All 10 FCPS high schools placed in the top 9% of the nation's public and private high schools, according to The Washington Post 2014 Challenge Index. This is at least the eighth consecutive year FCPS high schools have made the Index.
According to Post reporter Jay Mathews, the Index recognizes schools that challenge students, engaging not just academically advanced but also average students in college-level courses and tests.
Just "using test scores to compare schools gives too much weight to parental income--the key factor in student achievement--and too little weight to what educators are doing to raise the achievement of every child," says Mathews. In contrast, Challenge Index schools have significant numbers of low-income students and challenge them as well, he says.
Asked whether having all high schools on the list is an unusual accomplishment, Mathews 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."
This achievement is a strong example of how FCPS delivers on the promise of public education to reach, challenge and prepare every student for college and career readiness. More about the 2014 Challenge Index
FCPS Earth and Space Science Lab (ESSL) co-director Mark Bowman is the epitome of dedicated leadership in public education. After 40 years at FCPS he is retiring and leaving a legacy of some of the most profound community support for public education FCPS has ever known.
"Mark has an exceptional talent for lighting up the faces of children and teachers as they learn the wonders of the world. Beyond that, he has done a remarkable job welcoming community partnerships and helping business leaders and individuals enjoy and support the ESSL. From volunteer hours and staff artistic contributions to significant financial donations (including for the Ausherman Planetarium and Natelli Observatory) and more, he and co-director Jeff Grills appreciate them all," says their supervisor, FCPS elementary science curriuculum specialist Dr. Kimberly Mazaleski.
All are invited to Mark's retirement celebration at the ESSL Thursday, May 15, from 4-7 PM. Registration is $15 and includes donation to a gift and Ovarian Cancer Awareness. RSVP: Jeffrey.Grills@fcps.org by Thursday, May 8. See more photos!
Congratulations to staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter: JoAnn Eckfield.
Know someone who deserves a First-Class Employee Award? Take a moment to nominate an outstanding employee!
YEAR'S BEST The 2014 Washington Post Agnes Meyer Teacher of the Year Award goes to Brunswick MS language arts teacher Amy Nedrow. The Post's Distinguished Educational Leadership Award goes to Gov. Thomas Johnson MS Principal Neal Case. See the moment when each received the good news: Amy's video Neal's video
MORE YEAR'S BEST After the Frederick County Association for Counseling and Development named Jill Goodman Counselor of the Year 2012, her application was forwarded to the Maryland School Counselor Association, and Jill was named the 2013 Maryland Elementary School Counselor of the Year and a semi-finalist for the 2014 American School Counselor Association Counselor of the Year. In the photo BOE President Joy Schaefer presents a Board pin to Jill Goodman as Supervisor Janet Shipman proudly looks on.
AND EVEN MORE! Jeremy Brown, who advises several organizations at Linganore HS, recently received two awards: the Capital District (DC, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) Key Club Advisor of the Year Award and the Maryland Association of Student Councils' Mike Michaelson Advisor of the Year Award, created to recognize contributions of advisors to student council success across Maryland.
ON TO NATIONALS FCPS has several student groups moving on from state and regional competitions to nationals. For example, 15 Career and Technology Center students are moving up after winning gold in state-level SkillsUSA competition; their teachers are: Phil Arnold, Melvin Baker, Adam Frank, Doug Hering, Martha Lowry, Jenny Maher and Jo McGovern. And students in James Thuman's Walkersville HS pre-engineering classes are moving up in Engineering Club Robotics Competition.
PRO BONO FCPS Paralegal Monique Wilson participated in Pro Bono Day as an FCC Paralegal Association member, providing general support with attorneys who specialize in family law. More.
PARTNERSHIP FCPS and Comcast Cable established a partnership that provides affordable Internet services and low-cost netbook computers through Comcast's Internet Essentials program to families whose children qualilfy for free or reduced-price meals. In the photo, left to right, are Comcast Government Affairs Regional Director Joshua Bokee, Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban, BOE President Joy Schaefer, Communications, Community Engagement and Marketing Director Michael Doerrer and Chief Operating Officer Ann Bonitatibus.
RECYCLING Three classes of Frederick HS students visited county landfills to learn about recycling with teachers Robin Brawner, Shelley Miller and Joyce Tuten. Also commended for studying this important topic: Ann Andrex and her students at Linganore HS and Sue Faibisch from Walkersville HS. For facts, graphics or other help planning a lesson, please contact Outreach Program coordinator Annmarie Creamer, 301-600-7405 or email ACreamer@FrederickCountyMD.gov.
TEACHER TALK Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban enjoyed meeting nearly 150 teachers in her recent Talks with Teachers: "I appreciate the time they gave to share feedback. Understanding teachers’ experiences expressed in their own words helps system leaders improve processes and plan for upcoming changes." Hear a summary and actions we will take moving forward. The first video focuses on discussion about the new curriculum; the second (which we will share in May) focuses on the new teacher-evaluation model.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE For major contributions to multicultural education, the Maryland Multicultural Coalition named FCPS Minority Achievement Coordinator Maria Whittemore the 2014 Jack Epstein Award winner.
UNDERWATER VOLUNTEER Making the news on WUSA-TV 9, Middletown ES teacher Abbe Harman swims in the National Aquarium during her 5th grade students' recent field trip. Click her name to see the video.
PROTECT THE PROMISE On National Teacher Day, Tuesday, May 6, the Board of County Commissioners invites comments on funding the 2014-2015 FCPS Operating Budget at a public hearing, 6 PM at Oakdale HS. All employees are welcome to participate.
TECHNOLOGY NOW Employees may also participate in the Superintendent's Twitter Chat about funding technology Wednesday, April 30, 7 PM-8 PM @FCPSMaryland hashtag #FCPSTechNow. See the new Technology Now webpage.
MOBILITY The Rock Creek School community invites you to help their volunteer Chris Routzahn get some well-deserved recognition. Chris has earned many accolades at RCS and in the county, winning numerous awards for his unending volunteerism to children with special needs. During National Mobility Awareness Month, will you help Chris make it to the top 10% of highest vote getters in a “Local Hero” contest? The prize is a free fully modified conversion van. Please sign up and vote.
SUMMERTIME The school year ends for students Wednesday, June 11 with a 2-hour early dismissal and for teachers Thursday, June 12. Year-round employees begin a compressed 4-day work schedule Monday, June 16 and return to regular work schedules Monday, August 11. EXCEPTION: Year-round employees work their regular work schedules from Monday, June 30-Thursday, July 3 and receive a holiday Friday, July 4. See Summer Schedule FAQs and more from your FCPS-networked computer.
NEW FACES IN KEY PLACES Ballenger Creek MS assistant principal Kathleen Horner has accepted a position as Special Education coordinator based at the Central Office. At New Market MS, Kelly Wolfe is acting assistant principal.
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Q: Looking Ahead: When Is the Last School Day?
A: The Maryland State Department of Education granted FCPS a 2-day waiver of the 180-day school year requirement due to this year's severe winter. We were closed 12 snow days this school year. With 5 built into the calendar, 5 makeup days added and 2 days waived, we are able to end school on the day published in the Calendar Handbook.
The last day for students is Wednesday, June 11. On that day, FCPS will dismiss students 2 hours early for a teacher work session.
The last day for teachers is Thursday, June 12.
The first student day of the 2014-15 school year is Monday, August 25, with most teachers reporting to work Tuesday, August 19.