Books-A-Million donated more than 480 books for Charles County Public Schools students who are homeless or in foster care. Pictured from left are Meighan Hungerford, acting director of elementary instruction for CCPS, Books-A-Million co-manager Allie Petherick and Bethany Goodwin, youth in transition coordinator for CCPS.
Charles County students say 'thanks-a-million' for book donation
Books are a gateway to other worlds. They can be anchors that keep a reader grounded in a story, or wings elevating readers to places they've only imagined. But for some students, books can be hard to come by.
Books-A-Million recently donated more than 480 books to Charles County students who are homeless or in foster care.
"Children who are homeless or in foster care often don't have much that they can call their own," said Meighan Hungerford, acting director of elementary instruction. "We want to give them something that is theirs. Something that will enrich their lives."
Books-A-Million customers donated titles to a summer book drive that the store started in late July. The store's co-manager Allie Petherick said she was "thrilled" by the response. "We reached 114 percent of our goal," she said. "As the only bookstore in Charles County—and I as a parent too—we know how much [educators] do out of pocket. We wanted to say 'Thank you.'"
Customers could select books to donate, or take the suggestion of a sales clerk. Books collected ranged from Dr. Seuss classics to Sherlock Holmes mysteries, from Laura Ingalls Wilder book sets to graphic novels. Pupil personal workers will give out the books to students in need.
Learn about paying for college at CCPS financial aid nights
Charles County Public Schools is hosting financial aid nights at its seven high schools next month to provide students and parents with strategies and tips on paying for college. Staff from the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) will present on the college fund search as well as share tips and other helpful resources about scholarships and the college planning process.
The annual Charles County College Fair is Monday, Sept. 18 at North Point High School. High school juniors and seniors attend the fair as part of their school day. Two financial aid sessions will be offered during the public evening hours of the fair for parents, students and community members.
The following is a list of dates, times and locations. All financial aid nights are open to the public. Students are not required to attend the session set for their specific high school.
• Monday, Sept. 18—Charles County College Fair at North Point High School, 6:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 5—North Point High School, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 5—St. Charles High School, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 12—Westlake High School, 6:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 18—Thomas Stone High School, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 19—Maurice J. McDonough High School, 5 p.m.
• Tuesday, Oct. 24—La Plata High School, 6 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 25—Henry E. Lackey High School, 6 p.m.
At each financial aid session, staff will be available to help students and parents register for their federal student aid (FSA) identification number. This number is required for any student to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Specific questions about each school's financial aid night can be directed to the school college and career advisor.
Registration open for the CCPS fall chess tournament
Registration for the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) annual fall chess tournament, set for 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 21 at Thomas Stone High School, is now open for students. The tournament is for students in grades kindergarten through 12.
Interested participants must register online at ccpsregistration.wufoo.com/forms/ccps-2017-fall-chess-tournament/ by Wednesday, Oct. 18. Walk-in registrations will not be accepted.
The tournament features a four round Swiss Style format. Students compete in five divisions of play, depending on their grade level of enrollment: kindergarten through second grade, grades 3-4, grades 5-6, grades 7-8 and grades 9-12.
The first match begins at 9 a.m., with additional matches beginning at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. Players competing in the 7-8 and 9-12 grade-level divisions will use chess clocks and are allotted 15 minutes per game. Sign-in begins at 8 a.m.; students must check in by 8:45 a.m. in order to be matched for play in the first round. Students who check in after 8:45 a.m. will be paired to play in a later round.
An awards ceremony will follow the matches beginning at noon. Players will receive a trophy, medal and/or certificate for participation. Participation is free and open to all Charles County students. Refreshments will be available for purchase at the Stone concession window.
Questions can be directed to Ann Taylor, content specialist in gifted education for CCPS, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-934-7378.
Students show progress on PARCC tests
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released local school system and school-level data today for PARCC, Maryland's school assessments in English/Language Arts and mathematics. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) closed its gap with the state average and showed steady growth in most subjects and grades.
"We continue to move in the right direction, with improvement in overall scores and instruction. We are focused on classroom instruction and test scores are one indicator we use to make adjustments to our curriculum and to meeting the needs of all of our students," Superintendent Kimberly Hill said.
CCPS students showed significant improvement in Algebra I at the middle school level and Algebra II in high school. Algebra II scores increased to 47.6 percent, and 17.6 percent above state average.
"We made some nice strides and improvements. The results provide us with information to help us improve classroom instruction. PARCC scores are just one of many indicators we use to meet the needs of our students and prepare our students to reach college and career readiness goals," Deputy Superintendent Amy Hollstein said.
According to MSDE, for students in grades 3 through 8, achieving level 4 or 5 indicates their readiness for coursework in English/Language Arts and math at the next grade, with the goal of preparing students to enter college or a career upon graduation. High school students taking Algebra I and English II are required to reach a certain proficiency level as a high school graduation requirement.
County scores, elementary schools
Mathematics: Overall, students in grades 3-5 scored 36.5 percent at levels 4 and 5, up from 36.1 percent in 2016. Fifth-grade students scored 31.2 percent at levels 4 and 5; fourth-grade students scored 36 percent at levels 4 and 5; and third-grade students scored 42.2 percent at levels 4 and 5.
English/Language Arts: Overall, students in grades 3-5 scored 42.1 percent at levels 4 and 5, up from 37.4 percent in 2016. Fifth-grade students scored 46.1 percent at levels 4 and 5; fourth-grade students scored 41.3 percent at levels 4 and 5; and third-grade students scored 38.8 percent at levels 4 and 5.
County scores, middle schools
Mathematics: Overall, 34.4 percent of middle school students scored a combined score of 4 and 5 on the mathematics assessment, up from 30.78 in 2016. Students in eighth grade taking the mathematics assessment scored 12.9 percent at levels 4 and 5; students in seventh grade scored 27.2 percent at levels 4 and 5; and students in sixth grade scored 26 percent at levels 4 and 5. Middle school students taking the PARCC Algebra I assessment scored 71.58 percent at levels 4 and 5, up from 51.5 percent in 2016.
English/Language Arts: Overall, 35.7 percent of middle school students scored at levels 4 and 5 combined, up from 35.5 in 2016. Countywide, students in eighth grade scored 39 percent at levels 4 and 5; students in seventh grade scored 38.3 percent at levels 4 and 5; and students in sixth grade scored 29.9 percent at levels 4 and 5.
County scores, high schools
Two PARCC assessments, Algebra I and English II, became high school graduation requirements in the 2016-17 school year.
Algebra I: Overall, 33.5 percent of high school students scored at levels 4 and 5, up from 29.7 in 2016.
English II: Overall high school students scored 40.8 percent at levels 4 and 5, down from 42.4 percent in 2016.
The PARCC assessment scoring 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
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.
The school system is mailing individual student reports to parents in September.
For complete CCPS results, visit reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/.
Milton M. Somers Middle School participated in the Kent Avenue Partnership third annual Community Block Party Aug. 19 at Caroline Park in La Plata. Spearheaded by La Plata Police Chief Carl Schinner, the event featured local groups and organizations, local law enforcement, amusements and music. The party allowed everyone to celebrate the end of summer and start to a new school year together. Education Systems Federal Credit Union provided backpacks with free school supplies. Somers' administration intern Sonia Matthew and Pam Jenkins, a pupil personnel worker at Somers, provided information about school bus safety and extracurricular opportunities for students. Pictured from left are La Plata Mayor Jeannine James, Latisha Chase of Educational Systems Federal Credit Union, Matthew, Kameron Taylor, a Somers seventh grader, Somers parent Curtney Taylor, Jenkins and Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry.