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Hill said CTE of­fi­cials are work­ing hard to make the pro­gram more ac­ces­si­ble to all stu­dents. Part of her pre­sen­ta­tion en­tailed out­lin­ing the nu­mer­ous ca­reer ed­u­ca­tion op­tions that are avail­able through­out Charles County Pub­lic Schools (CCPS), and also changes to the ap­pli­ca­tion process for the com­ing school year.

As for stu­dent ser­vices, Hill said the board re­ceived an up­date on the evolv­ing roles of school coun­selors and psy­chol­o­gists, the me­di­a­tion cen­ter, com­mu­nity con­fer­ences, bul­ly­ing and the next steps in the de­liv­ery of ser­vices.

“This year, we re­trained and re-screened all of our sub­sti­tute teach­ers. We are closely mon­i­tor­ing our sub­sti­tute pool to de­ter­mine how well our cur­rent model is meet­ing school needs,” she said. “We have con­sid­ered the pos­si­bil­ity of out­sourc­ing sub­sti­tute ser­vices through a third-party ven­dor. But at this time, we have de­cided to stay with our cur­rent model. We will con­tinue to con­sider all of our op­tions as we be­gin the bud­get plan­ning process for [fis­cal year] 2020.”

Ac­cord­ing to Hill, CCPS re­ceived a $2.7 mil­lion lit­er­acy grant to en­hance read­ing in­struc­tion. Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent Amy Holl­stein and her team spoke about how the grant is putting a fo­cus on third-grade read­ers and also help­ing teach­ers screen chil­dren more ef­fec­tively for read­ing prob­lems.

In other news, Hill said she will be en­gag­ing more with stu­dents this school year, start­ing with el­e­men­tary and high school stu­dent ad­vi­sory coun­cils this month and a mid­dle school ad­vi­sory group in Novem­ber. She will also meet with el­e­men­tary, mid­dle and high school teach­ers to learn about their suc­cesses, chal­lenges and ideas.

“I would like to ad­dress mis­con­cep­tions re­cently aired dur­ing a Fox 5 re­port on CCPS ab­sen­tee rates,” said Hill be­fore she con­cluded her up­date. “The re­port didn’t tell the whole story about what we are do­ing in CCPS in re­gards to stu­dent at­ten­dance and grad­u­a­tion. The re­port failed to point out that CCPS at­ten­dance rates are above the state av­er­age at all three lev­els — el­e­men­tary, mid­dle and high school.”

“It also failed to rec­og­nize that last spring, we ini­ti­ated an out­side au­dit to re­view our at­ten­dance reg­u­la­tions, record keep­ing, grades and grad­u­a­tion rate to en­sure our pro­grams for stu­dents with high ab­sen­tee rates are in­struc­tion­ally sound and rig­or­ous,” Hill con­tin­ued. “Most im­por­tantly, the re­port failed to rec­og­nize the ex­tra­or­di­nary ef­forts of teach­ers, school coun­selors and other staff at the school and dis­trict level to get stu­dents in class and caught up in­struc­tion­ally. All of this in­for­ma­tion was pro­vided to the [Fox 5 News] re­porter by our staff, but not shared in the story. … I did not com­mit my ca­reer to pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion to watch chil­dren fail. Our job, as ed­u­ca­tors, is to sup­port each child’s ef­fort to learn and com­plete school and we will con­tinue to do that in a rig­or­ous and cred­i­ble way.”

The Fox 5 re­port al­leged that stu­dents who were miss­ing nu­mer­ous days of at­ten­dance at school were be­ing al­lowed to grad­u­ate de­spite the school sys­tem’s set pol­icy about at­ten­dance and grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ments.

CTE pro­grams

Ac­cord­ing to Holl­stein, CCPS cur­rently of­fers 28 high school com­pleter pro­grams which are com­posed of 10 four-year pro­grams, 12 three-year pro­grams and six twoyear pro­grams.

Four-year pro­grams in­clude con­struc­tion de­sign and man­age­ment, graphic com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy net­work­ing and cy­ber se­cu­rity. Three-year pro­grams in­clude elec­tri­cal con­struc­tion, weld­ing tech­nolo­gies, cos­me­tol­ogy, culi­nary arts and the Teacher Academy of Mary­land. Two-year pro­grams in­clude ca­reer re­search and de­vel­op­ment, the Mary­land Fire and Res­cue In­sti­tute, in­ter­ac­tive me­dia and the Academy of Health Pro­fes­sions.

Last school year, Holl­stein said data showed that more than 3,820 stu­dents en­rolled in CTE cour­ses, about 43 per­cent of which were com­pleters and nearly 67 per­cent for dual com­pleters. In ad­di­tion, she noted that CCPS cur­rently stands at 42 per­cent in terms of the More Jobs for Mary­lan­ders Act, with the goal of hit­ting 45 per­cent by 2020.

In terms of ac­cess and eq­uity, Holl­stein said 17 CTE pro­grams are of­fered at North Point High School and that stu­dents can ap­ply as early as eighth grade. For com­pre­hen­sive high schools, stu­dents can en­roll for seven CTE pro­grams through a course se­lec­tion process in­stead of an ap­pli­ca­tion. The Robert D. Stethem Ed­u­ca­tional Cen­ter also of­fers six CTE pro­grams, al­low­ing stu­dents to ap­ply once they reach 10th grade, ac­cord­ing to Holl­stein.

CTE pro­grams are mon­i­tored by pro­gram ad­vi­sory com­mit­tees, Holl­stein said, which meet three times a year for ev­ery pro­gram. These groups have an ar­ray of du­ties which in­clude con­duct­ing cur­ricu­lum re­views, sup­ply­ing re­sources, iden­ti­fy­ing in­struc­tional and in­dus­try needs, as well as pro­vid­ing or over­see­ing men­tor­ships, guest speak­ers, guest judges, stu­dent in­ter views and work-based learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

An­other group that Holl­stein said helps keep CTE pro­grams up to date is the lo­cal ad­vi­sory coun­cil, which also meets three times a year to over­see CTE as a whole. This group is re­spon­si­ble for mar­ket­ing, de­ter­min­ing work­force needs and find­ing ways to sup­port pro­gram ad­vi­sory com­mit­tees.

Holl­stein en­cour­ages CCPS stu­dents to choose CTE be­cause the pro­gram pro­vides in­dus­try-re­lated cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and tran­scripted cred­its and ar­tic­u­la­tion agree­ments; pro­motes net­work­ing through stu­dent or­ga­ni­za­tions; and of­fers a guid­ance man­ual for the Mary­land Tech­ni­cal Skills As­sess­ment.

Stu­dent ser­vices up­date

Su­per­vis­ing school psy­chol­o­gist Mike Blan­chard said CCPS ex­panded psy­chol­ogy ser­vices be­cause there needs to be an em­pha­sis on di­rect de­liv­ery and be­hav­ioral con­sul­ta­tion, and the need for cri­sis re­sponse con­tin­ues to in­crease. School psy­chol­o­gists are not heav­ily in­volved in many school­based teams and ini­tia­tives, but they are also re­quired to be multi-faceted and serve as both an ad­min­is­tra­tive and men­tal health re­source.

When it comes to ex­pand­ing staffing, Blan­chard re­ported that from 2010 to 2018, there was a 65 per­cent growth in risk/threat as­sess­ments

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