Wednesday, February 4 was a challenging evening for students at Frederick HS, but the community rallied to provide strong support after two students were wounded in a shooting outside the school's gym. A JV basketball game was underway between Frederick and Gov. Thomas Johnson HS students when the incident happened. Here's an edited (for length) version of what one TJ parent says he saw:
With quick response, caring and leadership...all of the FCPS employees did an outstanding job taking control of the situation, placing the student/children's safety as their first priority. TJ and FHS basketball coaching staff, administrators, teachers, custodians and volunteers...acted swiftly and in a calming manner to corral everyone and initiate the lockdown procedure. Once we were locked down in the cafeteria, I witnessed TJ players/cheerleaders consoling FHS players/cheerleaders, and FHS players/cheerleaders doing the same for the TJ players/cheerleaders. They were all on one team at that point....You could throw out the intra-city rivalry last night. We prayed for the victims...and patiently waited as the police responded. Law enforcement personnel did a great job...making everyone feel safe. There were many other acts of kindness that took place; I assure you they were all appreciated. Lastly, I can say that two rivalry schools became one family last night!
The shooting happened shortly after 8 PM, as the Board of Education's televised public budget hearing was wrapping up at Oakdale HS. By 9:30, FCPS had published the first email notice to FindOutFirst subscribers. Within the hour, at 10:20 PM, we sent a second notice to alert the community we were accompanying groups of students to the nearby bowling alley for release to their parents. [Thank you, Terrace Lanes.] Authorities interviewed and released the last group about midnight.
By 1 AM, BOE President Brad Young and Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban were recording the first message FCPS posted to YouTube:
By 2 AM, we sent notice that Frederick HS would be closed for students Thursday, February 5. Later our law enforcement partners recommended also closing West Frederick MS that day.
Communications director Michael Doerrer lost count at 30 of the media interviews he gave as satellite trucks claimed spaces throughout the FHS parking lot. Interviews went well beyond Wednesday evening, throughout Thursday and Friday until the boys' varsity basketball game between Frederick HS and Linganore HS ended in an FHS victory. That same night FHS students won their Academic Tournament match at Linganore HS.
Thursday was a day of crisis team support at the schools. Gov. Thomas Johnson HS attendance was above 90% as the community learned what happened and began steps to recover. Messages of support arrived from County Executive Jan Gardner and many others.
When Frederick HS re-opened Friday, attendance was also above 90%. It was an outstanding day with West Frederick MS students quiet and on task, Frederick HS students back to their routine and students pulling together with #FHSStrong. Superintendent Terry Alban recorded In a Minute. Sunday the community held an interfaith prayer service. Positive messages poured in to Principal Campagnoli's email.
By Sunday and Monday, The Frederick News Post had covered our All-County Middle School Music Festival and MATHCOUNTS competition. We were back on track, though one student remained hospitalized and law enforcement officials were still seeking the culprits.
For all the staff who went well above and beyond their normal duties: THANK YOU. You are among the people who make Frederick County special.
Within a week, our FCPS family suffered another tragedy as Middletown HS senior Claire Knight died from injuries sustained when the SUV she was driving hit a school bus head on, Wednesday, February 11. Thankfully the bus driver was able to take evasive action to keep the one passenger on board safe. That same week, on February 12, a Catoctin HS senior died. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and all who are in mourning.
The School Name Recommendation Committee brought three recommendations to the BOE for consideration after reviewing historical documents, property information and more than 250 name suggestions that community members submitted. Board members chose Butterfly Ridge ES from among the three, which also included Greenstone and Woodland Fields.
The committee recommended Butterfly Ridge because of Butterfly Lane, the existing road that defines the edge of the school site. “Butterfly” was also a popular suggestion among community members during both rounds of community engagement associated with the naming process.
Butterfly Ridge ES is slated for construction on the south side of Butterfly Lane, opposite McCain Drive. The new school will accommodate 725 students in grades PreK-5 and address growing needs on the west side of the City of Frederick by relieving overcrowding and balancing enrollment at Hillcrest ES, Orchard Grove ES and Waverley ES. It is scheduled to open in August 2017 if funding is available. FCPS will initiate a redistricting study to create an attendance area for the new school. See more about Butterfly Ridge ES.
School psychologist Dr. Rollo Jones takes a gentle approach to problem solving. This is part of what makes him our school's "best resource for developing goals and objectives on the IEPs [Individualized Education Programs] of students with behavior concerns," a principal says.
Another commends Dr. Jones for having a unique ability to connect students and parents and being extremely helpful when students have been a danger to themselves or others. The principal says that Dr. Jones is "very professional and provides the resources that help."
An effective member of another school's crisis team, Dr. Jones is also praised for "excellent communication skills, particularly with parents, and for his calm and soothing interaction style with students." He has developed curricula for executive-functioning groups and sports psychology. He presents valuable staff development sessions, collaborates on developing an updated evaluation tool and has even purchased a skate board deck as incentive for a student.
Psychological Services Supervisor Ann Hammond readily agrees that Dr. Jones provides excellent service to students and staff.
Congratulations to staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter: Wanda Adkins, Brenda Beuchert, Carl Ferguson, Elissa Grimm, Allen Hudson, Matthew McVay, Jennifer Mitchell, Lisa Newcomer, Teresa Spicer, Robert Staples and Kurt Stein.
Know someone who deserves an award? Take a moment to nominate an outstanding employee!
THE WINNER IS… Yellow Springs ES 1st grade teacher Maggie Hawk (right) won a $25,000 2015 Milken Educator Award--it’s like the Oscar for teachers! In her 12th year of teaching, Ms. Hawk is the first teacher in Frederick County to receive the prestigious award and the only one statewide for this school year.
MILESTONES Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Cuppett, Dr. Lisa DeKett and Dr. Laura Jones on earning their advanced degrees this school year. See the names of 39 employees earning master's degrees, 17 earning special industry credentials, three achieving para-professional qualifications and 37 earning industry certifications.
Among those earning master's degrees, a special shout out goes to two support employees who have achieved teacher certification: Alicia Dirk and Nicholas Sizemore.
FCPS offers a variety of career-advancement services; to learn more, please contact the HR department of Talent Competency and Leadership Development, 301-644-5100.
SUCCESS All who have worked through the years to help SUCCESS Program graduate Troy Baisey develop the sentiments behind his motivational philosophy can be very proud--including his mom, teacher specialist Michele Baisey. His message is Enjoy every day and be thankful for what you have. Need a lift? See the very inspiring Troy Baisey Story.
TRAILBLAZERS Earning the first-ever FCPS Trailblazing Leadership Award is the innovative Frederick HS team of teachers focused on student success in Algebra I: (left to right, in photo) Michelle Shearer, Karine Ptak, Andrea McCarrick and Rebecca Winpigler.
BECAUSE THEY CARE New Market ES raised more than $3,500 in a Pennies for Patients Campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Because they surpassed their $3,000 goal, four staff members will have their heads shaved: school counselor Chris Tressler, custodian Bryan Curtis, 3rd-grade teacher Cole Lauber and PE teacher Aaron Miller. Three 5th grade students will also get their heads shaved in support of cancer patients. AND instructional assistant Joann Geck is donating her hair for cancer patients.
HEARTS OF GOLD There are no kinder people than FCPS employees. Each day you support students and their families, colleagues and communities. Your choices matter, and when you choose to show kindness to others it makes the difference that keeps us FCPS strong!
NEW FACES IN KEY PLACES Congratulations to Debbie Wachter-Harne on her new job as executive assistant to the BOE, following Nuala McCarthy and Judith Ricketts's 2014 retirements. John Festerman is also retiring; the acting principal at Wolfsville ES for the remainder of this school year is Lynnea Richards. Following Zoe Carson's resignation, Cathleen Cullen is our new Homeless Program coordinator. Following Gwen Mays's resignation, Jessica Clabaugh is our new Title I business manager. Cathy Menzel has taken Jessica's former position as budget coordinator.
HOVER ON OVER What do All-Wound-Up Cars, Hovercraft and a Straw Bridge Engineering Challenge have in common? All are events in our 22nd countywide Technology Fair, coming Tuesday, February 24 (snow date February 26) to the Francis Scott Key Mall from 6 PM to 8 PM.
SAVE THE DATES In March we launch Youth Art Month and Read across Maryland. We celebrate World Language Day on Saturday, March 7. The following weekend brings Epic Pi Day, marking a once-in-100 years occurrence when the date 3-14-15 matches pi! Our Earth and Space Science Lab is hosting a Pi-K fun run starting at 9:26:53 AM. See the cool Pi Day countdown clock, register for the race and find out about the amazing activities planned: https://education.fcps.org/essl. Then there are the science and social studies fairs on Saturday, March 21.
FINANCIAL FITNE$$ Our FCPS Wellness Program sponsors the online Financial Fitne$$ Challenge. Watch your email the week of February 16 for an invitation from firstname.lastname@example.org to take a 10-minute Financial Fitness Checkup and register for the Financial Fitness Challenge. You can choose one of three courses: Basic Personal Finance, Saving and Investing, or Retirement Planning. Sign up to learn at your own pace; complete 5 sessions in 8 weeks. With supervisor approval, employees can use FCPS computers in 15-minute increments. Participants who pass all five courses and complete the final checkup will earn a certificate of completion and be enrolled in a raffle for prizes. Take the 10-minute Financial Fitne$$ Checkup anytime during the Challenge. SPACE IS LIMITED, so don’t delay. You may need to check your Junk Mail folder for your invitation and save it to your inbox to access the links. Questions? email@example.com
FCPS In a Minute: Playlist with all episodes
Off the Cuff: Women Leaders
2014-2015 Milken Educator Award: Maggie Hawk
Q: How many FCPS teachers have achieved National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, and how much more do they earn?
A: The photo features the four teachers who achieved this goal in 2015. Systemwide, FCPS has 51 nationally certified teachers. See their names!
Each earns $3,000 more per year than peers without national certification. FCPS pays $2,000 of that amount annually, and the state matches school district contributions up to $1,000 per fiscal year.
To find out more, please contact HR Specialist Rachel.Whitaker@fcps.org