April 2019, Volume 10, Number 9
BOE Finalizes 2019-2020 Academic Calendar
Sets Parent-Teacher Conference Dates and More
Determining next year's academic calendar was a challenge this year. With a state-mandated closure for primary election day on April 28, 2020 and school start and end dates already set to follow a previous state-mandated schedule, the Board of Education was faced with choosing to open schools on one of four days that FCPS typically closes schools: Fair Day, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
While schools are not permitted to close for religious observances, they may close when high absenteeism is expected. The last two times schools were open the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, attendance was a low 86%. Data was reported for school days during The Great Frederick Fair, but there was none for the last time the Jewish holidays fell on a day schools were open. A survey asked the community to rank the importance of calendar continuity, student and staff attendance, and fairness and equity. Results are summarized here and online in the Calendar Committee's April 10 presentation to the BOE.
Additional surveys gathered data regarding parent-teacher conference scheduling. That data is also reported at the above link. The BOE selected Wednesday-Friday, October 23-25 as parent-teacher conference dates for elementary and middle schools. See conference details and more in the 2019-2020 Academic Calendar.
For additional information, please see the BOE meeting calendar discussions and materials for November 14 and December 12, 2018 and February 27 and April 10, 2019.
World languages teacher Lynne Griffin at Catoctin HS embodies all that is important in public education. Teaching Spanish I through AP levels and advising the Spanish Honor Society, she equips a diverse group of students to be empowered learners and engaged citizens. In addition to teaching them to read, write, and speak Spanish, she teaches about the cultures and politics of Spanish-speaking countries. Once class begins, she and her students speak only Spanish.
Lynne also engages Spanish Honor Society students as tutors. Thanks to her initiative, students receive the assistance they need, and those tutoring gain valuable experience.
"I have rarely worked with a more motivated, organized, and empowering educator," says the colleague who nominated Lynne for All-Star recognition.
Lynne was one of the first FCPS teachers to transition her students from Google Classroom to Schoology. She's an unofficial expert for her colleagues, posing questions and sharing feedback that have improved the Schoology experience for others at her school and in world languages departments throughout the county.
Nominate a colleague for FCPS All-Star recognition.
CREATIVE See teachers' art on display in the FCPS Faculty Show at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center through Sunday, April 28. Shown (left to right) below is work by Christine Stovall, Daniel Neuland, and Bill Groff. Other teachers with work in the show are Tracey Ellis-Guss, Georgia Geisser, Kristine Goad, Donna Helman, Bernadette Miller, Sarah Presnell, Shayne Stratyner, Laura Tinney, Lisa Tarkett Reed, Audrie Trammell, Michelle Veneble and Shannon Wood.
CHAMPIONS In addition to staff commended in March, the following coached individuals to state championships in winter sports: Ben Arneson, Linganore HS wrestling 132 and 182 lbs; Joe Hawkins/Michael Kelly, Linganore HS 1M diving; Justin Krop, Urbana HS wrestling 195 lbs; and Lois Strickland, Catoctin HS (second consecutive win) 1A girls indoor track & field 800M. Though coaches were named last month, the following schools where students achieved state championships are: Frederick HS 3A girls 55M dash; and Brunswick HS 1A girls 4x800 relay and 1A boys pole vault.
MARYLAND'S BEST A Tuscarora HS student, recently in Daniel Wagner's AP English Language and Composition class, is the state champion in this year's Poetry Out Loud contest. The school's literacy specialist Lydia Kowalski coordinates Tuscarora's participation
OUTSTANDING We congratulate Teacher of the Year finalists: Linganore HS math teacher Leslie Byrd, Catoctin HS physical education teacher Michael Franklin, Tuscarora HS literacy specialist Lydia Kowalski, Monocacy MS social studies teacher Matthew McVay, and Brunswick HS career and technology education teacher John Yoho. Read more about the finalists and the county's most prestigious award for teachers.
EXCEPTIONAL The following teachers prepared students qualified to advance to worldwide competitions: Phil Arnold, Adam Frank, John Kriner, Jenny Maher, Kimberly Mentzell and Deborah Yoho at the Career and Technology Center and Karine Ptak at Frederick HS.
News to Use
BE WELL, WIN $ Register to attend the FCPS Health & Wellness Expo for access to tons of free resources. You could be 1 of 5 participants to win $100! Tuscarora HS hosts this event Tuesday, April 30, 4 PM-6:30 PM.
TEACHERS! Avoid being docked one day of leave: Indicate your Flexible Professional Time (FTP) choice by Wednesday, May 1. See details.
WORKSHOPS Apply by 4 PM Friday, May 3 to participate in summer curriculum-writing workshops July 1-18, 8:15-12:15 at Oakdale HS. See details.
4-DAY WORKWEEKS 12-month employees will begin 4-day workweeks Monday, June 24 and resume 5-day workweeks Monday, August 19. See details.
GROWING TIME Shop at a high school greenhouse to support education. See dates and times.
OFF THE CUFF Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban has blogged about the following topics since our last issue:
See them here.
NEWS RELEASES SINCE MARCH
Battelle Gives FCPS $50,000 for STEM Challenge Grants
FCPS Promotes Screen-Free Week April 29-May 5
Countywide Science and Engineering Fair Winners
FCPS Team Qualifies for Global Finals
Name the Newest FCPS School
Elementary Honors Chorus to Perform at Weinberg Center
FCPS Announces Last Day of School Year
Chat with the Superintendent Monday, May 6
FCPS Names Five Finalists for Teacher of the Year
All-County High School Dance Festival
Students Earn Gold Medals in Statewide Competition
Students Qualify for World Championship
VIDEOS Released since our March Issue:
FCPS In a Minute - March 29 April 5 April 12
Tweet of the Week - Little Lancers Program
New Market ES Media Specialist Jennifer Siderius
Ballenger Creek ES 5th Grade Teacher Lindsey Kearney
Frederick HS LYNX advocate Beth Sands
Child Abuse Awareness Month with FCPS Community Engagement Coordinator Tiana Haile
BOE Meetings - Watch any meeting or select a portion by topic here
FCPS Fast Fact
Assuming no more days off for inclement weather or other emergencies, the academic year ends Wednesday, June 19 for students when schools dismiss them 2 hours early for a teacher work session. The last workday for teachers this year (and for others who follow the teacher work year) is Thursday,
The FCPS Insider is published monthly August-May by FCPS Communication Services, 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.