April 2015: Vol. 6, No. 9

High Schools in Nation's Top 11%
All Make 2015 Challenge Index

HS StudentAll 10 FCPS high schools placed in the top 11% of the nation's public and private high schools, according to The Washington Post 2015 Challenge Index. This is at least the 9th consecutive year FCPS high schools have made the Index.

According to Post reporter Jay Mathews, the Index recognizes schools that challenge 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.

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 2015 Challenge Index

Employee Excellence
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

MarysolMartinezPhoto"At Crestwood MS, Marysol Martinez is such an enthusiastic, skilled and student-centered teacher and leader that we named her our Teacher of the Year," says Principal Donna Clabaugh. "In addition to teaching Spanish I and II classes, Marysol started an afterschool Spanish Club, and she is a valued member of the School Improvement Team."

Marysol became a quarter finalist and then a semifinalist in the FCPS Teacher of the Year process. This is a commendable achievement because Teacher of the Year is our school system’s most prestigious award to recognize outstanding representatives of the teaching profession.

Marysol is also an FCPS All-Star. See her interview.

FCPS will announce the Teacher of the Year at the May 13 BOE meeting. Whichever teacher is selected among three finalists--Martin Graff at Frederick HS, Susan Pardo at Walkersville HS or Amanda Portner at Thurmont MS--getting the school's nomination, as Marysol did, is a very great honor. See photos of each school's nominee.

Blue Ribbon PhotoCongratulations to all staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter: Bradley Ahalt, Vernon Beals, Jason Bowser, Rhina Galdamez, Sarah Harris, Nancy Keller, Janice Lawson, Ciara Manahan, Timothy Neal, Betty Pasternak, Janet Shipman, John Soluri, Robert Staples, Kenneth Stockman, Kimberly Stewart, Tonya Street, Shelly Tribett and Lisa Young.

Know someone who deserves a First-Class Employee award? Take a moment to nominate an outstanding employee! 


Zachmann Family PhotoPASSION TO TEACH Frederick HS Culinary Arts teacher Charlie Zachmann (shown at left with his family) won the 2015 Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teaching Award for educational excellence. Principal Kathy Campagnoli describes Mr. Zachmann as “a truly gifted teacher who exhibits great expertise and a passionate commitment to teaching the Commercial Foods Program…able to more than double the program’s enrollment in just four years." Watch as Superintendent Alban surprises Chef Zachmann!

Tess Blumenthal and Terry Alban PhotoEXCEPTIONAL LEADER Walkersville ES Principal Tess Blumenthal (right, wearing stripes next to Superintendent Alban) won the 2015 Distinguished Educational Leadership Award for her excellent leadership and strong commitment to creating an exceptional educational environment. She will receive honors with 19 other metropolitan-area recipients. See the unsuspecting Principal Blumenthal find out she won this year's award!

NATIONAL FINALISTS Kudos to our Career and Technology Center's Computer-Aided Design engineering team teacher Philip Arnold, whose students qualified as national finalists for a 2015-2016 InvenTeam grant. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Engineering administers the program, in which only 15 schools are selected to participate each year. Teams receive up to $10,000 to invent technological solutions to real-world problems.

SLAM DUNK 50+ Carroll Manor ES and New Market ES employees helped raise $1,200 in a staff basketball game for Cancer Care Center of Frederick in Mount Airy treatments. Thurmont MS raised more than $10,000 during its annual math-a-thon for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Linganore HS raised $1,000+ for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Maryland. Frederick Classical Charter School raised $1,700 for the American Cancer Society in a Relay for Life penny war. Kemptown ES GUYS READ members under Anne Howe and Natalie Wirtz's guidance collected 150+ items for the Frederick Food Bank.

MusicSING OUT Urbana HS has the only nationally ranked indoor color guard in Maryland and the state’s only scholastic team moving on to compete at Winter Guard International World Championships in Dayton, OH. The school's chamber ensemble and concert and show choirs earned superior ratings in 2015 Choral Festival competition. Its concert band members earned a superior rating and a perfect score in the sight-reading component. And the percussion ensemble was promoted to platinum this year, placing 2nd of all percussion ensembles at a 2015 five-state event. Helping make it all happen are teachers Michael Harrison and Monika McCormick.

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE Counseling and Student Support Coordinator Janet Shipman helped organize Rachel's Challenge to teach 150 middle school student leaders from all 13 middle schools and St. John's along with 25 high school student leaders to prevent bullying and promote kindness.

SHARED EXPERTISE The EdTechTeam Maryland Summit and National Science Teachers Association selected Spring Ridge ES Title I Specialist Dawn Getzandanner to speak on Google Classroom and STEM--Making It Work at their conferences.

Maryland Flag1ST IN STATE x 11 In SkillsUSA competition, Career and Technology Center students placed 1st statewide in 11 categories. Their teachers, listed with the competitions the students won, are: Philip Arnold in Architectural Drafting, Extemporaneous Speech and Humanoid Robotics, Adam Frank in Audio Radio and Broadcast News, Doug Hering in Welding, Diane Herndon and Martha Lowry in Job Skill Demo Open, Jenny Maher and Jo McGovern in Basic Health Care, Medical Assisting and Nursing Assistant, and Frank Taylor in Carpentry.

MORE 1ST IN STATE x 2 Advanced Academic Specialist Janet Manning's Lincoln ES Young Engineers and Scientists teams placed 1st in Maryland State Engineering Challenges at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Students were given the STEM challenge to design and build a storybook theme-park ride on a 2’ x 2’ base. Although Lincoln ES often does well at this competition, this is the first time the school has brought home two blue ribbons!

CHAMPIONS In 2015 Keystone Indoor Drill Association (KIDA) competition, the collaborative Brunswick HS and Tuscarora HS Indoor Percussion Ensemble earned the 1st-place gold medal, winning this year’s championship. Directors are Matthew Fowle at Brunswick HS and John Karos at Tuscarora HS.

DESTINED TO TRAVEL Linganore HS and Oakdale ES Destination Imagination teams qualified in state competition to advance to Global Finals in Knoxville, TN. Congrats to their advisors Marie Wiehler and Karen Yoho.

News to Use

SUMMERTIME The school year ends for students Thursday, June 18 with a 2-hour early dismissal and for teachers Friday, June 19. Year-round employees begin a compressed 4-day work schedule Monday, June 22 and return to regular work schedules Monday, August 17. EXCEPTION: Year-round employees work their regular work schedules from Monday, June 29-Thursday, July 2 and receive a holiday Friday, July 3. See Summer Schedule FAQs and more from your FCPS-networked computer.

NJROTC logoNJROTC Our NJROTC program is moving from Linganore to Gov. Thomas Johnson HS beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. FCPS is strongly committed to maintaining the program. Staff recognizes that a centralized location with transportation (via the CTC route) are key factors in attracting and retaining NJROTC Cadets. Please encourage students to apply through May 1. More about NJROTC

AUDIT Every few years, the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits conducts a routine audit of FCPS financial-management practices. Here’s a link to the full report of the newest audit, including FCPS responses in the appendix.


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FCPS In a Minute Playlist

FCPS All-Stars:
Brunswick MS language arts teacher Carol Volger   
Carroll Manor ES teacher Courtney Hicks   
Frederick Classical Charter School teacher
Collin Kenny   
New Market ES media specialist Jennifer Siderius 

Superintendent Alban in Off the Cuff:
Outstanding Teachers Everywhere    Out of the Mouths of Kindergartners    Student Technology Trends    Out and About

More: Youth Art Month Videos    29th Annual Elementary Honors Chorus

FCPS Fast Fact

Beacon logoQ:  For every $1 FCPS spends in operational monies, how much is the "multiplier" or "trickle down" effect as money is re-spent in the local economy?

A: $1.48. Similarly every $1 of capital spending retained in the county results in total local spending of $1.61. Every $1 million in FCPS capital spending results in 8.4 additional in-county jobs.

Salisbury University’s Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) analyzed the value of FCPS diplomas and other degrees earned, our impact on local wealth and the value of reduced future public costs.

  • In recent years FCPS has annually graduated students who will realize additional lifetime earnings of about $883.45 million, in estimated present value. The county income tax to be paid on the additional earnings is about $1.8 million per graduating class.
  • Based on FCPS seniors' improved college readiness, we can attribute about $1.2 billion in additional lifetime earnings to FCPS graduates forecasted to graduate college. The present value of county income tax on these additional earnings is about $25.45 million per graduation class.
  • Each graduating class is estimated to add $116 million in real property values and $1.23 million in real property tax revenues.
  • Each was also associated with about $124 million savings in public healthcare costs, over $81 million savings in future crime-related costs and over $9 million in future welfare costs.

See the full report: The Economic Value of the Frederick County, Maryland, Public School System: Dollars & Cents and Beyond.