October 2020


Hello Patriot Families,

I hope this letter finds your family well and happy. As we close our first quarter, our focus now turns to the next steps in the reopening of school. Our team has been hard at work to plan a return which focuses on safety and learning. Please know that the safety of our students, staff, and community remains our top priority.

Last Monday evening, the FCPS School Board approved the next phase of our plan, which brings back approximately 25% of Hugh Mercer students. We have intentionally employed a phased face-to-face approach in order to meet the needs of those students with the greatest educational needs. The first group of students will be chosen based on specific educational needs and school capacity. If your child has been selected to return to school on November 5, 2020, you will receive a phone call from your child’s teacher during the week of October 12th. Calls will be made Monday, and Tuesday, so please be sure we have your current phone number on file.

As we begin to phase students back into the building the following health and safety protocols are being implemented to help us adhere to CDC guidelines.

  • All school personnel are required to wear cloth face coverings.

  • All students will be required to wear cloth face coverings as deemed developmentally appropriate.

  • Signage is posted promoting cleanliness, good hygiene, and healthy social practices schoolwide.

  • Staff will practice and promote social distancing.

  • Buses will be disinfected between each bus route.

  • Students will be spaced according to CDC guidelines on the bus.

  • Visits to the school office should be avoided except for emergency situations.

  • Parents who do enter the school will need a temperature check and answer screening questions to secure admittance in the office.

  • Events, parent volunteers, field trips will be temporarily paused this year.

  • Families should plan for multiple, pre-arranged methods for getting a student home from school should they become ill or exhibit symptoms

  • All staff take part in a self-screening tool before entering the building each day

  • Students will be screened prior to boarding the bus or entering the school

  • Families should never willingly send their child to school with a suspected illness.

  • All classrooms and learning areas will be configured to maximize space, allowing for students to have individualized work areas and manipulative boxes that take into consideration social distancing and follow CDC guidelines.

  • Meals will continue to be served in the classrooms

  • All members of the school community are expected to take into consideration the health and well-being of all individuals.

We continue to monitor health data and remain flexible in our planning. We also will continue to keep you updated on important information. To help us do that, please make sure we have your correct contact information on file. To update your contact information, please call the office at 540-372-11115/540-310-0029

As we close our first marking period, please be sure your child is completing his/her assignments for math, reading, and special area in Canvas so their grades indicate the work they're doing at home. If you have any questions or need support, please let your child's teacher know as soon as possible. We are eager to help. All HMES students should have received their school ipad devices. If your child does not have a device, please email for support.

We look forward to a continued partnership and to supporting our students and families. Please, reach out to me directly if I can be of assistance or support.


Kim Doucette, Principal HMES


The HMES internet café is available in the library from 10-12 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for families with limited or no internet. There are 10 available spots for each hour, and transportation is not provided. Please connect with your child's teacher if you would like to sign up.


Mrs. Bourne and friend are ready to read, thanks to the Book Mobile!

Check out the book mobile schedule below!

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WE NEED YOU!!! Join the Hugh Mercer PTA!!! Each new member will be entered into a drawing to win one (of two) $25 gift cards to Target. The two winners will be announced at our first PTA meeting being held on October 15 @ 6:30 PM. The meeting is virtual, and the platform is TBD.

Check out our online store to join. Like, share and tag someone who you think should join to get an extra entry in our raffle.


HMES families! Come enjoy a delicious "on the go" meal and support our PTA by attending their first fundraiser of the school year at Chick-Fil-A (Central Park) on October 13 (11 - 8 PM). The event is drive-thru, and your participation helps the PTA raise funds to support our school.


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Don't forget that HMES scholars are required to complete 20 minutes of activities for each special area class every day. The special area team has been very busy filming lessons to help scholars feel as if each one is with the teacher in his/her virtual classroom. All lessons are following the pacing guides used by teachers, including teaching the SOLs for each special area as is done with in-person learning.

Need help navigating from your homeroom Canvas site to special area sites? Watch the INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO Ms. Jonas (PE/Health) and Ms. Micks (Music) created ( or follow the Canvas tips link listed!


  • Enter Clever, enter Canvas, from Classroom teacher’s homepage look for Library, SEL, and Specials links >LINKING from CLEVER keeps logging in at a minimum and secure<
  • At SPECIAL AREA site student will see MUSIC MICKS at the top for every SPECIAL area page
  • At SEL site student will see ART WRIGHT at the top of SEL page
  • From any SPECIAL’S (ART, LIBRARY, MUSIC, P.E., HEALTH, FRENCH) page HOME will return to Special area Homepage
  • Library link of Classroom teacher’s homepage will connect a student to the Library HOMEPAGE
  • REQUIRED WORK all students will be graded based on time spent at Special Area site 15-20 minutes daily -5 SPECIALS to complete weekly- ART, FRENCH, MUSIC, P.E., HEALTH

Special area teachers are expecting students to view the content for each week. If a student jumps to a survey or does not show appropriate amounts of time at special area sites, the student will receive a low mark for special area grade- P or N if no evidence on Canvas exists for a student. RUBERICS ARE being created, but will change with school division standards

o Library 15-20 minutes per week -Reading is a school-wide focus

  • Survey completion is applied to a weekly page (worth 1 point as a completion marker for that page). STUDENT VIEW: take the survey, FOLLOW direction to Touch or click the picture to complete work for week, SUBMIT quiz at bottom of survey page
  • If blocked view from a Special area page occurs, consider starting in order. The course goes in sequential order starting with week 1- A student may have to start with older week’s work if the student never visited the page for that week
  • CANVAS HELP: Questions please contact Heather Wright or Kathrine Micks


  • PE/HEATH - In PE, scholars are exploring locomotor skills and learning why exercise is so important. In kindergarten health, Ms. Armstead is talking about our senses and the different food groups. In first grade health, Ms. Jonas is introducing the body systems and how they work together. Students will continue to expand their knowledge throughout the month of October. In second grade health, Mr. John is discussing the heart, lungs, and muscles. In October, scholars will continue to work on locomotor skills in PE and are gong to get creative with practicing soccer skills at home using materials found in the house.
  • ART - Mrs. Wright's budding artists have been hard at work! Kindergarten artists are exploring CANVAS and learning how to find SPECIALS work. They are finding natural patterns and texture for art class. First Grade is appreciating art and exploring the art of Pablo Picasso. Second grade is exploring Form and Space for ART.
  • MUSIC - Patriot musicians have been busy visiting with some of our local Fredericksburg community musicians and learning about what music means to them. . Here Bob Gramann sings to our Patriots: They have also been exploring music other cultures. Did you know that a Guiro is a Latin American percussion instrument made by cutting ridges into a hollow gourd and scraping a stick along the sides? It's pretty cool! Ms. Micks is visiting and connecting in a musical way with scholars daily via Zoom. Check out this video second grade teachers, Mr. Hayden and Mr. Stives, and music teacher, Ms. Micks, made to say "hello", we miss you, and WE LOVE OUR PATRIOTS!

  • FRENCH - In conjunction with their social studies SOL Symbols of the USA, second grade Patriots are learning about the Statue of Liberty.
  • LIBRARY - Did you know that each class library homepage allows automatic log in to the following Ebooks to which we are subscribed? Select Library Resources and access as follows: PebbleGo (no log in needed), JLG (Junior Library Guild - no log in needed), SORA (needs your school log in ONLY one time then you will always have access).


October is Anti-Bullying month. At HMES, this means continuing to model, promote and teach kindness and empathy to our young scholars and to each other.

Our SEL (social emotional learning) school counseling lessons this month have an emphasis on understanding what bullying is and isn't bullying, how to show kindness to others, what it means to show empathy, and the difference between a bucket filler and bucket dipper.

We will celebrate as a whole school community by wearing ORANGE on Wednesday, October 21st, or better known as UNITY DAY. Unity Day is a day to celebrate how we choose kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.


October's Word of the Month for FCPS is knowledgeable. Being knowledgeable is one of the attributes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Year's Programs' (PYP) Learner Profile. When we say that we want our students to be knowledgeable, we mean more than just knowing specific facts.

Our goal is to help our learners explore concepts, ideas, and issues that are locally and globally important. Students are encouraged to explore knowledge across content areas such as Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, and English while finding big ideas that connect the disciplines. They also look for ways their knowledge impacts the world around them. So, what does that look like?

If your student is studying Good Citizenship in Social Studies, knowledgeable students may connect this concept to a story they are reading in English where they make a judgement about a character's behaviors and whether or not they show they are a good citizen. In writing, they may write about a time they were a good citizen. As they learn about good citizenship, they may learn that good citizens have a responsibility to the environment. They could connect this to math and science, by weighing the recycling within their household to determine how much is recycled over a week. They may even decide to expand their knowledge by study about the election process. The possibilities are endless!

As your student progresses through this year, be sure to talk to your child about what he or she is learning. We hope you enjoy watching your young learner grow to become more knowledgeable.


Kindergartners practiced video call etiquette and were acclimated to distance learning through games and activities that helped classes get to know each other in September. They also learning about book handling, name recognition, the alphabet, shapes, sorting and patterns, good citizenship, the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, Independence Day, and Presidents' Day.

Kindergartners are looking forward to using prediction and retelling from fictional stories they read, continuing to practice their letters, sounds, and writing their first names using case sensitive letters, reviewing numbers 0-10, learning to read, write, and represent numbers 11-20, and counting orally from 0-50 in October. This month, they will also learn about the five senses, being community helpers, and explore the world using touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.


Since returning to school in late September, the functional special education classes have been working on getting used to new routines. Language, social skills, and self-help skills are the main focus for their current lessons. The resource classes are focusing on language arts and math. They are reinforcing the lessons from their homeroom classes.
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A couple of weeks ago, first graders began having guest speakers in their Wednesday afternoon Zoom meetings. Guest speakers have included a dental hygienist (they learned about their teeth and how to care for them), a real estate agent (our very own former STEM teacher, Mr. Da'Corey Carter) who took them on a virtual tour of the old Maury School that now houses condos and taught them about what a realtor does, and a band! They're looking forward to virtual field trips that are planned for the future.

First graders have been working with numbers to 100, reading and listening to read alouds about citizenship, learning to be good citizens, learning about letters and sounds and putting them together to make words, and putting words together to make sentences.

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During the month of September, second graders were busy learning about story elements, using clues to find the meaning of words, nouns, verbs, and adjectives, short vowel sounds, blends and digraphs, narrative and descriptive writing, addition and subtraction facts and models, solving word problems, using the equal and not equal signs, skip counting, good citizenship, and famous Americans and their contributions.

In October, they will study non-fiction text features such as headings and captions, doing research on a topic, letter writing and expository (informational) writing, types of sentences, ordinal numbers, patterns with pictures, objects, and numbers, place value, American symbols, and force and motion.


  • Many thanks to Victorious Believers, Spotswood Baptist Church, Alilve Church, and KFC for their generous donations.
  • The Fredericksburg Host Lions Club has assisted us with vision and hearing screenings for several years, and we support their annual White House tree ornament fund raiser. This year's ornament honors President John F. Kennedy. The cost is $22/per. Please contact Mrs. Cindy Hurley (Principal's Secretary) @ 372-1115 (x 2025) or to order.
  • The Salvation Army Angel Tree Registration is now open through October 16, 2020. The Angel Tree assistance is for any students 12 years old and younger. Parents must fill out the application online. Where it asks for an invitation code, select no and put in your zip code. As part of the application process, you may be asked to provide copies of documentation. Remember, the deadline to apply for this assistance is October 16th.
  • To our families that currently have some food insecurities or need extra food assistance, please check out local resources at the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank,

    For easier convenience, you can also download the app, FREDFOODVA. The symbol is listed below.

    The FREDFOODVA app lists most of the local pantries and their addresses. It also shares the days and times that the pantries are open to the public and what is required for you to bring (most just ask to see id/proof of living in Fredericksburg)

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Title 1 is the largest federal aid program for elementary, middle, and high schools. Through Title 1, the federal government designates money to school districts around the country based on the number of students in need in each district. Each district uses its Title 1 money for extra educational services for children, such as:

  • class size reduction
  • additional teachers and paraprofessionals
  • parent resources
  • instructional materials and supplies
  • Tier 2 and Tier 3 support services

The focus of the Title 1 program is to ensure all students meet challenging content and achievement standards. Title 1 also authorizes federal grant programs that provide funds for reading instruction, services to migrant children, services to neglected and delinquent children, comprehensive school reform and dropout prevention.

All FCPS students in grades K-8 are eligible to receive programs funded through the Title 1 grant. Title 1 reading and math support is provided by the following staff members: Ms. Lisa Herbert, Mrs. Jill Kankam, Mrs. Pamela Douglas, and Ms. Patricia Balwanz (reading); Dr. Stefanie Hudson (math, Title 1). Administrative support for Title 1 services is provided by assistant principal, Mrs. Kisha Frye.


If your child has any type of learning or physical problem, he/she may qualify for accommodations under 504 or special education services. Please call the counseling office (372-1115 x 2023 or x 2039) if you have any questions or would like to refer your child for screening and possible assessment.

No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the Untied States shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: The Rights of Individuals with Handicaps Under Federal Law.


In the matter of non-resident student enrollment, the Fredericksburg City Public School Division does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origina, sec, age, or disability in its educational programs or activities. Any questions should be referred to Sue Keffer (Director of Human Resources), 210 Ferdinand Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401, or by calling (540) 372-1130.


The Fredericksburg City Public School Division recognizes the danger sex offenders pose to student safety. Therefore, to protect students while they travel to and from school, attend school and school-related activities, the FCPS Division shall request automatic electronic notification of registered sex offenders in the same or contiguous zip codes as any school within the division. Such request and notification shall be made according to the procedures established by the Virginia Department of State Police (State Police). The Superinetndent shall serve as the contact person with the State Police for receipt of the registered sec offender information.