FCPS receives summer school and robotics grants

Feb. 27—A $400,000 grant to support Frederick County Public Schools students’ learning this summer was unanimously approved this week by the Frederick County Board of Education.

The grant, which was awarded to FCPS by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), will support summer programs at six schools this year through FCPS’s Fun Academics in the Summer Time (FAST) program.

The program has been serving FCPS students and families since 2003, according to information published on BoardDocs.

It was originally implemented as a program at three Title 1 schools, but in 2015, the focus shifted to summer learning and enrichment. Since then, more than 2,000 students have been served.

The program operated virtually last summer, but the school system plans to bring it back to in-person learning this year. The grant money will be used to operate a five-week summer program for rising third- through fifth-grade students at Lincoln, Monocacy, North Frederick and Waverley elementary schools, as well as rising sixth- through eighth-grade students at Monocacy and West Frederick middle schools.

Thirty students will be served at each elementary school, and 60 students at each middle school.

The grant money will be used to implement and operate all aspects of the program from covering the cost of FCPS teachers to deliver instruction to providing a school nurse at each participating school and providing bus transportation to participating students.

The program will aim to help students move forward and regain learning loss after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[The program] will focus on supporting students with unfinished learning in English Language Arts, math enrichment and social-emotional learning,” said Jennifer Bingman, director of System Accountability and School Improvement.

Free breakfast and lunch will also be provided at all sites through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Meals Program.

In addition to approving the summer program grant, the board was also presented with some information about a robotics grant that was awarded to two FCPS high schools by MSDE.

Catoctin and Gov. Thomas Johnson high schools received approximately $18,000 collectively to support after-school robotics clubs at their schools.

According to information from FCPS, students in the clubs design, build and program robots that are then entered in competitions. This spring, both schools will compete in virtual competitions sponsored by FIRST Robotics, an international organization that inspires students to become leaders and innovators in science and technology.

Doreen Bass, grant management specialist for FCPS, said the grant did not require approval from the board due to its small monetary value, and the schools have already started spending the money.

Board member Jason Johnson said he appreciated the grant and what the schools are doing with it, but would like to see the money impact more students in the future.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill


Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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