• Parent-Teacher Conferences

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 10/30/2014
    Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) invites parents of elementary and middle school students to parent-teacher conferences Monday, November 24 and Tuesday, November 25. There are no prescheduled conference dates at high schools. The Board of Education encourages parents of high school students to contact the teacher any time they have a concern or wish to schedule a meeting.
    FCPS urges parents of elementary and middle school students to schedule conferences on the above dates to learn about their child’s classroom, school performance and behavior. These conferences help parents and teachers work together to support the student. Schools encourage parents to bring their questions and contact the school for conference-scheduling information if they do not receive it soon.
    Students attend school as follows:
    Monday, November 24: Only elementary and middle schools open 4 hours later than usual. Elementary and middle school students attend school in the afternoon only, and conferences begin after they are dismissed. Those schools dismiss students at the regular time and do not serve lunch. Pre-kindergarten students do not attend. High school students attend the full day.
    Tuesday, November 25: Elementary and middle schools dismiss students 3 ½ hours early to allow parents time to meet with teachers in the afternoon. Students eat lunch before dismissal. Pre-kindergarten students do not attend. High school students attend the full day.
    For more information about conferences and the attendance schedule, please contact the child’s school.
    In other November school calendar news: All schools are closed Monday, November 3 or a teacher work day and Tuesday, November 4 for Election Day. All schools dismiss students two hours early Friday, November 21 for a teacher work session. All schools are closed Wednesday, November 26 for a BOE-approved holiday for students and some staff; schools are also closed Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28, due to state-mandated observances of Thanksgiving Day and National Native American Heritage Day.
    The Board of Education determines the school calendar, typically in January for the upcoming school year. An FCPS Calendar Committee is seeking public comment to present to the Board before January. FCPS welcomes all feedback regarding the school calendar: Calendar.Committee@fcps.org.
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  • Name the Newest FCPS School!

    Posted by Emily Reedy at 10/28/2014 10:05:00 AM
    Elementary Slated for West Frederick City
    Frederick County Public Schools invites the public to participate in the process of naming the new west-Frederick area elementary school. The new school is slated for construction on the south side of Butterfly Lane, opposite McCain Drive in Frederick. It is scheduled to open in August 2017 if funding is available.

    FCPS has organized a School Name Recommendation Committee, charged with gathering potential school names and presenting three recommendations to the Board of Education (BOE) in December. Hillcrest Elementary Assistant Principal Marilyn Dolbeare-Mathews chairs the committee, which includes PTA members, parents from Hillcrest, Orchard Grove and Waverley elementary schools, community members and staff.

    “Selecting a name is very important in creating a unique identity for the school and the future school community,” says FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban.

    The committee invites the public to submit name suggestions through an online survey at www.fcps.org/wfcaes. Community members may also submit name ideas in written form using suggestion boxes in the front offices at Hillcrest, Orchard Grove and Waverley elementary schools. Submissions should include the person’s relationship to FCPS (e.g. FCPS employee, student, parent, community member, etc.), and a rationale for the suggested name. The deadline for public input is Friday, November 7.

    Those submitting names are reminded that there is a BOE policy about naming schools. According to Policy 201 (http://apps.fcps.org/dept/legal/201.pdf), the BOE may name schools for historical events or geographical features (local or regional landmarks or locations) but not for people.

    The committee will narrow suggestions to 10 names after reviewing historical documents, property information and community suggestions. On Monday, November 17, FCPS will post the names at www.fcps.org/wfcaes and publicize them through other communication channels.

    The committee will then open a second opportunity for community involvement and ask for public feedback on the selected 10 names. Another online survey will be posted at www.fcps.org/wfcaes and written comments will again be accepted at the three school front offices. Comments received will help narrow the 10 names to three; the deadline for this round of public input is Thursday, December 4.

    FCPS will take all feedback into account as the committee selects three names to recommend to the Board of Education at the December 17 meeting. The Board of Education will make the final decision in naming the new school.

    More information about the new west-Frederick area elementary is online in both English and Spanish: www.fcps.org/wfcaes.
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  • Community Gifts for Education

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 10/28/2014
    And Grants from the Gladhills
    Students in Frederick County public schools benefit each year from the community’s generous financial donations through the Community Foundation of Frederick County. Grants totaling nearly $9,000 from the Frederick County Public Schools Gifts for Education Fund and the Franklin and Bess Gladhill Fund for Agriculture Education are supporting student enrichment projects.
    This year, nine schools are receiving Gifts for Education Fund grants, as follows:
    *Frederick Classical Charter—$500 for an American Sign Language Club to teach students the benefits and fundamentals of sign language
    *Frederick High School—$478 for a Reading Advantage project to improve English Language Learners’ (ELL) reading comprehension and critical-thinking skills to increase their achievement, and $500 to implement a classroom library to promote English-language learning and improve assessment performance for beginning ELL students
    *Governor Thomas Johnson High—$312 for Let There Be Light, a program to help Learning for Life students learn about foundations of technology in electricity and circuitry
    *Governor Thomas Johnson Middle—$240 for a year-long Pulse Percussion Ensemble to develop students’ musicianship with weekly rehearsals and 10 community performances
    *Spring Ridge Elementary—$425 to help students create a butterfly garden, learning scientific variables during plant selection and applying math concepts to the garden’s layout
    *Thurmont Elementary—$500 for second and third graders to collaborate using Chromebooks to carry on dialogue about the writing process
    *Tuscarora Elementary—$500 for cameras to enable ELL students to photograph people, places, things and events for developing better oral and written language skills
    *Walkersville Elementary—$499 for a student-designed, planted and harvested Field-to-Fork Community Garden
    *Walkersville High—$500 for a schoolwide STEM Night, focusing on the school’s watershed and its conditions
    Eight schools are receiving grants from the Gladhill Fund for Agriculture Education to accomplish the following:
    *Career & Technology Center—$500 to install raised beds and plant flowers for use in Advanced Floral Design, and $500 to assist with National FFA Convention attendance costs
    *Frederick High—$500 for the FFA-sponsored Santa’s Workshop event for the community
    *Governor Thomas Johnson Middle—$500 to build the first FCPS middle school greenhouse for teaching in various academic areas
    *Middletown High—$500 to assist with National FFA Convention attendance costs
    *Tuscarora High—$500 to assist with National FFA Convention attendance costs
    *Urbana High—$500 to assist with National FFA Convention attendance costs
    *Walkersville High—$499 for a student-designed, planted and harvested Field-to-Fork Community Garden
    *Windsor Knolls Middle—$500 for a student-built outdoor classroom with seating for 35 students
    The Community Foundation of Frederick County accepts tax-deductible donations for the funds and has distributed nearly $150,000 in almost 300 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 2015. Schools wishing to apply may contact Deb.Huffman@fcps.org.
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  • Planning for Life after Middle School

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 10/22/2014
    Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) invites parents of eighth grade students to Planning for the Future: Life after Middle School, Monday, November 3, 7-9 p.m. at Frederick Community College’s (FCC’s) Jack B. Kussmaul Theater.
    The program will include important information about high school planning and opportunities, High School Assessments and other high school requirements, career and technology education options, linking high school and college courses, post-high school opportunities and college savings plans. This event is free and also includes valuable resource materials for parents.
    On the agenda are FCPS Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban and FCC President Ms. Elizabeth Burmaster, FCPS Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation Dr. Kevin Cuppett, FCPS Curriculum Director Dr. George Seaton, FCPS Virtual School Principal Dr. Stacey Adamiak, FCPS Career and Technology Education Supervisor Kristine Pearl, FCPS Career and Technology Center Assistant Principal Jack Newkirk, Linganore High Counselor Paula Larson, Linganore High Naval Science Instructor Chief Petty Officer Michael Rodrigues and Thurmont Middle Counselor Sherry Bueso, along with FCC Admissions Director Lisa Freel and Hood College Assistant Admissions Director Ethan Chase. In addition, representatives from college savings plans, the military and colleges will staff booths in the lobby.
    To register for this free event, please call 301-624-2716.
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  • FCPS Continues to Outpace State, Nation on AP Scores

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 10/14/2014
    Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) continues to achieve impressive results on Advanced Placement (AP) scores, according to results from the College Board. Indeed, according to the College Board’s AP 2014 report, FCPS high school students continue to score well above state and national averages on AP exams.
    FCPS continued to outperform state and global mean scores and percentages of AP students with scores of 3 or better. Maryland’s mean score was 2.98, the global mean score was 2.89 and the FCPS mean score was 3.16. The percentage of students with scores of 3 or better was 63 statewide, 61.3 globally and 73.5 at FCPS. Achieving a score of 3 to 5 on a 5-point scale qualifies students to receive credit at many colleges and universities.
    As the district continued to show outstanding AP results, the number of test takers declined by 225 from last year, and there were 379 fewer exams. This decline was likely due to several factors. Rising costs of higher education coupled with recent trends reported by the College Board that fewer institutions of higher education are accepting AP scores may be influencing the decline in AP test participation. More students are also taking advantage of the newly enhanced dual-enrollment option that allows them to take college courses and receive college credit while they are still in high school. Data in Frederick County shows that the number of students who are participating in dual enrollment has increased significantly in the last year. This is supported by student feedback that shows that dual enrollment is being viewed as a low-cost option for obtaining guaranteed, transferable college credit. Still, almost half of FCPS students take one or more AP tests by graduation, and 69% of the total tests taken were scored 3 or better – the level commensurate with college credit at many institutions of higher learning.
    “I am extremely proud of the outstanding results our students achieve, both on their AP tests and in the dual enrollment program,” said FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban. “Our students are on a path to success in college and careers. The data show that FCPS is supporting them every step along the way on that path.”

    See the results:

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  • FCPS Outperforms State, Nation on SAT

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 10/14/2014
    Results released last week by the Educational Testing Service in New Jersey show that Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) seniors continue to score well above state and national averages on the SAT. Their mean critical reading, math, writing and combined SAT-1 scores exceed Maryland and U.S. averages, consistent with trends for previous years.
    Results for the class of 2014 increased seven points in critical reading, seven points in math and three points in writing, compared to the senior class of 2013. The combined mean score for Frederick County is 1555; Maryland’s is 1468, and the nation’s is 1497. Frederick’s score rose 17 points, Maryland’s score fell 15 points, and the national scores fell one point.
    The 2,041 SAT-takers represent 67% of seniors, an increase from the 66% participation for the class of 2013.
    “Test scores often decrease when you have an increase in test participation,” said Deborah Gilmartin, FCPS coordinator of Testing and Accountability. “So this is very good news to see local participation and scores rise at the same time.”
    There were 48 fewer exams given last year, due to a smaller senior class compared to the previous year.
    All FCPS high school have offered an optional course to prepare students for the SAT since 1997. This course and others like it are part of the school system’s efforts to continually improve academic performance and ensure all students access to challenging coursework that will prepare them for success beyond graduation.
    The SAT is a program of the College Board, developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service of New Jersey to measure critical reading, writing and math skills. The scores--in conjunction with students’ transcripts and other measures of performance--assist many colleges and universities in selecting students for admission.
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  • FCPS Seeks Family/Community Engagement Council Members

    Posted by Emily Reedy at 10/1/2014 9:20:00 AM
    Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is seeking parents and community members to join the Family/Community Engagement Council (FCEC). 

    In the spring of 2012, FCPS established the FCEC as an advisory committee that focuses on improving and strengthening FCPS' engagement strategies and communication tools. The group examines current and forthcoming FCPS communication products and strategies – such as website content, parent letters, campaign videos, etc.  – and provides feedback and recommendations to help ensure the most effective communication with parents, families, and the community at large. The committee may also review and advise FCPS staff on communication around current projects or new systemic initiatives. The group reports to the Superintendent’s Advisory Council. Their monthly meetings are held at the FCPS Central Office in Frederick.

    To ensure broad representation, FCPS will evaluate potential members on a variety of factors including: geographic residence, child’s grade level, areas of interest and community involvement experience. Community members without a child attending a Frederick County public school are also welcome to apply.  FCPS will select up to 10 new members to serve on the council, which
    includes representatives of the Frederick County PTA, community and civic groups, local businesses, teachers, administrators, and others.

    Interested parents and community members should complete the brief application at www.fcps.org/FCECApplication by Friday, October 10.
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  • Public Input Sought on Urbana Elementary Modernization

    Posted by Emily Reedy at 9/30/2014 9:25:00 AM

    Feasibility Study Produces Potential Options

    Following months of work reviewing the physical building and its systems, as well as the property the building sits on, the architectural firm hired by Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) to conduct the first phase of the Urbana Elementary School (UES) modernization program has prepared four potential options for moving forward with the project. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates (CRA) has developed four scenarios, and the FCPS Facilities Services Department is seeking public input on them. 

    Throughout October, FCPS will provide different avenues for the public to learn about the potential options, ask questions, and submit feedback. Parents and community members are invited to a public meeting on Tuesday, October 7 at Urbana Elementary School at 7 p.m. where FCPS Facilities Services Department and CRA representatives will provide information about the four scenarios and gather feedback.

    Following the community meeting, a description of each potential option will be posted on the project webpage,
    www.fcps.org/UESModernization, allowing community members to compare various aspects of each option. Community members will have the opportunity to submit their comments in the form of an online survey accompanying the descriptions.

    Community members are encouraged to submit their feedback by attending the public meeting, responding to the online survey, or emailing their feedback to UES.Study@fcps.org. During October, members of the UES Feasibility Study steering committee will consider all input received when it refines the four options prior to submitting the completed Feasibility Study and recommendation to the Board of Education for its consideration in November.
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  • BOE Hones Strategic Vision

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/25/2014
    Invites Public to Series of Discussions
    The Board of Education of Frederick County invites the public to any of a series of roundtable sessions as Board members and invited representatives from various groups with a stake in public education discuss a strategic vision that will guide Frederick County Public Schools in preparing students for success in education, careers and life. Although FCPS has established itself as a high-performing school system compared to many other districts across the country, a rapidly changing environment of diverse student needs, changes to local, state and national regulations and an unpredictable fiscal climate have caused the Board to seek input in developing a long-term strategic plan that will guide the academic and operational direction of the district going forward.

    To that end, the Board, Superintendent and other central office and school-based staff have been building a preliminary draft with district goals and priorities that it is now time to take to the public for feedback and refinement.
    The Board’s aspirational goals and priorities will help FCPS achieve its mission to reach students with exceptional teaching and caring support, challenge them to achieve their potential and prepare them for success in a global society. Once the goals and priorities are finalized, FCPS will develop benchmarks and targets to ensure that progress toward the goals and priorities is regularly measured. Finally, after having articulated and outlined the specific actions that the district will take regarding each priority, FCPS will begin to implement the strategic vision.
    The agenda for each of the five meetings will include about 10 minutes of introductory background on the process and timeline, about 90 minutes of roundtable participants’ open discussion on the proposed priorities, then time for members of the public to make 2-minute comments before closure.
    The meetings will take place as follows:

    Monday, October 13:
    4-6 p.m. at the Urbana High media center
    7-9 p.m. at the Brunswick High media center

    Thursday, October 16:

    10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Bernard W. Brown Community Center, 629 N. Market Street, Frederick
    7-9 p.m. at the Middletown High media center
    Tuesday, October 21:
    6-8 p.m. at the Catoctin High media center.

    More information is online at www.fcps.org/strategicplanning.

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  • Chat with the Superintendent

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/23/2014
    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 this school year’s first PTA-sponsored Superintendent’s Chat. Please bring your questions and join her to talk about the school system on Tuesday, September 30, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Carroll Manor Elementary School.

    This is the first in a series of PTA-sponsored Superintendent Chats this school year. Others are scheduled for Tuesdays, January 20 at Middletown Middle, March 3 at Thurmont Middle and April 28 at Twin Ridge Elementary.

    “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.

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