The Hyattsville Herald

Hyattsville Elementary School's Newsletter: Vol:2020/Issue:2

The First Week Of School

We made it Hyattsville Families! We have successfully completed our first week of distance learning in the 2020/2021 school year. Although we had a few technical glitches, many password changes, and a few bumps on the road, we have had an amazing start to this academic year. While observing various teachers and classrooms I saw great things:

· Use of academic vocabulary

· Teachers building relationships

· Students excited to be back in class and see their friends

· Creative use of technology

· Use of the P.R.I.D.E. Matrix

· Small group instruction

· Establishing expectations

· Teachers demonstrating various virtual resources

· Classroom discussions

Although this year has been unexpected in many ways, we are off to an amazing start. Many of you have expressed how pleased you have been with the quality of what has been happening, but even more so the relationship building that has been taking place between the students and teachers. Thank you for all of the support you have provided. You are essential members of our team that will make this year one of excellence!

This newsletter has a great deal of information. Please read it carefully.

With gratitude and excitement,

Your Administrative Team

Richard T. McKee Jr. (Principal) and Duff Durkin (Assistant Principal)

Forms, Forms, Everywhere I look there are Forms!

Please fill out the following forms- I am not going to lie- there may be more than 1...

Publicity Release: This year, PGCPS has released a virtual publicity release form. We ask that all parents complete a form for each child enrolled at Hyattsville Elementary School. Please click on the link below to fill out this form.

Publicity Release Form HES

Free & Reduced Meals Application: We are asking that every single parent fill out the Free & Reduced Meals Application by clicking on the link below. Hyattsville receives Title 1 funding based on these applications and we do not want to lose out on these funds! Last year we received over $200,000- therefore please, fill out the form even if you do not think you will qualify. This program is open to all families and this application process is safe, private and secure.

Free & Reduced Meals Application

ESSA Right-To-Know: Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), parents are to be notified that they have a right to request and receive information on the professional qualifications of their child's classroom teacher(s) and paraprofessional(s). Please click on the link below to access these letters.

ESSA Right-To-Know

Emergency Contact Form/ Family Card: This year, Hyattsville Elementary will have an electronic form to collect our emergency contact information as well as family cards. As we are unsure if we will be returning this school year for hybrid learning, it is best if we still collect this information now. Please click on the link below to fill out the 2020/2021 Hyattsville Family Card.

HES Emergency Contact Form/ Family Card

Professional School Counselor letter for Distance Learning: You can download and read this letter regarding ways our Professional School Counselor can be of assistance during distance learning.

Professional School Counselor letter for Distance Learning

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Back 2 School Night

This year's Back 2 School Night will be held virtually. Below, you will find relevant information:

Date: Thursday; September 10, 2020.

Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm

Platform: Zoom (Links will be posted only in ClassDojo to the privacy and protection of students. The whole school invite and Classroom invites will go out on Wednesday).


6:00-6:45: Whole School Session

  • 6:00-6:10--Introduction, Welcome, Sign In

  • 6:10-6:25--Staff Introductions and Vision /Attendance/Lunch Forms

  • 6:25-6:35--Title 1 Parent Compact, Engagement, Right-To-Know

  • 6:35-6:43-- Overview of Distance Learning, Handbook, ClassDojo

  • 6:43-6:45-- Closing

6:45-7:10- Classroom Rotation 1

7:10-7:35- Classroom Rotation 2

7:35-8:00- Classroom Rotation 3

HES PTA has done it again...

Our amazing HES PTA has purchased dry erase white boards and markers for every single student in the school to help with distance learning. They delivered them to the school this past week and Mr. Durkin and I unloaded them. We will be having a huge distribution date(s) coming soon in which more technology, the dry erase boards, art supplies, and more materials will be handed out. Please stay tuned to ClassDojo for those dates and times.

As a reminder, Virtual PTA meetings will occur on the following dates with Zoom invites available about a week in advance:

September: 9th

October: 14th

November: 11th

December: 9th

January: 13th

Please go to the PTA Website for more information.

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2020 Hyattsville Zombie Run

Registration for the fifth annual Hyattsville Zombie Run, organized by

the Hyattsville Elementary School PTA is now open. The run will be held October 17-30, 2020, with major adaptations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please see the attached files for additional information.

Hyattsville Zombie Run 2020 Press Release

Hyattsville Zombie Run 2020 Registration Link

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Technical Support for devices

Parent Centers

PGCPS heard from parents and guardians during the implementation of distance learning this past winter/spring 2020 – assistance was needed in the areas of technology, instruction, and other supports. Thus we have strategically designated locations throughout PGCPS where parents can receive assistance with technology, accessing and navigating platforms, and other troubleshooting beginning August 31, 2020.

Days/Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Parents may call 240-696-3315 during these hours to receive live assistance.

● Benjamin Tasker Middle School - 4901 Collington Road, Bowie, MD 20715
● Charles Carroll Middle School - 6130 Lamont Drive, New Carrollton, MD 20784
● Drew Freeman Middle School - 2600 Brooks Drive, Suitland, MD 20746
● G. James Gholson Middle School - 900 Nalley Road, Landover, MD 20785
● Gwynn Park High School - 13800 Brandywine Road, Brandywine, MD 20613
● High Point High School - 3601 Powder Mill Road, Beltsville, MD 20705
● Northwestern High School - 7000 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782
● Port Towns Elementary School - 4351 58th Avenue, Bladensburg, MD 20710
● Thurgood Marshall Middle School - 4909 Brinkley Road, Temple Hills, MD 20748

If you need a password reset, please complete the form below:

Password Rest Request

Schedule Adjustments

When I first became Principal here at Hyattsville Elementary School, I promised to communicate and be transparent. That transparency will be apparent both when there are successes as well as challenges. MSDE held a State Board of Education meeting that resulted in certain new time requirements for synchronous/live learning times of 3.5 hours per grade level. This meeting was held after the start of the school year and after planning & preparation had already been completed. Thus, the resulting need to update school schedules is one nearly all schools are facing and was unavoidable. Additionally, other specific mandates and directives received have necessitated certain modifications to our Master Schedule times.

I definitely understand everyone's frustration however, in spite of obstacles, together we will thrive and excel. Once we were notified of the schedule adjustment requirements, the amazing staff at Hyattsville came together and tweaked the schedule to ensure minimal changes; while meeting new synchronous/live learning time mandates of 3.5 hours per grade level. Together we accomplished this and still kept intact the foundations and integrity of our original one.

This newly updated schedule is set to begin implementation on Thursday; September 10, 2020. We will definitely have grace during the transition to the updated schedule. Additionally, we have worked very hard to ensure there will be no need for additional modifications. Again, this is not what anyone expected, but what was mandated. Additionally, although our hope is that we can confidently say our schedule meets requirements; we cannot predict or know if MSDE will make further adjustments or place additional requirements on school systems. Therefore, I and all of the Hyattsville staff, will continue to advocate for our students, families, and community while remaining flexible and meeting all required mandates to remain in compliance with the directives placed upon us.

The new updated schedules can be found in the Parent/Student Distance Learning Handbook at the below link. We will work hard to update times, documents, and Zoom links to reflect these changes as well. Additionally, we have added clarity and understanding regarding Wednesdays for our families. Remember, this document is updated all of the time with the latest information.

Parent/Student Distance Learning Handbook

Thank you for your support, grace, and flexibility during distance learning.

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Here are some friendly reminders:

* Our next distribution day will be on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 from 1:30-4:30pm. At this distribution day we anticipate distributing Chromebooks for grades 1-5, iPads for PreK-Kindergarten, dry erase boards for K-5 w/ marker, art supplies, textbooks and more. More details will follow, but place this date on your calendars. Please check ClassDojo for the most up to date information.

*Make sure you are connected to ClassDojo!. This is Hyattsville's primary way of communicating with our families. We also recently found out that some parent accounts may actually be student accounts. Therefore, please make sure you are connected. If you need assistance, please email your classroom teacher and they will be able to walk you through the very easy process.

*Remember to accept invitations to join all Google Classrooms. This includes Interrelated Arts and departmentalized classes. If you have any questions, please reach out to your teacher.

*If your child is experiencing technical difficulties or any issue with distance learning- you must let the classroom teacher know as soon as possible. Although students will be marked "absent" it will not count against them as it will have a code of "Technical Difficulties."

* If you have a question or concern, please contact your child's classroom teacher via ClassDojo or email. Your classroom teacher should always be your primary point of contact and they will know how to help you as they are building amazing relationships with students and as their primary teachers, have the most insight into their students.

*Make sure we have the most up to date contact information. Please contact the Main Office to give us updated phone numbers and addresses.

*Vaccinations are still required, even during distance learning. please contact the school nurse if you have questions at

* Please make sure you fill out the Free & Reduced Meals Application even if you bring lunch to school or do not think you will qualify. This is extremely important for our school funding.

Distance Learning Essentials

  • P.R.I.D.E. for Distance Learning Matrix v.1


    *Attend all my classes

    *Make time to watch prerecorded lessons and complete my assignments

    *Check my assignment due dates

    *Do what I'm supposed to do before I do what I want to do

    *Try my best at everything

    *If something is difficult, don’t give up- try again


    *Take turns

    *Remain positive and have a growth mindset

    *Make only respectful and helpful comments

    *Pay attention to my gestures and facial expressions

    *Treat my school issued equipment with care

    *Be supportive of my classmates


    *Use my technology appropriately

    *Turn in only the work I have completed myself

    *As for help when needed

    *Follow all Classroom procedures and expectations

    *Take ownership of my actions, both the good ones and the ones I need to grow in


    *Be prepared with all materials needed for class

    *Attend distance learning classes on time.

    *Complete and turn in assignments on time.

    *Have my technology ready to go.


    *Actively participate

    *Be engaged in the learning and the assignments

    *Help others who may struggle

    *Produce creative, thoughtful, and neat work

    *Check my work before I turn it in.

    +Expectations for participation are to come to class on time, actively engage in instruction, complete assignments, and put forth your best effort.

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Interrelated Arts Schedule

There has been some confusion regarding the Interrelated Arts schedule. Hopefully, this will help to provide some clarity. During distance learning every student has a dedicated 45 minute block of time for Interrelated Arts. However, these are asynchronous or prerecorded lessons not live. Therefore, although parents may choose to have students complete these lessons during this scheduled time...there is some flexibility. These lessons are located in the Google Classrooms set up by the Music, Art, or Physical Education teacher. They will not be in the classroom teacher's Google Classroom as it is a separate subject.

Within the Interrelated Arts teacher's Google Classroom, they will also post times and Zoom links when they will offer students live lessons. These live lessons are supplementary and will not occur during other live lessons for the students. They may happen after lunch and often on Wednesdays. Interrelated Arts teachers look forward to seeing students during their live lessons, but will not penalize students if they are unable to attend as long as the prerecorded lessons and assignments have been completed. If you have any questions, concerns, or if your child has not been invited to a Music, Art, or Physical Education Google Classroom, please contact the Interrelated arts teacher directly via ClassDojo.

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Teachers will take attendance at the beginning of each day in SchoolMax, please refer to their class schedules. At the elementary level, attendance will only be taken at the start of each day. This is an update.

On days when students are unable to attend scheduled classes due to illness, parent work schedule, and child care; parents must communicate the reason for the student’s absence via email or ClassDojo to the student's classroom teacher. All work assigned during the student’s absence remains required for submission. Live recordings and student assignments will be made available to students via Google Classroom.

For Pre-K - third grade students who are unable to check in during live instruction, parents must ensure that the check in is completed before the next instructional day. If parents are unable to check in that day, please contact your child’s teacher via email or ClassDojo so assistance can be provided. For 4th and 5th, the expectation is students will be able to login independently and will be able to attend all live sessions.

During distance learning only, technical issues such as broken equipment or internet outages must be immediately communicated to the student’s teacher and designated school staff via email or ClassDojo so support can be provided as soon as possible. If a student is unable to attend class due to technical difficulties, they will be marked absent, but will have a code of technical difficulties so the absence will not count against the student.

A student will be counted as present on Wednesdays, in our SchoolMax system, if the student does one or more of the following:

○ Submit an assignment to one of their teachers;

○ Engage in synchronous instruction or tutoring with an PGCPS teacher;

○ Meet online with a PGCPS teacher or service provider; or

○ Complete work in our supplemental online education tools where applicable (i.e. DreamBox, i-Ready and iReady