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Advanced Placement Course Audit Deadline Approaching
Principals, please submit your Advanced Placement syllabi to the College Board for audit approval by Jan. 31

Principals, Jan. 31 is the deadline to submit Advanced Placement (AP) syllabi to the College Board for audit approval. Failure to meet that deadline will result in the removal of the AP designation from those courses. This will negatively impact students as they apply to college. For more information, refer to www.collegeboard.org or contact Amy Rosenkrans (arosenkrans@bcps.k12.md.us).

Parent Portal Contacts Are Needed
Principals, please identify a Parent Portal contact by Jan. 20 and ensure that your designated contact completes the online training by Jan. 27.

Parent Portal provides a range of helpful information for parents to support their children’s education, including online resources, attendance and discipline, report cards, and other information like grades and assignments that teachers enter into Power Teacher Gradebook or TSS.With the second report card at the end of January, all parents will receive a login and password to allow them to sign on to the Parent Portal. Principals should identify a School-Level Parent Portal Contact by Jan. 20 and ensure that those contacts complete theonline Parent Portal training, which is about 15 minutes, by Jan. 27. Before choosing your contact, please read about the roles of the school-level Parent Portal Contact.

Schools will receive an SMS report Jan. 27 that they will use to generate  a letter with the information necessary for parents to log on to the Parent Portal. Students will have this letter backpacked home with them. The Parent Portal contact training will cover how to generate the letters that will go home with students.

To help parents make use of the system,when they log on to the system, there is a training video that teaches parents the basics of using the portal.  Each school is expected to set up training opportunities to help parents get started and go over how to use the tools available on Parent Portal. To help schools provide training, from February to May, City Schools' Family Institute is offering free trainings for parents and for school staff who work with parents. Schools can schedule a training by contacting Demetria Nicholas from the Family Institute (dnicholas@bcps.k12.md.us). Please check out the Parent Portal basics and the additional Parent Portal resources available.

If there are questions on the letters or if Parent Portal Contacts need additional assistance with using the Parent Portal tools, please contact Bert Ross (rross@bcps.k12.md.us).
Spanish and French Climate Surveys are Available for Parents
Principals, if you need Spanish or French versions of the parent climate survey form, please place the order before Jan. 26, 2011

This year’s annual School Climate Survey will commence on Jan. 26, 2011. A Spanish and French version of the parent survey form is available in limited quantities for distribution to Spanish- or French-speaking parents. Only parent surveys will be available in a language other than English. All students and staff must complete the survey in English.  Principals with a need for Spanish or French versions of the parent form should contact Cliff Melick (cmelick@bcps.k12.md.us or call 410-396-8956) by Jan. 26, 2011 with the number of foreign language parent survey forms required. Please do not request more forms than necessary. The Office of Achievement and Accountability will interoffice mail the forms requested to each school on or about Jan. 19, 2011. For more information, including  instructions, a listing of climate survey event and a timetable and list of actions and responsibilities please see the climate survey instruction packet.

Grants are Available for City Schools Green Teams
Interested educators, please work with your students to submit an application for the Green Team Challenge before Jan. 26 for your chance to win a $1,000 grant.

Teams of Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) students are encouraged to submit an application where they can explain how they can make their school a cleaner, greener and more environmentally friendly place to learn and play. Thirty teams will receive up to $1,000 to further develop and implement their plan over a six-month period. Project proposals must include plans to address at least one of the following areas: reducing the school’s energy, water or waste usage; increasing the amount of materials the school recycles or ideas to improve the overall cleanliness of the school grounds. Teams must have an adult advisor, record their progress throughout each stage of the project and be prepared to present their work at the end of the project. For details about this opportunity or to apply, please read the challenge application. You may also get some ideas for projects by taking a look at projects from last year. If there are additional questions, contact Andrea Calderon (agcalderon@bcps.k12.md.us).

January Systemic Professional Development Days
Principals, please read this memo from the CAO and prepare for the January professional development sessions.

On Mon., Jan. 24 and Tues., Jan. 25, the central office will be holding systemic professional development sessions for teachers and staff from schools that opted in to the diagnostic literacy assessment and for other selected staff. The Office of the Chief Academic Officer has provided memo outlining additional details including what professional development sessions are offered. Principals, please be sure to move forward planning your school-based professional development for January. Additional information including locations and registration instructions will be sent in the future. The CAO's office thanks you for working diligently in providing development opportunities for your staff. Please contact Maria Navarro (navarro@bcps.k12.md.us) with questions.

Portal for Tracking Public Gifts and Donations
According to a new policy approved by the Board of School Commissioners, principals must track gifts and donations via an online tracking system. This action item is ongoing, but please read the new regulations on public gifts and donations immediately.
 
In an effort to accept and acknowledge donations from our community supporters, we have automated the way we track donations to all schools and departments within the district. The online tracking tool is housed in the Staff Support section of City Schools Inside. Please select Donation Tracking, and note that you will be prompted to enter your City Schools username and password before accessing the page.
 
This policy to report gifts and donations was recently approved by the Board of School Commissioners. All schools must follow the new regulations and use the online tracking tool. Please click here for the policy and here for the administrative regulation
 
Reporting gifts and donations with an estimated value of more than $250 but less than $2,500 do not require board approval. Donations with an estimated value of $2,500 or greater require board approval and acceptance. All monetary donations, regardless of the value, should be reported through the online tool. Please see the regulations (linked in the paragraph above) for more details. And contact Deb Silcox (dsilcox@bcps.k12.md.us, 410-545-1870) in the Office of Partnerships, Communications and Community Engagement with questions.


OSHA/MOSHA Employee Training
Principals and administrators, please ensure that all affected employees attend this training on Jan. 24 or Jan. 25.

OSHA/MOSHA training is scheduled for Mon., Jan. 24 and Tues., Jan 25 from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. in the auditorium of the Reach! Partnership School (2801 St. Lo Drive Baltimore, MD 21213). Topics covered include:
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Fire safety and utility related emergencies
  • Blood borne pathogens
  • Hazard communication
  • Asbestos awareness (cafeteria managers do not have to attend)
  • Indoor Air Quality (cafeteria managers do not have to attend but this is mandatory for custodial and maintenance staff who missed the Oct. training)
Any staff who may have suffered a work-related injury should attend the first hour of the training. Principals and administrators, please ensure that all affected employees who need training attend one of the sessions offered. If you need additional information please contact Mary Beth Haller (mbhaller@bcps.k12.md.us).

Parent Involvement Matters Award Nominations
Principals and teachers, please consider nominating an outstanding parent for the Parent Involvement Matters Award before Weds., Jan. 19.

 

There is still time to nominate an outstanding parent or legal guardian for the Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA), sponsored by Comcast and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). This award recognizes parents and guardians who, within the last 24 months, have demonstrated significant involvement in communication, volunteering, learning, decision making or community collaboration.  Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 19. One parent from each of the 23 Maryland counties will be chosen as semi-finalists. A statewide winner will be named at an award celebration this spring. The winner could be your school's outstanding nominee! For more information or to download nomination forms, please visit the award website.
Draft of District-Wide Grading Policy is Available for Public Comment
Principals and teachers, please read the draft of the district-wide grading policy and submit your comments by Jan. 14.

The Office of the Chief Academic Officer convened a committee of principals, teachers, parents and central office staff to draft a district-wide grading policy. The intention of this policy is to introduce fair and uniform grading and reporting practices throughout the Baltimore City Public Schools district. This policy is meant to create systemic consistency for assessing student progress using procedures that are based on formats that are clearly defined and explained to students and parents. At this time, the committee is asking for feedback from the community. Please communicate the grading policy to your students, parents and community networks for feedback. Submit your comments about this draft to Laura Hiatt (lcancellieri@bcps.k12.md.us or 410-3968810) by Jan. 14. The CAO's office thanks you for your support and participation in making our schools greater.  
Kindergarten Early Admissions for Charter Schools
Principals of charter schools, please be sure to submit all applications for early admission to charter schools' kindergarten programs to the Early Learning office before Jan. 7.
This is a reminder for all principals to submit charter school kindergarten early admission applications to the Early Learning Office before Jan. 7. Please be sure that all candidates have birthdays between Sept. 2 and Sept. 15 and that all components of the application packet are complete. Testing will begin after lotteries are complete. For more information, please see the charter school early admissions materials.

RISE Administration Workshops
Principals, if your school is "opting in" to the RISE Literacy Assessment, please ensure that your literacy leader attends a RISE Administration Workshop.

Schools that are "opting in" to the RISE Literacy Assessment must send their literacy leader to a RISE Administration Workshop. Workshops will be held Dec.20 through Dec. 22 at the Professional Development Center (2500 E Northern Pkwy. Baltimore, MD 21214). Please click here to register. For more information, please contact Amy Rosenkrans (arosenkrans@Bcps.k12.md.us).
Literacy Assessment Implementation Updates
Principals of grades K-3 and 6-9, please review the revised literacy assessment timeline and work with your school teams to raise questions and make collaborative decisions.

Principals received a brief overview of literacy assessments on Thurs., Nov. 11. At this time, principals were asked to share the assessment information with their respective school teams and make decisions to opt in or opt out of the process before Dec. 10. In an effort to ensure that principals have adequate time to raise additional questions and make collaborative decisions with school teams, the Office of Teaching and Learning has revised the timeline to allow grades K-3 more time to make a decision about the assessment. Please click here for the revised assessment timeline. This new timeline includes the following:
  • All schools considering opting in to a literacy assessment will need to identify the Literacy Leader by Nov. 23. Click here to see the revised Literacy Leader job description. Literacy Leader needs to register on iLearn for a Dec. 2 Literacy Leader orientation.
  • Schools need to make opt-in or opt-out decisions for grades K-3 by completing the application by Dec. 20.   (The grades 6-9 decision date has not changed. It is still Dec. 10.)
  • Please see this link to the literacy assessments opt-in/opt-out application. All schools need to complete the survey to notify the CAO’s office of decisions.  
Regarding the assessment for grades K-3, please note that Wireless Generation’s mCLASS: Reading 3D and the University of Chicago’s STEP assessment are two separate and unique products. Wireless Generation does not offer the STEP assessment; it offers STEP’s leveled text as an option for administering the mCLASS: Reading 3D assessment. However, City Schools does not intend to use the STEP text option for the Wireless Generation mCLASS: Reading 3D assessment. The two products are completely unique except in the data points the assessments capture.  
For questions or more information about assessment implementation, please contact: 
RISE - Amy Rosenkrans arosenkrans@bcps.k12.md.us
STEP - Charlene Iannone-Campbell cicampbell@bcps.k12.md.us
Wireless Generation - Ashley Cook acook01@bcps.k12.md.us
SES Title I Updates
SES principals, if you have not submitted your school profiles/attestations to the Title I Office, please do so immediately.

The Early Learning Office is working with providers to ensure there is fair and equitable access to all programs that were generated through the parent choice process. Supplemental Education Services (SES) principals are encouraged to use different methods when making decisions about space allocation. If principals need assistance, please contact the Title I Office. There may still be some limitations due to scheduling and physical plant constraints. Under these circumstances, the office requests that principals complete an attestation confirming their due diligence. If you have not submitted your school attestations to the Title I Office, please do so immediately. For more information , including updates on Dec. lists and work plans, please see the SES updates memo. If you have additional questions, please contact Tasha Franklin Johnson (tjohnson02@bcps.k12.md.us).

Governor O'Malley Invites MD High School Students to Celebrate Civic Engagement
Principals. please submit the names of your selected student representatives and chaperones by 5 p.m. on Tues., Jan. 4, 2011

Governor Martin O'Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown have arranged for an inauguration event where Maryland high schools students are invited to have a conversation about civic engagement and leadership. In this conversation, students are given the opportunity to share ideas about how they can have a voice and what their role will be in the future of their educations. One male and one female student from every MD high school are invited to attend this event with a chaperone. The event will take place on Jan. 18, 2011 at the Stamp Student Union Grand Ballroom at the University of Maryland, College Park from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

In preparation for this event, students are asked to submit a two-sentence response to the following questions:
  1. What is the greatest challenge you face in pursuing your educational goals?
  2. What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing the State of Maryland?
Principals, please submit the names of your student representatives and adult chaperone to the Maryland Youth Inaugural site or call 410-547-8884 by 5:00 p.m. on Tues., Jan. 4, 2011. For additional details, please see the letter from Governor O'Malley.

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program Seeks Applicants
Teachers, please read about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship and consider applying by the Dec. 31 deadline. 
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2011-12 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship. The program seeks teachers who have a strong record of teaching success and an interest in education policy. Fellows will receive living, moving and traveling stipends, while spending a school year in Washington, DC.
 
The program was enacted by Congress and is funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science, with participation from federal agencies that have included: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It provides current public or private elementary and secondary science, mathematics and technology classroom teachers with demonstrated excellence in teaching an opportunity to serve in the national public policy arena. Albert Einstein Fellows bring to Congress and appropriate branches of the federal government the extensive knowledge and experience of classroom teachers. They provide practical insights and real-world perspectives to policy makers and program managers developing or managing education programs.

The Triangle Coalition administers the program under the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy. Click here for more information and here to apply. The deadline is Dec. 31.