VES Eagle Express Newletter

April 23, 2020 - Volume 13, Issue #33

Veterans Elementary

The building is closed due to the State Superintendent's decision regarding the COVID-19 virus. We can still be reached by contacting our principal at

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Mr. Bruce and Spirit say Hello!

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From the Principal

This teaching stuff can be challenging. After several weeks of assisting your children, I am sure some of you feel a great deal of anxiety, while others feel like they would love to become a teacher. It is certainly a challenge to teach your own children and all of you are commended for the effort you are making. We truly appreciate you.

I would love to tweet out via the school's twitter account any signs, posters, or other types of hello, we miss you messages to the school community. If you have something that is okay to share please send me the message via then watch our Twitter account light up. I will tweet out as many as I can. Twitter @hcpss_ves

Organization is the key to success with any instruction. Over the next few days I will send out, by grade level, recommended schedules and guidelines for you. Please use these to set your child up for success. Teacher's Canvas pages will be an important component to their instruction. Get to know your child's teacher Canvas page. This page will contain directions, assignments, and links that can enhance their learning experiences. We will try to guide you to appropriate experiences and the amount of time that should be spent on each activity. You may want to review the teacher Canvas page on your own before your children use it. This would allow you to become familiar with what is offered on that page before your children start their assignments.

Yesterday, we saw the most use of our virtual learning. 861 students signed on to the system and participated in their Virtual Check-in or into Dreambox or LexiaCore. This means that many of our students are serious about learning. We still have 120 students who were not able to sign on either because they chose not to sign on or they did not have access to devices. It is crucial that all children sign on and participate in LexiaCore, Dreambox, and the lessons that our teachers will post. This will determine their attendance in school. The remainder of our requested devices should arrive by Monday.

A Word About Attendance:

Beginning Monday April 27th, staff will take student attendance via student participation in Virtual Check-Ins, Work in Dreambox, or work in Lexia.

Elementary school students are expected to participate in three different measurable types of Continuity of Learning activities every week: virtual check-ins, work in Dreambox, and work in Lexia. Students should also engage in activities posted in Canvas. Each of the following activities will earn students a point (1 pt):

  • Participate in virtual check-in with teacher through
  • Engages in Dreambox
  • Engages in Lexia

Every student who earns at least one point during the week (participates in one of the above three activities), will be marked “Present” for the entire week. Any student who does not earn at least one point during the week (participate in none of the above activities), will be marked “Absent” for the entire week.

Students who do not meet these criteria will not receive credit for attendance. The Maryland Department of Education has approved these measures of attendance for distance learning in Howard County. Of course we want students to complete every assignment given on their teacher's Canvas page and to check in with the teacher weekly.

Important Calendar Dates:


24 - 3rd Quarter Reporting Ends

27 - 4th Quarter Begins


5 - Report Cards will be viewable in FamilyFile

Google Classroom Sessions

We are excited about beginning Google Check In sessions. Please make sure your child signs into their sessions through their teacher's Canvas page. Teachers have been advised not to allow anyone to enter the Check In Session from a private email address, this is for everyone's safety and security. My expectation is that students will be on their best behavior during screen time with their classmates and teacher(s). Please be advised that if any student does anything inappropriate during a class session, then the teacher may eliminate the student from instruction. Further violations will result in a phone call to parents from an administrator.
We are hopeful that everyone will take advantage of this learning time.

Message from Strings Program:

Hi everyone,

Hope this email finds you well! Thank you so much for your patience during this time; I know many students are eager to get back to playing their instruments. I would like to give you the latest updates regarding strings for the foreseeable future.


Strings instruction will continue in our new distance learning environment. Every strings student is currently enrolled in a strings Canvas course, and will be able to access strings instruction directly from that page.

Every Monday at 9am beginning April 27th, new videos will be posted on our Canvas page every week with activities I have created and personalized for students. These are not graded nor is anything being collected. Any participation is completely voluntary but highly encouraged.

At this time, I will not be able to host Google meet sessions with students. If this changes, I will be sure to update you.


Due to the extended school closure, our April 30th concert has been postponed. Until we are able to return to school, we are unable to provide a new date for the concert at this time. Thank you for your understanding.


Students’ instruments at this point are most likely out of tune and may need attention. I will be sending instruction on "how to tune" in videos coming out on May 4th.

  • 5th grade advanced students may continue to tune their instruments themselves, as I have taught them how to do so and have supervised their tuning during previous classes.

  • 4th grade advanced students and 5th grade beginner students after watching my videos coming out on May 4th may attempt to tune their own instruments. I would suggest that adults may want to oversee this process.

  • All 3rd grade students and 4th grade beginners will require adult supervision to tune their instruments. I would suggest students work together with an adult at home, but that ultimately the adult is handling the tuning of the instrument.

Please note that string repair shops are not open at this time and that I will not be able to personally repair any damaged instruments. If anything breaks or if students report that “something doesn’t look/sound right”, please let me know and I will provide guidance on how to make the instrument playable. I’m happy to answer any and all tuning/repair questions!

I truly hope everyone is safe and healthy during this uncertain time. Please let students know that I sincerely miss them and hope we can get back to music-making together soon.


Catina McLagan

Veterans Elementary School Strings Director

Families Who Need to Request Device:

Student Technology Request: To better enforce social distancing and safeguard the health of staff, students, and families, HCPSS will be shipping all technology devices through FedEx directly to the students who need them. All HCPSS students, grades K-12 who requested a device will receive one.

The following steps will be followed:

1. Parent logs into HCPSS Connect (

2. From the left menu, last choice, click on “Student Technology”, then choose “Student Technology” near the top center of the screen

3. On the HCPSS Student Technology screen, use the drop down arrows to indicate the Technology Requested for each student. Changes are saved immediately.

4. If a device has already been issued, it will appear in the inventory list.

5. The request list will be synced with the distribution team by 8:00 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and devices will be shipped shortly thereafter. If a student already has a device issued, the request will not be processed.

worth repeating...

Veterans Yearbook

Great News from Mrs. Webb - There will still be a Veterans yearbook this year.

Place your order by going to the following link:

This will get you to the Veterans page. You will need to create an account if you do not already have one, but it opens to the page where you can login with an existing account or sign up.Then feel free to order your yearbook.

2020-21 School Enrollment

Registration of all new students for next school year Grades PK - Grade 5, should be started online. Please use the following link:

Message from the Media Center

Do you have VES Media Books that are currently checked out that are with you at home?

Please take good care of the books and return them to VES as soon as school reopens.

Thank You!

School Supplies

Limited quantities of pens, pencils and notebooks will be available at the Hammond, Long Reach and Oakland Mills high school Technology Distribution sites, which students/families may pick up if supplies are needed for continuity of learning at home. Prepare for Success has donated its inventory of school supplies, which will soon be available at meal distribution sites. Please stay tuned as we gather this inventory this week and prepare for a wider distribution beginning next week.

2020 Census

Several HCPSS programs rely on funding based on accurate census information. For this and several other reasons, all families are encouraged to participate in the 2020 census, which may be completed online. Learn more.

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

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.