September 2013: Vol. 5, No. 2

2013 School System of the Year
FCPS Recognized for Character Education

School System of the Year 2013
and Catoctin HS earned prestigious state-level awards for developing, instituting and continuing outstanding character-education initiatives.

Although the Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE) emphasizes that the most important reward is the satisfaction of strengthening character in Maryland’s youth, the Center will present a specially designed School of the Year character-education banner for Catoctin HS to display along with an MCCE certificate of recognition.

Speaking of our 2013 School System of the Year Award, Student Services director Kathleen Hartsock praises Counseling and Student Support coordinator Janet Shipman: “She provides excellent leadership for our schools in positive character education and anti-bullying efforts.”

Ms. Shipman, in turn, commends Catoctin Principal Bernard Quesada and the school's Character Counts! coordinator Dana Brashear for their success in building a strong school-based character-education program. The MCCE asked Catoctin to create a trifold display with their best practices so other schools can model their success. In a letter to Principal Quesada, MCCE President Timothy Hayden recognized the school’s efforts and accomplishments in helping students “develop into their full potential as adults and citizens.”

This is not the first year that FCPS has won. In 2009, the MCCE issued its first School System of the Year award; FCPS was the winner that year, too.

Employee Excellence
Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education

FCPS Network Engineer II Steven Strunk earned a well-deserved First-Class Employee Award.  The teacher nominating him wrote that Steve helped resolve serious issues with the database for TJ HS's Connect program. TJ uses the data to schedule students for the school's Connect period so they may receive tutoring and support and have time for school clubs and other activities. The nominator wrote that Steve worked tirelessly on resolving the issues. On two of the days, while sick at home Steve still "worked his magic" to make the database functional. Thanks to Steve's tireless dedication, when school started TJ was ready and able to provide tutoring, support and other activities to all 1,400+ students.

Kudos to other staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter:  Ed Ballew, Karen Burrell, Dianna Connor, Larry Crouse, Judi Hardister, Carlus Jones, Roy McHaffa, Peggy Rice, Dora Sanchez and Lee Sandifer.

Recognize an employee who does excellent work!


Brittany ArnoldFIRST PLACE  The Oakdale HS FFA Dairy Judging team placed 1st at the Maryland State Fair, earning a spot at the FFA National Convention in Kentucky. Commendations to the team's advisor: agriculture teacher Brittany Arnold, shown in the photo.

FCPS PRIDE  Thank you to everyone who assisted students at The Great Frederick Fair this month, and to FCPS Career & Technology Center Principal Michael Concepcion, teacher John Augustine and his class for the notepad giveaways, Warehouse staff David Bartgis, Calvin Lewis and Jordan Silcott for booth setup and deliveries, and Communication Services executive secretary Tonya Street for coordinating staffing at the FCPS booth. Our largest agricultural classroom was a great learning experience, thanks to many of our employees and students. See photos!  When it comes to the fair, we are very proud that three FCPS employees received significant recognition. Our Career and Technology Education administrative secretary Debbie Smith was named 2013 Frederick County Agriculture Advocate of the Year. Our Judy Center and Health Services administrative secretary Kay O'Hara and bus driver Ed O'Hara are two members of the Frederick County Agriculture Business Council's 2013 Farm Family of the Year.

SEMIFINALISTS Ten FCPS high school students achieved semifinalist status in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program: one each from Brunswick HS, Frederick HS, Linganore HS, Middletown HS and Oakdale HS, and five from Urbana HS.

RAVENS HONOR ROWS  For outstanding volunteerism, the Oakdale HS National Honor Society (NHS) and the Brunswick HS Random Acts of Kindness Club (RAK) earned Ravens Honor Rows recognition including 50 tickets to a game, t-shirts, in-game kudos on RavensVision and mention on WBAL TV. Congratulations to NHS co-advisors Kate Ehrlich and Alexia Isacco and RAK advisor Alan Lescalleet.

FCPS SUPPORTS FBI Earlier this week, FBI agents trained at our old, vacant Lincoln ES building, simulating an active shooter event. FCPS building manager Charles Bowers did an outstanding job supporting this event. See video 

LEADERSHIP Purchasing manager Stephen Starmer is among 20 professionals nationwide receiving $2,000 to attend a national conference as a result of his work ethic and dedication. Stephen received the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) and MetLife Resources scholarship to attend the Bridges to the Future program in Boston. The program supports school business officials as emerging leaders who want to expand their professional networks.

$$$  Thanks to Ballenger Creek ES teacher Bev Long, Ballenger Creek MS teacher Christine Brown, Catoctin HS teacher Tom Mills, Frederick HS teacher Shelley Miller and Valley ES teachers Toby Heusser and Erin McMahon, their schools received Governor Martin O'Malley's Explore and Restore Your Schoolshed grants. Kudos also to Carroll Manor ES PE teacher Chad Connors for helping his school get an ING Run for Something Better grant to inspire students to be more active.

News to Use

Hispanic Heritage Month LogoHISPANIC HERITAGE FCPS has launched a video and web section to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15-October 15: There, you may join students in learning about the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. FCPS participated in Frederick County's first ceremony for this proclamation!  See FCPS Participates in Hispanic Heritage Month.

NEW-SCHOOL SURVEY  FCPS will open a new Urbana-area elementary by August 2017 on the west side of MD 355. The existing Urbana ES is slated for completed renovation by fall 2020. There are three new developments proposed for the area, with potential to generate about 280-300 additional elementary students. The BOE must decide whether to build the new school to serve grades PreK-5 or to pair the new school with the existing Urbana ES. If paired, it is likely that Urbana ES would serve grades PreK-2, and the new school would serve grades 3-5. FCPS has activated a survey, open through September 27, to gather stakeholder opinions for the Board's October 9 meeting: Throughout planning, we will engage the community via meetings, handouts, surveys, Facebook, Twitter and FindOutFirst messages as well as a dedicated webpage at and email address

WATCH D.O.G.S. ®  “Dads of Great Students” (D.O.G.S.) Involved in Schools: Brunswick ES is the first school in Frederick County to launch a local father-involvement program called WATCH D.O.G.S.®, according to the school’s assistant principal Liz Worch. She will present more about the program over pizza on Thursday, October 3 from 6-7 p.m. at the school. Inspired by one father’s desire to increase male involvement in his children’s school, the program was created in 1998 in Arkansas. Since then, it has spread to more than 3,075 schools in over 46 states and 3 countries abroad, according to the National Center for Fathering, which adopted the program in 2006. To learn more:

Attendance Logo 2ATTENDANCE  September is Attendance Awareness Month, a nationwide observance launched this year. Attendance matters from the first day of school until the last. Teachers know that building the habit of good attendance helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Find out more and see the video.

ESEA FLEXIBILITY The Maryland State Department of Education seeks public comment regarding its request to the United States Department of Education to amend its approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Request.

SPP LogoFCPS SYMPOSIUM  Teachers, teacher specialists and administrators:  Please register by Monday, September 30 for the Friday, October 18 FCPS Strengthening Professional Practice symposium. Please read session descriptions and registration instructions, and then register for only one strand at  Each strand is held at a different site, which will be your location for the morning. If you select one of the FCPS strands, you will return to your school in the afternoon for teacher-directed work time. If you select STEM, MSEA or a state or regional conference, you will attend those for the full day. First come, first served, so register early!


Here are FCPS TV programs not listed elsewhere in this issue and also available for you to watch on demand*

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! (Spanish version)
Roberto Clemente 
David Farragut 
Soledad O'Brien 

Digital Bullying Form Instructions
Welcome to FCPS
Welcome Back
FCPS Chief Operating Officer Ann Bonitatibus on WJLA ABC 7 News

*The BACK arrow will return you to this page.

FCPS Fast Fact

Q:  Can you name the 3 states in which 55% of the U.S. Hispanic population reside? How about the country to which two-thirds of this group trace their family origins?


See our YouTube channel for more: