Take Note Archive - January 2012

Target to Award $5 Million to Schools in Need 

Target has partnered with the Ellen DeGeneres Show to identify 50 schools nationwide to receive $100,000 grants. Nominations can be made online at http://ellen.warnerbros.com/schoolgiving/ and should include a compelling story about why the school is “incredible and deserving.” Encourage your school communities to work together to nominate our great schools! Deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 4.

ConneXions School for the Arts Opening Reception for Digital Photography Students

The ConneXions School for the Arts is having an opening reception for their digital photography students on Saturday, Jan. 7 from 1–3 p.m. The reception will be held at Jubilee Arts, located at 1947 Pennsylvania Ave. Baltimore, MD 21217. Please come out for art, snacks and conversations with the artists.


University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Teacher Quality in Biology Program


The University of Maryland, Baltimore County will conduct a Teacher Quality in Biology (TQB) program in 2012.  All Maryland high school science teachers are eligible. The program will run from February through the end of November - with most activities occurring February through June and a follow up conference in November. Curriculum includes laboratory experience and discussion of application to the classroom.


Teachers will receive a stipend and three graduate credits in biology from UMBC; books and other supplies will be provided; and tuition for the UMBC graduate school will be paid by the program. There will not be any out-of-pocket expenses.


Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) has identified four "high-need districts": Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Dorchester County and Prince George's County. Those who do not currently meet the criteria for "high qualified in biology" are welcome. Click here for more information and application materials.  Application deadline is January 10, 2012.


Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake YouthWorks 2012 Summer Job Program Payroll Deductions- Deadline January 12


Mayor Rawlings-Blake YouthWorks 2012 Summer Job Program - Payroll Deductions Authorization sign-up sheets will be distributed to all schools and organizations on Friday, Jan. 6. Please permit employees who wish to make a contribution to complete the sheet. Please return all completed deduction sheets to the Payroll Office no later than Thursday, Jan. 12. The contributions will be processed for payroll period ending January 13, 2012. Applications for YouthWorks 2012 Summer Job Programs are now available in all City Schools high schools.


Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Youth Dialogue on MLK Day

Join Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Monday, Jan. 16 from 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. for "Ask Me About My Dreams", an engaging intercultural panel discussion on faith, community, tolerance and dreams. The forum will be held at Northwestern High School located at 6900 Park Heights Avenue.  Admission is free, and there will be special performances by Dance & Bmore and the HOPE Story Tree Gang. Radio personality Troy Johnson and award-winning actress Rain Pryor will emcee the event. All ages are invited to participate in this enlightening community dialogue in honor of Dr. King’s legacy of peace. 

District Reform Survey--Thank You


We would like to thank principals and operators for their candid feedback through the District Reform Survey --the response rate was 86%! We are in the process of analyzing the data and will be using the results to inform continued improvements of school supports. Again, thank you to everyone who participated, we really appreciate all that you do.

OPMS Deadline Extended

In response to principal feedback, the deadline for entering Formal Observation data into OPMS has been extended until Monday, Jan.  2. In light of this extension, please note the following:

  • All forms must be completed in OPMS by Monday, Jan. 2. This includes verification of the initial planning conference, the pre-observation conference and the formal observation report for all classroom teachers and non-teacher level staff.
  • OPMS completion reports for each school will be pulled and reviewed by district staff on Tuesday, Jan. 3.  Any school with incomplete forms will be flagged as part of the school leader evaluation process.
  • Due to the closing of all City Schools’ offices for the holiday, no OPMS support will be available between Friday, Dec.  23 – Monday, Jan.  2. Please ensure that all technical assistance is requested prior to the close of business on Thursday, Dec.  22.
  • While the deadline for entering formal observation data has been extended to Jan. 2, the deadline for entering the performance review report (mid-year evaluation) into OPMS remains Monday, Jan.  16.

Please plan accordingly, as this deadline will not be extended. If you have questions, contact the Office of Human Capital at 410-396-8885.


Letters About Literature Program

The Maryland Center for the Book at the Maryland Humanities Council announces the start of Letters About Literature, a national reading and writing contest for students. Letters About Literature is the signature program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Readers in grades 4 - 12 can enter this contest by writing a personal letter to an author, from any genre, explaining how that author's work changed the student's way of thinking about the world or themselves. We encourage you to think outside of the box! Choose from authors living or deceased, fiction, non-fiction, contemporary or classic.  Click to review the contest guidelines and valuable teacher resource materials.

Once again this year, students can win state and national prizes as well as thousands of dollars in library grants. The national winners themselves will help select this years’ library grant recipient. What a powerful way for a young person to make a difference in his or her school or community!

Letters About Literature in Maryland is sponsored by the Maryland Center for the Book, a program of the Maryland Humanities Council. In 2009 the Council established the Maryland Letters About Literature Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year award to recognize outstanding Maryland educators. Remember, the contest deadline is January 6, 2012, so start working on those submissions. For questions or more details, please contact Jean Wortman at jwortman@mdhc.org.

Middle Grades Track and Field Program 2012

The Interscholastic Athletics Office is now accepting intent forms for the Middle Grades Track and Field Program 2012. If your school is interested, please submit an intent form by Friday, Jan. 20. The intent form and the Track & Field packet are located on TSS in the Physical Education section under documents.  If you have any questions, please contact the Interscholastic Athletics Office at 410-396-8569. 

Master Teacher Applications Available- Educator Effectiveness Academies Summer 2012

City Schools is now accepting applications for those wishing to be considered as a Master Teacher for the 2012 Educator Effectiveness Academies for Reading, English Language Arts, Mathematics, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). During summer 2012, ten regional Educator Effectiveness Academies will be held throughout Maryland. Master teachers will be selected to facilitate the professional development for a minimum of two regional academies. These academies will include teams of teachers and principals from every school in Maryland. Academies for summer 2012 will focus on reviewing model units and lessons from the first part of the instructional toolkit. Prior to applying please carefully review eligibility requirements found on page 2 of the application packet. All applications must be completed in their entirety and submitted to Jennifer Hlavka (jahlavka@bcps.k12.md.us) by COB on Friday, Jan. 20 for consideration.

New Meal Options at the District Office

Great Kids Cafe, located on the second floor at 200 E. North Ave., is launching some great new menu options -at new, more affordable prices. Craving a burger  -veggie, turkey or beef? Interested in a wrap? Great Kids Cafe has the lunch you want. Plus, a self-service salad bar will be available in December, giving you a healthy meal option. Also coming in December: The cafe will be accepting Visa, Mastercard and Discover. So if you haven't visited Great Kids Cafe recently, now is the time to rediscover a great lunch destination!

Navigating Your Performance Improvement Plan

The Office of Teacher Support & Development is offering a 90 minute workshop, “Navigating Your Performance Improvement Plan” on Tuesday, Jan. 24 from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. at 200 E. North Ave., Room 212. During this session, attendees will be provided with information around the function and purpose of the Performance Improvement Plan. Information will be provided on the four domains, areas for improvement and opportunities for support at the school and district level. If you would like to attend, please click here for registration. For more information or if you are unable to attend during this time, please contact Kelly Manard at kmanard@bcps.k12.md.us.

Systemic Professional Development Deadline for Registration

Registration for the systemic professional development on Thursday, Jan. 26 and Friday, Jan. 27 will close at 12:01 am on Tuesday, Jan. 24. If you have not already done so, please register for sessions immediately. A summary of available opportunities and registration instructions can be found on the Professional Growth page. All staff must register for sessions in order to reserve a seat. Staff should communicate with their principals about expectations for participation and course sign-ups. Please direct questions to Matt Griffin at MRGriffin@bcps.k12.md.us.


MSA and Mod-MSA 2012 Administration


The 2012 Maryland School Assessment (MSA and Mod-MSA) reading and mathematics testing window is March 12-27, 2012. The MSA is administered to students in grades 3 through 8. In preparation for the 2012 MSA and Mod-MSA administration, the Office of Achievement & Accountability will provide training for school test coordinators. Attendance at these training sessions is mandatory for all test coordinators responsible for the MSA administration. Participants will be trained on the required test administration and test security procedures for administering the MSA. They will receive all the necessary materials so they can provide similar trainings to their school staff. The trainings will be conducted Tuesday, Jan. 24 and Wednesday Jan. 25 from 12:30 - 3 p.m. in the NACA Freedom and Democracy II auditorium located at 2500 East Northern Parkway. Please read the attached memo for more details. If you have questions, please contact Carol Wilson at 410-396-8962 or cwilson@bcps.k12.md.us for more information.


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 January will be posted to your dashboard on Friday, Jan. 6. Human Capital Specialists will support schools in monitoring highly qualified status and ensuring affected families are notified on time. Please click here for parent letter template. Additional highly qualified resources are available on TSS.

Registration for January Systemic Professional Development is Now Open 

The systemic professional development offerings for January 26 and 27 are now posted on the Professional Growth page of City Schools Inside and open for registration on the Professional Growth System. All staff must register for sessions in order to reserve a seat. Staff should communicate with their principals about expectations for participation and course sign-up. Please note the specific courses for schools which have opted in to the Common Core State Standards professional development. Registration will close on Tuesday, Jan. 24 and walk-ins will not be permitted. For guidance on how to use the Professional Growth System please review the documents provided on the Professional Growth page.


Baltimore Community Credit Improvement Program

Baltimore City Public Schools' Family Institute is partnering with the Baltimore Community Action Partnership to encourage City School families to attend The Baltimore Credit Improvement Program. The Baltimore Credit Improvement Program is a FREE program that helps families to achieve economic stability and financial self-sufficiency. In partnership with Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Maryland and Delaware, families receive help in understanding credit issues and various resources to improve credit. Resources provided include one-to-one case management, credit education workshops, credit counseling sessions and credit report reviews. Please join us for the next event at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Northwest Community Action Center located at 3939 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore, MD 21215. For more information and to register, please call 443-984-1384.
Mergenthaler Vocational High School Presents The Wiz

Reserve your seats for the Mergenthaler Vocational High School 2012 production of the The Wiz. There will be 3 daytime shows for City Schools students January 24-26 from 10 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Tickets are $4.00 per student and 20% off total ticket cost for 50 or more students.

Join students from the New Lakeside Players Drama Club for a fundraising event on Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Towson Applebees located at 8610 LaSalle Road, Towson, MD 21286. 

Exciting Program Planned for Annual PSRP Conference

The Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) will hold its 2nd Annual Paraprofessional and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) Conference on Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Baltimore Convention Center, located at 1 W. Pratt Street. With the conference theme, “Making an Educational Difference Every Day,” a host of workshops, discussions and speakers will highlight the two-day professional development opportunity. PSRPs are urged to register for the conference where the emphasis will be on uniting around common goals. Principals in all schools in the district are encouraged to release paraprofessionals and school-related personnel, granting them professional development leave for Friday’s session. Conference participants are required to provide their supervisors with verification of attendance.


Black Male Identity Project Culminating Event

The Black Male Identity Project culminating event will be held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum on Sunday, Jan. 29 from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Come see art activities, performances and presentations. Admission is free all day.

2nd Annual Baltimore Progressive Education Summit


The City Neighbors Foundation will sponsor the 2nd Annual Baltimore Progressive Education Summit on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Hundreds of local educators from schools around Baltimore will gather for a day of listening, sharing and connecting around best practices in education. This years speakers include, Deborah Meier (reformer, school developer, progressive educator and author of several books including The Power of Their Ideas and In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization); Eleanor Duckworth (teacher, Harvard professor and author of "The Having of Wonderful Ideas" and other writings) and Dr. Alonso (CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools). The Summit will also have over 30 workshops from local educators on educational practices including assessment, arts integration, project-based learning, differentiation and more. Come join us as we connect with colleagues across Baltimore in our efforts to create great education for all of our students. Registration is free through the City Neighbors Foundation website at www.cityneighborsfoundation.org. Breakfast and lunch are provided. Doors open at 8 a.m.


Employee Self Service Career Pathway Open for BTU Professionals

BTU Professionals may bank qualifying graduate credits taken after June 30, 2011 as AUs. 

As of Monday, Nov.  21, BTU Professionals have been able to submit graduate level course work and recertification coursework completed between July 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 to their Career Pathway profile in Employee Self-Service. Pay for approved Achievement Units resulting in interval movement may be retroactive to the date of the completed course.

  • This system will be active for completed summer and fall coursework submissions from November 21, 2011 – January 20, 2012.
  • You must submit an official transcript from the university you attended. Grade reports, unofficial transcripts, or submissions without an official transcript attached will not be accepted.
  • Submitting courses for recertification and as AUs are two separate processes.

Please see below for admission instructions.

To Access your Profile:

  • Go to http://www.baltimorecityschools.org 
  • Click “Employees” at top right
  • Click “Employee Self Service” at left
  • Enter ERP username and Password to log in
  • Click “Employee Self Service”
  • Click “Employee Career Pathway Profile” and follow prompts

Submit Coursework for Review

  • Log into your Career Pathway Profile on ESS
  • Follow the prompts to “Initiate Review”
  • Upload documentation of credits that have not yet been applied to your current pay grade, e.g.,
  • Official transcripts
  • Write down your transaction tracking number
  • Your request and documentation will be electronically forwarded to the Career Pathway Service Center for review. All documentation is subject to official verification.
  • You will receive written notification within 10 business days regarding your request.
  • Your Career Pathway Profile and AU balance will be updated on ESS.

Request a Personal Consultation

You may also request an individual consultation. A schedule of available meeting times and instructions for registration are available on ESS.


PSASA Joint Governing Panel Announcement

The Joint Governing Panel (JGP) has a critical role in successful implementation of the Public School Administrators and Supervisors Administration (PSASA) contract as the JGP's recommendations will ultimately become the contract policies. Both Dr. Alonso and PSASA president, Jimmy Gittings nominated five candidates from each group represented in PSASA (principals, assistant principals, central office administrators). Candidates were interviewed by district and PSASA representatives using a set of interview questions and a scoring tool. Candidates with the highest interview scores were offered roles on the JGP.  Click here for a full list of the panel.  

Share Information with Students Interested in Career and Technology Education

The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners invites all interested students, families and staff to a special conversation about Career and Technology Education, to be held on Tuesday, Jan. 31, beginning at 6 p.m. at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. Join Sonja Brookins Santelises, CTE staff and students and Board Commissioners for an evening of information and conversation about the exciting CTE programs available at City Schools -- from health care to engineering to computer programming and more. Ideal for students considering their middle and high school options or for anyone interested in the ways in which City Schools prepares students for college and career. Please download the event flyer for more details, and share with your students and colleagues.