A Message from Allegany County Public Schools
Our school district is providing this site to allow parents, students, and our community quick access to resources regarding COVID-19. Please know that the physical, emotional, and mental health of our students remains our top priority. We continue to work closely with local and state authorities to make sure that we continue to make the best use of all of our resources to best support our students.
The Allegany County Board of Education voted to start the 2020-2021 school year virtually, utilizing a new learning management platform that will offer learning opportunities that can very closely mirror face-to-face instruction. Students began their virtual learning on September 8, 2020. Click HERE to view the revised POST-Labor Day Calendar for Virtual/Hybrid Learning.
PHASE 2 OF THE LEARN IN SCHOOL PHASED-IN PLAN (Further information and clarification will be forthcoming)
On Monday, September 21, 2020, ACPS will begin Phase 2 of the Learn in School Phased-In Plan. The senior students at the Career Center will report to their skill areas. The transportation department is finalizing bus routes. The CCTE students will attend their skill areas five half-days per week, every other week. On the week of September 28th, the junior students will report to their skill areas. Students at the Career Center will still continue to take their academic week classes virtually through Schoology. Students will eat breakfast and lunch at the school, and dismissal time will be close to noon. CCTE students will be required to wear masks and socially distance appropriately. The skill area class sizes at the Career Center are small enough, and the class spaces have been determined large enough to accommodate appropriate social distancing.
Students with special needs who have been identified for an early return to school will report to their classrooms on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. At the elementary level, in order to maintain the social distancing requirements, classes will be split in half, with one group attending on Monday and Wednesday and the other group attending school on Tuesday and Thursday. The in-person portion of the elementary day will end at 1:30 p.m.
ACPS would like to clarify that the special education students who will begin school on September 23rd are ONLY those students who attend specialized programs at Cash Valley, Washington, Fort Hill, Mountain Ridge, and Allegany College of Maryland. Families of those students have been contacted.
Middle school students and students at Allegany College of Maryland with special needs who have been identified for an early return to school will attend school in two groups for the purposes of social distancing on either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. They will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. High school students with special needs who have been identified for an early return to school will attend school in two groups for the purposes of social distancing on either Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday, and will be dismissed at 12:15 p.m. The transportation department is finalizing bus routes for all of these students, and parents will be contacted within the next few days with this information.
These students will eat breakfast and lunch at the school during in-person learning, and they will take a ‘to go’ breakfast bag with them when they are dismissed. Lunches will continue to be available for pickup on the virtual days at any of the ACPS schools.
Part of the decision making process for the phased-in plan involves the Maryland Department of Health and Allegany County Health Department criteria that must be met by public schools. Students need to wear masks and maintain six feet distance in classrooms and on the school bus.
If the health metrics remain stable, then ACPS will begin to bring in students in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. The anticipated target date for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten to begin in-school learning is the week of October 5th.
A COVID-19 symptom checklist will be provided to every parent. It will be the responsibility of parents and guardians to review this checklist daily to determine if their child has any of the symptoms listed. Parents and guardians should also take their child’s temperature each morning. Under no circumstances should a child who is exhibiting any of the symptoms as outlined on the checklist attend school on that day. Click HERE to view a Parent Letter.
If a student becomes ill while at school, the student must be picked up from school within 30 minutes unless there are extenuating circumstances. Parents and guardians should proactively develop a plan for pick-up in the event their child is symptomatic for the COVID-19 virus while at school.
In the event that there is a potential exposure to COVID-19 at school, the health nurse and school administrators will determine who has been in close contact with the individual following state guidelines. Parents and guardians will be notified in writing if their child is a close contact of someone either positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic of COVID-19. The Allegany County Health Department will determine the quarantine length and return date for each person with COVID-19, symptomatic of COVID-19, or exposed to someone who is positive or symptomatic. The quarantine length will be adhered to without exception. Students who are quarantined will participate in remote learning for the length of their quarantine period.
Our main concern, in addition to providing appropriate services for students, is the health and safety of our students and staff. Thank you for your continued optimism, patience, and support. Please be assured and confident that we are working diligently to ensure that your child will have a robust education as well as the social and emotional support needed to help them thrive. During this unprecedented time, we hope that our ACPS parents and guardians know that our students are our top priority.
If you have a particular question or concern, please email it to email@example.com and it will be addressed as soon as possible.
ACPS WIFI INFORMATIONIf you reside in close proximity to an Allegany County Public School, your wifi may automatically sync with the local school's wifi server upon turning on your computer.For example, if you reside near BelAir Elementary School, your wifi may automatically sync to ACPS-ENT, or if you reside near South Penn Elementary School, your wifi may automatically sync to ACPS-ENT. The same is true if you reside within the general proximity of any Allegany County Public School.While you can access the Internet in this manner, it is not the most efficient way if you have Internet access within your home. Additionally, it most likely provides less speed than your wifi access.To correct the issue, do the following: Upon turning on your computer, go to the "wifi" icon, typically located in the lower right corner on your computer screen.Click on the "radar" image just below the arrow. Then, find your wifi, which will likely be identified by a name someone in your household gave it. This will provide you with access to the Internet provided by your service provider. It should also increase the overall efficiency and Internet speed.Published 9/8/20
UPDATE: Allegany County Public Schools Will Now Serve FREE Meals
Beginning on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Allegany County Public Schools will once again provide FREE meals to all children age 18 and younger through December 31, 2020, pending the availability of funding. This is a change to the earlier update provided by ACPS to families last week and comes as the result of an announcement just released by the federal government (USDA).
ACPS Food and Nutrition Services will provide “to-go” breakfast and lunch at all school locations on Monday-Friday from 12:00-1:30 p.m. Any ACPS student (or their parent/guardian) can pick up the student meals for the day at any location throughout the county. As always, ACPS encourages and highly recommends that parents and students wear masks/cloth face coverings during meal pickups to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
Meals will be available at the following 21 schools: Allegany High, Beall Elementary, Bel Air Elementary, Braddock Middle, Career Center, Cash Valley Elementary, Cresaptown Elementary, Flintstone Elementary, Fort Hill High, Frost Elementary, George’s Creek Elementary, John Humbird Elementary, Mount Savage, Mountain Ridge High, Northeast Elementary, Parkside Elementary, South Penn Elementary, Washington Middle, Westmar Middle, Westside Elementary, and Westernport Elementary.
BACK TO SCHOOL FORMS
At the beginning of each school year, ACPS is required to send a variety of forms home for parents to complete with important information regarding their student(s). All of the necessary Back to School forms can be found HERE. Some of these forms are simply informational and do not need to be returned to the school, and they are labeled as such. For the others, we ask that parents/guardians please complete the required forms and return them to the school via postal mail or in a sealed envelope marked with your student's name and grade to the school office during regular business hours. If you are unable to download and print any of these forms, please contact your child's school for assistance. As always, when visiting any of our school buildings, ACPS encourages and highly recommends that parents/students wear masks/cloth face coverings to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Please note that ACPS is working to make these required forms fillable in the near future.
ACPS will Still Open Fully Virtual on September 8th As Preparations Continue for Small Cohorts, Groups for In-Person Instruction
On August 4, 2020, the Interim Superintendent, Mr. Jeff Blank, recommended a fully virtual learning model to begin the 2020-2021 school year, which the Board of Education unanimously approved. ACPS knows that returning to school with in-person options is important for the development and well-being of the students, but also recognizes our obligation to pursue reopening in a manner that is safe for students, teachers, and staff.
On August 27, 2020, the state of Maryland issued a new document entitled “COVID-19 Guidance for Maryland Schools”. It is noted in this document that the guidance is provided to assist schools to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance states:
School systems and nonpublic schools are encouraged to open for in-person learning where it is safe to do so. These schools are expected to follow applicable guidelines from the Maryland Department of Health, local health department, and the CDC for safe reopening of in-person instruction. Each local school system and nonpublic school, in consultation with the local health department, should review the school reopening metrics to make reopening decisions and to adjust in-person educational offerings, as necessary, when the metrics indicate an increased level of risk.
Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, stated during yesterday’s press conference, “Today, in light of those improving numbers (COVID numbers within the state) and with these specific metrics provided by the Department of Health, I am strongly encouraging local school systems to re-evaluate their mode of instruction by the end of the first quarter of the upcoming school year, especially if they have indicated that they are maintaining a virtual delivery system until January of 2021.”
ACPS has always shared a commitment to providing a hybrid or traditional schooling model when it is deemed a safe and feasible option for our school communities. With the new guidelines provided August 27, 2020, ACPS will still open fully virtual on September 8, 2020, for student learning while continuing preparations in accordance with our submitted plan that allows for small cohorts/groups of students to receive some in-school learning. These small groups could include students with disabilities, early childhood and elementary school students, at-risk students who need additional support through Tiered instruction, and CCTE students who need hands-on instruction within their CTE skill/technical area. Utilizing a gradual, phased-in approach, which may not include all groups at the same time, rather than returning students through the hybrid model, will allow the school system to monitor and mitigate challenges directly and in the future.
The ACPS Recovery Plan, which addresses thirteen areas required by the MSDE, is posted HERE and will be revised and updated as needed going forward.
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER:
At this time, all laptops and Chromebooks have been delivered to schools for distribution. Principals have communicated with parents/guardians regarding distribution procedures. Some of the distributions are occurring this week. If you need a device for a school-age student in the ACPS and you were not able to pick up the device during the scheduled distribution timeframe, please call the school and schedule a date/time to pick up the device and complete the required loaner forms. If you have an extenuating circumstance with regards to transportation, please call and discuss that concern with the school staff. When you pick up the device, the staff will provide you with the credentials and login information that you will need for Schoology.
Login to Schoology
The instructions for how a parent and student can log in to the Schoology Learning Management System (LMS) are available on the website. There is also a video. If you have not viewed any of the introductory videos about Schoology that have been posted on the website, I encourage you watch an overview of the LMS first. The overview will provide you with the basics about how Schoology works from a parent or student’s perspective. Student login information is just firstname.lastname@example.org and their 4-digit code from Aspen. Please ignore the information about the parent access code at this time. You will get a parent access code when school starts which will allow you to view your child's progress.
Once students log in to their Schoology account, they will see their course dashboard. To make sure the student is in his/her account, the first and last name should be in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. The course dashboard shows icons for each class the student is enrolled. The student can select each course to enter into the online classroom. Please know and understand that you may not find any information on a course at this time. It is not the expectation that teachers will have their courses completed with lessons, activities, comments, or updates at this time. Teachers will be adding course information when they return to work next week. That does not mean that some teachers have not already worked during their off hours on their courses. What it does mean is that teachers are not required to have things completed at this time. Therefore, the intended goal of providing the directions and a resource video is so you and/or the student can log in to Schoology and become familiar with the features.
The following are the intended outcomes for parents and students for August 26-August 31:
View an introductory video about Schoology
Review the directions on how to log in to Schoology
View the video on how to log in to Schoology
Log in to Schoology; if your child is capable of logging in to Schoology, allow them to log in as well
If you or the student attempt to log in to Schoology and you are unsuccessful, please call the ACPS IT Help Desk at 301-876-9819. The IT Help Desk staff will answer questions and concerns related to technical issues such as computer problems and accessing Schoology. The Help Desk staff will not answer instructional or classroom specific questions or concerns. The Help Desk is live from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you need assistance outside of these hours, please email ITHelpdesk@acpsmd.org. If you are on a broadband-connected Windows 10 computer, we may ask for remote access to your computer via Microsoft Quick Access.
Please Note the following:
Students must be logged into Google Chrome with their ACPS credentials to have the best Schoology experience.
ACPS credentials and login information for Schoology are provided by your child’s school (s).
Please note that some schools are planning to offer additional training on Schoology for parents/students. If your child’s school is offering a training, the principal will send out the information through the School Robocall system.
Teachers understand that they will need to provide resources to students and parents on how to engage in the learning management system, as well as expectations for learning in a virtual environment. Teachers have been provided with a guidance document on areas that will need to be addressed with students and parents in the opening days of school.
In addition, we have been asked about attendance requirements. The ACPS will provide synchronous “live or real time” and asynchronous learning through archived videos and the online activities for students if there are extenuating family circumstances. While our district goal is that every student participates in synchronous or “real time” instruction, we realize that many parents have to work during the virtual learning hours and that elementary students, in particular, may not be able to navigate the LMS without parental assistance. More information will be provided in the next days. The MSDE is scheduled to update to school systems on district attendance requirements this week.
Thank you for your continued optimism, patience, and support. There is a proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” No one succeeds alone. Success for your child involves a collective effort among all of us. Please work with us in a spirit of cooperation, grace, and kindness. Please be assured and confident that we are working diligently to ensure that your child will have a robust education as well as the social and emotional support needed to help your child thrive. During this unprecedented period in our history, we hope that our ACPS parents know that our students are our top priority. We will do everything possible to deepen our connection with you and support you and your family. Please continue to monitor the website for updates. Stay safe and be well. Dr. Kim Kalbaugh
A Message from the ACPS Chief Academic Officer:
On August 4, 2020, the Interim Superintendent, Mr. Jeff Blank, recommended a fully virtual learning model to begin the school year, which the Board of Education unanimously approved. In the ACPS, we know that returning to school is important for the development and well-being of the students, but we also recognize our obligation to pursue reopening in a manner that is safe for students, teachers, and staff. We recognize that many of you are in agreement that it’s better to open schools virtually to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission and maintain the health and safety of students, teachers and staff; others want schools open for in-person learning so that parents can work and students won’t miss out on traditional methods of learning.
We share a commitment to providing a hybrid or traditional schooling model when it is deemed a safe and feasible option for our school communities. We will monitor the system’s ability to adjust our plans, taking into consideration guidelines from the Maryland Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control, and the Allegany County Health Department. Please note that the ACPS Recovery Plan which addresses thirteen areas required by the MSDE is posted on the ACPS website. Please know that the plan will be revised and updated as needed. The MSDE will be reviewing each district’s plan and providing feedback.
There is no doubt that parents are facing a unique set of challenges as they attempt to balance the demands of home, work, finances, and health—along with the educational needs of your children. With the new school year beginning after Labor Day, we realize that parents are concerned about their child (ren) falling behind academically, emotionally, and socially, as well as fearful that you will not be able to give your child (ren) enough attention during distance learning because of work commitments. We realize many of you are worrying about access to technology and the availability and the quality of your internet services. We also realize that coronavirus-related stress and school-related worries and concerns may be impacting the quality of mental health and wellbeing.
We have also heard that some of our parents are considering withdrawing their child from the ACPS and enrolling their child in home schooling or a private school. For parents who are considering that, we hope that you will reconsider and wait. Give the distance learning model a chance. Give the ACPS teachers a chance to show you what teaching and learning can be like in an enhanced distance learning model. Give Schoology, the new Learning Management System, a chance before a decision is made to withdraw your child from the school system. Schoology is a very accessible system, with a user-friendly interface. Schoology will make it easier for parents to stay involved in their child’s education. Teachers can access Schoology conferences via the BigBlueButton, a built-in conference application. Through this application, your child will participate in live audio and video conferences for real-time learning. Schoology offers 24 hour/7 days of week support for teachers, students, and parents. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, we are working on plans to return small groups of students to in-school learning as soon as possible. We are also coordinating arrangements to provide support during the evening hours. So, please wait and re-evaluate this consideration until you have more concrete information and hands-on experience with the distance learning model.
To alleviate some of your concerns, I would also like to direct parents to review the Frequently Asked Questions document on the website. This document provides answers to instruction, scheduling, and technology questions. For example, a question was asked about whether or not technology will be provided to students who need a device for the distance learning. A device will be provided to any ACPS student who needs a device. Distribution of technology is being coordinated by the principals, and parents will be informed of the date and time to pick up a loaner device. If a parent doesn’t need a device, however, it is not a requirement to use an ACPS device. Please note that a cell phone will not provide the capabilities needed to access the distance learning. In addition, if you have poor internet connectivity, a mobile hotspot may be just what you need. The ACPS will provide mobile hotspots. Please contact your principal to request one. For those without any connectivity, a number of access points have been installed throughout the county. Please refer to the website for additional information on local access points.
Other types of questions similar to these are provided on the FAQ. The FAQ will be updated as additional questions are received by the Public Information Officer, Mrs. Mia Cross.
The following timeline provides parents with the approximate time frame for releasing information regarding modified student schedules for distance learning, distribution of technology, Schoology training, and resources related to Schoology:
- Teachers and staff will be participating in meetings and professional learning in anticipation of the start of school for students on September 8.
- A daily schedule will be released on the website for elementary, middle, and high school levels. As previously indicated, students will have a modified schedule for learning in the distance learning environment. A lunch break will take place on Monday-Friday from 12:00-1:30 p.m.
- Resources about Schoology will be released for your review.
August 24-September 4:
- Principals will be contacting parents regarding the distribution of laptops or Chromebooks to students who need a loaner device. The principal will provide the distribution information for his/her school through the School Messenger system. Please be patient if another school has its distribution prior to your child’s school. Please do not go to the school until the principal has provided information on the date and time to pick up a device. It is important to understand that technology devices were ordered months ago, but there have been challenges in receiving orders in a timely manner because of the impact of COVID-19 on the availability of the devices.
- Parents are asked to contact the school office where your child (ren) attends if you do not have internet connectivity at your home. If the internet connectivity is weak, please request a mobile hotspot.
- Additional Schoology resources will be released. Individual schools may also be planning training events. That information will be communicated to parents by the school principal.
During the first week of virtual learning, our goals will be to connect with your child, to build or re-establish relationships with your child, to set expectations for attendance, to discuss grading, to promote engagement in the learning, and to provide information that you and your child will need to know about the instructional day and how to navigate the distance learning model.
In closing, you are not alone in this new challenge. The pandemic has negatively impacted all of us and changed the way we are currently able to conduct business or provide education. Please remember that we are living in an unprecedented time. Please display empathy toward yourself, your child (ren), and the teachers. We all need grace (compassion and acting positively), kindness, and patience during this time. Please know that we don’t have all the answers. Who does? The transition is not going to be perfect. What is? This is not an ideal situation for anyone, anywhere, so please extend grace and do your best to remain calm and flexible as the ACPS re-opens the schools through a fully virtual learning model. Please continue to monitor the ACPS website and check your phone messages in the coming days for more information. Please know that your child’s health, education, and well-being are foremost in our minds.
Dr. Kim Kalbaugh, ACPS Chief Academic Officer
ACPS to Utilize New Online Learning Platform to Allow for High-Quality Engaging Instruction
The Allegany County Board of Education voted to start the 2020-2021 school year virtually, utilizing a new learning management platform that will offer learning opportunities that can very closely mirror face-to-face instruction. Students will begin their virtual learning on September 8, 2020, and educators will return August 19-21, 2020, and September 2-3, 2020, in preparation for the start of the school year.
Schoology is a learning management system (LMS) that has all the tools necessary for educators to create engaging content, design lessons, and assess student understanding. With Schoology, teachers can quickly and easily create media-rich lessons, reuse past courses, and even embed content from Google Drive, Microsoft Office, YouTube, and more. Additionally, teachers will have the ability to pace and track students individually, connect them in collaborative groups, and differentiate and blend instruction.
ACPS will begin the year online with shortened class periods and schedules that will allow for time in the afternoons for teachers to be available to answer questions and address potential concerns. Parents should also be on the lookout in the near future for information about attending small group sessions to learn more about the use of Schoology.
ACPS educators have been participating in virtual sessions with representatives from Schoology in order to learn the platform’s basic features, including how to create virtual live classrooms, how to create assignments and assessments, and how to provide “offline” opportunities for students without reliable access to the Internet at home. One requirement included in MSDE’s Recovery Plan is that all school systems ensure that Maryland College and Career Ready Standards from Pre-K through grade twelve are taught in all content areas and that state frameworks are followed. For this reason, ACPS content area supervisors are working collaboratively with teachers to create courses that meet this requirement.
According to ACPS Coordinator of Professional Learning, Dr. George Brown, “The really good thing about Schoology is that teachers will have the autonomy to ultimately create and deliver lessons, which wasn’t possible this spring due to limitations with Google Classroom.” Dr. Brown went on to say, “I am confident that if each teacher is prepared to provide high-quality instruction via Schoology, he/she will be prepared to provide high-quality instruction, regardless of the instructional situation. Will there be a learning curve for all involved? Absolutely! But we will provide support to educators, students, and parents/guardians as we, together, learn to navigate Schoology.”
The school board’s decision to open the school year virtually will also postpone all athletic and extra curricular activities effective as of the time of this release (8/4/20 at 2 p.m). Central office leadership and school system administrators will continue to work in collaboration with the local Health Department to monitor COVID-19 to provide updates to the ACPS Recovery Plan, including athletics and extra curricular activities.
NOTE: An updated Post-Labor Day calendar will be posted/shared as soon as it is available.
The following press release was issued by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. The impact of this decision on ACPS extracurricular activities will be forthcoming in the near future.
MPSSAA Fall and Winter Competition Seasons Postponed
The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) in consultation with the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), and the Public School Superintendent Association of Maryland (PSSAM) has decided to postpone the 2020 high school fall and winter competition season during the first semester. This decision comes in light of the recent announcements of local school systems to begin education virtually and provides each school system with options for the gradual increase of student engagement for the physical and social-emotional health of students.
With this announcement, local school systems will be able to use MPSSAA waiver regulations as approved by the Maryland State Board of Education on June 23, 2020 for student engagement during the first semester. The MPSSAA, the MDH, and the PSSAM will continue to collaborate on finalizing a hybrid two-semester plan focused on student engagement options in the first semester and modified competition seasons for all sports during the second semester. Details of the hybrid two-semester plan will be available in the coming weeks prior to the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.
The health and safety of student participants, coaches, and officials is a primary concern for the return of interscholastic athletics and activities. The MPSSAA, the PSSAM, and the Maryland State Department of Education collectively share a commitment for the return of these highly beneficial educational programs when it is deemed safe for all school communities.
UPDATE FOR STUDENT ATHLETES
As per Governor Hogan's guidance issued on 7/16/20:
If a student-athlete travels out of state for vacation, camps, etc., ACPS is advising the student to continue with his/her conditioning program at home for the designated 14-day period when they return. This guidance also applies to coaches.
ACPS RECOVERY PLAN UPDATE:
The Allegany County Public School system recognizes that schools are a vital and irreplaceable component of a community. Schools not only provide academic services for students but other services such as social and emotional learning, counseling services, and food and nutrition.
The school closures on March 13, 2020 in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis were heartbreaking for our students, staff, and community. How and when schools in Allegany County reopen impacts more than just students and teachers – it impacts the entire community.
The Allegany County Public Schools staff are faced with a tremendous challenge in preparing for the 2020-2021 school year. We are truly vested in doing what is best and what is right for our students and staff’s well-being. We are using the “Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education” and Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As the Allegany County Public School System continues to work towards recovery, we would like to provide parents, students, and staff with the status of our Recovery Plan.
ACPS is currently reviewing recovery options for the three stages within Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery in preparation for the opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year, which is currently scheduled for August 26, 2020, for students. An ACPS staff sub-committee has been formulating our plan with various community members, staff from the Allegany County Health Department and staff from multiple ACPS departments including facilities, food service, health/wellness, instruction, operations, safety/security, technology, and transportation in order to ensure the feasibility of all recovery options. The feedback gathered to date is being carefully considered and appropriate revisions to our recovery plan are being incorporated.
Within the next two weeks details of the draft ACPS recovery plan will be provided to parents, students, and staff for their review and comment. There will also be a survey sent to all families with student(s) currently enrolled requesting input by the end of July 2020. The school system's final recovery plan will be presented to the Board of Education at the August 11, 2020, regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The approved recovery plan will then be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education by August 14, 2020, for review and final approval.
Please note that during Stage 2 within the Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery, all ACPS families will have the option of fully remote learning for health and/or family reasons.
UPDATE REGARDING THE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS IN THE FALL 2020:
The Allegany County Public School System will follow the Reopening Maryland Schools K-12 Decision Matrix.
During step one of this matrix, the Governor’s Office, in coordination with members of the coronavirus recovery team and experts at the Maryland Department of Health, are monitoring key health metrics and identifying the appropriate stage within Maryland’s Roadmap to Recovery. The State Superintendent of Schools, in consultation with the State Board of Education, subsequently determines the operational status of the schools during each stage.
ACPS is currently reviewing our recovery options for each stage in preparation for the opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year, which is scheduled for August 26, 2020, for students. Staff will develop plans with input from multiple stakeholders, and these plans will be shared during the August 11, 2020, meeting of the Board of Education. School system's plans must be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education by August 14, 2020, for review and final approval.
SUMMER MEAL DISTRIBUTION: The ACPS Food and Nutrition Service department began serving lunch to students at all 21 school sites on March 16, 2020, following a mandatory school closure due to COVID-19. After the first week of closures, ACPS subsequently began to serve three meals a day to students, which included breakfast, lunch, and a snack. To date, the school system's food service department has been successful in providing meals to more than 107,000 students and has served over 310,000 meals.
Additionally, the ACPS Food and Nutrition Services department will also be providing meals during the summer at twelve school sites which were determined based on meal counts, location, FARMs, and staffing. Summer meals will be served beginning Monday, June 15, 2020, from 11 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at the following sites: Beall, Bel Air, Braddock, Cash Valley, Flintstone, John Humbird, Mount Savage, South Penn, Washington, Westside, Westmar, and Westernport. As always, ACPS encourages and highly recommends that parents/students wear masks/cloth face coverings during meal pickups to continue to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
ATTENTION PARENTS AND STUDENTS:
Parents and students are reminded that the last online learning assignments must be posted by Monday, June 8, 2020. For students completing work through the learning packets, the final assignments may be submitted through photos or emails to the teacher or principal. School principals can also scan the work at the school. The final assignments from the learning packets are also due on Monday, June 8, 2020. If a parent needs assistance, please contact your child’s principal by Monday. It is extremely important that a parent contact the school principal next week if their son or daughter has not submitted any work for a class or course during the 4th nine weeks.
Fort Hill High School students should follow the directions provided by the school principal regarding grading deadlines.
ATTENTION PARENTS AND STUDENTS: The final online assignments and learning packet assignments are due by Monday, June 8, 2020, 1:00 p.m. The last day of school for students, is Friday, June 12, 2020.
Students may be engaged in optional activities in areas such as PE/Health, media, and fine arts during June 9-12; however, no additional learning packets will be distributed. Students will have an opportunity to complete an online survey about their learning experience. The link to the grade level surveys can be found on the school system’s website, www.acpsmd.org, under the Student Resources section.
Parents and students are reminded that the REMAINDER of the online learning assignments must be posted by Monday, June 8, 2020. For students completing work through the learning packets, all weekly graded assignments must be submitted through photos, emails, or scanning by Monday, June 8, 2020. If a parent needs assistance, please contact your child’s principal by Monday.
Teachers are required to have grades calculated and submitted by Friday, June 12, 2020.
UPDATE: Based on waiver approvals from the Maryland State Department of Education, the last day of school for students in Allegany County Public Schools will be Friday, June 12, 2020. For the ACPS Continuity of Learning Plan, the last learning packets will be distributed next week, and principals will notify parents with dates and pick-up times. At the June 9th school board meeting, additional updates on the Continuity of Learning Plan and the ACPS recovery plan will be provided.
ACPS COMMUNITY HOTSPOTS: Allegany County Public Schools is providing community hotspots in community partner locations such as fire departments and churches. Use the network called “ACPS-Hotspot” to connect. The password is the ACPS Community Helpdesk number 3018769819. A captive portal requests your compliance with the Telecommunications Acceptable Use Policy and then provides you access to the Internet. As a community hotspot is ready with WiFi access, it will appear in the list to the right with a map showing exact access points.
These community hotspots enable you to access the Internet easily. This WiFi is intended for use by ACPS staff, students, and parents for instructional purposes. All ACPS WiFi traffic is logged and filtered for CIPA compliance.
The public should remain in their vehicles at all times adhering to social distancing mandates as set forth by Governor Hogan.
Dear ACPS Graduating Class of 2020:
You entered your senior year anticipating challenges to overcome and milestones to experience. You knew you would need to study hard to earn good grades, and you looked forward to participating in clubs, extracurricular activities, and sports with your friends. You envisioned celebrating at your senior prom and, more importantly, at your graduation ceremony. None of us imagined we would be facing a worldwide pandemic and the disruption it has caused to everyday life. Despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, I promise every effort will be made to provide you with the formal recognition you deserve as a graduate of Allegany County Public Schools. Class of 2020, your experience has been interrupted, but the finish line is still in sight.
One of our school district’s goals is that our students are college and career ready when they graduate from high school. Our teachers, administrators, and staff are dedicated to your success. You have proven you are ready, and we are going to do everything in our power to help you reach the finish line. I am proud of the determination and resolve you have demonstrated during these unpredictable and difficult times. I admire your ability to face adversity and keep moving forward. While it may not be the senior year ending that you had dreamed, you will still reap the rewards by meeting graduation requirements through the Continuity of Learning. Stay focused, stay positive, and be ready for your next chapter. Your administrators and I have heard your request to walk for your graduation and that a virtual ceremony is not desired. Although it is not possible to have a traditional graduation ceremony, we have developed a plan to make this special time in your life as normal as possible. As long as conditions allow, we are happy to announce that you will have the opportunity to walk for your graduation! Details are listed below.
In closing, Maya Angelou once said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” These last few months have proven who you are and what you can overcome. Rise up and prepare for better days ahead.
With Anticipated Congratulations,
Mr. Jeffrey S. Blank, Interim Superintendent of Schools
2020 GRADUATION/CERTIFICATION CEREMONY PROCEDURES
If conditions allow, the following steps will take place. If conditions do not allow, step fourteen (14) will be followed.
- Diplomas and certificates will be arranged for distribution from your school administrator. This will take place the week of May 18th. At that time, students will confirm their participation in the ceremonies. Please bring your diploma to your graduation ceremony. Center for Career and Technical Education students, please bring your certificates to your ceremony.
- The graduation/certification ceremonies will take place on the originally scheduled dates: Center for Career and Technical Education (gowns only) - May 21, 2020; Mountain Ridge High School - May 26, 2020; Allegany High School - May 27, 2020; and Fort Hill High School - May 28, 2020.
- The ceremony will take place outside of your school. Each graduate will be permitted one (1) car only.
- The ceremony will be livestreamed for those unable to attend.
- With the help of our school safety employees, the graduate will be informed when it is your turn to exit your car with your diploma and instructed to walk to an area that is designed to maintain appropriate distance.
- No one else will be permitted to leave their vehicle.
- Your family will be directed to move their car to the front area of the stage to observe and celebrate your graduation.
- Your name will be called, and you will walk to our outside stage and stand between your principal and me for your graduation picture to be taken by a professional photographer. With the help of the maintenance department, we have designed a stage with glass partitions which will create appropriate barriers. You will already have your diploma with you; unfortunately, we will be unable to shake your hand.
- After the picture, Allegany, Fort Hill, and Mountain Ridge students will move their tassels and walk to another designated area on the other side of the stage.
- When your group of five or less have completed the graduation walk, your vehicle will be dismissed to pick you up so the next group may move forward.
- We are prepared to use canopies in order to shield us from weather (sun or rain).
- Your school administrator will provide you with a specific time to arrive at the school throughout the day of your graduation ceremony with the first designated group beginning at 10:00 a.m. When you arrive at the school, our school safety employees will direct you to the location for you to wait your turn. It is recommended that you do not arrive earlier than your designated time to ease traffic flow and avoid causing congested travel areas.
- All ceremonies will be optional for our graduates.
- A virtual video tribute will be available the night of each ceremony. This video will include your principal’s welcome, every graduate's name and picture, and a message from those seniors chosen to give a message to their classmates.
* ACPS will premiere a video prior to all ceremonies and graduations to recognize students who are receiving awards and scholarships, similar to school accolades/awards banquets. Students will be notified in advance by their administrators if they will be receiving an award or scholarship and will be featured in this video.
ACPS WIFI ACCESS IN PARKING LOTS: Allegany County Public Schools is providing an Internet connection that is accessible from your vehicle in parking lots at our schools. Starting Friday, May 8, 2020, ACPS will provide external WiFi access in several locations. Please monitor this website periodically for completed school locations. As a school is ready with WiFi access, it will appear in the list to the right with a map showing exact access points.
ACPS equipment will connect automatically.To connect to ACPS wireless network "ACPS-ENT" with your personal device enter your staff or student login name and password. Out of district students and community guests may enter the username "hotspot" with the password "acps".
The parking lot WiFi capability enables you to access the Internet easily. This WiFi is intended for use by ACPS staff, students, and parents for instructional purposes. All ACPS WiFi traffic is logged and filtered for CIPA compliance. Additionally, all exterior areas of the school campus are subject to video recording.
The public should remain in their vehicles at all times adhering to social distancing mandates as set forth by Governor Hogan.
ATTENTION PARENTS/GUARDIANS: As you know, Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, announced on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, that all Maryland public schools will remain CLOSED through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
ONLINE LEARNING/LEARNING PACKETS UPDATE: Please know that the online learning materials (for May 4th-15th and through the end of the school year) may contain new learning in some of the content areas, and the learning packets will also have new learning in some of the content areas to match the online learning. This new learning is allowed per the MSDE if it addresses the Continuity of Learning directions, which were identified to be the most critical standards students need to have in preparation for their next course in a sequence. Supervisors are working with their content teams to determine how this new learning will be accomplished. They have been given some flexibility in the number of pages allowed and they are working with their teachers on providing clear instructions for parents/students, as well as guided instruction to the extent possible. If a parent has a specific content area question or needs assistance, he/she should contact his/her child's teacher during a scheduled office hour or via email. A parent may also choose to contact a content supervisor via email for any questions or clarification needed. ACPS content supervisor listed below:
- Dr. George Brown- Social Studies/Psychology-George.email@example.com
- Katie Buskirk- English/Lit/Speech-Kathryn.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Steve Thompson- Mathematics/Statistics-Stephen.email@example.com
- Eric VanSlyke- Science-Eric.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Melissa Kaye- P-TECH Cybersecurity-Melissa.email@example.com
- Joe Brewer-Computer Science (non P-TECH students)Joseph.Brewer@acpsmd.org
GRADING UPDATE FOR GRADES K-11: School districts are permitted to make local decisions about grades. Some districts are selecting a Pass-Fail (P-) or Pass-Incomplete (P-I) option. The ACPS is electing to award grades. In some cases it may be necessary to award an incomplete (I) to a student in grades K-11 in the short term if the student DID NOT participate in any form of online learning or pick up a learning packet. However, students will be given the opportunity to complete the work if they are given an Incomplete. In addition, ACPS will release their grade reporting information for grades K-11 as soon as the MSDE provides feedback that it has been approved.
Students who are enrolled in advanced courses such as Honors, AP, and early college will earn the weighted grades/credits as normal.
UPDATE FOR SENIORS: Principals and teachers received the grading requirements for the 4th marking period and the grading window timeline for seniors. Seniors will conclude the continuity of learning via the online platform or learning packets on Friday, May 15, 2020. Online assignments are due before midnight on Sunday, May 17, 2020. Currently, the MSDE is still NOT allowing the collection of learning packets. Parents are encouraged to photograph the weekly graded assignments from the learning packets and send the photographs to the teacher or principal via email. Please make sure that the student’s name and school are visible in the photographs. Any parent of a SENIOR who is unable to photograph and send the weekly graded assignments via the learning packets should contact the school principal no later than Monday, May 18, 2020. Principals will be contacting seniors regarding pick up for yearbooks and graduation materials. Information will be forthcoming regarding graduation plans.
Parents are reminded to consider completing the survey about online learning. The survey will close on Friday, May 8, 2020. Click here to complete the survey.
UPDATE FOR STUDENTS IN GRADES K-11: As previously reported, the ACPS has submitted a waiver to the MSDE to waive five (5) school days for students per the direction of the MSDE. Once the waiver has been approved, information on the last school day for students will announced.
The ACPS submitted the Continuity of Learning Plan to the MSDE. The plan contained seven required sections, including grading and accountability. The MSDE plans to review each plan and provide feedback, as needed. The ACPS, in coordination with the MSDE, will continue to provide more information about the continuity of learning, grading, and the final grade-reporting window over the next few weeks.
Additionally, the MSDE will be providing guidance to school districts for a recovery plan that will help districts determine how to move forward with the collection and/or distribution of items. More information will be forthcoming as plans are finalized and guidance and approval is received from MSDE.
UPDATE ON SCHOOL CLOSURES: Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, announced today that all Maryland public schools will remain CLOSED through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
ATTENTION PARENTS AND GUARDIANS: The closure of all schools in Maryland that began on March 13, 2020, through the current time period continues to be unprecedented for all of us. The coronavirus pandemic and resulting quarantine have changed our daily lives in so many ways. We recognize the hardships that the school closures and this crisis have caused you and your family. Over the past few weeks, we have been working to provide students with access to technology and individual hotspots, as well as to provide Internet connection via external WiFi access points.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate through these uncharted roads together. Many of you have taken the opportunity to send emails or leave phone messages regarding the online learning.
Parents and guardians are asked to click here to complete a voluntary survey that will give you the opportunity to provide additional information. The intent of the survey is to gather information to improve our consistency and delivery of online services. While the survey is voluntary, I encourage you to complete it. It will take about 15-20 minutes to complete unless you have a lot of feedback to provide. The survey will be open through May 8, 2020.
You and your family matter to us. If you need assistance from the "Help Desk," send an email to: ITHelpdesk@acpsmd.org. If you need to contact a school counselor or a school-based administrator, use this link to find the contact information: https://www.acpsmd.org/domain/82.
May you and your family continue to be healthy, strong, and well.
Kim Kalbaugh, ACPS Chief Academic Officer
SERVICE-LEARNING CREDIT REMINDER: The deadline for seniors who are working towards earning the service-learning elective credit is May 8, 2020. Students can email the forms to Kara Kennell at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can be emailed to your school's service-learning coordinator or guidance counselor.
ATTENTION STUDENT ATHLETES: The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), after careful review and consultation with the Maryland State Board of Education and the Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, is officially announcing the cancellation of all MPSSAA events for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This includes the remainder of the 2020 Boys and Girls Basketball State Championships and all spring sports, as well as spring State Championships. The MPSSAA will in turn begin focusing all efforts on aligning the return of interscholastic athletics with the Maryland Strong Road Map to Recovery and the multi-phased approach within each stage of the recovery.
The MPSSAA has also cancelled its Student-Athlete Leadership Conference and the Minds in Motion Scholarship banquet. The MPSSAA will continue to honor senior scholarship winners through its Minds in Motion Scholarship program and will announce each of the $1,000 scholarship winners online in the coming weeks.
With this announcement, the MPSSAA wishes to extend its heartfelt gratitude and admiration to all of our member schools’ graduating seniors, underclassmen, coaches, administrators, and extracurricular athletic and activity sponsors who have dedicated countless hours to these programs. The MPSSAA and the Maryland State Department of Education, share your collective desire for the return of these highly beneficial educational programs when it is safe for all school communities.
REMINDER: The next learning packet distribution, for those who requested them, is scheduled for the week of April 27, 2020. Principals will send out school messages to let parents know their pick up dates and times. Please be reminded that schools are unable to collect completed learning packets per the direction of the State Superintendent of Schools. Thank you for your continued cooperation. Stay safe!
UPDATE: Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, announced today that all Maryland public schools will remain CLOSED until May 15, 2020.
ACPS will reclaim Tuesday, April 28, 2020, as a make-up day. Schools and offices were originally scheduled to be closed for Election Day. Teachers and students will continue with the continuity of learning on April 28th through online learning platforms and with learning packets.
ATTENTION PARENTS AND GUARDIANS:
ACPS encourages and highly recommends that parents wear masks/cloth face coverings during meal and/or packet pickups to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus. In a recommendation released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, and they would recommend wearing a mask or cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
The recommendation is less about preventing the wearer from contracting the coronavirus themselves than it is about limiting asymptomatic people from unknowingly spreading the disease. Wearing cloth masks, the CDC said, could “help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”
College Signing Day is an opportunity to celebrate students committing to pursue their education beyond high school, whether to obtain a two-year degree, a four-year degree, a certificate or industry-recognized credential, as well as students entering the military.
Traditionally, schools celebrate seniors' decisions on their postsecondary option they will attend in the fall in May. Under the current circumstances, in-person signing day celebrations are not allowed; however, ACPS would like to utilize social media as a way to highlight students and their accomplishments.
We are asking our students to share photos of themselves wearing college gear and holding signs to celebrate their postsecondary decision to post to the ACPS Facebook and Twitter pages. Photos can be emailed to the ACPS Public Information Officer, Mia Cross, at email@example.com.
PRE-KINDERGARTEN PROGRESS REPORTS UPDATE: Due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, students in the pre-kindergarten programs will not receive progress reports for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers will continue to communicate with families and provide feedback through their online platforms (Class Dojo, SeeSaw, etc.) and/or phone calls. If parents have questions regarding their child’s progress, they can contact their child’s teacher through email (see ACPS Directory), the teacher’s online platform, or by contacting the home school office and leaving a message for the teacher. Students with IEPs will continue to receive quarterly progress reports related to their IEP goals.
ATTENTION PARENTS AND GUARDIANS:
ACPS is offering a continuity of mental health support services. All staff members have regular hours during the normal school day. If you need to contact your child’s school counselor, mental health counselor, pupil personnel worker, school psychologist, or behavior specialist, you may email them directly. There are resources available on the ACPS website as well as the online platform for your child’s school. If you do not have access to email and need to get in touch with any of the service providers, you should call the school. The school staff will give the message to the school counselor, mental health counselor, pupil personnel worker, school psychologist, or behavior specialist who will call you back.
If your child has been receiving any services at school, the service provider will be contacting you and your child. If possible, please answer your phone or set up your voicemail so that the service provider can leave you a message with further information. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
We recognize that this may be a very challenging time for students and families. Feelings of worry and anxiety are common for us all in times of crisis. We are here for you. If you need someone to talk to, please contact your school and a counselor will be happy to get in touch with you.
If anyone in your home is having a crisis you should contact the national suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255. There is also a national text line, advertised as follows: "Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. We’re here to help."
If you have any additional questions, please call your school. The safety and well-being of ACPS families are our most important considerations.
Dear Parents and Guardians of ACPS Students:
On behalf of the entire ACPS educational team, please know that we understand how confusing and frightening the past weeks have been for you and your child(ren). The closure of all Maryland public schools, that began on March 13, 2020, through the current time period, is unprecedented for all of us. We recognize the hardships that the school closures and this crisis have caused you and your family, and we are here to provide help and support for you and your child(ren). We are also here to answer your questions to the best of our ability during this crisis. We understand that there will to be concerns about Internet connection or the lack of Internet connection, access to technology, and a variety of other issues which can lead to feelings of frustration, stress, and helplessness.
For parents of our high school students, we understand your anxieties and fears about meeting graduation requirements, earning credits, losing athletic seasons, extracurricular activities, and senior events such as prom and graduation. This is a challenging time, and these concerns are weighing heavily on your minds. We are working very hard to problem solve and to come up with solutions to numerous issues caused by this pandemic, while still adhering to all of the orders provided by the state health department and the government.
Please know that the direction and guidance that we receive from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and Governor Hogan can change very rapidly. ACPS, as well as every other school district in the State, was asked to determine a Continuity of Learning Plan. Our plan, like other districts, involves both online learning and learning packets for those without Internet connectivity and/or technology. Online learning officially begins this week (April 6th). School principals and members of their staff are assembling these learning packets for distribution after Easter break. Parents who reserved learning packets for their child(ren) will be notified of the pick-up date and times via a school-level phone message. We are requesting that you do not call the school regarding a pick-up date/times as schools are experiencing a high volume of phone calls.
Last week, Dr. Salmon, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, announced that while schools maydistribute learning packets, using safety precautions in their preparation and distribution, schools may not collect learning packets once they are completed for health and safety reasons. Parents will need to maintain the completed packets until we receive additional guidance from the MSDE. Please know that we are required to follow the guidance of the MSDE. Several of our parents and guardians reserved learning packets because it seemed like an easier alternative to online learning. I encourage parents to reconsider and use the online learning platform if you have Internet connectivity and technology at your home. Our administrators, teachers, and support services through the IT Help Desks are here to assist and support you.
As you and your child(ren) navigate through online learning or learning packets, please be reminded that your child(ren) will need breaks during the day for play and relaxation. Students are not expected to work full days as they do within a regular school day. At most, students should be involved in their learning one to two hours per day, unless a student is enrolled in Advanced Placement Courses and/or Early College. These lessons may certainly take longer to complete. We know that many of you are working from home and need to use the technology for your business or work. Creating a daily schedule may help alleviate unnecessary stress. We understand that each student and his/her family have different capabilities and situations. Using technology will get easier. Everyone has a learning curve. You can do this. We are here to help. Please update teachers if you and/or your child is having difficulty. Teachers will have identified office hours to help and support students, which will be posted on the online platform. You may call the school regarding a teacher’s office hours.
In addition, our school counselors and other mental health service providers are working to provide their services through teleconferences and phone calls. Information on these services will be forthcoming. We recognize that the outbreak of the coronavirus disease may be very stressful. Fear and anxiety about the disease can be overwhelming to our parents and students. We want to help our students cope with the stressors that they may have. The ability to cope with stress will make you, your child(ren), the people you care about, and our community stronger.
We appreciate you. Thank you for your kindness, patience, and understanding as we navigate through these uncharted roads together. You and your family matter to us, and we will do our very best to help you during this crisis. We are better and stronger when we work together. May you and your family have continued health and wellness, and may you be strengthened to meet daily challenges.
Dr. Kim Kalbaugh, ACPS Chief Academic Officer
A MESSAGE TO THE ACPS COMMUNITY FROM THE INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS:
As we continue providing enriching educational experiences through the ACPS Continuity of Learning Plan, I wanted to express my appreciation to each of you involved with this new method of learning during the extended school closure. Our school community consisting of our employees, parents, and students are overcoming hurdles presented by this pandemic and proving that we will move forward. We will implement a new form of technology and document-based learning. We will engage our students in meaningful learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom. We will continue to show our students that we care and are here for them through these challenging times. It is truly inspiring to see us, as a community, united to do whatever is necessary to overcome.
As you and your students utilize the Continuity of Learning platform, you may also communicate with your child’s teacher and administrator to answer any questions or to receive assistance with assignments and activities. The ACPS Continuity of Learning Plan is accessible through the this crisis management website. ACPS has also established an Instructional Technology Help Desk number to offer assistance for computer problems and accessing online instructional resources. The helpdesk is live from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you need assistance outside of these hours, please email ITHelpdesk@acpsmd.org.
During these difficult and unprecedented times, our community has continued to support our students and public school system. Our county always rises to the occasion in times of need, which I have seen consistently as a life-long resident. Please continue to encourage and support one another as we face challenges presented by this pandemic. Together our community will make a difference. United we are strong. Stay Home, Stay Safe.
Jeffrey S. Blank
Interim Superintendent of Schools
Attention ACPS Parents/Students. Here are a few friendly reminders from ACPS:
- If do not have technology and/or Internet access, it is important to call your child’s school to order a learning packet today. If you have already called and reserved a packet, please do not call the school again as they are experiencing a high volume of phone calls.
- A district level phone message will be sent when packets are ready for pick up at schools. Please do not call the school about a pickup date/time. That information will be provided by the end of next week.
- Online learning officially begins this Monday, April 6, 2020. Parents and students need to log onto the appropriate platform on Monday to view all of a student’s classes. If a class is missing, please email the teacher or call the ACPS IT Community Help Desk.
- For online learning, teachers will release lessons on a weekly basis. Teachers have the discretion to release lessons for the entire week or to release the lessons daily. Student submissions will be due each Sunday by midnight. Students are encouraged to work on the lessons each day.
- Also, please continue to review the ACPS crisis management website, https://www.acpsmd.org/Page/3146, for information and updates.
Again, we request that all communication that you have with ACPS employees is respectful. We are better and stronger when we all work together. This is a new process for everyone, but we can get through it together. Everyone on the ACPS team continues to work diligently to ensure continuity of learning for your child.
REMINDER REGARDING REGISTRATION: ACPS Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten registration has been postponed due to the school closure. Staff is currently working to reschedule. An update will be provided as soon as details are confirmed. Thank you for your continued patience.
ATTENTION ACPS PARENTS/FAMILIES:
Online learning will OFFICIALLY begin on April 6, 2020, for those students who have access to technology and Internet connectivity. Teachers will utilize Google Classroom for Grades 3-12 and Class Dojo for Grades PreK-2. We strongly encouraged parents/students to use the online learning platforms that are available if you have technology and connectivity. They are easy to learn and directions will be provided. In addition, a Help Desk will be available for parents and students if there are questions Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
These online learning platforms enhance your child’s connection to his/her teachers. Supplemental activities will also be available within the teacher’s Google Classroom for students who want to extend their learning. Online learning is the preferred method for the continuity of learning if students have Internet connectivity and access to technology.
Please note that with online learning, parents do not need to print documents and materials if their child is using an online classroom platform such as Google Classroom or Dojo. All work and readings will be viewed on the computer, and all work submitted will be directly submitted through the online computer platform to their child's teacher. ACPS encourages parents and students to use the online classroom platforms so that participating in instruction, turning in work, and getting feedback can occur in a timely manner. Please call the Community Help Desk if you need assistance or support.
Learning packets will not be available for pick up at schools until the week of April 13th pending any further restrictions from the Governor or the Maryland State Department of Education. This delay was a result of further restrictions imposed by Governor Hogan. Please do not go to your child’s school until the principal has sent a phone message providing information on the date and time frame to pick up learning packets. In the meantime until learning packets are available, we encourage you to read at home with your child, practice writing or drawing, math and spelling skills, play or make music, create art projects, or just participate in any type of activity at home that will support and enhance learning.
If you will need a learning packet, please remember that you must call your child’s school this week (no later than April 3rd) and leave a message to reserve a learning packet. Again, please do not reserve a learning packet if your child can access the online learning platform. The online learning platform allows your child to post assignments and receive grades in a timely manner.
Please continue to be patient and understanding as we work through all of these necessary transitions to an online learning platform and learning packets. Keep in mind that we have to adhere to all restrictions required by the Governor and the State Superintendent of Schools. Again, it is important to note that it is just not possible for teachers to return calls or emails immediately, and we ask that you please accept that communication make take up to 48 hours or longer. Our teachers are working remotely from their homes due to Governor Hogan's Executive Orders and are doing their very best to have everything ready for next week. It is critical that we all work together to get through this very difficult time.
OTHER IMPORTANT UPDATES:
ACPS will reclaim Thursday, April 9, 2020, as a make-up day. Teachers and students will continue with the continuity of learning on April 9th through online learning platforms and with supplemental work. ACPS will be CLOSED on Friday, April 10, 2020, through Monday, April 13, 2020, for the Easter break. Brown bag student meals will not be available on Friday April 10th or Monday, April 13th.
ACPS adjusted the 3rd marking period to end on March 10th. Report cards will be posted in Aspen on April 24th. The Maryland State Department of Education will be providing guidance about grading during the 4th nine weeks and final grades, and they are currently scheduling statewide workgroups to examine grading. Until ACPS receives guidance from the MSDE, teachers will record grades the same way that they have graded assignments all year long.
ATTENTION ACPS PARENTS/GUARDIANS:
The Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen Salmon, recently announced an extended closure of all public schools in Maryland through April 24, 2020. This is a necessary action in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As directed by Dr. Salmon, school districts will be transitioning to an online learning platform, and learning packets will be provided on a weekly basis for those who do not have Internet connectivity and/or technology. Schools are currently working on preparing all of these materials.
During the week of Monday, March 30, 2020, through Friday, April 3, 2020, you and your child can find supplemental activities and assignments through the ACPS crisis management website, which can be accessed on the school system's website, selecting the "Our Schools" drop down menu from the top right corner of the page, and then selecting ACPS Crisis Management Site. The supplemental work, which can be found on the Continunity of Learning section, is organized by grade level and/or by content area. It may look a bit differently depending on the content area, but everything by grade level will open to a specific document.
In addition, you may have already received a phone message from your child's school to see if your child will need a learning packet. Please follow the directions provided by the school message. These packets will be prepared for students who do not have connectivity and/or technology.
Beginning on Monday, April 6, 2020, continuity of learning will begin through an online platform or through learning packets for those without connectivity or technology. The learning packets are being individually prepared next week. Therefore, it is critical that you call your child’s school during the week of March 30-April 3, 2020, to reserve your child’s packet if it needed. If you have more than one child in an ACPS school, you will need to call each school your child attends. Do not go to your child's school until the principal has sent a phone message regarding the pickup date/time of the learning packets.
Packets will be prepared on a weekly basis. Each week the principal will send a phone message regarding distribution and collection dates/times. Do not go to your child’s school until the principal has sent a phone message.
Directions for connecting students to the Google Classroom online platform for Grades 3-12 or to the Class Dojo online platform for primary grades will be added later this week. Please continue to visit the ACPS crisis management website at https://www.acpsmd.org/Page/3146. Information will be updated regularly.
For those currently without Internet access in your homes, please call a local internet provider for possible free or discounted programs. For those without technology, please note that our school district is not equipped to provide 1:1 technology to our students.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please call your child’s school and leave a message.
Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we work through all of the necessary steps and precautions needed to ensure continuity of learning for our students and safety for all of our employees, students, and families.
Next week, schools are working on a plan to provide learning packets to students who do not have online connectivity or technology. You may receive a phone message from your child’s principal to see if your child will need a learning packet.
Online learning will begin on April 6th for students who have connectivity and technology.
Learning Packets will be distributed the week of April 6th for those without connectivity or technology.
Please follow the directions provided by the principal’s message.
During the week of March 30-April 3, supplemental activities will be provided through the ACPS website/crisis management site. Please be patient as we work through these necessary transitions to an online learning platform and learning packets.
A MESSAGE TO ACPS FAMILIES FROM INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS:
Yesterday’s announcement, by Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen Salmon, to extend the closure of all public schools in Maryland through April 24, 2020, was a necessary action in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The health, safety, and well-being of our employees, students, and families are more important than anything else.
The announcement gives us an extended date in which to execute our continuity of learning plan. Moving forward, it also leaves many questions unanswered and decisions that will need to be made as we navigate through these unfamiliar and difficult times. Most of the questions, as well as decisions, will be made with guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education. In the meantime, please take advantage of information provided on the ACPS crisis management website at https://www.acpsmd.org/Page/3146. This information will be updated regularly.
We will provide more information on decisions that impact you and your child(ren) as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and support. Please be vigilant in keeping you and your family safe by following the CDC guidelines.
Jeffrey S. Blank
Interim Superintendent of Schools
IMPORTANT REMINDER TO PARENTS/STUDENTS/COMMUNITY MEMBERS: With the closure of schools due to COVID-19, all areas managed by Allegany County Public Schools are off limits to individuals. This includes school tracks, tennis courts, playgrounds, Greenway Avenue Stadium, football, soccer, baseball and softball fields, gymnasiums, weight rooms, and all other indoor and outdoor areas managed by the school system. Please refrain from utilizing these locations throughout the duration of the mandated closure.Published 3/26/20
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR EARLY COLLEGE STUDENTS:On Monday, March 30, 2020, ACPS early college students will begin or resume completion of their Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) spring semester college course(s) via an online platform. ACM is requiring this action as a result of the recent closure of ACM and ACPS due to the coronavirus pandemic. Early college students must finish their coursework through the online platform and must obtain a passing grade to earn college credit(s) from ACM. This also includes P-TECH students who are taking a college course(s) through ACM for the spring semester.
ACPS early college teacher(s) has/have been instructed to contact their students regarding each early college course that he/she is taking during the spring semester. Students are encouraged to please check their ACM email accounts and Brightspace for information from their teacher. If a student does not hear from an early college teacher by Monday, please contact the appropriate ACPS content supervisor listed below:
- Dr. George Brown- Social Studies/Psychology- George.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Katie Buskirk- English/Lit/Speech- Kathryn.email@example.com
- Dr. Steve Thompson- Mathematics/Statistics- Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eric VanSlyke- Science- Eric.email@example.com
- Melissa Kaye- P-TECH Cybersecurity- Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joe Brewer- Computer Science (non P-TECH students)-Joseph.Brewer@acpsmd.org
Students needing assistance regarding course content or anything related to this information should email their early college teacher or contact the content supervisor listed above.
Students without Internet access or a device to complete course work should contact their early college teacher or the content supervisor listed above.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen Salmon, has just announced that all Maryland Public Schools will be closed for an additional four weeks through April 24, 2020. Allegany County Public Schools will be adhering to this directive. ACPS has been working on a plan for the continuity of learning, and once the Maryland State Department of Education provides a timeline for the implementation of the continuity of learning plans, it will be communicated to the ACPS staff, parents, and students.
IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING STUDENT MEALS: The Allegany County Public Schools' Food Service Department will be offering three meals per day for students, which will include breakfast, lunch, and a snack, beginning on Monday, March 23, 2020. All meals will continue to be available at all 21 school locations from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. All three meals may be picked up at the same time. As has been the policy this week, meals may be picked up by parents/students at any of the schools (even if they are not enrolled in that school) during the scheduled pick-up times.
UPDATE: Any high school senior in need of a transcript for a scholarship or college application should email their high school counselor and request it. Counselors can send a PDF of the transcript to a student's email so that they may upload it, or they can send it directly to the college or scholarship committee. Students may contact their high school guidance secretary and request a paper copy to be mailed.
UPDATE: Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade registration originally scheduled for April 2nd and 3rd at each home elementary school has been postponed. A make-up date will be announced in the coming days.
IMPORTANT: The Central Office and all ACPS schools are closed to visitors through March 27, 2020, pending further notice. Individuals should call the Central Office or contact the school office if there are questions.
IMPORTANT: The ACPS Food Service Department will provide brown-bag to-go lunches for students beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020. This service will run Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at each school until further notice. The brown bags will be distributed in the school lobby. Students and non-essential staff are not permitted in any other area of the buildings. Brown bags may be picked up by parents/students at any of the schools (even if they are not enrolled in that school) during the scheduled pick-up times.
Attention Parents and Guardians: Last evening, Thursday, March 12, 2020, Dr. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, closed all Maryland public schools from March 16, 2020, through March 27, 2020. To the extent possible today, Friday, March 13, 2020, teachers were asked to provide students with assignments or resources that could enhance past and/or current learning during the next two weeks. Content supervisors will be providing information to parents about online resources via the website Parent/Students tab in the coming days. Please note that the recommendation for giving students classroom resources was directed by Dr. Salmon. Students will not be penalized for completion or non-completion of any work sent home during the two-week period. This is supplemental to help students stay connected to their learning. ACPS will continue to keep parents updated.
Additionally, students may pick up work today prior to the end of the dismissal day, Friday, March 13, 2020. Students will not be allowed to pick-up work during the school closure.
IMPORTANT: All Allegany County Public Schools will be CLOSED beginningMonday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020, per the directive of Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. All school functions are CANCELED beginning Friday, March 13, 2020, effective at the end of the school day until further notice.
ACPS Parking Lot WiFi Access Points
Click on the links below to view a map of a school's WiFi access points.
- Flintstone Elementary School
- Northeast Elementary School
- Mountain Ridge High School
- Fort Hill High School
- Braddock Middle School
- Center for Career and Technical Education
- Westmar Middle School
- John Humbird Elementary School
- West Side Elementary School
- South Penn Elementary School
- Washington Middle School
- George's Creek Elementary School
- Beall Elementary School
- Eckhart (RESTART) Alternative School
- Cash Valley Elementary School
- Parkside Elementary School
- Westernport Elementary School
- Cresaptown Elementary School
- Frost Elementary School
- Bel Air Elementary School
Safe Schools Maryland Tipline
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Maryland Center for School Safety have collaborated to provide the Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line to schools to aid in the efforts to improve school safety.
The Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line is an anonymous reporting system used to report threats to the safety and/or well-being of students. Students, parents, faculty, staff, and members of communities throughout Maryland may use this anonymous, app and web-based reporting system to share their concerns, such as:
- Mental health crises
- School and community violence
- Drug activity
- Other issues affecting our Maryland students
The Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line is a tool for proactively addressing harmful situations and helping students who need it. By using a variety of communication modes to support the reporting and routing of tips, The Safe Schools Maryland Tip Line empowers the citizens of Maryland to create a culture of preparedness, prevention, and school safety for our students.
Do you have a concern you want to share? Report an annoymous tip to Safe Schools Maryland now.