FCPS Prepared to Begin the 2019-20 School Year on August 15

FCPS Prepared to Begin the 2019-20 School Year on August 15
Posted on 08/09/2019
Back to SchoolFor Immediate Release
August 9, 2019
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3888 x88235

Frederick County Public Schools will open on Thursday, August 15 for the start of the 2019-20 school year. Schools Superintendent David Sovine says, “We are excited to welcome students back for the start of the new school year. Many preparations have been made over the summer and all of our schools are ready to welcome the nearly 14,000 students we anticipate serving during the upcoming year. Our continued enrollment growth will likely create some challenges again this year in terms of pupil-teacher ratios and overcrowding at a number of schools, particularly our three high schools. However, we are committed to working to overcome these challenges and further develop our school division into an innovative community where caring relationships and authentic learning inspire all students.”

Frederick County Public Schools Transportation Director John Grubbs says, “As we open a new school year, we’re asking motorists to slow down and pay close attention to their surroundings. This is especially important during those times when students are being transported to and from school. State law requires motorists 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.”

School safety and security will remain a point of focus for both Frederick County Public Schools and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in 2019-20. Over the past several years, a number of school safety improvements have been made. All of Frederick County’s public schools have buzz-in entry systems which require visitors to state their name and the purpose of their visit before being allowed to enter a school. In addition, all school visitors are required to present a valid, government-issued ID which is scanned into the Raptor Visitor Management System and checked against registered sex offender and other databases that may include custody orders and information on those individuals prohibited from visiting school grounds. Those who are cleared by the system are issued a badge bearing their name and photo as well as the date, time of entry and their destination within the school.

In addition to the buzz-in entry system and Raptor Visitor Management System, the school division and sheriff’s office utilize the COPsync911 threat alert service to inform first responders when an emergency situation arises at a school. Once activated, COPsync911 notifies the 911 dispatch center and the closest law enforcement officers at the same time which helps to increase response times. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office also has a school resource officer (SRO) assigned at each middle and high school and is in the process of placing an SRO at each elementary school.

Sovine says, “We enjoy an outstanding relationship with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Millholland. Together, we have made many safety and security improvements in recent years. Some of those improvements have been shared publicly while others have not, which is a security measure in itself. As we prepare to begin a new school year, we encourage students, parents and staff to be vigilant regarding school safety and to immediately report any concerns or situations that seem suspicious to school administrators or law enforcement.”

Frederick County has three high schools, four middle schools, 11 elementary schools, and two instructional centers. The school day at the elementary level is from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. At the middle school level, the school day begins at 7:55 a.m. and continues until 2:45 p.m. The school day at the high school level begins at 7:55 a.m. and concludes at 2:30 p.m.