Whittier Weekly Newsletter

December 5, 2020

Some Celebrations to Share

Good afternoon Whittier Families,

My apologies for being a day late with the Whittier Newsletter. There was a lot to capture and I want to make sure I'm giving you timely information.

Some Celebrations:

1. Our students responded very well to an adjustment in how they are working with Lexia. We had our highest usage of the year so far on the week of November 16th. Of course, the following week, we had the lowest, though a much-needed Thanksgiving break accounted for that. However, if we maintain our current pace, and get our remaining students who are not meeting their usage expectations to engage, we are on pace to end the year with 99.3% of students meeting their grade level expectations with Lexia content. Get this: right now, Whittier students are number 2 out of 39 elementary schools in terms of students meeting usage expectations.

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten students may reach a point soon where they have met end of year expectations and the content may get too challenging if they continue without support. It's ok for parents to communicate with classroom teachers about where their students are at and what would be the appropriate next steps.
  • Grades 1 and 2 students are mostly on pace to reach their goals, though we have some students right now who are not accessing Lexia as much as they need to. Teachers have worked with students to set appropriate goals and are monitoring progress. Please check with your child's teacher to make sure you know where your student is in their progress.
  • Grade 3 students have been having some difficulty as a whole recently. Lexia is very challenging in terms of listening skills and concentration. Sit with your 3rd grader and watch them interact with Lexia - you'll see whether they need some support. My personal observation of watching some students in action was to give them advice about thinking first, listening again to directions, and then choosing a response. You know, the old carpenter's rule of thumb: "measure twice, and cut once".
  • Grades 4 and 5 had the hardest time getting off the mark. Recently we have seen some great efforts from our 4th and 5th graders. In fairness, many of them had the longest journey as they were starting further behind. With consistency, dedication, and encouragement, they will get there. Two of our 4th graders just finished the entire program last week!

Its is very true that learning, like much else in life, is about forward progress and a good work-ethic. I am so grateful to you parents, and to our students and teachers for your dedication! Thank you.

2. Virtual Pain Night was a great success. We had over 40 staff members and 200 students participate. It was really great to see so many people get together just to spend time doing something enjoyable together. Great appreciation to our PTA for organizing such a wonderful event. There will be others to come. Stay tuned!

3. Our teachers have been seeing a great benefit to some individual or small group time with students. Your child's teacher may be scheduling some time for your child in a one-on-one meeting or with a small group. Thank you for supporting this - it has provided our teachers and students some quality time to clarify understanding and answer any questions that your child may have about their learning.

4. We will be doing some middle-of-year learning assessments soon. If you remember, we did some Performance Series Assessments in Grades 1-5 earlier in the year. These assessments are adaptive and will give us an indication of the learning growth that is happening. Students will work independently with their teacher's guidance. We complete formative assessments in both Reading and Mathematics over the course of the year so that we can monitor progress carefully and make adjustments to instruction. Your child's teacher will share information soon about. Growth and progress are always a cause for celebration with children.

5. I'd like to say to our parents, grandparents, and caregivers, once again, that your support and engagement with our school is what I am most grateful for. I know that I speak for all of our staff when I say - Thank You for being with us.

Please stay healthy and safe,

Warm regards,

Lorcan OhEithir, Principal

Please Let Us Know Your Intent for Hybrid


Dear Whittier Families,

As you know, on November 11, 2020, the Board of Education voted for Frederick County Public Schools to move from a virtual learning model to a hybrid learning model for students in grades PreK-12 at the start of the second semester on January 28, 2021.

Any decision to change this timeline would be made by the Superintendent in collaboration with the local health department. Parents are able to choose for their child(ren) to participate in a full virtual model instead of hybrid.

As Dr. Alban shared in the December 2, 2020 Superintendent Newsletter, “Scheduling this model takes considerable time and planning, and we must start that process. One of the first steps is the completion of intent forms for families and staff.”

FCPS recognizes that your preference for virtual or hybrid instruction has been requested in previous surveys. However, we need to hear your current preference for your child’s instructional model for the second semester for planning purposes. We are providing additional pertinent information to assist you in making the instructional decision for your child. Please read the description of each learning model carefully prior to making a decision.

To access the intent form, go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HybridOpenParentIntentDec20

We ask that you complete one survey per child enrolled in FCPS.

The intent form closes on Friday, December 11, 2020.

Please note at the beginning of the survey, you are asked to provide your child’s name, school, and grade. The information is important to adequately prepare for your child’s instruction.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting FCPS and Whittier Elementary School!

Mr. OhEithir, Principal

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News from the Media Center - Lessons and Curbside Pickup

Curbside Library Book Exchange continues to be a success with more readers, more books and more smiles!

If you’d like to check out new library books for the winter break, be sure to submit your new library book holds in LS2PAC or new requests using the Book Bundle form (Grades PreK-2 form ; Grades 3-5 form) by 10am Mon., Dec. 14 for pickup on Wed., Dec. 16!

Want to sign up to participate in our next Curbside? Visit our library webpage to complete the permission form and to add your book requests! https://education.fcps.org/whes/mediacenter

Questions? Contact Tina Dattoli through Schoology, or by email at Tina.Dattoli@fcps.org. Happy reading!

Week A/Week B Schedule

  • Next week is A Week, so students WILL have a Google Meet for library media.

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Counselor's Corner with Mrs. Reese and Mrs. Leatherman

It’s December! Here are some great self care activities for the busiest month of the year. Remember to take care of yourself and your family during this unpredictable time. December Self Care Calendar

Virtual Classroom Lessons: This Month we will return to your child’s classroom to deliver lessons. Students in Intermediate grades 3-5 will be learning about Digital Safety and Mental Health Awareness. We will be talking more about Habit #2 Begin with the End in Mind. Are we thinking about how the actions and decisions we make now will impact our goals for the future?

Students in the primary grades will be learning about Student Wellness and Habit #7- Sharpen the Saw. Students will learn coping skills and ways they can practice self care. We are specifically focusing on worries.

Student Wellness: Student Wellness Week is next week! Make sure you are practicing healthy habits of eating well, drinking lots of water, washing your hands, wearing masks when needed and practicing self care! Students are learning about how to care for their mental health this month.

Military Students Small Groups:

We are still welcoming participants for the Military Child Small groups and we are off to a GREAT Start! Lauren Wynn, LCMFT will be facilitating the virtual “Military Lunch Bunch” every Monday at 2:30 on Zoom. If interested, sign up here: Military Child Small Group Sign Up or contact Mrs. Reese for details.

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I've received several questions from families who wish to send in holiday gifts for staff members. If you would like to drop off a holiday gift for a staff member, you may do so by stopping by the front office any day Monday-Friday between 8:30-4:00. Please be sure that the staff member's name is clearly visible. We will make sure that they get to the intended person.
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Meals During Winter Break

FCPS Nutrition Services


Please see below for specific information regarding meal service over winter break. If you are planning to access meals on 12/23 and/or 12/30, you may want to consider bringing a box or bags to carry your meals. Food services will be distributing 5 days worth of meals on these days.


*Students and kitchen staff are off on Thursday December 24 through Sunday January 3 for winter break.

  • Meals will be distributed at all locations from 11am-1pm on Wednesday December 23 for Monday December 23-Sunday December 27.
  • Meals will be distributed at limited schools (see the list below) from 10am-1pm on Monday December 28 for Monday December 28 and Tuesday December 29.
  • Meals will be distributed at limited schools (see the list below) from 10am-1pm on Wednesday December 30 for Wednesday December 30-Sunday January 3.

Community sites will not be open on December 28 or December 30. All children can visit one of the schools open for meal distribution on December 28 and 30.*

The locations that will serve meals on Monday, December 28 and Wednesday, December 30 are:

Ballenger Creek Elementary

Lincoln Elementary

Sugarloaf Elementary

Brunswick Elementary

Middletown High

Thurmont Middle

Butterfly Ridge Elementary

Monocacy Elementary

Walkersville High

Centerville Elementary

Myersville Elementary

Waverley Elementary

Crestwood Middle

North Frederick Elementary

Whittier Elementary

Deer Crossing Elementary

Spring Ridge Elementary

Windsor Knolls Middle

Governor Thomas Johnson High

Whittier Community Resources

Mrs. Lewis, our Community Liaison, has many resources for families. She may have just what your family needs. Thanksgiving meals support information is NEW this week.

Whittier Elementary School - Believe, Achieve, Succeed

Please use Find Out First for up-to-date FCPS and WHES news.

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Follow me on Twitter @fcpsOhEithir where I will communicate school news and happenings