Take Action Archive - October 2011
Annual September 30 Budget Enrollment Adjustments
Principals, please work with your executive directors and network facilitators to complete the SY12 September 30 budget enrollment adjustment process.
Guidance for the September 30 budget adjustment process is available on the website of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. Please visit the Principal’s Dashboard Finance Tab, and click on the link to the Budget Enrollment Adjustment Report to download your school’s information. Executive Directors of Principal Support and School Support Network Facilitators will collaborate with principals to complete the FY12 Budget Enrollment Adjustment Workbook. Please contact Toby Pitts at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
School Website Guidelines for Schools
Principals and web managers, please read these website guidelines for schools and information about mandated district content and best practices for school websites.In order to support schools in their efforts to communicate with their school communities—both internal and external—and market their programs to prospective students and families, City Schools’ communications office is developing a range of communications tools and guidelines for schools’ use. Perhaps the most important in this communications tool kit are schools’ websites. In summer 2010, the district built websites for all of its schools and programs and as of August, 2010, every school and program in the district had an online presence. In this time of heavy reliance on electronic and Internet-based communications, these websites serve as the virtual front door to every school community.
All websites created by the district for schools are hosted on the Schoolwires content management system (CMS). The following information is to help principals and school communities maximize their websites. A critical first step towards doing this is ensuring that a school’s website has rich, accurate and current content, and to that end, City Schools has created a list of required content for all schools—content that the district is responsible for generating and maintaining current, and content that the individual schools are responsible for generating and maintaining current.Please click here for details on the mandated district content that should not be removed from school websites, best practices for school websites and what schools with externally hosted, non-City Schools websites should do to ensure that their sites meet the district’s content requirements and as such, provide parents and the community with the information they need and deserve.
Professional Development Opt-In Process
Principals, please review information regarding systemic professional development opportunities scheduled for October 20.
As part of ongoing support for City Schools’ principals and teachers as the district moves to implement the Common Core State Standards, the Office of Teaching and Learning will offer professional development opportunities on an opt-in basis in both mathematics and English language arts/literacy. The first series of opt-in PD sessions is included in the professional learning opportunities being offered across the district on October 20. Registration for all sessions is available through the newly launched Professional Growth System.
Please visit the
Professional Growth area of City Schools Inside to read a letter from Chief Academic Officer Sonja Brookins Santelises about these opportunities, how they relate to the Common Core State Standards and the opt-in process. Also find a description of the sessions planned for October 20 and registration instructions.
Ultimate Block Party and Teach Learn Play 5K
Principals of elementary, middle and K-8 schools, please distribute Ultimate Block Party flyers to all students by no later than Thursday, September 29. Flyers will arrive in schools on September 26 or 27.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.
Childhood Wonders Book Distribution to Pre-K, 1st- and 2nd-Grade Students
Principals of elementary and K-8 schools, please be on the lookout for Childhood Wonders books arriving at your school. And please distribute a book to all pre-k, 1st- and 2nd-grade students by no later than October 5.
In an effort to help parents and caregivers support learning at home—and to build on the natural curiosity of our youngest students—City Schools, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, is giving every pre-k, 1st- and 2nd-grade student* a book to use with their families. Titled The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders and written by local author Susan Magsamen, the book features page after page of classic childhood adventures, activities, rhymes and poems. It breaks down in simple terms how each activity builds essential skills for school and life. And it includes a DVD of City Schools’ own families enjoying the activities together, plus a letter from our CEO, Andrés A. Alonso, and the president of Johns Hopkins University, Ronald Daniels, encouraging all families to support learning at home.
During the week of September 26, the books will arrive at all elementary and K-8 schools. Please be on the lookout—and plan to distribute a book to all pre-k, 1st- and 2nd-grade students by no later than October 5. If you have questions, please contact Demetria Nicholas (410-545-1870, email@example.com) in City Schools’ Family Institute.* Current kindergarten students who attended City Schools' pre-k classes received the book this past June, thanks to the support of PNC Bank.
Annual Submission of School Emergency Safety PlansPrincipals, please develop or update your Critical Response and School Emergency Management Guide, and submit your completed template to TSS by October 7.
Section 3 of the Critical Response and School Emergency Management Guide must be developed or updated annually. All schools must download the guide, follow these instructions and maintain the guide in the main office during the school year. As the instructions indicate, please be sure to submit your completed template via TSS by no later than October 7.
Principals of elementary and K-8 schools, please take advantage of this opportunity to give up to 15 students in your school a new coat.
Elementary and K-8 schools can receive new coats for up to 15 students!
This year, Operation Warm is encouraging parent(s)/guardian(s) to attend their child’s back-to-school night by providing brand new coats. Each school can receive up to 15 coats by following these steps:
1. Parents must complete this registration form when they sign in at your back-to-school night. Students must be enrolled at the school where the parent is attending the back-to school event. For children in multiple schools, parents need to attend a back-to-school event for each child. And for parents with multiple children in one school, please list each child separately on the form.
2. Please verify that students are eligible for free or reduced meals prior to submission (FARM eligible).
3. Submit the information from the Coat Registration Form by clicking here. Please be sure to answer each question and to submit all of your entries by 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.
4. Coats will be distributed to parents at the Operation Warm booth during the Ultimate Block Party on Sunday, October 2, 2011 at Rash Field. Parent(s)/guardian(s) must be able to pick up the coats at the Ultimate Block Party.
If you have any questions, please contact Deb Silcox at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-545-1970.
Students to Use Bus Ticket “C” on Wednesday, Oct. 12Principals and school staff, please inform students that schools are open Oct. 12 and they should use bus ticket “C”The October bus ticket packets do not include a ticket for Wednesday, Oct. 12. This is an error. Schools are open Wednesday, Oct. 12, and it is important that students attend. Please note that the PSAT will be administered that day. Please let students know that they should use the “C” ticket at the back of their bus ticket packets for Wednesday, Oct. 12. If you have any questions, please contact the Transportation Office at 410-396-7440.
Title I Highly Qualified Data
Principals, please review and validate information regarding Highly Qualified Data by October 13.
To ensure accuracy of your schools’ Highly Qualified data, the Office of Human Capital requests that principals review and validate their data by no later than Oct. 13. This important parent communication is scheduled to be distributed Oct. 25. Please follow these instructions on how to review your school’s data and to report any discrepancies. For assistance, contact Carla Simons in the Office of Human Capital at email@example.com or 410-396-8885.
School Bus Evacuation Drills
Principals, please remember that the first round of school vehicle evacuation drills will take place during the week of Oct. 17.
In accordance with Code of Maryland Annotated Regulations (COMAR 13A.06.07.11 section I), school bus evacuation drills must be conducted twice each school year. All bus contractors and buses that service City Schools have been contacted. Please take the time to review the administrator certification forms and instructions for school bus staff. If you have questions or concerns, contact Steven James in the Office of Pupil Transportation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-396-7440.
Common Core Mathematics Scope and Sequence Draft Survey (Grades 1-3)
Principals and instructional staff, please fill out the survey for the Common Core Mathematics Scope and Sequences (grades 1 to 3) draft by Oct. 17.With the help of the Charles A. Dana Center from the University of Texas, curriculum writers have developed a draft Common Core Mathematics Scope and Sequence for grades 1 to 3. We would like all teachers, instructional leaders, and principals to review the scope and sequences and give feedback by completing the survey. Please remember that this is a draft and revisions will be made based on feedback from the district. The survey will end on Monday, Oct. 17 at 12 a.m. (midnight). If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Reid Salta in the Office of Student Learning at email@example.com.
Common Core Mathematics Scope and Sequence Draft Survey (Grades 4-6)
Principals and instructional staff, please fill out the survey for the Common Core Mathematics Scope and Sequences (grades 4 to 6) draft by Oct. 17.With the help of the Charles A. Dana Center from the University of Texas, curriculum writers have developed a draft Common Core Mathematics Scope and Sequence for grades 4 to 6. We would like all teachers, instructional leaders, and principals to review the scope and sequences and give feedback by completing the survey. Please remember that this is a draft and revisions will be made based on feedback from the district. The survey will end on Monday, Oct. 17 at 12 a.m. (midnight). If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Reid Salta in the Office of Student Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org
Title I MOU and HQ Status
Principals of Title I schools, please review the requirements for highly qualified status of your staff, discuss status with staff no later than September 28 and complete all required documentation by October 20.
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act mandates that all teachers be “highly qualified” (HQ). Schools that receive funding under Title I have additional, specific requirements related to this HQ standard. To assist schools in monitoring and documenting compliance efforts, the offices of Human Capital and of Federal Programs/Title I have worked together to develop the following procedures and timelines.
Parent Notification Regarding Non-HQ Teachers
When a student at a Title I school is taught by a non-HQ teacher in a core subject area for more than four weeks, the student’s parents or guardians must be informed. Letters to families of affected students will be mailed by the Office of Human Capital on September 28, 2011.
Please plan a conversation with any non-HQ teachers on your faculty prior to September 28, to inform them of the letter mailing and to discuss and support their progress toward meeting the HQ standard. Human Capital specialists will provide each school with a list of non-HQ staff the week prior to dissemination of the letters to families. Please contact your specialist with any questions or concerns you may have regarding HQ status.
Subsequent notification to parents must be sent by the school every four-week period during which a teacher remains non-HQ. A letter template, along with additional resources, is available via TSS. Go to www.bcpss.org/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp and click the link for Highly Qualified Resources under the School Information heading.
Highly Qualified Attestation Forms
The attestation form is the principal’s acknowledgement that the school is in compliance with NCLB requirements for HQ teachers and for qualifications of paraeducators. This year, attestation forms will be completed using eForms. The form will be available beginning September 21 and must be completed by October 20.
• Log into eForms at https://eforms.bcps.k12.md.us/presentation/jsp/login.jsp
• Click on the folder marked “City Schools,” and then on the link marked “Attestation for Title I Workflow.”
• By September 23, access the form and create an electronic signature, verifying your school’s staffing meets the requirements of NCLB.
Title I Memorandum of Understanding
As mandated state and federal governments, City Schools is responsible for reviewing and monitoring all school and district programs that receive Title I funds, to ensure that compliance and reporting obligations are met. The Office of Federal Programs/Title I commits grant funds and other resources (including, but not limited to, providing periodic professional development opportunities, technical assistance on site or by telephone and a biannual district-wide Title I conference) to support NCLB programs, services and activities.
The Office of Federal Programs/Title I Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the principal’s acknowledgement that Title I requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) are being met. In accepting Title I funds, the school principal (or the executive director of a grant-sponsored program) agrees to follow the stipulations, conditions, appended assurances and certifications for SY 2011-12, as outlined in the MOU attached to the online attestation form.
To document this agreement, principals (or executive directors of grant-sponsored programs) must complete the MOU between September 21 and October 20, as follows:
• Log into eForms as described above, and access the attestation form.
• By September 23, create an electronic signature, verifying that your have read and understand the assurances and certifications necessary to comply with the requirements of ESEA/NCLB.
For questions regarding HQ status and HQ attestation, please call Carla Simons, manager, Licensure and Highly Qualified, at 410-396-8885 or email email@example.com. For questions regarding Title I, please call 410-396-8937.
QuEST Conference at the Baltimore Convention CenterTeachers, please plan to attend the QuEST conference at the Baltimore Convention Center. You can register in advance by Thursday, Oct. 20, or arrive early and register at the conference on Friday.All teachers are encouraged to attend the QuEST conference on Friday, Oct. 21 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Participants can register at the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) office through Oct. 20. Same-day registration will take place from 7 – 8:30 a.m. at the Convention Center –with the program starting at 9 a.m. For more information, visit the BTU website.
Mandatory OSHA/MOSHA TrainingPrincipals and administrators, please ensure that your custodial staff, contract cleaners, repair and maintenance staff and grounds staff know about and attend the required OSHA/MOSHA trainings on October 20 and 21.
The annual mandatory OSHA/MOSHA training will be conducted on Thursday, October 20 and Friday, October 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the auditorium of Heritage High School (2801 St. Lo Drive, Baltimore, MD). Topics covered will include:
• Slips, Trips & Falls
• Blood borne Pathogens
• Fire Safety/Utility Related Emergencies
• Hazard Communication
• Asbestos AwarenessThis training is mandatory for custodial staff, contract cleaners, repair and maintenance staff and grounds staff. Principals and administrators, please assist in ensuring the presence of effected staff at one of the two training sessions. We also strongly encourage any employee who may have suffered a work-related injury (as related to the course content above) to attend the first hour of this training. Please contact Mary Beth Haller at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.Center for Inspired Teaching Student Survey
Principals and teachers of middle school students, please note that the deadline for the Center for Inspired Teaching student surveys has been extended to Oct. 21.Surveys were distributed to middle school math teachers during the professional development days in August. The survey is in regard to middle school students’ beliefs about learning and using mathematics. Responses should be completely confidential. Please collect the student surveys and send them by inter-office mail by no later than Oct. 21 to: Baltimore City Public Schools, Room 326, Attn: Ryan Reid Salta. If you have questions, email Ryan Reid Salta in the Office of Teaching and Learning at email@example.com.
School-Parent Compact with FamiliesPrincipals of Title I schools, please work with your network family/community engagement specialist to develop or review your School-Parent Compact for the 2011-12 school year. Please complete your compact by Oct. 15.
Title I schools should work with their network family/community engagement specialist to develop or review their School-Parent Compact for the 2011-12 school year. Compacts must be jointly developed with Title I families by no later than October 15. Please see this sample compact, tip sheet and checklist for guidelines and more information. And please contact your network family/community engagement specialist with any questions.Reminder: Send Parent Portal Letters Home by October 31
Principals, please remember to send home letters about Parent Portal between October 17 and 31. And please work with your network family/community engagement specialist to provide training to parents.
Between October 17 and 31, schools must send home letters generated from SMS to all parents with the log-in and password they need to sign-in to the Parent Portal. (Note: For Charter Schools that do not use PowerTeacher Gradebook, the SMS letter is slightly adjusted to explain how families can receive regular updates on their child’s grades.)
To help parents make use of the system, when they first log-in, there is a training video that teaches parents the basics of using the portal. In addition, each school is expected to set up training opportunities to go over how to use the tools on Parent Portal and help parents get started. Each school's network family/community engagement specialist is available to assist in organizing training opportunities. And City Schools' Family Institute is offering free trainings for parents and for school staff who work with parents, including several district-wide training opportunities in November:
6 to 7 p.m.
Clare Court Apartments
Stone House Community Center
3725 Ellerslie Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21218
9:30 to 11 a.m.
First Baptist Church of Cherry Hill
823 Cherry Hill Road
Baltimore, MD 21225
4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School
220 N. Bentalou Street
Baltimore, MD 21223
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Baltimore City Public Schools
200 E. North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21202
More information about upcoming trainings can be found on the Family Institute webpage.
If you have technical questions about printing letters from SMS or if your Parent Portal contact needs additional assistance with using the Parent Portal tools, please contact Bert Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Principals should have identified a school-level Parent Portal contact who has access to SMS by October 7 and has completed the online Parent Portal contact training, which takes about 10 minutes. Please click here to read about the roles of the school-level Parent Portal contact
Parent Portal Contact
Principals, please identify a Parent Portal contact and ensure that your designated contact completes the online training by Oct. 10. Please also ensure that teachers have updated Power Teacher Gradebook by Oct. 13.Parent Portal provides a range of helpful information for parents to support their children’s education, including online resources, attendance and discipline updates, report cards and other information like grades and assignments that teachers enter into Power Teacher Gradebook or TSS. Please check out the Parent Portal basics and the additional Parent Portal resources available.
Between October 17 and 26, schools must send home letters generated from SMS to all parents with the login and password they need to sign-in to the Parent Portal. Principals should identify a School-Level Parent Portal Contact who has access to SMS before October 7, and ensure that those contacts complete the online Parent Portal Contact training, which takes about 10 minutes. Before choosing your contact, please read about the roles of the school-level Parent Portal Contact.
To help parents make use of the system, when they log-in 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, your school’s Family & Community Engagement Network Specialist is available to help assist you in organizing training opportunities. City Schools' Family Institute is offering free trainings for parents and for school staff who work with parents, including four district-wide training opportunities between October and November.
If you have technical questions about printing letters from SMS or if your Parent Portal Contact needs additional assistance with using the Parent Portal tools, please contact Bert Ross (email@example.com).
Session on New Grading Policy for High School Guidance Counselors
Principals, please review the following information and ensure your guidance counselors attend.
The Office of School Counseling and Guidance is hosting a seminar for high schools counselors on the new grading policy. Scheduled sessions will be held from 9-11:00 a.m. or 1-3:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28 in the Office of Student Records at 790 W. North Ave. An FAQ document and parent information letter will be issued to staff. Please be sure to share this information with parents. High school network facilitators and student support liaisons are also invited to participate in the group sessions. If you have questions, please contact Deborah Gibson in the Office of Counseling and Guidance at 443-642-4586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spending Plans for Title I Parent Involvement Allocation
Principals of Title I Schools, please begin planning and submitting your Title 1 Parent Involvement Allocation Spending Plans.
The Parent Involvement Budget Tool is now available to view the amount of allocation. Spending plans MUST be jointly developed with parents and established according to the following guidance and spending recommendations. Completed plans should be submitted through the ERP Portal’s Principal’s Budget Tool- Parent Involvement no later than Oct. 19. Please use the documents and resources below to prepare your spending plan. For support or questions, contact the Network Family and Community Engagement Specialist assigned to your school.
- Spending Recommendations Descriptions
- Family and Community Engagement Lead
- Sample PI Allocation Spending Plan
- Sample Budget Input Form
- Sample Budget and Flyer Feedback Form
PowerTeacher Gradebook TrainingTeachers, please remember to complete the required online training for PowerTeacher Gradebook. And principals, please make sure teachers know about and take part in the training as soon as possible.
As a result of the recent School Board approved grading policy, there is a mandate for City Schools’ teachers to use the PowerTeacher Gradebook no less than two times per month. This will keep our parents informed of their child’s progress. The Parent Portal will be released to the parents beginning in mid-October. In order to ensure that all teachers are prepared to provide parents with the information they will likely seek, it is important that all teachers complete the online training in the use of PowerTeacher Gradebook. Access to the PowerTeacher Gradebook training is available at this link. Look for the section called Online Training to find the information you will need to successfully access the Pearson PowerSource training site. If you have questions or comments, please contact Bert Ross at RRoss@bcpss.k12.md.us.
Early Dismissal Submissions
Principals, please submit early dismissal logs by no later than Oct. 7.
Please ensure that dismissal logs for the months of August and September are organized in binders and recorded in SMS by no later than Oct. 7. For more information, review these instructions regarding entering early dismissals.
Leadership Opportunity for Assistant Principals
Assistant principals and academic deans, please review the following leadership opportunity.
The Office of the Chief Academic Officer is seeking current City Schools assistant principals and academic deans interested in deepening their knowledge in school-based leadership and instructional programming to participate in a year-long, in-depth leadership study. At the end of the experience, it is expected that participants are prepared for the principal position as well as other vital leadership roles in City Schools. Please review theprogram description that includes specific criteria and deadlines. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Barbara A. Johnson in the Office of the Chief Academic Officer at email@example.com.