April 2018: Vol. 9, No. 9

National Distinguished Principal
Program Honors Centerville ES Principal Tracy Hilliard

Tracy HilliardNDP LogoThe Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals collaborated in naming Centerville ES Principal Tracy Hilliard the 2018 National Distinguished Principal for Maryland!

The program recognizes excellence in elementary and middle level principals' school leadership. It honors Principal Hilliard (shown in the photo) for setting high standards for instruction, student achievement, character and climate for students, families and staff.

Instructional Director Mark Pritts says that putting kids first has been the primary driving factor for Centerville Elementary's rise to state and national Blue Ribbon School recognition. He also cited Principal Hilliard's regularly scheduled Principal Chats, open to the community, along with literacy, math and STEM nights and PTA presentations that end with open dialogue as examples of award-worthy leadership as well as Ms. Hilliard's daily positive interactions with her school community.

"Leading an elementary school that hovers near 1,000 students each year is a tremendous responsibility and one that she embraces and looks forward to.... One visit and it will become clear why Centerville Elementary was chosen as a Blue Ribbon School, and Mrs. Hilliard is at the heart of the school!" says Mr. Pritts.

See the news release.

FCPS All-Stars
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

PhoebeBarretoAmazing in all aspects of her work as the Human Resources Benefits and Wellness Coordinator, Phoebe Barreto is described as someone who is unfailingly kind. She smiles and shares her positive energy and enthusiasm with everyone she encounters and in every project she is tasked with. She goes out of her way to make everyone feel important and noticed without soliciting or wanting credit, a colleague explains. Phoebe's commitment to excellence has led to numerous awards for FCPS wellness programs.

A co-worker gave the example that "Phoebe purchased balloons and made 'awesome' cards for every HR support staff employee but did it anonymously. She hand writes thank you notes and gives little gifts to those that assist her with HR events."

The person who nominated Phoebe for All-Star recognition added that Phoebe "is considerate, giving, hard-working, super positive, and I wish I could clone her!"

Phoebe's supervisor, Penny Opalka, agrees: "She is a rock star. She does so many wonderful things for FCPS and our Wellness programs."


StarsCongratulations to Phoebe Barreto and to staff earning FCPS All-Star Awards since our March issue: Shane Price.

Have a colleague who deserves All-Star recognition?

See All-Star nomination criteria and forms.


TOY FinalistsFINALISTS Congratulations to the four finalists for FCPS Teacher of the Year: Melissa Hargreaves, Julie Ivins, Margie Liddick and Timothy Snyder. See more: FCPS Names Four Finalists for Teacher of the Year. See this year's nominees from each school.

SPECIAL NOMINEES  It's School Library Month, and a great time to appreciate our outstanding media specialists, three of whom were among the 12 statewide nominees for the 2018 Maryland School Librarian of the Year Award: Stephanie Bickford (New Midway/Woodsboro ES) Tina Dattoli (Whittier ES) and Jennifer Shesman (Thurmont MS). See their photos and bios here.

ENTREPRENURS Frederick HS social studies teacher Beth Strakonsky coached students to a $1,000 win in the regional entrepreneurship Diamond Challenge.

SOARING IN SCIENCE Urbana students excelled at this year's countywide Science and Engineering Fair. Urbana HS students earned the overall grand prize and runner up status, qualifying to compete at the Intel International fair. Two other Urbana HS students qualified to attend as observers. An Urbana MS student won the grand prize at that level. Additional Urbana students won awards in multiple other categories for a total of 9 Urbana HS and 27 Urbana MS winners, not even counting the specialty and cover design awards they won. Kudos to their teachers who are clearly doing something right: David Adamiak, Evan Gaines, Stephanie Isennock, Matthew Isleib, Kim Linowitch, Brittany Poti and Matthew Weisman at Urbana MS and George Shearer, Melissa Chang, Craig Coleman, Suzanne Elder, Suzie Folk, Donna Hashemzadeh, Greg Hess, Beth McCook, Mike Piavis, Rebecca Schultz, Chris Shullenbarger and Ray Skowronski at Urbana HS. See additonal winners and more: FCPS Announces 2018 Countywide Science and Engineering Fair Winners.

CALENDAR ART Students of  Middletown MS social studies teachers Linda Caron and Scott Cochran won 2 of 16 awards in the recent statewide Maryland Council on Economic Education's A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words poster contest. Their work will appear in the organization's 16-month calendar.

GEOGRAPHY West Frederick MS is home to the only FCPS student to qualify for this year's Maryland State Geography Bee. Advanced Academics Specialist Heather Kehr organized the school's competition and accompanied the FCPS winner to state competition.

NEW CTE TEACHER OF THE YEAR Congratulations to Frederick HS's commercial foods teacher Chef Christine VanBloem, named the 2018 FCPS Outstanding New Career and Technology Education Teacher of the Year! She will receive recognition at the May 11 Career and Technology Education Awards Ceremony.

PREVENTING DRUG ABUSE At the April 18 Classmates4Life Red Carpet Gala, classes at the following schools won awards for large numbers of students participating: Gov. TJ MS, Linganore HS and Sabillasville ES. Frederick HS hosted the gala. See the news release and this year's videos.

News to Use

NEW INSURANCE PROVIDER FCPS and the Insurance Council continually strive to provide employees with a comprehensive and flexible benefits program, while keeping costs managable for staff and FCPS. As of July 1, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield will replace United HealthCare as the administrator and Preferred Provider Network for FCPS health and vision plans. Although the medical plan design is not changing, there are enhancements to the vision plan. Register here to learn more Monday, April 30, 4:30-5:30 PM at Frederick HS. May 1-25 is the annual FCPS Benefits Open Enrollment period, the opportunity for benefited employees to review your benefits and make selections for the year ahead. See if your current providers are in the CareFirst Network: www.carefirst.com. Our plan type is BlueChoice Advantage. See more info. For assistance: 301-644-5080 or Benefits.Office@fcps.org.

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN The City of Frederick and State Highway Administration are making road changes in mid-May that will affect access to our TJ Drive Complex. An interchange at Monocacy Boulevard and US-15 will partially open in May, and Hayward Road will no longer have access to US-15. To reach Hayward Road from northbound US-15 from May to September, exit at Motter Avenue and take Opposumtown Pike. The intersection of Hayward Road and TJ Drive will have stop signs for Hayward, while traffic on TJ Drive will be free flowing. TJ Drive between Hayward Road and Christopher's Crossing will no longer have on-street parking, and center left-turn lanes will be added. Please use caution as drivers get accustomed to the changes. See the Monocacy Interchange Map.

SUMMER WORKWEEKS 12-month employees will begin 4-day workweeks Monday, June 18 and resume 5-day workweeks Monday, August 20. Watch for details coming soon to https://insidefcps.

Great Frederick Discovery Race logoREADY, SET... FCPS sponsors the 2nd annual Great Frederick Discovery Race on Sunday, May 20 to support our Young Scholars program. Register by Tuesday, May 15 for early bird rates: $20/person or $50 for a team of 4.

FOR SUPPORT PROS  Saturday, June 30 is the application deadline for benefited support professionals interested in a lateral transfer to a new position. Here's a link to the Transfer Request Form. The FCPS Support Talent Acquisition and Relations Office recommends that all employees on the transfer list have an active application on file. For more information: 301-644-5387 and www.fcps.org/jobs

FOR CERTIFIED STAFF Summer Curriculum Workshops are June 25-July 19, at Middletown HS through July 12 and the Staff Develoment Center July 16-19. Applications are due by Friday, May 4. Teachers may earn up to 3 MSDE credits for curriculum writing during their five-year certificate-renewal cycle. Special education teachers should consider applying for content workshops. See details.

AVOID. DENY. DEFEND.TM FCPS Security and Emergency Management Supervisor Scott Blundell is coordinating Avoid. Deny. Defend.TM safety presentations for school communities in every feeder pattern throughout FCPS. Remaining presentations are 6 PM-8 PM: Tuesday, April 24 at Middletown HS and Oakdale HS, Thursday, April 26 at Urbana HS, Tuesday, May 1 at Brunswick HS, Wednesday, May 2 at Tuscarora HS, Monday, May 7 at Catoctin HS and Tuesday, May 15 at Linganore HS. For more information: Scott.Blundell@fcps.org.

SUMMER CAMP The FCPS World Languages Department offers 8 days of Spanish Immersion camp for students entering 4th or 5th grades and 7 days of We Are the World camp for students entering 2nd or 3rd grades in the fall. Sign your child up, spread the word...Find out more.

SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY The Board of Education recently approved Responsible Use of Social Media Policy 115. There's a corresponding FCPS Responsible Use of Social Media Regulation 100-08. Please check them out to be sure you know employer expectations.


In a MinuteApril 6   April 13   More

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Oakdale HS English teacher Lauren Graziano shares a creative way to teach Beowulf
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FCPS Proud March

FCPS Fast Fact

GlobeGraduationCapPhotoQ: What was the FCPS 2017 graduation rate?

A:  92%, compared to Maryland's average 88%

Our 2017 dropout rate was 4.4%, compared to Maryland's average 8.2%


See more Fast Facts.



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