BoardNotes: November 2022
Highlights from the Caroline Board of Education Meetings
MAY BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING
Pledge of Allegiance
Members of the Ridgely Elementary School Student Government Association and the Be Kind Club opened the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. School Counselor Anna Buffenmyer shared that both groups had been busy with school and community service projects like planting flowers in front of the school, conducting a food drive, and assisting Caroline Helping Hands with filling weekend backpacks. The students were also accompanied by Principal Sutton, Assistant Principal Brett Evans, and Student Intern Alayna Stafford.
At the start of each meeting, the board of education president reads the Mission Statement, "In partnership with families and community, we prepare all students to achieve college, career, and life readiness through a challenging and progressive educational experience."
The Board voted to hire Pessin and Katz Law (PKLaw) Firm to represent the Board in all legal matters. Vice President Jones thanked former attorney Sandy McAllister for his years and service and welcomed PKLaw attorney Rochelle S. Eisenberg to the meeting. Dr. Simmons added that Ms. Eisenberg had worked with CCPS staff often in the past and they look forward to a continuing relationship.
Aspiring Teachers Scholarship Recipients
The Board recognized the following recipients of the Caroline County Public Schools Aspiring Teachers Scholarship:
- Jayla Holliday: Colonel Richardson High School: Secondary Education - English
- Wade Thomas: Colonel Richardson High School: Mathematics Education
- Alayna Stafford: North Caroline High School: Early Childhood Education
- Allysia Smith: North Caroline High School: Science Education
The scholarship is a $5000/year scholarship, renewable for up to four years, and the recipients must agree to come back to teach in Caroline County upon completion of their teaching degree.
The following students were recognized as Carson Scholars for 2023:
- Christian Lahneman, 9th grade, North Caroline High School
- Abby Beauchemin, 6th grade, Lockerman Middle School
Director of Instruction Lindsey McCormick introduced the students and shared that Christian has been recognized as a Carson Scholar four years in a row, and that this is Abby's second year to be recognized.
Carson Scholars Fund scholarship program awards $1,000 college scholarships to students in grades 4-11 who excel academically and are dedicated to serving their communities. Students must attend an accredited K-12 school in the United States and be nominated by an educator at their school to be able to compete for a Carson Scholarship. In order for a student to be eligible for the award, they must have a GPA of 3.75 or higher and participate in community service activities.
2022-2023 Student Board Members
The Board recognized Leslie Monter-Casio from NCHS and Shelbi Briggs from CRHS for serving as Student Representatives to the Board throughout the 2022-2023 school year.
Board Member Reports
- Mrs. DiGiacomo said that Caroline has the best students, the best teachers, and it is awesome to see what teachers do to help students and to be able to watch students learning and growing. She added that she feels very blessed to be in this county.
- Mr. Plutschak highlighted attending the National Association of School Boards (NSBA) conference. He said the workshops were very good, particularly those on the topic of school safety, and he was able to bring back information about school safety grants that he shared with School Safety Coordinator Rico Gestole.
- Mrs. Wayman said the highlight of her month was reading aloud to Preston Elementary kindergarteners. She especially appreciated the fact that the classroom teachers was a former student of hers when she taught at Lockerman Middle, and it was good to see someone continuing in the profession and doing such a good job.
- Mr. Jones expressed appreciation to staff and volunteers for the work involved in school events, and said he knows it takes a lot to make events run smoothly. He specifically mentioned seeing photos of proms at both high schools and said they were transformed into something that didn't look at all like a school gym.
Dr. Simmons shared three pieces of legislation pertinent to education that were passed by the 2023 Maryland General Assembly:
SB 828 - Family Medical Leave Insurance Program: This bill modifies the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program by altering key administrative deadlines, technical definitions, and components of the program’s administration.
HB 1219 - Maryland Educator Shortage Reduction Act of 2023: This bill establishes the Teacher Development and Retention Program as a pilot program to encourage college students to pursue teaching careers and makes additional changes to the recruitment and retention of teachers, including prekindergarten teachers, and school-based mental health professionals.
SB 610 - Primary and Secondary Education - Virtual Education: This bill establishes the following related to virtual education for public schools:
- Requirements for teacher preparation programs
- Expands computer and internet security infrastructure for virtual education.
- Authorizes virtual education days for severe weather conditions under specified circumstances.
- Restricts a virtual school from including classes for pre-kindergarten or kindergarten students.
- Includes various reporting requirements for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).
Director of Operations Bill Mengel highlighted the annual Federalsburg Elementary Community Dinner.
Director of Special Programs and Student Services Elizabeth Anthony highlighted the PNC Grow Up Grant which provided the Maryland Zoo Discovery Classroom Kit. She also mentioned Pupil Personnel Week and everyone's appreciation for the work of PPWs.
Director of Instruction Lindsey McCormick said it was a busy month for real-world learning with field trips to Adkins Arboretum and on the Sultana, and several Artist in Residence programs.
INDIVIDUAL ACTION ITEMS
Community Eligibility Provision
The Board approved the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for all schools within Caroline County Public Schools’ Food Service program.
The CEP, as authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act of 1946, allows participating schools to offer healthy, free breakfasts and lunches to all students without requiring families to complete individual applications. Under the CEP, CCPS families would no longer have to pay for their children’s school meals. CEP is designed to increase student meal participation. Universal meals would be served for all Pre-K through grade 12 students. Identifying students as Free, Reduced, or Paid would no longer exist. Student meals debt would be eliminated in the future. This provision would begin July 1, 2023 and be in effect for 4 years. The CEP is fully funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Updated Frog Street Curriculum
The Board approved the purchase of updated Frog Street Curriculum in the amount of $78,342.29 . This includes 16 new bilingual curriculum sets ($63,999.84), additional replacement materials ($949.98), and a full day training for teachers ($3,650).
CCPS is continuing with the implementation of the same curriculum, Frog Street Pre-K. Curriculum publishers are required to update and revise their curriculum every so many years. The purchase enables teachers and students to have the latest curriculum released. Frog Street has a correlation to the Maryland Early Learning Standards. The CCPS PreKindergarten program has demonstrated increasing success with readiness for Kindergarten since implementing the Frog Street curriculum (2013) during the 2018-2019 school year. Frog Street Press, LLC published an updated curriculum in 2020.
During implementation of the 2013 curriculum, PreK teachers added additional literature throughout the week and math activities. Teachers have felt that math was an area of need. Part of the revisions in the Frog Street PreK curriculum include enhancements with math, the science of reading, emergent writing, cultural responsiveness, additional supports for English language learners, STEAM projects, instructional support for parents, and improved organization of teacher guides, materials, and online portal. Conscious Discipline is now included throughout the day with Conscious Discipline in Action. The updated curriculum also aligns better with the Threes program and lesson format.
Federalsburg Elementary School Full Roof Replacement
The Board voted to accept the bids as shown on the exhibit and awarded a contract to Apex Construction LLC in the estimated total amount of $2,290,821.00 for a full roof replacement at Federalsburg Elementary School.
This award provides all labor, materials, equipment, and services necessary for the completion of work including a complete roof tear off and replacement of the existing roof system per written specifications written with the roof plans. This roof comes with a 30-year warranty. Barring any prohibitive weather, this project would begin as early as June 13, 2023 and be completed by September 15, 2023. The funds associated with this project are budgeted through the FY24 CIP (88% State funded, 12% Locally funded).
North Caroline High School Full Roof Replacement
The Board voted to accept the bids as shown on the exhibit and award a contract to Apex Construction LLC, in the estimated total amount of $4,598,491.00 for Phase 1 of a full roof replacement at North Caroline High School.
The award provides all labor, materials, equipment, and services necessary for the completion of Phase 1 work including a complete roof tear off and replacement of approximately 110,000 sq. ft. the existing roof system per written specifications written with the roof plans. This roof comes with a 30-year warranty. Barring any prohibitive weather, Phase 1 of this project would begin as early as June 13, 2023 and be completed by September 15, 2023. The funds associated with this project are fully budgeted through the Interagency Commission for School Construction Built To Learn Program. Phase 2 of this roof project will take place during the summer of 2024 and be funded by the FY25 CIP.
Upward Bound Program
Mark Berry, the Director of TRIO Upward Bound, presented a program update to the Board. Mr. Berry explained the goal of the program is to help students by providing support for completion of high school and preparation to enroll and be successful in postsecondary education. He detailed the work being done to date with students at Colonel Richardson and North Caroline High Schools.
DISCUSSION OF ITEMS FOR FUTURE BOARD ACTION
MAY WORK SESSION
Negotiated Agreement Between CCPS and CCEA
The Board voted to approve the amendment to the Negotiated Agreement between Caroline County Public Schools and the Caroline County Educators' Association.
Educational Facilities Master Plan
After review, the Board voted to approve the Educational Facilities Master Plan which details the districts' projected facility needs. Each school district in Maryland is required to annually submit or amend its plan. The analysis and conclusions in the plan assist in the development of the Capital Improvement Plan.
Caroline County Public Schools serves over 5,800 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. We provide a progressive, academically challenging education that prepares students for higher education, careers, and life.