May 2012: Vol. 3, No. 10

FCPS Makes All 3 America's Best Lists
Challenge Index, Newsweek and U.S. News
You're not seeing triple: FCPS schools really did make not one but all three published lists of America’s best high schools this month!
All* of our high schools rank in the top 9% of about 22,000 high schools nationwide, according to The Washington Post 2012 Challenge Index. Using data from the 2010-2011 school year, the Index recognizes schools that challenge their students, engaging not just academically advanced but also average students in college-level courses and tests such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate.
Challenge Index author Jay Mathews explains the difference between the Challenge Index and two other recently released national lists: Newsweek’s 2012 America’s Best High Schools and the U.S. News Best High Schools. Mr. Mathews believes “Using test scores to compare schools gives too much weight to parental income—the key factor in student achievement—and too little weight to what educators are doing to raise the achievement of every child….”  More Challenge Index schools have significant numbers of low-income students, he says. “If your school is on any of these lists, you should be happy.  They recognize schools with many admirable features.”  
This is at least the sixth consecutive year that all FCPS high schools have achieved the nation’s top Challenge Index list.
Urbana HS had the highest ranking of FCPS high schools in the Challenge Index, coming in at 476 nationwide. Next were Middletown (810), Linganore (904), Frederick (1,012), Walkersville (1,127), Brunswick (1,401), Governor Thomas Johnson (1,431), Catoctin (1,545) and Tuscarora (1,755). 
Urbana HS also made Newsweek’s list of America’s Best High Schools, ranking 380 among the top 1,000, using 2010-2011 school year data.
Middletown HS made the U.S. News Best High Schools list, achieving a Gold Medal rank.
Governor Thomas Johnson HS also made the U.S. News Best High Schools list, achieving a Silver Medal rank. 
U.S. News used 2009-2010 school year data.
*Oakdale HS, which is too new to have all grade levels yet, was not ranked.  Scroll to news release
First-Class Leadership and Service
Your Work Makes Us Proud
WolfAmandaYoungsville ES special education teacher Amanda "Mandy" Young does exceptional work with students.
She is the reason we have kept our son at Wolfsville, wrote the parent who nominated Mrs. Young for recognition. 
The parent explained that it was very uncertain if her son would be able to read due to his learning disability, but Mrs. Young never gave up on him. She developed a special bond and a way to teach him. She made sure he felt comfortable in the classroom.
Mrs. Young's willingness to help students achieve all they can demonstrates her first-class work ethic and compassionate heart. The parent said that her only wish is that her son could take Mrs. Young with him to middle school. 
Wolfsville is the special school it is today because of teachers like Mrs. Young who care so much for their students.
Congratulations to other staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last issue: Dr. Hillal Albertson, Matthew Byrd, James Corley, Jeffrey Entwistle, Angela Fisher, Lynn Foster, Jill Goodman, Dana Lichtenberger, Karen Osborne, Kimberly Rogowsky and Cathy Spence.
*TEACHING Urbana HS social studies teacher Norman Crosby (right) is the FCPS 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year!
Valley ES 5th grade teacher Stephen Nikirk won the Hood College 2012 Charles E. Tressler Distinguished Teaching Award.
Scroll to news release with photo     See photo of Mr. Nikirk, flanked by instructional director Dr. Keith Harris (left) and Principal Tess Blumenthal and Hood College Education Department chair Dr. John George (right).
Urbana HS’s Dr. Suzanne Dashiell Elder is the statewide Tech Council of Maryland’s 2012 STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—Educator of the Year.  Scroll to news release
The Thurmont Lions Club named Thurmont MS's Melanie Ware 2012 Teacher of the Year. The Club also named the following FCPS teachers school-level 2012 Teachers of the Year: Pamela Ellenberg, Sabillasville ES; Heather Hommey, Thurmont PS; Curt Howser, Catoctin HS; Christina McKeever, Lewistown ES; John Ridenour, Thurmont ES; and Charlene Rippeon, Emmitsburg ES.
*SUPPORT Winning the 2012 FCPS Support Employees of the Year awards are Monica MacCracken and Andy Garza. (Shown in the far left of the photo, Monica, from Centerville ES, is Instructional Assistant of the Year AND the overall School-Based winner). Andy is the overall Central Office winner. Andy worked in Maintenance and Operations until his passing this school year. His wife, Tina (shown next to Monica), accepted the award on his behalf. 
Other support employees named the best of 2012 are (left to right after Tina Garza): Linda Frushour, Technology Services – Central Office Secretary of the Year; Jack Gilbert, Ballenger Creek ES – School-Based Custodian of the Year; Billie Laughland, Purchasing Department – Business Support Employee of the Year; Linda Raines, Oakdale HS – School-Based Secretary of the Year; Diane P. Roberts – Transportation Employee of the Year; and Frances Wimmer, Urbana HS – Food Services Employee of the Year.
*COUNSELING The Frederick County Association for Counseling and Development named Whittier ES's Jill Goodman School Counselor of the Year.  See photo of Jill (center, holding her daughter) with Dr. Hillal Albertson, the ELL teacher who nominated her, Principal John Festerman and Janet Shipman, Counseling and Student Support coordinator (left to right).
LarkinHohnke*ADMINISTRATOR The Frederick County Association of Educational Office Professionals named FCPS High Schools instructional director Larkin Hohnke (right) Administrator of the Year.
WINNERX2+ Shari Ostrow Scher received her second Hood College Graduate Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award. She also received this year's Dorothy Height Civil Rights Award from the Frederick Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for her work with Children of Incarcerated Parents.
WORLDWIDE At the 2012 Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, a Middletown HS student placed 3rd in microbiology among more than 90 entries worldwide. Science teacher Jeff Longenberger chaperoned the student.
THANK YOU The Great Expectations Teacher-Induction Program's year-end celebration is Tuesday, May 29 at the Staff Development Center. More than 115 first-year teachers will celebrate and reflect on the year with their mentors, Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban, BOE President Angie Fish and FCTA President Gary Brennan. Professional Development specialist Amy Cordes thanks all who supported new teachers this year and those who donated door prizes and food for this event, including Beef O'Brady's, California Tortilla, Camillions, ColdStone Creamery, La Paz Mexican Restaurant, Rita's Italian Ice, The Trail House and Wegmans.
BEST IN SHOW Four FCPS high school students were among the seven award winners, including Best in Show, in the 2012 Congressional Art Competition, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett’s district: two are from Gov. Thomas Johnson HS and two from Middletown HS. Their teachers are Amanda McGrath for Digital Photography 2 at TJ and Chyril Ayotte for art at Middletown. Scroll to news release
News to Use
OPEN ENROLLMENT Thursday, May 31 is the deadline for employees to change health/dental plan coverage and to renew or enroll in the Flexible Spending Account Plan. Please see details
OPEN HOUSE The 29th Career & Technology Center student-built house opens for all to tour Thursday, May 31, 6 PM-7:30 PM, at 1923 Moran Drive, Frederick.  More
NEW FACES IN KEY PLACES Effective July 1, the following staff changes will take place:
Tess Blumenthal to Walkersville ES principal from Valley ES
Stephanie Brown to Ballenger Creek ES principal from Walkersville ES
Angela Corrigan to Liberty ES principal from North Frederick assistant principal
Jerry DeGrange retiring from Liberty ES principal
John Festerman to Wolfsville ES principal from Whittier ES
Karine Myers to Central Office teacher specialist from Ballenger Creek ES principal
Shirley Olsen to Lewistown ES principal from Whittier ES assistant principal
Suzanne O'Toole retiring from Middletown ES principal
Steve Parsons to Middletown ES principal from Kemptown ES
Lynnea Richards retiring from Wolfsville ES principal
Amy Schwiegerath to Whittier ES principal from Lewistown ES
Principals for Kemptown and Valley ES are not yet determined.
BUDGET At its May 23 meeting the BOE reviewed its proposed FY 2013 budget now that Maryland’s budget decisions are made. The BOE increased the Salary Resource Pool allocation to $6.8 million and eliminated a proposed furlough day. Salary adjustments are contingent upon negotiations with FCTA, FASSE and FCASA. The BOE will finalize the budget at its June 13 meeting, after which FCPS will post details at
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FCPS Factoid
Q: How many people read the last FCPS Insider?
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