Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

School system offers summer physicals for students

Charles County Public Schools is offering sports physicals this summer to student athletes. Physicals will be limited to the first 100 students and are done on a first-come, first-serve basis. The schedule is as follows:

-- Henry E. Lackey High School, Wednesday, June 5, 5 – 8 p.m.;

-- North Point High School, Thursday, June 6, 5 – 8 p.m.;

-- Westlake High School, Wednesday, June 12, 5 – 8 p.m.;

-- La Plata High School Tuesday, June 18, 5 – 8 p.m.;

-- Lackey, Thursday, Aug. 1, 5 – 8 p.m.;

-- Thomas Stone High School, Monday, Aug. 5, 5 – 8 p.m.;

-- North Point, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 5 – 8 p.m.;

-- Maurice J. McDonough High School, Thursday, Aug. 8, 5 – 8 p.m.; and

-- Westlake, Saturday, Aug. 10, 8 – 11 a.m.

The registration form is located on the student activities page of the Parents and Community section of the Charles County Public Schools website at Forms can also be obtained from the school. The parent section of the form must be completed and signed by the parent/guardian.

The fee is $30 and cash is the only accepted form of payment. Students will not be seen without the required forms. Call your child’s school for more information.

Students graduate from Adult Independence Program

The Charles County Public Schools Adult Independence Program (AIP) held its 14th annual graduation ceremony on Friday, May 17 at North Point High School. The Class of 2013 featured 19 graduates, which is one of the program’s largest graduating classes to date.

Graduate Jalen Rose served as the student commencement speaker, and shared her experiences with the program among attendees. Rose said the skills she learned and experiences she had through the AIP program helped her reach an important goal: to work with children. Rose was able to attain child care certification from the College of Southern Maryland, and now works with infants and toddlers at Lakeside Child Care Center.

Students in the program are trained to search for employment and to complete job applications, as well as how to access the public transportation system. The Adult Independence Program also provides students with community learning experiences that parallel experiences of independent adults. Throughout the duration of the program, which is designed for student’s ages 18 to 21, students acquire adult skills and apply them to community environments.

Board of Education Chairman Roberta S. Wise also spoke to the graduating class, and shared information about each of the graduates with guests in attendance. Each personal story highlighted an important component of the program: that students leave with the essential skills to be successful in the world. For example, Graduate Brittany Johnson completed a work-based experience at the Charlotte Hall Nursing Home and was later hired in the cafeteria to work as a dietary aid.

Dwayne Hodo entered the AIP program with a set goal in mind: working in building services. At the start of this school year, his goal became a reality when he was hired as a member of the Westlake High School building services team. He has maintained his position for the past six months and successfully accesses the Van-Go service to and from work daily.

Most of the other graduates are successfully employed at places such as the Waldorf Senior Center and the Charles County Department of Health. Those who are not currently employed are seeking jobs in areas they enjoy, such as public and community service.

Joining Rose, and accepting diplomas, were Toby Allen, Wendy Blakeman, Tiarra Dansby, Drew Dent, Rashawn DePamphilis, Ronald “RJ” Dickerson, Quinton Dillard, Samantha Donegan, Devonta Dorsey, DeMarcus Dyson, Marsha Forbes, Randy Hagens, Justin Harris, Jamaal Ishmael, Amber Jenkins, Brittany Johnson and Malek Stover.

Participating employers in the 2012-13 program include Capital Club House, Charles County Department of Community Services, Elite Gymnastics, Genesis Health Care, Home Goods and the Greater Waldorf Jaycees. The program was launched in 1999 and has assisted more than 200 students in transitioning into work and community environments.

Mary B. Neal Elementary named National School of Character

Mary B. Neal Elementary School last week was named a 2013 National School of Character by the Character Education Partnership (CEP). Neal is one of 18 nationwide public elementary schools selected for the award, and is the only Maryland school selected for the designation. National Schools of Character demonstrate growth in academics, behavior and climate. Additionally, these schools have created caring and supportive school communities that meet the needs of students.

Neal Principal Carol Leveillee said character education at Neal is not just a program, but a way of life. “Since the spring before Neal opened in 2008, character education has been the foundation of our building. Character education is not a program at Mary B. Neal; it’s a way of life. I can’t begin to tell you how very proud I am of the students, staff, parents and the community that supports us,” she said.

Neal underwent an intensive screening process as a finalist that included school visits, and an analysis of the impact of their character education program on academics, behavior and school culture. Earlier this school year, Neal was chosen as a 2013 Maryland School of Character award recipient by the Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE) at Stevenson University. As a state award winner, Neal was eligible for consideration in the National Schools of Character program.

Schools are selected for the state award based on their demonstration of the Character Education Partnership's 11 principles of Effective Character Education. The principles focus on the promotion of ethical values and a caring school community, fostering students' self-motivation, and engaging school staff to help with character-building efforts. Schools are required to apply for character education awards annually.

There are several character education initiatives in place at Neal. The school fosters a partnership with Andrews Air Force Base in which military members visit the school once a week to mentor students. The school coordinates community service-oriented projects such as annual food drives and a 5K race to support the Southern Maryland Food Bank. The Maryland State Department of Education has recognized Neal for the past four years for their food drive efforts.

Additionally, Neal launched an initiative called "30 rock" three years ago in which students in grades second through fifth can participate in a variety of clubs. The school has formed more than 30 clubs and each Friday for 30 minutes, students can participate in the club of their choice. Club examples range from cheerleading, creative writing and art, to drawing, world drumming and sign language.

Neal was also honored in 2010 as a Promising Practices in Character Education National award winner. As part of the National Schools of Character awards program, the Character Education Partnership gives Promising Practices awards to schools for implementing unique and specific strategies in character education.

Neal, along with other National Schools of Character, will be featured at the National Forum on Character Education Oct. 24-27 in Washington D.C. For more information on the National Schools of Character Education program, visit

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