• Take Action - March 2013

    Spending Freeze for the Remainder of the Fiscal Year

    Effective March 18, City Schools imposed a freeze on all non-essential spending. This freeze will be in place until June 30, 2013 — the end of the current fiscal year.

    The freeze includes suspension of any new spending of general funds. It does not apply to grants or special education (general or grant) funds. In addition, purchase of certain instructional materials, as confirmed by Teaching and Learning, is considered essential for all schools and will be allowed.

    Any requests for exceptions require sufficient justification detailing the critical need for the expenditure, as well as the potential adverse impacts should the purchase not be approved. All requests should be submitted via a K12Buy purchase requisition; staff should use the “Requisition Description” field in K12Buy to provide the justification.

    Effective March 18, all schools and district office departments are required to use their available, budgeted personnel funds only for personnel expenses. District office departments may not transfer funds associated with personnel costs into non-personnel budget lines. All requests for exceptions to this policy must be submitted via the current Position-Strategic Allocation of Resources (P-StAR) process. P-StAR requests will only be approved for critical transfers.

    Monthly Highly Qualified Reporting (April)

    Principals, please review the following information regarding Highly Qualified (HQ) staff compliance for the month of April. 

    The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law 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 April will be posted to your dashboard by Monday, March 25. Human Capital Specialists will support schools in monitoring highly qualified status and ensuring affected families are notified on time. Additional highly qualified resources are available via TSS.

    Components of the Principal Evaluation Field Test

    Principals, please register for the Principal Evaluation Field Test training no later than Wednesday, March 27.

    The Principal Evaluation Field Test training will be held at the Mount Washington Conference Center on Tuesday, April 2, from 8:30 a.m. to4:30 p.m. At the training, principals will receive information on the various components of the principal evaluation field test including:

    • leadership framework
    • school index
    • 360 feedback survey
    • professional responsibilities

    Principals will also have an opportunity to provide feedback on each measure during breakout sessions with their executive directors. Finally, principals will complete the self-assessment portion of the 360 feedback measure. For registration information click here.

    Expectations for Students Traveling by MTA

    Principals and transportation coordinators, please ensure that all middle and high school students who use S-Passes receive a copy of the joint letter from City Schools and the MTA and accompanying MTA Code of Conduct.

    Thank you for your assistance last month in distributing the joint letter from Dr. Alonso and MTA CEO Ralign Wells, regarding behavior expectations for students who use MTA services for transportation to and from school. Because of the importance of this issue, the letter has been reprinted, with the MTA Code of Conduct now appearing on the back of the document. The updated letters will arrive in schools by Tuesday, March 19, so that they can be distributed to students prior to spring break. Please ensure that all middle and high school students who receive monthly S-Passes also receive a copy of this document. For your convenience, the MTA Code of Conduct can also be downloaded here, in English or inSpanish. Should you require additional copies of CitySchools’ own Code of Conduct, please contact communications staff in the district office at 410-545-7296.

    How Does Your School Stack Up?

    School-based staff: Many schools have very low participation rates on the 2013 School Survey. Please review the following information to help increase your school’s participation.

    The annual School Survey yields important information for and about schools, and gets used all year long — by both schools and the district. Yet many schools have low participation rates for staff and, as of the original March 21 deadline, the return rate for parents/guardians at many schools was also very low. As a result, the deadline for parent/guardian response has been extended to Friday, April 12. 

    It is critical that the members of your school community participate in this information-gathering effort. To provide a little nudge, the district has created this tracker of response rate information for staff, parents and students. Schools can use this tracker to see how they are doing, compared to other schools. This information will be updated daily. We especially ask that you focus on staff and parent/guardian participation. (Students are completing the School Survey in school, during class time.)

    School Survey deadlines

    • School-based staff: Thursday, March 21
    • Parents/guardians: extended to Friday, April 12
    • Students: Friday, April 12

    Administrators, testing coordinators and community resource coordinators, please make sure that you provide multiple opportunities for parents/guardians to complete the survey by the new, extended deadline of Friday, April 12. A paper copy of the survey was sent home with all students. If you need additional copies of the parent survey, please contact csurvey@bcps.k12.md.us. Parents can also complete the survey online (in English or Spanish), so please provide access to the online survey at your school. Thank you for your collaboration in this important effort to make us all better at supporting our students.

    Important Message: 2013 MSA Testing and Weather
    Principals, please review the following information regarding upcoming MSA test administration.
    Due to the snow storm being predicted for the Baltimore region beginning Tuesday, March 5, through Wednesday, March 6, Baltimore City Public Schools will—if necessary—implement a contingency plan for 2013 MSA administration. As always, the decision to delay opening of school or to close schools will be made early the morning of the day in question. Please plan accordingly and review the attached document for details on the contingency plan. If you have questions related to the MSA test administration, contact the Office of Achievement and Accountability - Assessment department at 410-396-8962.
     

    Ordering of Graduation Materials and Equipment

    Principals, please submit a completed ABC-79 form by Friday, March 1, to order graduation materials.

    Please download the ABC-79 FORM SY12-13, and use it to order materials for 8th-grade graduation materials. The form must be signed by a principal and submitted by e-mail to Patricia Harris (PGHarris@bcps.k12.md.us) in Procurement by Friday, March 1. Forms not signed by a principal will not be accepted—and any schools that submit forms after March 1 run the risk of not receiving graduation materials on time. Please contact Patricia Harris at 410-396-8846 with questions.

     
    Important Message: 2013 MSA Testing and Weather
    Principals, please review the following information regarding upcoming MSA test administration.
    Due to the snow storm being predicted for the Baltimore region beginning Tuesday, March 5, through Wednesday, March 6, Baltimore City Public Schools will—if necessary—implement a contingency plan for 2013 MSA administration. As always, the decision to delay opening of school or to close schools will be made early the morning of the day in question. Please plan accordingly and review the attached document for details on the contingency plan. If you have questions related to the MSA test administration, contact the Office of Achievement and Accountability - Assessment department at 410-396-8962.
     

    Receipt of student surveys

    Administrators or school test coordinators, please review the following information regarding student School Survey administration.

    Make your voice heard…and make your school better! The window for the student version of the School Survey and the student survey on Teacher Practice was scheduled to open on Friday, March 8. However, there has been a slight delay with the processing of survey forms by the vendor. As a result, survey forms will arrive in schools on Monday, March 11. The window for completion will remain open until April 12.

    Administrators or school test coordinators, please complete this form letting the Office of Achievement and Accountability know when you received your student surveys; and please indicate your plans for school-wide survey administration. Reminder, only one form should be completed per school.

    School Budgets: Reminder of Steps and Timeline

    Principals, please ensure that your budgets are submitted on time and that you plan for the next steps in the process.

    School budgets are due by the close of business on Friday, March 15. For questions or assistance in completing and submitting your budgets by the deadline, please contact the budget analyst or data specialist in your School Support Network.

     After school budgets are submitted, they move through an approval process. During this phase, district or network staff may need to contact you to clarify aspects of your budget. Please check your email and phone messages frequently between March 15 and 27 to see if clarifications or additional budget-related information have been requested, and respond as quickly as possible so that the overall budgeting process for the district can be completed in a timely fashion.

    Principals should also schedule a budget review to share their submitted budget with their school community. Resources to support planning and facilitating this review have been posted to the Principals’ Budget Toolkit.

    Thank you for your ongoing assistance and efforts throughout this budget process.

     

    Make Your Voice Heard…and Make Your School Better!

    School-based staff, please review the following information regarding the annual School Survey administration.

    At City Schools, every member of the school community — students, staff, families — contributes to a school's success. And it's important that every member has an opportunity to let school leaders and the district know what is working well and what areas need improvement. The window for parents and staff to complete their versions of the School Survey will close on Thursday, March 21, and the window for the student version of the School Survey (along with the student survey on teacher practice) closes on Friday, April 12.

    Are you curious about your school’s response rates? Click here to view your school’s response rate information. This information will be updated twice per week.

    Staff survey: All school-based professional and paraprofessional staff, please take the time to complete the School Survey online using the unique link sent to you via email. If you have not received an invitation or are experiencing technical difficulties, please contactcsurvey@bcps.k12.md.us.

    Student surveys: Administrators and testing coordinators, please work with your staff to ensure that a plan is in place for conducting the school-wide administration of the School Survey (and student survey on teacher practice) with students in grades 3 to 12.

    Parent surveys: Administrators, testing coordinators and community resource coordinators, please make sure that multiple opportunities are provided for parents to complete the survey. A paper copy of the survey should have been sent home with all students in your school. If you need additional copies of the parent survey, please contact csurvey@bcps.k12.md.us . New this year is the opportunity for parents to complete the survey online (in English or Spanish) so please also provide access to the online survey in your school’s computer lab.

     

     

    April 2013 HSA Senior Administration

    High school principals and test coordinators, please review the following information regarding the April 2013 HSA senior administration.

    The test window for the April 2013 HSA senior administration is April 15-18 for the paper administration and April 15-19 for online testing. In preparation for upcoming testing, we want to ensure that eligible students have been identified. Please verify the number and names of students selected to participate in the HSA senior administration by Wednesday, March 20.

     
    Roster Validation

    Principals, please review the following information regarding roster validation.

    As City Schools prepares for the launch of a new teacher evaluation system, schools and teachers need to ensure that the data supporting the student growth component of the evaluation is accurate. Roster validation gives teachers the opportunity to document their responsibility for instructing students for all or part of the year, to correct errors in their rosters and to provide additional information that is not tracked in City Schools' Student Management System (SMS).

    This year’s roster validation timeline is as follows:

    • Immediately
      Principals identify their school support contacts and ensure they are registered for training
    • April 2 –15
      School Support Contacts receive training (two-hour sessions scheduled at PDC on April 3 to 5) to set up and monitor roster validation
      School Support Contacts set up rosters for teachers
      Teachers receive training on validating rosters
    • April 16 – May 7
      Teachers validate rosters
      School leaders and School Support Contacts monitor validation efforts
    • May 8 – 21
      School Leaders review and approve teacher rosters

    This year, the Office of Achievement and Accountability will provide webinar trainings for teachers. Over the next few weeks, we will communicate to teachers how they can register for these trainings.

    How to register for school support contact training:

    Log-in to Employee Self Service:  https://ebs.bcps.k12.md.us/OA_HTML/AppsLocalLogin.jsp

    • Select the “Professional Growth System” link in the Main Menu at the left of the screen
    • Select “Learning” below “Professional Growth System”
    • Select “Learner Home” below “Learning”
    • Select “More” from the “Browse Catalog” column on the right to reveal all Browse Categories
    • Select “Instructional Technology” from the alphabetized list
    • Select “Roster Validation Support Contact Training” from the “Course Name” list
    • Select “Roster Validation Support Contact Training – April 2013” from the “Offering Name” list
    • Review the dates and times available and enroll by selecting the yellow briefcase icon next to the session that you want to attend

    If you have any questions, please email the roster validation team at rostervalidation@bcps.k12.md.us.

     

    School Budget Tool Now Available

    Principals, please familiarize yourselves with the school budget tool in preparation to upload your school budgets.

    The school budget tool is now available on the ERP Portal. Your preliminary school budget must be uploaded via the tool within one week of your official budget meeting with you network team, and no later than Friday, March 15. Your network team is available to provide assistance and support throughout the budget process.

    Training for the tool is available both online and through in-person sessions. To access the online training, go to TSS (http://www.bcpss.org) and log in. Your username is the letter e followed by your employee ID number (e.g., e99999), and your password is your usual City Schools network password. After logging in, follow the link to Budget Tool Training under District Shortcuts. To complete the training, you must view all videos (at your own pace) and complete the final evaluation survey.

    If you prefer in-person training, please register through the Professional Growth System on ERP. Sessions are available at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26; Wednesday, February 27; and Thursday, February 28.

    Once you submit your preliminary school budget, it will go through an approval process here at the district office, and then on to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners for final approval.

    Inclement Weather and MSA Testing

    Due to the snow storm being predicted for the Baltimore region Wednesday, March 6, Baltimore City Public Schools will—if necessary—implement the following contingency plan for MSA administration. As always, the decision to delay opening of school or to close schools will be made early the morning of the day in question. Please plan accordingly.
     
    We will continue to update staff, students and families via the district website and City Schools Inside, and in case of a delayed opening or school closure we will, as always, also notify parents via automated district  phone call. For up to the minute information, follow us on Twitter @BaltCitySchools.
     

    How delays or closures would affect testing this week:

    Wednesday, 3/6:

    • If schools open on time: Day 2 Reading testing takes place
    • In the event of a delayed opening or school closure: Day 2 Reading testing is suspended and there is no testing

    Thursday, 3/7:

    • If schools open on time: Day 2 Reading testing takes place
    • In the event of a delayed opening or school closure: Day 2 Reading testing is suspended and there is no testing

    Friday, 3/8:

    • If schools open on time: Day 2 Reading testing is suspended and there is no testing
    • If schools open, following two days of school closures, monitors are in schools to make sure test security measures remain intact and in place
    • In the event of a delayed opening or school closure: Day 2 Reading testing is suspended and there is no testing

    Delays or closures this week would also affect the balance of the testing window:

    Monday, 3/11:

    • School resumes: Day 2 Reading testing takes place (if Day 2 Reading did not take place Thursday, 3/7)

    Tuesday, 3/12:

    • Day is used, as needed, as a make-up testing day for Reading only (for Day 1 or Day 2)
    • Day 1 Math testing is suspended and there is no Math testing

    Wednesday, 3/13:

    • Day 1 Math testing takes place  

    Thursday, 3/14:

    • Day 2 Math testing takes place

    Friday, 3/15:

    • Day is used, as needed, for Reading and Math make-up testing

    Monday, 3/18:

    • Day is used, as needed, for Reading and Math make-up testing

    Tuesday, 3/18:

    • Day is used, as needed, for Reading and Math make-up testing
    Monthly Highly Qualified Reporting (March)

    Principals, please review the following information regarding Highly Qualified (HQ) staff compliance for the month of March.
    The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law 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 March will be posted to your dashboard by Monday, February 25. Human Capital Specialists will support schools in monitoring highly qualified status and ensuring affected families are notified on time. Additional highly qualified resources are available via TSS.