December 2014: Vol. 6, No. 5

1 of 6 Statewide Blue Ribbon Schools
Kemptown Elementary Succeeds!

BlueRibbonKESMaryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian M. Lowery has named Kemptown ES one of only six 2015 Maryland Blue Ribbon Schools.

Principal Kristen Canning (in photo, fourth from the right) was in Baltimore with (left to right) FCPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mike Markoe, BOE President Brad Young, FCPS Elementary Director Kathy Prichard, Kemptown ES Teacher Kelly McConville, Counselor Laura Jones, Literacy Specialist Lisa Halvis, Special Education Teacher Rachel Rhinehart and Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban when Dr. Lowery announced the news!
Rigorous state and national requirements for high achievement and significant improvement served as the basis for Blue Ribbon School selection with Kemptown’s overall math proficiency at 94.6% and reading at 96.7%. The school’s efforts to improve attendance have resulted in 97.1% attendance, the highest rate among FCPS elementary schools. The school staff is a dedicated and committed group, with 90% holding a Master’s equivalency or higher.
Kemptown ES receives a Governor's proclamation, a Maryland Blue Ribbon School Flag, gifts and prizes for classroom use and honors at a State dinner in Annapolis. The Maryland General Assembly will also honor the school and principal with tributes on the floor of the House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate. The State Superintendent, elected officials, corporate sponsors, and other dignitaries will visit Kemptown during a Blue Ribbon School Tour of Excellence.
Nine other Frederick County public schools have received national Blue Ribbon School awards: New Market ES—2010, Windsor Knolls MS—2002, Middletown MS—1998, Yellow Springs ES—1994, Frederick HS and Linganore HS—1993, Gov. Thomas Johnson HS—1991, Middletown ES—1990 and Middletown HS—1987.
Kemptown ES is in the running for national Blue Ribbon School recognition. About 360 students attend the school, which has about 50 staff members. Congratulations to all!

FCPS All Star
Teacher Melinda Machande

MachandeStudents rally around their outstanding Oakdale HS social studies teacher Melinda Machande (center, in photo) featured in our very first FCPS All Star show. Hosting the new show is another talented all star:  FCPS benefits coordinator Tiana Haile.

The first question Tiana asks Melinda is, "What would someone who's meeting you for the first time find very surprising about you?

We learn that Melinda has visited 27 countries!  Tiana then asks for Melinda's Top 10 list, counting down to her favorite. Watch the YouTube video to see how Melinda prioritized this list:  Australia, Cambodia, Costa Rico, France, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ireland, Laos, Switzerland and VietNam and which country was her favorite.

One of the most satisfying experiences in Melinda's life was getting to run in the biggest race in history:  last year's New York City marathon.  It took her four years to get in via the lottery system. Many of her happiest moments are spent running. Coming up on Melinda's agenda in addition to her passion for teaching:  beating cancer and visiting Africa! 

Congratulations to other FCPS All Stars: Waverley ES targeted math intervention teacher  Pepper Bowins and Lincoln ES advanced academics teacher Janet Manning.

If you know an employee who's a great candidate for FCPS All Star, please email


ARTISTIC  Heather Ridge School art teacher Janet Arsenault won Frederick’s 2014 Holiday Art Competition with her All Aglow on Market Street watercolor painting!

AWESOME Urbana HS Principal Jay Berno commends music teacher Stephanie Weigelt and all who helped this year's Mr. Urbana program raise more than $7,800 for our Rock Creek School.

SamsungSCIENCE  Monocacy MS science teacher Andrea Maruskin won her school $20,000 worth of technology equipment in the state-level Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. Brunswick MS science teacher Laith VanGrootenbruel achieved 1 of 5 state finalist awards. Also in science news, Frederick HS biology teacher Mark Trice won a $500 Association of American Educators grant to support hands-on science instruction. 

FULBRIGHT Crestwood MS counselor Cathleen Kazio won a Fulbright scholarship to study in England.

SUPERIOR The Urbana HS concert choir and chamber ensemble earned superior ratings in adjudication; they were the only local group who sang at level 5 (of 6, which is typically the college or professional level). Monika McCormick chairs the Performing Arts Department.

News to Use

OFFICERS  The BOE elected Brad W. Young president and Liz Barrett vice president until December 2015. See details: BOE Elects OfficersOther BOE members are Zakir Bengali, Colleen E. Cusimano, Kathryn B. Groth, April F. Miller and Joy Schaefer. The student member is Emmanuel Apea from Urbana HS.

CALENDAR  See the newly approved FCPS 2015-2016 school year calendar.

CROSSROADS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban invites everyone to a presentation and frank discussion about school operating budget priorities for the 2015-2016 school year (FY2016):  Building Frederick’s Future: Education at a Crossroad, Wednesday, January 7, from 7-8 p.m., in the Tuscarora HS auditorium (snow date: Tuesday, January 13). Linganore HS Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) students will open the presentation. Tuscarora HS jazz ensemble students will perform. Feedback is also welcome via email: Check out our newest budget-related videos:  How Every Dollar Is Spent and FCPS Budget Timeline with New County Charter Government

All former King Award winners:  Join current students and the public in celebrating a very special silver anniversary--the 25th year that FCPS will honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thursday, January 15, 7 p.m., at Governor Thomas Johnson HS (snow date: January 22).  RSVP:

PIMA  Nominations are open for the Maryland State Department of Education's 8th annual Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA) to honor a parent/guardian whose contributions to public education have led to improvements for children, teachers, schools, programs and/or policies. See Deadline: Friday, January 30.

GOT A MINUTE? That's all it takes to see the new FCPS In a Minute YouTube video!

DIRECT PAY  Support employees:  No more coming up with tuiton funds up front and waiting for reimbursement! FCPS has launched a Direct Pay Program for benefited support employees taking reimbursement-eligible courses at Frederick Community College. Apply before you register; the program will pay eligible tuition benefits directly to FCC at the end of the semester.

RESTRICTED Based on enrollment projections, the following schools will be at or over 100% capacity when school opens in August 2015. Consequently, their enrollment is limited only to those students who reside within each school’s respective attendance area:  Brunswick ES, Centerville ES, Deer Crossing ES, Hillcrest ES, Monocacy ES, New Market ES, Oakdale MS, Tuscarora ES, Urbana ES, MS and HS, Walkersville ES, Waverley ES, Whittier ES and Yellow Springs ESMore about restricted schools.

WellnessAppleThe first 2015 FCPS Wellness Challenge runs January 1-February 15. Because big results can come from small lifestyle changes over time, there are points you can earn for sleeping, eating well and more. Details are coming soon from your school or building's Wellness Champion.  We're even working to roll out an easy online tracker...and you can follow along on Twitter with hashtag #FCPSWellness2015 for motivational messages to boost your morale. 

NEW FACES IN KEY PLACES  New to the Superintendent's Office: Executive Assistant Julie Roberson. Upon Russ Beaton's 2014 retirement, Dr. Randy Rumpf is our 2015 Visual and Performing Arts (Secondary) Curriculum Specialist. After 41 years of service to the BOE, Administrative Director Judith Ricketts is retiring at the end of this month (along with BOE Senior Executive Secretary Nuala McCarthy). Following Larkin Hohnke's 2014 retirement, Kathleen Schlappal is our new High Schools Instructional Director.

CARING  Thank you to Communication Services Executive Secretary Tonya Street for coordinating--and to all employees who donated to--the Combined Charities Campaign.  As of December 17, our total was $58,105.

FCPS Fast Fact

SchoolMoneyQ:  Where can employees working toward or changing an area of teacher certification get funding?

A:  The Maryland Retired School Personnel Association offers three $2,000 scholarships to public school employees in Maryland enrolled in a program leading to teacher certification. The scholarship is also available to certified teachers who are pursuing certification in another area. Applications are accepted online only, via The Community Foundation of Frederick County from January 1 to February 28. To begin the application process, set up an online account at (or use an existing account if you have applied to The Community Foundation of Frederick County in previous years). For more information: