Take Note Archive - December 2011

Morgan State University KWANZAA Celebration

The Office of Community Service at Morgan State University presents the annual KWANZAA Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 3. The free event will be held on the campus of Morgan State University in the New Student Center, located on Hillen Road between Argonne Drive and Cold Spring Lane. Utilizing music, games, exhibits, dance, art, storytelling, food and other culturally rich activities, Morgan State University students will teach Baltimore City youth about the African American culture. Registration for the KWANZAA Celebration will begin at 11 a.m. For more registration information or event details, please contact the Office of Community Service at 443-885-4328.


MSDE Race to the Top Grant Opportunities for Content Teachers to Receive Additional Certification in ESOL

Are you interested in improving your teaching skills in working with English Language Learners (ELLs)? Would you like to receive an incentive while working to improve your teaching skills? The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has issued a grant to the Baltimore City Public School system to provide incentives to teachers who meet the following criteria:

  • English, mathematics, social studies and elementary certified
  • Teach in low-achieving, high-minority and high poverty schools
  • Teach a significant number of English Language Learners
  • Certification (endorsement) in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

The purpose of this incentive program is for classroom teachers to gain an understanding of ESOL, learn valuable strategies for working with ELLs and to become dual certified in their content and ESOL- not to prepare additional ESOL teachers. The MSDE Race to the Top grant will fund the incentive program through the end of the 2013-14 school year. If selected, teachers must take two courses in ESOL as well as pass the required Praxis II (ESOL) examination. Participants must pledge to remain in their content area for at least two years after receiving the incentive. If you have any questions, please contact the English to Speakers of Other Languages Program at translation@bcps.k12.md.us or 443-642-4089. Please submit your applications to Jill Basye-Featherston by Dec. 1. 


Metro-Baltimore Alliance Black Schools Education Boyz 2 Men Summit

The Metro-Baltimore Alliance Black Schools Education (MBABSE) organization will host its first Boys 2 Men Summit on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 9 - 3 p.m. at Coppin State University. Participating schools should select teams of motivated students interested in building intergroup relations and leadership qualities. Through carefully structured interactive workshops, small group discussions and experiential learning activities, student delegates will acquire the skills necessary for success in a diverse world.

The Boys 2 Men Summit goals include the following basic components:

•        Knowledge necessary  to function effectively in today’s challenging environments

•        Awareness of learned doubts/fears about identity and how these doubts impact our relationships

•        Skills to increase cultural competence, cross-cultural conflict resolution and creative problem solving

•        Action to develop plans to implement knowledge, awareness and skills, on individual and school levels

MBABSE is soliciting your help in recruiting young males to attend the Boys 2 Men Summit. Teachers, counselors, parents, administrators and community leaders are invited to attend. The free summit is open to public, private and independent high schools throughout the Baltimore-metropolitan area. The last day for online registration is Wednesday, Nov.  23.  For event details and more information, please contact Velma C. Hicks at mbasbe@aol.com or 410-323-7080.


Aspiring Leaders Program

The nation's public schools are experiencing an acute shortage of qualified administrators. The Administrator 1 programs at Morgan State University are fully engaged in the effort to improve educational leadership in Baltimore City and the nation. Applications to the M.S. or certificate strands of the program are due December 3. Click here for details.

Youth Service America Invites Applications for State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants

State Farm and Youth Service America are offering grants of up to $1,000 for the promotion of service-learning projects in K-12 public schools in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. Each grant will engage participating youth in service-learning, a teaching and learning strategy that helps to promote student learning, academic achievement, workplace readiness and stronger communities. The State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants encourage semester-long projects that launch on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (January 16, 2012) and culminate on Global Youth Service Day (April 20-22, 2012). Applicants must be a teacher, service-learning coordinator or student (age 5 to 25) in a K-12 public school; or a staff member or youth in a community-based organization working within a K-12 public school. Projects must serve a real community need and have intentional learning goals (content or academic standards that students will meet by developing and implementing the service-learning project). Students should participate in a meaningful way at every stage of the project.

Up to 125 grants will be awarded, and at least 10 to 15 grants will support projects addressing teen driver safety issues. YSA will host two application training Webinars, September 27 and October 13, 2011, for applicants to learn more about developing a successful project application. Please visit the YSA website for complete program guidelines, project planning resources, the eligibility quiz and application, and to register for a Webinar training session. And click here for the complete RFP


Upcoming Deadline for Completing Formal Observations

Principals, the deadline for completing Formal Observations for all BTU-level instructional staff is Thursday, Dec. 1. Please review the two options for documenting that all Formal Observations have taken place by the deadline mandated in the Performance Based Evaluation System (PBES):

OPTION 1: Complete the Formal Observation form electronically in the Online Performance Management System (OPMS) and transfer the form to the teacher by Thursday, Dec. 1. Please note that in order to adhere to PBES timelines, school leaders must share the form electronically with their teachers by Dec 1.

OPTION 2: Complete the formal observation form either by hand or using Microsoft Word by Thursday, Dec. 1.  Please include the necessary supervisor and teacher signatures. All form content must be copied into the electronic Formal Observation form in OPMS by Friday, Dec. 16. Additionally, it’s recommended that a scanned copy of the signed and dated form be uploaded as an attachment to the Formal Observation task in OPMS to confirm the Dec. 1 deadline in PBES was met. School leaders can choose either option to ensure Formal Observation data is captured in OPMS.

It’s important to adhere to the strict timeline schedule in PBES for completing all Formal Observations on or before Dec. 1. For more information, please contact the Office of Human Capital at 410-396-8885.

Johns Hopkins School of Education's Shaping the Future Series

The Johns Hopkins School of Education’s Shaping the Future series, which examines critical issues in education, will be hosting a panel of nationally recognized experts to discuss education reform in the United States. The forum, “Future Directions in Education: What will work best for students?” will be held on Monday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m. in Shriver Hall Auditorium on the university’s Homewood Campus. The debate is dominating the news as Congress is rewriting the No Child Left Behind Law and forging a new direction in education policy for the country. The Shaping the Future series is free and open to everyone, including our students, alumni, all interested educators, parents and education advocates. The program includes a presentation by panel members and an opportunity for questions and comments from the audience. For more information or to sign up for the event, visit http://education.jhu.edu/shaping_future.


ITD Network and Security Support Services Updates 

In an effort to keep district technology current, the Information Technology Department (ITD) will be conducting important VPN software updates on Friday, Dec. 9 from 8-9 a.m.  VPN is the software that provides City Schools’ employees with remote access to applications. Normal services for remote access will be restored immediately after the software update is complete. If anyone experiences a problem while accessing VPN, please contact ITD’s Call Center at 443-984-2000 and select option 7. You can also email the Command Center at commandcenter@bcps.k12.md.us.

Chesapeake Bay Trust's Honorable Arthur Dorman Scholarship

Do you know an exceptional student of color who is committed to the environment? Nominate then today for the Chesapeake Bay Trust's Honorable Arthur Dorman Scholarship! Each year, the Trust recognizes outstanding achievements by educators and students who work to engage Marylanders in efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeaks Bay and local waters. Currently we are accepting applications for five awards,including our Honorable Arthur Dorman scholarship. This award provides a $5,000 scholarship to a Maryland high school or college student who demonstrates a commitment to improving the health of the environment and the Chesapeaks Bay and who, as a student of color, exhibits exemplary leadership in promoting diversity and inclusion in his/her school and broader community.

To apply and for more information, please visit the Trust's Awards Registration page. Applications and/or nominations are due by Friday, Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. Please contact Molly Alton Mullins at 410-974-2941 ext 107 with any questions.

Young Authors Contest for Grades 2-8


Prepare your student submissions for the Young Authors' Contest.  Students in grades 2 -8 are eligible to enter a previously unsubmitted short story and/or poem written during the 2011-12 school year. Each entry may have only one author; only one entry per author may be submitted for each category. Please review the guidelines and procedures for before entering. After conducting a school-wide young authors' competition, two entries from each category may be submitted to the Baltimore City International Reading Association Council. Entries must be received by Friday, Dec.  16. For the contest cover sheet and more information, please contact Nicole Gavin at explr1@yahoo.com

Baltimore Excellence in STEM Teaching Project

Towson University’s Baltimore Excellence in STEM Teaching (BEST) Project is now accepting applications for its 2012-13 cohort. The BEST Project is a year-long professional development program for secondary-level science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers. The BEST foundation is a 6-week authentic research experience at a Baltimore-area college, university or government facility. Applicants must hold Maryland State Department of Education certification and must be tenured by the end of the 2011-12 school year. In addition to enhancing their content knowledge and pedagogical skills, teachers successfully fulfilling BEST Project requirements will receive:


·$4,200 stipend for their summer research experience

·$1,000 stipend for school-year professional development and research-based outreach activities

·Up to $1,000 for classroom supplies and/or to support STEM-related student activities or clubs

·Pre-paid outreach activities such as visits to SciTech (Columbus Center), classroom visits by Project ASTRO and the use of the Maryland Loaner Lab or MDBioLab

·5 MSDE Continuing Professional Development credits


Research internships will take place June 18, 2012- August 17, 2012. The application deadline is Monday, Dec. 19. Please click here for the application and more information about the application process. Click here for a list of this year’s sponsoring institutions and a summary of this past summer’s research activities.  

Early Learning Liason Meeting

Principals, please mark your calendar and plan to attend the Early Learning Liason meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at 200 E. North Ave., Room 301. Designated Pre-k and K liasons from your school are expected to attend. Principals can send an Assistant Principal or another administrator in thier place if there is a scheduling conflict.  The Early Learning Office is dedicating the entire session to providing a high level overview of the math and literacy curriculum in both Pre-k and K for school administrators.

Maryland Science Center's After School Science Fair Program
The Maryland Science Center welcomes City Schools science and mathematics teachers and students in grades 6 through 12 to participate in the third year of the After School Science Fair Program. The program offers support and assistance to students contemplating or planning to participate in the Morgan State University (MSU) Annual Science-Mathematics-Engineering Fair. Program dates for this year are: December 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15 and January 10 - 12. The Program includes free after-school admission to the Science Center for teacher-led groups; free round-trip transportation from participating schools; display boards for all students preparing projects for the 2012 MSU Fair; "Ask the Expert" opportunities to talk with professional scientists and engineers about projects; "Prove It!" review of the elements of scientific inquiry; and, one-year family memberships to the Science Center for students who participate and submit projects to the 2012 MSU Fair. Teachers who complete program requirements will receive a stipend. For more information or to register, send an email to msullivan@marylandsciencecenter.org or call 410.545.5957.

Early Learning Liason Meeting

Principals, please mark your calendar and plan to attend the Early Learning Liason meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at 200 E. North Ave., Room 301. Designated Pre-k and K liasons from your school are expected to attend. Principals can send an Assistant Principal or another administrator in thier place if there is a scheduling conflict.  The Early Learning Office is dedicating the entire session to providing a high level overview of the math and literacy curriculum in both Pre-k and K for school administrators. 

School Uniform Policy Information

School uniform policies that do not include an appropriate pants option for female students are considered discriminatory based on gender or sex. To ensure we are promoting a positive educational environment for all students, please include an appropriate pants option for any uniform policies that require skirts only for female students. If you have any questions, please contact Jessy Donaldson in the Office of the Chief of Staff at 410-396-8806 or jdonaldson@bcps.k12.md.us.

Fall Is the Season for College Visits and Fairs

It's the time of year that high school seniors start making decisions about which colleges might be right for them. For the convenience of students, families and staff, the City Schools website now features an updated page listing open house dates at universities across the state, colleges nationwide that offer financial support for site visits and upcoming college fairs. Don't miss this helpful resource for our college-bound students at http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=311

Spend a Fall Day at Great Kids Farm

Great Kids Farm has fall dates available for school visits. Teachers and students can enjoy a beautiful fall afternoon at the farm engaged in hands-on activities that connect classroom curriculum to the world around them. Check out our Fall Visit Planner for topics and details. To schedule a visit, please contact Beth Mathie, Great Kids Farm Educator, at 410-744-1096 or bmathie@bcps.k12.md.us.

City Retirement System Seeking Trustee Representatives

The Board of Trustees of the Employees Retirement System of the City of Baltimore (ERS) announces that an election will be held for two (2) Active Employee Representative Trustees on Tues., Dec. 13, 2011. All active employees who are members of the ERS as of Sept. 1, 2011, are eligible to run for the position of Trustee and to vote in the election, which will be conducted by paper ballot mailed to each member's home address on file with the City Payroll records on ADP. This is a non-paid position. Please click here for more information.   

Choice Guide Available Online

This year's Choose Your School: Middle & High School Choice Guide is now available to download (in English | en español). Please click here for details about the choice process. 

The Living Red Ribbon World Record Breaking at Coppin State University

B’More Aware of HIV is hosting The Living Red Ribbon event on Saturday Dec. 31 from 9 -3 p.m. at the Coppin State University physical education complex. The goal for this year’s event is to set a world record for the largest Living Red Ribbon! Click for the press release, event flyer and participation form. For additional information, please call Tiffany Jeffers at 410-951-6100.

K12Buy Reminders for the Upcoming Winter Break

In preparation for the upcoming Winter break, all K12Buy users should do the following before you leave:

  • If you have received a “Password Expiration Alert from K12Buy”, please change your password.
  • If you have received a “Receipt Entry Delinquency Message”, please make sure you post receipts.
  • If you have received a “K12Buy task notification - Daily Notice”, please make sure you process your requisitions.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Peter Ruchkin (pruchkin@bcps.k12.md.us) or Debi Gray (dgray@bcps.k12buy.md.us).

Monthly Highly Qualified Reporting 

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates that all teachers be highly qualified (HQ). Schools that receive funding under Title I are required to notify parents whenever their students are being taught by non HQ teachers and long-term substitutes for four or more consecutive weeks. Monthly reports of teachers and long-term substitutes flagged as non HQ will be posted to the Principal’s Dashboard. New instances of non HQ teachers for the month of December will be posted to your dashboard on Friday, Dec. 9. Human Capital Specialists will support schools in monitoring highly qualified status and ensuring affected families are notified on time. Please click here for parent letter template. Additional highly qualified resources are available on TSS.

School Every Day! on Bloomberg Radio

Learn all about the School Every Day! initiative and how volunteers in Baltimore City are hitting the streets to help support strong attendance in our schools. Heidi Stevens, Coordinator of School Every Day!, spoke with Jane Williams at Bloomberg Radio. Click here to listen to a podcast of the interview.

PSASA Contract December 2011 Updates

The Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PSASA) Joint Oversight Committee understands that membership is eagerly anticipating details on the implementation of the PSASA contract. The attached letter will be mailed to each PSASA employee during the week of December 20, 2011. The contents of the letter will also be posted to the PSASA contract page of City Schools Inside and the PSASA website.

Fraudulent Help Desk Message

City Schools received a fraudulent message earlier today claiming to be from the help desk. Click here for an image of the email. The email requested that you go to a form to complete steps needed for an upgrade. This email is fraudulent and should be disregarded. If you clicked on the form, filled it out or responded to the email in any way, please notify us immediately so we can take the proper steps to prevent your account from being compromised. These steps are needed to protect the reputation of both yourself and that of City Schools. This type of fraud is known as a phish email. It is designed to trick someone into providing information wanted by the attacker. Please take the time to familiarize yourselves with this type of attack. There is a video on Blackboard showing examples of phish attacks. For more information, please call ITD at 410-396-8182.

City Schools and Speak Up 200

City Schools Speak Up 200 would like to congratulate the following City Schools on being selected to receive this years' Speak Up 200 designation -a recognition awarded to the top schools in the United States that value and empower student voices in local education and decision-making.

  • Armistead Gardens Elementary School
  • Bay-Brook Elementary School
  • Digital Harbor High School
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
  • Furley Elementary School
  • Glenmount Elementary/Middle School
  • Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School
These schools encompass an elite group of schools that recognize the importance of including the ideas of students, parents and educators in the decision-making process. Again, congratulations and thank you for being models for all schools across the country. You have demonstrated a practice of recognizing the value of what your students have to say -we applaud you. The 2011 campaign is currently open and will continue until Friday, Dec. 23. You can access the survey by going to the TSS homepage and clicking on the Speak Up 2011 banner. The password for the district is "Survey". For additional information, please contact Ron Beazer at rbeazer@bcps.k12.md.us.  

2011 Midday Holiday Concert Series

Celebrate the holidays with City Schools students and staff at the District Office on Thursday, Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. for the 2011 Midday Holiday Concert Series. See the schedule below for times and performances.  





Leith Walk Elementary

Leith Walk Glee Club


Garrett Heights

Garrett Heights Elementary/ Middle School Choir


Northeast Middle School

Northeast Middle School Band

12 Noon

Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill Choir


Roland Park Elementary/ Middle

Roland Park Elementary/ Middle Glee Club


Dr. Nathan A. Pitts-Ashburton

Dr. Nathan A. Pitts-Ashburton School Choir

Dear City Schools Colleagues, Staff, Partners and Friends,


Today, we in Baltimore City Public Schools were honored to host the release of the 2011 Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) results of The Nation’s Report Card here in Baltimore, at our own City Springs Elementary/Middle School.


NAEP—also known as The Nation’s Report Card—is the gold standard when it comes to measuring student achievement across all 50 states. It is a rigorous assessment with unassailable results, and unlike state assessments which vary from state to state, it provides an apples-to-apples comparison of students across the country. And TUDA represents a subsection of NAEP results for large urban districts. City Schools joined TUDA for the first time in 2009 because we wanted the opportunity to compare ourselves not just to other school districts in Maryland, but to our true peers—fellow big-city districts with student populations and resource challenges like ours. As a data-driven district, we also wanted access to the truest measure of how our students are doing, to better inform our work to become an entire district of great school options for our students and families. And the TUDA results show us where we are making progress and where we need to focus more attention moving forward.


Today’s TUDA results are a direct reflection of our reform efforts in the past two years. We have made good progress in math, where we have focused enormous efforts because it has been our weakest area, especially in the middle grades state tests: In eighth grade City Schools’ average scale score went up four points from 2009 to 2011, and in fourth grade our average score went up three points over the two years. Our TUDA reading results, meanwhile, have remained essentially flat from 2009 to 2011. Please read in more detail City Schools’ TUDA results in today’s press release and PowerPoint presentation.


Thank you for all that you do for our students and our schools. I look forward to continuing to partner together to provide our students with the excellent education they deserve.



District reform survey results

In the middle of December, 86 percent of principals and/or operators responded to a survey gathering perceptual feedback on the support they are receiving from their network and executive director. The survey was launched with the goal of improving supports to schools. The survey is a developmental tool and is non-evaluative. Attached are the results released for public access. For more information, please contact Jonathan Brice, Network Officer, at jbrice@bcps.k12.md.us.

Process to order furniture

On Wednesday, Dec. 14, City Schools increased the number of vendors approved to provide school or office furniture. Please click here to access the revised list of furniture vendors and the updated guidance document.