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Giving Thanks—and Learning Green
Please click here for a letter from Dr. Alonso to City Schools colleagues and staff about the new Learning Green section on Great Kids Up Close. The letter describes some amazing work that City Schools teachers and students have done to take care of the earth and make Baltimore a healthier, greener place to live and learn. The letter also discusses a new section called Learning Green, which provides resources that make it easier for schools to go green.
Ready, Set, Read!
Matt Birk, a two-time all-pro, six-time Pro Bowl selection and the current center for the Baltimore Ravens, is partnering with City Schools to launch Ready, Set, Read!, a new program under Matt Birk’s HIKE Foundation. The goal of Ready, Set, Read! is to motivate and encourage City Schools students in 1st-5th grade to read at home and realize the importance of their education. “Serving as the ‘Reading Spokesman’ for all schools participating in the program, I will emphasize the importance of reading and education to students through a series of audio and video PSA's,” stated Birk, a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in economics. “In addition, ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ will provide each participating school with motivational posters to distribute throughout the academic year and offer incentives to students who have shown improvement and a dedicated effort to increase their reading level.” At the end of the year, the Hike Foundation will provide an end of the year celebration for participating teachers and students.

The HIKE Foundation is still accepting schools interested in participating. For more information, please contact Kathleen Hennessey with the HIKE Foundation at 859-448-3430 or kathleen.hennessey@prolanthropy.net.
Council of Teachers for the Environment—A New Opportunity for City Schools Teachers
Teachers, please consider joining the Council of Teachers for the Environment at Baltimore City Public Schools. The council is a new and active network of teachers who are passionate about environmental issues and looking for ways to participate in the process of systemically greening our classrooms, schools and curriculum. We hold periodic voluntary meetings that serve as professional development and provide opportunities to contact and learn about community resources. Most information and conversation will be distributed electronically. You can be as involved as you want. By joining, the council will provide advice, support and information to teachers engaged in greening at their schools. The council will also provide a pipeline of information from system administrators and community organizations to teachers and schools—and serve as a way for you to communicate your issues, concerns and successes to system administrators and community organizations. To become a part of this exciting new network of educators, please provide your contact information by following this link: http://research.zarca.com/k/SsUVRYsQRXQsPsPsP. Or contact the teachers who founded the council, Nick McDaniels (nrmcdaniels@bcps.k12.md.us) and Scott Hartman (sahartman@bcps.k12.md.us).
USA Today "Believe" Program - Free Newspapers
The USA Today "Believe" Program is looking for 10 elementary school teachers in Baltimore City Public Schools! The “Believe” program includes: access to the electronic edition of USA TODAY, 5 days a week for 6 weeks, starting Nov. 8—plus access for up to 28 students at one time; access to the “Believe” Activity Guide and online toolkit, which offers downloadable activities for teachers; the opportunity for students to write letters on the topic of “Believe,” and for every letter dropped off, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Any interested elementary school teachers should e-mail Kim Svoboda right away at ksvoboda@usatoday.com (please place “Macy’s” in the subject line) or call 516-924-1355. Be sure to include the following in your e-mail: name, school name, address, e-mail, principal and subjects/grade level(s) taught.
Supplemental Educational Services (SES) Update
The Title I/Federal Programs Office would like to thank all Supplemental Educational Services (SES) principals for providing the leadership required to begin the SES season. The office appreciates principals' commitment to ensuring that students have an opportunity to receive this important intervention. Principals have received a preliminary list of students. Please note that this represents about 20% of the applications that have been entered into the system. Temporary support has been solicited to help with this intensive data entry task. Click here for the full SES update. If principals have questions about the SES program, they should contact SES specialists, Keshawn Golson (kgolson@bcps.k12.md.us), Naomi Hill (NOHill@bcps.k12.md.us) or call the Title I/Federal Programs Office (410-396-8937).
CTY Offers Testing for Gifted Students (Dec. 18)
Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is hosting Baltimore talent search testing for gifted students in grades 2-8 on Sat., Dec. 18. Students who receive free or reduced lunch are eligble to apply for financial aid for fees associated with testing. Please consider sharing the open testing flier and directions to the testing site with students and families. Contact Bertha Knight (bknight@bcps.k12.md.us) for additional information.
URGENT: BTU Teacher Pay for Dec. 10
For Baltimore Teacher's Union (BTU) teachers who may have questions about the changes to their 2010 pay, please see the payroll processing information sheet and FAQs submitted by the Office of Human Capital and Payroll Office. If there are additional questions, please contact the payroll office (payroll@bcps.k12.md.us) or the compensation office (compensation@bcps.k12.md.us).  

So, I'm Different. Teach Me! Creating Safer Schools for All
The Office of Student Support and Safety would like educators to understand the needs of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning students. Come get answers to questions and find out what support is available to help work with City Schools' students, parents, families and staff at an educational session. This session offers materials about new safety regulations, bullying and the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Safe Space Campaign. The session will be held on Mon., Dec. 13 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Samuel L. Banks Professional Development Center (2500 East Northern Parkway in Rm. 105). Please register with Pam Moore(mailto:pmoore@bcps.k12.md.us or call 443-642-3855) by Wed., Dec. 8 if you would like to join the session.
City Schools' Recommendations to Expand Strong School Options in 2011-12
This year marks the third year of Expanding Great Options, City Schools’ annual process to expand good school options for all students in Baltimore City. In the first two years of this work, the Board has approved school choice so that all middle and high school students can now choose their school. It has also approved the creation of four new charter schools and 13 Transformation Schools; the expansion of pre-K; the relocation of several schools to better optimize building space and provide more students with access to strong school programs; and the turnaround and closure of 19 schools that weren’t working for our students. Click here to read Dr. Alonso's full message about Expanding Great Options.
BeWell—Great Schools Start with You!
The Office of Human Capital is proud to introduce a brand new health and wellness initiative, BeWell, for all City Schools staff and employees. Through BeWell, City Schools will communicate regularly with employees about the many aspects of wellness and provide the necessary resources and activities to take charge of individual well being. When students come to school well rested, well fed and with ample opportunity to stay active, they come to school ready to learn. It is time to transfer the same idea to the staff and employees who work every day to promote an excellent learning environment for students.
Take advantage of this unique opportunity, and BeWell for yourself and for the great kids that City Schools serve. For more information, please read this BeWell Public Service Announcement. You can also learn more from the Office of Human Capital’s new web section, BeWell, and by contacting Tondalaya Johnson (tljohnson01@bcps.k12.md.us).
GATE Professional Development
The next Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) professional development activity will be held on Dec. 11 at the Loyola Graduate Center (2034 Greenspring Dr. Timonium, MD 21093). For details, including registration instructions, see the activity flier. For additional questions, please contact Elizabeth Harris (EHarris@bcps.k12.md.us).
Early Learning Liaison Session 3
The third Early Learning Liaison session is on Dec. 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. at 200 E. North Ave. in room 317. The Early Learning Office would like to thank all school cohorts that have joined the meetings and completed all follow-up assignments. Remember, stipends are only paid to those who attend the session and complete the follow-up assignments. Schools that have 100% cohort attendance and assignment completion will receive a special year-end bonus. Please note, one person from a school may attend each meeting and if a representative from the school is unable to attend a meeting, another team member should be in attendance. Sign up on iLearn one week prior to the meeting date to receive teacher resources, food and preferential seating. For more information, contact Noelle Reeder Hickok (nrhickok@bcps.k12.md.us).
College Awareness Month Family Workshops
As part of College Awareness Month, City Schools will host a variety of workshops in November to help students and families better prepare and attain a college education. These workshops include:
  • "Preparing for College, It Is Never Too Early to Start," Nov. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Waverly Elementary/Middle School, 3400 Ellerslie Avenue Baltimore, MD 21218. This workshop will encourage families to discuss the importance of college with their children at an early age and suggest things that parents should be considering as they begin helping their child(ren) prepare. Babysitting and refreshments will be available.
  • "Make the Choice to be College-Ready,” Nov. 13, 10-11 a.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m., Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, MD 21209. This workshop will run twice during the Middle School and High School Choice Fair and will encourage families and students to think about their interests and start planning now for college and a career. The workshop will help parents and students understand that the choices they make today will affect their options later on. Families will get advice on what classes students should take in middle and high school to get them “college-ready.”
  • "College Savings Plans of Maryland: Start Early, Save Smart," Nov. 16,4-6 p.m., Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School, 220 N. Bentalou Street, Baltimore, MD 21223. The College Savings Plans of Maryland provide flexible and affordable plans to help Maryland families save for future college expenses and reduce dependence on student loans and other forms of debt. Babysitting and refreshments will be available.
  • "On the Road to College," Dec. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Place TBD. This workshop will help parents and students get a sense of the path to college. Parents and students learn what students need to do throughout their high school journey to be ready for college admission and scholarships.
PSASA Sponsors a Dinner Forum for Principals
The Baltimore City Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PSASA) will hold a dinner forum for all City Schools principals at Coldstream Park Elementary/Middle School (1400 Exeter Hall Ave. Baltimore, MD) on Wed., Dec. 1 at 5:00 p.m. A flier will be distributed via inter-office mail. PSASA looks forward to seeing City Schools principals at the event. For additional information, email Shirley@psasa.org or call 410-243-4310.
Support Academically Advanced Students
Baltimore City Public Schools, academic leaders and education experts want to partner with the families of academically advanced students in a conversation about how those kids can be supported. The conversation will take place on Thurs., Dec. 2 at 6:00 p.m. in the Benjamin Banneker Room of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (1400 W Cold Spring Lane Baltimore, MD 21209). The event will offer families opportunities to share feedback on the current offerings for academically advanced students, and to learn about City Schools’ academic priorities and the gifted and talented education resources available to students in City Schools. For more information, see the event flier, and for questions contact Bertha Knight (BKnight@bcps.k12.md.us) or Rachel Mazyck (RYMazyck@bcps.k12.md.us).
 
City Schools Arts Educators Receive State Recognition
The Maryland Art Educators Association recognized the merits of 8 outstanding educators from Baltimore City Public Schools at its fall conference this year. Congratulations to Vanessa Lopez (Roland Park Elementary/Middle School), Elisabeth Gambino (Sharp-Leadenhall Elementary/Middle School), Rachel Brander (Glenmount Elementary/Middle School), Anne Schmidt (Maritime Industries Academy),  Marnee Keith (City Neighbors Hamilton Charter School), Clare Grizzard (Roland Park Elementary/Middle School) Todd Conway (Digital Harbor High School) and Joanne Strickland (retired in 2010 from Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School). Congratulations to these few who will represent the many talented and dedicated artist-educators of Baltimore City Public Schools.