Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban invites the public to join in launching the Maryland School Breakfast Challenge at The Great Frederick Fair, Friday, September 19, 9 a.m., at the City Streets and Country Roads exhibit.
"FCPS is proud to lead the way in the fight against childhood hunger in Maryland," says Dr. Alban. "And steeped in our agricultural heritage, The Great Frederick Fair is the perfect place to confirm our commitment to the statewide goal to increase the number of schools accepting the No Kid Hungry challenge."
Consider the facts, says a message from the Maryland State Department of Education: One in five Maryland kids struggles with hunger. Three in five teachers say students regularly come to school hungry. Only 60% of those who receive a free school lunch also get a school breakfast.
Nine local schools achieved Maryland's 2014 Hall of Fame Schools recognition for their participation in the breakfast program. They are North Frederick, Ballenger Creek, Hillcrest, Monocacy, Emmitsburg, Lincoln, New Midway/Woodsboro and Waverley elementary schools and West Frederick Middle.
Among the reasons schools join the challenge is that school breakfast is linked to greater academic achievement. It is estimated that connecting 70 percent of eligible school kids in Maryland to school breakfast could lead to 48,000 additional days of school attended per year, 32,000 students with better math scores per year and 8,000 additional high school graduates out of the current group of elementary students.
Recognizing the significant benefits for Frederick County's students, Oakdale Middle Family and Consumer Science teacher Nancy Keller enthusiastically stepped up to lead Friday's event. She will share information about the new 6th grade Food Science curriculum, farm-to-fork producers, food safety, and what makes a healthy breakfast.
More than 4,000 Frederick County Public Schools’ elementary students along with their teachers and chaperones will experience a field trip unlike any other when they visit the 152nd Great Frederick Fair, September 15-18, from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Frederick County’s largest agricultural classroom will offer educational exhibits such as the Birthing Center, Farm and Garden Exhibits, The Milky Way, It’s Fiber Optic and Machinery Row. This year’s field trip theme is Connecting the Dots, with students in grades kindergarten through two exploring a science focus while grades three through five focus on social studies aspects of the fair.
In addition to elementary field trips, FCPS is involved in several other activities at the fair with higher grade levels and staff. High school journalism students will provide media coverage in a daily newspaper throughout the week.
On Sunday, September 14, FCPS Counseling and Student Support coordinator Janet Shipman and Career & Technology Education supervisor Kristine Pearl will recognize outstanding FFA students during a Character Counts! Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. in Building 32. In addition, Maryland State FFA officers and advisors will present first-year FCPS FFA members with Greenhand Awards.
FFA chapters will give demonstrations on topics from flower arranging to welding on September 15-19 from 6-8 p.m. in Building 14A: Monday—Brunswick and Tuscarora; Tuesday—Frederick and Urbana; Wednesday—the Career and Technology Center and Walkersville; Thursday—Linganore and Oakdale; and Friday—Catoctin and Middletown.
Tuesday, September 16, is FCPS Ag Science Day at the fair. Local agricultural professionals will present interactive demonstrations for about 400 high school students studying related fields. Included are equine and veterinary science, landscaping, food safety, and hydraulics and small engines at Machinery Row.
FCPS educators and students will provide hands-on opportunities Friday, September 19 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—Showcase in the Community Tent. Activities will include FIRST Robotics, Lego Mindstorms, Earth and Space Science Lab projects and animals as well as Outdoor School demonstrations. Students from the FCPS Career and Technology Center (CTC) will showcase STEM careers. CTC student ambassadors will also help visitors to the Community Tent with hands-on activities and provide giveaways related to technical programs available to high school students throughout Frederick County.
Be sure to stop by the FCPS table in the Household/Null Building 9. School system representatives will be available 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (and some nights until 7) throughout the week to answer questions about Frederick County Public Schools. At the booth, students may write a postcard to a classroom teacher about their experience at the fair. An FCPS courier will deliver the postcards.
Staffing the FCPS booth:
*Sunday, September 14: Board of Education members 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
*Monday, September 15: FCPS Fiscal Services 9-11 a.m.; Special Education/Partners for Success 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Special Education/Transition Education 1-3 p.m.; Communication Services 3-5 p.m.
*Tuesday, September 16: Security and Emergency Management 9-11 a.m.; Transportation Department 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Human Resources 1-3 p.m.; Special Education/Transition Education 3-5 p.m.; and Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban 5-7 p.m.
*Wednesday, September 17: Visual and Performing Arts 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Facilities Services 1-3 p.m.; Fiscal Services 3-5 p.m.; and Family and Community Engagement 5-7 p.m.
*Thursday, September 18: Visual and Performing Arts 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Family and Community Involvement 1-3 p.m.; Special Education/Transition Education 3-5 p.m.; and Communication Services 5-7 p.m.
*Friday, September 19 is an especially fun day at the FCPS booth! From 9-10 a.m., get a bookmark that lists this year’s Black-Eyed Susan Book Award titles. Throughout the day, curriculum specialists in science, math social studies and more will offer fun activities. From 3-4 p.m. visit with arts and physical education specialists.
FRIDAY, September 19, when schools are closed, is Kids Day at the fair. All youth 18 and under are admitted free until 5 PM, but there is still a fee for parking at all fair-operated parking lots. Parking, 9 AM-10 PM, inside the fair is $7 per vehicle. It's $5 in fair lots A, B, C and D. Find out more: http://thegreatfrederickfair.com/
Lewistown Elementary fourth grader Nik Contreras is passionate about the NBA. That’s not unique until you realize it’s not the National Basketball Association but the National Bison Association that has sparked Nik’s curiosity!
According to Principal Shirley Olsen, last weekend Nik and his parents traveled to the Michigan Bison Bash, a one-day educational meeting. Nik attended lectures on the outlook of the bison industry, food processing and bison veterinary medicine. Nine-year-old Nik is a junior member of the NBA and the first junior member of the Eastern Bison Association. And tomorrow, September 11, Nik is headed to the Capitol with other NBA members to meet with members of Congress, the Senate and the US Department of Agriculture.
Nik’s mother, Cindy Burnsteel, is a division director at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. She says that through the NBA Nik has had many opportunities to visit bison herds and meet with the herd managers one on one. Nik has visited seven bison ranches, including five privately owned ranches and two public herds: Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake and Custer State Park bison. NBA members and the herd managers have treated him as an equal and answered any questions he had, she said. Nik hasn’t met a bison producer who doesn’t want to talk to him about bison. According to his mom, Nik says, “Eat bison!”
Principal Olsen says that Nik’s learning, when combined with the work he does in the classroom, will prepare him to be college and career ready.
“His experiences before our country’s legislators and USDA staff with NBA members will enrich his classmates’ learning when he returns and tells them about the day,” she adds. “We hope to track some of Nik’s travel’s on the FCPS Facebook and twitter feeds. Stay tuned!”
Frederick County Public Schools invites students’ families to speak with staff about the curricula, programs and resources at a community-wide back-to-school night, Monday, September 15 from 7-9 p.m. Eliminating Achievement Gaps (EAG) is co-sponsoring the countywide event, offered at Governor Thomas Johnson (TJ) High, featuring 10 information sessions including a special focus on minority achievement and ongoing work to close achievement gaps that exist for minority student groups.
Local restaurants are providing food from 6-7 p.m. during a curricular and community fair with all curricular areas and many local community groups represented. FCPS will provide childcare and Spanish translators at 6 p.m. and throughout the evening.
“This is going to be an amazing event for families,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban. “The purpose of the night is to equip families with all the information and resources they need to help their children succeed in school. Nothing could be more important or more powerful.”
EAG President Jay Mason agrees: “We are so pleased to sponsor this event with FCPS. Sometimes we, as parents, are afraid to ask questions about what we can do to make sure our children excel in school. That’s what this community night is all about—empowering parents and families. There’s so much for parents to know. Having all the resources parents need in one place at this event will make things easier.”
Frederick County Public Schools announces openings for parents, community members and teachers to serve on this year’s committee to form the proposed 2015-16 school year calendar.
The BOE Calendar Committee will meet Thursdays, October 2, 16 and 30 and Wednesday, November 12, from 4-6 p.m.
Interested parents and community members should complete the application at www.fcps.org/calendar as soon as possible and no later than Wednesday, September 24. There is a separate link for teachers applying, and it is available only from FCPS-networked computers.
For additional information, please visit www.fcps.org/calendar to read how the school calendar is determined.
Frederick County Public Schools published a thinner-than-usual Calendar Handbook for this school year. Instead of the usual six pages devoted to student Discipline, this year’s handbook has only one. It comes with the explanation that at the time of publication the Maryland State Board of Education was in the process of revising student disciplinary procedures, with revision expected to be ongoing until October. Although revisions are still possible, FCPS has updated its Discipline Regulation 400-8 and posted the current version online.
According to FCPS Student Services Director Kathleen Hartsock, “The regulation is based on the goals of fostering, teaching and acknowledging positive behavior.” She explains that the major updates are that “minimum and maximum consequences are no longer dictated in the regulation, giving school principals increased options.”
Additionally, she says, “If a student is suspended from school, parents and guardians will be provided contact information for a school employee who will be responsible for ensuring that the student receives classwork and assignments from each teacher.”
Finally, definitions for suspension, extended suspension and expulsion have been amended.
"Public schools are strengthened when communities are actively engaged in the education process,” according to the Board of Education of Frederick County (Board) Policy 101. In support of this belief, the Board is seeking representatives to serve two- and three-year terms on a new Citizens Advisory Council (CAC).
To ensure broad representation, the Board will evaluate potential members on a variety of factors including: geographic residence, child’s grade level, areas of interest, and experience related to Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) programs and services, including but not limited to curriculum, special education, English language learning, world languages and advanced academic programs. Individuals without a child attending a Frederick County public school are also welcome to apply. The Board will select up to 25 individuals to serve on the Council.
The Board established the CAC as a standing committee that will report directly to the Board and serve as a channel for public concerns, advice and information as identified by the Board. The CAC may also respond to specific requests for research, at the direction of the majority of the Board, and make recommendations on specific topics impacting educational decisions and FCPS programs.
Doolittle in Running for Maryland Teacher of the Year
Posted by Dian Nelson at 8/28/2014
FCPS Teacher Is One of Seven State Finalists
As an exciting addition to the first week of school, Frederick County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban learned that Hillcrest Elementary pre-kindergarten teacher and Frederick County Teacher of the Year Erin Doolittle is one of seven finalists for the Maryland State Teacher of the Year award. Dr. Alban will visit Hillcrest tomorrow to celebrate the news.
“We are so proud of Ms. Doolittle,” said Superintendent Alban. “She is an amazing teacher, an amazing advocate for children and families, and an amazing representative of the outstanding teachers in Frederick County.”
Ms. Doolittle earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and master’s degree in reading specialization, both from Hood College. She is a Frederick County Pre-Kindergarten Master Teacher for all content areas and has served on Hillcrest Elementary’s school improvement team since 2005. As an advocate for early childhood education, Ms. Doolittle volunteers regularly at Judy Center events, collaborates with childcare professionals and presents at conferences and professional-development events.
A panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations selected the seven finalists from among the state’s 24 district Teacher of Year recipients. They evaluated finalists according to a rigorous set of national criteria that included teaching philosophy, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues and suggestions for instructional improvement. Oral interviews with the seven finalists will take place in September.
The 2014-2015 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced during a gala reception and dinner at Martin’s West on October 10. The winner will receive monetary and other awards, national travel opportunities and a new car valued at over $25,000 donated by the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association. The Maryland Teacher of the Year will go on to participate in the national Teacher of the Year program, speaking to education, business and civic groups about the teaching profession.
Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) opened all 66 schools on schedule today, the first day of the 2014-15 school year. The day started well before sun up at the school bus depot. With nearly 30,000 students eligible to ride buses, FCPS drivers all reported safe travels this morning. Ninety-three percent of morning routes ran on time within 10 minutes of their schedules. Director Fred Punturiero said there are always some delays as bus drivers and students meet and make adjustments the first few weeks of school. He’s confident that they will soon settle in to comfortable routines. Meanwhile, FCPS invites parents to check the following webpage for a list of buses running later than 10 minutes: http://www.fcps.org/Page/811.
Not one to miss the first-day fanfare, Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban started her day at Governor Thomas Johnson High School. She appreciated the effort that student and parent volunteers put in beautifying the school grounds and creating interior murals over the summer. She enjoyed sitting in on a morning music class in which students were creating name chants as “ice breaker” introductions, and she was glad to see students using computer-aided design (CAD) technology in an architectural engineering class. Next, Dr. Alban visited Monocacy Middle, where sixth-grade math students were eagerly raising their hands to participate in an “estimation challenge.”
Across the county, while Brunswick Middle students were already at work in their first-block classes, Brunswick Elementary students gathered under a clear, blue sky for a first-day flag-raising ceremony.
At North Frederick Elementary Principal DeVeda Coley saw smiles everywhere as students arrived at their brand-new school and teachers quickly engaged them in fresh, colorful classrooms. North Frederick was Dr. Alban’s third stop, followed by visits across town to Waverley and Hillcrest Elementary. There students will soon occupy a new 12-room pod, installed over the summer and providing indoor access to restrooms. A new west Frederick City elementary is planned to relieve overcrowding at Hillcrest now that North Frederick’s new building is complete and the new Frederick High design is underway.
BOE President Joy Schaefer was happy to see the new security vestibule in use at Spring Ridge Elementary. FCPS added security vestibules at Heather Ridge and several other schools over the summer.
At Myersville, students sang the school song with lyrics about “learning to be the best we can be.”
Behind the scenes staff worked to keep students energized and on the move. Food and Nutrition Services offered some of students’ favorite lunch choices: chicken nuggets, pizza, carrot sticks, tossed salad, mashed potatoes, fresh apples and oranges, other assorted fruit and cold milk. Food and Nutrition Services also provided 10 schools with classroom breakfast and served a cafeteria breakfast in the remaining schools. Schools offered 2,400 pounds of produce countywide for breakfast and lunch.
From elementary to high school, students and staff shared first-day impressions. Tuscarora Elementary Principal Steve Raff asked students how their first day was going and got one-word responses: “Good!” For his part, Principal Raff said, “I love the first day of school. It's all brand new, yet familiar with a community that I enjoy serving. Students, staff and parents came in today smiling with an enthusiasm for learning.”
At Monocacy Middle, Principal Brian Vasquenza heard, “I love having my own locker. We have so much more independence than in elementary school. It’s nice to be able to change teachers every period.”
“The first day is a great opportunity to see the kind of personal and caring connection we have with every student,” says Michael Doerrer, FCPS Communication Services director; “That’s what makes FCPS so special. While students and teachers focused on getting to know each other, administrators were out to visit every school in the system. It’s a time to renew our focus on the promise of public education.”
August 18, 2014 The Ice Bucket Challenge has come to Frederick County, and Frederick County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban accepted the challenge to raise attention and funding to cure ALS. Commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease; the technical name for ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually causing paralysis and even death.
The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice. This viral sensation, which has used the hash tag #IceBucketChallenge, has attracted thousands of followers worldwide.
As of today, the ALS Association has received more than $15.6 million in donations compared to $1.8 million during the same time period last year, from July 29 to August 18. The donations have come from existing donors and 307,598 donors new to the association. The ALS Association’s mission is to provide care to people with ALS and their families through a network of chapters working in communities across the nation and to fund a global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for the disease. In addition, the Association’s efforts empower people to advance public policies in our nation’s Capital that respond to the needs of people with ALS.
Among those joining Dr. Alban in the ALS ice bucket challenge at Tuscarora High School was Urbana High student Megan Schlesinger. Megan's father was diagnosed with ALS last year. She, her father and her family have been touched by the outpouring of support throughout the county. They hope the millions raised in recent weeks will help scientists find a cure.
It was Middle Schools instructional director Tom Saunders who passed the challenge to the Superintendent. He was challenged by his daughter.
“We’re all very happy to support a good cause and to have some fun as we head into the new school year," says Dr. Alban. "But I think there’s a serious message here too. The people who originated this challenge have shown all of us that when you’re passionate about something and devote your energy and hard work, you can make amazing things happen. That’s a message I’d like to bring to all of the young people of Frederick County. Who knows? One of the FCPS students who sees this might turn out to be the scientist who someday cures ALS. I think we can all take some inspiration from this challenge on many levels.”