People frequently ask if I work during the summer, and I have to smile. Students and teachers head off to summer vacation, but the 12-month employees in our school system are entering some of the busiest months of the year!
It is natural for people to picture a school when they think of the organization—Frederick County Public Schools. But, FCPS is an organization that operates 12 months a year. The summer months are extremely busy for the organization.
The Fiscal Services Division closes out and prepares for a new budget cycle beginning July 1st. That means lots of work preparing auditing reports, updating accounts for the new budget, applying a new salary scale for the first pay period in July, processing purchase orders, and ensuring all newly hired employees are in our fiscal software program. We also serve lunch in several schools throughout the summer, so our Food and Nutrition Services staff are busy.
Facilities and maintenance teams are busy with systemic projects that cannot be done with students in the buildings, for example, replacing the HVAC system at Catoctin HS. There is also that deep cleaning of every school our custodial teams accomplish. Lots of furniture is moved so that carpets and floors can be cleaned in every classroom. Training is another important part of summer for our facilities and maintenance staff, as is preparing new budget requests for capital projects and updating enrollment projections. This year, they are also coordinating the redistricting process, engaging with the community and exploring options to prepare a recommendation for the Superintendent to present in September.
The Human Resources Department is very busy hiring staff to ensure we have teachers in every classroom and all of the support staff needed to kick off the school year. Hiring isn’t just interviewing, checking references, and signing a contract; it also involves orientation and benefits enrollment. Lots of data has to be entered into our personnel software system.
Staff in the technology department are managing repairs, setting up equipment, and inventorying new assets. This year, the team is tackling replacement of many of our wireless access points. And they always focus on cybersecurity and the ongoing maintenance of all of our data systems!
The departments that report to the Deputy Superintendent handle curriculum and assessment writing, professional development sessions, summer school, and summer programs. Many teachers are paid to participate in curriculum writing and to attend professional development sessions. There are sessions for administrators as well. Training may include school improvement team support, implementation of positive behavioral supports or restorative practices, or New Administrator Boot Camp. The induction program for new teachers occurs in August over a four-day period. That takes a lot of coordination and preparation by staff in the summer.
School buses still run in the summer for our special education students and for some of the summer programs. Additionally, bus inspections and repairs are underway. Training occurs for bus drivers and assistants. These tasks are handled by our Transportation Department, with staff also busy updating bus routes and getting the bus schedules ready for posting on the website in August.
The social media accounts stay active in the summer as well. Our communications staff prepare the Calendar Handbook and back-to-school web section, produce training videos, support our BOE meetings, update directories, train FindOutFirst publishers, and plan back-to-school events such as the CommUNITY Resource Fair.
Whew! I think you can see why I smile when people ask if I work in the summer. The whole system is active in the summer doing the work that makes FCPS such an outstanding school system all year!