School News

FCPS Welcomes Students on Aug. 29

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) are preparing to welcome 40,484 students Aug. 29.

Enrollment is slightly higher than last year, though county schools have seen an increase of 2,360 students the last decade. New Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban plans to visit every one of the county’s 64 public schools between the first week in July and the students’ first day. FCPS bid farewell to 147 retirees, and Human Resources staff hired more than 120 teachers this summer. Overall, FCPS employs nearly 3,000 teachers, for a total of 5,500 full- and part-time employees.

A Back-to-School icon is located on the www.fcps.org home page for easy access to school-supply lists, important forms, information about school meals, the new Calendar Handbook in full color and more.

For the second year, FindOutFirst offers text messaging for emergency-only notices in addition to e-mail on topics for which subscribers register, ranging from calendar updates and news releases to job openings, menus, BOE action and more. More than 31,000 people subscribe to the FCPS FindOutFirst service for e-mail and text messages.

Parents need to update their registered grade levels and school relationships to get 2011-12 news.

In addition to system-level notices about snow days and more, 49 schools send their own FindOutFirst non-emergency e-mail. School Web sites and www.fcps.org have signup links, and each notice sent includes links to unsubscribe or update.

Lunch prices increased 5 cents this year due to new federal requirements. Elementary students pay $2.05 and middle and high school students pay $2.30 for lunch. Breakfast prices held steady at $1.10 for elementary students and $1.35 for middle and high. When purchased separately, milk is still 40 cents. Families may apply for free or reduced-price student meals using a Meal Benefit Form distributed when school starts. Families may prepay for school meals and a la carte items online at www.cafeprepay.com, and all schools will serve breakfast even when opening one or two hours late.

Food Service will fill more than 3,700 breakfast and 15,000 lunch orders each school day. Cafeterias offer whole-grain options such as pizza crust, rolls and cereals plus fresh vegetables, fruits and low-fat choices daily, and snack foods that meet nutritional guidelines.

Student Information Cards will go home on the first day of school, already personalized with the most current information in the FCPS database for each child. Parents must return the form to school after they verify or correct it. They also need to complete the Health and Emergency Information Form, which is online for those who prefer to type, print, sign and send it in.

Mechanics are prepping 433 yellow school buses to transport 30,000 kids to and from school, traveling more than 38,000 miles each day. FCPS expects to post transportation details in the online back-to-school section by Aug. 19.

Bus drivers remind the public to stay alert for their flashing lights and stop signs; it is dangerous and illegal to pass a school bus stopped for children: red means stop.

Fall parent-teacher conferences are Oct. 18 – 20 this year, with Oct. 18 reserved for elementary only, while Oct. 19 and 20 are for all grades. FCPS will provide students a 2011-12 Calendar Handbook the first school day, with additional important dates and information for families.

In addition to FCPS Television programming on Comcast cable 18, the public can watch programs online, both live and any time of day via “video on demand.” Check out the award-winning sCOOL Science to see what elementary students are learning, BOE meetings broadcast live, programs that go right into the classroom, and much more.

Shearer to Speak to Substitute Teachers

Urbana High School teacher and National Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer is the keynote speaker during a substitute training program at Oakdale High School.

Substitute teachers countywide are invited to attend the program held Aug. 2 – 4.

Shearer will join FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban on Aug. 2, from 8 to 9 a.m. to deliver the keynote address.

Thomas Johnson High Damaged in Flash Flood

Thanks to a fast reaction and a weekend of hard work, Gov. Thomas Johnson High School managed to limit damage as the result of flash flooding, July 8.

The school’s 300 summertime students were back in class Monday morning.

School staff became aware of the problem around 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Approximately 2 to 4 inches of water rapidly covered about 30,000 square feet. About two-thirds of the first level, including classroom wings on the first floor and the gymnasium, were impacted.

Frederick County Public Schools custodial and maintenance/operations staff, as well as contractors, were joined by school administrators and teachers in an intensive weekend clean-up effort.  In addition to wet-vacuuming and dehumidifying, the job entailed repairs in areas where the water damaged interior walls. Classroom supplies, textbooks, furnishings and equipment also had to be relocated to dry ground.

“The energy and commitment that went into the task were impressive,” said Dr. Terry Alban, FCPS superintendent, who visited the building Sunday morning. “Everyone was focused and united in striving to minimize damage and ensure that learning could take place again as soon and as safely as possible.”

Damage estimates are not yet available, according to Ray Barnes, executive director of facilities services for FCPS.

Free Senior Citizen Admission to FCPS Events with ID

Frederick County Public Schools opens school doors wide to senior citizens. 

New this school year, guests age 60 or older no longer need to display a Sunshine Card for free admission to FCPS events. Senior citizens are entitled to free admission, on a space-available basis, to FCPS-sponsored events such as concerts, plays and athletic competitions when they display their regular ID as proof of age. As before, high school graduations and state-sponsored athletic playoffs are not included.

“We want to send a clear message that FCPS welcomes senior citizens as valuable members of our community. We trust that discontinuing the need to carry a Sunshine Card will make visits to school events a little more convenient,” said Marita Loose, executive director of FCPS communication services. “We aim to make sure all sectors of the public are involved in public education.”

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