FCPS to Welcome Students Back to School on August 17

For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
August 12, 2016 
540-662-3888 ext. 88235

Frederick County Public Schools is prepared to welcome students back for the start of the 2016-17 school year on Wednesday, August 17. Schools Superintendent Dr. David Sovine says, “Teachers, administrators and support staff are anxiously awaiting the start of another school year. The start of the 2016-17 school year promises to be exciting as we open the new Frederick County Middle School and expand our 1:1 Chromebook initiative to include all students in grades 3-12. We will also be using a new student information system starting this year that will provide students and parents with a user-friendly means of accessing grades, assignments and a wealth of other information.”

Enrollment for the 2016-17 school year is projected to be 13,117. Sovine says, “After experiencing relatively steady enrollment for a number of years, we are starting to see growth that our projections indicate will likely be sustained as the economy continues to improve and new homes continue to be built within the county. We have been actively planning to address our current and future space needs and are working on several projects, including a fourth high school and 12 th elementary school. Anticipating and planning for the community’s future needs continues to be one of our areas of focus.”

One of the highlights of the first day of the 2016-17 school year will be the opening of the new Frederick County Middle School. The school, which is replacing the Frederick County Middle School which opened in 1965, sits on 38 acres adjacent to Gainesboro Elementary School. The new school totals about 180,000 square feet and has a program capacity of approximately 900 students.

Sovine says, “While it’s been exciting to see the new Frederick County Middle School project come to fruition over the past few years, I’m really looking forward to seeing the faces of students when they enter the school on opening day. The building was designed with students in mind and will provide them with new opportunities for academic, physical and social growth.”

During the 2016-17 school year, the implementation of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative will be completed and all high school students will be provided with their own Chromebook. As a result of the multi-year effort, all students in grades 3-12 will have their own Chromebook to use during the school year.

Sovine says, “We started the 1:1 Chromebook initiative a number of years ago with students in the sixth grade. We then expanded to include grades 3-8 and this year we will be able to provide a device to all of our high school students. We are very pleased with the results of this initiative. Teachers utilize the devices to better engage students in the learning process, differentiate instruction to meet each child’s unique learning needs and be more efficient in their work. The devices also help students learn the value of teamwork and communication as they use various programs and applications to collaborate with their peers on projects.”

In addition to opening the new Frederick County Middle School and completing the implementation of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative, Frederick County Public Schools will begin using a new student information system from Tyler Technologies called Parent/Student 360 in the 2016-17 school year. Parent/Student 360 is replacing Edline and will provide parents and students with a variety of information including student schedules, grades and attendance data. Shortly after the start of the 2016-17 school year, parents and students will receive a user name and password that will allow them to login to Parent/Student 360. The Parent/Student 360 link can be found under Parents & Students on the school division’s website and each individual school website.

Frederick County Public Schools is welcoming many new staff members for the upcoming school year. As of August 12, Frederick County Public Schools has hired 104 licensed staff members to begin work in the 2016-17 school year. The new licensed staff members have an average of 4.75 years of experience and 44 percent have advanced degrees.

With the start of the new school year less than a week away, school officials are joining with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police to remind motorists to use extra caution, especially in school zones and around school buses. Frederick County Public Schools Transportation Director John Grubbs says, “In order to help us keep all students safe, we’re asking motorists to slow down and be aware of their surroundings during those times when students are being transported to and from school. Under Virginia law, motorists are required to stop for a school bus when its lights are flashing unless there is a physical barrier or unpaved area between the lane in which the bus is traveling and the lane in which the vehicle is traveling.”

Traditionally, Route 522 south of Route 50 is an area where motorists inadvertently pass school buses. Since there are no physical barriers or unpaved areas between the northbound and southbound lanes of Route 522 in that area, all vehicles must stop for school buses loading and unloading students there.

On the first day of school, students will receive a student registration/emergency form to be reviewed by their parent/guardian. The form will be pre-populated with the contact information on file with the school division. It is critical that the information, particularly home and cell phone numbers, be verified and any corrections or additions noted on the form before it is returned to school. If a student’s contact information changes during the school year, it’s important that the school is provided with updated information to ensure that families can be contacted when necessary and in the event of an emergency.

Parents also are being reminded about the school division’s online school payment portal MySchoolBucks. The system is available to pay for student meals, fees, activities and other purchases online. It also allows parents to view current cafeteria account balances, review recent purchases, receive low-balance alerts and setup recurring payments on a weekly or monthly basis. Payments can be made through MySchoolBucks 24 hours a day using VISA, MasterCard or Discover. A link to MySchoolBucks can be found under Quick Links on each individual school’s homepage. MySchoolBucks also offers a free mobile app which can be used to access accounts within the system. There is no transaction fee charged to utilize MySchoolBucks.

Frederick County has three high schools, four middle schools, 11 elementary schools, and two instructional centers. It’s the 22nd largest of 134 school divisions in Virginia.