Take Note Archive - September 2011

Team Digital for Suicide Prevention!

The Digital Harbor High School community is preventing suicide and raising awareness for depression and mental health. We have formed Team Digital to lead the fight against stigmas and to protect our students. In addition to being a trememdous opportunity to shine a light on a dark place in which many of our students find themselves, it's also a service learning opportunity. Students can earn hours for donating or walking while they improve and save lives! Join the team or donate to Digital Harbor's fundraising efforts for the Out of the Darkness Walk in Baltimore on October 8. Digital Harbor High School will learn, serve and lead to help the American Foundation for Suicide.
 

Observation and Evaluation Guidelines for 2011-12

In 2011-12, teachers are using City Schools’ new Instructional Framework to guide and reflect on their instruction, and principals are using it to provide feedback to teachers and tailor support to meet individual teacher needs. In light of this new work, City Schools has developed Observation and Evaluation Guidelines: 2011-12, a guide to using both the current PBES process and the Instructional Framework to inform the teacher observation and evaluation practices at all schools.

This guide also explains the district’s Online Performance Management System (OPMS), a new electronic platform that allows school leaders and teachers to engage in the performance evaluation process in a thoughtful  and strategic manner. OPMS will facilitate electronic correspondence between school leaders and their staff members, and create intentional connections between performance evaluations and professional growth. To access, go to Employee Self Service and choose the Employee Performance Management link. Although this link is available to all employees, currently only BTU teachers and principals have a role in the OPMS process.

 

Training for OPMS can be accessed here. No credentials are needed to view the documentation. The training will introduce the Observation and Evaluation process from the perspective of different audiences; all classroom teachers and principals are encouraged to watch the different trainings to receive a comprehensive overview of how OPMS works.  

 

Please contact the Office of Human Capital at 410-396-8885 with any questions.

Food Service and Cafeteria Staffing Changes

As we begin each year, we evaluate staffing needs for all of our schools and identify gaps based upon retirements, terminations and resignations. We are reshuffling our staff to match the projected enrollments and the previous year’s lunch participations. Many of our cafeteria workers will be promoted to a manager’s position, and you may see new employees staffed in your cafeteria. The Regional Manager in charge of your school cafeteria will be contacting you with any staffing changes for this school year. Please click here to read the full letter to principals. If you have any questions, please contact Ingrid Brailsford at Ibrailsford@bcps.k12.md.us.

Ultimate Block Party and Teach Learn Play 5K

City Schools encourages all families, students and staff to celebrate the fun and learning that come with playing by going to the Ultimate Block Party! The free event takes place on October 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor. There, families can enjoy classic childhood pastimes—dressing up like railroad conductors, playing Four Square, flying paper airplanes, jumping rope and making art from recycled materials—and join any number of other fun, family-friendly activities, including yoga, hip-hop music making and rock-n-roll baseball. The Ultimate Block Party also features live performances, a storytelling corner and an author's corner, where families can ask experts and authors questions about child-rearing and supporting learning at home.

Please be on the lookout for copies of the Ultimate Block Party flyer, arriving in elementary, middle and K-8 schools on September 26 or 27. Please distribute the flyer to all students by no later than September 29. To learn more about the Ultimate Block Party, visit the web section of City Schools’ Family Institute. Also note that Playworks Baltimore’s 2nd Annual Teach Learn Play 5K takes place the same morning right beside Rash Field in the Inner Harbor. Those interested can come early and take part in the race—and help raise money to ensure that City Schools students play safely every day at school. 
   

Frequently Asked Questions on Exclusions for Immunizations

Students who are still out of compliance with immunizations on Wednesday, September 21 will be excluded from school. Please read this this FAQ document on exclusions for immunizations. And also see the September TIKE bus schedule provided by the Baltimore City Health Department. Students can receive free vaccinations from the TIKE bus.

Great Kids Come Back Fair

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 Friday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Flyers will be sent to schools for distribution to all students; they are also here for you to preview. Please also share these resources with your school community. If you have any questions or need additional flyers, please contact Alisha Sparks (ansparks@bcps.k12.md.us) in the Office of Enrollment, Choice and Transfers (formerly the Office of Student Placement).

Living Educational Materials Available for Schools

Great Kids Farm is providing additional educational vegetable and herb plants for City Schools teachers to grow with students at school this fall. Vegetable and herb plants will be available for your school on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Great Kids Farm (6601 Baltimore National Pike Catonsville, MD 21228). Please click here for the flyer. For information, contact Greg Strella in the Office of Learning to Work at gtstrella@bcps.k12.md.us or 410.336.2312.

Free Tennis Training for PE Teachers on September 15

The US Tennis Association is offering a free tennis workshop for physical educators on their 10 and Under Tennis program, which uses modified rackets and balls and can be played anywhere (gymnasiums, blacktop, grass, etc.). The workshop takes place on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at City Springs School gymnasium (100 South Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21231). Advance registration is necessary, as space is limited. To Register: Send an email to dbasu@bcps.k12.md.us no later than September 9. Please include: 1) your name, 2) school/organization name, and 3) your preferred email address and phone number.

For the training, please wear sneakers and comfortable clothing, and come prepared to have fun! This interactive workshop is approximately three hours long and focuses on: • Managing large numbers of students in limited spaces • Teaching basic tennis skills with student-friendly equipment • Organizing tennis games and activities for physical education classes, recess and after-school programs.

USTA School members will be eligible to receive a free curriculum kit that includes a teacher’s manual, pocket guide, DVD and CD-ROM. The kit is provided for free when schools become a USTA organizational member ($35/year). Membership also gives schools access to equipment discounts and grants. For more information, visit http://www.usta.com/Youth-Tennis/Schools/PETeachers/. And if you have questions, please contact USTA’s Tennis Service Rep in Maryland: Lynn Gertzog at gertzog@mas.usta.com.

Remembering September 11

Please click here for resources for teachers, students and parents for remembering the tragedy of September 11.

College Fair This Week

The 2011 Access to Success College Fair takes place this Thursday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center at Stadium Place (900 33rd St.). All high school juniors and seniors are encouraged to attend. Find out more about the sponsoring organization, the National Scholarship Service, at http://www.nationalscholarshipservice.com/default.asp.
 

The Great Body Shop

A professional development session on the Great Body Shop and the Common Core State Standards will be held on September 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm. Registration is now open on the Professional Growth System, and further information can be found under Health on the Professional Growth tab on City Schools Inside. 
 

2011 Mini Journalistm Boot Camp for Students (Deadline: September 26)

The Asian American Journalists Association(AAJA) invites high school students interested in journalism to attend its 2011 Mini J-Camp. The half-day session will be held October 1 at the Baltimore Sun (501 Calvert St., Baltimore). The session is free of charge, and breakfast, drinks and snacks will be provided. Fifty students will have the opportunity to work with journalists at some of the top broadcast, newspaper and mult-media outlets in the Baltimore-Washington,D.C. area. AAJA welcomes all students to apply. Please click here for the application, a fact sheet and a permission form. AAJA will select at least two students from the Mini J-Camp for an all-expense paid trip to its weeklong J-Camp in August 2012 in Las Vegas. For more information, please contact Sherri Ly at dcsherri@gmail.com or Kathy Park at kpark26@gmail.com. Applications must be received by September 26, 2011.
 

Baltimore Book Festival (Sept. 23-25)

It's that time of year again, when book lovers unite at the Baltimore Book Festival for free talks and read-alouds by more than 100 authors, workshops for writers of all ages, storytelling, kids' activities, live music and more. Please spread the word to your students and families, and click here for more information
 

Free Community Tennis Event - USTA Battle Against Obesity

USTA Maryland Presents the Battle Against Obesity on September 24 at Baltimore’s Patterson Park. As part of an ongoing effort to encourage more young people to get active and start playing tennis, the USTA Maryland District will present the “Battle Against Obesity,” a free family tennis event, on September 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Patterson Park tennis courts (Linwood and Eastern Avenues). Sponsored by Coca-Cola in partnership with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks and the Friends of Patterson Park, the event will feature tennis drills and games for all ages and ability levels, alternative fitness, climbing wall, moon bounce, bike "rodeo," nutrition tips, healthy snacks and free gifts and prizes. The event will showcase 10 and Under Tennis, utilizing the QuickStart Tennis Play format. Similar to other youth sports where equipment and playing fields are scaled-to-size for kids, QuickStart gives children ages 10 and under the chance to achieve immediate success by playing tennis on smaller courts, using smaller and lighter racquets and slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls. These changes make tennis more fun for kids by allowing them to learn and develop their skills in an enjoyable way, increasing the likelihood that they will continue to play the “sport of a lifetime.” For more information on 10 & Under Tennis, visit www.10andundertennis.com. For information about Maryland tennis, visit www.maryland.usta.com. And click here for the event flyer (English/Spanish)

Baltimore Marathon Kids Kick Off Celebration at PolyWestern (Sept. 17)

Don't miss the FREE Marathon Kids KickOff Celebration on Saturday, September 17 at 10 a.m. at Poly Western AthleticComplex (4600 Falls Rd). This celebration marks the beginning of the FREErunning/walking, nutrition and schoolyard gardening program for elementaryschool children (grades K-6) in Baltimore City Public Schools. The children,teachers and families run or walk a ceremonial first lap on the track at thePoly-Western Track Complex. When they cross the multi-colored, balloon-archedfinish line, they are awarded their Baltimore Marathon Kids Reward Water Bottleand bicycle/bumper sticker. They will then incrementally continue to run/walkover the next six months, and in the spring they will receive a free FinisherMedal at the Final Mile Celebration. This event is free to families, teachers and children, and it lasts about one hour. It takes place rain or shine, and participantsshould dress for activity! Please help spread the word by sending home the student registration form and flyer to let parents know about Marathon Kids. To register for the program, fillout this quick online form: http://www.marathonkids.org/school-request-form Youmay register after the event, so please come on by! If you'd like to volunteer, please sign up at www.marathonkids.org/volunteer. Need more info? Go towww.MarathonKids.org or www.Facebook.com/MarathonKids for updates. Thank you forall you do for your students each day. We look forward to seeing you Saturday,September 17, 10 a.m. at Poly Western High School for the FREE Kick-OffCelebration!

School Day with the UMaryland Terps!

 TheUniversity Maryland Terps are inviting all City Schools elementary schoolstudents and their families to join the Terps when they host Towson on Saturday,October 1. Admission is FREE for all elementary school students. Flyrtd willbe shipped to each school with elementary grades with all of the necessaryinformation about School Day with the Terps. Admission for all elementaryschools students is FREE. Family members, teachers and faculty and staff will beeligible to purchase discount tickets at just $25/ticket to accompany theiryouth. Tickets must be purchased in advance either online, over the phone orin-person at the Terrapin Ticket office prior to game day. Up to twocomplimentary youth (elementary-age) tickets may be claimed for each adultticket purchased. Accompanying siblings, ages 12-17, can attend the game for adiscount price of only $15/ticket. We ask that you distribute informationalflyers to your students in a manner that you feel best fits within your school’ssystem. Principals will also have the opportunity to elect to receive additionalmaterials for their school to promote the event. Additional items may includeSchool Day with the Terps posters, Maryland Football schedule posters, MarylandFootball schedule cards and other custom items per request.
 

Free Photo Contest for Young Artists

The Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts (www.bop.org) is now accepting submissions for a free photography contest for young Baltimoreans between the ages of 13 and 19 years old. This contest, which focuses on the students’ perspective and what they find interesting, terrifying or personally moving about the city in which they live, can be a visual element to social studies or history projects or a way to infuse personal or local history in art class assignments.

The submission deadline is September 23, 2011. Thirty-five selected photographs will be featured in an exhibition in the Inner Harbor, on the World Trade Center's 27th floor in October. Gift cards to an arts supply store, and frames, will be given to the top 3 photographs in the competition. If you're interested, please download the form and flyer and let your students know about it! If you have any questions, please contact Zach Lawhon at zlawhon@mica.edu or Annie Applegarth at AApplegarth@promotionandarts.com. You can also check out our tumblr or facebook page for more information.

 

College Awareness Month Art, Essay and Poetry Contest

November is College Awareness Month, and City Schools is sponsoring a free art, essay and poetry contest for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Winners of the contest, their families, teachers and principals will be invited to an awards ceremony and a college awareness month kick-off celebration at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Contest entries will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30. All entries should reflect a theme associated with “What College Means to Me.” Click here for the entry form, and please make sure all students' information is legible. For more information, please contact Brianna McMullen at bmcmullen@bcps.k12.md.us.

Kids In Need Foundation Offers Teacher Grants for Creative Classroom Projects

An annual initiative of the Kids In Need Foundation, the Kids In Need Teacher Grants program provides grants to K-12 educators working to provide innovative learning opportunities for their students. The grants are funded by retail and education credit union sponsors. Grant awards range from $100 to $500, and typically 200 to 300 awards are given out each year. The deadline for applications is Sept. 30. To complete an application, please go to the following website: http://www.kinf.org/grants/index.php.
 

Student Arts and Science Contest

Baltimore City is sponsoring an Eco-‘Zine contest. A ‘Zine – which is short for magazine – is a short illustrative booklet or pamphlet that sends a message to its readers (click here for instructions on making a ‘Zine). The contest theme is TreeBaltimore, a program that strives to increase the urban tree canopy by planting and preserving trees in our city. The Eco-‘Zine competition is open to all K-12 students, and final ‘Zines must be submitted by September 30, 2011. Winners will be announced on October 19, 2011 at the Parks & People Foundation’s Community Greening Celebration with four 1st-place prizes of $75 and four honorable mentions receiving $50.

Please submit ‘Zines with the following information: name, phone number, address, school name and grade. Send all submissions to Bess Caplan at 800 Wyman Park Dr., Suite 010, Baltimore, MD 21211, or e-mail them to caplanb@caryinstitute.org. Please click here for the contest flyer, or visit www.baltimorecity.gov for more information. Good luck!
 

Salary Adjustments for Members of PSRP, BTU and PSASA

City Schools’ employees represented by the Professional and School Related Personnel (PSRP), the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) and the Baltimore City Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PSASA) are eligible for salary increases. Please see below for details, and note that the term “paycheck” refers to both direct deposit and paper checks.


PSRP

Members of PSRP will receive a one-percent salary increase for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Twelve-month employees will start receiving the increase in their July 22, 2011 paycheck, and 10-month employees in their September 2, 2011 paycheck. 

PSRP employees, except for those noted below, will receive a $500 lump-sum payment in their September 16, 2011 paycheck.


Exception: Paraprofessionals in the lower grades on the Paraprofessional Scales 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 will be moved to the corresponding step in the highest grade on their respective pay scales. If the overall increase with this movement is less than 1% and $500, then the paraprofessional will receive the difference in a lump payment on their September 16, 2011 paycheck.

Employees formerly unaffiliated or represented by CUB, BTU or PSASA—but now represented by PSRP—may be eligible for a personal leave payout. These employees include anyone with unused personal leave time (accrued while unaffiliated or under CUB/BTU/PSASA representation). Payment for the unused hours will be paid on the September 16, 2011 paycheck.

 

BTU – Teachers’ Chapter

Members of BTU will receive a one-percent salary increase for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Twelve-month employees will start receiving the increase in their July 22, 2011 paycheck, and 10-month employees in their September 2, 2011 paycheck. 


BTU employees will receive a minimum increase of $1,750 lump-sum payment. All employees in the BTU Teachers’ Chapter will be moved to the new pay scales effective July 2, 2011. Employees will be placed on the closest interval in their assigned pathway that is more than their current salary. If placement on the new scale results in less than a $1,750 increase, employees will receive the difference in a lump payment in their September 16, 2011 paycheck. Part-time employees will receive a pro-rated amount.

 

PSASA

Members of PSASA will receive a one-percent salary increase for the 2011-12 fiscal year, beginning in their July 22, 2011 paycheck. All PSASA employees will be moved to the new pay scales effective July 2, 2011. Employees will be placed on the closest interval on their group pathway that is more than their current salary. If placement on the new scale results in less than a $2,000 increase, employees will receive the difference in a lump payment in their September 16, 2011 pay.

Please contact the Compensation Department at 410-396-8885 with any questions.
 

Available Furniture for Schools

Due to the generousity of one of City Schools partners, City Schools received a generous donation of various furniture items. The items can be viewed via www.Snapfish.com using the following name (dlwenzlaff@bcps.k12.md.us) and password (cityschools). From there, please click on "Go to Photos," and it will redirect you to the album. Then click on the "face-tag" icon on each photo, and pricing and sizes of the items will pop up. Once choices are made, the school business manager (or the person responsible for funds) needs to be sure funds are available for purchase. These funds need to be journaled from the following account string: 3001.12.00.0202.1501.YOUR COST CENTER.0408. This process is similar to making a purchase on K-12 Buy. Since an original signature is required, principals are asked to print out and complete the form (including a signature), convert the form to a PDF and then email it to Dianna Wenzlaff at dlwenzlaff@bcps.k12.md.us. Each school will be contacted via e-mail with the day that items need to be picked up. Please click here for the ordering form. And note that you will be able to pick up the items you purchased and view other available items on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the storage location at 5300 Pulaski Highway. The warehouse will be open from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you have questions, please email Dianna Wenzlaff at dlwenzlaff@bcps.k12.md.us.

Food Service and Cafeteria Staffing Changes

As we begin each year, we evaluate staffing needs for all of our schools and identify gaps based upon retirements, terminations and resignations. We are reshuffling our staff to match the projected enrollments and the previous year’s lunch participations. Many of our cafeteria workers will be promoted to a manager’s position, and you may see new employees staffed in your cafeteria. The Regional Manager in charge of your school cafeteria will be contacting you with any staffing changes for this school year. Please click here to read the full letter to principals. If you have any questions, please contact Ingrid Brailsford at Ibrailsford@bcps.k12.md.us.
 

New Required Breakfast Accountability Procedures

Principals, please make sure the cafeteria staff are gathering the required information from your students eating breakfast. The Food and Nutrition Department is required to capture the status of each student receiving a free breakfast for the entire 2011-12 school year, starting the first day of school. This new accountability process is required by MSDE/USDA to allow Baltimore City Public Schools to continue the free breakfast served to all students.

This will mean the following for your students
  • In schools on the automated system, students will be required to know and enter their 5-digit PIN/bar code number at the point of service when receiving breakfast.
  • In schools with Breakfast in the Classroom, the employee in charge of this program will need to mark a student alpha accountability list every day the student receives a breakfast.
  • In schools with a 2nd-chance location (an alternate location from the cafeteria where breakfast is offered), the cafeteria employee in charge will have a student alpha accountability list to mark every day the student receives a breakfast.
  • In schools without an automated system, the cafeteria employee will have an accountability roster to capture each student’s breakfast status daily.
Food and Nutrition thanks you for your assistance with this new breakfast accountability procedure, and we look forward to working with you in this new school year. If you have questions, please contact Ingrid Brailsford at ibrailsford@bcps.k12.md.us or 410-396-8755.
 

Early Learning Office & Preschool Special Education

In order to meet the essential academic and developmental needs of all 3 to 5 year olds, the Early Learning Office is integrating the preschool special education unit into the pre-k and kindergarten regular education structure. A strong research base supports inclusive classroom environments in early childhood. And the more varied and differentiated types of activities used in inclusion classrooms, the more benefits are derived by young learners of all abilities. This results in children’s authentic understanding of the world around them and higher developmental outcomes; it also promotes relationship-building with peers. As we begin to align our early learning programs, two significant changes will occur for the 2011-12 school year.

  • The first change is for 3 and 4 year-olds referred through Child Find. The IEP process for these children will be managed by their neighborhood school and apply to new referrals. All summer evaluations and meetings will be completed by a central team so that timelines will not affect school IEP Chairs.
  • The second change deals with children who now have an IEP and attend Head Start. The IEP process for these children will be managed by their neighborhood school.

Prevention plans will be completed for every child and sent to Related Services and the IEP chairs. We will focus our work on adapting and modifying components of high quality general education preschool, pre-k and kindergarten programs, as needed, to create developmentally-informed learning experiences that support all children. One of the first steps in accomplishing this goal is to build a strong bond as early as possible between the families of children with IEPs and their neighborhood school. This bond allows families and the school community to get to know each other through IEP team meetings and conversations to ensure a smooth transition for their little one to enter pre-k. More information about these changes will follow. The Early Learning Office will offer assessment training and technical support throughout the school year. If you have any questions, please email Charlene Iannone-Campbell, Director of Early Learning, at cicampbell@bcps.k12.md.us.