MARCH 2021


Dear Patriot Families,

I hope this letter finds your family well. I can’t believe it’s March! Seeing March on my calendar has given me the opportunity to reflect on the last year. The past year has been one we will remember for a lifetime. In March 2020 we embarked on a journey together that has been filled with so many new and difficult things. A year later, we’re much closer to finding our stride within this “new normal”.

What things have changed? The ways we greet our students in the morning look different. The types of team and faculty meetings we have are different. The ways we deliver instruction have become very different. Lines in the hallway and lunchtime are different. Wednesdays look different. However, in all of these changes, what’s important is very much the same here at Hugh Mercer: friendships, learning, and having lots of fun!

This March, masks cover our smiles -- but we see smiling eyes when we greet our students in the morning. Our students are spending time together socially distanced -- but are making great friendships and learning to work together. Today, I watched a reading group using ZOOM instead of sitting together at a horseshoe table. I also had the chance to see kindergarten students check out library books in groups of two from safely distanced book baskets. Our staff is being super-creative with learning opportunities and our students are doing a beautiful job showing what they know.

Looking back at the past year I could not be prouder to be a Hugh Mercer Patriot. Our families and staff have supported each other and we’ve put our fantastic students first. Our students, families, and teachers are amazing! I am truly thankful to be part of the Hugh Mercer team!

The pandemic has been a very difficult time for many. If there is anything we can do to help your family, please reach out to me directly by emailing me at or calling 540-455-9145.


Kim Doucette


The meeting will be broadcast live on the following channels: Comcast - Channel 18 Verizon - Channel 41 Cox - Channel 83. The meeting will also be live-streamed on Regional WebTV at and on the Fredericksburg City Public Schools Facebook page.


  • Music In Our Schools Month
  • Art Education Month
  • National Nutrition Month (School Breakfast Week is March 1 - 5)


We will be celebrating Read Across America week from March 1 to March 5. Join us at home in our daily themed celebrations! CLICK GRAPHIC TO THE RIGHT FOR DAILY THEME CALENDAR! The daily theme calendar is also posted on our Facebook Page and on the library's Canvas page, which includes a list of recommended books!


A bus numbering system is being used to ensure students are released to their parent/guardian safely. Directions for use are:

  • All students received a numbered bus tag to be included with their current bus letter tag attached to their bookbag.
  • Parents/guardians receive 3 corresponding number signs to hold up at he bus stop to receive their child off the bus.
  • Bus drivers have a list of students with the student's number in case the parent/guardian forgets his/her sign.
  • Parents/guardians have to provide their child's tag to receive their child.
  • Students will be returned to school if there is not a parent or relative 12 years or older with their number sign to receive them.
  • Students will also be returned to school if no one is present at bus stop to receive their child at all.

NOTE: Students who are returned to school for any reason must be promptly picked up by a parent/guardian or listed contact.


KINDERGARTEN - Kindergartners will wrap up Q3 by producing words that rhyme, learning the roles of authors and illustrators as well as continuing sight word practice through reading and writing. As Q 4 begins, students will continue to become more fluent in phonemic awareness skills with daily practice in the Heggerty curriculum. In reading, we look forward to blending phonemes, sequencing of events, continuing sight words and word study families. In writing, kindergartners continue to practice handwriting skills. Students will become authors and illustrators as they tell a story and compose a simple sentence about their story.


- This month, first graders will wrap up Q3 by being introduced to vowel teams, finish learning about non-fiction texts, and continue to work on phonological awareness. As Q 4 begins, students will continue to become more fluent in phonemic awareness skills with daily practice in the Heggerty curriculum. In spelling, students will continue to learn about common vowel teams that can be used in reading and writing. In writing, first graders continue to practice handwriting skills through video lessons and Canvas assignments. Students will finish their opinion writing lessons then move into narrative writing with adding detail to their stories.


SECOND GRADE - In March, second graders will review non-fiction text features, such as headings, bold words and the index. After break we will focus on reading and writing non-fiction. For writing we will review second grade grammar skills and complete a weekly writing prompt. In word work we will tackle some challenging long vowel and bossy R vowel patterns in March. We will also practice spelling unstudied words, using what we know about sounds and letters to spell unfamiliar words. In math, we will review second grade skills at the end of Q3. After our break, we work on calendar skills, measuring temperature, and probability. In science, our study of matter leads into our weather unit, where we study weather tools and types of storms.


ESL - The ESL department is in the midst of WIDA testing all of our ESL students in the four domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Testing began on January 25, and we hope to have it completed by mid-March. Virtual students will begin WIDA testing in March. If your ESL student has opted to remain virtual for the remainder of the school year, your child is still expected to complete the required testing in person. However, if you do not wish to allow your child to enter the building for testing, our school requires written documentation. Please look for an email from your child’s ESL teacher where you will be able to indicate the decision you make for your child. Please also be expecting a phone call to schedule your child’s testing appointments. Due to the nature of the test, it is likely your student will need to come into the building more than once to complete it. Please note we are always following COVID protocol during WIDA testing by ensuring distance between individuals and requiring proper face coverings that cover both nose and mouth. Virtual students will be tested individually. All materials used for testing are sanitized after each use. Lastly, your ESL team looks forward to seeing you at Family Night on March 9! There will be informational sessions in Spanish, Pashto, and Dari/Farsi. Please be on the look out for more information to come!

Kindergarten: Elizabeth Dominguez

First Grade: Maricruz Baker

Second Grade: Jenna DiGiacomo


Mrs. Teri

The Fredericksburg City Public Schools Word of the Month is CARING. As HMES Patriots, we strive to be caring by showing empathy, compassion, and respect to others. At Hugh Mercer, our students learn how to control their behaviors through self-regulating, work cooperatively on assignments and projects, and to communicate ideas while remaining open-minded. These skills help our students show they are caring.

We can demonstrate caring through a commitment to service. We show we care when we act to make positive differences in the lives of others and the world around us. Picking up trash, helping a neighbor, or holding a door for a stranger are ways to show we care. Doing big and small acts of kindness, not only benefits others, but also provides us with a sense of self-worth. When you smile, you feel better. Showing that you are caring can put a smile on the face of those you love.

We can be caring at home as well. When we play with younger brothers or sister, or help with chores around the house, we show that we care about our family. We show caring for our friends when we take turns and follow the rules during games, or when we share with them. We can even demonstrate caring for our community by volunteering and recycling. There are so many ways for us to be caring! How do you show you care?



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myON Digital Reading Platform

myON provides digital solutions to support students and their families everywhere they learn - in the classroom and at home. Students can access myON through Clever. Once logged in, students can browse thousands of digital books and different genres. As students read on their favorite digital device they can mark-up pages, highlight words, listen to audio versions, and interact with the enhanced digital books.

myON is a digital reading platform that provides students with 24/7 access to thousands of fiction and nonfiction digital books—in English, Spanish, and additional languages. myON News provides access to daily news articles written just for children and is within the myON platform.

myON provides:

· Up to 6,400 enhanced digital books-fiction and nonfiction

· Unlimited simultaneous access-online, offline, any device

· Embedded tools, scaffolds, and projects to build literacy skills

· Real-time actionable data to monitor reading behavior and growth


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DUFF MCDUFF GREEN, JR. GRANT (Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region)

Congratulations to PE/Health teacher, Ms. Jolene Jonas, for being awarded the Duff McDuff Green, Jr. Fund's grant for a Sensory Path Project at Hugh Mercer Elementary! Watch for sensory paths coming soon along our sidewalks, blacktop, and inside our hallways!
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TITLE 1 - Title 1 is the largest federal aid program for elementary, middle, and high schools. Through Title 1, the federal government designates money to school districts around the country based on the number of students in need in each district. Each district uses its Title 1 money for extra educational services for children, such as:

  • class size reduction
  • additional teachers and paraprofessionals
  • parent resources
  • instructional materials and supplies
  • Tier 2 and Tier 3 support services

The focus of the Title 1 program is to ensure all students meet challenging content and achievement standards. Title 1 also authorizes federal grant programs that provide funds for reading instruction, services to migrant children, services to neglected and delinquent children, comprehensive school reform and dropout prevention.

All FCPS students in grades K-8 are eligible to receive programs funded through the Title 1 grant. Title 1 reading and math support is provided by the following staff members: Ms. Lisa Herbert, Mrs. Jill Kankam, Mrs. Pamela Douglas, and Ms. Patricia Balwanz (reading); Dr. Stefanie Hudson (math, Title 1). Administrative support for Title 1 services is provided by assistant principal, Mrs. Kisha Frye.

504 ACCOMMODATIONS AND SPECIAL EDUCATION - If your child has any type of learning or physical problem, he/she may qualify for accommodations under 504 or special education services. Please call the counseling office (372-1115 x 2023 or x 2039) if you have any questions or would like to refer your child for screening and possible assessment.

No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the Untied States shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: The Rights of Individuals with Handicaps Under Federal Law.

NON-RESIDENT STUDENT ENROLLMENT - In the matter of non-resident student enrollment, the Fredericksburg City Public School Division does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origina, sec, age, or disability in its educational programs or activities. Any questions should be referred to Sue Keffer (Director of Human Resources), 210 Ferdinand Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401, or by calling (540) 372-1130.

SEX OFFENDER STATEMENT - The Fredericksburg City Public School Division recognizes the danger sex offenders pose to student safety. Therefore, to protect students while they travel to and from school, attend school and school-related activities, the FCPS Division shall request automatic electronic notification of registered sex offenders in the same or contiguous zip codes as any school within the division. Such request and notification shall be made according to the procedures established by the Virginia Department of State Police (State Police). The Superintendent shall serve as the contact person with the State Police for receipt of the registered sec offender information.