February 2014: Vol. 5, No. 7

"Paperless Present" Earns Trip to White House
For Students and Their Media Specialist

WhiteHouseGraphicYeah, having your schoolwork posted on the fridge at home is cool. But having a video you made posted on the White House website and screened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? We think that’s pretty cool, too. --http://www.whitehouse.gov/FilmFestival

FCPS proudly announces that members of our New Midway-Woodsboro ES Social Media Club are going to the White House Friday, February 28 because their video entry, Technology Is the Future: A Paperless Present, made it into the first-ever White House Student Film Festival! 

Through the contest, created just for K-12 students, finalists not only have their short films shown at the White House but also featured on the White House website, YouTube channel, and social media pages. 

"The Social Media Club advisors are library media specialist Stephanie Bickford and teachers Leanne Kitsko, Holly Nyack and Susan Thyden," says Principal Giuseppe DiMonte.  [See the photo! Left to right: Leanne, Stephanie, Susan and Holly] Ms. Bickford, who will accompany two students to the White House, says the school formed the club to help students learn about communication, cyber safety and collaboration. The contest garnered more than 2,000 entries.

"Our students did an outstanding job getting across a message I hear frequently across the county:  They want technology resources that keep up with their pace of learning, help them collaborate and equip them for success," says Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban.  "I am doing my best to provide students what they need to succeed when they graduate into tomorrow's world.  I invite you to learn more at fcps.org/budget."

Support the FY2015 Operating Budget that the BOE is sending the Board of County Commissioners:  Speak at the BOCC Public Budget Hearing Tuesday, May 6, 6 PM, Oakdale HS*Be an education ambassador. Visit http://www.fcps.org/thepromise.

*Thanks to Principal Jeff Marker and Oakdale HS staff for hosting this important event.

Employee Excellence
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

DonnaAndersonSpeech Language Pathologist Donna Anderson prompts a happy response (see photo) and is a treasured resource for many FCPS students, families and staff. At Rock Creek School, she is an excellent mentor to new speech pathologists, says Principal Mary Malone. She attends countywide team-leader meetings and effectively shares what she learns.  Ms. Anderson delivers innovative technology-based lessons, purposefully integrating topics of interest to students. She selects age-appropriate literature and develops meaningful communication-based activities. She accompanies students on field trips and some job sites to foster authentic social interactions in a natural environment. 

On top of all the teaching and learning that Ms. Anderson enthusiastically approaches, she values input from parents and staff, responding quickly and typically with a wonderful sense of humor. Principal Malone sums it up:  "Ms. Anderson is a First-Class Employee!  She reaches, challenges and prepares Rock Creek students, staff and families."

Congratulations to other staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter:  Glenda Bussard, Erick Condren, Michael Gibbons, Tracy Hatch, Jenifer Owings and Patricia Steele. Why not nominate an employee who does excellent work?


BEST IN STATE  The Maryland Advisory Council for Gifted & Talented Education and the Maryland State Department of Education recognize contributions to gifted and talented education. FCPS made a strong showing this year with three winners:  New Market ES Principal Cindy Alvarado is one of six administrators statewide awarded the Outstanding Educator in Gifted & Talented Education–School Administrator award. Thurmont MS advanced academics specialist Candace Desonier and Parkway ES advanced academics specialist Lawrence Paul join 20 teachers across Maryland in earning the Teacher As Leader in Gifted & Talented Education award.

BEST IN REGION Elementary Social Studies curriculum specialist Eric Phillips earned the Middle States Council for the Social Studies 2014 Collins-Skinner Award to recognize an outstanding educator in the Middle States region who excels in supporting social studies instruction. The region includes Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

ice hockey#1  The Maryland State Hockey League ranked Urbana HS #1 in Academic All-Stars‏ for the team with the highest statewide GPA--a 3.85. The team is acknowledged with a plaque congratulating the players for taking their academics seriously, says head coach Toby Heusser, who teaches 5th grade at Valley ES.

PUBLISHED  Crestwood MS advanced academics specialist Keri Grossnickle announces that two of the school's 6th graders are published authors. She and acting principal Donna Clabaugh commend literacy specialist Jody Deveney for organizing the opportunity for students. See what the students have to say about an app that helps them learn local history: http://www.my-say.org/section/must-see/learning-history-with-an-app-by-haley-livingston-and-melody-goto/

OUTSTANDING In the spirit of innovation, our Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation Division collaborated with Communication and Technology Services to deliver a systemwide professional-development webcast on Project-Based Learning that engaged over 1,000 teachers simultaneously across the school system. Social media such as Twitter was used to augment collaboration and assist in staff feedback. The verdict: This was an outstanding example of staff working together to deliver quality training.

Food DriveBIGGEST DONATION Brunswick ES collected the most pounds of food countywide in the recent Kids Helping Kids campaign. Kudos to the school's secretary and homeless coordinator Cheryl Tregoning and all who donated! The 414,249 pounds and $121,428.18 collected statewide allow the Maryland Food Bank, its partner agencies and local food banks to distribute more than 276,000 meals to hungry Marylanders.

CARING New Market ES wrapped up its Pennies for Patients campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, gathering over $3,400. That’s more than most of the 300+ participating Maryland schools. As a fundraiser goal reward, teacher Caitlyn Shorb dyed her hair orange, and 13 people shaved their heads; among them were teachers Brian Briest and Aaron Miller, user support specialist Micha Hagans, custodian Bryan Curtis and school counselor Chris Tressler, 3 students and 5 firefighters. See the WHAG Channel 25 coverage.

ART AWARDS A Frederick HS student in David Barber's advanced photography class was selected as a finalist for one of the best photographs among over 16,600 worldwide entries; his work will be entered into Nikon's Emerging Photographers Hall of Fame and will also appear in Best of College & High School Photography 2014. Linganore HS student artists swept all awards at the Frederick Civic Women’s Club 2014 Youth Art Contest and won 22 Regional Scholastics Art and Writing 2014 Awards. Kudos to their art teachers: Tracey Ellis-Guss, Georgia Geisser and Christian Madenspacher.

GRAND PRIZE A Middletown HS student won the Maryland Department of the Environment's annual Rethink Recycling Sculpture Contest. This is the second year in a row that a Middletown HS student earned the grand prize!  See Americana Chicken. The runner up was an Urbana HS senior; see Hummingbird, made with soda cans, astro-turf and wire. Their teachers: Karey Mattingly and Amelia Willet.

News to Use

EaselIT'S TIME TO REGISTER  PreK and kindergarten registration begin at schools on Monday, March 17 for fall 2014. Please encourage parents to register.

RECYCLING ESSAY CONTEST In 800 words or less, students have an opportunity to tell their community about the importance of recycling...and may win up to $150. The Frederick County Department of Solid Waste Management is conducting an essay contest to inspire K-12 students to think about the impact recycling makes. The contest ends Friday, March 28. The Frederick News Post will feature prize-winning entries on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22.  

SCHEDULE CHANGE Interim and end-of-term dates are changed as a result of 6 days of missed classroom instruction in the third term. For Term 3, the interim date is changed from February 14 to February 25. The end of term 3 is changed from March 20 to March 28. For Term 4, the interim date is changed from May 2 to May 9. The end of term 4 is still June 11, but FCPS may change this date if additional snow days occur.

SNOW DAYS FCPS has used 9 snow days: That's 4 more than the 5 included in the 2013-14 calendar. To see how we will make up the days, please visit www.fcps.org/calendar.  Also watch that section for the recent BOE-approved 2014-15 calendar, coming soon.


Check out the new FCPS Benefits Information web page:  http://www.fcps.org/page/313 for convenient links to all kinds of helpful resources for employees. You'll find Deals4U, wellness tips, dental, pharmacy and vision info as well as life and health insurance, the Employee Assistance Plan and more.

FCPS TV See The History of Technology in Our Classrooms  The BACK arrow will return you to this page.

FCPS Fast Fact

Q:  Can you name the new elementary school coming to the Urbana area?

A:  This is a trick question! FCPS invites you to help name the new Urbana-area elementary school. Please see the criteria and submit your name suggestion by Wednesday, March 5 to UrbanaAreaSchools@fcps.org.  Please include:

  • Your name
  • Your relationship to FCPS (e.g. FCPS employee)
  • Your rationale for the suggested name

Construction of the 725-seat elementary school will relieve crowding at Centerville and Urbana Elementary schools. Design began in October 2013, and construction is slated to start in summer 2015 for an August 2016 opening.