Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Board recognizes outstanding students

The Board of Education honored five students on Tuesday, Oct. 13, for excellence in academic achievement, personal responsibility and career readiness, which are the focus areas of the school system’s master plan. Honored were Makayla Hill, fifth grader, Gale-Bailey Elementary School; Camryn Ging, fifth grader, Mary H. Matula Elementary School; Jesslyn Mulbah, fifth grader, Arthur Middleton Elementary School; Brianna High, eighth grader, Milton M. Somers Middle School; and Alejandro Cortez-Mendoza, senior, Maurice J. McDonough High School.

Hill was recognized in the area of academic achievement. She has been a Gale-Bailey “Lion” since prekindergarten and has continuously made honor roll since third grade. Hill is involved in soccer with the Bulldogs of the Pisgah’s Boys’ and Girls’ Club and placed third in last year’s county fair for a drawing she entered. Hill’s teacher Tanya Scarcelle describes her as a hard worker and a good role model for the class.

Ging was recognized in the area of career readiness. She has earned honor roll or principal’s honor roll every quarter since third grade. Ging plays soccer for the Pride, a Rec Plus league, and has decided to join K-Kids, a service club for students in elementary school. She is also involved with the Port Tobacco Players Theatre where she has her very first speaking role in this year’s production of, “A Christmas Carol.” After middle and high school, Ging plans to attend college and become a school counselor to help children solve problems.

Mulbah was recognized in the area of personal responsibility. This is her second year at Middleton. Last year, Mulbah finished with all A’s and one B on her report card. She stays organized by tracking assignments, tests and activities in her agenda book. Mulbah plays soccer and enjoys volleyball, basketball and football. When asked what she likes about school, she said she likes, “pretty much everything.”

High was recognized in the area of academic achievement. Since sixth grade, she has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and has been on the principal’s honor roll every quarter. High is the president of the Milton M. Somers National Junior Honor Society and is involved in the Lady Seahawks science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) club, Friends of Rachel Club, Destination Imagination, Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA), All-County and Tri-County Orchestra, Principal’s Advisory Council and the county’s Science Fair. Somers Principal Carrie Akins said that High is a leader among her peers and is an outstanding role model.

Cortez-Mendoza was recognized in the area of personal responsibility. When he started as a freshman at McDonough, Cortez-Mendoza had limited English language skills. He was entered in to the Secondary Academy of International Languages (SAIL) program, and now takes pride and responsibility for his work. As a result, Cortez-Mendoza is more independent and is no longer a part of the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. He obtained a driver’s license after passing the language and driving test. McDonough Principal Brad Snow said that Cortez-Mendoza demonstrates tremendous individual pride in being a positive contributor to his family, school, community and new country.

Each month the Board of Education honors students for their success in academic achievement, career readiness and personal responsibility.

Board honors exemplary employees

The Board of Education at their Oct. 13 meeting honored five Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employees for being the difference in their positions and in the lives of children. Honored were Candice Vallandingham-Adam, Brian Chase, Michelle Gilliam, Erica Hughes and Kristen Liston.

Vallandingham-Adam is an instructional resource teacher at Arthur Middleton Elementary School. She was chosen by Middleton Principal Louis D’Ambrosio for recognition before the Board for her commitment to excellence in her position and for assisting students and staff. As the instructional resource teacher at Middleton, Vallandingham-Adam works with teachers and administrators to assist in providing effective instruction for students. She helps Middleton’s new teachers with planning and preparation and volunteers for leadership opportunities. Prior to her position at Middleton, Vallandingham-Adam taught at both the elementary- and middle-school levels and served as a team leader, cheerleading coach and sponsor for Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA). D’Ambrosio said Vallandingham-Adam is a valuable asset to the Middleton school community. “She works tirelessly in conjunction with the administration and has become a go to staff member for teachers. She has a positive attitude and supports administrative initiatives,” D’Ambrosio wrote in a nomination statement.

Chase is the building service manager at Gale-Bailey Elementary School and was selected for Board recognition by Principal Verniece Rorie for his ability to effectively lead the building service team at the school and for demonstrating an outstanding work ethic. He completes all tasks on time and is efficient in completing any projects or duties assigned. He is well known among his colleagues as a dependable and reliable worker. Rorie said Chase’s efforts were integral in an excellent start to the school year. “Gale-Bailey has been the site of major improvement projects. In the midst of these projects, Mr. Chase was still able to lead his team through preparation for an excellent opening of school. He is an integral part of the Gale-Bailey family,” Rorie wrote in a nomination statement.

Gilliam is a school counselor at Maurice J. McDonough High School and was chosen for recognition for her commitment to the counseling profession and for supporting all levels of learners. Gilliam is the counseling department chair at McDonough and is highly respected among students, staff and parents. Gilliam has several years of experience as a counselor with CCPS, and previously worked at Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School and General Smallwood Middle School. Her colleagues often seek assistance from her when they need clarification on policy or practices and she strives to maintain positive relationships and open communication with students and parents. Gilliam is coordinator of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) at McDonough and launched a program at the school called SWAG to assist struggling students. She served as president of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) for three years and was a finalist for their national award in 2011. McDonough Principal Bradley Snow commended Gilliam’s thoroughness and attention to detail. “Her thoroughness when conducting business is exceptional. She exemplifies the qualities that define a team member and seeks out opportunities to get involved on many fronts within the walls of MHS,” Snow wrote in a nomination letter.

Hughes is a fifth-grade teacher at Mary H. Matula Elementary School and was chosen for Board recognition by Matula Principal Carrie Richardson for demonstrating a positive attitude and commitment to her students. She creates a positive and welcoming classroom environment where students feel comfortable and are confident learners. Hughes provides fun and engaging lessons for her students and strives to reach the needs of all learners. For the past two years, Hughes has served as the fifth-grade math team sponsor and helped her students place at the county-level competition. Richardson said Hughes is an exemplar role model for her colleagues. “Mrs. Erica Hughes is an exemplary educator. She has created a learning environment to ensure student success and growth,” Richardson wrote in a nomination letter.

Liston is the choir teacher at Milton M. Somers Middle School and was recognized for her exemplar work ethic and commitment to ensuring that all students at Somers have access to fine arts programs. She demonstrates best practices in her classroom and welcomes all students into her choir program. She makes her classes fun and exciting and does an exemplary job of infusing content and curriculum into her choir lessons. As the music department chair, Liston works with her colleagues to develop scheduling that supports related-arts subjects and opportunities for students to participate. Last year, she developed a combined concert for Matula, Somers and La Plata High School students to showcase the talents of her classes but also to generate interest in musical programs within the community. Somers Principal Carrie Akins said Liston holds high expectations for her students and gives them the confidence to achieve goals. “Mrs. Liston ensures that all students are actively engaged and learning every day in her class. There is never a day when students are sitting idle – they are always actively learning, actively ‘doing’ in her classroom. She truly works hard to ensure her choir is an outstanding example and pleasure to share with our greater community,” Akins wrote in a nomination statement.

The Board honors several outstanding employees each month.

Board of Education accepts resolutions at October meeting

The Board of Education presented two resolutions to Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students and staff at their Oct. 13 meeting. The resolutions are presented annually. The following resolutions were presented:

• American Education Week; and

• American Freedom Week.

CCPS celebrates American Freedom Week Nov. 9-13. During the week, schools give special recognition to those who serve the country and those who gave their lives to preserve America’s freedom and liberty. Special activities take place in all schools to honor and celebrate patriotism. Accepting the resolution at the Board meeting were Henry E. Lackey High School JROTC students Shawnteria Barbour, Rondrell Marshall and Alex Kearse. Board of Education Vice Chairman Michael Lukas presented the resolution on behalf of the Board.

The school system celebrates American Education Week Nov. 15-21. American Education Week provides opportunities to celebrate public education and honor those who make a difference to ensure that every child receives a quality education. Accepting the resolution at the Board meeting were Student Board Member and Westlake High School junior Alton Pearson Benson and William McLaughlin, an electrician with CCPS and president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) employee union. Board Chairman Virginia McGraw presented the resolution on behalf of the Board.

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