• Nedrow Earns Outstanding Teacher Award

    Posted by Emily Ahalt at 4/21/2014 9:05:00 AM
    Washington Post Will Honor Brunswick Teacher
    Brunswick Middle language arts teacher Amy Nedrow is the Frederick County recipient of a 2014 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. Each year, the Washington Post Educational Leadership Foundation presents this award to 21 outstanding teachers in our state and region to recognize excellence in teaching, encourage creative and quality instruction, and contribute to the improvement of education in the Washington-metropolitan area.
    A veteran teacher of nearly 20 years, Ms. Nedrow began her career with Frederick County Public Schools in 1996. An FCPS alum from Gov. Thomas Johnson High, she has spent her entire FCPS career teaching at Brunswick Middle.
    Barbara Keiling, Brunswick Middle principal, recommended Ms. Nedrow for this award: “Throughout her career, Mrs. Nedrow has contributed her talents to students and Frederick County Public Schools. Her classroom is highly engaging, and she is regularly tapped to mentor new teachers because of her exemplary instructional leadership. She is a proactive problem solver and always seeks solutions that reflect the best interests of her students.”
    Colleagues, parents and students also endorsed Ms. Nedrow’s nomination. A colleague wrote, “An electric energy seems to beckon, pull, and compel students and teachers into Amy Nedrow’s classroom, and it captures the attention of all who are invited or encouraged to stay. Mrs. Nedrow possesses a sizzling calm that keeps students and visitors focused and intrigued with the questions she delivers as she masterfully moves through and weaves together the lesson components.”
    A parent wrote that Ms. Nedrow “has mastered the elusive art of being firm but fair, having rules yet maintaining relationships, and she makes students feel that she is freely offering acceptance and encouragement.”
    And from one of the almost two dozen letters her students submitted: “Mrs. Nedrow is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had….She made every class fun and always was ready to help us learn. If we needed help or didn’t understand something, she was an amazing teacher and really deserves this award. Go Mrs. Nedrow!”
    Ms. Nedrow earned her Bachelor of Arts degree Magna Cum Laude from Frostburg State University in elementary education with a minor in French. She has completed Master’s equivalency work and chairs the Language Arts Department at Brunswick Middle School.
    The Washington Post will recognize Ms. Nedrow at a reception in Washington, DC next month.
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  • FCPS Continues Community Engagement on Budget, Technology

    Posted by Emily Ahalt at 4/17/2014 9:00:00 AM
    Teleconference, Twitter Chat Planned
    As the operating budget process for fiscal year 2015 continues, Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) is continuing efforts to engage the community. FCPS invites the public to participate in two community forums – a lunchtime teleconference with the Superintendent and evening Twitter Chat – to converse about the budget.
    Community members should be ready to share ideas and feedback about short- and long-term budget strategies and solutions, specifically as they relate to Technology Now, a new FCPS initiative to equip students and teachers with modern devices and software to support student learning.
    The teleconference is Thursday, April 24, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. To join in, dial 301-644-4002, and use the conference ID 66902. The teleconference, scheduled during the lunchtime hour, provides an opportunity for community members to discuss the FCPS budget directly with Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban, while allowing the flexibility of calling from any location. The Twitter Chat is slated for Wednesday, April 30, 7-8 p.m. FCPS and Dr. Alban will ask questions from @FCPSMaryland. Community members are invited to join the conversation by using the hashtag #FCPSTechNow in their tweets.
    Please help FCPS share information about these community forums. FCPS is seeking to increase community involvement in the budget process, identify funding needs and solutions, and create channels for the public’s voice to be heard. Community feedback from the sessions will be provided to the BOE for its consideration and deliberation.
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  • Farmer Mike & Volunteers Support Schools

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 4/17/2014
    Hillcrest and Waverley to Benefit
    Two Frederick County public schools and their communities are getting a big-time visit from Seeds of Life Nurseries, Inc. (SOL) founder Michael Dickson, aka Farmer Mike. At Hillcrest Elementary, he will begin arranging and sorting flowers and vegetable plants at 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 17 in preparation for the arrival of 300-400 volunteers to join in a Hope4Frederick project that takes the place of this year’s Convoy of Hope visit.
    Volunteers are invited to arrive and begin planting in the Hillcrest and Waverley Elementary communities at 9 a.m. By about noon, they will plant any remaining flowers at Hillcrest Elementary.
    Then at 1 p.m., the school will host a community information fair in the cafeteria featuring representatives from organizations such as United Way of Frederick County and the Boys and Girls Club to distribute information to families regarding various community resources. In addition, the Hillcrest PTA will sponsor a yard sale.
    At about 3 p.m., Farmer Mike and volunteers will distribute free food in the gym. According to Hillcrest Principal Kim Seiss, Farmer Mike expects to give away 30,000-50,000 pounds of food at the school that day.
    Part of this year’s goal, according to Farmer Mike, is to provide educational stations that will help community members throughout the year. Stations at the information fair will include resources about topics such as resume’ building, interview preparation and job opportunities; budgeting; health screenings and nutrition; counseling resources for families and for individuals battling addiction; legal, transportation, food and housing assistance; volunteer opportunities; home and vehicle maintenance; afterschool and summer activities; and more. Interested groups are invited to email solnurseries@gmail.com for information about participating.
    Waterboyz for Jesus, Waterlilyz for Jesus and many area churches will participate in the 3rd annual Day of Bringing Beauty to the Hillcrest and Waverley neighborhoods. The public may attend classes in sewing and computer skills throughout the day.
    More information about Farmer Mike and the SOL is online at http://solnurseries.info/ and at 301-401-2456.
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  • FCPS Needs Grant Writers

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 4/16/2014
    Seeks Help from Community Members
    Frederick County Public Schools needs grant writers. The school system is working to move forward with a project to provide the county’s public school students and teachers with modern learning technology. The initiative, called Technology Now, aims to equip local students and teachers with updated devices and software.
    "We believe it is our obligation to provide the modern tools and resources that students need to be best prepared for their futures," said FCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Steve Lockard.
    While the Board of Education is working with Frederick County to fund the initiative, FCPS is also seeking outside funding to ensure that the program is sustainable over the long term. FCPS seeks community expertise to write the most effective proposals possible. School administrators hope to work with 5-10 community members who have a strong writing ability to help FCPS staff in the effort to prepare funding proposals and develop grant applications.
    Dr. Lockard explained that “Technology Now is a significant project that will make a tangible, positive difference in the lives of the young people of Frederick County. Community members who are able to use their writing skills to help us secure sustainable long-term funding for the program will be providing a meaningful service for our children and our teachers.”
    The project to secure sustainable funding is slated to begin May 1. The proposal-writing team will have great flexibility in determining how to go about their work. FCPS will provide resources (such as training in the specifics of the project) to help facilitate the work. Community members who are interested in serving should contact Ms. Tonya Street, at Tonya.Street@fcps.org.
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  • Mobility Awareness Month

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 4/14/2014
    Vote for Rock Creek School Volunteer!

    Frederick County public Rock Creek School students and dedicated staff are fond of a very special volunteer. Despite disabilities that keep him wheel-chair bound, Chris Routzahn has unending enthusiasm for helping children with special needs, according to Principal Mary Malone. She says that Chris has earned many accolades at Rock Creek and in the county, winning numerous awards for volunteerism. The school’s goal during April--National Mobility Awareness Month--is to encourage the public to help Chris win a fully modified conversion van.

    Here’s how. From now until Friday, May 9, cast your online vote for Mr. Routzahn by signing up and voting at http://www.mobilityawarenessmonth.com/entrant/christopher-routzahn-frederick-md/. With your help, Chris can make it to the top 10% of vote getters in the “Local Hero” contest and win the van.
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  • 15 Earn Gold Medals

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 4/9/2014
    Statewide SkillsUSA Competition
    In statewide SkillsUSA competition, 15 FCPS Career and Technology Center (CTC) students earned first-place gold medals. They qualify to represent Maryland in National SkillsUSA Championships, June 23-27 in Kansas City, Missouri. There they will compete against the best students from every state and territory in the United States. The CTC encourages community members interested in helping fund the winning students’ travel to national competition to contact Principal Michael.Concepcion@fcps.org or SkillsUSA advisor Martha.Lowry@fcps.org, 240-236-8500.
    Local gold medal winners, their home schools and winning state-level competitions are as follows:
    *Louis Bell Jr. and Ben Olson from Walkersville and Spiro Millios from Brunswick won first place in Welding Fabrication. In this competition, three students from each school use their welding and fabrication skills to build a designed project from the given material. Each team is required to be skilled in welding and cutting processes. The students are also required to be proficient in using the common tools of a workshop. They construct a theme-based project based on the prints they draw.
    *Sophia Eureka, Eric Myers and Benjamin Wetzel from Catoctin and Maria Olney from Middletown placed first in Broadcast News Production. In this category, two students serve as the news anchor team, one student as the team's director/technical director, and one as the floor director. Each team has two hours to write and produce their rundown before assigned contest time. Teams then produce and complete a three-minute newscast as if it were live. Teams are evaluated on their broadcast writing ability, voice quality, diction, timing and pacing and performance techniques.
    *Morgan Harding from Linganore and Alondra Herrera from Gov. Thomas Johnson placed first in Outstanding Chapter Notebook. This competition evaluates activities members have engaged in during the school year. Activities include chapter meetings, leadership training, publicity, community service projects, professional development, program of work, awards, local and state competition and other selected chapter activities. Each is documented according to guidelines and submitted in a scrapbook for judging. One student representative is interviewed during the competition.
    *Erin Hessong from Frederick placed first in Employment Application Process. This competition tests contestants’ readiness in applying for employment and their understanding of the process. The competition includes completing an application and interviewing with the judges. Contestants’ resumes and portfolios are used during their interviews.
    *Alex Kravchenko from Walkersville and Kyle Lokey from Urbana placed first in Web Design. Teams complete a series of challenges focusing on website usability and accessibility, with at least one challenge related to scripting. Each challenge must be documented, clearly demonstrating the skills as outlined in the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards.
    *Amanda Ponce from Oakdale placed first in Basic Health Care Skills. Contestants had to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to perform entry-level procedures or skills based on the following list of core standards: Academic Foundations, Communication Skills, Career Opportunity Concepts and Systems, Employability and Teamwork, Ethical and Legal Issues, Safety Practices. Performance is evaluated through various stations involving written, verbal and skills testing.
    *Nicholas Rakowski from Oakdale placed first in Architectural Drafting. Contestants used their drafting skills to solve an architectural problem. The problem includes a written test, a hand sketch, and drawings either computer-generated or board drafted. The contest tests problem solving abilities, not simply CAD skills.
    *Cearrah Sherman from Gov. Thomas Johnson placed first in Job Interview. This contest is divided into three phases: completion of employment applications, preliminary interviews with receptionist, and in-depth interviews. Contestants are evaluated on their understanding of employment procedures faced in applying for positions in the occupational areas for which they are training.
    Twelve students earned second-place silver medals, and 11 earned bronze in the statewide competition.
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  • All FCPS High Schools Make Challenge Index

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 4/8/2014
    Rank among Top 9% of U.S. High Schools

    All Frederick County high schools have once again ranked in the top 9% of the most demanding public schools in the country. All are featured in The Washington Post 2014 Challenge Index list of more than 1,900 top U.S. high schools.
    Asked whether having all high schools on the list is an unusual accomplishment, reporter Jay Mathews, who creates the annual index, responded, "I would estimate there are no more than a dozen districts nationally, other than [the local] Fairfax, Montgomery, Loudoun, Prince William and Anne Arundel counties, that have as many high schools as you do and have all of them on the list."

    Urbana High had the highest ranking of FCPS high schools on the national index, which is based on a formula that Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews devised to rank challenging schools. Urbana scored 3.463, ranking 18th statewide and 348th nationally.

    Scores and rankings for other Frederick County public high schools are: Linganore (2.270) at 55th statewide and 886th nationally; Oakdale (2.186) at 59th statewide and 957th nationally; Frederick (2.182) at 60th statewide and 960th nationally; Middletown (2.092) at 66th statewide and 1,038th nationally; Walkersville (1.639) at 81st statewide and 1,442nd nationally; Brunswick (1.556) at 87th statewide and 1,522nd nationally; Catoctin (1.302) at 105th statewide and 1,762nd nationally; Gov. TJ (1.266) at 108th statewide and 1,789th nationally; and Tuscarora (1.205) at 113th statewide and 1,845th nationally.
    The Challenge Index measures public and private high schools’ ability to challenge their students with Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education exams. A school’s ranking is determined by dividing the number of college-level tests given by a school to all its students by the number of graduates for that year. The index is designed to identify schools that challenge average students.
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  • FCPS Teacher Earns National Recognition

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 3/31/2014
    Arnold Named 1 of 5 Exemplary Mentors
    Frederick County Public Schools is proud to announce that Career and Technology Center teacher Philip Arnold has earned national recognition as one of five 2014 Engineering News-Record/McGraw Hill—ACE Exemplary Mentor Award winners. In the ACE Mentor Program, ACE stands for architecture, construction and engineering. A jury composed of the 2013 Exemplary Mentors selected Mr. Arnold for the award.

    ACE’s Frederick affiliate Board Chairman Gary Orton nominated Mr. Arnold for the national award: “Phil, an engineer by education and training, took his passion for the building industry to heart and joined FCPS as an instructor with the Career and Technology Center (CTC). In this role, Phil knows he can have the most impact by leading classes in Architecture, Drafting, and Engineering—and inspiring our next generation of industry leaders. Phil actively promotes his CTC classes during ACE orientation sessions and any opportunity he gets to draw potential students to CTC, ACE and ACE-related careers. Because of his enthusiasm, reputation and dedication, his classes fill up quickly. His students are some of the most talented, successful, dedicated and recognized students and graduates. In turn, Phil promotes the ACE Mentor program to all of his CTC students as a ‘must have experience’ so they can blend their studies with real-world experiences provided by ACE mentors. Phil sees first-hand the value of the students’ ACE experience, and he is a true champion of both—ACE and the students.”

    The Frederick ACE affiliate that nominated Mr. Arnold for the award will receive $2,500 to be used as a scholarship in Mr. Arnold's name. In addition, the Frederick affiliate will receive $500 for a travel subsidy for a representative to attend the All Affiliates Best Practices Conference in Chicago, June 22-23.
    The four other 2014 Exemplary Mentors are from New York City, Nashville, Central Iowa (Des Moines), and Atlanta.
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  • FCPS Specialist Earns National Leadership Award

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 3/28/2014

    Pearl Pearl Named 2014 Supervisor/ Leader of the Year

    Frederick County Public Schools’ Career and Technology Education supervisor Kristine Pearl has earned the 2014 Supervisor/ Leader of the Year Award. The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association’s (ITEEA’s) Council for Supervision and Leadership (CSL) sponsors the award.

    Ms. Pearl earned the award for displaying exemplary leadership in all aspects of her responsibilities to improve and advance Technology and Engineering Education, according to Eric Haines, FCPS coordinator for Career and Technology Education.

    “The success of the FCPS Technology and Engineering Education programs are a direct result of Kristine’s steadfast commitment to students, content expertise, and desire to improve Technology and Engineering Education programs across the state of Maryland,” said Haines.

    According to the ITEEA CSL website, the group’s mission is to promote Technology and Engineering Education as an integral part of STEM education.  More information is online at http://iteea-csl.org/

    Photo, Left to right:  Goodheart-Wilcox Vice President of Sales Todd Scheffees and President John Flanagan, award recipient Kristine Pearl and ITEEA CSL President R.J. Blake

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  • Middle/High Science and Engineering Fair Winners

    Posted by Dian Nelson at 3/27/2014
    Two Going to International Fair in L.A.

    Science students throughout Frederick County presented 106 projects at this year’s middle and high school Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday, March 22. More than 50 professionals from the Frederick community judged the entries.

    Of 21 participating high school students, Brunswick High senior Alex Beall won the grand prize for his first-place Engineering project, Electromagnetic Tire Propulsion System. Alex was last year’s first runner up. First runner up this year is home-schooled student Noah Pritt for his Computer Science project, Indoor Navigation with Maximum Likelihood Classification of Wi-Fi Fingerprints. Both qualify to represent Frederick County at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, May 11-16.

    Other first-place high school winners are Middletown student Avilash Das in Cellular and Molecular Biology; Gov. Thomas Johnson student Ben Freed in Biochemistry; Urbana students Archit Gupta and Eliot Sachsenmeier in Microbiology and Madison Hively in Energy and Transportation. In addition Urbana High freshman Alyssa Larason placed first in Booklet Cover Art Design.

    Second-place high school winners are Middletown students Taylor Evans and Frederika Rentzeperis in Earth and Planetary Science; Oakdale student Monica Gouzoulis in Microbiology; Urbana student Matthew Green in Computer Science; Walkersville student Karina Keefe in Biochemistry; and Urbana student Troy Shuman in Cellular and Molecular Biology.

    Third-place high school winners are Oakdale student Janet Lee in Computer Science and Urbana student Swathi Penumutchu in Cellular and Molecular Biology.

    High school honorable mention awards went to Middletown student Colin Field in Energy and Transportation and Catoctin student Olivia Grimes in Animal Science.

    Of 99 middle school entries, the grand prize went to Ballenger Creek 7th graders Daniel Ki and William Micol in Engineering for Walking on Water. The runner up was Banner School 7th grader Skylar Chan in Microbiology for Which Disinfectants Are Most Effective against B. Cereus and E. Coli?

    Other middle school first-place winners are Brunswick student Isabel Agostino and Thurmont Middle student Ariel Johnson in Chemistry; Brunswick student Loretta Donoghue in Environmental Science; Urbana students Simom Emtage in Behavioral and Social Sciences, Ezeki Ganesan in Energy and Transportation, and Shika Inala in Biochemistry; Thurmont student Mikaila Risser in Physics and Astronomy; Banner School student Heather Rogers in Medicine and Health; and Urbana student Grace Scheirey in Plant Science. In addition Ballenger Creek 7th grader Emily Lutz placed first in Booklet Cover Art Design.

    Second-place middle school winners are Urbana student Ridhi Chaudhary in Microbiology; West Frederick student Laura Cosby in Energy and Transportation; Urbana student Charlie Giglio in Physics and Astronomy; Brunswick students Katelyn Harrison and Makala Harrison in Behavioral and Social Sciences; Urbana student Sara Jarman in Engineering; Brunswick students Sveta Jeffers and Anna Porcella tied with Walkersville student Danny Morris in Chemistry; Visitation Academy student Michaela Redman in Environmental Science; Urbana students Erinn Sanders in Plant Science and Quinn Wagner in Medicine and Health.

    Third-place middle school winners are Windsor Knolls student Matt Chesebrough in Physics and Astronomy; Walkersville student Valerie Coleman in Behavioral and Social Sciences; Urbana student Julia Giglio and St. John’s student Emily Green in Environmental Science; Windsor Knolls student Evan Gobien in Engineering; Urbana student Jackie Liu in Microbiology; and West Frederick student Thomas Mark in Energy and Transportation.

    Middle school honorable mention awards went to Urbana student Rachel Allen in Physics and Astronomy; Walkersville student Wil Anderson in Plant Science; West Frederick students Sandy Alforo and Heidi Gonzalez and Ballenger Creek students Mariam Aslam and Sydney Yablon in Medicine and Health; Ballenger Creek student Jack Atwell in Energy and Transportation; Walkersville student Ronak Chawla in Physics and Astronomy; Urbana student Ben Clarks in Physics and Astronomy; Middletown student Braden Clough in Behavioral and Social Sciences; Visitation Academy student Grace Fischler in Chemistry; Ballenger Creek student Sneh Gandhi in Engineering; West Frederick student Kaylee Garrett in Computer Science; Visitation Academy student Hayden Klemanski in Physics and Astronomy; Urbana student Radhika Patel in Computer Science; Ballenger Creek student Gerald Sare in Biochemistry; and Urbana students Sanjana Subramanian in Medicine and Health and Soujanya Viswanathan in Microbiology.

    The annual fair is sponsored through a partnership between Frederick County Public Schools and the Frederick Jaycees, with financial support from MedImmune, Inc.
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