Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Community Bank of Tri-County promotes financial literacy

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) recognized the Community Bank of Tri-County and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Middleton at the November Board meeting for funding the school system's online financial literacy program.

Community Bank of Tri-County has supported the financial literacy program since 2011. The program consists of nine modules that cover a range of financial literacy topics including savings, investing, credit card usage, credit scores and financing higher education.

CCPS has used the program as a supplement in financial literacy classes. Positive feedback has been given from both teachers and students. According to teachers and students, the program is easy to navigate. The program can be accessed from home and reinforces concepts taught by teachers using a multimedia interface.

"I would like to personally thank Mr. Middleton for his bank's support of financial literacy education within our school system by providing funding for this engaging supplemental program for our students." said Wanda Sellers, instruction specialist for computer technology.

Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) encourages community members to nominate parents for the Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA). The State Department of Education (MSDE) annually recognizes parents and legal guardians who foster communicating, volunteering, learning, collaborating with the community and decision making within their community.

To be eligible for the Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award, nominees must:

-- be a parent, which includes a natural parent, an adoptive parent, a legal guardian, a person acting as a parent of a child such as a relative or stepparent with whom a child lives, or any other person primarily responsible for the child's welfare;

-- have a child in a Charles County public school;

-- not be an employee of Charles County Public Schools, any Maryland public school or the Maryland State Department of Education (any person who is paid by a school or by the school system is not eligible to be nominated);

-- have conducted or participated in the project for which he/she is nominated within the last 24 months; and

-- not be a previous semifinalist, finalist or state winner.

Nominations are due Friday, Jan. 31. Materials should be sent to Maryland State Department of Education, Office of Communications, Partnerships, and Grants, 7Th Floor, ATTN: PIMA, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Md., 21201. Nominations must be sent by mail and are not accepted online or by email. Incomplete nominations will not be considered.

Nomination forms and more information on the award can be found at

Character education at Neal shines with national award

Character counts at Mary B. Neal Elementary School, a 2013 National School of Character and home of the blue crabs of character.

At Neal, said Principal Carol Leveillee, “Character education is not a program, it’s a way of life.” The Character Education Partnership (CEP) recognized Leveillee and Neal staff as a 2013 National School of Character on Oct. 26 at the National Forum on Character Education in Washington, D.C. Neal is one of 29 schools nationwide, and the only one in Maryland, to receive the honor. Neal showed through a rigorous evaluation process that its focus on character development has a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior and school climate.

Educational leaders from across the nation and Canada toured Neal on Oct. 24 to learn a little about the school, the character education philosophy and the role of character education has in the classroom. National Schools of Character are expected to serve as models for other schools, helping them to achieve the same results. “Your school is such a great place to be. I even want to come work here,” said Marc Brindle, a principal from Quebec, Canada. Brindle was one of 17 visitors who toured the school, taking pictures of the hallways promoting character and the three R’s – respect, responsibility and the right to learn.

Students show character from the moment they walk in the front doors in the morning until the time they leave. Each morning, Neal students start their day with the Neal pledge, “As a Neal blue crab I promise to show the three R’s: respect, responsibility and the right to learn in all that I do. I will strive for excellence in my attitude, my behavior and my character.”

“We focus on the three R’s … I encourage the students to carry the three R’s in their pockets wherever they go, even to grandma’s house. I tell the students that character is what you do even when no one is watching,” Leveillee said.

Character education is a fixture in Neal’s mission statement. Prior to the opening of Neal in 2008, Leveillee identified character education as a focus and priority. “From the beginning, I knew I wanted Neal to receive this recognition. Being the principal of a National School of Character and to know that in five years we have created an environment that has received national recognition is very rewarding,” Leveillee said.

Neal students and staff weave character education into their daily activities. Service learning – giving back to their community and to others – is a key component of Neal’s character commitment. Annual projects include feeding the hungry and funding cancer research. Since opening five years ago, Neal has donated more than 14,245 pounds of food and 2,000 cans of soup while also raising $10,736.16 for the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Additionally, they have contributed $24,473.30 to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“What these schools are accomplishing is absolutely remarkable,” said CEP Schools of Director Dr. Russ Sojourner. “At a time in which school safety and positive climate/culture is of utmost importance to our students, parents, and communities, it’s inspiring to identify schools that are focusing on what’s most important – developing students who are both intellectually and ethically strong.”

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd students make history fun

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School's history club recently went on a trip to Gettysburg, Pa. to visit the site of the High Water Battle. After weeks of studying about the Civil War, the history club students were able to apply their knowledge from history club meetings and see the battle site first-hand.

The club gives students at Dr. Mudd the opportunity to learn about history in an interactive way. Dr. Mudd history club students meet once a week an hour before school to learn about American historical figures and events. Students complete crafts, watch videos, participate in lectures and read materials that are pertinent to a specific topic.

After study, students visit the historical landmark where the event occurred or the historical figure lived. Typically five to 10 Dr. Mudd staff members attend the history club trips, which gives the students individualized attention to ask questions and explore. According to Diana Smith, one of the history club leaders, the students' favorite trip is to Williamsburg after they have studied life in Colonial America.

In the spring, history club members attend game night to test their knowledge. At game night, students participate in activities such as answering true or false questions, Jeopardy-style games and naming as many United States presidents and states from memory. Game night is an event that attracts history club alumni, who return as volunteers to help.

For more information about the Samuel A. Mudd history club, visit

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