April 2016: Vol. 7, No. 9

Honored Guests at The White House
CTC Teacher and Students Excel

PhilArnoldWhiteHouseFCPS Career & Technology Center Computer-Aided Design--Engineering teacher Phil Arnold (shown at right with student Brittainy Sechler* in the Green Room) was thrilled with an invitation to attend President Obama's White House Science Fair on Wednesday, April 13 with two of his students as honored guests. Brittainy was also selected for a small roundtable discussion after the Science Fair to discuss STEM education with the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Mr. Arnold and his students were invited because the project the students' team entered in the 2015 Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) won the Governor’s Cup and first place statewide. The annual competition, which students in Mr. Arnold’s classes have placed first in statewide five years running, provides high school students the opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges in a team environment. The 2015 winning CTC team designed an unmanned coaxial-rotor helicopter for targeted application of pesticides. Their goal was to ensure crop health while reducing negative effects of blanketed, broad-based pesticide application.

Recently students in Mr. Arnold's class also won the 2016 statewide RWDC and the Governor’s Cup. Later this month they will represent Maryland in the national championships. In 2013 and 2015 the local teams earned national merit awards for their design projects.

*Student Ryan Kinzie also attended.

See the full news release: Students and Teacher Headed to The White House 

FCPS All-Stars
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

DaveHiltbrandBus driver and certified school bus driver instructor Dave Hiltbrand has excellent rapport with students, staff and colleagues, says Transportation Manager Jeannie Thompson. She adds that Dave has outstanding attendance and is always willing to do what it takes to get the job done. He has worked Saturdays to orient a new driver and even changed vacation plans to ensure that bus drivers were trained and ready to go for the start of school.

Transportation Director Fred Punturiero says, "Dave has unwavering patience and is sincerely interested in people. He inspires others to be successful, whether they are students he transports or trainees he teaches to become school bus drivers. Dave was instrumental in putting together the FCPS Driver Improvement Program, which was a huge success. Our 500+ drivers really enjoyed the course and what it had to offer. He truly wants to give the trainees and drivers the best instruction he can."

An employee who went through training last year had this to say about Dave:  ”I could not have asked for someone with more patience or perseverance during my training."

Colleagues also said:
*"I always feel comfortable asking Dave’s advice and know he will be truthful and give me positive feedback in any situation.”
*"He gives reasons why it is important to follow the bus rules, always keeping safety in mind.”
*“It is truly a pleasure working with Dave Hiltbrand."

Congratulations to Dave and employees who've received FCPS All-Star Awards since our March issue: Tara High, Deb Huffman and Michelle McGaughey.

Meet FCPS All-Star:  Beth Strakonsky from Frederick HS

Know someone who deserves FCPS All-Star recognition? See All-Star nomination criteria and forms.


Middletown PrimaryMEETING THE CHALLENGE Each of our high schools ranks in the top 10% of the nation's public and private high schools, according to the newly released Washington Post 2016 Challenge Index. This is at least the 10th consecutive year FCPS high schools have made the Index. Post reporter Jay Mathews explains that the Index recognizes schools that challenge students in college-level courses and tests. 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 2016 Challenge Index

AUTISM AWARENESS The Frederick News Post published a very inspiring Thank You Frederick April message from an FCPS parent whose child has autism. Along with many of our schools, Middletown PS participated in Light It Up Blue World Autism Awareness Day with lots of staff and students wearing blue; Principal Karen Hopson (left in the photo) shared this picture, which also includes an outstanding student and Assistant Principal Susan Amerena.

EXPERTISE  Human Resources senior manager Colette Baker, benefits coordinator Phoebe Barreto, our Wellness Champions across the system and other members of our Wellness Subcommittee (Steve Brako, Norma Davis and Tricia Riley) have done such good work that the Healthiest Maryland Business newsletter featured FCPS as a school district using effective wellness practices in its April newsletter: http://www.healthiestmdbusinesses.org/

STATE'S BEST FCPS made a strong showing among those honored at this year's Maryland State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education and the Maryland State Department of Education recogition ceremony. Among them were award winners: Jennifer Bingman, Carrie Crawford, Anna Gurnett and Dianne Thompson. See the news release.

MORE STATE'S BEST  22 of our Career and Technology Center students earned gold medals, 11 silver and 14 bronze in 2016 statewide SkillsUSA competition. Those achieving gold will represent Maryland in national competition this June in Louisville, KY. See the news release.

IT WORKED! The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics website featured our middle school math specialists in a Coaching Corner section called It Worked! See the highlights that Joe Hinson, Ashley Roberts, Stacey Sisler, Lisa Vaeth and Heather Wurster shared. "Their stories and experiences will benefit mathematics coaches throughout the country," says secondary math curriculum specialist Peter Cincotta. The elementary part of the site features work by Michele Baisey, Jenni Clausen, Nicholas Pyzik, Megan Sutherland, Kristianne Trevorrow and Angela Waltrup.

PROBLEM SOLVERS Walkersville ES students placed 1st in the DC Metro Rubik's Cube Competition. The team solved 25 Rubik's cubes! Their teacher coaches were Justin Heid and Carroll Zentz. rubik cubeWalkersville HS students placed 1st in Startup Frederick, the county's first Shark Tank-like competition.

STEM Congratulations to all teachers and staff who contributed to the success of our 35th annual Frederick County Secondary Science and Engineering Fair winners. The grand prize winners from Middletown HS will represent Frederick County at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix next month. The middle school grand prize winner is from Walkersville MS, and the runner up is from Urbana MS.

CARING Urbana HS's Mr. Urbana competition raised $10,000 for the Rock Creek School.

SILVER HAMMER Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot presented Oakdale MS a 2016 Silver Hammer Award for exceptional school maintenance that creates a positive learning environment. The school earned a Superior rating, with state inspectors commenting that Oakdale MS, built in 2002, still appeared brand new! Principal Dr. Stephanie Ware commends custodians Roy Baker, Joanne Hoy, Allen Hudson, Clay Waite and John Zimmerman. Maintenance and Operations Director Bob Wilkinson praises Gary Barkdoll, William Beall, James Brown, John Carnahan, Todd Englar, Tom Haskin, Jim McKeever, Anthony Miller, Sheldon Naill, Charles Open, Curtis Orndorff, Victor Reyes, Dave Thompson, Tom Ward, Wesley Ward and Walt Wilhelm for their maintenance (general, grounds, HVAC, electrical and plumbing) work at the school.

STARTING STRONG Oakdale MS was also the FCPS winner in the 2016 Maryland Breakfast Challenge, which strives to make sure no children start the day hungry. Principal Ware was presented with a $1,000 check for the school. More about the Maryland Breakfast Challenge

FULBRIGHT  Middletown HS French and Spanish teacher Marcie Stutzman earned a prestigious 2016-2017 Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grant for travel to Morocco. She is one of only 45 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad through the Fulbright program next school year, selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

LEADERSHIP The Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals named Spring Ridge ES Assistant Principal Justin McConnaughey the statewide Assistant Principal of the Year!Justin McConnaughey (See the photo at right.)

PLAY ON Linganore HS director of bands Kevin Lloyd earned the Maryland Music Educators Association 2016 Outstanding Music Teacher Award.

ARTISTIC Linganore HS art teacher Georgia Geisser's student won the 2016 Bettie Award;a jury of instructors at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center selected the winner from 10 finalists for the $1,000 prize.

TEACHING FINANCE Liberty ES teacher Casey Keenan won the 2016 Financial Education and Capability Award for elementary teachers.

TRANSPARENCY On another financial front, once again, Chief Financial Officer Leslie Pellegrino and her dedicated Fiscal Services staff earned our school system Certificate of Achievement Awards for Financial Reporting from both the Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of School Business of Officials. See the photo and full news release, giving accolades also to Budget and Finance Director Rob Reilly and Senior Accountant Suzette Dotterer.

DESTINATION IMAGINATION The following teachers managed regional winning teams, moving on to state-level competition: Ashley Benitez-Smith, Renee Heeley, Ashley Huffman, Gina Lindahl, Chris Olsen, Marie Wiehler and Karen YohoSee the news release. Marie Wiehler's Linganore HS team and Karen Yoho's Oakdale ES team qualified at state to advance to global finals in Knoxville next month.

News to Use

Carter Gipson

CCR  See the newest information FCPS has published on College and Career Readiness. Included are the legal definition of CCR, what assessments students take and when, how information is reported and more. FCPS will host a countywide community night on this topic Wednesday, May 4, 6 PM, at Gov. Thomas Johnson HS.

NEW FACES IN KEY PLACES  Oakdale HS student Carter Gipson (see photo at right) won election to the student member of the Board of Education one-year term for the 2016-2017 school year. Mindy Bankey was promoted to Communication Services Business Partnerships Coordinator, the systemwide point of contact for the FCPS ABC--Academic Business Connection--program and all FCPS partnerships. She welcomes questions and suggestions for business partnerships: mindy.bankey@fcps.org 301-644-5013.

COMING SOON  Wednesday, April 27 is Administrative Professionals Day. May 1-7 is Teacher Appreciation Week and National Physical Education and Sport Week. Tuesday, May 3 is National Teacher Day. Friday, May 6 is School Lunch Hero Day. Wednesday, May 11 is National School Nurse Day. May 15-21 is National Educational Bosses' Week.

JHU CREDITS Spread the word to interested high school students: Tuscarora HS will host the Johns Hopkins University Engineering Innovations course this summer. Prerequisites are Algebra II, some trigonometry, a lab science (biology, chemistry and/or physics) and experience with a spreadsheet application. Successful completion yields 3 college credits. There is a fee; some financial assistance is available: http://engineering-innovation.jhu.edu.

ROCK CREEK The Rock Creek School Feasibility Study Team has drafted three potential options to either renovate and add to the existing school, to replace the current school on its existing site, or to replace the school on another FCPS school campus. Find out more in the full news release:  FCPS seeks feedback about Rock Creek School Options

DIVERSE FCPS will host a Diversity Recruitment Fair on Wednesday April 27, 3-6 PM at the Central Office. We are recruiting support professionals and teachers. See more info and register.

WORLD LANGUAGES SUMMER CAMP Know students entering grade 3, 4 or 5 in the coming school year? Let them know about A Taste of the World Summer Camp!
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FCPS Fast Fact

Q: When is the official last day of the 2015-2016 school year for FCPS students? 

A:  The last day for students is Friday, June 17, 2016. FCPS used 6 of the 7 snow days built into this year's school calendar. The 4-day workweek begins June 19; see summer schedule details from any FCPS-networked computer. The last day for teachers and 10-month staff is Monday, June 20. 

Returning teachers are scheduled to report for the new school year on Tuesday, August 16 to prepare for the students' first day of school on Monday, August 22.