January 2012: Vol. 3, No. 6

Maryland Education #1 Nationwide: 4th Year in a Row!
Excellent Example of How Vision + Action = Success
 
First in EducationEarlier this month, I had the privilege of participating in the 22nd annual FCPS Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. In my remarks I stated, “We’re here tonight to embrace and celebrate the power each of us possesses to transform vision into action.”

As I sat on the stage, preparing to present medallions to more than 100 outstanding students from across our school system, I looked into the audience of teachers, administrators, community supporters and parents. I was struck by the realization that this important event was the culmination of a shared vision that compelled many people of all ages toward positive action. Students created written and artistic expressions and demonstrated excellent character. Teachers guided them. Parents encouraged and supported them. The community came out to applaud them.  It was a good feeling.

The next week came the news that for the fourth consecutive year our state’s public school system ranked first in the nation according to an independent national report by the country’s leading education newspaper. Education Week gave Maryland a grade of B+, placing us ahead of Massachusetts, New York and Virginia. Most other states received grades in the C ranges or below.
 
When I read State Superintendent of Schools Bernard Sadusky’s quote about this top honor, I was reminded once again of the very potent power of having a collective vision and working together to transform it into action.

Dr. Sadusky said that Maryland has never wavered from the goal of having the highest quality schools in every neighborhood. “Schools are only as good as the school in your neighborhood, where your child or grandchild goes to class, or where you work as a teacher,” he said.

What Dr. Sadusky means is that all of us with FCPS and in our community have a share in Maryland’s achievement – another excellent reason to celebrate!

 
Dr. Terry Alban, Superintendent
First-Class Leadership and Service
Your Work Makes Us Proud
 
Sarah Fawley
 
Emmitsburg ES school counselor Sarah Olinger-Fawley recently earned her third First-Class Employee Award.
 
Principal Kathryn Golightly says that Sarah is a leader in her school. For example, Sarah helped found the Attendance Committee, a volunteer group of staff members who meet regularly to discuss ways to improve student attendance trends. One strategy Sarah uses is to give a special greeting to targeted students each morning to build positive relationships. 
 
"Sarah always goes above and beyond to assist students, parents and staff," Principal Golightly says. "She is often the first person children interact with in our building and the last person as they head home. She is a remarkable person."
 
 
First Class Blue Ribbon
Congratulations to Sarah and all staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter:  Lisa Allen,
Jennifer Harbaugh, Charles Kline, Meg Lee, Deborah Lomb, Cathianna Pfrang, Tammy Portner, Tamara Reed, Rebecca Reickel, Donna Saylor, Janine Sherman, Jennifer Shesman, Susan Valenti and Ximena Elizabeth Villacis.
 
***Accolades***
 
Security 500 LogoCOMMENDABLE FCPS earned 21st place in the nationwide Security 500 ranking in the education K-12 category.  Kudos to security coordinator Clifton Cornwell, security tech specialist Jeffrey Seymour, administrative secretary Sue Wiles, secretary Sharon Musselman and all their security contacts throughout the school system and beyond. More about the FCPS security ranking
 
PARTNERSHIP Thanks to Secondary School Improvement, Instruction and Administration associate superintendent Ann Bonitatibus and Career and Technology Education curriculum specialist Beth Duffy, FCPS has signed partnership agreements with Community Radiology Associates and Sport Clips Haircuts to benefit our students.  Bechtel Corporation recently donated $10,000 to support STEM education in our schools. Secondary Science curriculum specialist Dr. Stacey Adamiak and STEM teacher specialist Tom Mills are liaisons with Bechtel. Use the links to see photos and more.
 
DanceDANCE Urbana HS’s Dance Company, under teacher Stephanie Weigelt's leadership, was selected to perform in the National High School Dance Festival. The Company will perform in Philadelphia before 1,500 students from 60 schools throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia and Bermuda.
 
HIGHLY QUALIFIED Catoctin HS world languages teacher Lois Jarman completed her doctoral dissertation on Improving Second Language Instruction through Increased Target-Language Reading and recently earned the title Doctor of Professional Studies. Her research helped FCPS update our world language CRES assessment. She also shared expertise on world language curriculum day in a workshop on target-language reading. 
 
MATHCOUNTS  North Frederick ES Gifted and Talented Program teacher Joe Daly coordinated the countywide MATHCOUNTS middle school competition this month. Accolades to Joe and MATHCOUNTS coaches from participating middle schools: Jo Branham, Dave Erb, Jennifer Fuller, Carol Jakab, Kim Schmidt, Evan Silver and Laila Watkins.
 
POETRY OUT LOUD High school students recently participated in the county-level Poetry Out Loud national competition. Secondary English/Language Arts teacher specialist Carrie Mehl coordinated the event with assistance from teachers Brittney Garst, Del Hayes, Melynda Nash, Chip Newcome, Jen Orr, Kathi Reifschneider, Kim Sandifer and Karen Stitely. Curriculum specialist Sue Ann Nogle helped judge.
 
MASTERS Three FCPS teachers earned Kaplan University School of Graduate Education full-tuition scholarships to pursue their master's degrees, enhance their teaching skills and advance professionally as they continue to serve area students. Tuscarora HS teacher Jessica Bowers, Ballenger Creek ES teacher Alyssa Pilarcik and Waverley ES teacher Jenna Stephen were selected based on their undergraduate GPAs, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities and an essay, among other criteria.
News to Use
 
Twitter BirdKNOW WHAT THE SUPERINTENDENT IS SAYING?  Dr. Terry Alban invites you to follow her on Twitter!  See her recent tweets and more: www.fcps.org/twitter.
 
 
SCHOLARSHIP The Maryland Retired School Personnel Association offers scholarship assistance for Maryland education employees enrolled in a program leading to teacher certification. Eligible applicants include uncertified teachers, teacher assistants, teacher aides, substitute teachers, other Maryland public school system employees and individuals enrolled in an accredited program leading to certification in teaching.
 
FUN AHEAD Gravity Racer, Hovercraft and the Miraculous Design Challenge…All are events in the FCPS Technology Fair, coming Thursday, February 23, 6 PM-8 PM to the Francis Scott Key Mall, in conjunction with Career and Technology Education month and “Ag Week at the Mall.”  Stop by and have some fun!
 
IMPROVED ACCESS The Facilities Services Division is pleased to launch a new electronic application for groups wishing to use school facilities: www.fcps.org/forms.
 
SHARING JOBS Certified teaching staff may apply for a job-share arrangement in which each person would be responsible for one-half of the classroom instruction and all in-service and parent conferences.  See the contract, due March 1 for renewal requests and April 1 for initial requests.
 
GRADUATE PROGRAMS FCPS and McDaniel College's Graduate & Professional Studies program have partnered to offer employees the opportunity to earn a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a leadership focus. The 38.5-credit program is offered in Frederick County at a discounted, fixed tuition rate. Apply by Monday, January 30 for eligibility to begin the program in March. Details
 
FCPS Wellness Logo
LIFE SAVERS Thanks to an FCPS-sponsored blood pressure check at her school, one grateful employee recently learned she had high blood pressure. In her words, "I was a ticking time bomb and didn’t even know it." Find out how FCPS wellness programs can benefit your health! See wellness tips and more
 
FCPS is participating in the American Heart Association’s February 3 Wear Red for Heart campaign.  Last year our $5 donations raised over $3,000 for the American Heart Association. Employees donating will receive an AHA Wear Red for Heart pin (for women) or band (for men). You can dedicate your pledge in honor or in memory of someone. To donate, click the link above. For more information, e-mail FCPS benefits specialist Linda.Stout@fcps.org
 
RETIREMENT  Here are the schedule and registration form for the spring 2012 Pre-Retirement Seminars that the MD State Retirement and Pension System and the Community College of Baltimore County coordinate to assist employees within 8 years of retirement. Learn about Social Security, legal and financial issues. Employees planning to retire at the end of this school year must submit the Form 9 request for benefit estimates. Processing can take 8–10 weeks. Employees then contact the following retirement coordinators to schedule a retirement processing appointment: Employees with last name ending A–M contact Colette.Baker@fcps.org, 301-644-5112; employees with last name ending N–Z contact Robert.Hagans@fcps.org, 301-644-5076.
 
PIMA The Maryland State Department of Education annually presents a Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award to an FCPS parent/guardian whose exemplary contributions to public education have led to improvements for public school children, teachers, schools, programs and/or policies. Nominations are open and must be postmarked by Tuesday, January 31. Details
 
FCPS TV  Check out the newest programs, available on-demand*
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FCPS Factoid
 
Lunch BoxQ:  What percentage of FCPS students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals?
 
A: 23%, nearly 1 in 4 or 10,000+ students countywide, qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.
 
This is more than double the number who were eligible a decade ago.
 
FCPS Insider welcomes your stories about helping students from low-income families succeed:  Dian.Nelson@fcps.org