Ten weeks of summer: Early Childhood prepares for 2014-2015 school year

TenWeeks-01When the dismissal bell rings on the last day of school, Baltimore County Public Schools shuts down for the summer, right? Not quite.

Of the school system’s 18,783 employees, 1,032 work in the BCPS central offices. While some of those 1,032 employees hold 10-month positions, most central office staff hold 12-month positions and spend the summer months preparing for the next school year.

For each of the ten weeks of summer, a 12-month central office employee will answer a series of questions about his or her staff’s preparations and projects for the 2014-2015 school year. This week, Blake Lubinski, an intern in the Department of Communications and Community Outreach, interviewed Sharon Hoffman, supervisor of the Office of Early Childhood.

Blake Lubinski: “What are the responsibilities of your office?”

Sharon Hoffman: “The Office of Early Childhood provides professional development for prekindergarten teachers, writes grants related to early childhood programs, and ensures compliance with all early childhood Code of Maryland (COMAR) regulations and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) regulations. Our office also supports best practices for young children, kindergarten teachers with implementing readiness assessments, and schools with prekindergarten procedures and early admission to kindergarten. We also facilitate the works of the Baltimore County Judy Center at Campfield Early Learning Center, the Aliza Brandwine Center programs for parents and caregivers and their children ages birth to four, and the Baltimore County Early Childhood Advisory Council.”

BL: “How do those responsibilities change during the summer?”

SH: “During the summer, we focus on ensuring that all eligible prekindergarten students have access to a prekindergarten program in BCPS and identifying professional development activities for the fall.”

BL: “What projects does your office have planned for this summer?”

SH: “This summer, our office is supporting kindergarten teachers as they learn about the new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment that will be administered beginning in September and the Judy Center summer session for incoming Campfield Early Learning Center kindergarten students. We will also be attending professional development workshops to gain new information that will be valuable in supporting teachers throughout the year, collaborating with Baltimore County Head Start personnel on joint activities to support school-readiness for young children and participating in MSDE’s Early Learning Leadership Academy.”

BL: “What are your office’s goals for the upcoming school year?”

SH: “We are aiming to expand the number of prekindergarten programs in BCPS, identify resources to support kindergarten instruction to meet the requirements of the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Frameworks, and working with the Baltimore County Early Childhood Advisory Council’s initiative focused on developing an infrastructure that supports and links a variety of resources for parents of children ages birth to five.”

BL: “How is your office preparing to meet those goals?”

SH: “We are planning to meet those goals by assisting schools with the expansion of prekindergarten, preparing for the enrollment of next year’s prekindergarten students and providing professional development activities for kindergarten teachers of record.”

Who knew that so much happens during the summer break? Summers like these just go to show that there’s no such thing as a “slowdown” for Team BCPS!


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