November 2012: Vol. 4, No. 4

Maryland's Best
FCPS Achieves State's Lowest Dropout Rate

  

Thanks to hardworking employees, students, their families and a supportive community, FCPS has achieved the lowest dropout rate in Maryland! That's great news to share with family and friends during the holidays.
 
While our dropout rate is the state's lowest at 5.05%, the FCPS graduation rate at 91.5% is Maryland's third highest. The remaining 3.45% are students receiving special education certificates or still in school.
 
FCPS Research, Development and Accountability Director Steve Hess explains: "This data reflects the most-recently reported cohort of students, the 'on-time' Class of 2011. Starting in 2010, Maryland and other states adopted a uniform method for reporting dropout and graduation rates. With agreement of the National Governors Association and following a directive from the US Department of Education, all states now use a four-year adjusted-cohort method for calculating dropout and graduation rates. This method follows each cohort of students who enter 9th grade for four years, reporting which students receive diplomas or are no longer in school without graduating as of that time. Data is 'lagged' one year to account for summer graduates and dropouts."
 
FCPS Student Services Director Kathleen Hartsock knows that our Pupil Personnel Workers--Joseph Burau, James Corley, Cindy Glass, Brenda Harne-Herbert, Guy Hofer, Mike Hombach, Heather Krystofiak, Mark Mitchell and Tim Policastro--just won't give up on students.
 
In this season of Thanksgiving, thank you to all who help our students gain one of the most important assets in their lives: a high school diploma.
Employee Excellence
Public Education Succeeds, Thanks to You!
 
Assistant Transportation manager Jeannette Thompson and bus driver Larry Davis demonstrated extraordinary compassion for a kindergartner terrified to ride the school bus. The pair visited the student's home for a personal bus tour with a special kit to welcome newcomers. Very grateful for their help, the student's mom wrote a letter of appreciation, which you can see and hear her read: Watch them all in the inspiring FCPS TV program!
 
Here also are letters about two more outstanding bus drivers, courtesy of our Transportation Department's newsletter, As the Wheel Turns.
 
Congratulations to Jeannie and Larry and to other staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter: William Crabill, Jonathan Jarrett, Sandy Truax and Stephanie Ware.
 
Nominations are open for two prestigious awards:  The Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award ($3,000) and Distinguished Educational Leadership Award recognize teachers and principals who go beyond the day-to-day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment. Nomination packets are due to Communication Services by 3 PM, Friday, January 11, with no exceptions. Please see eligibility and nomination criteria:  www.fcps.org/awards.  
 
If you have letters and stories to share, please send them to Dian.Nelson@fcps.org
***Accolades***
 
Children
 
NO MORE GAPS  The following schools have eliminated achievement gaps in math and reading between African American and all students: Brunswick ES, Centerville ES, Hillcrest ES, Lincoln ES, Carroll Manor ES, Orchard Grove ES, Spring Ridge ES, Tuscarora ES, Urbana ES, Walkersville MS and Whittier ES!
  
Dr. AlbanCARING See a few of the ways our staff and students are making a difference in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and watch Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban's thank you message.
 
BEST IN STATE  The American Cancer Society named Dr. Terry Alban this year's Relay for Life Superintendent of the Year
 
 
FIRST IN MARYLAND The Governor Thomas Johnson HS and Linganore HS marching bands each placed first in their respective categories (4 and 5A) in statewide competition!  Both bands also collected and delivered Hurricane Sandy relief donations when they traveled to the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Kudos to directors Megan Lynch and Kevin Lloyd. More band accolades 
 
READING The Thurmont community donated 3,500+ books for area schools in a Make a Difference Day Literacy Project that the Lions Club coordinated. See a photo that includes (left to right) employees Theresa DardanellKaren Yoder and Brittany Nuse helping committee members John Ford and Sam Miller with the project in the Thurmont PS media center.
News to Use
 
WILL YOU HELP?  Friday, November 16 is the last official day of the Combined Charities Campaign. Please give generously!
 
StormIN BAD WEATHER When schools are closed all day or close early due to weather, all afterschool and evening activities are canceled, including events scheduled by outside groups (except daycare centers operating in FCPS facilities, which independently make and communicate their decisions). Be sure you are familiar with FCPS inclement weather procedures including liberal leave. From an FCPS-networked computer, note the confidential employee hotline number from http://insidefcps under Employee Essentials at the bottom. Consult your supervisor if you have questions. 
 
EPI-PENS Anaphylaxis is potentially life threatening and may occur as a reaction to insect stings or bites, foods, medications and other allergens. A new Maryland law authorizes school personnel to administer auto-injectable epinephrine to students experiencing anaphylaxis. School health rooms are now stocked with auto-injectable epinephrine (Epi-Pens) for students who experience signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis during school hours on school property. More about Epi-Pens
 
TECHNOLOGY Student technology needs outpace the funding the school system has through normal
sources. FCPS and the Community Foundation of Frederick County recently started a new Current Initiatives/Technology for Education Fund. To learn about charitable giving to this or any fund to benefit public education in Frederick County, please visit http://www.cffredco.org.
 
MSDE CREDIT Register by November 30 for the best price on Maryland State Department of Education spring classes:  https://sites.fcps.org/msde2. Some class sizes are limited. Late registration with a higher fee begins December 1. For answers to questions after reading online instructions, please call 240-236-8831.
 
SURVEY The MSDE asks teachers, principals, students and parents to complete a survey about school discipline policies. Results will help in reforming state-level policies and practices.
   
NIFTY 50 Linganore HS invites everyone to the school's 50th anniversary gala Saturday, December 8, from 8-11 PM at St. Peter's Church, Sullivan Hall, Libertytown. Please see the flier for cost and other details.
 
FCPS TV Check out the newest programs not already mentioned above, available on-demand*
 
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FCPS Factoid
 
 
Q:  How many students has the FCPS Teaching Academy graduated since its 2005 opening?
 
A:  119, with several teaching in FCPS today
 
If you know students interested in education careers, please refer them to the FCPS Teaching Academy
 
Though based at Brunswick HS, it's open to juniors and seniors countywide. Students can earn 3 college credits, giving them a head start and an excellent introduction to a very meaningful career.
 
For more info:  Joyce.Lenzo@fcps.org