21st Annual BCPS Middle School Writing Contest accepting entries

Blank screens and blank pages are waiting to be filled with carefully chosen words. Baltimore County Public Schools middle school students have just about one month to prepare their entries for the 21st Annual Middle School Writing Contest.

The deadline for entries is Friday, January 19, 2018. Winners will be notified in April and invited to attend a special awards ceremony.

The contest is sponsored each year by the Senior Literary Arts Class of George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology and is open to all BCPS students in Grades 6 – 8. Young writers are asked to submit their best and most polished works of poetry, fiction, and/or personal essay.

The contest rules are that:

  • All submissions must be accompanied by a submission cover sheet.
  • Students may submit only one entry per genre and must include a separate cover sheet for each submission.
  • All submissions must be in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, and double-spaced.
  • All works must have a title. (Make it catchy, please!)
  • Each page must be numbered and include the writer’s last name.
  • Poetry must be no longer than 50 lines.
  • Personal essay and fiction must be no longer than 10 double-spaced pages.

All submissions must be sent by mail to:

Carver Center for Arts and Technology
c/o Suzanne Supplee
938 York Road
Towson, MD 21204

For more information, please contact Supplee at ssupplee@bcps.org or 410-887-2775.

BCPS announces Blueprint 2.0 student photo contest

A new Baltimore County Public Schools contest challenges its high school students to take photographs that capture essential elements of the school system.

As part of the ongoing We Are Team BCPS campaign, the student photography contest is focused on the four goal areas of Blueprint 2.0, the school system’s strategic plan. Those goal areas are: academics, safety, communications, and organizational effectiveness.

The four winning photos – one representing each goal area – will be reproduced on posters distributed to all schools. All appropriate entries will be showcased on the BCPS Flickr page.

Students are asked to submit all photos electronically to communications@bcps.org and to submit no more than one photo in each of the four categories. The deadline for entry submission is 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. The photos will be reviewed by a panel of visual arts educators and communications staff, and winning photos will be announced before winter break.

Photographs will be judged based on their technical quality, creativity, and relevance to the category. Each photo submission should be titled to include the category it is submitted in, last name of the photographer, and name of his or her high school. (For example, if Stephanie Jones from Milford Mill Academy submits a photo for the safety category, her photo file should be named SafetyJonesMilfordMill).

For ideas about what to photograph, students are encouraged to review Blueprint 2.0 and to think about how it relates to their experiences in school. Overall the intent of Blueprint 2.0 is to help BCPS fulfill its Theory of Action. The Theory of Action is: “To equip every student with the critical 21st century skills needed to be globally competitive, BCPS must ensure that every school has an equitable, effective digital learning environment, and every student has equitable access to learning and developing proficiency in a second language.”

In summary, the four goal areas of Blueprint 2.0 address:


  • Curriculum development
  • Classroom instruction
  • Learner-centered environments (e.g., flexible, student-centered)


  • Safe buildings
  • Student support services
  • Promoting positive student behavior


  • Two-way communication between schools/BCPS and families
  • Business partnerships with schools/BCPS
  • Parent/community engagement in educational process

Organizational Effectiveness

  • Recruiting, hiring, supporting, and evaluating staff
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Facilities modernization

Questions about the contest should be directed to communications@bcps.org. Blueprint 2.0 is available online at http://www.bcps.org/blueprint/.

Apply now for winter-service learning program at The Maryland Zoo

Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 Teen Leaders Institute at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, a winter service-learning program for high school juniors and seniors.  The Teen Leaders Institute is an exciting program that runs nine Saturday mornings from January 21, 2017 through March 18, 2017 from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. and allows students to learn through personal experience what it takes to successfully run a nonprofit.  With a format that combines hands-on learning activities, group service projects, and presentations with senior staff, the program will introduce teens to how the zoo functions as a model of nonprofit management and provide them with opportunities to develop real-world job readiness skills in preparation for college or the job market and broaden their understanding of careers such as event planning, finance, marketing, human resources, customer services, and volunteer management.  Participants will strengthen valuable skills of public speaking, team work, problem-solving, resume writing, and leadership.  Successful participants are eligible to apply for a paid summer work experience at the zoo.

Applicants must complete an on-line application and participate in an interview with zoo staff.  Applications must be received by Monday, December 12, 2016. To apply to the 2017 Teen Leaders Institute, interested students should go to: http://www.marylandzoo.org/teenleaders

For further information, contact the zoo at 443-552-5266 or volunteers@marylandzoo.org.

Be a voice for Maryland students: Apply now, deadline Aug. 15

Looking for a new way to get your voice heard?

David Edimo, the student member of the Maryland State Board of Education, is looking for middle and high school students to join his Advisory Council. The council will be a forum to discuss issues affecting students and will help David communicate with students throughout the state.

While all students are encouraged to apply, David is specifically seeking students who are not already very active in student government. He also is seeking geographic diversity. Serving is not an intensive commitment as the group will probably meet once a month and typically via teleconference.

If you are interested — or know someone who might be, the application is available at www.marylandsmob.org/apply. The deadline is August 15. Any questions can be emailed to David@MarylandSMOB.org.

Want to win Orioles tickets? Enter a slogan contest for anti-bullying week

Use your word power for good!

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and the Baltimore County Student Councils are looking for a slogan for bullying prevention week (to be held in October 2016).

Have any bright ideas?

The student who creates the winning slogan will receive four tickets to a future Orioles game along with an autographed baseball complete with a certificate of authenticity from the Orioles.  All slogan submissions must be emailed to Nora Murray in the BCPS Office of Family and Community Engagement at cmurray2@bcps.org by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 27, 2016.

Special financial assistance for BCPS students taking CCBC classes

by Bailey Cosnett, intern, Dept. of Communications and Community Outreach

BCPS students in Grades 10, 11, and 12 may apply for special financial resources to pay for tuition, fees, and books for the Community College of Baltimore County 2016 Spring Semester. These resources are available through the Maryland Part-Time State Grant Program and the Legg Mason Book Scholarship.

Students must be concurrently enrolled in a BCPS high school and CCBC to be eligible. To apply for this grant, these documents must be submitted to a CCBC Admissions Office:

  • Application for Admission (if applying to CCBC for the first time)
  • Early College Access Programs Consent Form
  • Part-Time State Grant Application, including a copy of 2014 federal income tax forms, as well as other documentation of untaxed income, e.g., child support

Students must complete the enrollment process (including placement testing, if needed), register for spring 2016 classes, and pay the required tuition and fees. Priority consideration will be given to students who demonstrate significant financial need in their income documents.

The deadline to submit all required documents to a CCBC Admissions Office is Friday, Jan. 15.  Applications and documents received after this deadline will be reviewed only if funds are still available. Award amounts are based on the number of credits/billable hours in which the student is enrolled. Awards will be applied directly to the student’s CCBC account.

Award notification letters will be mailed to eligible students after Sunday, Feb. 1. Classes begin Monday, Feb. 2. Contact your Early College Access Coordinator with any questions.

Is the next great filmmaker a BCPS student? Student film expo this spring might answer that question!

by Bailey Cosnett, intern, Dept. of Communications and Community Outreach

Many great film directors made their first feature film before the age of 30. Is the next great young filmmaker currently sitting in a BCPS classroom?

High school student filmmakers are invited to enter their work in the inaugural BCPS Film Expo. A diverse panel of judges—composed of BCPS staff, local filmmakers, and Hollywood professionals—will evaluate each entry and select first, second, and third place awards in five categories: Live Action Narratives, Documentary Films, Animation, Experimental Films, and Animated GIFs.

Interested students must have approval from an art teacher at their school and submit a registration form by Friday, February 5. Only five entries will be accepted per school in the live action narrative, documentary, animation, and experimental film categories. A maximum of three entries per school will be accepted in the GIF category. Submissions are limited to 10 minutes in length, and they must conform to the BCPS code of ethics and standards of acceptable use and propriety. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, March 5. Finalists will be notified of their standing by Tuesday, April 5. The culmination of the competition will be a film showing and awards ceremony on Thursday, May 5, from 5 – 8 p.m. at the Historic Senator Theater in Baltimore.

More information, including guidelines, registration, tutorials, resources, and submission requirements, will be available online at www.bcpsfilmexpo.org soon. You can also contact Mr. Dortzbach at jdortzbach@bcps.org with any questions.