Cougar Connections

December 23, 2020

Dear Families,

It is hard to believe that we are already to winter break. The longest day of the year has come and gone, as we begin the chilly days of winter. We've already successfully survived our first snow of the year and managed to continue school without a hitch thanks to virtual learning! That's one of the "pearls" of this pandemic, learning new ways to manage challenges. Now we can have virtual snow days and not have to worry with making them up at the end of the year!

As we move into the new year 2021, I want to wish you a happy, healthy one. There is no doubt that each of us has been touched by this pandemic. We all have a story. Hopefully this time has helped us all to grow bigger hearts, just like the Grinch! I know it has changed me forever. Enjoy your holiday break with family and friends. Stay safe!

Yours in Education,

Debbie O'Donnell

New Grade Level Schedules in the New Year!

We will await the final decision of FCPS Superintendent, Dr. Alban, regarding hybrid learning. You have all shared your preference for your child in the new year, either hybrid or virtual learning. We are now planning for the impending change based on a review of the metrics provided by the MD Department of Health. Be sure to stay tuned.

Regardless, we will begin our new 5-hour day schedule on 1/28/21. With that said, we have had to adjust our daily learning schedules in each grade. Below is a copy of those schedules. There may be some class changes as a result of our new schedule. We will communicate these class changes as we finalize our plans for the third quarter, dependent on the decision to implement the hybrid learning model.

Grade Level Schedules Beginning January 28th

Grade 3

8:10 - 8:40 Arrival & Announcements

8:40-8:55 Morning Meeting

8:55-10:05 Math

10:05-10:40 Specials

10:40-11:00 SS/Sci/Paths

11:00-12:40 ELA

12:45-1:15 Lunch

1:15-1:35 Recess

1:40 Dismissal

2:00-2:30 Virtual Small Group Support

2:30-3:40 Student Independent Work Time

Grade 4

8:10 - 8:40 Arrival & Announcements

8:45-9:20 Specials

9:20-10:50 ELA OR Math/SS/Science/PATHs

10:55-11:25 Lunch

11:25-11:45 Recess

11:50-1:25 ELA OR Math/SS/Science/PATHs

1:25-1:40 Class Meeting

1:40 Dismissal

2:00-2:30 Virtual Small Group Support

2:30-3:40 Student Independent Work Time

Grade 5

8:10 - 8:40 Arrival & Announcements

8:40-10:10 ELA OR Math/SS/Science/PATHs

10:15- 11:45 ELA OR Math/SS/Science/PATHs

11:50-12:20 Lunch

12:20-12:40 Recess

12:45-1:05 Class Meeting

1:05-1:40 Specials

1:40 Dismissal

2:00-2:30 Virtual Small Group Support

2:30-3:40 Student Independent Work Time

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New Year's Resolutions!

While the holiday is a time to rest and relax, it's also a good time to catch up! If your child is missing assignments, this would be the time to make sure they're completed and turned in, BEFORE the new year starts. You should have heard from your child's teacher if your child has fallen behind. The new year is a time for a NEW beginning and a restart! It's a time to set goals and a chance for a "do over"! As we move into the 2021 new year, I wonder what your new year's resolution will be? Take some time to create some resolutions with your child.
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Lexia Platform

All students in grades 3-5 are expected to use Lexia to build their literacy foundational skills. Teachers have participated in training with Lexia Representatives to encourage student goal setting and use of this valuable program. Please encourage your child to access Lexia throughout the week to build essential skills in the areas of:
  • Phonological Awareness ~ identifying, segmenting, blending and manipulating syllables and sounds in words. Phonemic Awareness is a component of phonological awareness that focuses on individual sounds within words to build reading and spelling skills.

  • Phonics ~ the ability to apply knowledge of letter-sound correspondence to reading and spelling words including recognition of syllable types, rules for syllable division and simple spelling generalizations based on letter-sound correspondence.

  • Structural Analysis ~ recognizing meaningful parts of multisyllabic words derived from Latin and Greek.

  • Automaticity/Fluency ~ focused on speed of processing to build reading rate, which impacts comprehension.

  • Vocabulary ~ to provide exposure to rich and varied words, so students will develop an awareness of word relationships and associations.

  • Comprehension ~ building understanding of information at a concrete level as well as an abstract level through the application of higher order thinking skills using increasingly complex narrative and informational texts.

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Mrs. Best's BEST Math Tips!

Take some time to practice math facts during the break. Automaticity with facts is fundamental to math problem solving. When students are "bogged down" with trying to do simple computations, it impedes their ability to accurately solve more complex problems. ALL students should be fluent with the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts by the time they go to middle school (if not sooner!).

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Mrs. Brotman talks to our students a lot about empathy, the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. It requires active listening and lots of heart. Each of us has had challenges DIRECTLY resulting from this pandemic. We all have a story, so now more than ever, we need to take the time to LISTEN.The same person you knew before, may present differently now because s/he is struggling. We are a commUNITY. We need to UNIFY; to take care of one another through empathic listening and grace. Thank you for all the care you have shown our staff over these last several months. We are here for you and are hoping to UNIFY our efforts as we move into the new year.
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A Can for a Cane

Thank you to all Families who joined us Monday night for a brief celebration. This was such a great opportunity to see some of our students and connect before the holidays. As an extra bonus, we were able to collect many canned goods for our local Thurmont Community Food Bank. Thank you for taking this time to join in some holiday cheer!

Weis 4 Education

If you shop at Weis, then use the information below to apply your purchase points to monies for our school! Paper flyers are available at the school.

FCPS Meal Distribution

Due to the FCPS Winter Break, the schedule for FCPS Food and Nutrition Services meals distribution will be different for Wednesday, December 23 through Sunday, January 3.

  • From 11 AM-1 PM, all school and community locations will distribute 5 days' worth of to-go breakfast, lunch and supper meals on Wednesday, December 23 ~Sunday, Dec. 27 at Emmitsburg ES
  • From 10 AM-1 PM Thurmont MS will also serve 2 days' worth of breakfast, lunch and supper on Monday, December 28 and Tues., Dec. 29
  • From 10 AM-1 PM Thurmont MS will also serve 5 days' worth of breakfast, lunch and supper on Wednesday, December 30 for Wed.~ Sunday, January 3

Mark your Calendar!

  • Dec. 24 Schools and offices closed for winter break
  • Jan. 4 Return from break for the new year
  • Jan. 13 Proposed asynchronous day of learning for teacher preparation
  • Jan. 14 Virtual Lexia Night w/ TPS ~ look for more information to come!
  • Jan. 18 Jan. Schools closed for MLK Day