-16 school year, students must be five years old by September 1.

Kindergarten registration for in-county students is conducted at the individual elementary schools. To find out what elementary school an address is zoned for, use the School Locator feature on the Charles County Public Schools website at Some schools allow parents to make kindergarten registration appointments in advance. Call your child’s zoned school of attendance to ask about registration appointments.

All children entering Charles County Public Schools must have the following information:

-- A physical examination by a physician or a certified practitioner (physicals must be completed between nine months prior to and six months after entering school);

-- Proof of required immunizations against communicable diseases (the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 896 form showing the required immunizations is available at any school);

-- The child's birth certificate or other acceptable proof of birth (passport/visa; physician's certificate; baptismal or church certification; hospital certificate; or birth registration). If the child was born in Maryland, a copy of his/her birth certificate can be purchased from the Charles County Department of Health, 301-609-6900; and

-- Two proofs of domicile (residency): deed, mortgage statement/bill or settlement papers (with appropriate signatures), current signed verifiable lease or rental agreement (with signatures of both parties), current utility bill (complete with name and address), completed Verification of Domicile form accompanied by two acceptable proofs of domicile for the owner/lessee of the property, property tax bill for domicile (not assessment), current pay check with name and address, property title record, current court document (with name, date, and home address), and current government issued documents that include name, date and home address such as documentation of benefits from the Social Security Administration.

-- Call the department of student services at 301-934-7326 with questions about proofs of domicile.

For more information about the kindergarten registration process, visit the CCPS website at or contact the office of early childhood education at 301-934-7360.


The James E. Richmond Science Center is hosting a Mars Madness event on Saturday, March 21. Visitors will learn about Mars during a screening of “Invaders from Mars’ in the digital classroom, a presentation about the Mars MAVEN mission and a trip through the Mars mission maze. Doors open at 4:15 p.m. and the Discovery Lab and Mars maze close at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at


Thomas Stone High School’s W.E.B. Du Bois Honor Society and Impacts Sports, Inc. are hosting a college and career fair, “Bridging the Gap,” on Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school. Representatives from more than 20 colleges and universities will be available for students and parents to speak with, and financial aid information will also be provided for attendees. Students who plan to attend should bring their SAT/ACT scores and a copy of their official transcripts. The fair is free and open to the public. Contact Pamela Jackson, a school counselor at Stone, at for more information.


Dedra Van Gelder, instructional specialist for library media for Charles County Public Schools, was recently selected as one of 25 nationwide participants in the Lilead Fellows Program. The program is an 18-month professional development opportunity focused on enabling library supervisors to make transformational changes for teaching and learning in their school districts and communities. Van Gelder recently attended a Fellows Program meeting in Chicago and will work with her mentor and four other fellows to create a plan to better align the school library program with overall Charles County Public Schools system goals. The program is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS) and also provides fellows with leadership skills in integrating information literacy instruction with content area standards, technology use and integration, and advocacy for library programs and services. Visit for more information.


The North Point High School Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO) is hosting its annual volunteer fair on Thursday, April 16 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the North Point cafeteria. Non-profit organizations in Southern Maryland are invited to participate in the fair to provide students from all Charles County public schools with information about volunteer opportunities available with their organizations. The event is free and open to Charles County community members. Organizations interested in participating should email for more information.

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