Changes in the Compulsory School Attendance Age
Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, every student who resides in Maryland and is five years or older and under seventeen must attend school during the entire school year. This raises the drop out age to 17. This applies to students who turn age 16 on or after July 1, 2015.
The changes in law were passed by the Maryland General Assembly and Governor through Senate Bill 362 in 2012. The intent is to reduce the number of students dropping out of high school and increase the number of high school graduates. St. Mary's County Public Schools had its highest ever on-time graduation rate of 93.46% for the Class of 2014. The new rate represents an increase of 10.7 percent over five years. At the same time, the four-year cohort dropout rate fell from 10.98 percent in 2010 to 4.44 percent in 2014. Both measures outpaced the Maryland State Average.
Many states have already increased their age of compulsory attendance to age 17 or age 18. Maryland will increase the age to 18 beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.
Countywide Prekindergarten/Head Start Open Enrollment
St. Mary's County Public Schools is pleased to announce open registration for Prekindergarten/Head Start to determine eligibility for school year 2015 - 2016. All schools will hold open registration from Monday, April 13, 2015 through Friday, April 24, 2015 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The goal of the Prekindergarten/Head Start program is to provide initial learning experiences to help children develop basic skills and concepts necessary for successful school performance. A child must be four years old on or before September 1, 2015, and come from a family with an economically disadvantaged background. If vacancies remain after children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds have been enrolled, the remaining vacancies will be filled using locally determined at-risk criteria.
Parents of children who will be three years old by September 1, 2015 and are eligible for placement in the Head Start Program should also register at the school assigned to their physical address during the open enrollment period.
The process for registration has been revised for the 2015-2016 school year. Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) may go to the school assigned to their legal address on any of the designated registration days to complete the registration paperwork. Families that are part of the redistricting for the 2015-2016 school year should register at their current home school. Children are not required to be present for registration. Required documentation includes evidence of birth, proof of residency, proof of income, a copy of the child's immunization record, any court papers regarding custody of the minor child, and a completed application. Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) must also bring photo identification when registering their child.
Proof of income must be provided in order for a child to be registered as an income eligible child. Proof of income documentation includes one of the following:
a. W-2 form;
b. Copies of the last 3 paycheck stubs; or,
c. Proof of temporary cash assistance (the letter indicating the amount of temporary cash assistance is required).
Documentation which indicates the current physical address of the child will be accepted as proof of residence. Proof of residence will include, but is not limited to, one of the following:
a. Mortgage/deed/rental agreement with 911 address assignment;
b. Current utility bill with parent/legal guardian name, 911 address of residence, and service address (no post office box is accepted - and wireless telephone bills are not acceptable); and,
c. Patuxent River Naval Base housing form NOW-NATC-1110-1/15, Assignment to Public
Quarters, that identifies bona fide residence in St. Mary's County.
Each elementary school will conduct open enrollment for the children residing in their zone. Questions regarding which school serves your residential area should be directed to the Department of Capital Planning at 301-475-4256, option 6.
Questions about the program and registration may be directed to Cynthia Kilcoyne, Coordinating Supervisor of Early Childhood Programs at 301-475-5511, ext. 32218.
Wauchilue Adams Named Distinguished Educational Leader
Mrs. Wauchilue Adams, Principal of Green Holly Elementary School, has been selected as St. Mary's County Public Schools' recipient of The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.
The Distinguished Educational Leadership Award was established in 1987 by The Washington Post Company Educational Foundation to honor principals who go beyond the daily responsibilities of their position to create an exceptional environment through dedicated leadership.
Mrs. Adams was nominated by a several members of her faculty for this award as well as some students. "Mrs. Adams' work ethic is legendary. She is dedicated, committed, and happy in her work. Her experience, talents and skills qualify her as an exceptional candidate for this prestigious award," said Kelly Hall, Executive Director of Elementary Schools and Title I Programs.
Mrs. Adams holds two Bachelor degrees from Hood College in Sociology and Spanish along with a Master's degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree from the University of Maryland College Park. She taught Spanish in Somerset County Public Schools for 10 years prior to moving into administration. She has served as an Assistant Principal in both Somerset County and Wicomico County. She began her tenure as a principal in 2002 in Wicomico County before joining St. Mary's County Public Schools in 2009 as principal of Green Holly Elementary School.
"Mrs. Adams leads a vibrant school community striving for excellence in multiple programs," said Interim Superintendent of Schools, Mr. J. Scott Smith. "Mrs. Adams is a professional in every aspect and works with the students, staff, parents and community to provide a safe, positive, and inviting learning environment."
Mrs. Adams and other recipients, representing local public and private schools throughout Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, will be recognized on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at a ceremony hosted by The Washington Post.
Denny Named Agnes Meyer Award Winner
Mr. Michael Denny, a Social Studies teacher at Leonardtown High School was recently named St. Mary's County Public Schools' recipient of The Washington Post 2015 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award.
The Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award was established in 1983 by The Washington Post Company Educational Foundation to recognize teachers who exemplify excellence in teaching and is named after Agnes Meyer, a staunch supporter and defender of public education, and the wife of Eugene Meyer, who purchased the paper in 1933.
"Mr. Denny has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages, especially students. His ability to connect with his students and his talent at teaching rigorous concepts are truly superior," wrote Leonardtown High School Principal Maureen Montgomery in her letter of support for Mr. Denny. "He is a most valuable member of our staff and is a consummate professional."
Mr. Denny earned his Bachelor's degree in Social Studies Education from University of Maryland College Park and currently holds an Advanced Professional Certification for teaching by the Maryland State Department of Education. Mr. Denny began his teaching career in 1976 as a Social Studies teacher in Charles County Public Schools. Since joining St. Mary's County Public Schools in 1981, he taught for 7 years at Chopticon High School before moving to Leonardtown High School in 1988. Mr. Denny has coached various sports including football, basketball, tennis and lacrosse. He has also been recognized for his dedication to the Model General Assembly, Model Congress, Model United Nations and various other student organizations throughout his tenure with St. Mary's County Public Schools.
"Mr. Denny is an integral part of education not only at Leonardtown High School, but also throughout the school system. He encourages students to strive for excellence both in the classroom and outside the classroom," said Interim Superintendent of Schools, Mr. J. Scott Smith. "Mr. Denny is very deserving of this award and we are very fortunate to have Mr. Denny as part of our school system. I applaud his continued dedication to his students."
Mr. Denny and other recipients, representing local public and private schools throughout Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, will be recognized on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at a ceremony hosted by The Washington Post.
Forrest Center Seeking Sponsors For 2nd Annual Golf Tournament
The Dr. James A. Forrest Career & Technology Center is seeking sponsors for its 2nd Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, May 22, 2015 at the Cedar Point Golf Course on NAS Pax River. The goal of the golf tournament is to help defray costs of student participation in SkillsUSA regional, state and national competitions.
The SkillsUSA Championships is the showcase for the best career and technical students in the nation. Your contributions to the Forrest Center's Golf Tournament will help ensure deserving St. Mary's County High School students are eligible to compete.
The school is seeking tournament sponsors at Red, Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. All sponsors will receive pre and post-event publicity, have their names prominently displayed at the golf tournament and receive "Level" benefits.
Gold sponsorship is a $1,500 donation and includes a tournament foursome, 8 mulligans and hole sponsorship/signage. Silver sponsorship is a $1,000 donation and includes a tournament twosome, 4 mulligans and hole sponsorship/signage. Bronze sponsorship is a $500 donation and includes hole sponsorship/signage. Red sponsorship is a $250 donation and includes signage.
The Forrest Center's SkillsUSA chapter is among the most successful in the state and annually must fundraise over $25,000 to cover the cost of leadership training, chapter activities and regional, state & national competitions. For more information, contact the Forrest Center at 301-475-0242.
Please note: This event may be photographed, recorded and presented on SMCPS Channel 96, the school system's educational cable channel, and the internet.