• Take Action Archive, November

    Mathematics Instructional Support Teacher (IST) Meetings
    Principals, please select one to two representatives from your school to attend the City Schools mathematics IST meetings that will occur every two weeks, and please direct them to register right away for the Nov. 29 meeting.   

    The Office of Teaching and Learning invites all high school principals to submit the names of their school’s ISTs to join the City Schools mathematics IST meetings that will occur every two weeks at City Schools. The first meeting will be held on Mon., Nov. 29 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the seminar room of the PDC building at 2500 E. Northern Parkway, Baltimore, MD. The reinstatement of these meetings is to support student achievement and the HSA Algebra/Data Analysis. Take-aways include strategies and artifacts to support the implementation of best practices for classroom instruction. Principals are asked to select the mathematics representatives who will participate in this event on a regular basis (no more than two per building, one being the IST) and direct them to register on iLearn. Please use the Show Me link under the Avaliable Classes tab on iLearn to complete the registration.
    Reminder: College Applications Due Nov. 24
    High school principals and guidance counselors, please read this post about college applications and work to prepare students for visits by college representatives. Please also have all graduating seniors fill out at least one college application by Nov. 24.

    City Schools is committed to graduating great kids who are ready for college, work and life. As part of this commitment, we want to provide our students with an opportunity to meet with a college representative who will work with them one-on-one to complete a college application. Therefore, we are conducting a week-long college application campaign. Our goal is to have 100 percent of our graduating seniors fill out at least one college application by Nov. 24. Four college representatives will be visiting your school for about an hour each on the date designated on this schedule. The time slots are 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. We are encouraging all applications to be completed online, and we recommend that each school hosts college representatives in a room with Internet access. Please have your school counselor assist the representatives with this process. We also ask that school counselors provide students with the necessary information (SAT scores, transcripts, etc.) and help assign students to college representatives before their visit. Thank you for your help and support in this initiative. By working together, we can help all of our children realize the college dream.
    Identifying Students with Out of County Living Arrangements and Under Informal Kinship Care (OCLA/IKC)
    Principals and enrollee and withdrawal contacts, please read this post and provide the Office of Student Placement with the requested form to identify students in OCLA/IKC. The form is due on Nov. 24.  
    The Office of Student Placement requests that school-based enrollee and withdrawal contacts provide the documentation needed to verify students placed in City Schools when the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) reside outside of Baltimore City or when the placement agency is outside of Baltimore City. Our district will not get reimbursed the appropriate funds if we are negligent in providing the state with the requested documentation for these students. We are asking that you complete this form, even if you have no students to report, and return it to Ernest Miles and Justin Harper in the Office of Student Placement (via interoffice mail) on or before the close of business on Wed., Nov. 24. Please also see the following documents, which provide more details and information about this process:
    Choice Process Reform for Middle and High Schools
    Please review the memo and training presentation regarding the new choice process for middle and high school students, and please direct questions to the Office of Student Placement before Wed., Nov. 24.
    The Office of Student Placement has implemented a new choice process for the 2011-12 school year. The new process features a single-choice timeline, guide and fair. Principals, please review the memo and training presentation for additional information about the new choice process. If a principal requires in-person training or has any questions, please contact the Office of Student Placement (410-396-8600) before Wed., Nov. 24.
    Literacy Leader Orientation Registration is Now Open
    Principals, please appoint literacy leads and have them register for the orientation course before Nov. 23.   
    Registration for the Literacy Leader Orientation course, scheduled for Dec. 2, is now open on iLearn.Orientation sessions will take place at Harford Heights Elementary School (1919 N. Broadway Baltimore, MD 21213). Principals are invited to register and attend the orientation sessions if they need to revisit the assessments before making selections. The agenda for the Dec. 2 courses is as follows:
    Session 1: Elementary and K-8 Schools
    8 to 8:45 a.m. - Overview of literacy assessments
    8:45 to 9:15 a.m. - Overview of roles, responsibilities, and expectations of a literacy leader
    9:15 to 10:15 a.m. - Overview of Wireless Generation mCLASS: Reading 3D
    10:15 to 11: 15 a.m. - Overview of STEP assessment
    11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. - Overview of RISE

    Session 2: Middle and High Schools
    1 to 1:45 p.m. - Overview of literacy assessments
    1:45 to 2:15 p.m. - Overview of roles, responsibilities, and expectations of a literacy leader
    2:15 to 3:00 p.m. - Overview of RISE
    For questions or more information about assessment implementation, please contact: 
    RISE - Amy Rosenkrans arosenkrans@bcps.k12.md.us
    - Charlene Iannone-Campbell cicampbell@bcps.k12.md.us
    Wireless Generation - Ashley Cook acook01@bcps.k12.md.us
    An Opportunity for American Education Week
    Principals and teachers, please share Dr. Alonso’s letter with your middle and high school students during American Education Week (Nov. 15-19).


    Please click here for a letter from Dr. Alonso to City Schools students about an article, “In Baltimore, More Time in School Means Less Juvenile Crime,” published in the Baltimore Sun on Sun., Nov. 14. The article describes the connection between the recent reduction in dropouts in City Schools and the corresponding drop in juvenile crime in Baltimore City over the past three years. Please use this letter to initiate conversations with middle and high school students during American Education Week (Nov. 15-19). This week offers a chance for schools across the country to engage in conversations about education, so please take this opportunity to discuss this important and great news about City Schools.
    Title I Highly Qualified Compliance
    Principals of Title I schools must send letters by Oct. 11 to all parents with a child receiving instruction from a teacher not considered Highly Qualified; principals must also submit an Attestation Form by Nov. 15.

    As part of Title I compliance to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the Office of Human Capital—Teacher Licensure and Highly Qualified will be monitoring staff who meet federal standards for “Highly Qualified” status.  As you may know, as of June 30, 2006, all core academic subject teachers are required to meet the standards for Highly Qualified. In order to meet these requirements, our office will implement several measures this year to monitor and improve Highly Qualified compliance. The details of these measures are outlined in this memo. They include having principals (1) send letters by Oct. 11 to all parents with a child receiving instruction from a teacher who is not considered Highly Qualified (2) complete an Attestation Form, which is an acknowledgment that their school is in compliance with NCLB, by Nov. 15. Please note that principals who do not submit an Attestation Form will receive an audit from the Office of Human Capital—Teacher Licensure and Highly Qualified. If you have any questions or need for assistance regarding Highly Qualified compliance, please contact Shannon Steffes at SRSteffes@bcps.k12.md.usor (443)-642-4076.     
    Title I Parent Involvement Allocation Funds Available—Start Planning Now
    Principals of Title I schools, please view the guidance documents and resources in this post and submit your Title I Parent Involvement Allocation spending plan by Nov. 5.
    Schools should begin jointly developing their Title I Parent Involvement Allocation spending plan with parents. Schools must refer to and follow these resources and guidance documents when jointly developing the plan:  (1) Title I Parent Allocation Guidance(2) sample spending plan(3) spending categories and tips(4) sample budget input form(5) sample budget flier and feedback form(to invite parents to jointly develop the spending plan) (6) information about role of the Family and Community Engagement lead.
    Principals can now log on to the ERP Portal, Principal’s Budget Additional Allocation System (Principal’s Budget Tool-Parent Involvement) to view the allocation amount for their school and to submit the spending plans. For a short video on how to use the budget tool and submit your spending plan, please visit: http://www.bcpss.org/bbcswebdav/courses/BCPSSPRINBUDGET/ParentInvolvement/PrincipalsBudgetToolPIFY11_fs.htm.
    Spending plans must be submitted no later than Fri., Nov. 5 by 5 p.m.
    For any questions or support, please contact your Family and Community Engagement specialist at 410-545-1870.
    Administrative Recommendation to Hire Forms
    Principals, please submit your Administrative Recommendation to Hire forms by Nov. 9.
    Administrative Recommendation to Hire forms are due on Nov. 9 for teachers and staff being hired as a result of the budget adjustment process. Please note that if forms are not turned in by Nov. 9, the Office of Human Capital will move to assign positions beginning Nov. 12. Please refer to the enrollment adjustment guidance for more information.
    Submit School-Parent Compact
    Principals, please submit a copy of your School-Parent Compact to your Family and Community Engagement Specialist by Nov. 12.
    Please submit a copy of your School-Parent Compact to the Family and Community Engagement (FCE) Specialist assigned to your school by no later than Fri., Nov. 12. The School-Parent Compact must be revised with parent input each school year. If your school does not have a School-Parent Compact, you will need to develop one. Please click these links for tips and recommendations, a checklist and a compact sample. For technical assistance creating a Compact, please contact your FCE Specialist. Please call the Office of Partnerships, Communications and Community Engagement at 410-545-1870 with any questions.
    Pre-K and Kindergarten Benchmarks
    Principals, please print the benchmarks provided in this post for your pre-k and kindergarten benchmark assessments, administered between Nov. 1 and 12.

    The test administration window for pre-k and kindergarten benchmark assessments is from Nov. 1 to 12. Please find the benchmarks posted on the Benchmark Assessment course on TSS at http://www.bcpss.org/bin/common/course.pl?course_id=_155266_1. Benchmarks should be printed from TSS because test booklets are not provided. The answer sheets are posted on City Schools Data Link and should be printed from there.
    American Education Week in City Schools (Nov. 15-19)
    Principals, please read this post and consider hosting an open house during American Education Week (Nov. 15-19) to showcase the great things happening at your school. 

    American Education Week is an annual national event designed to focus attention on K-12 education. This year’s theme is “Great Public Schools: Our Right and Our Responsibility.” With a combination of both school-level and district-wide activities, we expect to: provide an opportunity for parents and community members to see the great things happening at each school; connect interested members of the community to opportunities to become engaged in their local school; understand the changes happening across the district; offer information to families around choice; and encourage relationship building and outreach between schools and alumni.

    In order to address these goals, all schools are encouraged to host one open house during American Education Week (Nov. 15-19) to showcase the great things happening in each of our great schools. Please click here for a tip sheet on hosting an open house and information on how to highlight these activities on your school web site. All American Education Week activities posted on school web sites will then be highlighted on the district web site (www.baltimorecityschools.org) for parents and community members to see. Please continue to check the district web site for more information about events happening throughout this week, including information sessions for parents on college choice and saving for college, along with Community Chats with the CEO and CAO. Please also direct your families to the Family Menu (the November issue) to find out more information about when and where the Family Institute will host workshops throughout American Education Week. For more information, please call the Family and Community Engagement Office at 410-545-1870.
    CEO Holiday Card Student Art Contest
    Principals and teachers, please distribute the flier about the CEO Holiday Card Student Art Contest to interested students and ensure that entries are submitted by Fri., Nov. 12.

    The Office of the CEO and the Board of School Commissioners are holding a student art contest for the cover of the 2010 Holiday Card. There will be four winners, one from each of the following grade groups: pre-k to 2nd, 3rd to 5th, 6th to 8th and 9th to 12th. Each winner will receive a $50 Visa gift card and will be recognized at the City Schools board meeting on Dec. 14. Submissions are due by 7 p.m. on Fri., Nov. 12 and may be sent as a digital image to lfriend@bcps.k12.md.us or delivered in person to Nicole Mullins, Executive Secretary to the CEO, 200 E. North Ave., Room 405.
    Please distribute this flier to interested students and teachers. And note that each entry must meet the following requirements:
    • Entries must remain holiday neutral or inclusive of all holidays.
    • Entries must be at least 8 x 10 inches and no larger than 18 x 24.
    • Entries must be 2-dimensional.
    • Enries must include the student name, grade and school name.
    For questions or more information, contact Larry Friend at lfriend@bcps.k12.md.us or 443-642-6688.
    Great Choices-Great Futures: Preparing for the School Choice Fair
    Principals, please read the post and linked documents about the annual Middle and High School Choice Fair on Nov. 13. Note that School Choice Fair Information Request forms must be submitted by Nov. 10.

    The annual Middle and High School Choice Fair, which kicks off the choice process, is just around the corner, and the Office of Student Support and Safety is gearing up for another fantastic event. The fair will take place on Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Poly-Western complex (1400 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD). This year’s fair will include middle and high school choice options for students going into 6th and 9th grades next year. A total of 65 schools will attend.

    We know that schools are working hard to inform, educate and excite parents and students about their options. And we ask that you please continue this work as we approach the date. Parents and students should expect to speak with school representatives and students about the great things going on at each school, and school choice liaisons should work with students to identify their interests, discuss school options and help them make choices.
    Please click here for the Middle and High School Choice Fair flier (English version / Spanish version). These fliers will also be distributed to schools by the close of business on Thur., Nov. 4. For the 65 schools participating in the School Choice Fair as available options, please also click here for: a letter to School Choice Fair 2010 participantsand a School Choice Fair Information Request form, which must be returned to Debbie Thomas (DThomas03@bcps.k12.md.us) and Tia Turner (TATurner@bcps.k12.md.us) by 5 p.m. on Wed., Nov. 10.

    System-Wide Notification of OMB Circular A-87 Compliance
    Principals, please review this post and guidance document about completing certification affidavits for federally funded employees, as required by the Office of Management and Budget.
    Please see this guidance document about the FY 2011 school system notification for the annual Office of Management and Budget (OMB) certification process. And please note the following:


    • any employee paid using federal funds must be certified twice a year;
    • the guidelines provide a step-by-step process for completing the certification;
    • reports for the first certification will be forwarded to you the week of Dec. 6;
    • a sample template and document are provided in the guidelines;
    • any employee who is split-funded must maintain time and effort logs.
    Title I Schools: Need Help Submitting Your Parent Involvement Budget?
    Principals (of Title I schools) in need of assistance submitting your Title I Parent Involvement Budget can sign up for and attend a training session at central office on Oct. 27 or Nov. 3.

    Family and Community Engagement (FCE) specialists will be available to provide technical assistance to principals during the following two sessions: Wed., Oct. 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. and Wed., Nov. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. Trainings will take place in the Computer Training Room on the ground floor of Baltimore City Public Schools, 200 E. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202. Please note that this is a working session in the computer lab. If principals are designating a representative, they need to provide their own log-in and password for access to the budget tool. Space is limited, so please register here to attend the Oct. 27 sessionand here to attend the Nov. 3 session. Note that you"ll need to enter your City Schools username and password to access the registration form. Once capacity is reached, a waitlist will be formed.
    Principals who cannot make these sessions but need assistance are encouraged to contact their FCE specialist. As a reminder, the Title I Parent Involvement Allocation Budget must be submitted by Fri., Nov. 5. Evidence that parents were involved in the development of the budget is required. For guidance, samples and other information, please refer to our previous poston City Schools Inside.
    Benefits Open Enrollment
    Employees, please make any benefits changes for the upcoming year between Oct. 25 and Nov. 5.
    Benefits open enrollment begins Mon., Oct. 25 and runs through Fri., Nov. 5. This is the one time a year you can make benefits changes for the upcoming calendar year. You may access the Employee Self- Service System each day between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Open enrollment selections or changes that require documentation must be received by the Division of Benefits Management no later than Fri., Nov. 5, or the elections will not be processed. Please see this flierfor helpful tips to assist you during the open enrollment period. For questions about benefit plan offerings or rates, please contact the Division of Benefits Management at Benefits@bcps.k12.md.us or City Schools Connect at 410-396-8885 during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Benefit and wellness sessions will also be held at various locations during the open enrollment period. For dates, times and locations, please look at the open enrollment materials sent to your home addresses.
    Classroom Coverage for Teachers Attending the MMSR Data Entry Training and Submission
    Principals, please secure classroom coverage for your pre-k and kindergarten teachers attending the half-day MMSR Data Entry Training and Submission session on either Nov. 1 or 3. Note that funding will be allocated to your school’s substitute budget string to cover the cost.
    Please secure classroom coverage for your pre-k and kindergarten teachers attending MMSR Data Entry Training and Submission, which takes place on either Nov. 1 or 3 for half a day. An outline of exactly when and where your teachers are scheduled can be found by clicking here. (Please note that this scheduled was revised on Oct. 15.)

    Also note that funding will be allocated to your school’s substitute budget string to cover the cost of substitutes. The date you will receive this funding is forthcoming.

    The Early Learning Office has done its best to schedule your teachers so that one sub can cover one teacher in the morning and a second teacher in the afternoon. Para-professionals, if they are willing, may be asked to cover the classes and receive the sub allocation that is funded. If you have any questions about substitute funding, please contact Matthew Griffin in the Early Learning Office at MRGriffin@bcps.k12.md.us
    Enhancement to Payroll System
    All payroll contacts and approvers, please take a mandatory online training session on the new enhancement to the payroll system between Oct. 18 and 29.
    In an effort to streamline our time entry system, the Payroll Office at Baltimore City Public Schools is adding a new feature that allows payroll contacts and approvers to use the current web enabled timecard application to enter and approve time for those employees whose assignment is split between multiple organizations. This enhancement to the timecard makes record keeping and attendance tracking more convenient because it allows for each school or organization to enter, submit and approve hours for staff whose work days are split among various schools or organizations. With the enhancement, schools and organizations will no longer have to call in attendance for employees who do not appear on their organization’s or school’s timecard, and employees will be able to ensure that their work hours are recorded accurately and on-time by each worksite.
    In preparation for our go-live on Nov. 6, the Payroll Office is requiring that all payroll contacts and approvers be trained on this new feature any time between Mon., Oct. 18 and Fri., Oct. 29. The training takes less than a half hour and be accessed by logging in to TSS. Once you log in, look under My Courses and click the link for Split Org Position Time Entry. If you are a payroll contact, you will need to select the payroll contacts tab on the left side of the screen, and if you are a payroll approver, please select payroll approvers. At the end of the lesson, all payroll contacts and approvers must complete the training assessment. The assessment consists of multiple choice questions that will test how well you understood the training material.

    Please note that all payroll contacts and approvers must take the training, whether you have split-time employees at this time or not.
    If you have questions, please contact Kimberly Womack, Payroll Director, at kwomack@bcps.k12.md.us.