• Take Action Archive - October 2013

    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 October will be posted to your dashboard by Friday, October 18. 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.

    Title I Memorandum of Understanding

    A recent technical problem created errors for users attempting to submit Title I Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) forms.  Any principals that submitted an MOU before Thursday, September 26, should re-submit the form.

    If you have questions regarding the Title I Memorandum of Understanding, please contact your assigned Title I point of contact. If you experience difficulties with this process, please notify the ITD Service Support Center at ITDSupport@bcps.k12.md.us or at 443-642-3000.

    Attendance ParentLink Calls

    Baltimore City Public Schools sends out a daily absentee call through the ParentLink system to each student who is marked absent for the day. Two conditions must be met in order for a student's family to receive the call. Please communicate this important information to relevant staff:

    1. Attendance data must be entered by 4 p.m. every day. ParentLink uploads absentee data every day at 4 p.m. and will only make calls to a student's home if that child has been marked as absent by that time.
    2. The main phone number in SMS is accurate. ParentLink will only try the first phone number.  You can check status reports of calls made to identify whether a phone number is out of order. To do this, sign-in to ParentLink and run a 'Bad Phone/Email' report.

    The current message ParentLink will play is a robotic voice that will insert the date, student name and school name. Schools have the option of overriding the robotic voice and recording their own message, but will not be able to insert the date and student name. To do this, please follow these instructions.

    Transportation Bus Arrival Records (Translog)

    The safe and timely arrival of City Schools’ students to school and home each day is the transportation division’s top priority.  Transportation can't achieve its top priority without the assistance of school-based transportation coordinators whose primary role is to ensure that student data for transportation is accurate and up-to-date.

    Starting on Wednesday September 11, transportation coordinators must use City Schools’ online transportation log, Translog, to record daily bus arrival/unload times. Documentation of bus arrival and unload times is needed to monitor timely delivery of transportation services. Translog data enables City Schools to monitor transportation quality, to identify problem areas and to provide resolutions. For more information, please see the attached instruction manual. If you have any questions, please contact Ayodeji Olubusi at AOlubusi@bcps.k12.md.us

    2012-13 Teacher Evaluation Field Test Results

    Teacher results from the 2012-13 teacher evaluation field test are now available. To access the results, please read the following instructions and then visit Employee Self-Service.

    In this report, the district is sharing the results of the field test with teachers in the form of mock ratings for the various components of the field test. These mock ratings do not affect teachers' 2012-13 evaluation in any way - and carry no evaluative purpose. This information is strictly to provide feedback on the field test and to orient teachers to the upcoming Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation.

    Raising A Reader (RAR)

    Raising A Reader (RAR) is a national nonprofit organization that has helped families build and sustain literacy routines in their homes since 1999, with special attention to children at highest risk for educational failure. In the program, high-quality children’s books are sent home with pre-k and kindergarten students every week; parents receive support in reading with their children, regardless of their own literacy levels.

    With grant funding from the United States Department of Education and other private partners, RAR served more than 6,000 families in 58 City Schools in the 2012-13 school year.

    Schools selected to participate in this program will receive the Raising A Reader program free of charge for the targeted students (pre-kindergartners, kindergartners or both). This includes all books and materials, coordinator trainings and support, program materials and a stipend of $5 per child to support program implementation.

    Principals who would like to apply to bring RAR to their families should indicate interest by completing this survey no later than Friday, October 4. All programs begin in November 2013. Download this document for more information on this partnership.

    Enrollment-based budget adjustments for 2013-14 school year 

    With September 30 enrollment counts available for each school, final budget adjustments can now be made for the current school year. A side-by-side analysis of each school’s funding has been posted on Principal's Dashboard. Principals and executive directors should ensure that all steps in the budget adjustment process are completed by Wednesday, October 23, including submission of PSTARs and budget amendments. For guidance documents, timelines and other resources and tools to assist in this process, please visit the updated Principal’s Budget Toolkit.

    Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation Guidebooks for Distribution

    Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation Guidebooks will be delivered to schools the week of October 21.  Upon receipt, please distribute these to your teachers. The guidebooks contain important information about the teacher evaluation process and expectations for the year. Details about the evaluation components and process are also available on the Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation page.

    2013-14 FARMs Campaign

    An estimated $40 million is at stake and we need your help! There are 13,000 students without FARMs applications processed for 2013-14 school year – more than 8,000 of these students received benefits during the 2012-13 school year. This represents a potential loss of $32 million in state aid for students who were eligible last year and are still eligible this year (estimated $5,000 per child).

    Please submit paper applications by Tuesday, October 15, and online applications by Saturday, October 26, to ensure they are processed by the MSDE October 31 deadline. Schools with the highest participation rates as of Friday, October 18, will be eligible to win a visit from the Orioles and/or Ravens birds, or tickets to a Ravens game. Click here to access a full list of students who are missing applications. Please note, after Friday, October 4, students' 2012-13 school year meal eligibility status will be invalid.  

    Please help us get applications back from these students:

    • Please encourage families to submit an online application for faster processing.
    • If a child’s family indicates they are “not interested”, please log this in the Due Diligence Tracker so your school’s outreach is counted towards winning a visit from the Orioles or Ravens.
    • If a child is known to be eligible but the household fails to apply, a school official (principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor or nurse) may complete an application on behalf of the child. Please complete the 2013-14 online administrative application and ensure that every eligible child receives free meals. (Click here for detailed instructions.)
    • If a child is homeless, please complete the attached homeless form to ensure that they are directly certified for free meals (and all other services they are entitled to).

    Dear City Schools Colleagues and Staff,

    Baltimore City’s Combined Charity Campaign represents a special opportunity for all of us at Baltimore City Public Schools to build on the support we provide daily to our 85,000 students. During the citywide campaign, employees are invited to give to more than 300 charities operating in the Baltimore metropolitan area. These charities run the gamut, but 11 of them directly support City Schools students.

    Here’s why I would like for us as a district to be more deliberate than ever about our Combined Charity effort this year…

    Many of our students’ families cannot afford clothes for school. City Schools gets approximately 1,000 requests a year from families for uniform vouchers; this year it could accommodate only 619. Additionally, more than 2,700 of City Schools students are homeless—a number that keeps rising. That’s at least 3,000 students for whom we know clothing poses a financial challenge and likely barrier to school attendance.

    Our students need our help.

    This past summer, City Schools set up a fund at the Baltimore Community Foundation to provide uniforms to students. You can give to this fund through City Schools’ 2013 Combined Charity Campaign.

    City Schools is aiming to raise $400,000 total through its Combined Charity effort this year. As you consider which charities to support, please consider Combined Charity #8721 to fund uniforms for our students—and the other 10 charities that directly support our kids. Please visit City Schools’ 2013 Combined Charity Campaign webpage for more information about the 300 available charities, the 11 City Schools charities and the uniform fund.

    We are all working so hard each day to ensure that all of our students experience excellent teaching and learning, and I thank you for your deep commitment and many contributions to that effort. By extending our efforts beyond the classroom and ensuring that our students are outfitted for school, we are improving their opportunity for academic success.

    Thank you for all that you do, and I hope you will join me in making this a fantastic Combined Charity Campaign for our kids.

    Tisha Edwards

    Interim CEO

    Update Online School Profiles

    Thank you to principals of schools that participate in middle/high school choice for updating their online school profiles. Now, it is time for all remaining school leaders to provide information for this exciting new online tool, designed to enable families, students and the public to find out about the range of schools in the district.

    Principals of elementary and elementary/middle schools have been sent an email request to review their online school profiles. Please check your email for the important message (sent with subject line "City Schools online school profile: Ready for updating") and complete your review by Friday, October 11. If you have questions or need assistance, contact Anne Fullerton on the communications team, at communications@bcps.k12.md.us or 443-642-3951.