Thurmont Primary School News

January 2021

Principal's Message

Dear Families,

It has been said that 2021 is the year of HOPE and it certainly seems we need that now more than ever! Following the suspension of small groups, delay of the hybrid learning model and violence in our nation's capital this week, holding on to hope will help us to rise up. Believing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and looking for the good in the world around us will help us keep moving forward. Channeling our collective "Courage of a Cougar" will help us continue to face and overcome challenges.

Now is also a time to remain connected. Helping your child to attend Google Meets will ensure they continue to feel part of their classroom community. Participating in January Spirit Days is a way to show your cougar pride and that we are a strong and resilient school community.

One way we can work together to improve the health metrics within our county is to wear our masks and maintain social distancing. These simple actions will help us be able to safely return to school. When students come back in the hybrid learning model we will have posters (see below) in every classroom and throughout the building to help remind them of the ways we will safely work, learn and care together.

I hope your child always remembers how much we care about them and that they have a special place in our school! Please share the video message linked below with your child and do not hesitate to reach out if we can support your family in any way.

Yours in education,
Michele Baisey



Be Kind
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Hybrid Learning Model Delayed

Due to worsening trends in health metrics, Frederick County Public Schools is delaying its plan to implement a hybrid learning model.

In its updated plan, teachers will return to buildings on Wednesday, January 27, with students returning as part of an in-person hybrid model on Tuesday, February 16, with Wednesday, February 3, and Wednesday February 10, serving as asynchronous learning days.

"I feel confident about our hybrid model and we are looking forward to welcoming students back into our school buildings," FCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban said. "We just need the right health metrics in place to make this happen."

FCPS suspended small group instruction and winter athletic practices Sunday, January 3, after consultation with the Frederick County Health Department. Many COVID-19 metrics are at all-time highs in the county.

In the hybrid model, students who return to school will be in one of two cohorts. Schools will operate at approximately 30 percent normal capacity. An all-virtual model option will remain for families.

Next week, FCPS will release a dashboard that will communicate the number of total COVID-19 cases in the school system and break down the data by school. The data will provide important context for families during the transition to the hybrid model. FCPS will also continue to monitor health metrics daily and consult with the Frederick County Health Department. This feedback will guide future decisions.

If FCPS does not see positive trends in data by later this month, the implementation of the hybrid model will be delayed again with teachers returning Wednesday, February 10, and students returning Monday, March 1. In this scenario, Wednesday, February 17, and Wednesday, February 24, will be asynchronous learning days.

FCPS encourages everyone in the community to follow all Frederick County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Counselor's Corner

During PATHS lessons students are learning about comfortable and uncomfortable feelings. They are also learning about how to treat others with kindness and solve problems appropriately. These skills are always important but even more so in light of the events in our nation's capital last week.

We want to support students in remembering what they can do if/when they have uncomfortable feelings such as sad, scared, confused or nervous. Talking to a trusted adult, drawing or coloring, spending time outside and doing breathing exercises are all good ways to handle uncomfortable feelings. We also want to reinforce that being calm, peaceful and respectful is the way we should go about solving problems.

Below are resources to support talking with your child:

Staffing Update

After 32 years of teaching, Mrs. Norwood, 2nd grade teacher, will be retiring. Her last day with students will be Tuesday, January 26th. We wish Mrs. Norwood well in the next chapter of her life!

We also welcome Mr. McKenzie who will be joining the 2nd grade team. Mr. McKenzie comes to TPS with 10 years of teaching experience in FCPS. To ensure a smooth transition, Mr. McKenzie will join Mrs. Norwood's Google Meets beginning on Wednesday, January 13th and work with students during small groups in the afternoon.

A virtual meet and greet is scheduled for Thursday, January 14th at 2:30pm. Mr. McKenzie, Dr. Baisey and Mrs. Norwood will be available to meet with families from Mrs. Norwood's class about the transition. The same Google Meet joining code students use will (tps-norwood) will allow access to the meeting. We hope to see you there!

TEPS Lexia Night

Mark your calendars to join a Virtual Lexia Parent Night on Thursday, January 14 at 6:30pm.

Come learn how Lexia is making a difference for your child!

Click on the Virtual Lexia Parent Night Flyer to access the link to join the Virtual event.

Manipulate in Math

As we counted down the days to this fresh new calendar year, this is a wonderful time for your child to strengthen their counting skills. At each grade level students are learning to count, read, write, and represent numbers. (PreK: 0-20, Kindergarten: 0-100, First Grade: 0-120 and Second Grade: 0-1,000) These skills help to strengthen and deepen their understanding of quantity, number patterns and how numbers are flexible, working together in many different combinations.

Below are a few fun activities provided by Ms. Dove, math specialist, that you can do at home to help support these skills.

  • Count It - Count the steps in your house or toys in a box. See how far your child can count without skipping a number and make a challenge to count further each day.
  • Guesstimate - Guess how many items are in a small jar or box, writing your guess down and counting to find out how close was your guess. Guess how many cars are in the parking lot or how many people are waiting in line ahead of you.
  • Number Search - List the numbers 0 to (Grade level number limit) on a piece of paper. As a group, find the numbers on the list by looking in your house, cars, signs, license plates, buildings, etc. be sure to cross off the number from the list when you find it.
  • Thinking of a Number - One person thinks of a number in their head. The others ask questions to narrow the range and find out the number they were thinking.
  • Before & After - One person writes a number or calls a number out and the other person tells the number before and after the original number.
  • Draw It - Have your child draw a picture for a number showing the different values of the digits in the number.
  • Skip It - Take turns calling out numbers for a skip counting pattern by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and 100’s starting at any number. Make counting patterns. Can anyone guess what your skip counting pattern is or extend it?

Meal Distribution Schedule

Due to the upcoming observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, schools and offices are closed on Monday, January 18. FCPS schools are also closed Wednesday, January 27, for a teacher work day. Meals will not be distributed on those two days. Meals will be distributed based on the schedule below:

Friday, January 15: Meals will be distributed for Friday, January 15, through Tuesday, January 19, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The regular schedule will resume on Wednesday, January 20.

Monday, January 25: Meals will be distributed for Monday, January 25, through Thursday, January 28, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The regular schedule will resume on Friday, January 29.

For more information, please call 301-644-5198. A full list of distribution sites is also posted online with complete information on the student meal service program.

Important Dates

Thursday, January 14th - TEPS Virtual Lexia Night at 6:30pm

Monday, January 18th - Schools Closed (No Virtual Learning) for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 26th - End of Term 2

Wednesday, January 27th - Teacher Work Day - No Virtual Learning for Students