February 2013: Vol. 4, No. 7

Communication Audit
Does FCPS Keep YOU in the Loop?
audit reportEffective communication at FCPS is essential in:
*Ensuring that all students are college- and career-ready
*Demonstrating accountability to stakeholders and
*Building support for public education
This is why FCPS contracted with the National School Public Relations Association for a communication audit.   
After reviewing FCPS print, online and video materials and conducting focus groups for teachers, secretaries, principals, support staff representatives, central office managers and BOE members--to name only the internal groups, here are some of the audit's findings:
*Participants, overall, believe FCPS provides a quality education for students and, to some degree, is under-recognized for its excellence.
*Participants did not feel they have real opportunities for input into FCPS decisions.
*Communication challenges include explaining the rationale behind decisions, improving staff morale and increasing credibility, communication frequency and transparency.
*The aim of a strong internal communication program should be creating the culture of employee engagement and empowerment associated with highly effective organizations.
FCPS Communication Services is charged with reviewing the audit report to implement short-term and plan for long-term improvements. Some of the changes you may have already noticed this school year include snow/emergency closing notices sent via Outlook e-mail to all employees and the FCPS Facebook launch. 
As an employee, you are essential to the FCPS mission to reach, challenge and prepare every student for success. Please let us know how we can improve communication to help you achieve the mission. Communication Services director Michael Doerrer and employees Peggy Ballew, Steve Blickenstaff, Tim Dean, Jeremy Eccard, Kelly Gordon, Charles Helfenstein, Cathy Menzel, Sherry Musselman, Dian Nelson, Paul Puglisi, Jose' Rosapepe, Brent Smith and Zelda Tribit invite your ideas for improvement directly or you may e-mail ThePromise@fcps.org.
Employee Excellence
Public Education Succeeds, Thanks to You!
Brenda Harne-Herbert is passionate about her role as a pupil personnel worker. She regularly demonstrates her willingness to go above and beyond the scope of her position to assist a student or family in need. 
Last summer Brenda drove to Washington, DC to pick up an Urbana HS student who was placed with a foster family in that area. In order to graduate, the senior needed to take an HSA to qualify to complete a graduation project. Brenda was instrumental in taking care of all the details and contacts to make this happen. Because of her initiative, the student was able to graduate. 
"If she had not taken Herculean efforts to assist the student, he may have given up the will to complete the requirements for his diploma and could have been a dropout statistic," says Brenda's supervisor, Kathleen Hartsock. 
Brenda's work provides a stellar example of how FCPS has succeeded in achieving Maryland's lowest dropout rate.
Congratulations to other staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter:  Jeff Cook, Dan Cuddahee, Sarah Gordy, Renee Heeley, Jody Miller, Beth Pasierb, Franco Posa, Brent Smith, Catherine Thomas and Travis Young.
CARING FCPS staff contributed more than $12,000 during the Dress Down for the Cause fund-raiser for the Sandy Hook ES community in Newtown, CT. On behalf of FCPS, Dr. Alban sent a letter with the check to the Newtown Memorial Fund. Kudos to Glade ES kindergarten teacher Tara Miller for spearheading the successful fund-raiser. Once again, FCPS employees have successfully united to support a very worthy cause and show their compassion and caring.

LEGACY FCPS minority achievement coordinator Maria Whittemore is featured as one of the Living Legacy personalities that the Maryland State Education Association is highlighting during Black History Month. Maria was videotaped at Walkersville B, the school she and three of her brothers desegregated in 1957. Her story provides classroom teachers with a primary source history they can discuss with students, bringing to life the victories and struggles of the civil rights movement. See Maria's story.


OUTSTANDING The Maryland State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education will present awards to Christine Borman-Bozick, Meg Lee, Tracey Lucas and Karen Wills at a celebration February 28 at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Find out more
News to Use
FURLOUGH  Human Resources recently e-mailed key communicators with information about this year's furlough day.  Here's a direct link to the Furlough Day Q/A for your convenience.
Tell Maryland LogoTELLMARYLAND  School-based certified and instructional/clerical support staff  have the opportunity through March 8 to give feedback to the Governor’s office regarding perceptions of the teaching conditions in your school. Take the survey now at www.tellmaryland.org. You will need the unique access code that you received from your principal.
NOMINATE FCPS is accepting nominations for the 2013 Support Employee of the Year Awards until April 15.  We will recognize one finalist from each of eight broad job classifications at the June 12 Board of Education meeting:  bus drivers, business support staff (which includes Food and Nutrition Services and Transportation Office/Garage), nonschool-based custodian/ maintenance/ warehouse, school-based custodian, Food and Nutrition Services staff, instructional or mainstream assistant/community liaison, nonschool-based secretary and school-based secretary. Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban will name two of the eight finalists―one school-based and one nonschool-based―the 2013 Support Employees of the Year.
ED BEAT There's a new senior reporter on The Frederick News-Post education beat:  Josh Poltilove. To share your education news with Josh, who most recently worked 10 years for The Tampa Tribune, please e-mail jpoltilove@newspost.com or call 240-215-8652.
GOOD TO KNOW From Ag Week at the Mall to the Youth Art Month Opening, there's lots happening across the county. Here are some events with links to more information:  Academic Tournament Championship, 20th Annual Technology Fair, World Language Day, Kindergarten/PreK Registration and Parent-Teacher Conferences.
FCPS TV  Check out the newest programs*
Rally Around The Promise:
*The BACK arrow will return you to this page.
FCPS Factoid
Q:  How heavy does www.fcps.org Web traffic get when it snows?
                                                        A:  Visits increase from a typical 20,000 hits to 55,000 on a snow day!