• FCPS Demonstrates Strong Performance

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 7/11/2014
    In Midst of Major Transitions

    The Maryland State Department of Education has released test data from 2013-2014 Maryland School Assessments (MSA). Frederick County Public Schools’ (FCPS) students continue to demonstrate strong performance in the midst of major transitions.

    In elementary reading the statewide average of students achieving at the advanced/proficient levels was 84.3 percent, while FCPS students scored 92 percent. Elementary math scores were at 75.8 percent advanced/proficient statewide and 84.3 percent for FCPS. Middle school reading scores were at 79.6 percent statewide and 85 percent for FCPS. Middle school math scores were 63.1 percent statewide and 67.5 for FCPS. MSA science performance remained the same at 77 percent for our fifth graders and 80 percent for our 8th graders.

    The MSDE web-posted data reminds viewers that MSA data does not include the entire student population at FCPS, as up to 10 percent of our students, randomly chosen, took assessments based on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARRC). FCPS has fully completed the transition to new state standards at all grade levels during the past school year in reading and mathematics, but with accountability frozen throughout the transition during which Maryland School Assessments and curriculum were misaligned, uses of the data are very limited.

    “FCPS exercises caution in comparing data or placing too much emphasis on scores from assessments that were not yet aligned with curricula,” says Dr. Jeanine Molock, the school system’s director of Research, Development and Accountability. “Our focus remains more on monitoring student performance in this period of transition than on test scores from the portion of students still taking the MSA, which was not aligned to our updated curricula. Our goal is continuous improvement in achievement for all students.”
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  • Dr. Michael Markoe Named Deputy Superintendent

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 7/9/2014
    MMarkoe Frederick County Public Schools has named Dr. Michael Markoe the school system’s new deputy superintendent, effective August 1, 2014. Dr. Markoe will fill the vacancy created when Dr. Steve Lockard resigned to work in Fairfax County, Virginia, Public Schools. |

    Dr. Markoe will plan and oversee the administration and leadership of schools systemwide. With 20 years of experience in public education, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in special education from Millersville University in Pennsylvania and master’s degree in educational leadership from Hood College. In 2008, he completed his Ed.D. in an interdisciplinary doctoral program for educational leaders at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    A career educator, Dr. Markoe brings to the position extensive experience, most recently as associate superintendent for Educational Improvement and Innovation at Washington County Public Schools (WCPS), Maryland. He started his career in education at Monocacy Middle School in Frederick, where he was special education teacher and later student support teacher. He was promoted to assistant principal in 1999, assigned to Governor Thomas Johnson Middle School. In 2002 he accepted an assignment at Washington County Public Schools as principal of Western Heights Middle. He was promoted in 2004 to Student Services and Special Education director. From 2006 to 2012 he worked in WCPS leadership positions including acting assistant to the superintendent for System-Wide Improvement, Efficiency and Accountability, assistant superintendent for Elementary Education and assistant superintendent for Student and Staff Support.

    During Dr. Markoe’s tenure as assistant and associate superintendent, he oversaw systemwide professional development and the departments of Human Resources, Special Education, Student Services, Development and Community Partnerships, Public Information, School Counseling and Health Services, Safety and Security, and Title I and II Programs. He co-chaired the WCPS Diversity Recruitment Taskforce and the Teacher Leadership Responsibilities Program, chaired the Social Media and Calendar committees, directed a Teacher Incentive Fund grant, led negotiations with teacher and educational support personnel associations, taught school law as an adjunct professor for Hood College and much more.

    “I am confident that Dr. Markoe’s proven commitment to excellence in public education, his record of leadership and his passion for high academic achievement for all students will contribute substantially to our mission of delivering a premier education to students across Frederick County,” said Dr. Terry Alban, FCPS superintendent.

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  • FCPS Announces New Director and Principals

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 7/9/2014
    For Middletown and Tuscarora High

    Frederick, MD (July 9, 2014) – Frederick County Public Schools announces a new instructional director and new principals at two more schools. Kathleen Schlappal is promoted from Tuscarora High principal to director of high schools, a role she will take over fully when Larkin Hohnke retires in January. That leaves a vacancy at Tuscarora High, to which Andrew Kibler is promoted from assistant principal at Frederick High. In addition, Lee Jeffrey will become principal at Middletown High, replacing Denise Fargo-Devine, who retired.

    Ms. Schlappal holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts in history and social studies education from the University of Delaware in Newark. She has also completed post-graduate work in education at Iowa State University in Ames and in administration and supervision at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She taught social studies for five years in Wisconsin before beginning her career with FCPS in 1993, teaching social studies at Windsor Knolls Middle. In 1998 she was promoted to assistant principal of Middletown Middle, later transferring to Brunswick High. In 2005, Ms. Schlappal was promoted to principal of Middletown High and then transferred in 2008 to Tuscarora High.

    Mr. Kibler earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York in 1995. He earned his Master of Science degree in educational leadership at McDaniel College, Westminster, Maryland, in 2005. He taught middle school in New York before relocating to teach history in Prince Georges and Howard counties in Maryland from 1998-2005. Mr. Kibler began his FCPS career as assistant principal at Governor Thomas Johnson High in 2005 and then transferred to Frederick High.

    Ms. Jeffrey earned her Bachelor of Science degree in math from West Virginia University in Morgantown in 1986, and Master of Leadership and Administration from Loyola University in Baltimore in 1996. She began her education career in Queen Anne’s County, where she taught math for eight years. She also served on the administrative staff at St. John’s Regional Catholic School from 1996-1998. In 1998, Ms. Jeffrey came to FCPS as assistant principal for New Market Middle. During the last 16 years she has worked as assistant principal for Catoctin, Tuscarora and Middletown high schools.

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  • Teacher Honored among 5 Nationwide

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 7/7/2014
    PhilArnold Arnold Named 2014 Exemplary Mentor

    Philip Arnold, who teaches Computer-Aided Design (CAD) in architecture and engineering at the Frederick County Public Schools’ Career and Technology Center, was recently named one of five nationwide 2014 ACE Exemplary Mentors. A jury of his peers across the country who earned awards in 2013 selected Mr. Arnold because of his significant contributions to students, fellow mentors and the Frederick ACE—Architecture, Construction, Engineering—affiliate.

    “There is no substitute for experience,” announces the ACE Mentor Program website, and Mr. Arnold has plenty of it to share with students. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Virginia Tech in 1986 and pursuing graduate studies in systems engineering at the University of Maryland, he worked first in the field of water resources engineering throughout the U.S. and in China. Next, Mr. Arnold moved into software development and systems engineering for large-scale projects including an integrated e-mail system and satellite communications in North America as well as systems integration and information technology in the mobile communications and pharmaceutical industries. He was active in two start-up companies: one that established mobile communications in five U.S. markets and Puerto Rico, and one that launched Internet data centers in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, which, he says, carry 70% of the Internet traffic in South America today.

    “And then,” says Arnold, “the world of teaching presented the chance to help prepare students for even greater adventures than the many I've enjoyed...and I'm loving it.”

    This past year, 2,500 mentors worked with about 8,000 students nationwide. According to the ACE Mentor Program of America executive director John Strock and the program’s website, two-thirds of ACE students enter college with plans to study architecture, engineering or construction. Driven by the committed and enthusiastic participation of volunteer mentors, ACE provides high school students with role models and career advisors who are passionate about what they do. The right mix of knowledge, passion and rapport makes a great ACE mentor, one who experiences a profound sense of altruistic "giving back" when involved with ACE and its young participants — the gratification that comes with sharing knowledge and wisdom with eager students. As one of the five 2014 ENR/McGraw-Hill – ACE Exemplary Mentors, Mr. Arnold epitomizes the dedication and effectiveness of ACE’s several thousand other mentors.

    In Mr. Arnold’s honor, the Frederick ACE affiliate will receive a $2,500 student scholarship to be named after him. The Engineering News-Record (ENR) sponsors the national awards with McGraw Hill and the ACE Mentor Program of America.

    For more information about the award and ACE Mentor Program of America, please visit www.acementor.org.

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  • Help Stuff the Bus!

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 7/7/2014
    School Supply Drive Underway
    Each year generous Frederick County businesses and citizens help students start school with the necessary supplies that some families cannot provide. This year is no exception, and the school supply drives in all Frederick communities are underway.
    The Frederick County Public Schools’ (FCPS) Community Agency School Services(CASS) Program is partnering with community agencies and the United Way of Frederick County (UWFC) in the sixth annual Stuff the Bus campaign to collect school supplies for students, now through Friday, August 15. Many Frederick businesses and organizations are participating.
    On Wednesday, August 20, a big yellow FCPS bus will make stops at several businesses to pick up collected school supplies. Before then, the Stuff the Bus campaign will assist community partner agencies in their local school-supply distributions.
    The public may drop off supplies at the FCPS Central Office, 191 S. East Street, Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., or to the UWFC office at the Bernard W. Brown Community Center, 629 N. Market Street, in downtown Frederick.
    Other drop-off locations are New Hope United Methodist Church, 7 South Maryland Avenue, Brunswick; Graceham Moravian Church, 8231-A Rocky Road, Thurmont; Trinity United Methodist Church, 703 W. Patrick Street, Frederick; Middletown United Methodist Church, 7108 Fern Circle, Middletown; and the Glade Valley Food Bank, Town Hall basement, Walkersville.
    Employees of the Battelle National Biodefense Institute, LLC (BNBI) have already donated 1,000 backpacks for the school system’s CASS coordinators to distribute to students in need. Other community partners are the Brunswick Ecumenical Assistance Committee, the Catoctin Community School Supply Committee, Glade Valley Community Services, Middletown Valley People Helping People, the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, and the Urbana Food Pantry.
    Items needed range from loose-leaf paper, pens, notebooks, flash drives and binders to pocket folders. Also, needed are boxes of tissues, bottles of hand sanitizer and zippered storage bags of various sizes.
    For more information, please call 301-644-5238.
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  • CTC Students in Nation's Top 10

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 7/1/2014
    Ten students from the Frederick County Public Schools’ Career and Technology Center (CTC) recently placed in the nation’s top ten in the 50th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference and Championships in Kansas City, MO. They competed against more than 6,000 students from across the nation and U.S. territories.
    Amanda Ponce placed fourth nationwide in Basic Health Care Skills; the team of David Green, Alondra Herrera and Esther Shafer placed fifth nationwide for Outstanding Chapter; Nicholas Rakowski placed sixth nationwide in Architectural Drafting; Erin Hessong placed seventh nationwide in Employment Application Process; and the team of Sophia Eureka, Eric Myers, Maria Olney and Benjamin Wetzel placed tenth nationwide in Broadcast News Production.
    Also recognized for outstanding achievement were Cearrah Sherman for placing 12th nationwide in Job Interview; Alex Kravchenko and Kyle Lokey for placing 15th in Web Design; and Louis Bell, Sprio Millios and Ben Olson for placing 27th in the Welding Fabrication Team competition.
    To be eligible to compete at the national level, each of the 16 students had already won at the local, regional and state levels. At the national level of this $35 million event, there were technical competitions and written-test competencies that representatives from the technical professions designed and administered. These included professionals from trade associations and labor organizations as well as instructors from colleges and post-secondary technical institutes. Students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in one of 99 occupational areas.
    For more information about the FCPS CTC, please contact Principal Michael.Concepcion@fcps.org or Advisor Martha.Lowry@fcps.org, 240-236-8500. For more about the competition please visit http://www.skillsusa.org/.

    Left to right, front row: Kyle Lokey and Amanda Ponce
    Second row: Cearrah Sherman, Alondra Herrera and Maria Olney
    Third row: Erin Hessong, Esther Shafer, Ben Wetzel, Sophia Eureka and Nicholas Rakowski
    Last row: David Green, Sprio Millios, Ben Olson, Alex Kravchenko, Louis Bell and Eric Myers
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  • Back-to-School Community Night

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 7/1/2014
    Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) and the Eliminating Achievement Gaps (EAG) organization announce a back-to-school community night scheduled for Monday, September 15 from 7-9 p.m. at Governor Thomas Johnson High School.

    The event will offer an opportunity to talk to teachers one-on-one about the FCPS curriculum and to learn more about a wide range of FCPS programs and resources for families. Ten specific information sessions are being offered including a special focus on minority achievement and ongoing work to close achievement gaps that exist for minority student groups. Everyone who has an interest in education in Frederick County or who wants to learn more about FCPS is invited to attend. Child care will be provided at the event. For more information on the sessions and to reserve a spot, go to http://education.fcps.org/business/node/416.
    “This is going to be an amazing event for families,” said FCPS 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.”
    “We are so pleased to sponsor this event with FCPS,” remarked EAG President Jay Mason. “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.”
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  • Parent Re-Energizes School Community

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 6/30/2014
    OsbornePIMA Margaret Osborne Earns Parent-Involvement Award

    When connections between home and school were declining at Whittier Elementary due to reorganization within the school’s PTA, parent Margaret Osborne stepped in to create opportunities to re-engage families and rebuild a sense of community at the school. Her dedication to student success and passion for family-school partnerships recently earned her the 2014 Maryland State Department of Education’s Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA) for Frederick County. The PIMA recognizes parents and legal guardians for their exceptional support of public education.

    In the photo, left to right: Whittier Elementary Principal Amy Schwiegerath, 2014 PIMA winner Margaret Osborne, FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban and Board of Education President Joy Schaefer

    In her first year as PTA president, Ms. Osborne has worked to re-energize the PTA and re-establish a positive connection between families and the school. Successful on both fronts, she manages the PTA’s Facebook page, creates a monthly newsletter, and coordinates numerous family and community events. Ms. Osborne continues to collaborate with school administrators to provide more opportunities for all parents to be involved at the school.

    “She takes all feedback from the community and truly listens to what people are saying,” says Whittier Elementary Principal Amy Schwiegerath, who nominated Ms. Osborne for the award. “Our PTA attendance has been the best ever.”

    In addition to serving as PTA president, Ms. Osborne volunteers in the classroom. She also serves as a parent representative to the student council, where she has helped students organize several charity events focused on school improvement and the community.

    According to Krista Maughan, a fifth grade teacher at Whittier Elementary, “Throughout her involvement, Margaret has supported programs which advocate for responsible system or policy changes, and she has truly served as a vital representative for our school, teachers, students, families and the community at large.”

    In a letter supporting Ms. Osborne’s nomination, Whittier Elementary Assistant Principal Lorcan O hEithir wrote, “Without Margaret Osborne’s active involvement, we would not have made nearly as much progress in the past 18 months as we have done. The school is an open, welcoming and community-oriented environment where parents are frequently involved and engaged in the efforts for continuous improvement.”

    The Board of Education recognized Ms. Osborne for this achievement at their meeting on Wednesday, June 25, after the MSDE recognized her and 23 other semifinalists at a special celebration on Friday, May 16.

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  • FCPS Announces Two New Principals

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 6/26/2014
    Frederick Classical Charter and Twin Ridge

    Two more schools in Frederick County will have new principals starting July 1. They are the Frederick Classical Charter School and Twin Ridge Elementary. Erica Cummins has agreed to serve as principal at the FCCS and Susan Gullo at Twin Ridge.

    Ms. Cummins will fill the vacancy created when Jacqueline Piro accepted work teaching social studies at Urbana Middle. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a Master of Education in school administration from Salisbury University in Maryland. Ms. Cummins began her teaching career in Salisbury, Maryland, teaching fifth grade in 2000. From 2001-2007 she taught algebra, science, language arts and enrichment at the middle school level. In 2007, she became the dean of students at the high school level and in 2009 the High School Assessments bridge plan coordinator. She began her administrative career as a primary school assistant principal in 2010, transferring to the high school level in 2013.

    Ms. Gullo will fill the vacancy created when Dr. Ayesha McArthur resigned. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Towson State University and Master of Library Media Science from Western Maryland College as well as Administrator I and II certification. Ms. Gullo began her career with FCPS teaching first grade and reading recovery at Spring Ridge Elementary in 1992. In 2000 she became the school’s media specialist. She transferred to Thurmont Primary in 2001, remaining there until her 2003 promotion to assistant principal at Monocacy Elementary. In 2012, Ms. Gullo transferred to Urbana Elementary.
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  • Dream Team Places 2nd Nationwide

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 6/26/2014
    WHS Dream Team National Mini-Urban Challenge

    The Dream Team, four Frederick County Public Schools’ students from the Walkersville High Engineering Club, headed for the National Mini-Urban Challenge in Florida this month and placed second!

    The Mini-Urban Challenge is a national
    competition sponsored by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory that challenges high school students to design and operate a robotic car to autonomously navigate a model city. The cars are developed using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education kits that are provided free to high school teams.  The teams earn placement based on their total scores, with 70% based on navigating a mini city and 30% based on their presentation.

    Dream Team students Ellen Gupta, Justin Massey, Roshan Rao and Dayquon White competed for Walkersville High against the top two teams from each region of the United States. During the competition, teams were given parking assignments within a model city and 45 minutes to program their car. They then had 45 minutes to score as many points as possible by correctly parking in all of the assigned parking spots and obeying the speed limits, stop signs and one-way street signs without hitting any buildings or other obstacles.

    Five teams at nationals achieved perfect scores, Walkersville among them. The final results came down to how the students presented their concepts to the judges.

    “In the end our students represented themselves and our school very well, placing second nationwide” said James Thuman, Walkersville High Career and Technology Education Department chair and pre-engineering instructor, who accompanied the team to nationals. “They won $1,000 for the school's Engineering Club and competition expenses,” Thuman said.

    The Doolittle Institute sponsors the challenge. More information and photos are online at http://miniurbanchallenge.com/.

    Students shown in photo, left to right, with Doolittle Institute sponsors:  Roshan Rao, Justin Massey, Dayquon White and Ellen Gupta
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Last Modified on July 11, 2014