March 2014: Vol. 5, No. 8

Step into a World of Color
It's Youth Art Month

Before March ends, bask in the colorful and imaginative student art projects featured in the free FCPS Student Art Show at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center in downtown Frederick! Visual and Performing Arts curriculum specialists Russell Beaton (secondary) and Susan Thomas (elementary) appreciate our students' amazing art teachers for sharing their talents.

“Having so many wonderful examples of student artwork in one place shows not only our students’ achievement but the excellent talents our art teachers bring to the classroom every day," says Beaton.

Whittier ES art teacher Cindy Wetzel's student Haley Fratina created the oil pastel and glue Water Lily shown here. Can you spot other student artwork in this issue?  One is The Water Spill Flower that Tuscarora ES 5th grader Julia Biser created in art teacher Shannon Welsh's class. The other is by Frederick HS art teacher Sandra Braun's student Kaitlyn Aguilar, 12th grade.

Spring at FCPS will look a bit different, following one of our county's most severe winters. Did you know that in the 2009-10 school year, we had 11 snow days, and in 1993-94, we had 14?  In 2014, as of March 25, we have used 12 snow days. That's 7 more than the 5 built into our June 11 year-end date.  Please visit to see how this affects our remaining school year, at least as far as the BOE has been able to determine so far. Typically in April, FCPS announces the official last school day for students and teachers. Watch for updates.

Employee Excellence
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

LauraGabalyTreating people with respect and treating them fairly are core values that North Frederick ES school counselor Laura Gabaly holds in high regard. Ms. Gabaly works every day to inspire students and even teachers to reach their potential. Her own growth mindset has allowed her to help others understand what it means to help students succeed.

Principal DeVeda Coley and other administrators commend Ms. Gabaly for helping identify and create a strong core of 5th-grade peer mentors and student leaders who do many tasks at the school, building a strong sense of community. She has also led the way in many afterschool events that focus on family involvement. "Mrs. Gabaly's heart," they agree, "is always in the right place when it comes to student issues or concerns. She is an absolute advocate for the underserved.  Faced with many of the school's most challenging situations she handles them with professionalism and integrity."

Congratulations to staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter: Katherine “Jody” Harshman.

Click here to nominate an employee who does excellent work!


YEAR'S BEST Career and Technology Education curriculum specialist Kristine Pearl earned the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association 2014 Supervisor/Leader of the Year Award for her steadfast commitment to students, content expertise and desire to improve technology and engineering education programs across Maryland.

READY TO TEACH...AND LEARN Spring Ridge ES Title I teacher specialist Dawn Getzandanner earned a scholarship to the National Agriculture Conference in Hershey, PA. Find out about a Gifts for Education grant Dawn helped her school secure.

DISNEY STAGE Catoctin HS English/drama teacher Karen Stitely and music teacher Benjamin Zamostny accompanied 24 of their students to Walt Disney World to perform several Guys and Dolls numbers on the Downtown Disney stage. While there, the students also took workshops with Disney professionals.

CHAMPIONS Urbana HS won this year's Academic Tournament: Kudos to the team's advisors Mark KavanaughBarbara Tarrant-Coleman and Del Hayes. This year's Chuck Thomas Award went to Linganore HS media specialist Marsha Thompson, whose running score system is used at all matches.

CARING  During a recent high schools competition, Frederick HS collected the most money for the American Cancer Society. 

COMPUTING The National Center for Women and Information Technology's Maryland-Delaware affiliate named one of Gov TJ HS teacher Kathryn Zepp-Imhoff’s students winner of its Award for Aspirations in Computing.

News to Use

KNOW A GREAT TEACHER?  Nominations are open until Friday, April 11 (3 PM) for the Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teaching Award to recognize an FCPS teacher who has had a significant impact on young people. Hood College will recognize the winner during its Graduate School commencement on May 17.

OR AN OUTSTANDING SUPPORT EMPLOYEE?  FCPS is accepting nominations for 2014 Support Staff Employee of the Year Awards until April 14. We will recognize one finalist from each of eight broad job categories at the June 11 Board of Education meeting: bus drivers, business support staff (which includes Food and Nutrition Services and Transportation Office/Garage), nonschool-based custodian/ maintenance/ warehouse, school-based custodian, Food and Nutrition Services staff, instructional or special education assistant/ community liaison, nonschool-based secretary and school-based secretary.  Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban will name two of the eight finalists--one school-based and one nonschool-based--the 2014 Support Employees of the Year.

FlowerRedWhiteQUALITY COUNTS  Having achieved 1st place nationwide five years, 2009-2013, Maryland ranks 2nd in Education Week's 2014 Quality Counts report. In the College Board's 10th Annual AP Report to the Nation, Maryland continues to rank 1st, for the 8th consecutive year. FCPS achievement exceeds Maryland and national averages in SAT and AP achievement.  See FCPS Fast Facts for more information.

AT YOUR BEST?  Maryland certified teachers with 3 successful years of experience are invited to learn about National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification Wednesday, April 2, 4 PM in Central Office Room 5A. If you want NBPTS certification, attendance is mandatory. More info: or

BOOK IT TO FIRST SATURDAY FCPS media specialists and the Frederick Downtown Partnership will host “Book It!” as part of downtown Frederick's first Saturday events, April 5. Celebrate literacy through a variety of family-friendly activities including literary scavenger hunts, poetry reading, music and storytelling. Come have fun and get your passport to literacy, 3-6 PM in front of Isabella’s Tavern at 44 N Market Street, Frederick.

THOUGHTS?  The FCPS School Performance Survey is in effect through Friday, April 4.  There are versions for parents, students and staff. Here's the staff and parents version: 

On a different topic: The Maryland State Department of Education is mailing parents/guardians of children receiving special education and related services the Maryland Special Education Parent Involvement Survey the first week in April. Please encourage participation to improve services! More info:

BUDGET UPDATE On February 26, the BOE voted to forward to the Board of County Commissioners a Fiscal Year 2015 Operating Budget Request that supports Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban’s recommendations. “While the budget does not represent everything that we may want for our outstanding school system, it does represent a reasonable picture of the basic needs of our schools and students. The BOE’s actions show that members recognize those needs,” Superintendent Alban said. See highlights of the complete BOE-approved budget request.
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Academic Business Connection and Righttime Medical Care Success Story

Academic Tournament Championship Match


FCPS Fast Fact

Calendar Q:  When did the FCPS school year end in 1865?

A:  That year and for many years Frederick County public schools closed April 15. 

Later in November 1872 BOE minutes: "It was found necessary to limit the school term to 7 1/2 months. This continued for the elementary schools (colored schools generally two weeks to a month shorter term) with one or two exceptions."  

The minutes book beginning 1899 references weather on the first page: "What a winter!" It continued, "White elementary schools remained open that year until May 15, 1899. They had been closing April 15 since 1892. High schools remained open until June 20."

No reference was made to different year-end dates for boys and girls schools.