VES Eagle Express Newletter

SY2020-2021 OCTOBER 10, 2020 - Volume 14, Issue #9

Saturday Weekly Circular

Veterans Elementary

THE BUILDING IS CLOSED TO STUDENTS DURING THIS TIME.
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


SCHOOL SECRETARIES ARE WORKING REMOTELY

They are available to assist you during this time:

youmi_jun@hcpss.org
jane_pak@hcpss.org

maria_martinez@hcpss.org

dulce_boyer@hcpss.org


Send Student Attendance-related notifications directly to: vesabsence@hcpss.org

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

INTERNATIONAL AND FAMILY SERVICE LINKS:

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.

FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Planning for Halloween

​​​​​​​Article from HealthyChildren.org


Choosing costumes, decorating pumpkins, and getting special treats brings joy to many children at Halloween. Some Halloween traditions may look different this year to keep everyone safe during the COV​ID-19 pandemic. However, there are still plenty of ways families can have fun while avoiding the scare of being exposed to or spreading the virus.

Most importantly, keep doing what you have been doing: avoiding large gatherings, keeping a distance of six feet from others, wearing cloth face coverings (think superhero!), and washing hands often.

(Read the rest of this informative article: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Halloween-COVID-Safety-Tips.aspx)

Whatever you choose to do, do so safely. Remind your children of the concerns you have about collecting candy door to door. Find those alternative activities that allow your children to have fun but are safe when it comes to precautions relative to Co-VID.


MAP Testing Continues This Week: The Measure of Academic Progress will be administered once again on Wednesday, October 14th. Students in grades 2-5 only will take the Measured Academic Progress (MAP) assessment in an online format. This will change your weekly schedule so please mark your calendars. Wednesdays are usually when students only work on asynchronous assignments. Therefore, there will be a change in schedule for these two weeks only.

There will be two LIVE sessions of the Math test so that the testing sessions are smaller than a traditional class. Your child can attend either the morning or the afternoon session.


· Math MAP Assessment will be given on October 14 at 9:00am or 1:00pm.



It is important that your child takes this assessment independently so that the results of the test are valid and useful when planning your child’s instruction and determining areas of academic need.



All about MAP:


MAP is a computer-adaptive test that can only be taken on the computer. It adapts to each individual student. As students answer questions correctly, the questions increase in difficulty. If the students answer questions incorrectly then the difficulty of the questions decrease. The test will adjust to their academic level and provide teachers with data to guide their instruction in both reading and mathematics. As the test progresses, it will get better at identifying the appropriate level for each student. The data from this MAP assessment will be used as a tool to help your child’s teachers measure where your child is starting the year academically. The MAP assessment does not affect grades and the difficulty adjusts depending on how your child responds. It is normal for students to only answer about half the questions correctly.


As your child is taking the MAP assessment, they will be in a Google meet with their teacher using the same teacher code that they use for daily instruction, unless your child receives an accommodation of small pull out group for their IEP or 504 Plan. Parents/Guardians may need to help students navigate the technology and get to the correct site. Teachers will be online with the students as they take the test to monitor their progress and address any issues they may be having.

School Calendar

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.

Schedule Adjustments for Scheduled Early Dismissal Days

Schedule Adjustments for Scheduled Early Dismissal Days as of 10/2/2020 12:44pm Update


The HCPSS 2020-2021 calendar includes four scheduled 3-hour early dismissal days:

  • Friday, October 16, 2020
  • Friday, November 6, 2020
  • Monday, November 23, 2020
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The virtual schedules have been adjusted for these scheduled early dismissal days to provide students with synchronous learning for each class. Additionally, both full- and half-day PreK classes will meet on these days using a modified schedule.

Early dismissal day revised schedules for all elementary, middle, and high school grades are provided on the 2020-2021 School Year website.

OCTOBER

14 - MAP Math Test: Grades 2 thru 5, 9:00a.m. and 1:00p.m.

16 - 3-Hour Early Dismissal for Students: Professional Development Day

NOVEMBER

6 - 3-Hour Early Dismissal for Students: Professional Development Day

23 - 3-Hour Early Dismissal for Students: Parent/Teacher Conferences

24 - 3-Hour Early Dismissal for Students: Parent/Teacher Conferences

25 - School Closed to Students: Parent/Teacher Conferences

26& 27 - Schools and Offices Closed: Thanksgiving Holiday (State Mandated Holiday)

Important Current Events

Privacy Guidelines for Parents/Guardians

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To maintain a positive, productive learning environment and assure confidentiality for students and teachers during distance learning, all parents/guardians are asked to follow the following privacy guidelines.


  • Google Meet virtual instruction is designed for students. To prevent disruptions to the learning environment, parents/guardians should not actively participate in check-in sessions, although parents/guardians may assist their child with technology and/or remain nearby.
  • Do not video record, audio record, photograph, live stream, or transmit in any other way any part of a Google Meet, including not posting on any social media platform.
  • Any confidential or personally identifiable information related to students participating during Google Meets should not be collected, discussed or shared.
  • Parents/guardians should not engage with students during Google Meets. If you need to speak with your child during a check-in session, first mute your child’s microphone.
  • If a parent/guardian has a question, please email your child’s teacher.

Parents/guardians should email your child’s principal with any questions or concerns regarding privacy or virtual classroom expectations.

Thank you for your support and cooperation in ensuring that distance learning is a positive, productive and enjoyable experience for all participants

Special MAP & Technology Announcements

MAP Assessment Fall Administration for Grades 2 thru 5

The Reading MAP Assessment was given on October 7 at 9:00am or 1:00pm.
On Wednesday October 14th, students in grades 2-5 only will take the Measured Academic Progress (MAP) assessment in an online format. This will change your weekly schedule so please mark your calendars. Wednesdays are usually when students only work on asynchronous assignments. Therefore, there will be a change in schedule for these two weeks only.

There will be two LIVE sessions for the Math test so that the testing sessions are smaller than a traditional class. Your child can attend either the morning or the afternoon session.


· Math MAP Assessment will be given on October 14 at 9:00am or 1:00pm.


It is important that your child takes this assessment independently so that the results of the test are valid and useful when planning your child’s instruction and determining areas of academic need.


Parents/Guardians may need to help students navigate the technology and get to the correct site. Teachers will be online with the students as they take the test to monitor their progress and address any issues they may be having.


Technology Support for Parents:

Mrs. Webb, one of our Instructional Technology teachers, would like to provide some technology support sessions. Please complete the survey so she can plan accordingly for the sessions.


Click here to complete the VES Technology Support Survey



All about MAP

MAP is a computer-adaptive test that can only be taken on the computer. It adapts to each individual student. As students answer questions correctly, the questions increase in difficulty. If the students answer questions incorrectly then the difficulty of the questions decrease. The test will adjust to their academic level and provide teachers with data to guide their instruction in both reading and mathematics. As the test progresses, it will get better at identifying the appropriate level for each student. The data from this MAP assessment will be used as a tool to help your child’s teachers measure where your child is starting the year academically. The MAP assessment does not affect grades and the difficulty adjusts depending on how your child responds. It is normal for students to only answer about half the questions correctly.

As your child is taking the MAP assessment, they will be in a Google meet with their teacher using the same teacher code that they use for daily instruction, unless your child receives an accommodation of small pull out group for their IEP or 504 Plan.

The data from the MAP assessment will help schools and teachers measure where your child is starting the year academically. The HCPSS intends to also give the assessment in winter and spring to measure how your child’s learning is progressing throughout the year. The MAP test does not affect grades and the difficulty adjusts depending on how your child responds. It is normal for students to only answer about half the questions correctly. To learn more about the MAP assessment, please visit: https://www.nwea.org/the-map-suite/common-questions-families/

Grading Updates:

Parents should know that Canvas has a heading entitled "Grades", which you can go in and check to see the status of your child's assignments. If the status indicates a child is "missing" an assignment" a teacher may extend the assignment or assign a make up assignment. Please understand it will take the teacher additional time to post an upgrade to the grade section. I would allow up to a week after there has been a resubmission before there is an upgrade to the "Grade" section if your child uploaded a late or additional assignment.

HCPSS to Introduce Small Group, In-Person Supports for Selected Students

Recently, Superintendent Martirano announced that in-person supports and services will soon be offered to small groups of selected students. Following is an overview of the programs and services under consideration and the criteria that will be used to identify students for participation.

HCPSS has developed a virtual instruction program for first semester 2020-21 that replicates as closely as possible what students would experience in the classroom. Educators recognize that virtual instruction is not ideal for most students; however, some students have been especially impacted and more urgently need the kind of support that can best be provided in an in-person model.

HCPSS is preparing to offer a roster of half-day or full-day, face-to-face small group programs that will be phased in over the next several weeks and offered to selected students and families. The programs that HCPSS anticipates offering include:

  • Special education services for children receiving the most intensive services
  • School-Based Learning Centers for students who are experiencing significant barriers to attendance or virtual learning, or who need intensive mental health or behavioral support
  • Family conference opportunities to address barriers to student learning
  • Teen parenting program
  • Homewood Bridges program

A descriptive list of all in-person programs currently targeted for availability is provided online.

Student Identification Process. Each school will identify students who would most benefit from the in-person programs, and will reach out directly to their parents/guardians next week with a survey that will provide detailed information and ask their interest in participating. Schools will also assess the availability of appropriate staff to support each program, based on anticipated student participation. In cases where there are not enough staff available to offer a specific in-person program at a school, eligible students may be able to participate at another school where space is available.

Future Expansion of Small Group Supports. We realize many students would benefit from face-to-face instructional support; however, due to limitations of space, staffing availability, and health and safety requirements, HCPSS is currently only able to offer in-person small group supports for students who most critically need these services. HCPSS will continually assess and refine the programs based on these initial experiences, with the goal of expanding in-person offerings and participation.

Details about the in-person programs under consideration, health and safety precautions, transportation services, answers to frequently-asked questions and additional information is provided on our website, which will be updated as new information becomes available.

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HCPSS News

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.

Student Schedules

All parents/guardians can log in to HCPSS Connect to view teachers and schedules.

<--Click on image to view elementary schedule.

STUDENTS NEEDING TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT

Please find below suggestions on how to proceed if your student experiences an issue:
For common issues
Account Self-Service allows families to request a password reset or student’s username
Canvas Orientation – tips for navigating Canvas Chromebook Orientation - a tutorial to assist with using your Chromebook
Google Meet resources


*Remember, students must log in with HCPSS credentials in order to access Canvas and Google Meet sessions.

Virtual Instruction Student Tip Sheet: A downloadable tip sheet was created for students and parents or guardians to use for quick access to login information, course meeting codes, and instructions for logging in to platforms. Please share this wonderful resource with your school community and students along with this helpful note from the Instructional Technology Office: Students - Don’t forget to check your “to-do” list area in Canvas for new announcements, Google events and assignments that are due. Once a task/event is complete, be sure to click on the “x” next to the event so that your upcoming assignments/events will appear at the top of the list.

VES COMMUNITY NEWS

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Join the PTA

Good Morning Veterans Families !


If you haven't already, please join the PTA! We are brainstorming lots of opportunities to help make this year fun for the kids. Your membership helps to fund these activities and helps our school ratings by showing high parental involvement in our school. Our goal is 300 members. We are 1/3 of the way there! Keep those memberships coming!

Click here to join:


https://veterans.memberhub.store


This fall we plan to run the very popular Whooo's Reading Challenge and Fundraiser! Look for notifications coming soon to start logging your minutes and donations!


You will be able to get your Veterans's Spiritwear online this year! We plan to put the products right on memberhub where you purchased your membership. Look for links in future PTA blasts.


We are also talking about Virtual dance parties, Spirit Days, Family Game Nights, and Chalk the Walk options for the kids.


We would love your help with the following events. If you would like to simply pitch in an hour or so, we would appreciate your help. Email Cara Adornetto at doctorcia@gmail.com if interested.


Staff Appreciation Committee - Chairperson: Heidi Potter. Team members would help brainstorm ideas and assemble supplies for distribution as needed. Email Heidi at Heidi@shmoo.com if interested.


Spiritwear Committee - Run by Amie House. Help with organizing incoming orders of spiritwear and/or help distribute in a driveby event at the school. Email Cara at Doctorcia@gmail.com if interested.


PTA LINKS and INFO

Become a PTA Member:
https://veterans.memberhub.store

Follow us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/PTAatVES

Halloween in the Virtual Setting

Co-Vid 19 forces adjustments to traditional celebrations

October 1, 2020


Dear Veterans School Community,

As part of our school system’s commitment to equity and inclusion, we continue to focus on building community and creating welcoming environments for all students.

While we recognize that Halloween activities or what we have called our “Children’s Celebration” held during the school day has been a long standing tradition at Veterans and in other Howard County schools and communities, the decision has been made to not hold Halloween activities during the virtual instructional day this school year. While Halloween is not part of the Howard County Public School System’s curriculum, the greater concern this year is that the virtual environment does not easily allow students to refrain from Halloween-related activities and still be engaged in school.

We look forward to partnering with families and students on these activities in the future and appreciate your understanding of the decision to refrain from holding Halloween activities during the school day this year. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.


Sincerely,

Robert C. Bruce

Principal

October 9, 2020 HCPSS Updates on School Meals, Second Semester and Athletics

School Meals

A stopgap U.S. government funding bill signed into law last Thursday, which includes almost $8 billion in nutrition assistance, allows USDA to extend the meal waivers, previously due to expire at the end of December, through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Thus, HCPSS will be able to provide meals at no cost to any HCPSS student, and all children 18 and under, through the entire school year, assuming continued availability of USDA funding.

Beginning Monday, October 12, HCPSS will add a snack and dinner to each weekday meal, in addition to breakfast and lunch already being served. Additionally, weekend meals will be included with meals provided on Fridays, and in pre-ordered meals picked up on Thursdays.

HCPSS also has adjusted the pre-order process. Meals for multiple days need to be pre-ordered at least two days in advance for pickup on Mondays and Thursdays. Pre-order meal pickups will be offered only on those two days, to enable Food and Nutrition Services to improve service and efficiency while balancing staffing and food resources.

Full details on HCPSS student meal offerings can be found online.

Family Survey for Second Semester Planning
HCPSS staff are currently evaluating possibilities for in-person instructional options for the second semester, which begins February 1, 2021.

Early next week, we will distribute a short survey to all HCPSS families to gather data on whether families intend to send their student(s) back to school or continue fully virtual learning through the end of the current school year. No decision has been made regarding the learning format for the second semester. The data from this form will facilitate planning and is not a commitment for the second semester. This information will assist the Board and HCPSS leadership during discussions about possible models for the second semester.

Families will have the opportunity to formally select a learning option following the Board's deliberation and final decision on second semester plans.

Athletics
The announcement last month by Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon and Governor Larry Hogan to allow the start of high school athletics to begin October 7 has generated much discussion in our community about whether Howard County would begin athletics sooner than second semester, as was originally determined by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA). Last week, a message was distributed to the community that HCPSS would continue to participate in statewide discussions before revisiting our decision on the return of in-person athletics.

A decision has been made that HCPSS will not participate in the State's new plan. Instead, HCPSS leadership will advocate for the State's adoption of a proposed December 7 start and target all preparation efforts for that date. Additional information and benefits related to the December 7 proposal are posted on the HCPSS website.

If the State declines to adopt the December 7 start, HCPSS will participate in the State's original two-semester plan that begins February 1. In the interim, HCPSS coaches are still permitted to engage virtually with prospective team members for 60-90 minutes one day each week through January 22, 2021.

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.

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

2020 Census

Several HCPSS programs rely on funding based on accurate census information. All families are encouraged to participate in the 2020 census, which may be completed online by Monday, OCTOBER 5th! Learn more.

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.

Greetings from your VES School Psychologists!

Welcome back for the 2020-2021 school year. Our school psychologist team at VES has grown this school year. We are here to help you!


Debra Moniodis (School Psychologist, Infants and Toddlers): debra_moniodis@hcpss.org


Michal Boyars (School Psychologist, RECC): michal_boyars@hcpss.org


Katie Burkhouse (School Psychologist, K-5): katie_burkhouse@hcpss.org


Kristen Marsico (School Psychologist Intern, K-5): kristen_marsico@hcpss.org


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

Emergency Card Procedures with Family File

https://www.hcpss.org/f/connect/family-file-user-instructions.pdf

https://www.hcpss.org/f/connect/family-file-user-instructions-spanish.pdf

https://www.hcpss.org/f/connect/family-file-user-instructions-korean.pdf


HCPSS utilizes Family File for parents/guardians to complete emergency information. Regardless of virtual or in-person learning, parents/guardians must verify and/or update information for each child. Family File guides are available online.

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 throughhcpss.me by selecting HC Library.

Please Continue to Return Media Books

A bin is located right inside the front door of our school for book drop off. You don't need to go inside the school, just drop the books off in the bin. We would like for all media books to be returned by November 1st, so we can clear our student accounts and make plans for a possible contactless media book check out later on this year. If you have books from another school, you may drop those off in the bin as well and we will send them to your old school.
If you have any questions, please email your media specialist, Robin_Lauren@hcpss.org or Carolee_Kinloch@hpcss.org.

Send all attendance notes directly to: vesabsence@hcpss.org

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

Homeroom (.5 day) and 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 the HCPSS ATTENDANCE POLICY

ADDRESS CHANGE FORM: FILLABLE_Change_of_Address.pdf


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.

LOCAL COMMUNITY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY POSTS

GIRL SCOUTS at VES!

Are you a girl looking to have fun and adventures with new friends? VES Girl Scout troops have openings in all grade levels, and a new kindergarten troop is forming!

For more information, contact Lauren Oviatt at VeteransGS@gmail.com

Cub Scout Pack 305 Virtual Open House - Sunday, Oct.11

A big thank you to all who attended our last virtual Open House. We will be hosting another session on Sunday, October 11, from 7-8PM.


This is an informative meeting for parents/guardians of Kindergarten-5th grade youth to learn about all aspects of the Pack 305 scouting program. If you’d like to join, please fill out the simple form located at https://forms.gle/3KSrSgbpKhdDydu36 and we will send you the zoom link invitation the morning of the meeting.


Please contact Heidi Potter at heidi@shmoo.com if you have any questions.