Student shadows join Board, Superintendent for meeting

News Release, Charles County Public Schools

La Plata, MD- Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) highlights Job Shadow Day events annually throughout February. Today, the Board of Education and Superintendent Kimberly Hill participated in the program and invited a group of fifth graders to shadow them during the first part of the Board meeting.

Shadowing the Board today were nine students from Indian Head, Arthur Middleton and Mary B. Neal elementary schools. Principals chose students to represent their schools. Each student was randomly assigned to their shadow.

Participating from Indian Head were fifth graders Danny Dancy, Vincent Tu and Savannah Zappone. Representing Arthur Middleton were Jenyah Davis, Chelsea Guzman and Troy Weyer, and representing Neal were Clarke Budd, Arjun Garg and Octavia Hickerson. The students sat next to their assigned shadow for the first part of the meeting.

At the start of the meeting, Dr. Hill introduced her shadow, Jenyah Davis. Davis got to display her public speaking skills and read part of Hill’s report to the Board. Davis was able to prepare in advance. “I am definitely excited,” she said. Davis’ classmate Chelsea Guzman was paired with Tajala Battle-Lockhart and Troy Weyer shadowed Jennifer Abell.

Indian Head student Danny Dancy was paired with Board Vice Chairman Latina Wilson. His classmate Vincent Tu shadowed Michael Lukas, and Savannah Zappone shadowed Student Board Member Krisha Patel. Before the meeting started, Tu said he was a little nervous about the experience but excited his principal picked him to represent his school. “It is pretty cool,” he said.

Board Chairman Virginia McGraw was joined by Neal student Clarke Budd. Budd’s classmates Arjun Garg and Octavia Hickerson shadowed Board Members Elizabeth Brown and David Hancock, respectively. 

The student shadows used the experience to learn how the school system operates and about the Board of Education. They were encouraged to actively participate and ask questions. The students also participated in a recognition of high school students who received honors through the Maryland State Arts Council Student Exhibition and Maryland State Theatre Festival. The shadows joined the Board and Hill, as well as members from the Charles County Commissioners, in shaking the hands of those honored.

The goal of today’s shadowing activity was for students to learn about the functions of the Board, CCPS and the link between schoolwork and class assignments to the world of work. Job shadow experiences also allow students to explore careers. CCPS has coordinated the Job Shadow activity with Board members for the past eight years. Each year in February, students from all grade levels participate in job shadowing activities, both in their communities and at school.

Job Shadow Day meets the objectives for one of the school system’s focus areas, career readiness. Students participate in shadowing experiences throughout February. More than 5,000 CCPS students participate in activities annually.

Schools coordinate a variety of Job Shadow activities for students, ranging from guest speakers and career fairs, to working with community partners to build support for career partnerships. Students also participate in on-the-job training experiences.

The Boston Private Industry Council launched Job Shadow Day in 1996 as part of its school-to-work efforts. In 1998, a coalition including Gen. Colin Powell’s America’s Promise was formed to encourage national participation. CCPS joined the effort in 1999 and has participated annually.

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