FCPS has equipped all of our schools with wireless technology. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) pilot schools reported success in using digital real-world connections to better engage students in collaborative learning and problem solving, skills they'll need after graduation. This year more schools are offering BYOD options. And this year FCPS has taken a big step forward by adopting Google Apps for Education, or Google Classroom.
With limited funds for educational technology as a result of economic challenges that have faced local and state governments, FCPS has fallen behind in maintaining the state's recommended five-year cycle to replace outdated digital devices in schools. While we met the goal to expand our wireless infrastructure, we remain faced with the reality that over 70% of computers in FCPS schools are older than five years. A significant number don't have the capacity to connect to the recently installed wireless networks.
During the last school year, FCPS received a $670,000 Digital Learning grant from Maryland. This enabled us to deploy 1,200 devices to our nearly 9,000 middle school students. We have developed digital learning units in 8th grade English and science, are providing professional development for teachers and building on our success to reach a 1:1 student-to-device ratio.
While the most significant resource in the classroom is a highly qualified teacher, access to multimedia resources, software for learning, and online applications that promote problem solving, effective oral and written communication and information analysis are essential in preparing students for success.
FCPS has a plan, and it's called Technology Now. Its purpose is to facilitate collaborative, quality learning opportunities for students in school and at home. Goals are to increase academic achievement and help students compete globally, to foster college- and career-readiness, to increase staff capacity to lead, teach, innovate and support student success and to improve operational efficiency.
Although at this stage all middle schools are receiving Chromebooks, FCPS leaders are working to increase access for students at other grade levels as well.
For more information including video interviews with students and teachers, please visit www.fcps.org/technologynow.
Watch the excitement as students receive their new Chromebooks!
Nancy Keller teaches Family and Consumer Science at Oakdale MS. She's also on The Great Frederick Fair's board of directors. This month she combined both areas of expertise to launch a successful FCPS kickoff in the Maryland Breakfast Challenge. Her dedication led to front page coverage in The Frederick News Post, September 20.
Nancy knows that while school breakfast is linked to greater academic achievement,
*1 in 5 Maryland kids struggles with hunger
*3 in 5 teachers say students regularly come to school hungry
*Only 60% of those who receive a free school lunch also get a school breakfast
She's considered the estimates that feeding school breakfast to 70% of eligible kids statewide could lead to:
*48,000 additional days of school attended per year
*32,000 students with better math scores per year
*8,000 additional high school graduates out of the current group of elementary students.
And she's down with the goal that 50% (750) of Maryland schools will enroll in the Maryland School Breakfast Challenge and that 10,000 more kids will get school breakfast. Since Maryland launched the No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength campaign, 50,000 additional students now start the day with a healthy breakfast at school.
Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban congratulates schools listed in the Accolades section below for achieving Maryland's 2014 Hall of Fame Schools recognition. She urges more principals to sign up for the challenge: http://md.nokidhungry.org/forms/2014-breakfast-challenge-enrollment-form
HALL OF FAME Nine of our schools achieved Maryland's 2014 Hall of Fame Schools recognition for their participation in the breakfast program, referenced above: Ballenger Creek ES, Emmitsburg ES, Hillcrest ES, Lincoln ES, Monocacy ES, New Midway/Woodsboro ES, North Frederick ES, Waverley ES and West Frederick MS.
#1 Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban placed first in The Great Frederick Fair's Celebrity Harness Race this year!
FIRST-CLASS ACHIEVEMENT Congratulations to Mary Ann Gomez and Christa Summers for earning First-Class Employee Awards. Human Resources is updating this FCPS awards process. Watch for details, coming soon.
SKYPE+ Linganore HS teachers Stephanie Bindel, Mary Cate Henry, and Kevin Lloyd and speech pathologist Trishia Lopacienski collaborated to provide peer socialization via Skype for a special needs student receiving Home-Hospital Teaching services.
WINNING DESIGN Oakdale ES art teacher Michelle Veneble won the Frederick Arts Council-Frederick Keys contest to design the jersey the team wore at its 8th annual Art in the Park night at Grove Stadium. Having taught for 20 years, Ms. Veneble is also a master stencil artist with a series of lighthouse murals featuring each Atlantic coastal state. The shirts were auctioned to support the Frederick Arts Council.
STATE FINALIST Hillcrest ES pre-kindergarten teacher and Frederick County Teacher of the Year Erin Doolittle (right in photo) is 1 of 7 finalists for the Maryland State Teacher of the Year award! Find out more about Ms. Doolittle.
LOCAL FINALIST Career and Technology Education coordinator Eric Haines (left in photo) is 1 of 5 finalists in competition for the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year Award. Criteria include demonstrating leadership skills and potential for continued development, eagerness to aid the Frederick County community through current and future positions and highest supervisory recommendation.
GOAL ACHIEVED Orchard Grove ES teacher Sarah Burdette did outstanding work thanking the Community Foundation of Frederick County for helping her become a teacher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqVbZAQ1EWw&feature=youtu.be
NEW FACE IN A KEY PLACE Welcome to our new Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) senior manager, Bob Kelly, who fills the position that Judith Gordon held before she moved to Florida. Mr. Kelly has more than 25 years of food service experience in K-12 schools. He started his career in the Rochester, New York school district and has worked in the Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, NC school district and for Washington DC public schools. Kudos to Jessica Sichert who was the acting senior manager from June until Mr. Kelly's arrival September 16. She and the dedicated FNS staff did a great job overseeing all of the summer projects, working diligently to ensure a smooth start to the school year.
STRESSED? FCPS employees get a 15% discount on massages at the Frederick Memorial Hospital Wellness Center. Wellness matters. Visit http://www.fmh.org/body.cfm?id=23 to read about more services, and call 240-379-6010 to schedule your massage.
DISCIPLINE FCPS has updated Discipline Regulation 400-8. According to Student Services Director Kathleen Hartsock, the regulation is based on the goals of fostering, teaching and acknowledging positive behavior. The major updates are that minimum and maximum consequences are no longer dictated in the regulation, giving school principals increased options. If a student is suspended from school, parents and guardians are provided contact information for a school employee responsible for ensuring that the student receives classwork and assignments from each teacher. Definitions for suspension, extended suspension and expulsion are amended. Updates are online at http://apps.fcps.org/dept/legal/400-08.pdf. Viewers are seeing the updated version if the amendment date is 8/25/14.
WHERE ARE WE HEADED? The BOE is hosting a series of roundtable discussions next month involving representatives from various groups with a stake in public education. The Board, Superintendent and staff from schools and central office have been building a preliminary draft 5-year plan with FCPS goals and priorities, now ready for public feedback and refinement. Once the goals and priorities are finalized, FCPS will develop benchmarks and targets to ensure that progress is regularly measured. See the full news release and more: www.fcps.org/strategicplanning.
SEE OUR NEWEST VIDEOS
We've set a new FCPS show in motion. It's called In a Minute! and features host Michael Doerrer, director of Communications, Community Engagement and Marketing, delivering the week's news from FCPS in just a minute.
Check it out:
Episode 1: September 12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsr6EfVmGEU
Episode 2: September 19 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Jowy6Vgcw
First Day of School: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAXrWfX2OmQ
Summer at FCPS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OEg0UBDNH8
Dr. Terry Alban Takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc3YFPnb8Rs
Q: How many FCPS students earned semifinalist status in the National Merit Scholarship Program?
A: 7. Two from Gov. Thomas Johnson HS and one each from Frederick, Middletown, Tuscarora, Urbana and Walkersville. Semifinalists nationwide are among the highest-scoring test-takers in each state and represent less than 1% of high school seniors. Students enter the program through the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) qualifying test in 11th grade.