Assignment Education

Photo | Pam Schipper
Urbana Elementary students, staff and administrators officially open the new Sugarloaf Elementary School building on Sept. 4. A sign out front names the interim school Urbana Elementary at Sugarloaf.

Urbana Elementary Site Plan Approved

The Frederick County Planning Commission gave unanimous approval on Aug. 8 to a site plan for the new Urbana Elementary School. The current Urbana Elementary School, built in the 1960s as a one story, 64,000-square-foot building, will be demolished. The new two-story building will occupy 97,000 square feet and stand 32-feet tall. Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) plans the new school for water and sewer, but sewer is pending state approval.

According to Bradley Ahalt, senior project manager with FCPS Facilities Services Division, building demolition is anticipated to start on Sept. 17.

UHS Principal Looking Forward to New School Year

Some 1800 students are expected to walk through the doors of Urbana High on Sept. 4. “I think, given our size, it stands to reason that it’s going to be one our best (academic years),” Principal Dave Kehne said. To keep up with increased enrollment, the school has five assistant principals, including two new to Urbana High—Amanda McGrath, most recently assistant principal at Brunswick High, and Christopher Bittner, most recently assistant principal at Linganore High—and Rebecca Hackett, who has been promoted from teaching math at Urbana High.

“We’ve had very little teacher turnover, which is normal for Urbana High School,” Kehne added, “but at this time all of our instructional positions have been filled and I’m very excited about the caliber of the individuals we’ve hired this year.”

New SRO for Urbana

DFC Robert Sidow is the new School Resource Officer (SRO) for Urbana High School (UHS) and the UHS feeder pattern. DFC Sidow has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 15 years and is starting his fourth year as an SRO.

Chromebooks Issued to Ninth Graders

The 2018-19 school year debuts the 1:1 Chromebooks program for all ninth graders, overseen by Assistant Principal Amanda McGrath. Ninth graders will use the Chromebooks at school and home, and families will be asked to pay a $60 technology fee for the year. According to Principal Dave Kehne, the 2019-20 school year will bring Chromebooks to all students, ninth through twelfth grades.

“An increasing number of publishers are issuing ancillary materials online, and I think in many cases they’re issuing their latest editions of text online prior to print and in some cases at far less cost to a school system. … I’m excited about the introduction of the program,” Kehne said.

Numbered Parking Spaces for Student Drivers

New this year at Urbana High will be numbered parking spaces for student drivers. “They’ll have the opportunity to come in, select the parking spot where they’ll be able to park, and that is their parking spot for the entire year,” explained Amanda McGrath, assistant principal.

Urbana High has a large number of student drivers because many in its population center, the Villages of Urbana, are not eligible for buses, Principal Dave Kehne noted. Also, the UHS International Baccalaureate program draws students from around the county.

Students may choose a specific parking space in the main lot, auditorium lot or gymnasium lot. Parking permits cost $25, and there are 394 numbered parking spaces available. Visit for more information.

Y’s Hawk Club Lands at UMS

The Green Valley Y will sponsor the Y’s Hawk Club at Urbana Middle School (UMS) this school year. The afterschool enrichment program offers tutoring, healthy snacks, activities and leadership development Monday through Friday, 3 to 6:30 p.m. Contact Green Valley Y Executive Director Jennie Coppit at for more information.

New Visitor Security This Fall

Visitors to Frederick County Public Schools buildings will be asked to present a government-issued identification card this fall. The ID card will be scanned into the new FCPS system. The system will then print a visitor’s badge complete with name and photo.


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