Thurmont Primary School News

February 2021

Principal's Message

Dear Families,

I am writing this newsletter as the sun begins to set on another snowy Sunday evening. I hope you and your child(ren) have been able to enjoy our recent winter weather and the snow days that came with them. As a reminder, please continue to check your Find Out First messages regarding school closures, delays or fully virtual days of instruction as a result of inclement weather.

The majority of this newsletter is dedicated to our transition to new schedules, classes and the hybrid learning model beginning next Tuesday, February 16th. We are here to support you and your child, regardless of their learning model, and know that together we will make sure the 2nd half of the school year will be one filled with smiles and success!

Yours in education,
Michele Baisey



TPS Celebrates Black African American History Month

TPS is excited to celebrate Black African American History Month with several special activities.

  1. Teachers will share 2 special lessons during the month of February.
  2. Dr. Baisey will share a special weekly morning announcement video.
  3. Special read alouds have been added to our Cuddle Up Cougars: TPS Staff Story Time newsletter. Click the link to listen to:
  • Superheroes Are Everywhere (Mrs. Gaeta)
  • Counting on Katherine (Ms. Dove)
  • She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story (Dr. Baisey)
  • Layla's Happiness (Dr. Baisey)

We hope students enjoy learning about the many contributions of Black African Americans which are an important part of all of our history!

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Supporting Class/Teacher Changes

As we transition to our new schedules on Tuesday, February 16th there are some students who will be joining a new teacher/class. It is also the first time we will enter the school building this year and it will look very different from what we normally know about school.

We know change can be difficult, and creating a sense of belonging is imperative to student success, so we have been working to support students during this time. Here are some of the ways we are preparing students for the changes ahead:

  1. Mrs. McQuay, School Counselor, has visited each virtual class for a special lesson about change and the feelings that children might be experiencing.
  2. Students new to TPS or who are in PK/K have been invited for a school tour on Wednesday, February 10th.
  3. All teachers will host a Google Meet on Friday, February 12th with their new class so there is time to meet the teacher, see new friends and begin to establish a classroom community.
  4. Students are invited to bring a comfort item (something small that fits in their backpack) with them to school daily as way to help them smoothly transition from learning at home.
  5. Teachers will be visiting virtually and/or in person to stay in touch with students who have changed classes.

We are committed to ensuring all students feel safe, happy and a sense of belonging when they enter the doors at TPS. If we can support your child in any way please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Hybrid Learning Update

TPS is ready to welcome students in for hybrid learning beginning Tuesday, February 16th! The health, safety and well-being of all those who enter the building is our top priority.

Floor tape and markings (see photos below) will help students to remain safely socially distanced, move in one-way through the hallways and find their way to their classroom. The lined tape is color coded so students can follow their color to get to their grade level's area of the building. The arrows signal the side of the hall for walking one way with no cross traffic. The circles serve as reminders of where students should be spaced to maintain 6 feet social distance.

The masked cougar posters (see photo below) line the walls as another reminder of safely maintaining 6 foot social distance. The green signs (see photo below) indicate the room has been cleaned & disinfected and is ready for use. The signs will be flipped to red after the room has been used signaling it is in need of cleaning & disinfecting.

In addition to our TPS efforts focused on health and safety, FCPS has shared two videos related to ventilation and cleaning & disinfecting. They are linked below:

Additional information/videos on face coverings as a required safety measure is provided below:

Health Room Notes

Our school nurse, Mrs. Miller, shares the following...

Please continue to monitor your child for any signs of illness, prior to sending them to school. Please keep you child home if they show any of the following signs of illness:

  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • fever of 100.4 or higher
  • chills or shaking chills
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • congestion
  • runny nose

Please note that if your child attends school and shows any sign of illness while at school, parents will be required to promptly pick up your child from school.

Daily medication should be administered at home (to the extent possible), including medicine needed for chronic health issues.

If your child requires emergency medications, please call the school Health Room at 240-236-2806 to arrange for an appointment to drop medications off to health room staff. You must have an appointment to drop off medication.

Free Meals During Hybrid Learning

We are excited to announce that the USDA has approved FREE meals for all children 18 years old and younger!

STARTING FEBRUARY 16, all FCPS schools will serve breakfast, lunch and supper (to-go) for FREE to all children learning in school buildings on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

All meals will be individually wrapped or compartmentalized.

Free breakfast and lunch meals will be available to children in cohort A on Mondays and Tuesdays while they are in school and to children in cohort B on Thursdays and Fridays while they are in the school. On these days when students are learning in a school building, they can also take a free to-go meal home for supper that same day.

Due to the amount of food being distributed for the remainder of the days, we encourage families who want additional meals for the days when students are not in the school building learning (virtual days at home, weekends, holidays) to pick up the additional meals at the child’s school on a day when they are learning in the building or visit one of the open community sites listed below on Wednesdays and/or Fridays from 11am-1pm to pick up the additional meals.

Starting Wednesday February 17th, 23 FCPS schools listed below will distribute to-go breakfast, lunch and supper meals for FREE from 11am-1pm on Wednesdays and Fridays to ALL children in the community on days when they are not physically in a school building learning.

  • Children do not need to be present to pick up meals on Wednesdays and Fridays. A parent or other adult can pick up these meals for them.
  • Meals can be provided for all 7 days of the week.
  • The child does not have to be enrolled at the school. Meals can be picked up for any child at these 23 locations on Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Masks must be worn by all children and adults.
  • Open Community Meal Sites (Wednesdays & Fridays from 11am-1pm)

Elementary Schools:

  • Ballenger Creek Elementary School
  • Brunswick Elementary School
  • Butterfly Ridge Elementary School
  • Centerville Elementary School
  • Deer Crossing Elementary School
  • Emmitsburg Elementary School
  • Hillcrest Elementary School
  • Liberty Elementary School
  • Lincoln Elementary School
  • Monocacy Elementary School
  • Myersville Elementary School
  • New Market Elementary School
  • Oakdale Elementary School
  • Spring Ridge Elementary School
  • Sugarloaf Elementary School
  • Twin Ridge Elementary School
  • Waverley Elementary School
  • Whittier Elementary School

Middle Schools:

  • Thurmont Middle School
  • Windsor Knolls Middle School

High Schools:
  • Gov. Thomas Johnson High School
  • Middletown High School
  • Walkersville High School

Quarter 2 Assembly Awards

During an unprecedented school year, we are immensely proud of ALL students for showing their "Courage of a Cougar" every single day! Students are working, learning and caring together as they grow in their brain, heart and body power. We celebrate all students for their efforts during 2nd Quarter and offer a special congratulations to those recognized in the videos below.

The start of a new Quarter is the perfect time to set new goals. Is there an award your child really wants to earn? Talk to him/her about ways they can set out to achieve their goal. Encourage him/her to "ROAR" with Cougar pride in each of their classes as one way to work towards earning an award...

  • Respect
  • Ownership
  • Academic Effort
  • Responsibility

Show Your School Spirit

Whether learning at home or coming into the building on hybrid days, we are all part of the Cougar family! Spirit days are one way we can proudly show we are all in this together. Please click the link below for some special days to celebrate in February.

February Spirit Calendar

And don't forget, every week we celebrate "Thurmont Thursdays" where you can wear school colors (blue and white) or clothing with school words (Thurmont or Cougars). We love seeing your school spirit shine!

Mrs. McQuay's Counselor's Corner

Tips for Success in the Hybrid Model - Let's Talk Sleep

As we begin to plan for the hybrid model it's important that your child is getting the proper amount of sleep to ensure they can focus and learn during school hours!

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics children should follow the hours listed below.

3 - 5 year olds = 10 to 13 hours including naps

6 - 12 year olds = 9 to 12 hours

Children thrive on a regular bedtime routine. In order to get the proper amount of sleep per day children should plan to be in bed around 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM. Children who get enough sleep have a healthier immune system, and better school performance, behavior, memory, and mental health. Regular bedtime routines and proper sleep hours will help ensure your child is set up for success!

Manipulate with Math (from Ms. Dove)

It is hard to believe that we are already in quarter 3! You may have noticed that your child received a bag of shapes and shape picture cards in their new math bags for home. Many grades are working or soon will be working on learning the 2 dimensional (length and width) flat and 3 dimensional (length, width and height) solid shape names and attributes. Geometric shapes are all around us! If we look closely at many items, we can see a 2D (circle, triangle, square, rectangle, hexagon, rhombus, trapezoid) or 3D (cube, sphere, cone, cylinder) geometric shape within it. As we support students at home, it is important to use the correct shape names and describe them by their sides, faces, edges or corners/vertices. Learning about shapes can be really fun by using these activities at home.

  • Shape Scavenger Hunt - Look around the house or drive around the neighborhood naming shapes, seeing if you can find one for each shape.
  • Name that Shape - One person gives clues for a shape, describing the attributes (sides, faces, edges or corners/vertices) while others name the shape being described.
  • Build a Shape - Use playdough, tooth picks, craft sticks, marshmallows, candy, pipe cleaners, string, paper, etc. to construct a 2D or 3D shape. Challenge each other to put shapes together to build a NEW shape out of other shapes!
  • I Spy a Shape - One person sees a shape in the room. The others ask questions about the shape’s attributes to figure out the shape and find it.
  • Draw It - Have your child practice tracing or drawing both 2D and 3D shapes. Challenge each other to draw a picture using the different shapes.
  • Digital Shape Websites/Apps - Geoboard and Pattern Shapes

Important Dates

Wednesday, February 10th - Fully Asynchronous Instructional Day (no live learning lessons or Google Meets) - Check Schoology for student assignments

Monday, February 15th - School Closed for President's Day (No Virtual Learning)

Tuesday, February 16th - Hybrid Learning Model & Revised Schedules Begin