December 2015: Vol. 7, No. 5

Working to End Drug Abuse

Classmates4LifeThis past year in Frederick County, 115 people have overdosed on heroin, and 18 have died of heroin overdoses, according to Sheriff Chuck Jenkins on December 16.

With that disturbing news in mind, FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban agreed to join with the Frederick County Sheriff's Department, County Councilman Billy Shreve and other community partners to launch a student video competition called Classmates4Life.

“Our students have proven time and again that they’re eloquent and creative advocates for the issues that matter most in our county and our society. I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing videos they’ll produce. But what I’m really looking forward to most is seeing how their efforts will help to steer the young people of Frederick County away from drug abuse. This project will help change lives,” Dr. Alban said.

The competition is open to all Frederick County students. Video production can be as simple as using a smartphone. The goal for students is to produce a creative video, 30 to 60 seconds long, that highlights drug-abuse danger and motivates their peers to choose life. The videos should answer one of two questions. Elementary students should answer the question, “How are drugs bad?” At the secondary level the question is “How can drugs wreck your world?” Videos are due by January 31.

Employees are asked to encourage student participation. In February, staff may join the public in viewing each video and voting on YouTube by clicking the thumbs up symbol for the one they deem best. An expert panel of judges will also review the entries.

Winners will receive prizes and attend a “red carpet” awards ceremony and resource fair at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Frederick on March 2. Prizes include an iPad mini, GoPro, Public Service Announcement (PSA) aired on Comcast Cable, screening at the Maryland International Film Festival in Hagerstown, two tickets to an Orioles game and tour of Orioles Productions, Weinberg Center for the Arts tickets and tour, a Pie Five pizza party and more. 

View the kickoff event:

View the promotional video:


FCPS All-Star
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

Brunswick HS support teacher and head baseball coach Roger Dawson is an FCPS All Star Award winner. Roger will be inducted into the Frederick County Sports Hall of Fame early in 2016. His 2015 team went 23-2 and won the Maryland 1A state championship. During this record-breaking season, he surpassed the 300-win milestone as a Brunswick HS head coach. Roger has helped countless students realize their dreams of playing college-level baseball.

"He is always available for students, staff and community members," wrote nominator Jonathan Jarrett, the school's athletic director. Roger "helps raise achievement for all students and eliminate achievement gaps. His daily duties include helping administrators with conflict resolution, assisting classroom teachers with students, managing and writing all of the school's student 504 plans and meeting with at-risk students on his school-support case load. His ability to interact with students is outstanding, and students respect his advice and appreciate his support.

"Roger is also available during nonschool hours to assist at Brunswick High School. Recently my wife, who is a teacher at a high school in Virginia, locked her keys in her car and called me to come and unlock her car. My first response was, 'Don't you have a Roger at your high school that can figure out how to get your car unlocked?'"

If you know an employee who has earned a reputation for going well beyond job requirements to support FCPS students and staff, please visit for nomination details. Watch for more FCPS All-Star Award recipients next month.


GOOD NEWS Just as FCPS learned when high school scores were released, there was good news this month when Maryland released elementary and middle school scores from last spring’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers—PARCC—testing. Our elementary and middle students outscored their peers statewide in each content area:  English/Language Arts and Math, grades 3-8. Kudos to our hardworking teachers! See the news release: FCPS Outscores State PARCC Results Again.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION  FCPS won the Rural Maryland Council's Outstanding Rural Community Development Award, an official citation from the Maryland Senate, and special recognition awards from U.S. Senators Mikulski and Cardin for our My Plate Garden program. The project is a collaboration among our schools and their communities as well as between our Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation Department and Facilities Services Division.

KEEPING PACE The FCPS Virtual School received national recognition in the 2015 publication Keeping Pace: K-12 Digital Learning. The school is cited as an exemplary model of effectively using supplemental-course enrollments to expand flexibility and increase student-learning opportunities. Congratulations to Principal Dr. Stacey Adamiak and all who make Virtual School a success. See the news release: FCPS Virtual School Is Nationally Recognized.

$$$ FCPS is one of only two Maryland school systems awarded a $5,000 Maryland State Department of Education grant to launch the new “Apprenticeship Maryland” program. The funds are to pilot youth apprenticeships that prepare juniors and seniors to enter employment and further their education in high-skill, high-growth sectors such as healthcare, biotechnology, information technology, construction and design, banking and finance, and advanced manufacturing. See the news release: FCPS Wins Youth Apprenticeship Grant.

GOLD AND SILVER The Walkersville HS Science Olympiad team matched wits with 19 other schools, most several times Walkersville’s size (from Fairfax, Howard and  Montgomery Counties), and earned awards in many events. Three students earned gold medals, and six earned silver. Their advisor is science teacher Von Mosser. See the news release: Walkersville Earns Medals in Science Olympiad.

BEST PRACTICE Purchasing Manager Stephen Starmer earned the Association of School Business Officials’ 2015 Best Practices Award for reducing FCPS copying costs. Transitioning from stand-alone copiers and desktop inkjet and laser printers to a new Managed Print Service, leased and networked, freed significant funds for classroom needs.

News to Use

NEW FACES IN KEY PLACES  FCPS has promoted Dr. Keith Harris to executive director of the new Accelerated Achievement and Equity Division.See the news release: FCPS Restructures Central Office. In addition, Fiscal Services welcomes Jessica Clabaugh as budget analyst I. Watch for additional staff updates as we work to fill retiree positions. When Urbana HS Principal Jay Berno retires the end of January, Michael Chavez will serve as acting principal and Helen Golibart as acting assistant principal.

RETIREES  Here's a list of employees who will ring in the new year as our newest retirees [Those marked with an asterisk are retiring January 31]: Peggy Ballew, John Baugher, Susan Bergstralh*, Jay Berno*, Diane Block, Deborah Brooks, Michael Bunitsky*, Elizabeth Cheswick, Ruth Cramer, Sharon Crawford, Joan Crouse, Paula Dallas, Norma Darby, Nancy Davis*, Leslie Dorsey, Alida Fink, Beverly Flohr, Laurence Ford*, Dawn Franzese, Kimberly Fredericks, Carol Gaither, Shan Leng Granger, Susan Gray, Melanie Haines*, Vicki Heller, Cheryl Hildebrand, William Hoy Sr., Carol Johnson, Anita Kent, Joyce MacKellar, Kathleen McBay, Nancy Moore*, Paul O'Hara, John Parker, Gail Picking, Christine Preston, Anne Rhodes, Donald Roberts*, Jose Rosapepe, Linda Rothenhhoefer, Ellen Ruby*, Sherman Sewell, Janice Shaff*, Kathleen Sutherland, Peter Whitby, Merri Wright and Grace Zimmerman.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT  The Maryland State Department of Education is accepting nominations for the 9th annual Parent Involvement Matters Award, due January 29.

CALENDAR  The BOE has approved the 2016-2017 school year calendar. Teachers report to work Tuesday, August 16 to prepare for the students' opening day Monday, August 22. If there are no snow days, the school year will end for teachers on Friday, June 9, 2017. If there are snow days, the school year will be adjusted. With six snow days built in, the last teacher day will be Monday, June 19, 2017. See the full calendar:

NOMINATIONS Formerly known as the Agnes Meyer Awards, The Washington Post Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year award nominations are due Friday, January 22.

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FIERCE (Females Inspired and Empowered by Rigorous Classes and Exercise): Paige Rhoderick

 FCPS In a Minute Playlist

All Stars: Community Agency School Services (CASS) Coordinators Eileen McGrath, Pamela Miller, Corrina Nobis and Kristen Spear.    Casey Armstrong

Off the Cuff:  Tea    Snow    Decorating the Tree    PARCC Results Update

Superintendent Comments:  November 2015    December 2015

FCPS Fast Fact

Q:  How close did FCPS get to reaching our Combined Charities Campaign goal this year?

A:  Employees donated $52,173. Our goal was $63,650. Donations are accepted through December 31. Options include payroll deductions throughout the year or a one-time donation via check, cash or credit card. For more information, please contact