• Take Action Archive - September

    Great Kids Come Back
    Principals, please distribute fliers for the Great Kids Come Back fair to all students by no later than Sept. 23. The fliers should arrive at your school by Sept. 22.
    The Great Kids Come Back fair is an effort to reach out to students and families of students who have dropped out of school—and to help them re-enroll. We are excited to announce that this year’s fair will happen on Fri., Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sat., Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Fliers will be sent to schools by Wed, Sept. 22 for distribution to all students; they are also provided here for you to preview (English flier, Spanish flier). Please also share these resources with your school community. If you have any questions or need additional fliers, please contact Lara Ohanian (lohanian@bcps.k12.md.us) in the Office of Student Placement.
    Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
    Principals, please distribute the culminating event flier and contest fliers to your school community by Sept. 28.  
    All schools are encouraged to plan activities celebrating Hispanic heritage during September and October. This year, the district-wide Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Culminating Event is on Fri., Oct. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Patterson High School. Please use the auditorium entrance at 100 Kane St., Baltimore MD 21224. And please post and share this flier (Spanish version / English version) with all families. 
    Also invite students, teachers and families to participate in one or both of our wonderful contests: (1) the 2010 Hispanic Heritage Month Latino Community Member Interview/Oral History Contest (Spanish version) (2) the 2010 Hispanic Heritage Month Decorative Arts Contest (Spanish version). And note that parents of participants in both contests must complete an Artwork Contest Release Form (Spanish version). 
    If you have questions, please contact Luke Dillon (lgdillon@bcps.k12.md.us, 410-545-1870) in the Office of Partnerships, Communications and Community Engagement.
    Thank you for your help with this important opportunity.
    District-Wide Enrollment Count and FSF Allocation
    Principals must closely monitor the list of students who are enrolled but have not come to school, and they must make a concerted effort to reach out to these students directly; principals must also watch the list for students who have come to school but have not been counted present within SMS. The offjicial district-wide enrollment count is Sept. 30.
    September 30 is when the official district-wide enrollment count is determined for reporting to the Maryland State Department of Education and for FSF adjustments. If a student has not attended school at least one day in Sept. and one day in Oct., he or she cannot be counted in the official enrollment number. Neither the system nor your school receives funding for this student, which may also impact your FSF allocation.
    Schools should be closely monitoring the list of students who are enrolled but have not come to school, and making a concerted effort to reach out to these students directly. Schools should also watch the list for students who have come to school but have not been counted as present within SMS, which could indicate that teachers need additional support in entering attendance data accurately.
    Please also note that students in T-10 status and students who are a no-show for the 2010-11 school year are at risk of not being counted in the funded enrollment.
    If your school needs additional support in either of these efforts, please reach out to your School Support Network. The team members are prepared to assist you in any way they can. If you are struggling with technological issues, you may also call the ITD Helpdesk through the Command Center, which can offer remote technical assistance.
    Legg Mason School Spirit Competition
    Principals interested in having their school participate in the Legg Mason School Spirit Competition need to register by Sept. 24.   
    For the third consecutive year, Legg Mason will generously fund a School Spirit Competition to take place during the Baltimore Half-Marathon and Marathon on Saturday, Oct. 16. Schools in Baltimore City Public Schools are invited to select a location on the marathon or half-marathon route and to show their school spirit while cheering on runners. Schools who are the most memorable will win unrestricted funding for school programs. In celebration of the Baltimore Marathon's 10th anniversary, Legg Mason will increase this competition’s donations to a total of $10,000. Each of the top five schools will receive a portion of this prize. Below is a breakdown of the prize amounts:
    1st place = $3,000
    2nd place = $2,500
    3rd place = $2,000
    4th place = $1,500
    5th place = $1,000

    Following the race, runners will vote for the school that made the biggest impression on them. From these votes, 5 winners will be decided. Space is limited to 20 slots, so start gathering your school community and get ready to show your school spirit on Oct. 16. Please click here to register, and see below for supporting documents to help you select a spot:
    If you have questions, please contact Deb Silcox (dsilcox@bcps.k12.md.us) in the Office of Partnerships, Communications and Community Engagement.
    Immunization Exclusion Notice Letters in English and Spanish 
    Principals must backpack home Immunization Exclusion Notice Letters with immunization out-of-compliance students on Sept. 16.
    Immunization Exclusion Notice Letters inform parents not to bring their children to school on Monday, Sept. 20 if they are still not in compliance with immunizations. These letters need to be backpacked home with students on Thur., Sept. 16 and are available in English and Spanish on the Principal’s Dashboard. If you cannot backpack home the letters, then please print labels in SMS (as you would other letters) and mail them to parents.
    To access the letters, click on the Immunization tab (under Student Information) in the Principal"s Dashboard. English/Spanish exclusion letters can be individually printed for each out- of-compliance student or batch printed for all out-of-compliance students at your school. Please refer to this FAQ document for more information about the exclusion of out-of-compliance students. And please also click here for a schedule of free immunization clinicsby the Baltimore City Health Department.

    If you have trouble accessing or printing the letters, please contact the Information Technology Department at 443-984-2000.
    Tree Planting Opportunity
    Action = Principals interested in participating in a major tree planting on school campuses must contact Andrea Calderon by Sept. 14.
    Trees help schools stay cool and beautiful; they also improve concentration and calmness for students and staff. According to TreeBaltimore, properties of Baltimore City Public Schools have a tree canopy of 13%, compared to 27% for the entire city. There are large areas at many schools—not including ballfields—that could be planted with trees. Starting this fall, City Schools will work with community partners to conduct two major tree planting weeks a year—one in the fall and another in the spring. The fall 2010 tree planting week is scheduled from October 18 to 23. If your school is interested in participating, please e-mail Andrea Calderon (agcalderon@bcps.k12.md.us) in the Office of Partnerships, Communications and Community Engagement by Sept. 14. For schools who participate, TreeBaltimore and other community partners will provide: free trees, mapping and design assistance, assistance in organizing a tree planting and assistance on planting day. In return, schools are asked to: provide a contact person to coordinate with TreeBaltimore; identify teachers and classes to participate in the planting; provide supervision for students on planting day; teach students how/why to plant trees; and maintain the trees during the school year (watering and mulching). Tree Baltimore is working now to provide watering over the summer months to help trees thrive even when school is out of session.
    Interested schools will be informed by Sept. 22, whether they will participate in the fall or spring tree planting. The date for the spring planting has not yet been selected.
    Principals Budget Tool and Budget Process Survey
    Principals who worked in the FY2011 Principals Budget Tool are requested to provide feedback to the Finance Office via an online survey by Sept. 20.
    The Finance Office requests feedback from school leaders and central office approvers on the FY20II budget process and Principals Budget Tool so that enhancements to the process and tool can be made in advance of the FY2012 budget development cycle. We ask that you complete this survey. Thank you.
    Immunization Compliance
    Principals must ensure that all immunization requirements are entered into SMS as quickly as they are received and that notifications of non-compliance are disseminated to parents as needed; the deadline for students to meet the immunization requirements is Sept. 20.
    Students must meet immunization requirements by no later than Mon., Sept. 20. Beginning on that day, students will be excluded from school if they are not in compliance with the immunization requirements. Please ensure that all records are entered into SMS as quickly as they are received and that notifications of non-compliance are disseminated to parents as needed. Our goal is to have 99.7 percent of students compliant with the immunization requirements by Sept. 20. If your school has not met this goal, please take the necessary steps to do so. Schools can see their compliance status on the dashboard. In addition to the health risk for the student and the community, we are at risk (at both the system and school level) of losing funding for any student who remains non-compliant. It is important to note that this may impact your Fair Student Funding (FSF) allocation.
    Systemic Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program Professional Development
    City Schools systemic Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program will host a series of professional development sessions for the purpose of providing you and your staff with the necessary guidance and support to implement a successful GATE program at your school. Sessions will be designed to provide you and your staff with the necessary tools to incorporate rigor, engagement and intervention in your GATE program in order to increase the talent pool by identifying gifted students. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model is the systemic gifted program for City Schools. 

    Please complete and submit the form (linked above) to the Office of Enrichment no later than Sept. 10. This will assist us in planning for our professional development sessions. A stipend will be paid to teachers who participate in the sessions. Due to limited resources, the Office of Enrichment is requesting that principals who are receiving grant funds pay stipends of $20 per hour to their identified staff members who attend the professional development sessions. After each session, a list of names of participants who attended the session will be submitted to principals for payment of stipends. Stipends for staff members from schools not receiving grant funds will be paid by the Office of Enrichment.

    For questions regarding this information, please contact Bertha Knight, Director of Enrichment, (BKnight@bcps.k12.md.us) or Elizabeth Harris (Eharris@bcps.k12.md.us) by e-mail or at (410) 396-8585. 
    Identification of Students in City Schools GATE Program
    Principals must identify and enter information in SMS for students in grades 3-8 in City Schools GATE program by Sept. 17.
    The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), an essential Master Plan initiative of the City Schools Systemic Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program, focuses on highly successful practices that promote both challenging and enjoyable learning for gifted as well as other students who are diverse learners. Through this model, all students are exposed to various topics, areas of interest and fields of study that use the application of advanced content and process-training skills. It is essential that all students in grades 3-8 who are to receive gifted services be identified using the systemic procedure that is in the City Schools Systemic GATE Program: SEM Handbook.
    Upon identification of students, the following steps should be completed in SMS for each identified student:

    1. Select specific student. (You are now on the demographic screen.)
    2. Click on the Personal Info tab.
    3. Go to the bottom of the page. Click on Gifted and Talented.
    4. Use the drop-down menu to select area(s) of giftedness.
    5. Click on Enrichment Clusters (if student is participating in them).
    6. Click on Apply or Okay. (This will save your information.)

    The extended deadline for entering this information is Sept. 17 for the first semester and May 27 for the second semester.
    Elementary/Middle School Scheduling Information
    Principals using the elementary scheduling framework must ensure that your courses are scheduled according to the guidelines provided in the post by Sept. 17.
    If you are using the elementary scheduling framework, please ensure that your courses are scheduled according to these guidelines by no later than Sept. 17.
    2010 Combined Charities Campaign
    Principals must e-mail the name of your Combined Charities Campaign coordinator to Sylvia Hill by Sept. 10.
    It is that time again to help us "Give from the Heart" to the Combined Charities Campaign (CCC). Principals, please provide the name of your CCC coordinator by no later than Fri., Sept. 10. CCC coordinators play an important role in the campaign by organizing the campaign committee and helping to coordinate the kick off, special events, trainings and more. Click here to learn more about the coordinator's role. And please send the name of your coordinator by e-mail to loaned executive Sylvia Hill (mailto:shill@bcps.k12.md.us. Thanks for your time and attention to this important matter. 
    School Bus and Taxi-Cab Arrival Log
    Pursuant to the terms of the settlement of the Vaughn G lawsuit, City Schools must daily track, record and report the morning arrival times of buses and taxicabs that transport special education students to their respective schools. In order to facilitate this process, a form was developed for use by school-based transportation coordinators to capture the vehicle arrival time information (see the link above).

    ITD has developed an online application that school-based transportation coordinators must use to input the vehicle arrival time data.

    Joint eTR/Transportation Coordinator training sessions are scheduled for Aug, 23, 24 and 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. at PDC. In addition, training sessions are scheduled for Sept. 15, Oct. 13, Nov. 17 and Dec. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. at PDC.

    It is critical that all transportation coordinators receive training on the use of the online vehicle tracking application as soon as possible.

    Please contact Yvonna McClain, Jolene Mable or Don Denny to schedule training or to obtain additional information. They may be reached on the City Schools e-mail system or at (410) 396-7440.

    Thank you.
    City Schools Meal Policy: Grace Period for New Pre-K and Kindergarten Students
    The Food and Nutrition Office will offer a 10 (school) day grace period of complimentary meals for pre-K and kindergarten students new to City Schools. Complimentary meals will be provided to these students while they do not have a FARM status through Fri., Sept. 10. 
    In addition, the Food and Nutrition Office will offer a 5 (school) day grace period of complimentary meals for non-pre-k and kintergarten students new to City Schools. Complimentary meals will be provided to these students while they do not have a FARM status through Fri., Sept. 3. Please note that if school staff have not entered these students into SMS, they will need to communicate with the cafeteria manager a list of these new students.
    Please note the following:
    •  Students should still return applications as soon as possible. Schools’ FARM coordinators and the Food and Nutrition Office need time to review, correct errors and process applications when they are submitted.  The Food and Nutrition Office can only guarantee that new pre-k and kindergarten students will have a processed FARM status by Mon., Sept. 13 (when the grace period ends) if they receive the completed application by close of business Tues., Sept. 7.
    •  Many students already have a processed FARM status, so schools should still ask each student to use their 5-digit pin number when receiving a meal. Students who already have a free or reduced-price status should use their pin code to receive meals according to their status. 
    For your information:
    There are about 40,000 students who were Directly Certified via the Department of Social Services list.  Their lunch status is good for the entire school year.
    There are about 25,000 students who had a free or reduced-price meal status last year. These students will maintain their prior year status until Oct. 11 (or until their SY 10-11 lunch application is processed, determining their SY 10-11 lunch status), after which, if they do not submit a SY 10-11 lunch application, their lunch status will change to paid on Oct. 11.
    Your cafeteria managers and FARM coordinators will be informed of this policy by the Food and Nutrition Office to avoid confusion. In addition, your network teams will be informed and are available to help support your school in the FARM effort if needed. Please contact your network team lead with questions or to request support.
    Maryland Food Bank
    In partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools, the Maryland Food Bank is seeking to renew, create and sustain 100 highly effective school pantries during the 2010-11 school year.
    All schools interested in renewing their application or submitting a new one must send a designated contact person to a training luncheon on Sept. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Maryland Food Bank (2200 Halethorpe Farms Road). To sign up for the luncheon, please complete and submit a registration form and application to Kizzy Dawkins at the Maryland Food Bank (fax: 410-536-0438, e-mail: dawkins@mdfoodbank.org) by Sept. 11. If you have questions, contact Charmayne Turner, a family and community engagement specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools (phone: 410-361-9203, e-mail: cturner@bcps.k12.md.us).
    There is no cost to the school for operating this program, and there are grant funds currently available for purchasing food for a pantry from the Maryland Food Bank.
    A successful school pantry program requires the following elements:
    1. A place to store food that is clean, dry and secure, including shelving and an optional refrigeration/freezer unit.
    2. School administrative support.
    3. Volunteer commitment.
    4. A designated contact person whose responsibilities include: ordering, reporting, tracking data, coordinating stocking and bagging, and other assigned tasks.
    5. Food.