Frederick County Public Schools needs grant writers. The school system is working to move forward with a project to provide the county’s public school students and teachers with modern learning technology. The initiative, called Technology Now, aims to equip local students and teachers with updated devices and software.
"We believe it is our obligation to provide the modern tools and resources that students need to be best prepared for their futures," said FCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Steve Lockard.
While the Board of Education is working with Frederick County to fund the initiative, FCPS is also seeking outside funding to ensure that the program is sustainable over the long term. FCPS seeks community expertise to write the most effective proposals possible. School administrators hope to work with 5-10 community members who have a strong writing ability to help FCPS staff in the effort to prepare funding proposals and develop grant applications.
Dr. Lockard explained that “Technology Now is a significant project that will make a tangible, positive difference in the lives of the young people of Frederick County. Community members who are able to use their writing skills to help us secure sustainable long-term funding for the program will be providing a meaningful service for our children and our teachers.”
The project to secure sustainable funding is slated to begin May 1. The proposal-writing team will have great flexibility in determining how to go about their work. FCPS will provide resources (such as training in the specifics of the project) to help facilitate the work. Community members who are interested in serving should contact Ms. Tonya Street, at Tonya.Street@fcps.org.
Frederick County public Rock Creek School students and dedicated staff are fond of a very special volunteer. Despite disabilities that keep him wheel-chair bound, Chris Routzahn has unending enthusiasm for helping children with special needs, according to Principal Mary Malone. She says that Chris has earned many accolades at Rock Creek and in the county, winning numerous awards for volunteerism. The school’s goal during April--National Mobility Awareness Month--is to encourage the public to help Chris win a fully modified conversion van.
In statewide SkillsUSA competition, 15 FCPS Career and Technology Center (CTC) students earned first-place gold medals. They qualify to represent Maryland in National SkillsUSA Championships, June 23-27 in Kansas City, Missouri. There they will compete against the best students from every state and territory in the United States. The CTC encourages community members interested in helping fund the winning students’ travel to national competition to contact Principal Michael.Concepcion@fcps.org or SkillsUSA advisor Martha.Lowry@fcps.org, 240-236-8500.
Local gold medal winners, their home schools and winning state-level competitions are as follows:
*Louis Bell Jr. and Ben Olson from Walkersville and Spiro Millios from Brunswick won first place in Welding Fabrication. In this competition, three students from each school use their welding and fabrication skills to build a designed project from the given material. Each team is required to be skilled in welding and cutting processes. The students are also required to be proficient in using the common tools of a workshop. They construct a theme-based project based on the prints they draw.
*Sophia Eureka, Eric Myers and Benjamin Wetzel from Catoctin and Maria Olney from Middletown placed first in Broadcast News Production. In this category, two students serve as the news anchor team, one student as the team's director/technical director, and one as the floor director. Each team has two hours to write and produce their rundown before assigned contest time. Teams then produce and complete a three-minute newscast as if it were live. Teams are evaluated on their broadcast writing ability, voice quality, diction, timing and pacing and performance techniques.
*Morgan Harding from Linganore and Alondra Herrera from Gov. Thomas Johnson placed first in Outstanding Chapter Notebook. This competition evaluates activities members have engaged in during the school year. Activities include chapter meetings, leadership training, publicity, community service projects, professional development, program of work, awards, local and state competition and other selected chapter activities. Each is documented according to guidelines and submitted in a scrapbook for judging. One student representative is interviewed during the competition.
*Erin Hessong from Frederick placed first in Employment Application Process. This competition tests contestants’ readiness in applying for employment and their understanding of the process. The competition includes completing an application and interviewing with the judges. Contestants’ resumes and portfolios are used during their interviews.
*Alex Kravchenko from Walkersville and Kyle Lokey from Urbana placed first in Web Design. Teams complete a series of challenges focusing on website usability and accessibility, with at least one challenge related to scripting. Each challenge must be documented, clearly demonstrating the skills as outlined in the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards.
*Amanda Ponce from Oakdale placed first in Basic Health Care Skills. Contestants had to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to perform entry-level procedures or skills based on the following list of core standards: Academic Foundations, Communication Skills, Career Opportunity Concepts and Systems, Employability and Teamwork, Ethical and Legal Issues, Safety Practices. Performance is evaluated through various stations involving written, verbal and skills testing.
*Nicholas Rakowski from Oakdale placed first in Architectural Drafting. Contestants used their drafting skills to solve an architectural problem. The problem includes a written test, a hand sketch, and drawings either computer-generated or board drafted. The contest tests problem solving abilities, not simply CAD skills.
*Cearrah Sherman from Gov. Thomas Johnson placed first in Job Interview. This contest is divided into three phases: completion of employment applications, preliminary interviews with receptionist, and in-depth interviews. Contestants are evaluated on their understanding of employment procedures faced in applying for positions in the occupational areas for which they are training.
Twelve students earned second-place silver medals, and 11 earned bronze in the statewide competition.
All Frederick County high schools have once again ranked in the top 9% of the most demanding public schools in the country. All are featured in The Washington Post 2014 Challenge Index list of more than 1,900 top U.S. high schools.
Asked whether having all high schools on the list is an unusual accomplishment, reporter Jay Mathews, who creates the annual index, responded, "I would estimate there are no more than a dozen districts nationally, other than [the local] Fairfax, Montgomery, Loudoun, Prince William and Anne Arundel counties, that have as many high schools as you do and have all of them on the list."
Urbana High had the highest ranking of FCPS high schools on the national index, which is based on a formula that Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews devised to rank challenging schools. Urbana scored 3.463, ranking 18th statewide and 348th nationally.
Scores and rankings for other Frederick County public high schools are: Linganore (2.270) at 55th statewide and 886th nationally; Oakdale (2.186) at 59th statewide and 957th nationally; Frederick (2.182) at 60th statewide and 960th nationally; Middletown (2.092) at 66th statewide and 1,038th nationally; Walkersville (1.639) at 81st statewide and 1,442nd nationally; Brunswick (1.556) at 87th statewide and 1,522nd nationally; Catoctin (1.302) at 105th statewide and 1,762nd nationally; Gov. TJ (1.266) at 108th statewide and 1,789th nationally; and Tuscarora (1.205) at 113th statewide and 1,845th nationally.
The Challenge Index measures public and private high schools’ ability to challenge their students with Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education exams. A school’s ranking is determined by dividing the number of college-level tests given by a school to all its students by the number of graduates for that year. The index is designed to identify schools that challenge average students.
Frederick County Public Schools is proud to announce that Career and Technology Center teacher Philip Arnold has earned national recognition as one of five 2014 Engineering News-Record/McGraw Hill—ACE Exemplary Mentor Award winners. In the ACE Mentor Program, ACE stands for architecture, construction and engineering. A jury composed of the 2013 Exemplary Mentors selected Mr. Arnold for the award.
ACE’s Frederick affiliate Board Chairman Gary Orton nominated Mr. Arnold for the national award: “Phil, an engineer by education and training, took his passion for the building industry to heart and joined FCPS as an instructor with the Career and Technology Center (CTC). In this role, Phil knows he can have the most impact by leading classes in Architecture, Drafting, and Engineering—and inspiring our next generation of industry leaders. Phil actively promotes his CTC classes during ACE orientation sessions and any opportunity he gets to draw potential students to CTC, ACE and ACE-related careers. Because of his enthusiasm, reputation and dedication, his classes fill up quickly. His students are some of the most talented, successful, dedicated and recognized students and graduates. In turn, Phil promotes the ACE Mentor program to all of his CTC students as a ‘must have experience’ so they can blend their studies with real-world experiences provided by ACE mentors. Phil sees first-hand the value of the students’ ACE experience, and he is a true champion of both—ACE and the students.”
The Frederick ACE affiliate that nominated Mr. Arnold for the award will receive $2,500 to be used as a scholarship in Mr. Arnold's name. In addition, the Frederick affiliate will receive $500 for a travel subsidy for a representative to attend the All Affiliates Best Practices Conference in Chicago, June 22-23.
The four other 2014 Exemplary Mentors are from New York City, Nashville, Central Iowa (Des Moines), and Atlanta.
Frederick County Public Schools’ Career and Technology Education supervisor Kristine Pearl has earned the 2014 Supervisor/ Leader of the Year Award. The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association’s (ITEEA’s) Council for Supervision and Leadership (CSL) sponsors the award.
Ms. Pearl earned the award for displaying exemplary leadership in all aspects of her responsibilities to improve and advance Technology and Engineering Education, according to Eric Haines, FCPS coordinator for Career and Technology Education.
“The success of the FCPS Technology and Engineering Education programs are a direct result of Kristine’s steadfast commitment to students, content expertise, and desire to improve Technology and Engineering Education programs across the state of Maryland,” said Haines.
According to the ITEEA CSL website, the group’s mission is to promote Technology and Engineering Education as an integral part of STEM education. More information is online at http://iteea-csl.org/
Photo, Left to right: Goodheart-Wilcox Vice President of Sales Todd Scheffees and President John Flanagan, award recipient Kristine Pearl and ITEEA CSL President R.J. Blake
Science students throughout Frederick County presented 106 projects at this year’s middle and high school Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday, March 22. More than 50 professionals from the Frederick community judged the entries.
Of 21 participating high school students, Brunswick High senior Alex Beall won the grand prize for his first-place Engineering project, Electromagnetic Tire Propulsion System. Alex was last year’s first runner up. First runner up this year is home-schooled student Noah Pritt for his Computer Science project, Indoor Navigation with Maximum Likelihood Classification of Wi-Fi Fingerprints. Both qualify to represent Frederick County at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, May 11-16.
Other first-place high school winners are Middletown student Avilash Das in Cellular and Molecular Biology; Gov. Thomas Johnson student Ben Freed in Biochemistry; Urbana students Archit Gupta and Eliot Sachsenmeier in Microbiology and Madison Hively in Energy and Transportation. In addition Urbana High freshman Alyssa Larason placed first in Booklet Cover Art Design.
Second-place high school winners are Middletown students Taylor Evans and Frederika Rentzeperis in Earth and Planetary Science; Oakdale student Monica Gouzoulis in Microbiology; Urbana student Matthew Green in Computer Science; Walkersville student Karina Keefe in Biochemistry; and Urbana student Troy Shuman in Cellular and Molecular Biology.
Third-place high school winners are Oakdale student Janet Lee in Computer Science and Urbana student Swathi Penumutchu in Cellular and Molecular Biology. High school honorable mention awards went to Middletown student Colin Field in Energy and Transportation and Catoctin student Olivia Grimes in Animal Science. Of 99 middle school entries, the grand prize went to Ballenger Creek 7th graders Daniel Ki and William Micol in Engineering for Walking on Water. The runner up was Banner School 7th grader Skylar Chan in Microbiology for Which Disinfectants Are Most Effective against B. Cereus and E. Coli? Other middle school first-place winners are Brunswick student Isabel Agostino and Thurmont Middle student Ariel Johnson in Chemistry; Brunswick student Loretta Donoghue in Environmental Science; Urbana students Simom Emtage in Behavioral and Social Sciences, Ezeki Ganesan in Energy and Transportation, and Shika Inala in Biochemistry; Thurmont student Mikaila Risser in Physics and Astronomy; Banner School student Heather Rogers in Medicine and Health; and Urbana student Grace Scheirey in Plant Science. In addition Ballenger Creek 7th grader Emily Lutz placed first in Booklet Cover Art Design. Second-place middle school winners are Urbana student Ridhi Chaudhary in Microbiology; West Frederick student Laura Cosby in Energy and Transportation; Urbana student Charlie Giglio in Physics and Astronomy; Brunswick students Katelyn Harrison and Makala Harrison in Behavioral and Social Sciences; Urbana student Sara Jarman in Engineering; Brunswick students Sveta Jeffers and Anna Porcella tied with Walkersville student Danny Morris in Chemistry; Visitation Academy student Michaela Redman in Environmental Science; Urbana students Erinn Sanders in Plant Science and Quinn Wagner in Medicine and Health. Third-place middle school winners are Windsor Knolls student Matt Chesebrough in Physics and Astronomy; Walkersville student Valerie Coleman in Behavioral and Social Sciences; Urbana student Julia Giglio and St. John’s student Emily Green in Environmental Science; Windsor Knolls student Evan Gobien in Engineering; Urbana student Jackie Liu in Microbiology; and West Frederick student Thomas Mark in Energy and Transportation. Middle school honorable mention awards went to Urbana student Rachel Allen in Physics and Astronomy; Walkersville student Wil Anderson in Plant Science; West Frederick students Sandy Alforo and Heidi Gonzalez and Ballenger Creek students Mariam Aslam and Sydney Yablon in Medicine and Health; Ballenger Creek student Jack Atwell in Energy and Transportation; Walkersville student Ronak Chawla in Physics and Astronomy; Urbana student Ben Clarks in Physics and Astronomy; Middletown student Braden Clough in Behavioral and Social Sciences; Visitation Academy student Grace Fischler in Chemistry; Ballenger Creek student Sneh Gandhi in Engineering; West Frederick student Kaylee Garrett in Computer Science; Visitation Academy student Hayden Klemanski in Physics and Astronomy; Urbana student Radhika Patel in Computer Science; Ballenger Creek student Gerald Sare in Biochemistry; and Urbana students Sanjana Subramanian in Medicine and Health and Soujanya Viswanathan in Microbiology. The annual fair is sponsored through a partnership between Frederick County Public Schools and the Frederick Jaycees, with financial support from MedImmune, Inc.
Thanks to generous donations to the FCPS Gifts for Education fund, a grant is helping fifth graders at Spring Ridge Elementary and their teacher specialist Dawn Getzandanner will get to participate in this year’s Ag Expo at the Frederick Fairgrounds.
On Thursday, March 27, all of the school’s fifth graders will visit 12 hands-on stations at the Expo, designed to teach agriculture and environmental science lessons. A smaller group will present a program on pollination that they learned through their “Best of Bugs” unit.
“This opportunity will allow students to further their knowledge of the FCPS life science and environmental science curriculum and continue our partnership with The Great Frederick Fair,” says Getzandanner.
“I am proud to have dedicated staff who value real-life learning experiences for students. The Ag Expo is a one-of-a-kind experience that represents project-based learning at its finest,” says Principal Deborah Thackston. “Our students have spent the winter months of their afterschool extended-learning STEM sessions exploring curriculum through the Engineering Is Elementary unit entitled “The Best of Bugs” with enrichment teacher Regina Farnsworth. As experts, this group of students will participate in the Expo as presenters and attendees.” Many local businesses and organizations have also volunteered time and expertise to enhance the experience for students. Supporting the hands-on learning stations are Catoctin Mountain Orchards, Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist author Michael Judd, Flower Fashions of Frederick, the Frederick County Beekeeping Association, The Great Frederick Fair, Home Depot on Buckeystown Pike, Hood College, Lucas Village Community Garden, Master Gardeners of Frederick County and Seed of Life Nurseries.
The Community Foundation of Frederick County accepts tax-deductible donations for the Gifts for Education fund and has distributed over $120,000 in more than 200 grants since the endowments were launched in 1998. Anyone wishing to donate may call 301-696-6805. The next round of grants is in September 2014. Schools wishing to apply may contact Deb.Huffman@fcps.org.
PTA Council Sponsors Meeting Set for Tuesday, March 18
Do you have questions or thoughts about Frederick County Public Schools? Have some feedback for Superintendent Alban?
FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban invites the public to the PTA-sponsored Superintendent’s Chat on Tuesday, March 18 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Middletown Middle School. The snow date for this event is March 31.
This is the third in a series of four PTA-sponsored Superintendent Chats this school year. Others were held in October at Brunswick Middle and February at New Market Middle. The final chat this school year is planned for May 20 at Catoctin High.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to talk with members of the community,” Alban said. “We’re using every vehicle available to us to engage our community and hear what people have to say.”
The Superintendent won’t be able to address specific personnel issues or questions about specific students, but all other issues are on the table.
Frederick County Public Schools is accepting nominations for the Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teaching Award. Named for a former member of the Hood College faculty who encouraged young people to enter the profession of teaching, this award recognizes an FCPS teacher who has had a significant impact on young people.
Hood College presents this award annually to honor distinguished teaching in the Frederick County public school system. The award was established by a gift from the late Samuel Eig of Gaithersburg, MD. Hood College will recognize the winner during its Graduate School commencement on May 17.
Complete eligibility and nomination criteria, nomination process and selection guidelines are available at http://www.fcps.org/cms/lib02/MD01000577/Centricity/Domain/62/2014TresslerNominationForm.pdf. Nominations will be accepted from current or former students, teachers and support staff, parents, community members, administrators and supervisors. Nomination packets are due to the Communication Services office, 191 South East Street, Frederick, MD, 21701, by 3 p.m. on Friday, April 11, 2014.