20 Days Until School Starts

FREDERICK, MD - Frederick County public schools will welcome more than 40,000 students Monday, August 23rd.  Here?s how FCPS is shaping up for 2010-11:

?         Enrollment is projected at 40,204, about the same as last year, though county schools have seen an increase of about 3,200 students the last decade. For an idea of how many students 40,000 is, picture children filling Frederick?s Harry Grove Stadium more than seven times over or standing in a line 19 miles long.  That?s all the way from Catoctin to Oakdale High and farther than the distance from Middletown to New Market Elementary!

?         FCPS opens its 10th high school, Oakdale, as the Linganore students who temporarily occupied Oakdale move back this fall to the completely rebuilt Linganore High.

?         Over the summer, the school system consolidated staff from five outmoded buildings into one efficient Central Office facility.  Anyone needing to visit the Central Office can find the majority of staff now in one location at 191 S. East Street in downtown Frederick, with plentiful parking nearby.

?         FCPS bid farewell to a record 152 retirees, and Human Resources staff hired about 100 teachers this summer, nearly half with previous experience. Most hail from Maryland and surrounding states. Overall, FCPS employs nearly 3,000 teachers, for a total 5,500 full- and part-time employees.

?         Families will find a helpful Back-to-School icon on the www.fcps.org home page for easy access to school-supply lists, important forms, information about school meals, the new Calendar Handbook in full color and more.

?         New this year:  text messaging for emergency notices via FindOutFirst.  More than 28,000 people subscribe to the FCPS FindOutFirst service for e-mail and text messages. Many need to update their registered grade levels and school relationships to get 2010-11 news. In addition to system-level notices about snow days and more, 41 schools send their own FindOutFirst non-emergency e-mail. School Web sites and www.fcps.org have signup links.  Each notice sent includes links to unsubscribe or update.

?         Essential forms are easier than ever for parents to fill out. The Student Information Card will arrive already personalized with the most current information in the FCPS database for each child. Although parents must still return the form to school they will only have to verify or correct the form rather than starting from scratch and completing information in triplicate. The Health and Emergency Information Form is separate now and is also online for those who prefer to type, print, sign and send it in.

?         Food Service managers have worked hard to keep breakfast and lunch prices steady again this year, with elementary students paying $1.10 for breakfast and $2 for lunch, and middle and high school students paying $1.35 for breakfast and $2.25 for lunch.  When purchased separately, milk is still $.40. Families with limited ability to pay may apply for free or reduced-price student meals, using a Meal Benefit Form distributed when school starts. Again this fall, even when opening one or two hours late, all schools will serve breakfast. Food Service will fill more than 3,700 breakfast and 15,000 lunch orders each school day. Cafeterias offer whole-grain options for pizza crust, rolls and cereals plus fresh vegetables, fruits and low-fat choices daily, and snack foods that meet nutritional guidelines.

?         Mechanics are prepping 420 yellow school buses to transport 29,000 kids to and from school and cover 8,000 field trips and other extracurricular activities.  FCPS will soon post details to the online back-to-school section.  Bus drivers remind the public to stay alert for their flashing lights and stop signs; it is dangerous and illegal to pass a school bus stopped for children.

?         Fall parent-teacher conferences are November 22 and 23 this year, just before Thanksgiving break.  FCPS will provide students a 2010-11 Calendar Handbook the first school day, with additional important dates and information for families.

?         In addition to FCPS Television programming on Comcast cable 18, the public can watch programs online, both live and anytime of day via ?video on demand.? Check out Focus on Fitness for fun at-home activities and sCOOL Science to see what elementary students are learning, plus BOE meetings broadcast live.

?         The county and state have committed about $5.9 million for new schools, renovations, additions, technology and land, down from $35.2 million last year. The FY ?11 operating budget is $506.9 million, up from $497.2 million in FY ?10. Ninety-eight percent of the budget goes directly to schools and school support, the physical plant, and student transportation, with a low 2% to administration.

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