Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
E-mail this article
Print this Article

With the change in the Student Code of Conduct now mirroring the public school administration’s acceptance and allowance of electronic and mobile devices as learning tools, members of the Board of Education heard how the school system’s pilot Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, program has been a success.

At their last meeting before the beginning of the new school year Aug. 7, members of the board heard from Scott McComb, director of instruction; and Rick Weber, principal of Huntingtown High School; about the pilot program that took place at Huntingtown High School during the spring semester of the 2013-2014 school year.

Weber said 10 teachers from Huntingtown High School participated in the pilot program and encouraged students to use their mobile devices for classroom instruction and homework. The expansion of the school system’s wireless Internet network, coupled with changes to the Code of Student Conduct that permit students to bring mobile devices to school, will allow teachers to incorporate more online resources into their instructional program, Weber said in his presentation. Weber said he saw students enjoy and benefit from using their mobile devices to create content and submit assignments electronically.

“One of my take-aways from the pilot was how enthusiastic and engaged the students were in their learning,” Weber said to the board. “Just by using technology, no matter what the content was, they were more engaged. They are used to using it, and they like to use it.”

Before beginning the pilot, Weber said he surveyed the students and found that 80 percent owned personal electronic devices, in the forms of smart phones, tablets and laptops.

McComb said the school system is working on implementing a wireless Internet network in all schools to provide students with more access to digital learning. Currently, at a minimum, the offices and library media centers in every school have access to a wireless network that uses the school system Internet filter to ensure students have access only to appropriate content, according to a release from the school system.

Tracy H. McGuire, board member, asked how misdemeanors like theft and misuse of devices, such as taking inappropriate pictures, will be handled.

McComb said there was no spike in theft cases during the pilot program and did not consider device misuse a “technology problem.”

“That’s going to happen any way,” McComb said of student misbehavior that must be monitored accordingly.

Students who choose to bring mobile devices to school must comply with guidelines in the Code of Student Conduct, which dictates how electronic communication devices should be used appropriately, as well as parameters set by schools and individual teachers.

“We’ve been slow to get behind this as an administration, but thank you for forging the way,” Dawn C. Balinski, board member, said to McComb and Weber at the meeting.

Eugene M. Karol, president of the board of education, said Calvert County Public Schools is “not as far along as we should be,” regarding the use of technology and electronic devices in schools, but the problem is always related to money.

McComb said moving forward, the program will take a temporary backseat while the school system prepares to administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, exams.

New Citizen Advisory Committee members appointed

Members of the Calvert County Board of Education appointed members of the Citizen Advisory Committee, CAC, for the 2014-2015 school year at their meeting Aug. 7.

The CAC provides interested community members an opportunity to take an active role in the county’s public education system. The committee reports directly to the board of education and serves as a channel for feedback, advice and information on matters affecting the school district. Citizens may apply for the committee every June and members are appointed on the basis of high school district. Membership consists of 25 members by district and five at-large members with a minimum of one student from each high school who will be selected when the new school year begins. CAC members also serve as members of other CCPS committees, including the Calendar Committee, the selection committees for Teacher of the Year and Educational Support Person of the Year, the Beach Elementary Redistricting Committee and policy review committees.

During the yearly report presentation to the board Thursday, Terese D. Wells, chairperson, presented the CAC’s findings over the past year and made recommendations to the board. During the 2013-14 school year, the CAC studied and provided input on substance abuse education, school security, the revision of the CCPS weapons policy, and the redistricting of Beach Elementary School, among other topics.

Among the recommendations made to the board, the CAC requested continuing substance abuse education throughout high school and reinforcing the dangers and pitfalls of substance abuse to high school students, where, at best, students receive “only 17 class periods of education on substance abuse in four years of high school,” Wells said.

Eugene M. Karol, president of the board of education, said members of the board strongly take into account what the CAC puts forward.

The following members were appointed to the 2014-2015 CAC:

Calvert High District

• Maricarol Blanco Cloak

• Mariann Crisman

• Margaret Dunkle

• Rashieda Gantt

• Abiodun Ijaola

• Gayle Smith

• Terese Wells

Huntingtown High District

• Donald Clime

• David Cole

• Greg Miller

• Stu Miller

• Mark Perry

• Elizabeth Prouty

• Elaine Reilly

• Derek Sabedra

• Dee Dee Shirley

• William Wiggins

Northern High District

• Nicole Cooksey

• Tressa Dunn

• Kama Friedman

• Stefany Lang

• George Sisson

• Mark Sparks

Patuxent High District

• Jack Fringer

• Culver Ladd

At-Large Members

• Wanda Hassler

• Margaret Fowler

• Angela Novak

• Debra Ruzinsky

• Sharon Burcham

More information about the CAC is available at

In other business, the board also:

• Recognized the Northern High School softball team for winning their seventh consecutive Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association 3A Championship and setting a state record.

• Recognized Larry Butler, Stacy Hawxhurst, Archer Brown and Britta Sparks as Employees of the Month.

• Voted to open a new Student Activity Fund account and money market account for each school at Community Bank of the Chesapeake and close the existing checking and money market accounts currently held for each school by PNC Bank because of monthly bank fees PNC has assessed and Community Bank is willing to waive.

• Approved the Comprehensive Maintenance Plan for FY2015 and Expenditures for FY2014 designed to guarantee the maximum efficiency of each building and its equipment.

• Reviewed the following policies:

* 1020: Policy on Political Activities on CCPS property and during school activities

* 1035: Policy on Groundbreaking and Dedication of School System Facilities

* 1620: Policy Regarding Public Information Act Requests, a suggestion by Daniel Curry, superintendent of Calvert County Public Schools, to ensure all acts are responded to in a timely manner

* 2305: Policy on Library Media Centers

* 7008: Policy on Minority Business Enterprise Procedures for State Funded Public School Construction Projects

* 5440: Policy Regarding Use of Copying Equipment

The policies are available for public comment for 30 days on the CCPS main website,, under the Policies tab and Policies for Review.

• Set the assistant superintendent salaries for Diane Workman, assistant superintendent of operations, and Anthony Navarro, assistant superintendent of administration, at $152,496.50 each.

• Approved the following appointments:

* Victoria Best, teacher, Plum Point Elementary

* Michele Brokans, guidance counselor, Huntingtown High

* Krystal Butler, teacher, Northern High

* Jason Cranford, teacher, Calvert High

* Rachel Farnese, teacher, Calvert Elementary

* Kristin Field, guidance counselor, Mutual Elementary

* Jonathan Forester, teacher, Northern High

* Amy Foster, teacher, Southern Middle

* Michelle Hillyer, teacher, Calvert Country

* Caitlin Hosmer, teacher, Huntingtown High

* Amethyst Jones, teacher, Calvert Country

* Jessica Minnich, teacher, Windy Hill Middle

* Marshall Pike, teacher, Calvert High

* Melissa Popovich, teacher, Mt. Harmony Elementary

* Rebecca Portillo, teacher, Northern High

* Lisa Rossi, elementary dean, Mt. Harmony Elementary

* Cody Sears, teacher, Mill Creek Middle

* Sara Seemayer, teacher, Special Education

* Angela Sita, teacher, Calvert Country

* Megan Tayman, teacher, Mt. Harmony Elementary

• Approved the following resignations:

* Nathan Holland, teacher, Plum Point Elementary

* Kevin Jackson, teacher, Calvert Elementary

* Patrick Kiley, teacher, Northern High

* Lisa Mills, speech pathologist, Special Education

* Daniel Morris, English, Huntingtown High

* Jana Nietmann, teacher, leave of absence

* Lauren Sanderson, psychologist, Student Services.