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Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year

* Para ver esta información en español, utilice la función “Google Translate” en la parte inferior de esta página.

Superintendent's Update

See Dr. Alban's bi-monthly updates throughout the virtual learning model phase here.

Superintendent’s Update, October 15, 2020


Booker T. Washington once said, "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."

Together, we have overcome many obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the State Superintendent closed our schools, and we had to quickly implement a virtual “Continuity of Learning” plan for our students. The Continuity of Learning process was far from perfect; however, our FCPS families and staff pulled together and got through it as best we could. There were many lessons learned while overcoming this obstacle, lessons that would prove to be beneficial when facing the next mountain.

In June, over 194 staff and community members joined together to develop plans for surmounting two possible mountains — a fully virtual reopening of schools and a hybrid of virtual and face-to-face learning. Both of these mountains presented new paradigms for instructing 44,000 students. There were no pre-existing road maps to follow or number one best-selling books. FCPS families and staff had to develop plans for overcoming this obstacle.

When the Board voted in July to open in a fully virtual model, we began to modify our virtual plan as we received new guidance. Staff and families began to prepare for this unique opening of school. We have now been in a virtual learning model for seven weeks. We have faced several challenges, and it hasn’t been perfect; however, our teachers, support staff, administrators, parents and guardians have been relentless in their support for the students and resilient in continuously adapting and improving the model. I appreciate and value the work that everyone has done on behalf of our precious students.

Now, we stand together in front of another steep and unpredictable mountain—the transition to a hybrid model that returns more students to face-to-face instruction. Some are ready to start climbing this mountain now, and others are more cautious. I know that all of us ultimately want students returned safely to face-to-face instruction—because we know that is the best way for students to learn and connect.

We will all climb this mountain together!

However, as any mountain climber will tell you, there are things you must do prior to climbing.

  1. Prepare for the climb. Our administrators and staff have developed a state-approved school reopening plan for moving into the hybrid learning model. We have updated guidance regularly and offered step=by-step options for consideration.
  2. Take the time to research the mountain you are about to climb. Our administrators and staff monitor the research on COVID-19 and collaborate with the health department to ensure that our plans reflect new guidance and safety precautions. We also collaborate with colleagues across the state who are implementing small group or hybrid instruction to share best practices.
  3. Pack the items needed for survival. We have purchased the materials and supplies recommended by the CDC to ensure that our facilities will be ready and that our students and staff have the required PPE.
  4. Stretch before the climb. We have already started to move into a hybrid model slowly by bringing in small groups of students. We are learning from these small groups and adjusting procedures in our reopening plan as needed to support additional safety measures.
  5. Respect the power of nature. The COVID-19 virus is new, and research is continuously being updated. Working collaboratively with the Frederick County Health Department, our staff continues to monitor the latest research and metrics to support our climb because we value the many young climbers we are leading to this mountain, and we value the dedicated staff that will lead and support them throughout the climb.
    There is one more important tip for mountain climbers.
  6. Greet people along the trail. All of us have a unique story that we bring to the mountain. Let’s make this experience as pleasant as possible for all climbers, no matter where they are on this trail. Lend a hand. Share a smile. Stay positive. It means more than we realize.

Whether you are standing with us at the foot of the mountain saying climb now, or standing back saying not yet, we are all here together. We will overcome this obstacle…Together!