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

Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs



Senior cadets honored at ninth annual JROTC Military Ball

Board of Education Chairman Virginia McGraw, pictured second from left, crowns St. Charles High School senior Taylor Bell, pictured right, as queen of the Col. Donald M. Wade Joint Services Military Ball. Also pictured is Traci Chappelear, left, coordinator of career and technology education for Charles County Public Schools.
Board of Education Chairman Virginia McGraw, pictured second from left, crowns St. Charles High School senior Taylor Bell, pictured right, as queen of the Col. Donald M. Wade Joint Services Military Ball. Also pictured is Traci Chappelear, left, coordinator of career and technology education for Charles County Public Schools.

The Charles County Public Schools Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (JROTC) program provides student cadets with learning opportunities that are deeply rooted in military traditions. These traditions range from participating in the Color Guard and drill meets to serving as leaders in their school communities. For the 175 senior cadets enrolled in the program at Charles County’s seven high schools, the Colonel Donald M. Wade Joint Services Military Ball is a tradition held annually to honor and celebrate their participation in JROTC.

This year’s ball was held Dec. 4 at North Point High School, and is the ninth annual event coordinated by the school system. As part of the ball, cadets participate in a variety of ceremonial military traditions including the Presentation of Colors by the Joint JROTC Color Guard, toasts to honor military personnel, leaders and ball guests, and the selection of a military court. Senior cadets are also presented with certificates of participation from their program instructors to honor their JROTC commitment.

North Point senior cadet Kennedy Miller served as the mistress of ceremonies and Westlake High School senior cadet Vincent D’Haiti served as the master of ceremonies. Guests were welcomed by Board of Education Chairman Virginia McGraw. “No matter how many years you have worn the JROTC uniform, you have chosen an education steeped in traditions of honor, courage, patriotism and citizenship. You have learned the responsibilities of leadership and the value of following orders at the side of your instructors who have dedicated their lives to these core values,” McGraw said in addressing the room.

The toast portion of the ball featured references to the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, JROTC instructors and to all cadets in attendance. A toast was also held to honor military members who were missing in action or prisoners of war. Following the toasts, a celebratory dinner was held and senior cadets were called on to the floor by high school to receive their certificates.

At this year’s ball, students and staff honored Command Sgt. Maj. George Monk, an instructor at Maurice J. McDonough High School, for his service to Charles County Public Schools and the JROTC program. Command Sgt. Major Monk has helped to lead the Ram Battalion for the past 20 years and is retiring next month. During his time at McDonough, Command Sgt. Major Monk helped the JROTC unit receive a ranking of Honor Unit with Distinction, which is the highest ranking bestowed on a JROTC unit. During the ball, Dr. Hill also presented Command Sgt. Major Monk with a certificate of appreciation to honor his accomplishments.

After certificates were presented to all cadets, students and guests participated in two other military ball traditions: cake cutting and the presentation of the military court. The military court consists of a king and queen who are selected from students who have participated in their school’s JROTC program each year during their high school career. Board Chairman McGraw randomly selected the names. St. Charles High School senior Taylor Bell was this year’s queen and Corey Benton, a McDonough senior, was named king.

The JROTC program is available at all seven county high schools, and teaches students skills, values and good citizenship to the community. Participation in JROTC also provides advanced rank opportunities for students who plan to enter the military after high school. JROTC programs were first introduced in Charles County Public Schools in 1998 at Henry E. Lackey High School. Former longtime Board of Education member Col. Donald M. Wade, who passed away in 2014, was instrumental in launching the program for Charles County students. The ball is named in Wade’s honor to recognize his efforts in advocating for the JROTC program for students.

The programs at Lackey and North Point high schools represent the Air Force; the programs at McDonough and Thomas Stone High School represent the Army; La Plata High School, as well as Westlake, features a JROTC program that represents the Navy; and the program at St. Charles represents the Marine Corps. A total of 983 students are enrolled in JROTC programs this school year. These students also participate in a county drill meet, held annually, and co-curricular activities such as Color Guards, Armed and Unarmed drill teams, Armed and Unarmed exhibition drill teams, academic and field competitions.

School system announces holiday card contest winners

The grand prize winning holiday card, created by Rei Razo, a junior at Westlake High School.
The grand prize winning holiday card, created by Rei Razo, a junior at Westlake High School.

Ten Charles County Public Schools students were recently named winners in the Charles County Public Schools 2015 Holiday Card Contest.

Rei Razo, a junior at Westlake High School, was named the grand prize winner of the contest. As the grand-prize winner, Razo receives 50 copies of his card and an enlargement of his artwork.

The contest is held annually and first-, second- and third-place winners are chosen at the elementary, middle and high-school levels. Winners are selected for their artwork by a panel of Charles County Public Schools staff members.

First place contest winners are Kaila Washington, a fifth-grade student at T.C. Martin Elementary School; Moriah Emrick, an eighth-grade student at Piccowaxen Middle School; and Jada Carlisle, a sophomore at St. Charles High School. First-place winners also receive 50 copies of their cards.

Second place winners are Rilee Beavers, a third-grade student at Martin; Brooke Walko, a seventh-grade student at Piccowaxen; and Chinazam Ojukwu, a junior at Maurice J. McDonough High School.

Third place winners are Anya McCullough, fifth-grade student, Martin; Natalie Fox, a seventh-grade student at Milton M. Somers Middle School; and Joshua Nwadeyi, a sophomore at St. Charles.

State releases baseline data for PARCC

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released local school system and school-level data today for PARCC, Maryland’s new middle and elementary school assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy and mathematics.

More than 30 percent of Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) elementary students in grades 3-5 of the PARCC English Language Arts/Literacy assessment last spring scored at a level of 4 and 5 combined. Levels 4 and 5 are the highest levels on the PARCC five-point scale. Additionally, more than 30 percent of Charles County’s middle students reached Level 4 and 5 combined in English Language Arts/Literacy.

More than 30 percent of middle school students taking the mathematics or Algebra I PARCC assessment, and 28.9 percent of students in grades 3-5 scored at Level 4 and 5 combined.

According to MSDE, for students in grades 3 through 8, achieving Level 4 or 5 indicates their readiness for coursework in English and math at the next grade, with the goal of preparing students to enter college or career upon graduation. The scores required to meet these thresholds were determined over the summer by Maryland educators and their peers around the country.

The assessment uses a five-point score scale set by Maryland educators and others:

• Level 5 - Exceeded Expectations

• Level 4 - Met Expectations

• Level 3 - Approached Expectations

• Level 2 - Partially Met Expectations

• Level 1 - Did Not Yet Meet Expectations

CCPS students improved greatly on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) during the decade it was used as the measure of student achievement. Its lifespan was from 2003-2013 and during that decade, elementary school students increased math scores from 39.9 percent to 81.3 percent; reading scores from 60.6 percent to 84.2 percent; middle school math from 36.8 percent to 76.9 percent; and middle school reading from 61.8 percent to 81.7 percent.

County scores, middle school

Algebra 1/mathematics: Overall, 32.9 percent of middle school students scored a combined score of 4 and 5 on the mathematics and Algebra I assessments. Students taking the Algebra I test for math scored a 72.3 percent at level 4 and 5. Students in eighth grade taking the mathematics assessment scored 8.3 percent at levels 4 and 5; students in seventh grade scored 22.9 percent at levels 4 and 5; and students in sixth grade scored 27.9 percent at levels 4 and 5. r />
English/Language Arts: Overall, 30.1 percent of middle school students scored at level 4 and 5 combined. Countywide, students in eighth grade scored 32.4 percent at levels 4 and 5; students in seventh grade scored 27.6 percent at levels 4 and 5; and students in sixth grade scored 30.4 percent at levels 4 and 5.

County scores, elementary school

Mathematics: Overall, students in grades 3-5 scored 28.9 percent at levels 4 and 5. Fifth-grade students scored 25 percent at levels 4 and 5; fourth-grade students scored 26.3 percent at levels 4 and 5; and third-grade students scored 35.5 percent at levels 4 and 5. r />
English/Language Arts: Overall, students in grades 3-5 scored 33.9 percent at levels 4 and 5. Fifth-grade students scored 35 percent at levels 4 and 5; fourth-grade students scored 33.9 percent at levels 4 and 5; and third-grade students scored 32.7 percent at levels 4 and 5.

According to MSDE, PARCC results cannot be compared with the MSA, which the state used for a decade, both because this is a new test and a different test. PARCC is the first assessment aligned to Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards, which set a higher bar for student learning. The tests go beyond the old “fill in the blank” model of standardized tests by emphasizing the need for students to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving and clear writing.

These tests also will show growth in student achievement over time. For example, parents and teachers will better be able to determine if students taking the math and reading assessments in third grade are progressing in their understanding of the subject matter when they reach fourth grade and beyond.

The pattern of raising standards and creating new assessments has been in place in Maryland since the 1980s.

Individual elementary and middle school student reports will be sent home to parents within the next few weeks.

For complete CCPS results, visit reportcard.msde.maryland.gov.

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