October 2012: Vol. 4, No. 3

Stop Bullying
It's Our Responsibility
 
Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. To promote safety and provide an optimal environment for student achievement, FCPS trains employees to establish clear behavior standards and to make every effort to:
     *Be aware of problems
     *Provide proper guidance and supervision
     *Consistently and fairly enforce policies
 
Bullying incidents, however, tend to occur out of sight of school staff. Research and experience show that a comprehensive approach that includes students and families has the most promise in reducing bullying and the harm it causes.
 
Bullying is repeated, persistent and aggressive behavior that occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived imbalance of power and that is intended to cause fear and/or harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. More about bullying
 
Report Bullying
It is not helpful to simply tell a child to ignore bullying, and FCPS does not encourage a child to fight the bully. Children need a trusted adult to turn to when they feel threatened. Teach them to contact a school counselor, administrator or teacher to report bullying.
 
Complete the necessary paperwork: It allows us to track and analyze bullying throughout the system. Do not wait for others to process paperwork in order to start a response to bullying. If you see any type of bullying, or if any type of bullying behavior is reported to you, please take it upon yourself to fill out the form, even if students or parents choose not to. Let us model the behavior we value in our schools—being assertive as we seek to break the culture of silence that so often surrounds bullying.
 
Use the FCPS Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form available at every school and online, just 2 clicks from the www.fcps.org home page via the Forms or Families and Students links or the Questions and Concerns button.
 
Stop BullyingLeading the Way
FCPS is a leader in anti-bullying efforts. We promote a positive and supportive school culture, conduct ongoing training to spot bullying early and root it out, maintain aggressive programs to prevent, identify and report it when it happens, and work to respond appropriately and thoroughly. Nonetheless, we wrestle along with the rest of the nation to put an end to bullying; there is always more we can do. We need to remain vigilant at all times to ensure that we are responding assertively and proactively. 
 
You may hear that FCPS reports more instances of bullying than neighboring school systems. That is a good thing. It is a frustrating reality that bullying is a national problem—but FCPS does not ignore the problem—we work with our community to shine a light on it.  
 
Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban has asked every employee to re-commit your attention to the critical issue of bullying and to review the Bullying-Harassment-Intimidation Complaint Process for Students: "I truly thank you for your dedication to our students’ well-being," she says. "Although we may not completely prevent every instance of bullying, we can control how we respond when it does happen. I appreciate your full commitment to supporting our FCPS Goal 2:  Every student will learn in a safe, caring and engaging environment, and be prepared to participate as a productive citizen and contributing member of our global society."
 
First-Class Leadership and Service
Thanks to You, Public Education Succeeds
 
First-grade teacher Julie Pallansch does excellent work at Middletown Primary, where a co-worker nominated her for the First-Class Employee Award, with Principal Karen Hopson's enthusiastic support. 
 
"Julie's expertise and knowledge gave us a great start," said the school's reading specialist, who explained that Julie effectively led the completion of two major school projects:  book publishing and STEM Day.
 
"Her willingness to answer our many questions was deeply appreciated. The MPS staff and community are indebted to Julie's technological skills, her leadership abilities, and her patience," wrote reading specialist Helen Esworthy.
 
Congratulations to Julie and to other staff earning First-Class Employee awards since our last newsletter:  Kenneth Lawson and Pat Veon.
 
Seeking nominations 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.  See eligibility and nomination criteria:  www.fcps.org/awards
***Accolades***
Dan MartzSTATE'S BEST In our last lead story, we promised the URL when Maryland Learning Links posted the video featuring FCPS for effectively addressing special education achievement. FCPS narrowed the achievement gap in reading for 5th grade students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers from 48% in 2003 to under 12% in 2012. Kudos to Special Education and Psychological Services director Dan Martz (left) and all who contributed to this success, including general, special education and curriculum staff and administrators: http://marylandlearninglinks.org/51626
 
NATIONAL AWARD Middletown HS FFA students, representing Maryland, placed second overall in this year’s National Junior Horticultural Association’s Horticulture Identification Contest in Wisconsin. Kudos to the school's agricultural educator and FFA advisor Sarah ShrinerMore including photo
 
Wellness Apple

GOLD X 5 FCPS has won the nationwide American Heart Association's START! Fit-Friendly Gold Award for the 5th consecutive year:  strong testament to the hard work, time and effort staff has put into employee wellness programs.  Kudos to all FCPS wellness champions, Human Resources senior benefits manager Colette Baker and HR benefits specialist Taina Haile.
 
YEAR'S BEST Middletown PS and Twin Ridge ES received Maryland School of the Year Awards at the Maryland Center for Character Education’s (MCCE’s) 2012 Conference. Their principals, Karen Hopson and Kimberly Seiss respectively, received banners to recognize outstanding character-education initiatives. Ballenger Creek ES received the 2012 Maryland School of Character Award, reaching a standard of excellence to serve as a model for schools statewide. 
 
Erase Cancer SculptureERASE CANCER Oakdale MS students in Kathy Tobery's art classes created a special sculpture for the Frederick Public Art Pink Ribbons Path. Using the theme Erase Breast Cancer, they covered the front and back of a ribbon-shaped sculpture with pink erasers.  See photos and more
 
MORE YEAR'S BEST Yale University presented Governor Thomas Johnson HS Advanced Theater Studies teacher Jason Hoffman one of 50 worldwide 2012 Yale Educator of the Year Awards for inspiring students to perform at high levels and to achieve excellence. 
 
REGIONAL WINNERS  The Chesapeake Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association recently presented FCPS Communication Services with Awards of Merit (2nd place in the MD-DC-VA-WV region) for this FCPS Insider Web-based employee newsletter and our Personal Financial Literacy materials. Kudos to Media Arts specialist Jose' Rosapepe.
 
WISE Catoctin HS science teacher, FCPS Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) and Astronomy Club coordinator Lisa Bruck and Tuscarora HS biology teacher Jacqie Parsons arranged for NASA program manager Mamta Patel Negaraja to speak with WISE students about NASA's new vision of space exploration, her role in astronaut training and her goal of inspiring women to pursue STEM careers. Lisa also scheduled Astronaut Thompson to visit for the November 5 ESSL's 50th anniversary celebration.
 
TOP 25  Middletown HS and Urbana HS rank among the top 25 nationwide as University of Maryland’s Clark Engineering source schools. 
 
IN THE BLACK  “It’s nothing short of a miracle,” says Weinberg Center for the Arts executive theater manager John Healey, describing the smARTS Series partnership with FCPS. Arts curriculum specialist Gwen Drescher launched the successful partnership to give children the opportunity to attend a theatrical production. It started with 4,000 students and has tripled to serve more than 12,000 as it enters its 15th season, consistently running “in the black.”  More about Gwen and the smARTS Series  
News to Use
INCLEMENT WEATHER  Make winter easier: Include inclement weather plans and snow dates for events through mid-March. FCPS posts information about the Liberal Leave Policy and more in Reg. 400-2:  Closing of Schools Because of Weather, Maintenance or Other Reasons
 
CHARITY Employees donated more than $77,000 to the Combined Charities Campaign last year--our goal this year is nearly $79,700 by November 16. Tough economic times make it more important than ever to remember those in need. $10 provides 5 homeless children with a nutritious meal; $100 provides groceries for 21 women and children in a domestic violence shelter for a month; $250 provides 4 nights of lodging for a family of 4 following a disaster. Your donation will make a difference. Please lend a hand to those in need:  Combined Charities Flier.
 
FCPS TV  Check out the newest programs, available on-demand*
 
NewsBreaks:
 
Check out FCPS TV's new series, The Promise of Public Education, with short videos highlighting a variety of education topics. 
 
*The BACK arrow will return you to this page.
FCPS Factoid
 
Q: Which school is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an Open House Monday, November 5?
 
A: The FCPS Earth and Space Science Lab invites you to visit between 1-8 PM for a fun-filled break from election campaigns!  
 
Meet an astronaut, take in a free planetarium show that will include a video blast to the ESSL's past, visit the new Natelli Observatory, tour the lab and arboretum, enter a telescope raffle, get a t-shirt and autographed book. Thanks to author and former science supervisor Phil Brohawn, the book--Celebrating Our Past, Envisioning Our Future--features stories and photos that explore a 50-year history of the U.S. space program and the ESSL.