VES Eagle Express Newletter
May 7, 2020 - Volume 13, Issue #35
CONTINUITY OF LEARNING: Information on distance learning schedules, resources, and more
Mr. Bruce and Spirit say Hello!
From the Principal
In the State of Maryland Coronavirus-19 cases have not steadily dropped over the last 14 days but we are in a downward trend. Consequently, the State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen Salmon has declared that all public schools in Maryland will remain closed until the end of the school year. Our entire staff misses you but we want to see you healthy and safe the next time we see you. This means distance learning will continue. Please make sure all of our Veterans students are signing into LexiaCore and Dreambox for at least 15-20 minutes per day depending on their grade level. This is crucial for fourth quarter grading. Make an effort to see your friends and teacher during the optional virtual check-ins each week. I had the opportunity to review some lessons posted by our related arts staff and support teachers. Staff is getting quite creative in delivering lessons for your child to stay on point in all subjects. My hats go off to all of our teachers. With a few days left, think of a creative message you can send to your favorite Veterans staff to say thank you during this week's Teacher Appreciation Week!
A Message from the Student Services Team
Hello VES! If you haven't already seen it, please check out our video on coping with uncomfortable feelings. You can check out the video through your School Counselor's canvas page and find the video titled 'Make a Coping Jar'.
Also, a reminder that May is Mental Health Awareness month! Please consider joining us in completing the VES 31 Day Mental Health Awareness Challenge. We would love to hear how you are doing with the challenge!!
VES School Counselors are available for virtual student check-ins by appointment daily from 9:30am - 11:30am and from 12:00pm - 1:00pm. Please email us at the addresses below to request an appointment with us.
Julie Wentz (Grades 1, 2, 3, & 5) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Wilson (Grades K & 4) - email@example.com
Tabitha Brown (Counseling Intern) - firstname.lastname@example.org
* Please note that Mrs. Wentz will be joining Ms. Brown’s chats.
School Psychologists are also available during the times listed below:
Ms. Moniodis (School Psychologist RECC and I&T): Monday - Friday 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Ms. Boyars (School Psychologist Intern RECC): Monday - Friday 1:00pm- 2:00pm
Dr. Burkhouse (School Psychologist K-5) and Ms. Gosnell (School Psychologist Intern K-5): Monday - Friday 1:00pm - 2:00pm for staff, student, and parent appointments.
HCPSS Counseling Services for Students, Families, and Staff
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this an especially stressful time for many, especially those already impacted by mental health concerns. Find information about local and online resources for counseling and mental health supports for you and your family on our website.
It’s Staff Appreciation Week!
My teaching staff has been working hard to get the hang of distance learning. They have been collaborating and planning for these days of instruction from their homes. I am deeply appreciative of everything they have done to prepare online learning for our students. This coming week is Teacher Appreciation Week, normally we would recognize our teachers this week. Our PTA has always recognized the staff while at school, this year that is difficult to do. As a parent or family, you can recognize their efforts with a note of thanks or recognition. Please send an email to a teacher you wish to recognize. Teachers appreciate these notes of thanks and appreciation.
Join me in thanking them for their efforts.
Retention and Acceleration:
Again, if you wish to request a meeting to discuss the retention or acceleration of your child, please send Mr. Bruce a letter by Friday May 15th.
Placement for 2020-2021
The staff will begin classroom placement discussions for next school year. It is possible that staff may decide to maintain classroom placements for next year. It is also possible staff may decide to make some adjustments. If you have anything you would like considered in the placement of your child for next school year, please send that information to Mr. Bruce in an email no later than May 30, 2020. We will make every attempt to honor your request but please understand that this may not be possible. Placements are considered based on many factors including but not limited to;
benchmark reading level, writing level, social considerations, and special needs among others. Remember, if there is anything you would like us to consider, please send this consideration to Mr. Bruce no later than May 30, 2020.
- Attendance: Teachers at all levels will document student attendance during Continuity of Learning using a point system based on student participation in learning activities each week. More information, including specific indicators that will be used for each level is provided online.
- New Continuity of Learning Website and Help Function: The HCPSS Continuity of Learning website has been restructured to provide an even more user-friendly and easily navigated information resource, including pages with schedules and information dedicated to high school seniors and students at each level. The new HCPSS Help site is grouped by subject to allow quicker and easier navigation, and includes a convenient new keyword search function, making it easier to quickly find answers to their most frequently-asked questions.
- School Calendar Revisions: The Board has approved changes to the 2019-2020 school system calendar. HCPSS is now scheduled to be open on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, as the elections on this day will take place almost entirely by mail and schools will not be used as polling places.
- Upcoming Public Hearings: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Board meetings will be held virtually, live on the HCPSS website and on Comcast 95/Verizon 42. Community members wishing to testify should register online using the following links. Specific instructions on testifying virtually will be emailed to each registrant prior to the public hearing.
Grading for 4th Quarter:
The last grading period began on Monday April 27, 2020. Teachers are encouraging student participation in virtual learning. The elementary grading guidelines for the fourth quarter are listed below:
Language Arts and Mathematics
For mathematics, students will be graded as P for passing if they complete 263 minutes of Dreambox in Quarter 4. For language arts, students will be graded as “P” for passing if they complete 263 minutes of Lexia Core 5 in Quarter 4. This is 50% of 75 minutes of Dreambox or Lexia for the weeks of April 27th - June 8th (7 weeks). Seventy-five minutes was selected as the marker for Pass because it reflects the messages shared about students working 15 minutes per day. Teachers should indicate Pass or Incomplete based on the cumulative number of minutes for the quarter. Teachers will still review LexiaCore or Dreambox to monitor student progress.
Science, Social Studies, and Health
Starting Wednesday, April 29th, when the May 4th weekly content modules for K-5 are published to Commons, each Canvas page/task will have a link for students to visit to mark the completion of the weekly task. Students will receive a “P” for the quarter if approximately 50% of the assignments are completed from the week of May 4 - the week of June 8, 2020. This would be 3/6 assignments during the quarter. Directions regarding the link will be shared by each teacher.
On Monday, May 11, 2020, the K-5 related arts pages will also have a link for students to mark the completion of the task. Students will receive a “P” for the quarter if approximately 50% of the assignments are completed from the week of May 11 - the week of June 8, 2020. This would be 2/5 assignments during the quarter. Directions regarding the link will be shared by each teacher.
Please keep in mind that the weekly requirements are meant to foster student engagement and provide feedback to teachers on how to improve pedagogy during Continuity of Learning. Overall, students will receive a “P” in the quarter if they have completed 50% or more of the assignments. The assignments are not meant to penalize students. Guidance for Prekindergarten students will be shared in a separate memo.
If you have any questions regarding these guidelines, please contact Mr. Bruce.
Google Classroom Sessions
We are excited about beginning Google Check In sessions. Please make sure your child signs into their sessions through their teacher's Canvas page. Teachers have been advised not to allow anyone to enter the Check In Session from a private email address, this is for everyone's safety and security. My expectation is that students will be on their best behavior during screen time with their classmates and teacher(s). Please be advised that if any student does anything inappropriate during a class session, then the teacher may eliminate the student from instruction. Further violations will result in a phone call to parents from an administrator.
We are hopeful that everyone will take advantage of this learning time.
Order a SY2019-2020 Veterans Yearbook!
Place your order by going to the following link:
This will get you to the Veterans Elementary account page. You will need to create an account if you do not already have one, but it opens to the page where you can login with an existing account or sign up.Then feel free to order your yearbook.
Families Who Need to Request Device:
Student Technology Request: To better enforce social distancing and safeguard the health of staff, students, and families, HCPSS will be shipping all technology devices through FedEx directly to the students who need them. All HCPSS students, grades K-12 who requested a device will receive one.
The following steps will be followed:
1. Parent logs into HCPSS Connect (https://www.hcpss.org/connect/)
2. From the left menu, last choice, click on “Student Technology”, then choose “Student Technology” near the top center of the screen
3. On the HCPSS Student Technology screen, use the drop down arrows to indicate the Technology Requested for each student. Changes are saved immediately.
4. If a device has already been issued, it will appear in the inventory list.
5. The request list will be synced with the distribution team by 8:00 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and devices will be shipped shortly thereafter. If a student already has a device issued, the request will not be processed.
Limited quantities of pens, pencils and notebooks will be available at the Hammond, Long Reach and Oakland Mills high school Technology Distribution sites, which students/families may pick up if supplies are needed for continuity of learning at home. Prepare for Success has donated its inventory of school supplies, which will soon be available at meal distribution sites. Please stay tuned as we gather this inventory this week and prepare for a wider distribution beginning next week.
Message from the Media Center
Do you have VES Media Books that are currently checked out that are with you at home?
Please take good care of the books and return them to VES as soon as school reopens.
Meals & Nutrition Assistance Program
- The Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) recently expanded its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It is possible that families may qualify now for SNAP benefits, based on the economic downturn due to COVID-19. Visit the DHS website to learn more. All children in households already receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get free meals regardless of income, and students from households that meet federal income guidelines are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals.
- All Maryland students who qualify for FARMs are eligible for the new P-EBT program, or Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, which provides benefits on a debit-style EBT card to help families with children purchase healthy food during the school closure. Families can apply for the Free and Reduced-Price Meals (FARMs) program until June 1, 2020. Visit the HCPSS web site to learn more about the opportunities and how to apply.
Howard County Library Resources
- Created While Isolated: Students ages 13 and up and adults are invited to share photographs, art, music, creative writing, and personal stories from this unprecedented time in acollaborative creativity journal.
- TumbleMath is a fun and engaging way to learn math concepts through stories. Students can access this and many other learning resources with their A+ student accounts throughhcpss.me by selecting HC Library.