With Trepidation the Frederick County Public School Year Begins

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At the ninth hour Board of Education member Elizabeth Barrett sent out a Tweet on the morning of August 26th requesting a one-week delay to the school start.  As published in the Frederick News Post, board president, Brad Young disagreed.

Ready or not, the 2020-21 Frederick County Public School year begins on August 31st

Several teachers agreed with Ms. Barrett’s tweeted sentiments, one parent wanted to go ahead with the start to see how things go.

As a parent of a special needs student, I have mixed feelings.  As a mother I want my child back in school as soon as possible but I also want to make sure the teachers are prepared.  As a person who’s been advocating for policies, practices and curriculum, I’m nervous.  As a grandmother of FCPS students, I still have grave concerns about the content of their education.

The theme of the teachers who tweeted in response to Ms. Barrett said “5 days” wasn’t enough time.  That leaves me puzzled since we’ve been out of school since March 13, (over 150 days).  Did opening plans change mid-stream or shortly before the school start?

The same day Ms. Barrett was requesting a delay, I was up at my son’s school picking up the first term education resources compiled by his teacher and her team.  I was impressed by the amount of time and consideration put into them.

With school schedule in hand, resources at the ready and my first “Google meet” under my belt, I’m not ecstatic about starting the school year this way, but I am hopeful.  I have confidence in my son’s teacher and her team. 

On the evening of August 26th, the Frederick County Board of Education put out the following statement:

This is a first for all of us.  I believe it could and should have been handled differently, but I am willing to trust our teachers will make lemon-aide out of some very bitter, undernourished lemons.  I’ve seen some of our very talented teachers work miracles.

That’s not to say don’t be on your guard. I’ve also seen some train wrecks that call themselves teachers.  I believe they are in the minority.  Don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your concerns. 

In this case, we really are in this together and driving the school bus while it’s being built.  If you see something, say something – good or bad.  We can all learn from each other on what is working and what is not.

Most importantly if this isn’t working for your child – STOP.  You have choices so speak up and advocate for your child.

None of this excuses the very significant, unaddressed concerns over the resources the teachers may be using and what curriculum they will be teaching.  I touched on those in previous columns here and here, and will have more to say in the near future. If you haven’ opted to home school your child keep a close eye on everything.  Everything! The online meetings, the books, links and lessons.  KNOW what your child is learning.

Originally published August 27, 2020.

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Cindy A. Rose began writing for the Tentacle in 2011 trying to raise awareness over things happening within Frederick County Public Schools. She began keeping a close watch on FCPS when she learned there were not enough air conditioned buses for special needs children during the hot Maryland summers. The Tentacle offered her a place to share her concerns with her community when local newspapers didn’t always. Cindy had the opportunity to buy the Tentacle from creator/owner John W. Ashbury in 2019, so she did. She believed then, as she believes now, our communities, friends and neighbors have important things to say that needs to be shared with those living around them. Large corporate news companies don’t always share in those passions and concerns. The Tentacle is a local news, commentary and community website run by citizens, for citizens. Its success depends on your participation.