Charles County Public School Board Seeking Feedback About School Name

May 9, 2024

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is composed of 38 schools and four educational learning centers. Historically, CCPS schools, centers and facilities are either named for a person, geographic location or region. Board of Education of Charles County Policy 7230 guides the school naming process. Following the policy, school names must meet specific criteria and model CCPS/Board core values, mission and goals.

The Board in 2023 revised Policy 7230 to include a detailed process it would follow to rename any existing CCPS facility or school. In recent years, the school system and Board have heard concerns from community members about CCPS school names. In February 2024, representatives of the Charles County Branch of the NAACP asked the Board to review the name of several CCPS schools named for individuals who owned enslaved people. The NAACP asked the Board to first review the name of General Smallwood Middle School.

The Board asked Superintendent of Schools Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D., to collect community feedback about the school name General Smallwood Middle School. CCPS is hosting community meetings to hear from stakeholders in the Smallwood and feeder school communities.

Smallwood feeder schools – schools zoned for Smallwood – include Dr. James Craik, Gale-Bailey, Indian Head, J.C. Parks and Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy elementary schools and Henry E. Lackey High School. The meetings, while intended for the Smallwood and feeder school communities, are open to the public. 

Monday, May 20: An in-person meeting is set for 6-7:30 p.m., Monday, May 20, at Smallwood. Smallwood is located at 4990 Indian Head Highway in Indian Head. This meeting is intended for the Smallwood and feeder school communities. RSVPs by May 17 are required, as food will be provided. Attendees can RSVP here. 

Thursday, May 23: A virtual meeting is set for 6 p.m., Thursday, May 23. To join the meeting, attendees must have a Zoom account. Click here to register for the virtual meeting.

Following the meetings, attendees will be asked to take a brief survey. The presentation and survey will be posted to the Smallwood website May 24. Additional feedback sessions have been coordinated specifically for Smallwood students and staff members. A summary of feedback will be shared with the Board at its June 11 meeting. Read more about Board Policy 7230.

For questions, contact Sylvia Royster in the Office of Community Engagement and Equity at [email protected]. 

History of General Smallwood

General Smallwood was born in 1732 and grew up in Charles County. He fought in the Revolutionary War and by 1790, owned 4,350 acres in Charles County with 56 enslaved persons on his plantation. He also served as Maryland’s governor for three years. In February 1969, the Board of Education approved the renaming of the then old Lackey Junior/Senior High School to General Smallwood Middle School.