Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Board approves change to extracurricular eligibility policy

The Board of Education of Charles County last month approved a policy change that affects student extracurricular activity eligibility requirements, which includes athletic programs, starting with the 2015-16 school year. Eligibility requirements for next school year will shift from a semester basis, which includes the first two quarters as one semester and the last two quarters as the second semester, to a quarterly basis. Student grades are calculated and reported as four quarters throughout the school year. The change provides students with additional participation possibilities and opportunities to raise the level of their academic performance.

Earlier this school year, the Board approved increasing the minimum grade-point average (GPA) from 2.0 to 2.25 for students next year. Additionally, starting with the 2015-16 school year, eligibility for the fall sports season and extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s fourth quarter GPA at the end of the prior year. Students’ grades at the end of this school year will determine their eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities and sports this fall.

Additional updated requirements starting with the 2015-16 school year include:

-- Eligibility for winter extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s first quarter GPA.

-- Eligibility for spring extracurricular activities will be based on a student’s second quarter GPA.

-- If a student receives a failing grade in any quarter, they are ineligible for the remainder of the season, for post-season participation and for the following quarter.

-- Students will not be able to regain eligibility at interim report time or at any other time during the quarter, season or activity time frame.

-- Students who are academically ineligible at the end of the fourth quarter cannot regain eligibility until after the first quarter of the following school year.

The following is a breakdown of requirements for students in grades 6-12, starting next school year.

Sixth-grade students:

-- Students who are promoted from the fifth grade automatically meet the GPA and attendance requirement for the first quarter.

-- Starting with the second quarter, students must have earned a 2.25 GPA during the first quarter, and have no failing (F) grades.

-- Students must also not have missed more than 4.5 days of school the previous quarter.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students:

-- Students must meet promotion standards.

-- Students must have earned a 2.25 GPA during the previous quarter and have no failing (F) grades.

-- Students must also not have missed more than 4.5 days of school the previous quarter.

Ninth through twelfth grade students:

-- Students must meet promotion standards.

-- Students must have earned a 2.25 GPA during the previous quarter with no failing (F) grades.

-- Students must also not have missed more than 4.5 days of school the previous quarter.

Five schools receive Arts in Education grants

The Charles County Arts Alliance (CCAA) recently awarded Arts in Education grants to five Charles County public schools to support programs such as concerts and theatre performances, art presentations, workshops, musical competitions and literary development. Grants were awarded to Henry E. Lackey, Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools, and J.C. Parks and Malcolm elementary schools. The grants are part of the CCAA’s Arts Grants Program, and more than 20 organizations, including these schools, received funding that totaled more than $43,000.

Schools and organizations interested in applying for grant funding must complete an application. The goal of the annual program is to enhance Charles County’s culture and to help provide community members with opportunities to learn about diverse and unique arts programs in the area. All schools that received grants received the amount requested on their application. Thomas Stone and Westlake received $750 grants. Lackey received a grant for $500 and Parks received a $625 grant. Malcolm received a $350 grant.

The grant award ceremony was held in November at the Old Waldorf School as part of the organization’s Annual Grantee and Membership Gala. Since 1987, the CCAA has provided more than $600,000 in grant funding to schools and organizations to support their performing and visual arts programs. Application information for the Arts in Education program is available on the CCAA website at

Earlier this school year, the Alliance also awarded four 2014 Charles County Public Schools graduates with $1,000 scholarships to help them pursue studies in visual, performing or literary arts programs. They are Maryn Fuller and Monica Garza from Lackey, Carl McManus from Westlake and Tessa Norman from Maurice J. McDonough High School. The organization also supports an annual school supply donation drive to benefit elementary-school students.

Students earn essay awards, three advance to state level

Six Charles County Public Schools students were recently named winners in the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution American History Essay Contest. The contest was open to students in grades five through eight and featured the theme of, “A Child’s Journey Through Ellis Island” to highlight the upcoming 125th anniversary of Ellis Island as an immigration station.

The student winners are:

-- Tananda Haulley, first place, fifth grade, Malcolm Elementary School;

-- Evangeline Gilmer, first place, sixth grade, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School;

-- Joshua Sokol, first place, eighth grade, Stoddert;

-- Alyson Smallhorn, second place, fifth grade, Malcolm;

-- Alyssa Gerhart, second place, sixth grade, Stoddert; and

-- Michael McDonald, third place, fifth grade, Indian Head Elementary School.

Students receiving a first-place award advance to the state level of competition. All honorees will be recognized at an awards ceremony scheduled for April 18 at the Maryland Veterans Memorial Museum in Glasva. A total of 62 students submitted essays for the contest, which was coordinated by the Port Tobacco Chapter of the organization.

In their essays, students were tasked with referencing sources about Ellis Island processing procedures, and to describe a fictional experience traveling through Ellis Island. Participating schools include Gale-Bailey, Indian Head, Malcolm and Mary B. Neal elementary schools, and Stoddert.

All state winners advance to a divisional level of competition, of which those winners are eligible to compete at the national level and for a monetary award. For more information about the essay contest, and other contests available through the Daughters of the American Revolution, visit The Daughters of the American Revolution is a non-profit volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through education.

Scholarship opportunities available for county students

The Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc. is offering more than 50 scholarships to Charles County high school students. Applications for scholarships are available at all county high schools and must be submitted by Monday, March 2, to the student’s College & Career Advisor. Award notification will be announced at each high school’s senior awards ceremony later this spring.

Applications are also available on the school system website,, under the students/parents section. Click on the Scholarship & College information link. Students can contact the school counselor or college and career advisor at their school for more information.

Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria and information regarding eligibility is located on page three of the application. The following scholarships are available:

-- Apartments of St. Charles Scholarship, $500;

-- Ashley Jayne Younger Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for Westlake High School students);

-- Charles County Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, $1,000;

-- Charles County Health Department and School Nurses’ Scholarship, $250;

-- Charles County Retired School Personnel Association Scholarship, $500 (one for each Charles County public high school);

-- Charles County Teacher Education Assistance Grant, $1,000 (renewable);

-- Edward Rorer Memorial Scholarship, $500;

-- Eric Sawchak Memorial Scholarship, $1,000;

-- GFWC, Charles County Woman’s Club, $500;

-- Grote Memorial Scholarship, $500 (for La Plata High School students);

-- Harding Memorial Future Educator Scholarship, $1,000;

-- Harold Allen Levy Scholarship, $1,000;

-- Jeremiah and Elijah Borgnis Memorial Scholarship, $500;

-- John H. Cox Memorial Scholarship, $1,000;

-- John Howie Memorial Scholarship, $500 (two awards);

-- Kate Donahue Scholarship, $400 (for Henry E. Lackey High School students);

-- Katherine D. Racey Memorial Scholarship, $1,500 (for Lackey and Maurice J. McDonough high school students);

-- Ken Stump Memorial Scholarship, $500;

-- Kenneth Bernard Proctor, Sr. Scholarship, $500;

-- La Plata Garden Club Scholarship, $1,000 (two awards);

-- Lizbeth Frazer-Fatig Helping Hand Scholarship, $4,000 (for North Point High School students);

-- Maria A. Torres Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for Thomas Stone High School students);

-- Mary H. Matula Scholarship, $500 (for La Plata students);

-- Michael J. Anderson Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for La Plata students);

-- Michael S. Tayman Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for McDonough students);

-- Michael S. Tayman Memorial Music Scholarship, $1,000 (for McDonough students);

-- Michael S. Tayman Memorial Nursing Scholarship, $1,000 (for McDonough students);

-- Mildred Rice O’Callaghan Scholarship, $500 (for Lackey students, two awards);

-- Nicole Pitonyak Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for North Point students);

-- Parker Financial Literacy Scholarship, $250;

-- Patricia Sugg Weiers Memorial Scholarship, $250;

-- Professor V. Phillips Weaver Scholarship, $1,000;

-- Rachel Myers Trade School Scholarship, $500;

-- Richard J. Abela Scholarship, $2,000 (for North Point students);

-- Robert Dean Stethem National Memorial Scholarship, $1,000;

-- Robert Dean Stethem Thomas Stone Scholarship, $1,000 (for Thomas Stone students);

-- Ronald G. Cunningham Scholarship, $2,500 (one for each Charles County public high school);

-- Ronald G. Cunningham Nursing Scholarship, $500;

-- St. Charles Community Scholarship, $500 (three awards);

-- Starkey Memorial Scholarship, $500;

-- Stephen E. Mitchell Educational Scholarship, $500;

-- Thomas B.R. Mudd Nurse Scholarship, College of Southern Maryland, full two years;

-- Thomas B.R. Mudd Teacher Scholarship, College of Southern Maryland, full two years;

-- Thomas Kurtz Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 (for Lackey students);

-- Thomas W. Weirich Scholar-Athlete Award, $1,000;

-- Timothy Minor Criminal Justice Memorial Scholarship, $500;

-- Timothy Minor Memorial Scholarship, $500;

-- Tiny Hopes Scholarship, $1,000 (three awards);

-- Unnae Pak-Borgnis Memorial Scholarship, $500;

-- William and Vivian King Scholarship, $1,000 (one for each Charles County public high school); and

-- Zonta of Charles County Scholarship, $1,000 (two awards).

The Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to Charles County students. The Charles County Commissioners, Charles County Public Schools, the College of Southern Maryland and the Chamber of Commerce are always represented on the Scholarship Fund Board. All other community members are selected from the community at large.

Contact Alicia Jones, Charles County Scholarship Fund, Inc., at 301-934-7334 or, for more information.

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