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

Calvert Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Board of Education Adjusts Meeting Calendar

At the December 10, 2015 meeting, the Board of Education of Calvert County Public Schools approved an adjustment to the meeting calendar for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year. The annual Budget Hearing will be held on February 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM at Calvert High School in lieu of the regularly scheduled meeting.

CCPS Employees to Receive Health Insurance Premium Holiday and Stipend

Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS) recently received a $2.8 million retrospective settlement for FY2015 from the school system's health insurance provider, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. The Board of Education has agreed to return all of the money to employees in two ways.

Approximately 25% will be disbursed through an employee and retiree health insurance premium holiday. For the two pay dates in December, no deductions will be taken for health insurance premiums for active employees who are covered members through the CCPS health insurance program. Similarly, those who retired from CCPS and are covered members through the CCPS health insurance program will not be required to pay health insurance premiums for January 2016.

Approximately 75% will be used to provide a one-time payment to active employees, with the exception of miscellaneous employees (i.e. substitutes, extra-pay, extra-duty employees, etc.) and selected grant-funded employees. Full-time active employees will receive $1,000.00, and part-time active employees will receive $500.00. These payments will be disbursed January 29, 2016.

Dr. Daniel Curry, Superintendent, said, "The Board is pleased to be able to offer this stipend as a token of their appreciation for all of our hardworking employees."

The health insurance benefits provided by CCPS are self-insured, meaning they are funded by the employees and retirees who are covered members and the school system. As such, CCPS is responsible for all covered health insurance expenses incurred by its employees and retirees and their dependents. Because CCPS uses a self-insurance system, the claims that are paid may equal, exceed, or fall short of what is actually paid in premiums.

This atypical settlement was the result of our claims expense for FY2015 being substantially lower than the actuarial premium estimates generated by CareFirst.

Maryland Releases Elementary and Middle School PARCC Results

On Dec. 8 the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released elementary and middle school data from the 2015 administration of the PARCC assessments. The results set a new baseline that will help to determine whether students are on track for the next grade.

Dr. Daniel Curry, Superintendent, said, "We are so pleased to finally get the results of the PARCC test. Even though the school year is almost half complete, our staff is eager to analyze performance at every level at every school and make plans for improvement."

Students in grades 3-8 took the PARCC assessments last spring. Students will receive individual scores, but scores will not be used for student or educator accountability this year. In the coming months, the State Board will determine how the data will be used going forward.

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

At this time, MSDE defines scores at Levels 4 and 5 as demonstrating readiness for coursework in English and math at the next grade, with the goal of preparing students to enter college or career upon graduation.

On the English Language Arts/Literacy Assessment, 48% of students scored at a Level 4 and 5 combined, which are the two highest levels on the PARCC five-point score scale, compared to 40% of students across the state.

In mathematics, 34% of students scored at a Level 4 and 5 combined, compared with 30% in Maryland. Mathematics data is reported differently than in was in prior years for the Maryland School Assessment (MSA). Previously, students who were enrolled in algebra in 7th or 8th grade took both the grade-level MSA and the algebra High School Assessment. Under the new assessment model, students were not "double tested;" therefore, 7th and 8th graders who were enrolled in Algebra 1 or Algebra 2 took the PARCC assessment that corresponded to that course, not the middle school grade-level math assessment. Scores of those students are not reported in the data released today.

In future years, PARCC results will be available in early summer. That timeline will provide educators with more opportunities to make instructional adjustments based on the data.

PARCC results cannot be compared with the Maryland School Assessment (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.

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