December 2017: Vol. 9, No. 5

Helping End Drug Abuse

Classmates4Life logo FCPS is joining with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, County Councilman Billy Shreve and other community partners to host a student video competition called Classmates4Life, modeled on the event we hosted two years ago. Sheriff Jenkins has reported 305 opioid-related overdoses and 45 opioid-related deaths in Frederick County this year.*

“Our students are creative and determined advocates for the issues that matter most in our society," says Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban. "I've been amazed at the effective and compelling anti-drug messages they have produced. I’m looking forward to seeing their work again, as it will once again help to change lives."

Employees are asked to encourage student participation. 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 March 1. Later that month, 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 Frederick HS on March 21. Prizes include iPhone 7s, a GoPro, tickets to an Orioles game with a tour of Orioles Productions, and much more.

See the promotional video and news release. Visit

*as of December 15, 2017

FCPS All-Stars
Achieving the Promise of Public Education

PhotoMajidaElhassanMajida Elhassan, affectionately known at Crestwood MS as Mrs. E, has worked at the school since its opening in 2004. After a few years as a 1:1 special education assistant, she moved into the Learning for Life (L4L) program and has remained there, making the environment a safe, comfortable and fun area for learning, a colleague says.

"The best mentor I've ever had" is how the person who nominated Mrs. E for All-Star recognition describes her, adding that she teaches students "with the perfect balance of allowing them break time, meeting their wants and needs, and creating a relationship with them. Mrs. E would do anything for any student, whether making pizza and bringing ice cream for a birthday or staying over 30 minutes past dismissal. Despite how difficult and frustrating our job can be at times, Mrs. E is always able to hold a level head, smile and think positively. I could not successfully do my job without her guidance, assistance, advice, and her kindness. She has a gift for embedding functional and social skills into our students' days, which is what Learning4Life is all about."

L4L provides integrated support to students with a variety of developmental and cognitive disabilities in a small, structured classroom with opportunities for inclusion with non-disabled peers. Students learn functional academic and life skills and receive instruction in modified Common Core Standards. 

Congratulations to Mejida Elhassan and to other staff earning FCPS All-Star Awards since our November issue: Steven Leduc and Jared Solomon.

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


UES_BlueRibbonLogoSTATE CHAMPIONS Linganore HS won 4 state championships this fall: 3A football with Coach Rick Conner, 3A girls soccer with Coach Howie Putterman, 4A/3A cheerleading with Coach Amy Rumburg and 3A boys cross country with Coach Andres Wright. Jim Dorsch coached Oakdale HS to the state championship win in Division 2A volleyball. Will Scheetz coached Walkersville HS student-athletes to the state championship win in Division 4 unified tennis.

SERVICE There were 9 nominees for the inaugural FCPS Veteran in Education Service Award. Congratulations to the winner: Crestwood MS Assistant Principal Eric Bokinsky and nominees Juana Anderson, Harry Hanna, Marlon Moran, Jennifer Reynolds, Chief Michael Rodrigues, Heather Ruby, Dr. Christine Samuels and Joshua Work.

MARYLAND'S BEST Our newest school to earn Maryland Blue Ribbon School recognition is Urbana ES. Earlier this year Centerville ES became the 11th public school in Frederick County to earn National Blue Ribbon status. Urbana ES is in the running to become our 12th. See the news release for the complete list and more.

BENEFITING YOU Thanks to Lisa Newcomer, Penny Opalka and Tricia Riley, the Benefits section at has a new look to better serve you with answers to all the most frequently asked staff questions. Please watch the quick video, Navigating the New Benefits Section at, to see what's new. It's less than 3 minutes!

FCPS Wellness LogoSTEPPING UP The Linganore HS Deck Swabbers team of Dawn Aburto, Patti Chanatry, Karianne Eckard, William Eckard and Michelle Massey completed the most steps--2,647,963--in the FCPS Walktober Challenge. The Central Office Wonderful Women Walkers team of Carrie Artis (now at Frederick HS), Robin Kelley, Tonya Street, Chastidy Thomas and Zelda Tribit completed the most minutes--12,586. Three groups tied for the most points: NFB's Lisa Halvis, Danielle Prouty, Kathy Putnam, Sherri Thomas and Jacqueline Vitak; PeopleSoft Pacers' Charlie Adams, Scott MacDougal, Christina Marcel, Mark Payne and Jessica Sedgwick, and the Viking Strong's Mary Cooley, Jolissa Gue, Carla McFarland, Allison McHenry and Amy Temporado. The walker with the most steps: Karianne Eckard with 852,842. The walker with the most minutes: Jane Nicholson with 7,095.

NATIONAL GOLD Earlier this fall a student in Phil Arnold's Computer-Aided Design class at the Career and Technology Center achieved national recognition, earning a gold medal from the NAACP's Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics in an architectural challenge to design the proposed Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum. The student is also a senior at Walkersville HS.

News to Use

OFPhotoBradYoungFPhotoAprilMillerICERS The BOE has elected Brad Young president and April Miller vice president for terms from December 2017-December 2018. See the news release.

CALENDAR APPROVED The BOE has finalized the 2018-2019 school year calendar. Teachers will report Friday, August 24, 2018, with students starting after Labor Day on Tuesday, September 4. See the full calendar.WeatherDelayVideoImage

SNOW  As you plan snow dates for winter events, let folks know how to check school status. Tell them how to find out if the Snow Emergency Plan is in effect, and make sure they know that it cancels weekend and afterschool activities in our buildings. Here's How FCPS Decides to Cancel or Delay School During Bad Weather. Watch the video and learn more about school closings and delays. From any FCPS-networked computer, get employees-only essentials such as the confidential number for the employee hotline for closing and delay information. Also see FCPS Regulation 400-2: Closing of Schools Because of Weather, Maintenance or Other Reasons.

RETIREES  We bid farewell to staff ringing in the new year as our newest retirees: Mary Bates, Richard Best, James Brown, Maureen Case, Susan Donoghue-Rick, Deborah Fox, Lisa Frederick, Marsha Grosinger (in February), Donna Hess, Willard McLean, Judith O'Keefe, Wanda Peltz, Sharon Robbins, Anne Rowley, Michele Thornton, Pamela Trammell, Cheryl Utermohle and Judy Wright. The following employees retired earlier this school year: Theresa Anderson, Mary Antosca, Susan Baltic, Robert Beavers, Richard Click, Demaris Coley, Tina Flannery, Virgil Fradette, Rita Garlington, Denise Goodson, Cheryl Gordon, Gloria Green, Vicki Grossnickle, Donna Haupt, Margaret Kelly, Richard Matthews, Terry McDermid, Darlene Mitchell, Cheryl Novotny, Barbara Portner, Julia Robinson, Linda Ropelewski, Susan Roper, Patricia Sampson, Robert Scharp, Mildred Slagle, Jocelyn Stup, Judy Sweeney, Kathleen Thayil, Spring Todd, Patrick Wahl, Ronald Welsh and Ronald Werking.

MovingForwardLogoMOVING FORWARD The FY2019 budget process is underway. The Superintendent will present her recommendations Thursday, January 4, 7-8 PM, in the Board Room (snow date: Tuesday, January 9). The BOE public hearing will take place Wednesday, February 7, 7 PM, at a location not yet determined. See the full budget calendar.

$$$ The 2017-2018 Gifts for Education application process is open through Thursday, January 11, 4 PM. See details under Timely Topics at There are still funds available from the 1st round of applications; schools awarded a Gifts for Education grant in fall 2017 are not eligible to apply.

REPORTING FRAUD FCPS is committed to managing our resources wisely and carefully to support students and their academic achievement. Please view this video about reporting waste, fraud or abuse of taxpayer resources. See details on the employee intranet, linked to all FCPS-networked computers: http://insidefcps/fraud. In addition to speaking with your supervisor, there are 3 anonymous ways to report workplace fraud, waste or abuse of resources:
1) Call 855-990-0017 toll free
2) Email
3) Via

EARN IT. KEEP IT. SAVE IT. United Way offers two free tax programs to FCPS staff who meet income-eligibility requirements:

MyFreeTaxes at incurs no e-filing charge. The income limit to use this free H&R Block software is $66,000. Participants will process your own taxes on your computer or smartphone. There is 24/7 tax support to answer any questions that come up while doing your taxes, in English and in Spanish.

VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) offers 3 locations where an IRS-Certified Tax Preparer will process your taxes and e-file them for free. There is an income limit of $54,000. An appointment is required. See the flier.

WEBSTER'S Employees have free access from work computers to Merriam Webster's Unabridged Dictionary:
FCPS TV Banner

In a Minute: December 1     December 8    December 15   
Full Play List

Tweet of the Tweek Episodes:
Program Student Brigitte King and Administrator Katie Turner
Career and Technology Center's Teacher Academy of Maryland with Tuscarora HS senior Chloe Tritsch and Teacher Sally Huguley

Career and Technology Center's CAD-Architecture Student Nina Crosby Walton
Frederick HS LYNX School Advocate Marlon Moran and 9th Grader Joel Flores Jr.

Civility Awareness Week: 
I feel respected when
Being kind means...
To make things better we need more...

FCPS Proud: Play List

Board of Education Meetings

FCPS Fast Fact

CodeBlueLogoQ:  What is liberal leave?

A: Liberal leave is unscheduled annual or personal leave usually granted during a weather or other emergency event when an employee is unable to report to work.

From FCPS Regulation 400-02, Section J. Liberal Leave:
1. Personnel designated emergency personnel are not authorized to use liberal leave.
2. When the system is status Code Blue, closed due to inclement weather and a liberal leave policy is announced, employees who normally report to work when schools are closed should be aware of the following guidelines:
    a. Employees must inform their supervisor if they will be absent or late.
    b. Employees may use either personal or annual leave. If annual and personal leave are exhausted, the employee may request to have leave charged against future earned leave (pay stub will show a negative balance).
    c. Support employees may, with supervisor’s approval, make up time in lieu of using leave, or use earned compensatory time.
    d. FASSE, FCTA and FCASA agreements outline some aspects of employee leave procedures in more detail. Supervisors and employees are encouraged to reference current agreements.