Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

La Plata student named 2015 county fair cover contest winner

Christine Wang, a freshman at La Plata High School, is the overall winner of the 2015 Charles County Fair art contest. Her artwork will be displayed as the cover of the upcoming Charles County Fair Guide. She was chosen last month as this year’s winner by the Charles County Fair Board and Charles County Public Schools.

The following students were also named overall winners at their grade level in the art contest for their artwork produced during the 2014-15 school year.

• Emilee Belmore, kindergarten, St. Mary’s Bryantown;

• Alison Miller, first grade, T.C. Martin Elementary School;

• Tabitha Greer, second grade, Martin;

• Daisy Rojas, third grade, Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School;

• Peyton Lauterborn, fourth grade, Martin;

• Corrine Mahaffey, fifth grade, Martin;

• Samira Stringer, sixth grade, Somers;

• Christina Walker, seventh grade, Somers;

• Quinn Duffy, eighth grade, Somers;

• Erika Bowman, sophomore, St. Charles High School;

• Cole Carpenter, junior, North Point High School;

• Eve Moten, senior, North Point; and

• Nathaniel Weavill, 2015 North Point graduate.

The 2015 Charles County Fair is Sept. 17-20 at the fairgrounds located in La Plata. For more information on the fair, visit

Students selected to serve as CCPS TV broadcast anchors

Seven Charles County Public high school students were selected to serve as broadcast anchors for original programming featured on the school system’s educational television stations – Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12. These students will rotate anchoring episodes of NewsBreak, a show that highlights Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) programs, students and staff, as well as conduct interviews and research for other original programming.

The anchors for the 2015-16 school year are:

• Morgan Abresch, junior, La Plata High School;

• Aaryn Baker, senior, Thomas Stone High School;

• Jaren Jamison, senior, Westlake High School;

• Jasmine Mitchell, senior, North Point High School;

• Paul Morrissey, senior, North Point;

• Hunter Stempin, senior, Maurice J. McDonough High School; and

• Maria Valdisera, senior, La Plata.

This is Abresch’s first year serving as a student anchor. She is active in theatre at La Plata and is historian of the thespian troupe. She enjoys doing stage make up and plans to attend either a college or beauty school after she graduates.

Baker is a first-year anchor and is enrolled in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program at Stone. She is a member of mock trial and the school choir as well as the National Society of High School Scholars. Baker’s favorite subjects are French and English. She plans to study communications or journalism after she graduates.

Jamison is also a first-year anchor and is involved in Westlake’s theatre program. He has held several roles in theatre and musical productions at Westlake since he was a freshman. His favorite subject is history and he plans to attend Howard University after he graduates to study broadcast journalism.

Mitchell is an honor roll student and serving as an anchor for the first time this school year. She is enrolled in the engineering program at North Point and enjoys English and theatre. She is a member of four national honor societies and the student government association. She plans to attend college after she graduates.

Morrissey is a returning anchor from last year and is an honor roll student. He is president of North Point’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter and is the Class of 2016 treasurer. He is also a student athlete and participates in swimming and lacrosse, and manages the varsity volleyball team. He plans to study marketing and international business after he graduates.

Stempin is an honor roll student and is serving as an anchor for the first time this school year. At McDonough, he is president of the drama club and National Honor Society. He enjoys theatre and social studies, and participates in the school band and It’s Academic. Outside of school, Stempin coaches and plays competitive ice hockey with the Southern Maryland Sabres Ice Hockey Club. He plans to study political science and communications after he graduates.

Valdisera is a first year student anchor and is involved in the theatre program at La Plata. She is a member of La Plata’s a cappella group, Unplugged, and enjoys English, government and history. She plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to study English and musical theater after she graduates.

During the spring of each school year, Charles County Public Schools communications staff visits each high school to talk to students and principals about the anchor audition process and to solicit student interest. Students audition for the positions, of which up to eight students are selected to serve each year, and those interested in future careers in journalism, broadcasting or communications are encouraged to apply.

For more information on the audition process, Comcast Channel 96 or Verizon FiOS Channel 12, contact the Charles County Public Schools communications department at

System prepares to welcome students back on August 31

The 2015-16 school year officially begins on Monday, Aug. 31 for students in grades kindergarten through 12. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) expects to welcome more than 26,500 students this school year. Students enrolled in the prekindergarten and three-year-old programs start back on Tuesday, Sept.8. CCPS staff and teachers are preparing for the start of another school year and are finalizing services and programs for students and parents.

Register your child for school

Registration is currently taking place at all schools. Parents will need the following information in order to register their child for school:

• A physical examination by a physician or a certified practitioner (completed between nine months prior to and six months after entering school).

• Proof of required immunizations – a list of required immunizations for students is available on the CCPS website at

• Proof that the student has completed the grade prior to the one in which the parent is seeking enrollment, such as a report card marked promoted.

• Child's birth certificate or other acceptable proof of birth (e.g. passport/visa; physician's certificate; baptismal or church certification; hospital certificate; or birth registration).

• Two proofs of domicile (address) – a list of acceptable proofs is posted on the CCPS website at

Updated vaccination requirements for some students

Maryland law requires students to have minimum immunization levels to attend school. The number of vaccines required depends on the age and grade of the child. Required vaccines include DPT, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, Hib, Prevnar, Tdap and meningococcal. Last school year, the Maryland State Health Department added additional requirements for kindergarten students and students entering seventh grade. For the 2015-16 school year, all kindergarten and first-grade students are required to have two doses of the varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine, and all seventh and eighth graders must have a Tdap and meningococcal vaccines. Students can receive all required vaccines at their physician’s office.

Students can be admitted to school without completed immunizations, but have to show proof of an appointment occurring within 20 calendar days. Students without updated immunizations must show proof of an appointment occurring no later than Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Questions about vaccines can be directed to the school nurse or to a physician.

Bus hotline

The school system is sponsoring a bus hotline for parents to call with questions about bus routes. The hotline can be reached at 301-932-6655, and is available on 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 route information through the School Locator feature available on the CCPS website at

Free breakfast

For one week only, CCPS is offering free breakfast for all students. The universal free breakfast is scheduled for the week of Sept. 7 and will include meals with cereal, milk and assorted fruit. The free breakfast week is a celebration of the success of the CCPS breakfast program, which has grown from serving 3,000 students per day in 2010 to 9,000 per day in 2014. “It’s extremely important that students have an opportunity to eat breakfast,” said Sylvia Lawson, assistant superintendent of school administration. The free breakfast week is intended to expand students’ exposure to the program.

Orientation events for schools

All schools are hosting orientations during the week of August 24 for new and returning students. A complete list is posted under the Charles County Public Schools press releases section at Contact the specific school for additional information.

Lunch prices increase by $.10

Lunch prices for all students increased by $.10 this school year. There is no change in the cost of breakfast for students this year. For elementary school students, lunch is $2.55 and breakfast is $1.25. For middle and high school students, lunch is $2.80 and breakfast is $1.40. Menus are available at all schools, and on the CCPS website at The school system uses a cafeteria prepayment system called MyPaymentsPlus, which is a secure, Internet-based system that allows parents to deposit funds electronically on their child’s cafeteria account. Visit for more information.

2015-16 Parent Handbook/Calendar

Students and staff will receive a copy of the 2015-16 Parent Handbook/Calendar during the first week of school. The calendar is available on the Charles County Public Schools website at Requests for additional copies will be honored the first week of September.

We Care program kick-off

School resource officers at each of Charles County’s seven public high schools are helping to launch the “We Care” program on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The program is a safe driving initiative for teens by teens with guidance from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and CCPS. Police officers will be on hand at each high school Sept. 2 to distribute safety flyers to all student drivers. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill and Sheriff Troy Berry will greet student drivers at St. Charles High School Sept. 2 as they arrive at school.

We Care was officially launched eight years ago following a series of car crashes that took the lives of nine teenagers in Charles County. The campaign continues to engage students in conversation about safe driving while promoting safety through a series of checkpoints in school parking lots and other activities.

Board of Education forums

The Board of Education has scheduled a of community engagement forums to provide parents and community members with school system information and to solicit information about community values, concerns and goals for the school system.

A Town Hall is set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 28, at St. Charles High School in the cafeteria. Board members and Charles County Public Schools staff will be available to accept comments and answer questions from the audience.

Two public forums are scheduled next school year for the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary community. Dr. Mudd is scheduled for a complete renovation starting in the 2016-17 school year. The school system will temporarily relocate students during construction. Parents and the community will learn about the renovations, improvements to the schools and plans for students during construction. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions during the forum.

Dr. Mudd forums are scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 14, and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 9, 2016. The Board will hold both forums at Dr. Mudd.

SMAC piloting divisional play this fall

The Southern Maryland Athletic Conference (SMAC) is piloting divisional play across all sports starting this fall. There will be two divisions – the Chesapeake and Potomac divisions. The winner of each division will be the school with the best record among other schools in their division. If two schools in a division have similar records, they will compete against each other to break the tie. In sports such as field hockey, soccer, baseball and lacrosse, divisional champions will play each other to determine a conference champion before any state play-off game. In sports such as track and field and swimming, conference champions will continue to be determined at a culminating event for all SMAC schools.

The pilot divisional play allows for all schools in the conference to play against each other which results in one conference champion. The pilot period is for two years and may be adjusted based on feedback from the SMAC Board of Control.

Science Center hosting Back to School bash Sept. 18

The James E. Richmond Science Center, located on the St. Charles High School campus, is hosting a Back to School bash on Friday, Sept. 18. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and each ticket holder can experience three movies in the digital dome theater. Choices include Big Bird’s Adventure: One World, One Sky; Accidental Astronauts; Perfect Little Planet and Dinosaur Passage to Pangaea. Hands-on activities will be featured in the discovery lab from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

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