VES Eagle Express Newletter

SY2020-2021 OCTOBER 3, 2020 - Volume 14, Issue #8

Saturday Weekly Circular

Veterans Elementary

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


They are available to assist you during this time with
attendance, student records,
new student registrations/withdrawals:

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.

Virtually Visit Veterans Elementary

Here Is your chance to take a virtual tour!

VES Student Virtual Visit Day


I hope everyone had a great week ! At the PTA Meeting this week a parent asked me for some advice on how to give children breaks from screen time. This is an important question. A child's sight and posture can be impacted by an overabundance of screen time. Obviously school work is important, that is your child's job. It is great to model how you, as a parent, take breaks from screen time. I did decide to go to some experts for this question so I am attaching some articles for your information:,to%20do%20with%20your%20kids.

Some of my best advice is to be a role model yourself. Take very obvious breaks, obvious to your children. Take the break with your children, have lunch with them and use it as a family chat time. Play a game that does not involve devices, card games like UNO work for me. If you work away from home, call them and engage them in conversation. Whatever you do, be sure it works for you and your children.

5 Strategies for Getting Kids off Devices | Common Sense Media

"Just a sec," say nine out of 10 parents answering an email when their kid asks them for something. If it's hard for us to jump out of the digital world, just imagine you're 3 and the lines between fantasy and reality are already blurred -- then throw in a super-engaging, colorful, fun, immersive experience. Or you're 5 and each episode of Mutt & Stuff on the Nick Jr. app is better than the last.

How to entice older kids away from screens | Planning With Kids

There’s a bit of hysteria developing out there around “gaming addiction” and kids playing Fortnite. I use quote marks around “gaming addiction” because despite WHO recently classifying gaming disorder as a mental disease, many experts and scholars don’t agree that gaming addiction is a thing.. They clearly haven’t spoken to many parents.

Productive Struggle:

As I observe our classes throughout our virtual school I do notice one thing that concerns me. For the vast majority of our students, our parents and caregivers allow the child to think about or struggle with coming to an answer. I love that approach. For some of our children I believe that an adult's rush to give a child an answer ruins their opportunity to productively struggle with the question. Productive struggle is crucial to encouraging good problem-solving skills. Productive struggle is developing strong habits of mind, such as perseverance and thinking flexibly, instead of simply seeking the correct solution. Not knowing how to solve a problem at the outset should be expected. The key is working through a problem, encouraging students to think outside the box, and not letting them get discouraged if their initial strategies don’t work. Sure, we all want our children to shine in the classroom but at what developmental cost. It is not the end of the world if a student gets an answer wrong. As a matter of fact, we want this to encourage the student to productively think to arrive at an answer. It is about the process. If a child was here at school, they only have their teacher on which to rely. Help us to help your student to grow by taking a step back. This is true in home life as well. Let's help them to think instead of supplying the answer.

Robert C. Bruce
Principal - Veterans Elementary School

Every Day Counts!
Connectedness Strategic Responsibility Arranger Intellection

Important Current Events

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.


7 - MAP Reading Test: Grades 2 thru 5 - 9:00a.m. and 1:00p.m.

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


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)

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.

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MAP Testing – Grades 2-5

On Wednesday October 7 and 14, students in grades 2-8 will take the Measured Academic Progress (MAP) assessment. 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:

The Reading test will be offered on October 7 at 9:00a.m. and 1:00p.m.
The Math test will be offered on October 14 at 9:00a.m. and 1:00p.m.
Students may choose to attend either the morning or afternoon session. If your child is unable to attend, makeup testing will be offered during asynchronous learning times. Teachers will share Google Meet information and your student’s testing group as we get closer to the Oct 7th date.

Halloween in the Virtual Setting

October 1, 2020

Co-Vid 19 forces adjustments to traditional celebrations

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.


Robert C. Bruce


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Bright Minds Foundation Golf Classic

Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Waverly Woods Golf Club

Proceeds from the Golf Classic support the work of Bright Minds Foundation, the official educational foundation of the Howard County Public School System.

Free Vaccine Clinics for Students

Immunizations are required by state law to attend school, including virtually, and are vital for children’s overall health and wellness. HCPSS Health Services continues to partner with the Howard County Health Department and the Maryland Partnership for Prevention to offer several free immunization clinics for any student who may need them.

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.


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.

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):

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!

Student Schedules

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

<--Click on image to view elementary schedule.


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.

Expectations During Virtual Learning

Google Meet Expectations

To ensure a positive, productive and enjoyable learning experience for all participants, it is important that all students and parents/guardians adhere to these Google Meet Expectations.

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.


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One of the best ways to help our PTA is to become a member! Please consider supporting the PTA that does so much to support your child’s experience here at Veterans Elementary. Becoming a member (just $10 per adult) ensures we are an official PTA organization within the national structure and helps support all that we do here at the school.
Our goal is to get 300 PTA members at VES this year - please help us get there!

PTA Board elections were held on September 30th

PTA Election Results

Thank you to the parents who have volunteered to be officers during this unique year. Thank you also to those who came out to help us meet quorum last night in order to be able to have a vote. We just made it!

Your new PTA Board is as follows:

President - Cara Adornetto

1st Vice President - Kim Davis

2nd Vice President - Heidi Potter

Treasurer - Tomi Adebo

Recording Secretary: Nicole Tsang

Delegate to County PTA- Ana Maldonado

Delegate to County PTA- Mai Hall


There are currently 67 people signed up for the PTA so far. Great start! Our goal is 300!
Please rejoin this year so we can help provide some fun activities for the kids. Your membership dues help to fund our events.

You can sign up online here:

Please let us know if you have any questions and ideas for this year's PTA -
Cara Adornetto -

Become a PTA Member:

Follow us on Facebook:

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.


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 and we will send you the zoom link invitation the morning of the meeting.

Please contact Heidi Potter at if you have any questions.

SuperSquads Cheerleading

After school cheerleading (virtual while schools are closed) starts 9/29 - 10/5
for the Fall Semester!
Contact, or
410-796-2244 to join!

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.

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.

Emergency Card Procedures with Family File

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.

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, or


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.

Send all attendance notes directly to:

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