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System prepares to welcome students back

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 http://www.ccboe.com/community/parents/health/vrequirments.php.

 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 http://www.ccboe.com/community/parents/register.php.

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 http://schoollocator.ccboe.com/. 

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 http://www.ccboe.com/pr/student-orientations-planned-for-schools-3/. 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 http://www.ccboe.com/meals/meals.php. 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 https://mypaymentsplus.com/default.aspx 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 http://www.ccboe.com/PDF/calendar/1516calendar.pdf. 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 http://www.ccboe.com/sciencecenter/back-to-school/ for more information and to purchase tickets.

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

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