VES Eagle Express Newletter

JANUARY 9, 2021 - Vol.14, Issue #19

SY2020-2021: Saturday Weekly Circular

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Robert Bruce, Principal -

Amy Green, Assistant Principal -

Kelly Ryan, Administrative Intern -

    The Howard County Board of Education voted to continue HCPSS in a virtual instructional model through the third academic quarter, which ends April 14, 2021.

→ Full Statement

The office has coverage from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on
days when school is in session.
Please call ahead 410-313-1700


They are available to assist you during this time:

Youmi Jun, Principal Secretary -
Jane Pak, Teacher Secretary -
Maria Martinez, Teacher Secretary -
Dulce Boyer, Teacher Secretary .5 -

Send Student Attendance-related notifications directly to:

(i.e. student will be absent due to illness, appointments, religious, or travel obligations)


Para información y apoyo adicionales, por favor, llame al 410-313-1591.

欲知详情或想获得更多支持,请电 410-313-5920.

보다 자세한 문의와 지원을 원하시면, 410-313-1592 로 연락 주시기 바랍니다.

For all other language needs please contact Monica Ranta at 410-313-7102.


Dear Veterans Families,

I watched in dismay the events that unfolded in Washington DC this week. As a history major and someone who has always loved the miracle of the democratic process, it was disheartening to see the Capitol Building under seige as Congress attempted to do its job. I wondered about the impact of this very visual event on our children. Some of you managed to shield your children from the event, others were left to explain how in our democratic society this could happen. It is more meaningful for our older students who study civics as part of Social Studies. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on, it was not how things are suppose to work in our democratic society. Our society is not perfect but we do have laws and systems in place that have worked for over 240 years. I became even more committed to ensuring that our students will learn about peaceful discourse and compromise. We have representative bodies to make decisions, courts to rule on the fairness and constitutionality of laws, and most importantly a free and democratic election process. Now these are not perfect institutions but they are the backbone of our free republic. So many questions came up in regard to the events of this week including why it happened and why the protesters seemed to be treated differently than other protesters in our country. The questions can help us find common ground and understanding on a myriad of issues.

Please know that our curriculum is committed to teaching these ideals through good times and questionable times. Every opinion is valued when expressed in peaceful discourse. If your child needs assistance processing any of this and you wish the school to become involved, please contact your child's teacher or me. Obviously, you are your family's first teacher and we respect that. In closing, we attend a very diverse school in a very diverse community. I love that about Veterans Elementary. The school is named after those who have fought to preserve our rights to live in such a community. We need to continue to pass down to our children what America can become because we are not finished growing as a community.

Mrs. Kimmie Edwards, Tech/Media Teacher, Welcome to VES!

I am pleased to announce the hiring of Mrs. Kimmie Edwards as our new .5 Ed Tech/.5 Media Teacher effective December 23rd, 2020. Mrs. Edwards comes to us as a former teacher in Carroll County. She has a rich educational technology background that will compliment her role as our .5 Ed Tech and .5 Media teacher.


Make sure you know important dates on the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar. There are no printed calendars; you may view the online calendar and/or download printable calendar PDFs on our website. The calendar is subject to change.

SY2020-21 HCPSS Calendar list view of Event Dates


1 - Schools and Offices Closed: New Year's Day 2021 (State Mandated Holiday)

4 - Return to Virtual School from Winter Break

18 - Schools and Offices Closed: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (State Mandated Holiday)

29 - Schools Closed to Students: Professional Work Day

29 - End of Second Quarter


3 - MAP Math Testing: 9:00 a.m. (SAVE THE DATE - info to follow)

10 - MAP ELA Testing: 9:00 a.m. (SAVE THE DATE - info to follow)

10 - Parent-Teacher Conferences

11 - Half Day Schedule: Parent-Teacher Conferences

12 - Schools Closed to Students: Professional Work Day

15 - Schools and Offices Closed: President's Day (State Mandated Holiday)


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Superintendent Proposes Bridge to Return to In-Person Instruction:

Superintendent Michael J. Martirano presented a timeline for the return and expansion of in-person small groups to the Board of Education during the Howard County Board of Education’s January 7, 2021, COVID-19 Update/2020-2021 School Year Status work session. The Board of Education also held a discussion regarding priorities for a fourth quarter instructional model.

The third quarter timeline presented by the Superintendent is dependent on the health environment allowing a return of students and staff based on the metrics approved by the Board:


  • During the week of January 4, HCPSS restarted in-person assessments and resumed in-home supports for some students who receive special education services.


  • On February 1, HCPSS will implement the expansion of small group programs and supports, for four or five days each week, to provide some level of in-person supports in place at every school.
  • On February 13, the fall athletics season is scheduled to begin with in-person practices.


  • HCPSS will continue small group offerings at every school and prepare for the possible implementation of a hybrid model for the fourth quarter, which begins on April 15.
  • The goal is to have 5 percent of students in buildings, and continue to increase the percentage to bridge to a fourth quarter model with expanded in-person instruction.

The Superintendent also renewed his intention for many traditional senior activities such as prom, senior awards and graduation to take place in person, if it is safe to do so. Central office staff, high school administrators and senior class representatives and advisors are working in preparation of that goal.

Additionally, the Superintendent reiterated that any decision to initiate in-person small groups will be driven by data, including the health metrics that were determined by the Board.

  • According to the Board’s health metrics, the Howard County COVID-19 positivity rate must be at or below 5.13% and the case rate per 100,000 below 20 for two consecutive weeks to return to small group instruction.
  • For reference, the January 6 positivity rate was 7.6% and the case rate per 100,000 was 34.96, both significantly above the levels allowing small groups to resume.
  • Beyond health metrics, HCPSS considers attendance and engagement data, student grades, technology distribution data, and vaccine distribution data in order to make well-informed decisions.

To date, the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has implemented strict protocols for notification of positive cases and potential exposure, and will continue to work with the Howard County Health Department and follow CDC guidelines. Students and staff in buildings must follow strict precautions including the use of appropriate face masks, social distancing, and regular hand washing and sanitizing. Hand sanitizing stations and plexiglass have been installed in all appropriate areas to support the safety of students and staff.

Following the Superintendent’s presentation of the timeline through March, the Board engaged in a continuing discussion of priorities for an instructional model to be implemented for the fourth quarter.

Resources from, and video of the January 7, 2021 Board of Education meeting may be viewed online. Archived video may take up to 24 hours before it is available to view.

The Board of Education of Howard County has the authority to revise plans for reopening.
We will make every effort to keep you informed.

504 Plan

A 504 plan is a blueprint for how the school will support a student with a disability and remove barriers to learning. The goal is to give the student equal access at school. Our staff has sent to parents via email, their plan and perhaps even invites to certain meetings. Please make sure you respond to these emails to verify delivery or approval of such plans. If as a parent you feel that your child's 504 is not being implemented as you understand it, please request a 504 review meeting. Every 504 should be reviewed once per year once it is established. However, parents may request additional meetings by contacting the case manager or a school administrator.

Dunloggin Middle School New Student Orientation - January 19 and 20

DMS New Student Orientation UPDATE

Dunloggin Middle School will be hosting our annual New Student/Family Orientation and GT Information Night on Tuesday, January 19 and Wednesday, January 20, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Please join us for this event as we welcome our new students and their families to DMS. Parents, you will have an opportunity to meet the staff and become familiar with your child's new school, learn about school programs, and hear ways you can get involved.

Please note, an additional session has been offered for your convenience.
Parents, please select the night that works best for you and your family. The same information will be presented on both nights. You do not have to attend both events.

A detailed agenda and google meeting links will be shared next week with the community. Please check the Dragon Tales or school website ( for details.

Thank you so much.

Antoinette Roberson, Principal

Ellicott Mills Middle School Rising-6th Grade Information Night - January 19

EMMS has a new date for its VIRTUAL rising 6th grade information night of January 19th 6:30-7:30pm. We will update our calendar ( and main page with access information as soon as it is available.

Annual Celebration of Academic Achievement 2019-20 by TCOE of Howard County

Celebration of The Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County (TCOE) in partnership with the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) hosts an annual Celebration of Academic Achievement to acknowledge and honor students of African and African-American heritage across the county.

  • This year’s Celebration of Academic Achievement will honor approximately 2,813 students who are currently in grades 4 - 9 and have achieved the following levels of academic success during the 2019-2020 school year:

    • Grades 4 – 6: Students must earn As or Bs in all areas under language arts AND mathematics for all four marking periods. Students cannot earn Ds or Es in any of the following subjects: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and health education for all four quarters.

Here at Veterans Elementary School, we are proud that ten of our students will be recognized for their achievement and hard work on January 19, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. via a Zoom meeting. Honorees and their families will receive sign up information for the event.

These students have worked hard and deserve our recognition

for their continued commitment to their future!

The students to be recognized from Veterans Elementary School

on January 19th include the following Fourth Graders:

Oluwatobi Adebo

Lauren Bolling

Amna Iqba

Ava Wynn

The following Fifth Graders will also be recognized:

Trinity Brown

Deborah Ikoghode

*Zoe Kuria

Adekemi Otolorin

Justin Rogers

Rezena Russom

Rayka Service

*Zoe Kuria was added to the list. We are sorry for the oversight and congratulate her as well!!!

VES Hosting Virtual Guest Speaker, Dr. Brigette Hesman for Grade 4: Thursday, January 21 - 1:00pm

On Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 1:00 PM, we will host a virtual guest speaker for our Fourth-Grade students and team. We are privileged to have a female scientist speak to our students, Dr. Brigette Hesman, from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. She will speak to the students (give a presentation) about our solar system along with a question-and-answer session about her career, guidance on what paths students can/should take when interested in such a profession along with general questions that the students may have about space.
Here is a bio from Dr. Hesman:

From The VES Counseling Department

If you have an immediate need for help with depression, suicidal thoughts, or other serious

mental health issues, please contact:

Grassroots Crisis Intervention at 410-531-6677

The Maryland Crisis Hotline: Dial 211 and then choose option 1

The Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 and a trained counselor will respond.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255

Greetings from your VES School Psychologists!

We are here to help you!

Debra Moniodis (School Psychologist, Infants and Toddlers):

Michal Boyars (School Psychologist, RECC):

Katie Burkhouse (School Psychologist, K-5):

Kristen Marsico (School Psychologist Intern, K-5):

School psychologists are available for parent and staff consultation by level. Please reach out via email to schedule an appointment!


Whooos Reading Read-A-Thon Starts This Week!

Get those reading skills ready, we are about to jump into our favorite read-a-thon and fundraiser for the school.

Thursday, January 14 is the start date!

Parents: Teachers will be emailing out log in information for Whooo's Reading so your child may set up their account. Please help them do this by Wednesday, January 13.

Fundraising is not necessary to participate. We want everyone reading!

Students will be able to see what their friends are reading and communicate with their friends through the Whooo's Reading website. This is a great way to stay connected while activities are limited this winter.

Please email Nelly or Heidi, our Whooo's Reading Committee Chairs, if you have any questions: ,

Zoom Family Trivia Night - February 2021

We will be using Kahoot to run a family trivia night for the school via zoom. Fun for the whole family!

Any questions or want to volunteer, contact Cara Adornetto,
PTA President:

Follow us on Facebook:


Please visit the HCPSS website Community News and Programs page for upcoming events and programs sponsored by non-profit organizations.

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HCPSS Responds to Violence in Washington, D.C.

Dear HCPSS Families and Staff,

Just like you, I was shocked to turn on the news this afternoon and witness the terrible event that occurred in our nation’s capital. The images of violence were disturbing and upsetting. I join our county and state leaders, community members, and citizens across the county in condemning this violent attack on the United States Congress as Senators and Representatives met to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election. The acts today to disrupt these important conversations and distract from the important role the United States Congress plays is an affront to our democracy.

The acts today have illustrated the importance of instruction on civic engagement and the role each of us play in our government. However, first and foremost, it is critical that we tend to the well-being of our students who are upset and require support. Please know that we have staff at all our schools prepared to support each other and our students who need someone to talk to. You will find some resources below for parents and educators that may be helpful as you have these difficult conversations.

I am personally feeling a wide range of emotions today and I want to remind HCPSS staff, parents and guardians to tend to your own well-being as you process today’s events. Talking to a colleague, family member or a trusted friend may help to process your thoughts and concerns and help you better support your children.

Please don’t hesitate to contact a school administrator or staff member if your child requires support. Thank you to family members and HCPSS staff for being wonderfully collaborative partners as we support our students while also having to navigate traumatic events ourselves.


Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D.



The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following information for parents and educators to talk with children about violence.

Additional reminders from NASP include:

  • Reassure children that they are safe
  • Make time to talk
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate
  • Review safety procedures
  • Observe children’s emotional state
  • Limit television (and social media) viewing of these events
  • Maintain a normal routine

The HCPSS 2020-2021 Winter Athletic Season, scheduled to start on January 11, 2021, has been CANCELED due to the continuing high rates of COVID-19 infection in Howard County.

The start of the winter athletic season had been postponed multiple times with the hope that community health metrics would improve in time for a modified season. Unfortunately, at this point, any additional postponement would result in a competition season of a maximum of one week due to the required number of practice days required by the state.

Howard County continues to regularly remain above 6% COVID-19 test positivity rate and a case rate of more than 30 per 100,000. The decision not to move forward with winter athletics aligns with the majority of Maryland counties and the health metrics adopted by the Board of Education.

Understandably, this decision will be very disappointing for student-athletes and their families who had last year’s winter season cut short and this year’s season canceled due to the pandemic. Winter athletic coaches will continue to engage and support student-athletes virtually through the scheduled conclusion of the season on February 13.

The fall athletics season is scheduled to begin in-person practices on February 13, 2021, with the hope that the distribution of a vaccine will significantly improve the community health metrics. Online registration for fall athletics will begin on January 12, 2021, via HCPSS Connect. Directions can be found online.

HCPSS takes the safety and well-being of its students, staff and families seriously, and hopes that all its stakeholders are staying safe during this difficult time. Please visit the Howard County Health Department website for more information about the COVID-19 virus and how to remain safe.

Thank you for your understanding and continued collaboration as we stay safe, healthy and able to focus on instruction and learning.


Online Safety

While HCPSS continues to invest in information security efforts, upgrade equipment and ensure that the network is secure, it is critical that all students, staff and parents/guardians do their part to maintain a safe virtual learning environment. View safety guidelines and additional resources.

HCPSS News Subscriptions: HCPSS News emails and text alerts keep families up-to-date on news and events, and delivers real-time notices of emergency closings and information. All HCPSS News subscriptions are generated from the information provided in Family File and have been automatically updated for the 2020-2021 school year.
Parents/guardians new to the system are automatically enrolled for email notification, however must opt in to receive text alerts.

2020-2021 School Year Information

Find updated information about the 2020-2021 school year on the HCPSS website, now
with a spring planning page. Answers to frequently-asked questions are provided on the HCPSS Help site, including a recent topic on handling connectivity or logon problems during virtual instruction.


46th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast:

We hope that you will join us for the official launch of our 46th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Sunday, January 10, 2021 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. ​
Due to the pandemic, the event will be virtual. The proceeds from the event help fund our educational and scholarship programs. ​This year’s theme is to Keep Moving Forward: The Struggle Continues. The keynote address will be provided by our fraternity brother, Jeff Johnson, famed journalist, communication specialist, and non-profit executive (NAACP, Hip Hop Summit Action Network, Black Entertainment Television). Ticket patrons will retain access to the recorded event following the launch date.

For ticket information​, please visit the following link: 46th Annual Dr. MLK Jr. Memorial Breakfast Ticket (Links to an external site.). For any additional questions/inquiries, please email K​appa ​P​hi ​L​ambda​ Chapter President, Bruce ​E. ​Nelson at

Books and "Bundts" Reading Program 1/15/2021 thru 3/31/2021

Who: Pre-K thru Elementary School Students

What: Students will receive a FREE Bundtlet for each month that they read for 400+ minutes.

When: January 15, 2020 - to - March 31, 2021

Why: Reading at an early age enriches children's brains, increases vocabulary and test scores, introduces readers to the world around them, and helps develop their imaginations.

A Youth Reading Program by Nothing Bundt Cakes

Columbia, MD Location

10730 Little Patuxent Pkwy

Columbia, MD 21044

(410) 587-0670


AST Tutoring - Chinese American Parent Association of Howard County

AST is offering free one-on-one homework help for all students of grades 3-9 in a similar model to the high school honor society tutoring programs. Students may receive free assistance with homework assignments in the 4 core subjects: Math, English, Science, or Social Studies. These help sessions occur at designated times during the week. AST is a student-led program established 4 years ago.
It won the 2020 Governor’s Service award. For more details and registration, please go to the link

During the Day!! The solution for virtual schooling assistance for your kids! Now Enrolling for 2021! Our business partner, The Okinawan Karate Dojo, is a fully-licensed ChildCare Center by the Maryland State Department of Education. Voted as the #1 Martial Arts School and (one of) The Best ChildCare Facilities in Howard County, they are excited to provide your kids (kindergarten thru 8th grade) a healthy, safe, and enriching environment where they can receive virtual schooling assistance, spend time with peers, stay physically active, AND have fun! Most important, the dojo's COVID-cautious practices and reviews from current parents who use this service are - EXCELLENT!!
Program hours are 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.
After Care is available from 4 to 6 pm. Partial week and partial day options are available...see the attached flier or contact them for details. In order to keep group sizes small, enrollment is limited. Secure your child’s spot NOW!

Call: 443 574 8999


Meal Service at Elkridge Landing Middle School to Reopen Jan. 7, 2021; Meal Service at Wilde Lake Middle School Suspended January 3rd, 2021

Meal Service at Elkridge Landing Middle School to Reopen Jan. 7, 2021

Meal service at Elkridge Landing Middle School, previously scheduled to resume January 4, will remain closed due to insufficient staff availability at this time, and will reopen Thursday, January 7. The school building will be open for all other operations, as scheduled.

During this time, students and families may pick up meals at Elkridge Elementary School or any other available school meal location. Families that pre-ordered meals for pickup at Elkridge Landing on January 7 will not be affected.

Meal Service at Wilde Lake Middle School Suspended

Meal service at Wilde Lake Middle School, previously scheduled to resume January 4, is suspended until further notice due to insufficient staff availability at this time. The school building remains open for all other operations, as scheduled.

Students and families may pick up meals at Wilde Lake High School or any other available school meal location. Families that pre-ordered meals for pickup at Wilde Lake Middle School may pick up those meals at Wilde Lake High School.

FARMS Applications: Applications for the Free and Reduced Meals program for the school year 2020-2021 are available online in multiple languages and paper copies are available at all meal sites, effective 9/8/20. Please use this document for strategies for increasing FARMs awareness and participation.

HCPSS COUNSELING SERVICES for Students, Families, and Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this an especially stressful time for many, especially those already impacted by mental health concerns. Find information about local and online resources for counseling and mental health supports for you and your family on our website.

COMCAST Internet

To help connect more families to the internet at home, Comcast is offering two months of free internet to new Internet Essential customers. more information

Howard County Library Resources

  • Created While Isolated: Students ages 13 and up and adults are invited to share photographs, art, music, creative writing, and personal stories from this unprecedented time in acollaborative creativity journal.
  • TumbleMath is a fun and engaging way to learn math concepts through stories. Students can access this and many other learning resources with their A+ student accounts by selecting HC Library.

Message from Media Center:


Your child will be able to check out from our Media Center with no contact.

You can request books from the VES PAC and pick them up on
Wednesdays 11AM - 3PM.
All the information about the procedures, how to set up your child's account, how to request books, and how to see if books are ready for pick up are in your child's Canvas Media Course in the module named Check Out.

If you have any questions, please email your media specialist,

Send all attendance notes directly to:

During Virtual Learning, attendance will be taken daily by teachers for

Homeroom/ELA (.5 day) and Homeroom/Math (.5 day)
to account for a full school day.

Each HCPSS school now has an attendance email for parents to send notes pertaining to their child missing any time out from school, even during virtual learning
(ie. sick, appointment, travel, etc.)

Please take the time to review: HCPSS ATTENDANCE POLICY


MOVING into VES: FILLABLE_VES RequestforRecords.pdf
We can assist you to obtain student records from their prior school by filling out the

Request for Records form and emailing it back to the registrar.

MOVING AWAY/ Withdraw from VES: FILLABE_Withdrawal form

Please initiate the process by filling out the HCPSS Withdrawal Form and email it back to the registrar.


[Go to VES webiste, for complete archive]

Click to review information presented in previous Issues:

Issue #18 - December 19, 2020

Issue #17 - December 12, 2020
Issue #16 - December 5, 2020

NEED VES TECH ASSISTANCE? Fill out this VES Student Device and Tech Support Request Form

HCPSS Google Meets:

Students are reminded that they may not participate in a google meet unless a staff member set it up and is present. If you enter a google meet and staff are not present, leave immediately. Our students have worked hard to use technology appropriately and we applaud this. There are a few students that have abused technology. Please remember that an abuse of HCPSS Technology is a discipline issue, even virtually. Please use the technology as intended. Please know that our Technology department has the ability to trace usage to specific IP addresses.

Asynchronous Assignments:

Families, particularly of primary students, have expressed concerns about the virtual elementary workload including the complexity of asynchronous lessons, the number of content areas taught, and the number of weekly asynchronous assignments. In order to support elementary students with successfully navigating during virtual instruction, the following adjustments have been made:

  • Students will only have asynchronous assignments in social studies, science, or health during a given week. There will not be an overlap of instruction or assignments for these content areas.
  • Health lessons will be taught for one week during the marking period and include two synchronous lessons and two asynchronous lessons instead of five asynchronous lessons as assigned in the first quarter.
  • The length and complexity of social studies, science, and health asynchronous assignments have been reduced.
  • Related arts asynchronous assignments have been streamlined.