April 2020, Volume 11, Number 9
FCPS Teachers Lead the Way
Among Maryland's First to Launch Distance Learning
Parents throughout the county--and the nation--have gained new appreciation for teachers' work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's how some have responded to the Continuation of Learning lessons that FCPS teachers began providing on March 30:
"My children’s teachers have been nothing short of spectacular through this. They have been very responsive, always available, they have sent videos and direct messages to each of my kiddos, and I think the teachers, staff, parents and children are all learning and doing the best they can as they go. Thank you for all the support, love, encouragement and direction that my family has been receiving...!"
"My son's teachers...have been amazing, plus messages from counselors and principals just to keep in touch. The teachers I know have worked very hard, and I’m sure that’s the majority! We are in this together!"
"I cannot even explain how impressed I am with FCPS right now. I know [it] has been rocky, but the Continuity of Learning that our school has put in place is unbelievable."
"Teachers...you have our utmost respect. Thank you!"
P.S. May 4-8 is Teacher Appreciation Week and a great time to send a note of encouragement to a teacher you know.
Special Education Instructional Assistant Susan Shealer painted the appreciation shown above, the Teachers Rock tribute shown here and the Thank you rock linked below. Support staff like Susan are busy assisting teachers during distance learning. They regularly call parents, track online assignments and responses, document goals achieved, and more. Thank you to all instructional assistants!
Assistant Manager Dawn Kline is conscientious, level headed, calm, and full of energy as she coordinates the FCPS Food and Nutrition Services Meals-to-Go efforts, says Senior Manager Bob Kelly. "She always keeps what is best for children in mind. What do they like? What are their dislikes? Her team admires her professionalism, team approach, and purpose," he says, adding, "We are an important part of the FCPS community. Dawn shows this every day by being customer focused, proud of what she and her team provide, and open to new ideas. She has worked on several team projects, always willing to help others."
Know an amazing employee? Nominate a colleague for FCPS All-Star recognition!
We congratulate Teacher of the Year finalists: Career and Technology Center Computer-Aided Design teacher Philip Arnold, Brunswick MS math teacher Erica French, Thurmont PS first-grade teacher Ashley Lillard, Walkersville ES multi-grade kindergarten/first-grade teacher Jill McWilliams, and Urbana MS music teacher Joseph (Tom) Mitchell. Read more about the finalists and the county's most prestigious award for teachers.
COUNSELORS OF THE YEAR
The Frederick County Association for Counseling & Development has named Wolfsville ES's Chris Tressler Elementary School Counselor of the Year, Urbana MS's Jillian Farrell Middle School Counselor of the Year, and Walkersville HS's Ryan Defibaugh High School Counselor of the Year. See their photos.
After schools were closed and our medical community sought help, FCPS provided 480 N95 respirators, 38 Tyvek suits, 770 boxes of gloves, 50 cases of hand soap, 45 cases of hand sanitizer, 205 gowns and 200 goggles. Most items were from our Warehouse stock. Medical gowns and goggles were from our Career and Technology Center and Earth and Space Science Lab. Frederick Health Hospital staff greatly appreciated the equipment as they prepared to respond to our community's COVID-19 health needs. In addition, FCPS donated gloves and masks from school health rooms to the Frederick County Health Department's Office of Public Health Preparedness.
Participating in Frederick County's Farm to School initiative, the Lincoln ES Leadership Club is featured in the April 13 Scholastic News magazine for their work fighting food waste. Kudos to their teacher leaders: Crosby Blair, Erica Hottel and Aaron Moon and thanks to Principal Eric Rhodes for tweeting the news. Read the article.
The following teachers advised students whose National History Day projects qualify them for state-level competition: Katie Bartman, Tuscarora HS; Amie Kefauver, Middletown MS; Heather Kehr, West Frederick MS; Karen Shomaker, Oakdale MS; and Beth Strakonsky, Frederick HS. See more.
COL CREDITS OFFERED
The Maryland State Department of Education offers certified educators the opportunity to earn 3 MSDE credits for implementing a Continuity of Learning plan. Thursday, April 30 is the deadline to complete the form here indicating your intent to pursue these credits. See details.
BENEFITS OPEN ENROLLMENT
May 4-29 is the FCPS benefits open enrollment period when eligible employees can change insurance coverage and enroll or re-enroll in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) program. HR has organized web-based information sessions in lieu of the regular in-person sessions. See details. In addition, FCPS has moved our FSA coverage from AxisPlus to Discovery Benefits and will hold an information session Thursday, May 7 at 4 PM. Register here. For benefits information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-644-5080.
On April 17, State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon extended the closure of Maryland schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic from Friday, April 24 to Friday, May 15. As distance learning continues, travel remains permitted to obtain continuity of learning materials and school meals to go.
Typically in April, FCPS has announced the last school and teacher work days and plans regarding 4-day summer workweeks for 12-month employees. Decisions are still pending regarding these matters. FCPS will announce this information as soon as possible via Employee News email.
SUPPORT PRO TRANSFERS
Sunday, May 31 is the application deadline for benefited support professionals interested in a lateral transfer to a new position. More
In addition to school-related COVID-19 posts at www.fcps.org/update, the following are reliable resources for coronavirus updates:
Frederick County Health Department
Maryland Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Governor's COVID-19 Pandemic: Orders and Guidance
For general technology support, staff may reach the FCPS Help Desk:
M-F, 7 AM-5 PM
301-644-5310 or email@example.com
The newest FCPS partner, A Mother’s Rest, is a respite care provider committed to the proactive healthcare of special needs parents and caregivers and support for special educators. More
OFF THE CUFF
Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban and a guest blogger highlighted the following topics:
See them here.
VIDEOS Released since our March issue:
FCPS In a Minute - April 17 April 24
Tweet of the Week - For School Library Month, Library Media Services Supervisor Mary Jo Richmond shares information about Maryland author Jason Reynolds and online resources
Superintendent's April 9 Message for Teachers and Administrators
BOE Meetings - Watch any meeting or select a portion by topic here
NEWS RELEASES Issued after our March newsletter:
Countywide Science and Engineering Fair Winners
FCPS Names Teacher of the Year Finalists
Let's Celebrate the Class of 2020
BOE Announces Investment Committee Vacancy
FCPS Changes Meals-to-Go Schedule
FCPS Announces History Day Winners
FCPS Partners with A Mother's Rest
Maryland Schools to Remain Closed through May 15
Many messages regarding COVID-19 were published via FindOutFirst and Employee News. You may view FOF archived messages here.
FCPS Fast Fact
Our 11 FCPS Help Desk gurus went from managing an average of around 80 requests per day before Maryland closed schools March 16 due to COVID-19 to an average just shy of 130 daily since FCPS launched distance learning on March 30. The highest volume was 355 on Tuesday, April 14.*
Kudos to all Help Desk staff: Greg Armentrout, Robbie Atkins, Alex Collins, Ron Cool, Karen Florwick, David Goto, Mike Moss, Nick Pingatore, Mary Reed, John Soluri and Becky Thompson.
*as of April 15
The FCPS Insider is published monthly August-May by FCPS Public Affairs Department,
191 S. East St., Frederick, MD 21701. It features employee news and accolades.
Brief information, subject to edits, and captioned photos for possible inclusion are due to Dian.Nelson@fcps.org by the 15th of the month. For more information: 301-696-6911.