Thurmont Primary School News

October 2021 - Volume 2

Principals' Message

Dear Families,

Our students & staff continue to light the way by leading with courage and love. Our SPARK block is one example of how we are embracing the opportunity to learn and grow in new and different ways.

Our SPARK block offers focused supplemental instruction targeted to individual student needs. With the support of all classroom teachers, specialists in literacy, math and media, academic support teachers and special educators we are able to offer at least 8 different groups in each grade level. Groups are determined through a collaborative process of reviewing student data and demonstration of understanding on classroom skill checks.

K-2nd grade students are beginning their 3rd SPARK Groups of the year. All students have been able to focus on both reading and mathematics. Students are excited and continue to enjoy this special time in their schedule. Changing classes, working with new teachers, meeting new friends and knowing their individual goals are all things students have expressed as why they like the SPARK block.

We are already seeing the positive results of our SPARK block with students showing growth in reading and/or mathematics. We know high quality instruction during all content areas, coupled with the opportunity to accelerate learning during SPARK, will result in ongoing student progress and success!

Yours in education,

Michele Baisey



Health & Safety Updates

FCPS Modified Quarantining Protocol Updates

  • Started: Monday, October 18
  • Change: Students will be identified as a close contact and asked to quarantine if they were unmasked and within 6 feet of another student who tested positive for 15 minutes or more. The identification of close contacts for adults has not changed.

TPS Wellness Continues

  • Students sit in assigned seats in the classroom for breakfast and teacher's take note of who is eating each day. This allows us to complete contact tracing during breakfast, when students have masks off, in our classrooms.
  • All students have an assigned numbered seat in the cafeteria. This allows us to complete contact tracing when students have their masks off for lunch.
  • Hand washing takes place before lunch daily and after recess.
  • Hand sanitizer is used when students enter the building each morning and between any class changes, such as specials.

Health, safety & wellness remains a priority and we appreciate your ongoing support!

PTA Update

During parent-teacher conferences we saw many families signing up for the PTA and visiting our Book Fair, both of which provides direct support to all students and both schools.

If you have not yet signed up to be a member of the TEPS PTA we encourage you to do so by clicking the membership form below. The membership form and dues can be returned to school with your child.

2021-2022 TEPS PTA Membership Form (Make checks payable to: TEPS PTA)

Your membership provides a vote on ways to...

  • enhance the partnership between home and school
  • offer students access to special events/activities, cultural arts experiences & field trips
  • determine how funding will be used to support students, families & our schools

Please join us for our next PTA meeting at 5:30pm on Thursday, November 11th at TES.

Contact with questions, needs or to support in any way and please consider following the TEPS PTA on Facebook: TEPS PTA - Thurmont Elementary & Primary Schools.

Counselor's Corner

What does “Listens and Follows Directions” mean?

This skill is about a child’s ability to do what a parent or teacher asks them to do. The child shows they are listening to the adult giving the directions by following the instructions as best they can. Directions with two or three steps are appropriate for children in kindergarten. For example, “Push in your chair and put your plate in the sink.” Directions with too many steps can be confusing for young children and shouldn’t be used. This skill is important because it shows that the child can pay attention to what adults say and can follow instructions.

Click here for more information: Listens & Follows Directions

How can we help our children learn these important skills?

Below are 5 playful ways you can try at home to help your child!

  • Simon Says
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • I Spy
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Follow the Leader

Click here for details on how to play each game: Five Playful Ways to Work on Listening & Following Directions

Strategies for Reading Unknown Words

As your child brings books home to practice reading, it is important to allow them to struggle a little bit when trying to decode words. We call this productive struggle. If we tell them the word, they don’t get the opportunity to use the strategies to figure out words on their own. So, what strategies should you use to help your child when your child is reading to you? We want students to stay focused on the letters and the sounds they make in the word. When your child gets stuck on a word, use the prompts below in order.

Prompt your child to read a single syllable word by asking the following:

  1. Look at the letters in the word.
  2. What are the vowels in the word?
  3. What type of syllable is the word? * See below for details & examples
  4. What sound will the vowel make? Will it make the short vowel sound or the long vowel sound?
  5. Finger-stretch the sounds in the word
  6. Blend the sounds together.
  7. Read the word.

Closed Syllable - “cat”, “hot”, “fun”, “hen”, “pin”

When the vowel is followed by a consonant in a one syllable word the vowel says the short vowel sound.

Open Syllable - “no”, “we”, “why”

When the syllable ends with a vowel, it is usually long

Vowel Consonant “e” OR Magic-e - “make”, “time”, “rope”, “cube”, “these”

Has a vowel then a consonant followed by an “e”. The e at the end is silent while the other vowel says it’s name or the long vowel sound.

Vowel Team - “boat”, ‘greet”, “meat”, “rain”

When two vowels are side by side, the first one says it’s name or the long vowel sound.

R-Controlled Vowel = “cart”

When the vowel is being bossed around by the “r” the sound of the vowel makes the /r/ sound as in “cart”, “port”, “fern”, turn

Additional Information can be found here: Six Syllable Types & Six Syllable Types poster

By using the prompts in order above, students should be able to blend the sounds together to read the words successfully. The English language does have exceptions to the rule which can sometimes make reading difficult. Try using the prompts above with your child as he/she reads to you. If you have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to email or call Mrs. Yoder, Literacy Specialist ( / 240-236-2813).

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Community & Business Appreciation

In a time when we focus on gratitude, we would like to recognize the business & community support that has been provided to our schools.

Thank you to the following business who provided donations for our PTA Membership Drive & Teacher Appreciation Conference Dinner:

  • Farmhouse Exchange
  • Kountry Kitchen
  • Wegmans
  • AKA Friscors
  • Winter Gardens
  • Mountain Gate
  • Winterbrook Farms
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • Thurmont Food Lion
  • Catoctin Mountain Orchard
  • Windy Ridge Scents

Additionally the 1st Grade Team would like to extend their appreciation to Brookfield Farms for donating 100 pumpkins to create a in-school pumpkin patch field trip. After all students had a trip to the "1st Grade Pumpkin Patch" they used the experience to write personal narrative small moments stories.

We know we are Better Together and appreciate the kindness, generosity & support of our community and local businesses!

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Important Dates

  • Monday, October 25th - School Picture Day

  • Tuesday, October 26th - School Closed - Teacher Work Day

  • Friday, November 5th - Report Cards Issued

  • Thursday, November 11th - General PTA Meeting at 5:30pm at TES

  • Monday, November 15th to Friday, November 19th - American Education Week

  • Wednesday, November 24th to Friday, November 26th - School Closed - Thanksgiving Break