Falcon Flier

Vol 51, Issue 1 Summer News and Information - July 2023

Phelps Luck Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sandra McGraw, Assistant Principal

Jennifer Stairs, Assistant Principal

For another language, click "Translate Newsletter" tab and select the language of choice in the upper right-hand corner.


Para otros idiomas, haga clic en Traducir Newsletter y elija el idioma que prefiera.


다른 언어의 경우 뉴스 레터 번역을 클릭하고 원하는 언어를 선택합니다.




دوسری زبانوں کے لئے ، نیوزلیٹر کا ترجمہ کریں پر کلک کریں اور اپنی پسند کی زبان کا انتخاب کریں۔

Welcome from School Administration

Welcome to the 2023-24 school year! We hope you are enjoying the summer and making wonderful memories with family and friends. We want to wish a warm welcome to our returning and new students and families! We are so excited to welcome you back to school in a few weeks. Now that we are a month from the first day of school, we thought this would be a good time to send out some information and updates to our school community so you can begin to plan for a successful school year. Please take the time to review the information in this summer newsletter. The information will help you as you plan for the upcoming school year.

For those of you returning to Phelps Luck, you may notice a new newsletter format called The Falcon Flier. The Falcon Flier school newsletter will be published weekly throughout the school year through email and social media. Be sure to look for this newsletter on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m. in your email inbox starting in September. Please be sure not to mark emails from PLES or HCPSS as junk or spam. We find out that a number of people get blocked from all PLES and HCPSS communication when you mark the email as spam or junk. In addition to important school information, our PTA has a section in the weekly newsletter. They do not publish their own newsletter, so please be sure to look for the PTA's information. If you ever miss an issue of the newsletter or need to review a previous issue, all Falcon Fliers will be available on the main page of the PLES website. We hope you find the information helpful. Additionally, be sure to follow PLES on social media. Our Facebook page is brand new, and we will continue to use our Twitter feed. We often post information and reminders on social media in addition to fun posts sharing what's going on in our school.

We hope you enjoy the next few weeks of summer, and we look forward to seeing you later this month. If we can help in any way, please reach out to us by email or call us at 410-313-6886.

Mr. Cosentino, Principal

Ms. McGraw, Assistant Principal

Ms. Stairs, Assistant Principal

Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit ples.hcpss.org/calendar.


  • 10 - Popsicles with the principals, 5:30 p.m., PLES Playground
  • 13 - Maryland Tax Free Week starts
  • 17 - Kindergarten Playdate, 5:00 p.m., PLES Playground
  • 21 - PK Orientation, 6:00 p.m.
  • 23 - Class Assignments open in Family File
  • 24 - Kindergarten Back-to-School Night, 6:00 p.m.
  • 25 - Open House - Kindergarten, 1:30 p..m
  • 25 - Open House - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grades, 2:00 p.m.
  • 28 - First Day of School
  • 31 - First Day of School for Pre-Kindergarten


  • 4 - Labor Day - Schools and Offices closed
  • 6 - PTA Meeting, Media Center or Online (hybrid format), 7:00 p.m.
  • 11 - Back-to-School Night for 1st & 2nd grades, 6:30 p.m.
  • 12 - Back-to-School Night for 3rd & 4th grades, 6:30 p.m.
  • 13 - Gifted & Talented Information Session, 6:00 p.m.
  • 13 - Back-to-School Night for 5th grade, 6:30 p.m.
  • 14 - Back-to-School PTA Picnic on the playground, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
  • 15 - Rosh Hashanah - Schools and Offices Closed
  • 15 - National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month begins
  • 25 - Yom Kippur - Schools and Offices closed

To subscribe to the PLES calendar on your smartphone, electronic device, or email system, click the plus sign + at the bottom right-hand corner of the Google Calendar or click this link.

HCPSS Calendars

There will be no printed 2023-2024 calendars. Staff, students, and families may add our online calendar to their own mobile/online calendar by

  1. Going to https://www.hcpss.org/calendar/
  2. Scrolling down to Subscribing to a Calendar
  3. Right-clicking on the calendar you wish to subscribe to
  4. Selecting Copy Link Location/Address/Shortcut
  5. Adding to your calendar of choice (See your calendar for specifics on adding a new calendar)

You also may view and/or download printable PDFs of the full calendar and/or important dates only. Updates to the PDFs will be noted on the HCPSS calendar page.

PLEASE NOTE! The calendar is subject to change. The online calendar reflects the most recent version.

Calendars in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean

Calendario en español


스페인어로 된 달력

Related Arts

Related Arts and the Color Calendar Schedule

Students participate in related arts daily for one hour. There are five related arts classes: Art, Media, Music, Physical Education, and Technology. During the pandemic year, we moved from a set or fixed daily related arts schedule to a rotating related arts schedule. The rotating schedule is called the Related Arts Color Calendar. We rotate days using the color calendar because there are a disproportional number of days off on Mondays and Fridays. This used to mean students would have up to 6 fewer Monday or Friday related arts versus the other classes and days of the week. Your child's teacher will share their specific related arts color day assignments with you. It is very important to make sure your child dresses appropriately for the classes he/she has for related arts, especially for physical education.

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Staffing Updates

Farewell and Thank You!

We thank the following staff members for their service to our Phelps Luck learning community and wish them well as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

  • Ester Jo - She moved to another elementary school.
  • Meghan Bennett - She is now a PE teacher in two Howard County elementary schools.
  • N'Mmah Komradi-Kanu - She was a 5th grade teacher, and she moved back to Hawaii.
  • Isaac Clark - He moved to another elementary school.
  • Jeremy Rey - He moved to another elementary school.
  • Jordan Green - She will be a math specialist at another elementary school.
  • Yari Barllines - She moved to a middle school.

Welcome new staff to PLES

Please join us in welcoming the following individuals to the Phelps Luck Elementary family. These new staff members bring a variety of experiences that will only enhance what we offer our students:

  • Nikki Corba – Kindergarten
  • Leanne Brech – Grade 2
  • Chris VanderVat - Grade 2
  • Sara Canalas – Grade 4
  • Elise Hoffman – Grade 5
  • Sorsha Mulroe - Math Interventionist
  • Alexa Hayman – Music

PLES Teachers

Please find a list of all homeroom teachers by grade level.


  • Helen Harlin, Christine Hipp, Jessica Tegges


  • Danielle Baker, Karma Barfield, Nikki Croba, Erin Harback, Brianna McKenney, Carly Norris, Cheryl vom Saal

First Grade

  • Amy Adams, Sarah Bae, Tanya Brogan, Lindee Eads, Shannon Dugan, Anne Johnson,

Second Grade

  • Leanna Brech, Wendy Crockett, Meghan Kline, Kristina-Maria Perona, Jeanette Smith, Chris VanderVat

Third Grade

  • Sekwana Horge, Allison Goldman, Madison Lee, Ashley Winde

Fourth Grade

  • Sara Canalas, Jessica Kempner, Kendra Thomas, Gwyn Pettit

Fifth Grade

  • TaWanda Eason-Evans, Laine Farrell, Abigail Fratantuono, Elisa Hoffman, Rachel Skinner

Family Guide - The ABCs of PLES

The Family Guide - The ABCs of PLES is a lengthy document that provides information about our school. Click below to download the PLES Family Guide. The guide is also located on the main page of the PLES website.

Job Opportunities at PLES

Temporary Employee Positions

We are looking for caring and compassionate individuals to assist students with disabilities who require direct adult supervision throughout the school day. The position works under the daily supervision of the school administration and the direction of a special education teacher and/or a classroom teacher. Some experience working with children or individuals with disabilities preferred. Below, please are details regarding the position.

  • Temporary Employee (TE) positions are with Social Service Consultants, Ltd.

  • Compensation is $13.00 per hour

  • The hours are 8:40 AM – 3:10 PM Monday-Friday.

To apply, please email Robert Tencher at Rtencher@gmail.com to request an application packet. Please specify the school you are interested in. You can also apply using this link. Please contact Sandra McGraw at sandra_mcgraw@hcpss.org or at 410-313-6886 when you have completed all parts of the application.

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Family File Emergency Form is Open in HCPSS Connect

It is time to update your child's emergency contact information in HCPSS Connect! This is the most important step as we prepare for the start of the 2023-2024 school year. Your Family file needs to be updated every school year. This must be done for new and returning families.

Families that update and complete their Family File will be able to view teacher assignments for the upcoming school year beginning August 23, 2023. In addition, having this information is critical to us as soon as the first day of school.

HCPSS Connect is open to update your Family File. This information is very important! Please take the time to do this now. It is very important to have your Family File information complete prior to the first day of school.

You will be asked to update or provide the following information:

  • Parent/guardian contact information. Please provide the most current contact information.
  • Emergency contacts: Who do you want to pick up your child in case you cannot?
  • Medical information: Your child's health information.
  • Arrival and dismissal procedures. How will your child arrive to school and be dismissed on a daily basis? Additionally, provide what procedure your child should follow in case of an unscheduled early closing of schools.
  • Media coverage. This includes students being photographed.
  • Data confidentiality. Permission to release your child’s information to various organizations.
  • PTA directory. What information do you want to be included in our PLES PTA Directory?

You can access HCPSS Connect here http://www.hcpss.org/connect/

Changes of address may not be made through Family File. If you have recently moved, please contact our PLES office at 410-313-6886 as soon as possible.

Parents who have forgotten their login credentials for Family File may click the “Forgot Password” link on the sign-in page. If you need additional assistance, please fill out this Connect Help Form.

Synergy - Connect Video Orientation

Information and Application for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs)

Over the past two years, all students were able to access meals through the school. Federal Funding for free meals for all students ended on June 30. Therefore, to qualify for Free and Reduced Meals, families will need to apply for that benefit.

HCPSS participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, which provide families with significant benefits to help save money. Qualification is based on family size and income, and enrollment is confidential. All children in households 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. Those eligible for reduced-price lunch pay $0.10 and breakfast is free.

Free and Reduced Meals eligibility provides discounts for summer programs, SAT, recreation programs, Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and internet programs

Calling for Watch D.OG.S. Leaders!

Watch DOGS University is one of the nation’s largest and most respected school-based, family, and community engagement organizations in the country. Since the program’s creation in 1998, more than 6,450 schools across the country have launched a WATCH D.O.G.S. program of their own. Each school year, hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures make a positive impact on millions of children by volunteering millions of hours in their local schools through this amazing one-of-a-kind program. Who are Watch D.O.G.S.? Fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, and other father figures who volunteer to serve at least one day a year in a variety of school activities as assigned by the school's administrators.

In partnership with the PLES PTA, we are excited to move into our sixth year! As we plan for the upcoming year, we are putting together our Watch D.O.G.S. Leadership Team of volunteers to plan for our Kickoffs. If you are interested, please email Sandra McGraw by Friday, August 18, 2023. Please either click on the name to email or call the school at 410-313-6886. Once we establish our team, we will contact you for the date and time of our first Watch D.O.G.S. Leadership meeting. Thank you!

Arrival and Dismissal Information

Bus Routes... Coming Soon

Bus routes and transportation information will be included in our next newsletter. The HCPSS Transportation Department will release the bus routes later in August. Please look for the bus routes in the forthcoming newsletter.

Transportation Zone and Non-Transportation Zone (Walkers)

Non-transportation areas (walk areas) have been expanded for most HCPSS schools for the 2023-2024 school year. Board of Education Policy 5200 Student Transportation increased the allowable distance students may walk to school based on the distance between a student’s home and school. As a result, some students who previously received bus service may not receive it in 2023-2024.

At PLES, our non-transportation zone increased slightly compared to last school year. We are anticipating nine buses this year. The transportation zone will include the areas between Lambskin Lane, near the Locust Park Pool, along Tamar Drive to Spiral Cut.

Who is my child's teacher?

Teacher notifications will be through Family File this year. You will be able to see your child's teacher on August 24. In order to access your child's teacher, you must complete Family File. You will need to do this prior to Open House on August 26.

Kindergarten, Here We Come

This annual Howard County Library System program will help incoming kindergartners ease into school with stories and activities, including boarding a real school bus. Registration is required. Each session lasts one hour. Check the HCLS website to register and for additional details.

Supply List for 2023-24

The supply list for the 2023-24 school year can be found on the main page of our school's website.

We encourage you to drop off your school supplies during Open House on August 25. Please be sure to clearly label your child's supplies with his/her name.

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“What Your Child Will Learn” Guides

What Your Child Will Learn guides provide an overview of the instructional program for your child’s grade, as well as student goals and expectations. The guides include information to help parents monitor and support their child’s progress during the school year.

Individual guides are provided for each grade level. Each grade level guide provides information categorized by curriculum area, e.g., Language Arts, Science, etc.

The guides are available online only; print versions are no longer distributed. Specific guide webpages may be printed from the website.

Specific student programs may differ depending on instructional needs.

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Connect with PLES and Stay Informed

Listed below are the many ways to stay informed at Phelps Luck Elementary School.


  • Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hcpss_ples
  • We use Twitter to inform, celebrate, and engage our community.
  • Twitter is used to share what is going on in our school, our community, and throughout the Howard County Public School System.
  • Turn on notifications to get information the second it is tweeted.
  • We live-stream our concerts on Periscope through Twitter.


  • Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhelpsLuckElementary
  • We have found that Facebook is the social media most used by our parents so we are now on Facebook, too!
  • Our Facebook page is updated automatically from our Twitter feed.
  • Please use Facebook to share the good news from PLES with your friends and families.


  • Our website, ples.hcpss.org, is updated regularly.
  • Important news and information is located on the main page of the site, including an archive of our weekly newsletter, Falcon Flier.
  • Staff information and email are located under the "Our Staff" tab.
  • Subscribe to the Google calendar located on the "Calendar" tab.

Class Dojo

  • Class Dojo is a communication tool used in classrooms throughout Phelps Luck. Your homeroom teacher will share more information about how to connect and communicate through Class Dojo.


  • Email is our main form of communication.
  • You will receive news and information automatically to the email address you provide in your Family File. We will not inundate your inbox with email. Look for the weekly Falcon Flier on Friday mornings.
  • If you would like email sent to a different email address, update your email in Family File with the email address you prefer.
  • You can subscribe additional email addresses by visiting the HCPSS News site here. http://www.hcpss.org/hcpss-news/
  • Weekly announcements, important information and updates, and more will primarily be sent through email.
  • You also have the opportunity to opt-in for text messaging

More Summer Learning

Summer Reading Lists

As part of the A+ Partnership with the Howard County Library System, summer reading lists developed by HCPSS library media specialists and Howard County Library System Children’s Instruction and Research staff are available for students in all grade levels. Books included are just a sampling of what students may enjoy reading during the summer. Students are encouraged to check out other books by the authors included as well as explore additional book topics at the library.

Recommended lists for all grade levels are available both in schools and online.

A+ Student Card

All HCPSS students received an A+ Student Card account number at the beginning of the 2017–2018 school year. With it, they have access to all HCLS eContent by using their account number to login via hcpss.me. Using their A+ Student Card, students can place holds and check out physical materials, as well as take advantage of all the library’s digital resources.


All students have access to their school’s digital MackinVIA eBook and audiobook collection all summer long by logging in through hcpss.me with their active directory credentials.

Students continue to have access to all the digital tools they used during the school year. This includes databases available from the “Databases” tab in MackinVIA, such as:

  • CultureGrams, which offers country reports on over 200 cultures of the world.
  • World Book Online Reference Center, which includes encyclopedia, multimedia, e-book and primary source databases.

Summer Activities

Students can use their digital tools, available at hcpss.me, to document and celebrate their summer activities. Elementary students can use Wixie to create a summer postcard or travel journal. All students can utilize G-Suite to create a slideshow of their favorite summer day.

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Greeting from the PTA President

Kick off the new school year with two exciting events hosted by your Phelps Luck PTA. First, join us for the first PTA meeting of the year on Wednesday, September 6, from 7:00-8:00 pm in the media center and online. Then, catch up with old friends and make new ones at a fun-filled back-to-school picnic on Thursday, September 14, from 5:30-7:00 pm. Stay tuned for more information on joining and volunteering with the PTA. We can’t wait to see you!


We are the Phelps Luck Elementary School’s PTA (Parent Teacher Association).

"Through advocacy, events and fundraising, the PTA strives to provide the support our students, families and staff need to make our PLES community the best it can be for our children to learn and grow."


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PTA Kickoff Meeting and Dinner

Wednesday, Sep. 6th, 7pm

5370 Old Stone Court

Columbia, MD

Phelps Luck Elementary School Media Center.

Please come and share your knowledge and ideas!

Help Beautify PLES

PTA is collecting money to help fund a special beautification project. Please consider donating money to help purchase banners for the front of the school.

In alignment w/ Policy 10010, the following announcements have been approved by the Public Information Office for distribution. The below community notices are neither sponsored nor endorsed by the HCPSS.