March 2017: Vol. 8, No. 8

Students Join "Tiny House" Movement
Near Completion on 31st House Project

CTC_SingleFamilyHome2017Our Career & Technology Center (CTC) students and staff have been busy changing the face of Frederick County!

Embracing the trend toward "tiny homes," a niche housing phenonomen that seems to have taken the country by storm, they've constructed a 600-square foot senior cottage (left) that was on display at the fairgrounds during this month's Home Show. They've also built the 31st fullscale student-constructed house since 1978 (right) at 7924 Yellow Springs Road.

Although the senior cottage is not the typical HGTV trailer-and-loft mini-structure, it's a practical, low-maintenance solution for seniors who want to age in place and maintain their independence. The "sticks and bricks" cost of the home was about $55,000. The cottage is designed for two persons and includes a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet. It meets the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to accommodate a person with a walker or wheelchair. The plan is to sell it at cost to a Frederick County senior citizen.

Like the senior cottage, the 3-bedroom, 2 and 1/2-bath single-family home with more than 2,300 square feet of finished space plus a full basement and garage is designed for aging in place. The fullscale house has a main-level owner's suite, large doorway openings and a two-car attached garage with easy access to the home. It is slated to come on the market this spring. Track the progress.

CTC Principal Michael Concepcion commends the outstanding teachers who help students bring these projects to life: Jim Thuman, project coordinator and carpentry teacher; Phil Arnold, CAD; John Clark, carpentry; Charles Crum, HVAC/plumbing; Diane Herndon, landscaping; Brett Maceikis, woodworking (Walkersville HS); and Jim Rollins, construction electricity--and special education instructional assistants who support the students: Viktor Kraenbring, Will Scheetz (Walkersville HS) and Ritchie Veverka.

See business and community contributors that make these projects a reality, photos of the students in action, videos, more photos and updates at and the news release: Students Join "Tiny House" Movement.

FCPS All-Stars
Achieving the Promise of Public Education

GailGuyerMiddletown ES User Support Specialist Gail Guyer spent hours of her own time reaching out to businesses and community groups to support her school's Technology Committee 'Race for Education' fundraiser.

"When Gail does something, she puts 110% of her effort in to it," says Principal Randy Perrell. "The 'Race' was no exception. She provided training for the staff at Middletown Elementary and Primary, organized PTA members to help and kept accurate records throughout this endeavor. When donations began coming in, she organized several hundred pieces of mail each day while never neglecting her duties as the user support specialist.

"Gail definitely excelled in Aspirational Goal 4 by nurturing relationships with the entire community and by demonstrating pride in the school system. PTA members commented about what an incredible job she did. MES far exceeded our goal by close to three times. This is because of Gail's attention to detail and her collaboration with staff, families and the entire community."

The proceeds have enabled Middletown ES to purchase 106 Chromebooks, 160 headphones, 120 mice, three white board interactive software sets and two carts. For more about this successful fundraiser, please contact

StarsCongratulations to Ms. Guyer and to other staff earning FCPS All-Star Awards: Chris Ayers, Greg Carter, Robert Clemson, Cindy Frock, Brian Hood, Todd Imes, Diane Kane, Eric Kosko, Roxanna Lambert, Colby McCauley, Erik McKay, Adam Miller, Lloyd Mills, Emily Mooney, Sherry Wahl, Chandana Wijayarathna and Steve Wolfe.

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


Michael Eldridge
TOP OF THE LINE FCPS was on the Maryland State Department of Education's recent Tour of Excellence for our "top of the line" school district. Watch this brief clip to see what MSDE expert Darla Strouse had to say about FCPS and our newest Blue Ribbon School, Centerville ES!   Ms. Strouse directs the MSDE Partners, Advocates and Recognition Programs.

TOP 10  Deer Crossing ES custodian Michael Eldridge (left) is one of 10 nationwide finalists for Cintas Janitor of the Year. A win will yield $5,000 for his school and $5,000 for him! Please click the VOTE NOW button at this link to check out Mr. Eldridge's inspiring bio, then scroll down to select his name from the dropdown menu, and click Submit before Friday, April 14.

FLU FIGHTERS Human Resources Senior Manager Penny Opalka and Employee Benefits Coordinator Phoebe Barreto provided outstanding coordination of FCPS efforts preventing the spread of influenza in the workplace, earning FCPS the Adventist HealthCare LifeWork Strategies' 2016-2017 Flu Fighter Award.

TEACHERS OF THE YEAR See each school's 2017 Teacher of the Year. Watch future issues to find out the finalists and countywide winner!

ACADEMIC CHAMPS The Brunswick HS Academic Tournament team won this year's FCPS championship. Congratulations to coaches Louis Eskuchen and Jim Kelly. Winning this year's Charles "Chuck" Thomas Memorial Award for significant contributions to the tournament's success: Urbana HS Principal Dave Kehne! For details, see the news release. Watch the championship match.

LEADERSHIP The Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted & Talented Education recognized Gov. Thomas Johnson MS Advanced Academics Specialist Kerri Cole and New Market ES 4th grade magnet teacher Mary Tielking with Outstanding Educator/Teacher Leader awards.Basketball

WINTER SPORT CHAMPS Kudos to coaches whose schools achieved state championships: Frederick HS Girls Basketball 3A Ashley Bush, Middletown HS Wrestling Duals 2A-1A Jim Schartner and Walkersville HS Unified Bocce 1 Charles Hunter. The following staff coached students achieving individual state championships: Ben Arneson, Rickey Casillas-Kim, Eileen Chestnutt, CJ Ecalono, Ryan Green, Chris Heinze, John Henderson, John Igo, Justin Krop, Dave Lillard, Scott Motter, Pete Riley, Jim Schartner, Dan Sipe, Paul Spurrier, Frank Strakonsky, Bill Swaney and Anne Zumbach.

THE BIG APPLE Linganore HS students got to march in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade, thanks to their Director of Bands Kevin Lloyd, Associate Director Damon Dye and Assistant Director Jeremy Brown.

Vanguard LogoVANGUARD See names of the first FCPS class of Vanguard teachers.

DESTINATION IMAGINATION Congratulations to employees who manage teams advancing from regional to state Destination Imagination competition next month: Renee Heeley, Gina Lindahl, Amanda Robinson, Karen Vetter, Marie Wiehler and Karen Yoho. Of 24 participating FCPS teams, 12 qualified for state competition: three from New Market, MS, two each from Ballenger Creek MS and Oakdale MS, and one each from Brunswick MS, Frederick Classical Charter, Gov. TJ/Oakdale MS (combined team), Green Valley ES, Kemptown ES, Linganore HS and Oakdale ES.

PUBLISHED Career and Technology Center Biomedical Science instructor Kathy Koops is proud to announce that one of her students from Linganore HS in an NCI internship has co-authored work published in a scientific journal. Read Circulating Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Crohn's Disease: An EPiC in the Making?

News to Use

CALENDAR  As of March 20, we have used only 1 snow day! This is 5 fewer than those factored into the calendar. The last day of school for students if there are no more days closed due to inclement weather is Friday, June 9, with a 2-hour early dismissal that day. The last teacher day at this point is Monday, June 12.

4-DAY WORKWEEKS FCPS will observe 4-day workweeks again this summer. Employees who would normally work a 5-day week in the summer will work longer hours Mondays-Thursdays to make up Friday hours and have Fridays off. There is an exception the week of Independence Day, when all employees will have a holiday on Tuesday, July 4 and work regular, “non-extended” days Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The summer work schedule will begin the week of June 12. FCPS will return to the regular, 5-day workweek on Monday, August 28. Here's a link to the FCPS intranet for additional summer schedule information, coming soon: http://insidefcps

Wellness logo$100 AND YOUR HEALTH This year's FCPS Health and Wellness Expo is Wednesday, April 5, 4-6:30 PM, at Gov. Thomas Johnson HS. Bring your family so everyone can access health screening such as bone density, vision, A1C, metabolic and facial skin analysis, healthy cooking and fitness demos, seated massage and more. Three lucky employees who register online and attend will win an extra $100 in an upcoming paycheck!  Register now. For assistance:

TEACHER LOAN FORGIVENESS If you are a Stafford Loan or Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS) borrower teaching in a geographic teacher-shortage area such as Frederick County or teaching an academic discipline or subject matter in a statewide critical-shortage area for 2016-17, you may be eligible for a loan cancellation benefit. To determine your eligibility you may call the Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan you should contact the school from which you received the loan. See a list of the critical shortage fields.

KNOW A GREAT TEACHER? Nominations for the 2017 Tressler Distinguished Teacher Award close Friday, March 24.

AN AMAZING SUPPORT EMPLOYEE? You have until Friday, March 31 to nominate a support employee whose work consistently exceeds expectations for a 2017 Support Employee of the Year Award.

AN OUTSTANDING SUB? There's no substitute for excellence. Last month FCPS announced a new award to recognize outstanding substitutes. Nominations close Friday, March 31 for substitute teachers, longterm subs, special education instructional assistant substitutes and charter school assistant substitutes who take inititiative and demonstrate exceptional skill and dedication. See details.FHS

FHS FAREWELL TOURS Save the dates if you're interested in a final tour of the 1939 Frederick HS building, slated for demolition due to construction of the new school, opening August 2017. Tours are Saturdays, April 1, 10-11:30 AM and April 29, 1-2:30 PM. Find out more.


FCPS In a Minute: March 3   March 10   March 17   Full Playlist

FCPS Proud

FCPS Young Scholars Program

Tweet of the Week videos:
Monocacy MS Principal Dr. Stephanie Ware  
Media Services Supervisor Mary Jo Richmond
Technology Teacher Specialist for Social Studies Heather Rose  
Monocacy MS
science teacher
Shannon Storch

READY, SET...  Register now for The Great Frederick Discovery Race to support FCPS Young Scholars. Early bird discounts end Saturday, April 15 for this Saturday, May 13 "hip and historic" Downtown Frederick event. You'll have fun matching wits and discovering little-known secrets about the City of Clustered Spires! It's perfect on your own, with family or a team of friends.

FCPS Fast Fact

Q:  What was the first year FCPS observed the 4-day summer workweek schedule?Sunshades

A:     2003. This is the 15th year.