Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

School system sponsors bus hotline for parents, students

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is sponsoring a bus hotline for parents to call with questions about school bus routes. Call 301-932-6655 to access the hotline. The hotline is available Aug. 27-28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parents can access bus routes through the School Locator feature available on the CCPS website. School Locator is designed to allow the public to enter an address and see which three schools - elementary, middle and high - an address is zoned for. It also indicates if the address is eligible for bus transportation to a particular school, the bus number and the location of the closest bus stop to the address.

School Locator can be accessed at Select School Locator from the Quick Links section of the home page, and then choose the first link, School Locator (Bus Information) located on the right-side menu. School Locator uses mapping data from the county and filters it by the system's current school zones.

Additionally, bus stops within established subdivisions are permanently placed at specific locations to ensure consistency and equity among riders and will not be changed. Buses may run later than normal during the first week of school to adjust for changes in routes and/or established stops.

For more information about bus routes, contact your child's school, or the transportation department at or 301-934-7262. Bus stop change requests must be submitted online through the school system website at:

Students graduate during summer program

Thirteen Charles County Public Schools seniors finished their high school coursework requirements and graduated from Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) July 30 during Summer Commencement Exercises at Westlake High School.

Representing five high schools, the 13 graduates at the summer school graduation ceremony wore caps and gowns in their respective schools’ colors.

Superintendent Kimberly Hill was guest speaker at the graduation and said the 13 graduates traveled a unique road filled with challenges, but never gave up their goal to graduate. “Graduates, all of you have a story to tell about what brought you here. A story about your journey, the journey that led you to finish your high school credits at summer school. It took a lot of courage for you not to give up… Congratulations, we’re very proud of you,” Hill said.

Summer school graduates are Matthew Phipps of La Plata High School; Diondre Mercer, D’Mon Warren and Samantha Smoot of Henry E. Lackey High School; Bryce Boyd of Maurice J. McDonough High School; Tyreik Byrd, Ravell Thomas and Brandon Tyler of North Point High School; and Dominique Barber, Brittany Glover, Marquis Green, Justice Smoot and Trevon Wells of Thomas Stone High School.

Middle and high school students may enroll in the summer school program. Summer school is a month-long session that allows middle school students to focus on remediation and enrichment, and high school students to make up classes. Students who complete their high school graduation requirements during summer school receive their diplomas at Summer Commencement Exercises.

Visit to learn more about the summer school program.

FAA administrator explores commercial space possibilities

It is just a matter of time before ordinary people can go where few have gone before – to outer space, according to Shana Dale, Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Dale, the guest speaker at the Space Foundation’s annual Educational Exchange held July 28 at St. Charles High School, said commercial entrepreneurs have entered the space business, providing vessels to deliver people and supplies to the International Space Station. Suborbital tours are the next step, she said. Dale spoke about the dawning of commercial space flight to an audience of students, teachers, school administrators, and community officials and partners.

As an FAA deputy associate administrator, Dale is responsible for encouraging, facilitating, and promoting commercial space launches and reentries to Earth by the private sector. She talked about the expanding commercial capabilities for orbit as well as weightlessness in outer space. “It’s pretty cool when you think about reaching supersonic speed in one minute and weightlessness in five minutes,” Dale said.

Dale highlighted companies contracted to deliver crews, cargo and supplies to the international Space Station as well as other private industries developing spacecraft to provide space travel. Part of Dale’s job is to license these contractors and services, and she said she is excited to be a part of the commercial space world and the increased involvement of companies in researching and developing spacecraft.

One company, Virgin Galactic, is developing suborbital launches for space tourism. According to Dale, the company’s goal is to become a space line for Earth, opening access to space. The company’s website touts that it hopes to build a community of future astronauts.

“I would go to the moon, but not to Mars,” Dale said, comparing the time required to complete each respective flight. She talked about World View, a six hour nontraditional Commercial Space Operation that is developing Spaceship Two, a hot air-style balloon and capsule craft that will rise far enough in space to allow citizen astronauts to experience a view of the Earth and the blackness of space along with unencumbered weightlessness.

“Those onboard will actually be high enough to see the curvature of the Earth and experience weightlessness, which, you’ve got to admit, is pretty cool,” she said.

This is the ninth year of a partnership with the Space Foundation, that includes the luncheon and the summer Space Discovery Institute for teachers, said Superintendent Kimberly Hill. Through the partnership, the Space Foundation helped Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) expand its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum and develop the James E. Richmond Science Center, Hill said. Last school year, more than 20,000 students visited the Science Center.

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