November 2013: Vol. 5, No. 4

New! Color Codes for Emergency Closings
Helping Staff Know When to Report

Color Code ChartOn November 14, FCPS updated Regulation 400-2:  Closing of Schools Because of Weather, Maintenance, or Other Reasons. To the right is a chart from the regulation that depicts the new Emergency/Weather-Related Status Codes. Communication Services will use these codes on the employee hotline, when posting closing, delay or early-dismissal emergency information on and when publishing FindOutFirst messages, Facebook and FCPS TV notices.

In addition to the color codes, the regulation defines emergency personnel and no longer references essential personnel: "Emergency personnel is an employee status annually determined, assigned and notified by the Superintendent's cabinet. The lead custodian, assistant lead custodian and specified operations/maintenance personnel are considered emergency personnel. Additional staff may be designated as emergency personnel by a cabinet member."

Liberal leave is unscheduled annual or personal leave usually granted during a weather or other emergency event when an employee is unable to report to work.

FCPS Forges Academic Business Connection
All Schools Can Sign Up and Invite Business Partners

ABC LogoMore than 300 FCPS employees, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce business leaders and Frederick County Business Roundtable for Education members recently gathered to network and discuss partnership opportunities at Holly Hills Country Club. 

There, with substantial support from the Chamber and FCBRE, FCPS launched the new Academic Business Connection--ABC--software that works with our FindOutFirst service to help businesses and public schools form partnerships. View requests that FCPS school coordinators have made and business listings in the partnerships directory and business offers to schools:

FCPS encourages all principals to register at the above link and/or designate staff to register as school coordinators and post requests of local businesses. There is no limit to the number who can register at each school, but employees must obtain principal approval before doing so. Watch a brief tutorial online for FCPS staff.

Registering allows staff to list requests for anything local businesses can provide in one of 26 categories ranging from student achievement incentives to workshops. Staff can date-limit requests. FCPS Community Engagement Coordinator Emily Ahalt (see photo) can generate partnership reports for schools and businesses.

Businesses can register to enter offers to public schools and help prepare the future workforce. ABC helps them track their contributions and employee volunteerism. Channeling school requests and business offers through one central source helps streamline the process and gives interested businesses a starting point for understanding and responding to school needs. 

See a photo of the ABC event at Holly Hills!      Learn more about ABC     Contact:

Employee Excellence
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

MerlosEnglish Language Learner (ELL) teacher Noemy Merlos demonstrates a sincere and passionate desire to serve the students and families at Orchard Grove ES, says Principal Debra Myers

Her consistently positive approach shows dedication. As a teacher leader and respected colleague, Ms. Merlos supports the school mission to build strong thinkers, caring hearts and healthy bodies. 

"Jennifer C., a first grader at OGES, shared the following about Ms. Merlos:  'She helps us to learn and wants us to be a good friend.'  On behalf of the students, families and staff at OGES, we are most thankful for Ms. Merlos," says Principal Myers.

Kudos to staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter: Wayne Bowman, Laura Brashears, Johanna Burdette, Mary Fisher, Linda Gue, Sarah Harris, Marvin Mitchell, Frances Nusbaum, Monica Riley, Wilma Stover, Ethel Wolfe and Travis Young.  Now you can recognize an employee who does excellent work!

Seeking Nominations for Two Prestigious Awards:  The Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award ($3,000) and Distinguished Educational Leadership Award recognize teachers and principals who go beyond day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. Nomination packets are due to Communication Services by 3 PM, Friday, January 10, with no exceptions.  Eligibility and nomination criteria:


BalloonsKINDNESS+ Walkersville ES lead custodian Tony Platt recently received the Deborah Wallace Allstate Agency's Spirit of Kindness Award. The agency champions The Kindness Revolution for Frederick County. The award presenter said, “It seems the children are huge fans of Mr. Tony. According to them, "He can do ANYTHING!" In other Walkersville ES news, WalMart (Rte. 26) employees selected the school as its Teacher Reward Program recipient, providing twenty $50 gift cards for selected staff members and delivering classroom supplies, cake and balloons!

NO MORE GAPS  On Maryland and/or High School Assessments (MSAs and/or HSAs) for three years from 2011-2013, the following seven schools eliminated achievement gaps in math and reading between African American and all students: Brunswick ES, Lincoln ES, Monocacy ES, Urbana ES, Walkersville ES, Walkersville HS and Waverley ES!  An additional two schools eliminated gaps in math--Ballenger Creek ES and Tuscarora HS--and seven more in reading: Centerville ES, Crestwood MS, Frederick HS, Gov. Thomas Johnson HS, Hillcrest ES, Tuscarora ES and Urbana MS.

CUSTOMER SERVICE  Human Resources senior manager for Talent Competency and Leadership Development Mary Trapane (upper left in collage photo) and Employee Training specialist Betsy Mullineaux (lower right) joined Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban in presenting FCPS Customer Service Training for Secretaries:  See the photo collage!

KIDS HELPING KIDS  Orchard Grove ES staff and students gathered 957 non-perishable items for the Maryland Food Bank’s Western Branch. The Catoctin HS Leo Club collected over 1,000 cans during their Hunger Games Canned Food Competition for the Thurmont Food Bank.

MUSIC TO OUR EARS Catoctin HS band teacher Benjamin Zamostny's and Urbana HS band teacher Michael Harrison's students were selected to perform with the Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors at the Weinberg Center this month. The Gov. Thomas Johnson HS Marching Band under Kim Sandifer's leadership earned Maryland and Mid-Atlantic Champions awards for Best Music and Best Visual Performance at the USBands Mid-Atlantic States Championship.

NATIONAL AWARDS Our FFA students, representing Maryland, placed first nationwide in Milk Qualities and Products and written test. Also in nationwide competition, four of our students earned gold medals, 23 silver and 15 bronze. Kudos to their advisors: Brittany Arnold, Pat Beachy, Michael Harrington, Tom Hawthorne, Brian Hendrickson, Doug Hering, Diane Herndon, Ed Mayne, Tonjia Mayne, Amy Poffenberger and Sara Seiser.

TEACHER IS FLY CTC architectural and engineering CAD teacher Phil Arnold prepared two students who earned awards at the 2013 Aviation Education and Career Expo for flying lessons and more.

FILM FEST  New Market MS integrated studies teacher Alanna Cohen, New Market MS language arts teacher David Newhouse and Oakdale HS art teacher Valerie Pickett can feel proud that their team's entry in Frederick's 72-hour short film contest made it into the finals. 

SafeSportsSchoolMARYLAND'S BEST Urbana HS is Maryland's only public school to earn the 2013 National Athletic Trainers Association Safe Sports School 1st Team award. More about the awardThe Urbana HS boys soccer team won their first state championship, finishing the season with 20 wins and 0 losses. The team was also presented the prestigious Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's Sportsmanship Award for showing great character on the field and in the stands. Kudos to Head Coach Scott Schartner and his coaching staff and Athletic Director Kevin Kendro.

SECURITY 500  For the 2nd time in 3 years, FCPS made the Security 500 list, ranking 11th nationwide in the K-12 category. Others in the top 17 for 2013 are Montgomery and Fairfax County Public Schools. Kudos to Cliff Cornwell, FCPS Security Coordinator.

News to Use

Blue Snowflake
INCLEMENT WEATHER  Make life easier: Include inclement weather plans and snow dates for events through mid-March. Remember: When schools are closed all day or close early due to weather, all afterschool and evening activities are canceled. This includes events scheduled by outside groups except daycare centers operating in FCPS facilities (which independently make and communicate their decisions). Be sure you are familiar with FCPS inclement weather procedures outlined in the lead article above. From an FCPS-networked computer, note the confidential employee hotline number from http://insidefcps under Employee Essentials at the bottom. Consult your supervisor if you have questions.

BECAUSE YOU CARE Combined Charities Campaign donations are due Friday, November 22. Tough economic times make it more important than ever to remember those in need. Won't you help FCPS reach our goal to raise $80,827? Just $10 provides 5 homeless children with a nutritious meal; $100 provides groceries for 21 women and children in a domestic violence shelter for a month; $250 provides 4 nights of lodging for a family of 4 following a disaster. Find out more, and please make your donation count with FCPS: Combined Charities Flier.

CONFERENCES  Parent-teacher conferences this school year are only in the fall and only at the elementary/middle school levels.  Conference halfdays are Monday, November 25 and Tuesday, November 26.  There are no prescheduled conference dates at high schools this school year. The BOE encourages parents and teachers of high school students to contact one another any time they have a concern or wish to schedule a meeting.

BEARDS NOW Find out why employees in the photo on the Beards NOW team are letting their beards grow throughout November:  Beards4CharityFrom the left, front row Eric Haines, Jamie Hitchner, Dr. George Seaton II, Jason Anderson, Brett Stark and Chris Horne; back row Eric Phillips, Joe Keller, Brian Kilduff, Eric Rhodes, Brian Griffith, Dwayne Cash, Chris Heinze and Michael Bunitsky.

SAVE THE DATE On Thursday, January 9, 7 PM, at Oakdale HS, Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban will present her proposed budget. Please plan to attend, bring a friend, and hear about keeping the Promise of Public Education in Frederick County.

JOBS Human Resources is transitioning from our TalentEd applicant-management system to AppliTrack to improve the experience for applicants and hiring managers. Changes will appear at with a clearer, more user-friendly way for applicants--internal and external--to apply. For more information: FCPS Talent Acquisition & Management senior manager

MSDE CREDIT For the best price on Maryland State Department of Education spring classes, register by November 30: Some class sizes are limited. Late registration with a higher fee begins December 1. For answers to questions after reading online instructions, please call 240-236-8831.

2014-2015 CALENDAR The BOE seeks feedback before December 18 on the proposed 2014-2015 academic calendar, designed to maximize full weeks of student instruction.

See the latest videos our FCPS TV staff created*
American Education Week
Veterans Day in Our Schools 
Young Scholars 
 ABC Tutorials:   Business Partners   School Coordinators

*The BACK arrow will return you to this page.

FCPS Fast Fact

Question MarkQ:  How many school psychologists did FCPS employ in 2003, and how many do we employ in 2013?

A:  In 2003, FCPS employed 21 school psychologists to serve 39,000 students. Today we have 21.5 fulltime-equivalent positions to serve more than 40,700 students. Our ratio of about one school psychologist to 2,000 students far exceeds the 1:700 ratio that the National Association of School Psychologists recommends. Find out what school pyschologists do.