With students having completed the school year June 19, and the teachers’ year ending June 20, people often assume that schools are all on summer break. It may come as a surprise how much activity continues at schools over the summer.
Here’s a sampling of what’s happening at local schools this summer:
More than 400 educators from throughout FCPS are developing and updating curriculum and assessments, along with teacher-support materials, in curriculum workshops that will run through July 18 at Oakdale High.
FCPS Virtual School staff are overseeing middle and high school summer programs. Principal Dr. Stacey Adamiak says the summer programs host about 650 students with 70 employees in a dozen locations. Virtual School summer options feature three programs for students engaged in learning for original credit, grade improvement or to meet standards for promotion to high school. Most summer school classes began July 1 and run through July 31 (closed Fridays except July 5). Many take place at Gov. Thomas Johnson Middle School, while each high school also hosts summer learning options. The FCPS summer session graduation ceremony is Thursday, August 1.
FCPS has invited more than 900 students from all grade levels to attend Extended School Year (ESY) programs at 10 elementary, one middle and two high schools and at the Rock Creek School, Mondays-Thursdays from July 8-August 1. Though only offered at certain schools, classes serve students countywide, and transportation is provided. The program helps students maintain and strengthen skills learned during the school year.
Numerous FCPS summer camps and various sports programs are engaging students across the county. Examples are the FCPS Earth and Space Science Lab summer camps, which still have openings, the We Are the World languages camp at Ballenger Creek Middle for second and third graders, and Young Scholars programs for elementary, middle and high school students.
A Maryland State Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant helps another 240 students enjoy the annual Fun Academics in the Summertime (FAST) program, July 8 through August 8 at six schools, with more than 75 teachers, instructional assistants and other staff; TeamLink and the YMCA of Frederick County partner with FCPS to provide this opportunity. In addition, this year, an MSDE grant-funded program called Learning in Extended Academic Programs (LEAP) brings a summer program to Hillcrest Elementary, June 24 through August 15. Thirty teachers, instructional assistants and other staff work with the YMCA to provide this full-day opportunity to children in second though fifth grades.
While Food and Nutrition Services staff plan menus and serve summer meals, Human Resources employees schedule and coordinate hundreds of interviews, run background checks and monitor certifications to staff schools and offices. Communication specialists prepare the Calendar Handbook, manage FindOutFirst updates, script, film and edit videos, keep up social media posts, update websites and manage design and printing requests to prepare materials for the new school year. They also plan countywide back-to-school events like the popular September CommUNITY Resource Fair and help Fiscal Services complete the annual award-winning budget book. In Fiscal Services, the budget process is ongoing. For a school system preparing to serve 43,000 students, there are thousands of employees’ pay records to process for the new fiscal year.
Though school bus transportation continues on a smaller scale, summer is when routes and schedules are determined for fall, so FCPS can post bus numbers and times online in August. Facilities Services crews take advantage of summer months to install generators, replace flooring, fire alarms, windows and doors, renovate auditoriums, modify classrooms, relocate portables, repair pavement, recondition playing fields, and replace and repair HVAC systems. Teams of custodial professionals deep-clean their schools from top to bottom, moving all the furniture to wash and wax floors and shampoo carpets, scrub desks and chairs, and more. Construction work remains underway at Urbana Elementary in preparation for its opening in a year.
In addition to activities described, FCPS has transitioned to a four-day summer schedule, with year-round employees working longer days and all schools and offices closed Fridays until normal schedules resume Monday, August 19. The Central Office is open to the public 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays and closed Fridays. This week is an exception, when employees have Thursday, July 4 off and work normal hours the rest of the week, including Friday.
Watch for back-to-school resources, including school-supply lists and meet-the-teacher schedules, to come online mid-July, along with other updates to www.fcps.org for the new school year.
Newly hired teachers start their workshops Monday, August 19 and finish Thursday, August 22, with all teachers reporting to work Friday, August 23 in preparation for the opening day of school for students, Tuesday, September 3.