Raider Nation Newsletter

Week of December 14, 2020

Inclement Weather Policy

Dear Atholton Families,

As I write this week’s newsletter, the threat of snow looms for the upcoming week. Please take time to review the HCPSS Inclement Weather Policy changes below and stay tuned for any alerts that may come from the school system regarding our inclement weather status.

Although we may be virtual, our students are still accomplishing fantastic things. Congratulations to Chris Bardini, Ben Johnston, Reese Roberts, Nicholas Taber, Austin Terry, and Kai-Lin Yu for their recent graduation from Leadership U. They worked with other students from across the county on projects to address problems in our Howard County community. Congratulations to sophomore Malachi Peavey for becoming a certified Climate Change Ambassador. In a partnership between HCPSS and the Howard County Conservancy, Malachi and students from across the county studied the basics of climate change, impacts, messaging, and solutions. Their next step is to work on community-based action projects. The projects include tree planting, legislation, messaging, and energy. Lastly, senior Elaine Huang was named a semifinalist in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. As Elaine’s application moves forward, she has the support of the entire Atholton community for this $20,000 scholarship. Best of luck Elaine!

Lastly, I am thrilled to report that I have scheduled a meeting with seniors in our student government to discuss possible virtual senior events we can plan for the Class of 2021. If you have a senior or any suggestions about virtual activities we could coordinate, please reach out to Mr. Senisi ( or Ms. Payne ( Additionally, we are planning our senior class meeting to discuss cap and gown ordering. This will take place in January. Please stay tuned for more information. We have a new Graduation Coordinator this year, Ms. Krista Bopst ( She will be communicating with senior families beginning in January.

Please be sure to read the information below. The deadline for junior registration for PSAT is fast approaching!

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Warmest Regards,

Robert A. Motley


Inclement Weather Policy Changes

For the 2020-2021 school year, while in virtual, small groups or hybrid instructional models, HCPSS will transition to fully virtual instruction during inclement weather days. This will allow the school system to make a decision earlier when inclement weather is expected and provide families with earlier notice so they may make necessary adjustments. The Maryland State Department of Education has approved the inclusion of virtual instruction days among the 180 minimum required academic days each school year, so these days will not have to be made up at the end of the school year.

It is important to note that the primary purpose of closing schools is for safety. Canceling all instruction on inclement weather days would require make-up days to be used in the summer. By being able to use virtual instruction during inclement weather days, HCPSS will be able to follow the academic calendar as scheduled. This will allow staff better flexibility to implement summer interventions without disruption for students requiring additional academic support.

The full list of weather status codes is available on the HCPSS Status website.

JUNIORS ONLY -- PSAT Information

On Tuesday, January 26th, Atholton High School will be offering the PSAT to 11th graders.

The primary purpose of this administration is to give students the opportunity to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Participation is not required by HCPSS and students can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program without a PSAT score. Information on the National Merit Scholarship Program and how to apply without a PSAT score can be found here:

Key January 26th PSAT Details:

  • The exam starts at 8:30 AM and ends around 12:30 (arrival and dismissal details will be sent in January)

  • Transportation will not be provided.

  • Students will test in small groups of 10 or less.

  • Classroom desks will be arranged to provide 6ft of clearance between students at all times.

  • Face coverings will be worn at all times by students and staff.

  • Students will miss their synchronous classes during the PSAT. Absences will be marked as excused.

  • No exam cost to HCPSS students.

  • Scores will be sent by the College Board in mid to late-March.

  • Cancellations are possible due to county-level COVID metrics or school level COVID cases.

Please complete the form below to sign-up for the January 26th administration. Only students who complete the form will be allowed in the building to test.

Forms must be completed by 12/23. Please send any questions you may have to


Parents....please help us in assuring that our seniors complete this VERY important graduation requirement:

One of the requirements to graduate is the World of Workpiece (resume and mock interview). As you may remember, seniors completed the resume through their English 11 classes last year. They were not able to complete the mock interview as it was supposed to take place last March. Instead of an interview this year, ALL SENIORS will need to complete a post-secondary statement.

  • Open up the attached google slide with your HCPSS Account-

  • Save a copy. Name the slide with the senior's name.

  • Answer the question on the slide.

  • Share as a google slide to Mrs. Beneski by February 1st.

Don’t delay in doing this. This is a graduation requirement.

Winter/Spring Courses Announced at Howard Community College

Interested in earning college credit or dual credit through HCC? Courses are now available for the winter and spring terms! You can find available courses here: Schedules & Catalogs. Enroll in college courses for “college credit” or for “dual credit”. Register soon as classes may fill up. Tuition discounts are available for all high school students. Interested students should contact their high school counselor and follow the instructions outlined here:

Details: Registration for Winter / Spring HCC-based JumpStart Dual Enrollment courses opens on November 3rd, 2020 (for current students) and November 10th (for new HCC students). Winter semester dates: January 4, 2021 - January 28, 2021. Spring semester dates: January 30, 2021 - May 21, 2021.

Questions can be directed to and, or drop into one of the many support sessions found here.

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PTSA and Boosters Holiday Giving Drive

AHS Yearbook STILL Needs Your Pictures

Now that we are not going to be back in the building until APRIL, we need your photos and voice more than ever. If we are going to create a yearbook this year, we need you? For the past 53 years, we have put out a yearbook. Don’t be the reason there is no yearbook this year.

We are putting together pages and stories on:

1. Students during FLEX Time -What are you doing between 10:45 and 1:10 each day?

2. How are you socializing during this time?

3. How do you practice self-care or relax?

4. Show us your Work Area -We want to see where you work, we are going to do a spread on Home Offices/Work Areas.

5. Show us your Pets -Who are the fury friends you are spending time with?

6. What are you doing outside?

7. Have you traveled at all? -Have you gone to a park, hiking trail, the beach, or some other place?

A survey will come out shortly with various questions, please answer any questions you can. We are using your responses for stories and quotes.

Please see the attached info for details and instructions to upload photos.

If you have any questions please contact Mr. Mackechnie at


Go to

Enter User ID: 415465128

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Administrator Assignments

Ms. Nasir -- ALL 9th Grade AND Last Name Sm - Z Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Veslany -- Last Name A - H Grades 10 - 12 (

Mr. Richman -- Last Name I - Sl Grades 10 -12 (

School Counselor Assignments

Ms. Wade -- 9th Grade ONLY (

Mr. Cohen -- Last Name A - E / Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Meledick -- Last Name F - Kj / Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Clearfield -- Last Name Kk - P / Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Rogers -- Last Name Q - Z / Grades 10 - 12 (

Mark Your Calendar

December 24 - January 3 -- Winter Break

January 4 -- School Reopens

January 6 -- Scheduling Night