• Take Action Archives: July 2014


    Updated letterhead now available

    As of July 1, any correspondence that uses the district letterhead must show Gregory E. Thornton as CEO in the masthead. A new letterhead template is now available to download from the communications toolkit.

    Please discard any prior versions of letterhead and use only the updated letterhead for correspondence dated July 1 or later. 

    MSA results available on Principal's Dashboard

    The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has released the embargoed 2014 Maryland School Assessment (MSA) results to the district's Achievement and Accountability Office. School and district results must not be shared publicly until the MSDE embargo is lifted at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, July 11; however, schools will have access to their own results through Principal's Dashboard at 9:00 a.m. on July 11, prior to the public release. Home reports for students and parents will be available later this month.

    Following the public release by MSDE, data will be available on the district's website and on mdreportcard.org. Data will also be made available in Data Link later this month.

    Home reports. Reports and labels for students who participated in the 2014 MSA and Alt-MSA will be sent to schools via the district mail service. School packages will contain directions for mailing the reports to students’ parents, labels that must be affixed to students’ cumulative folders, and a verification of receipt form that must be returned to the Achievement and Accountability Office. If you have questions or concerns regarding home reports or labels, contact Carol Wilson by email or at 410-396-8962.

    Principal’s Dashboard. All assessment result files can be found under the Student Information Tab.

    • Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 11, school-level results on the Reading, Math, and Science MSA can be downloaded in Excel. These provide results by grade level and overall for all students and for subgroups (free and reduced-price meals, students with disabilities, English language learners, and ethnicity).
    • For student-level results, MSA spreadsheets contain the official Reporting File, with the exact records and information that schools sent to Pearson on scan sheets. These files may contain duplicates, blank records, and incomplete information on students. This is the information that MSDE used for all state reporting, and reflects exactly what each school sent to Pearson.

    Data Link. After MSDE's public release, student-level Reading, Math, and Science MSA results will be available in Data Link. Users with appropriate authorization can create reports and spreadsheets that show scores for 2014 incoming students. In Data Link, this information can be refreshed each time the enrollment information for the school changes.

    For technical assistance with Data Link, please contact the Service Desk by email or at 410-396-8182.

    City Schools’ website, school and district data section. Spreadsheets providing school-level results by grade and overall for all students and for subgroups (FARMs, SWD, ELL, and ethnicity) will be posted following MSDE's public release, along with a separate spreadsheet with citywide data.

    Note that the information presented online to the public contains suppressed results — that is, results that contain fewer than 10 students are not shared publically. Additionally, only three race/ethnicity categories are reported: Black, White, and Hispanic.

    MD Report Card. MSA results will be available here once they are released by MSDE. To find City Schools' information, go to the School tab and click on Baltimore City, and select a school from the Baltimore City list.

    There are two places to find results on a school’s page:

    1. “Assessment Data Summary” results match exactly what is reported on City Schools’ website and Principal’s Dashboard.
    2. “Data Downloads” have every school and district in Maryland, with separate rows for math and reading.

    For questions regarding MSA, contact the Achievement and Accountability Office at 410-396-8962.

    Website, E-mail, and Internet Applications Unavailable Due to Maintenance

    To improve performance and reliability of the district’s Internet firewall, the Information Technology Office will be conducting firewall maintenance beginning Friday, June 20, at 6:00 p.m. through Saturday, June 21, at 6:00 p.m. During this maintenance window, the following will be unavailable for remote access:

    • District website and City Schools Inside 
    • E-mail (messages sent from outside organizations during the maintenance window will be delivered once all maintenance is complete) 
    • Employee Self-Service, VPN, Outlook web access, K12Buy, USS, DataLink, TSS/Blackboard, and KOHA when accessing outside the network 

    Please note that applications will still be available if accessed within the network internally at a school or district office. Since VPN will be down, there will be no remote access to these applications (e.g., from home or other locations); web-based access (e.g., for Outlook web mail) will also be unavailable.

    IT staff will make every effort to shorten the duration of the outage and to minimize inconvenience. For questions or comments regarding this technology alert, please email the IT Service Center or call 443-642-3000. 

    Closing Processes for the Fiscal Year End

    To ensure a smooth transition from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015, review the documents and complete the necessary tasks.  
    Payroll Deadlines: 
    • Undistributed payroll checks: All checks must be returned to the Payroll Office by June 20 with a note stating whether the employee is entitled to the payment. If you are unsure, please provide any documentation or information that will assist in closing out the check.
    • Stipend processing: All stipend hours should be submitted on the stipend timecard by June 13. Please note that stipends will not be processed after the end of June.
    • Payroll corrections: All 10-month payroll corrections are due to the Payroll Office by June 13. Any corrections received after the June 13 deadline will be processed in the new school year.
    • Summer payroll processing: Summer school will start on June 18; Please read the documentation for processing employee hires and time entry for your summer programs. 

    Technology inventory for Agile Mind in secondary schools 

    Over the summer, the Information Technology Office will conduct maintenance on laptop carts and computer labs at secondary schools that will participate in Agile Mind during the 2014-15 school year. To make this process as efficient as possible, principals at secondary schools participating in Agile Mind should designate a staff member to complete a technology maintenance inventory form for each laptop cart and/or lab in the school. Completed forms must be attached to each corresponding laptop cart or lab door by Thursday, July 3 (with copies retained in the school office).   

    For questions or more information, email Luis Lama from the Teaching and Learning Department.  

    Highly Qualified Report for May available April 30

    No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates that all teachers must be highly qualified and that schools funded by Title I must notify parents when their child is not being taught by a highly qualified teacher or long-term substitute for four or more consecutive weeks. Monthly reports of teachers and long-term substitutes flagged as not highly qualified are posted to Principal’s Dashboard. The report for May will be posted on April 30, 2014. Additional resources are available on TSS. For questions or additional assistance, contact your HC Specialist.

    Special Education Dashboard

    The Office of Special Education has developed the Special Education Dashboard that will be posted to the Principal’s Dashboard. The Special Education Dashboard serves as a tool to assist school leaders with supporting special education programs in their schools. The goal is for school leaders to use this tool to develop tailored objectives and focus areas in order to improve outcomes for students with disabilities and also remain in compliance with state and federal regulations.

    The Special Education Dashboard contains special education data on the following: enrollment, disability distribution, time to close IEPs, the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) distribution, attendance, referrals for IEP services, discipline, temporary adult support assignments, data cleansing information, State Performance Plan (SPP) #11, and potential missed services by provider (Encounter Tracker).

    The Special Education Dashboard contains data as of May 2014 and is updated approximately every quarter, with the next update to contain final special education data for the 2013/14 SY.

    In order to access the Special Education Dashboard, please follow these brief directions:

    1. Log into the Principal Dashboard
    2. Go to the Student Information tab
    3. Go to the Special Education tab (the 5th tab from the left)
    4. There will be a Special Education Dashboard link located next to the link for Prevention Plan

    Please contact Charles Brooks, Office of Special Education, cbrooks@bcps.k12.md.us or 443-642-4188, with any questions.


    Scoring Deadline Extended for Student Learning Objectives

    The scoring window for school leaders to score teacher Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) has been extended to Monday, June 23. When you are ready to score SLOs, please log in to access your school’s course on TSS . If you have any questions, please email SLO@bcps.k12.md.us.

    Please note: TSS will be undergoing maintenance from June 18 to June 21 and the system will be unavailable during this time.  Please plan accordingly.

    Information Session for Principals on New System for School Visitors for 2014-15

    Over the summer, all school buildings owned by City Schools will be equipped with new features and technology to enable better tracking of traffic in and out of schools and help monitor school visitors. School police will oversee installation of this new visitor management system.

    An information session about the new system will be held on Monday, June 30, at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Banneker Hall (first floor), at times based on the School Support Network structure for the 2014-15 school year. All principals in district-owned buildings must plan to attend a session at the time noted below; in the event that a principal has a schedule conflict, he or she must send a staff representative.

    Networks Meeting Time on Monday, June 30
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8* 9:00 a.m.
    9, 10, 11, 12, 13*, 14* 11:00 a.m.
    * Only principals in buildings owned by City Schools need to attend.

    For questions, please contact City Schools Police Chief Marshall “Toby” Goodwin or Major Akil Hamm at 410-396-8591.