May 2015: Vol. 6, No. 10

FCPS Team in Nation's Top 2
Wins $5,000 in Euro Challenge

EuroChallengeTeamPhotoUrbana HS students earned second place nationwide in the 2015 Euro Challenge at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. With expert guidance from their advisor, social studies teacher Nathan Kachur (far right in photo), the team of Urbana students (left to right) Akhil Kapoor, Jinghan Sun, Katherine Li and Rishub Nahar came in second only to defending champions from Princeton High and ahead of the third place High School for Math, Science & Engineering, New York. More than 100 schools competed in the event.

"It's highly commendable that students from our public school system achieved nationwide success in competition with prestigious and specialized schools. Our students and teachers continually make me very proud of the excellent value public education delivers in Frederick County," says Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban.

Ambassador David O’Sullivan, head of the European Union Delegation to the United States, said, “The competition has reached thousands of young Americans. It’s a great learning they go beyond the headlines of economic news to fully understand key economic concepts and the complex realities faced by policymakers. The Euro Challenge also helps them to have a better understanding of how deeply Europe and America are connected.... It was very impressive to see what creative solutions they propose for some of our most urgent economic challenges.”

Students, asked to pick one EU member country, examine an economic problem there and identify policies for responding, chose Spain and focused on the Spanish labor market. Judges were Wall Street bankers, Federal Reserve Bank economists and the EU ambassador to the United States. For their excellent performance, the students each received scholarships.

Employee Excellence
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

Portner PhotoThurmont MS literacy specialist Amanda Portner is the FCPS Teacher of the Year, winner of the school system’s most prestigious award to recognize outstanding representatives of the teaching profession!

Ms. Portner joined FCPS in 1996 to teach English/language arts. In 2005 she was promoted to secondary literacy specialist. She has served as an FCPS curriculum writer and teacher trainer and co-directed the Maryland Writing Project for Frederick. She has also taught English for the FCPS Virtual School.

Principal Jennifer Powell says, “Amanda’s enthusiasm is contagious, and she is a master at inspiring others. Teachers flock to her professional-development offerings, finding Amanda to be an expert in what she shares and full of ‘no nonsense’ examples and strategies that they can use in the classroom the next day. Teachers also appreciate her wonderfully warm sense of humor and presentation style.

“While I realize a literacy specialist is not typical of the vision for Teacher of the Year, Amanda meets the criteria by far, and then some,” said Principal Powell. “Countless numbers of students are so much better off due to her direct work with them, with teachers and the larger community.”

“This year, we had 64 outstanding nominees. Ms. Portner stood out in an exceptional group of candidates,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban. “Her dedication makes me proud that she is representing the many excellent teachers who serve children in Frederick County public schools.”  See the video!  More

The Maryland Board of Education will honor Ms. Portner along with winners from Maryland’s 23 other school districts at the 25th Annual Maryland Teacher of the Year Awards Gala on October 9 when the state-level winner is announced. Maryland’s Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year award.
Blue Ribbon Graphic
Congratulations to all staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter: Perry Lewis, William Warram, Jennifer Waugaman, Susan Weaver and Lori Zentz.

Know someone who deserves a First-Class Employee award? Take a moment to nominate an outstanding employee


INTERNATIONAL Secondary Science curriculum specialist Colleen Beall proudly announces that our grand prize FCPS Science and Engineering Fair winner--a Gov. Thomas Johnson HS senior--placed 4th in biochemistry at the International Science & Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh.

WORLD SCHOLARS Linganore HS social studies teacher Seth Roberts (back, center in photo), who recently returned from teaching in an international school in Indonesia, advised a student team in this year's World Scholars Cup. "With some very prestigious schools represented, FCPS students did very well, bringing home 45 medals and five trophies! More importantly, they felt like scholars and truly enjoyed and celebrated their learning," Roberts said. Students from Linganore HS, Tuscarora HS and Urbana MS participated.

AAA Centerville ES and Whittier ES each had a student selected as an Outstanding Safety Patrol of the Year for the AAA MidAtlantic Region. FCPS students were among only 12 honored of 93,000 patrols in the region. Shout outs to Centerville's Safety Patrol Coordinator Laurie Parker and Whittier's Lisa Reese, who says this is the first time FCPS students have received this honor.

STATE CHAMPS x 4 Career and Technology Center students in Phil Arnold's class placed first for the 4th year in a row in the Real World Design Challenge!

OUTSTANDING Linganore HS physics teacher Chris Hahn is the 2015 National Institute of Standards and Technology Sigma Xi Outstanding Teacher from Fredrick County.

PEOPLE TO WATCH Frederick HS math teacher Andrea McCarrick is featured in the “People to Watch” section of Frederick Magazine's May 2015 edition for her desire to make our community a better place.  

POSITIVE Heather Ridge media specialist Kate Mills has done an excellent job helping students garner positive press for launching the Phoenix student newspaper.

IF I WERE... Deer Crossing ES Principal Heather Michael accompanied her student to celebrate his win in the District 6 Maryland Municipal League's "If I Were Mayor" essay contest. She tweeted, "There are 11 districts in the MML, and there were over 2,000 entries!"

ENVIROTHON Urbana HS students won the countywide Envirothon and will represent FCPS at the Maryland Envirothon next month. Advisors of the winning team: Suzie Folk and Beth McCook.

FFA Placing first in Maryland FFA Career Development Events were students from Catoctin HS with advisors Brian Hendrickson and Amy Poffenberger, Middletown HS with advisors Sara Seiser and Sarah Shriner and the Career and Technology Center with advisors Doug Hering and Diane Herndon.

FIRST STATEWIDE West Frederick MS students earned first place statewide in the 2015 Maryland History Day Junior Website Division competition with support from the school’s advanced academics specialist Amy Howser. They will go on to national competition. In addition, a Brunswick MS student won a special award for an exhibit she created; her social studies teacher is Scott Strait, who won his school’s 2015 Teacher of the Year award. This year’s Maryland History Day District Teacher Award for Frederick County went to Michael Bunitsky, the FCPS secondary social studies curriculum specialist. Photo and more

RECYCLING First-place winners in the Frederick County Department of Solid Waste Management's 2015 “Recycle More. Waste Less” coloring book contest are from the following schools:  Middletown PS (grades K-2 category), Orchard Grove ES (grades 3-5), Oakdale MS (grades 6-8) and Frederick HS (grades 9-12). An Urbana MS student's art was selected for the cover. More about recycling

LHS Art Project PhotoCONNECTED Linganore HS art teacher Tracey Ellis-Guss worked with students in collaboration with the school's National English Honor Society to coordinate a public art work entitled “See Us. See What We Do.” The work consists of 251 tiles of poetry, ceramics, graphic design, collages, paintings and photographs. Digital Photography students, under her supervision, coordinated gathering, organizing and constructing the piece, with more than 350 students involved. It reflects students' diverse creativity and connection between the arts and the students.

CARING Central Office staff donated 977 items to the Frederick Food Bank during dress-down Fridays in April. 

$$$ Yellow Springs ES raised $30,000 for their school in a Race for Education event.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE FCPS Maintenance Department water treatment operator Christopher Flanagan is also Youth Activities chairman and Esteemed Loyal Knight at the Frederick Elks Lodge #684. There he is in charge of the annual Youth Appreciation Ceremony, which honors three middle school students from each of our 13 middle schools. School counselors select the honorees for community and volunteer service. Dr. Kevin Cuppett, FCPS executive director for Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation, was the keynote speaker.

EXCELLENCE Receiving special education awards (from left in photo): Ashley Sier from Parkway ES, Nicholas Rutten and Jeanne Fanning from New Market MS, Michelle Orzechowski from Oakdale HS, Jean Moore from Brunswick HS, Louise Stephens from Frederick HS, School Psychologist of the Year Denise Cedrone, Mary Malone and Christina Wozniak from Rock Creek, Sue Six from New Market MS and Melinda Patton from New Midway/Woodsboro ES.

YUMMY  Whittier ES won the Maryland School Breakfast Challenge and a $2,000 grant. In photo, from left: Cafeteria Manager Mary Morgan, Principal Amy Schwiegerath, Assistant Principal Tracy Flower, Food and Nutrition Services Specialist Dennis Smith and Food and Nutrition Services Senior Manager Robert Kelly.

News to Use

NEW FACES IN KEY PLACES Chief Operating Officer Ann Bonitatibus is heading west to become Superintendent of the Conejo Valley Unified School District in CA. We thank her for 28 years of excellent service to FCPS! Tuscarora HS student Sarah Perez will be a junior by the time she begins her term as the next student member of the Board of Education of Frederick County, July 1; until then she will shadow the Board’s current student member Emmanuel Apea from Urbana HS. See a list of principal and assistant principal promotions and transfers taking effect July 1.

PARCC IS CHANGING See news the Maryland State Department of Education issued May 21, 2015:
PARCC to Be Shorter, Use Single Testing Window 
What's Changing on the Test?

GOOD RESOURCE Have you visited the new FCPS Warehouse intranet site?

MY PLATE GARDENING FCPS Partners with Seed of Life Nurseries Growing Opportunities for Students

TV Logo
FCPS All-Stars
Heather Ridge student support teacher
Earl Garner
Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP)
Frederick HS English Language Learner teacher
Lisa Martell

Off the Cuff: Cheesecake    Question from a Viewer  Talks with Seniors

In a Minute Playlist: Counselors of the Year, Students Win Governor's Cup, Seeds of Life Nurseries Donates Flowers

Meet the Top 3 Teacher of the Year Finalists:  Marty Graff    Susan Pardo    Amanda Portner

Superintendent Accolades

Tony Miller Earns 2015 Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teaching Award (See the news release.)

FCPS Fast Fact

BestHighSchoolsQ:  Which two FCPS high schools made the U.S. News and World Report's 2015 Best High Schools list?

A:  Gov. Thomas Johnson HS and Tuscarora HS each earned silver medals.  Find out more.