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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 the month of 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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  • No Kid Hungry! That's the Goal.

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/17/2014
    FCPS Launches Breakfast Challenge

    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.
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  • FCPS Goes to the Fair

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/13/2014
    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/


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  • Student to Meet with Congress, Senate, USDA

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/10/2014
    Nik Junior NBA Member
     
    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!”
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  • Learn About FCPS Curricula and More

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/8/2014
    At Community-Wide Back-to-School Night
     
    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.”
     
    Although registration is not required, FCPS encourages families to “reserve a spot” and register for one of the 10 classroom sessions: http://education.fcps.org/business/node/416

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  • BOE Seeks Calendar Committee Members

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/3/2014
    To Form Proposed 2015-16 School Year Calendar
     
    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.
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  • New Discipline Regulation

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/3/2014
    Reflects State Board Revisions
     
    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.
     
    The updates are online now at http://apps.fcps.org/dept/legal/400-08.pdf. Viewers are seeing the updated version if the amendment date is 8/25/14.
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  • Citizen Advisory Council Openings

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 9/2/2014
    BOE Is Launching New Group
     
    "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.
     
    Details and applicant requirements may be found in Policy 101.3: http://apps.fcps.org/dept/legal/101.pdf
     
    The application deadline is extended to Thursday, September 25.  To apply, please visit http://goo.gl/3S8Hr1
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