• BOE Approves School Calendar

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/18/2014
    2015-2016 School Year
    At its regular meeting yesterday evening, the Board of Education of Frederick County determined that the student start date for the 2015-2016 school year will be Monday, August 24, with teachers reporting August 18.
    The BOE built seven “snow days” into the calendar. If all are needed, the last day of school for students will be Monday, June 20, and for teachers Tuesday, June 21. The school year is shortened if fewer than seven snow days are needed. If more days are needed, FCPS will make them up in this order: February 15, March 21, 22, 23 and 24.

    Other highlights of the approved calendar are as follows:

    • Fair Day is on a Wednesday in the coming school year: September 23, 2015

    • Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled for the fall only and include an extra day for elementary schools. On Friday, November 20, elementary schools will dismiss students early for afternoon conferences, while middle and high schools are open the full day. Conferences for elementary and middle schools will take place Monday and Tuesday, November 23 and 24, with schools opening late on November 23 and closing early November 24 and high schools open the full days. All parents are encouraged to contact teachers directly to schedule conferences at other times as needed throughout the school year.

    • Thanksgiving break is Wednesday-Friday, November 25-27.

    • Winter break begins Wednesday, December 23, 2015, and schools reopen Monday, January 4, 2016.

    • Spring break begins Monday, March 21, with schools reopening Tuesday, March 29.

    Calendar Committee members include FCPS parents, teachers, administrators, a student, a business representative and others. They based calendar decisions on maximizing instructional time for students, legal requirements and recommendations received from community-engagement forums, written comments including email and a Twitter Town Hall, and from representatives of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Council of Frederick County, Frederick Association of School Support Employees, Frederick County Administrative and Supervisory Association and the Frederick County Teachers Association.

    In the approved calendar, students attend school 180 days, as Maryland law requires. On the days that teachers work when school is not in session, they review assessments, prepare lessons, evaluate student work, and engage in professional development.

    FCPS has posted additional details online at www.fcps.org/calendar.

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  • Superintendent to Present Proposed Budget

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/16/2014
    For 2015-2016 School Year
    Frederick County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban invites the public to a presentation and frank discussion about school operating budget priorities for the 2015-2016 school year (FY2016).
    The FCPS Building Frederick’s Future: Education at a Crossroad event will take place Wednesday, January 7, from 7-8 p.m., in the Tuscarora High School auditorium. The snow date is Tuesday, January 13. Before the community’s focus is primarily on the coming holidays, FCPS invites everyone interested in public education to mark the calendar to attend when schools re-open.
    Linganore High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) students will open the presentation. Tuscarora High School jazz ensemble students will perform.
    Superintendent Alban has hosted recent community discussions to gather community members’ ideas and concerns regarding educational priorities and overcoming budget limitations. The public is also welcome to participate in a Twitter chat today, Tuesday, December 16 at 7 p.m. at #FCPSBudget. And FCPS invites the public to use a dedicated email address to provide feedback: ThePromise@fcps.org.
    Dr. Alban will take all community feedback into account while preparing her 2015-2016 school year budget presentation. After the January 7 event, she will present the proposed budget to the Board of Education for its review. The budget calendar is online at www.fcps.org/budget. FCPS will post updated budget documents and video links there as we move through the budget season.
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  • Kemptown Elementary Is Named Blue Ribbon School!

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/10/2014
    Today Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian M. Lowery recognized Kemptown Elementary School in Frederick County (KES) as one of only six 2015 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools. Principal Kristen Canning was in Baltimore with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban to hear the great news.
    The school day started at Kemptown Elementary with staff and students learning the news during morning announcements. Principal Canning congratulated students, staff and the entire Kemptown Elementary community “with enormous pride and a full heart.”
    Rigorous state and national requirements for high achievement and significant improvement serve as the basis for Blue Ribbon School selection, according to Maryland State Department of Education spokesman William Reinhard.
    “Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools stand as shining examples of the outstanding education taking place at public schools throughout our State,” said Dr. Lowery.
    The Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement especially among disadvantaged and minority students. Each year since 1982, Maryland has joined the U.S. Department of Education in seeking out schools where students attain and maintain high academic goals, including those that beat the odds.
    “The accomplishments of Kemptown Elementary School’s leadership, teachers and students, supported with strong family and community engagement, have resulted in this award-winning achievement,” says Superintendent Alban.
    Kemptown Elementary will receive a proclamation from the Governor, a Maryland Blue Ribbon School Flag, gifts and prizes for classroom use and honors at a State dinner in Annapolis. The Maryland General Assembly will also honor the school and principal with tributes on the floor of the House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate. The State Superintendent, elected officials, corporate sponsors, and other dignitaries will visit Kemptown Elementary during a Blue Ribbon School Tour of Excellence.
    Nine other Frederick County public schools have received national Blue Ribbon School awards: New Market Elementary—2010, Windsor Knolls Middle—2002, Middletown Middle—1998, Yellow Springs Elementary—1994, Frederick High and Linganore High—1993, Gov. Thomas Johnson High—1991, Middletown Elementary—1990 and Middletown High—1987.
    Kemptown Elementary is in the running for national Blue Ribbon School recognition. About 360 students attend the school, which has about 50 staff members.
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  • FCPS to Celebrate Silver Anniversary

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/10/2014
    25th Year of King Award Winners: Past Winners Invited!

    FCPS invites all former King Award winners to join current students and the public in celebrating a very special silver anniversary: It’s the 25th year that FCPS will honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration is Thursday, January 15*, 7 p.m., at Governor Thomas Johnson High.

    “We ask past King Award winners able to attend to please let us know by emailing your name to me so we can reserve special seating for you,” says Denise Fargo-Devine, who is helping to coordinate this year’s event. Her email address is Denise.FargoDevine@fcps.org.

    “This celebration is a unique opportunity to recognize current and former students for their good character and willingness to serve their school community. Dr. King often spoke about the importance of service. Our students demonstrate that Dr. King’s dream is alive,” says Maria Whittemore, FCPS coordinator for Education That Is Multicultural.

    The program will include special musical presentations, remarks and recognitions.

    Dr. Alban and a BOE member will present awards. Student emcees will announce the outstanding student that each county public school has selected to receive a “King Award.” To earn the award, the student must have demonstrated leadership qualities characteristic of Dr. King and exhibited the Character Counts! pillars: responsibility, caring, fairness, trustworthiness, citizenship and respect.

    *The snow date for this event is Thursday, January 22.
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  • Parent Involvement Matters Award

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/5/2014
    Nominations Due Friday, January 30

    The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is accepting nominations for the eighth annual Parent Involvement Matters Awards (PIMA). This award program honors parents and guardians whose exemplary contributions to public education have led to improvements for Maryland’s public school children, teachers, schools, programs and/or policies.
    According to Donna Quatman-Wilder, FCPS Family and Community Involvement teacher specialist, “Frederick County is fortunate to have so many parents who volunteer their time and talents to support our students and schools. The PIMA award is a wonderful opportunity to honor one of these parents for their outstanding service and also highlight the impact of parent involvement in our schools.”
    Twenty-four semifinalists will be selected – one parent from each of Maryland’s 24 public school districts. Of the semifinalists, MSDE will name five finalists and one state winner at an award celebration in the spring. Last year, Margaret Osborne won the local award for her service to Whittier Elementary.
    Complete eligibility, criteria, process information and nomination guidelines are available at www.fcps.org/awards. Nomination packages must be postmarked by Friday, January 30, 2015, and mailed to the Maryland State Department of Education, Office of Communications, Partnerships, and Grants, 7th Floor, ATTN: PIMA, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Please send a copy of the nomination package to Donna Quatman-Wilder, FCPS, 191 S. East Street, Frederick MD 21701.
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  • BOE Elects Officers

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/3/2014

    Today the Board of Education of Frederick County held a meeting to elect officers for the coming year. Brad W. Young accepted the position of BOE president, and Liz Barrett accepted the position of vice president.

    Mr. Young has served on the Board since December 2010.  He was Board president for 2010-2011 and is liaison to the Board's Endowment Fund Committee and the Frederick County Parks & Recreation Committee.  A graduate of Governor Thomas Johnson High, Mr. Young earned an associate’s degree in business at Frederick Community College, a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Maryland, College Park and master’s degree in business from Frostburg State University. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional and a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, he also holds certificates from the Northwestern Graduate Trust School and the Cannon Financial Institute Trust School.  Mr. Young is president and CEO of Maryland Financial Planners and serves on the planned giving committee for Frederick Memorial Hospital. He is also president of the Frederick County Estate Planning Council and a member of Frederick Rotary, an adjunct faculty member at Mount St. Mary’s University and a softball coach at Hood College.  Mr. Young served 15 years on the Frederick Community College Board of Trustees, six years on the Board of the Maryland Association of Community College Trustees, six years on the Board of the Association of Community College Trustees and six on the Board of Advisors for the Universities of Shady Grove. He and his wife, Cheryl, have three children.

    Ms. Barrett was the top vote-getter in the recent BOE election. A graduate of Middletown high, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and ethics from King’s College, Pennsylvania, a master’s in English from the University of Maryland College Park and a juris doctorate from the American University, Washington College of Law.  Ms. Barrett works as a federal consultant focusing on strategic planning, business process improvement, and policy and regulatory affairs, in particular gender-based equal pay and civil rights work. She has served as director of Communication and Regulatory Policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She also taught composition and literature at Anne Arundel Community College and the College of Southern Maryland. Ms. Barrett is an FCPS volunteer and serves on the Frederick County Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Advocacy Committee.  She works with a number of other poverty and human rights advocacy organizations.  She has two sons who attend Frederick County public schools.

    Other BOE members are Zakir Bengali, Colleen E. Cusimano, Kathryn B. Groth, April F. Miller and Joy Schaefer.  The student member is Emmanuel Apea from Urbana High. 

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  • 15 Schools Restricted to Out-of-District Transfers

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/2/2014
    Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) will restrict out-of-district transfers at 15 schools in the 2015-16 school year, in accordance with FCPS regulation 400-78.
    Based on enrollment projections, the following schools will be at or over 100% capacity when school opens in August 2015. Consequently, their enrollment is limited only to those students who reside within each school’s respective attendance area. Restricted elementary schools are: Brunswick, Centerville, Deer Crossing, Hillcrest, Monocacy, New Market, Tuscarora, Urbana, Walkersville, Waverley, Whittier and Yellow Springs. Restricted middle schools are Oakdale and Urbana. The only restricted high school is Urbana.
    FCPS publishes a list of restricted schools annually: http://www.fcps.org/Page/279. Students who at that time are already attending a school outside the attendance area where they live may continue at that school and need not reapply for an out-of-district transfer.
    Parents and guardians must renew out-of-district transfers for students when they transition from PreK to elementary, elementary to middle school or from middle to high school.
    Transfer requests for students whose day care providers are located outside their assigned attendance area will be denied if the school the child would be attending has been declared restricted. Siblings of students already attending restricted schools will need to submit an out-of-district application.
    The at-capacity schools that are restricted for out-of-district transfers in August 2015 will continue under that designation as long as they are at 100% capacity or greater. Should their enrollments drop below maximum capacity in the fall, FCPS will re-open them to out-of-district requests.
    Parents or guardians who wish to request an out-of-district transfer may apply by completing the appropriate form, available at all local public schools, online at www.fcps.org/forms or at the FCPS Student Services office, 191 South East Street, Frederick.

    The Student Services Office will accept requests beginning February 2, 2015.
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  • Swearing-In Ceremony for New BOE

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/1/2014
    Tuesday, December 2, 11 a.m.

    Newly elected and re-elected members of the Board of Education of Frederick County—Liz Barrett, Colleen Cusimano, April Miller and Brad Young—will take the oath of office for their four-year terms on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. The brief ceremony begins at 11 a.m. in the Board Room at 191 S. East Street, Frederick. FCPS Television will broadcast the swearing-in live on Comcast Channel 18.
    Voters chose the four newly elected and re-elected members from among eight candidates on the ballot in the November 4 election. Other BOE members are Zakir Bengali, Kathryn Groth and Joy Schaefer; Jean A. Smith’s tenure, which began in 1994 as an appointed member, is ending. Emmanuel Apea is the nonvoting student representative to the board, serving a 1-year term through June 2015. Nominations are open for the 2015-2016 student member of the board until January 9.
    Election of officers will take place Wednesday, December 3 at 2 p.m. The annual meeting of the BOE is Wednesday, December 17 at 6 p.m. It will occur in the Board Room at 191 S. East Street, Frederick.
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  • Join the FCPS Conversation

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/1/2014
    Community Night Town Hall Meetings and More
    Frederick County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban invites the public to community conversations about public education and funding priorities. FCPS staff will describe the budget process and changes resulting from the county’s new governmental structure.

    Opportunities for the public to learn and share ideas are as follows:

    Tuesday, December 9, 7-8:30 PM
    West Frederick Middle Cafeteria
    Interpreting services and child care are provided.

    Thursday, December 11, 7-8:30 PM
    Walkersville Elementary Cafeteria
    Child care is provided.

    Tuesday, December 16, 7-8 PM
    Twitter Chat, an online opportunity for engagement
    FCPS staff will ask questions from the FCPS Twitter account, @FCPSMaryland, and would appreciate your feedback! Join the conversation by including #fcpsbudget in your tweet.

    After hearing from the public, Superintendent Alban will present her proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016 on Wednesday, January 7.

    Please join in an opportunity to share what's important to you regarding public education. FCPS also invites questions and comments via email to FCPS.budget@fcps.org.

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  • Student BOE Member Nominations Open

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 12/1/2014
    Process Will Include Town Hall and Candidate Forum

    High school sophomores and juniors who attend Frederick County public schools may apply to serve as the 2015-2016 Student Member of the Board of Education. The nomination deadline is Friday, January 9, 2015 for the term beginning in July 2015.
    The role of the student member is to bring a student viewpoint on educational issues to BOE meetings, generally held two evenings monthly. The function is not to represent any particular special-interest group of students on an issue but rather to respect the diversity of students’ viewpoints, to improve communication between the student body, staff and BOE members and to inform students of policies and decisions executed by the BOE.
    Interested sophomores and juniors should contact their student government adviser for a nomination packet or visit http://www.fcps.org/domain/43. In addition to students nominating themselves, student government advisers and principals may nominate a student. Applicants must complete the entire student packet, including nomination form, letter of recommendation and response to four questions in paragraphs of no more than 250 words per question (not bulleted lists) by the nomination deadline, submitting materials to FCPS Social Studies Curriculum Specialist Michael Bunitsky, 191 South East Street, Frederick, MD 21701.
    A selection panel including the Frederick County Association of Student Councils (FCASC) Board and Student Government Association (SGA) advisers will review applications and narrow the field to five candidates on Thursday, January 15. Next, at a Thursday, January 22 meeting (snow date: Thursday, February 5), each candidate will answer questions in a Town Hall format, 5-6:30 p.m. at the FCPS Central Office Board Room. Candidates will each submit a one-page platform statement to post online. Then on Thursday, January 29 (snow date: February 5), nominees will participate in a Candidate Forum, answering moderator questions from 5-6:30 p.m., also at the FCPS Central Office Board Room.
    This is the fourth year that the selection process will include online student voting. Online voting will occur Wednesday, February 18-Wednesday, March 4 for students in all middle and high schools. Voting will determine whom the school’s SGA representatives support in a Wednesday, April 29 General Assembly. Student enrollment determines a school’s number of representative delegates.
    Finally, the FCASC will submit the name of the candidate who garnered the majority of representative votes cast by school delegates to the FCPS Superintendent. The new student member will have the opportunity to job shadow the outgoing member in May and June.
    For further information, please call 301-644-5265.
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