VES Eagle Express Newletter

JANUARY 23, 2021 - Vol.14, Issue #21

SY2020-2021: Saturday Weekly Circular


Robert Bruce, Principal -

Amy Green, Assistant Principal -

Kelly Ryan, Administrative Intern -

    The Howard County Board of Education voted to continue HCPSS in a virtual instructional model through the third academic quarter, which ends April 14, 2021.

→ Full Statement

The office has coverage from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on
days when school is in session.
Please call ahead 410-313-1700


They are available to assist you during this time:

Youmi Jun, Principal Secretary -
Jane Pak, Teacher Secretary -
Maria Martinez, Teacher Secretary -
Dulce Boyer, Teacher Secretary .5 -

Send Student Attendance-related notifications directly to:

(i.e. student will be absent due to illness, appointments, religious, or travel obligations)


Para información y apoyo adicionales, por favor, llame al 410-313-1591.

欲知详情或想获得更多支持,请电 410-313-5920.

보다 자세한 문의와 지원을 원하시면, 410-313-1592 로 연락 주시기 바랍니다.

For all other language needs please contact Monica Ranta at 410-313-7102.


If we have learned anything over the last year, it is to be flexible. The coronavirus has taught us to be ever vigilant and patient. There is news unfolding from the State of Maryland and Howard County which may move up our return date to March 1st. The events surrounding these adjustments are fluid so I ask that everyone remain patient and alert to updates from the Board of Education. This community has been ever so patient despite our concerns for our children. We know that our students do best when they are in a school building with a great staff. The Board of Education will work next week to ascertain what a hybrid model will look like as we enter our third quarter. The sense of normalcy we all yearn for is around the corner. It will be slow as we gear everyone back up for some sense of in-school experiences. There is a tremendous amount of work that has to be done while our staff continues to instruct your children virtually. Continue your patience as we work through the newest round of schedule adjustments and try to craft a safe and evolving return to school. We hope that the entire school community remain Veterans Strong as we wait for these changes to be planned and implemented.


Make sure you know important dates on the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar. There are no printed calendars; you may view the online calendar and/or download printable calendar PDFs on our website. The calendar is subject to change.

SY2020-21 HCPSS Calendar list view of Event Dates

Board Approves 2021-2022 Academic Calendar

The next school year will begin on August 30, 2021, for students and on August 19, 2021, for school staff. Winter break will be December 23-31, 2021, with schools reopening on Monday, January 3, 2022. Spring Break will run from April 11-18, 2022. The last day of school is scheduled for June 14, 2022.

Learn more


29 - Schools Closed to Students: Professional Work Day

29 - End of Second Quarter
29 - Parent-Teacher Conference Scheduling Window OPENS 6:00 a.m. (info to follow)


3 - MAP ELA Testing: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

5 - Parent-Teacher Conference Scheduling Window CLOSES 10:00 p.m.

5 - Q2 Report Cards Issued

10 - MAP Math Testing: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

10 - Parent-Teacher Conferences

11 - Half Day Schedule: Parent-Teacher Conferences

12 - Schools Closed to Students: Professional Work Day

15 - Schools and Offices Closed: President's Day (State Mandated Holiday)


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Measured Academic Progress (MAP) Assessment

On Wednesday February 3rd and 10th, students in Grades 1-5 will take the Measured Academic Progress (MAP) assessment. The data from the MAP assessment will help schools and teachers measure your student’s academic progress. The MAP test does not affect grades and the difficulty adjusts depending on how your child responds. It is normal for students to only answer about half the questions correctly. To learn more about the MAP assessment, please visit:

The Reading Test will be offered on February 3rd from 9-11 am. The Math Test will be offered on February 10th from 9-11 am. If your child is unable to attend, Make-up testing will be offered during asynchronous learning times. Teachers will share Google Meet information and your student’s testing group as we get closer to the February dates.


Please visit the HCPSS website Community News and Programs page for upcoming events and programs sponsored by non-profit organizations.

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Important Update from the Superintendent on In-Person Hybrid Instruction

Dear HCPSS Community,

Yesterday, Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon announced their clear expectation for all school buildings to reopen in a hybrid format no later than March 1. At this time, we are reviewing guidance that we received today and the Governor has acknowledged that plan development could take several days. There are still many details that need to be considered and much could change in the coming days and weeks.

This morning, I am certainly experiencing mixed emotions as a result of the Governor's mandate. My heart has ached for the students and families who have struggled during virtual instruction and isolation, and I hope that a return to schools for hybrid instruction will provide the instructional and supportive environment they need to thrive. At the same time, I look at our current metrics and while they are trending in the right direction, we are still operating in the double red band, according to metrics approved by the Board of Education.

Today, I urge our students, staff and family members to be patient. I convened my cabinet immediately following the Governor's press conference yesterday and did so again this morning. I also met with Dr. Salmon and my counterparts across the state to better understand the State’s expectations. We hope to receive additional information from the state in the coming days and will be discussing this mandate with the Board of Education during work sessions scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week. As soon as we have additional information to share with the community, we will.

I want to acknowledge our staff, who I know are feeling mixed emotions today. There isn’t an educator who doesn't miss interacting personally with their students. Many staff members have been teaching and working from our buildings. At the same time, many—understandably so—remain nervous at the prospect of returning to buildings when countywide health metrics remain high. Educators are indispensable employees who tend to and care for our most precious resources—children. I thank all HCPSS staff for their continued resilience, kindness, and empathy in the face of this unprecedented pandemic.

We are grateful for our wonderful and supportive community. We have stayed strong these last 10 months and we will move forward together in the common interest of our children. It hasn’t been easy and we all have to tend to our own challenges and considerations, but we are a resilient community. We will get through this together.

I have a special message for our students that they can access in Canvas. I also invite you to read and share this message with your children.


Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D.

More News

Please disregard the communication you received Wednesday regarding third quarter scheduling changes. At the Thursday, Jan. 21 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Michael J. Martirano reversed the earlier announcement regarding schedules for the third quarter of the 2020-2021 school year and announced that no changes are being made to student schedules at this time. Sample student schedules for all grade levels is provided online.

HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano presented his proposed operating budget for the Howard County Public School System fiscal year 2021–2022 (FY 2022) during a presentation to the Board of Education on Thursday, January 21, 2021. The Board will now hold a series of public hearings and work sessions before submitting the Board's Requested Budget to the County Executive by March 1, 2021.

The budget proposal requests the funding needed to maintain existing levels of services and supports for students, staff, and schools. The proposal accounts for enrollment growth, sustains the school system's recent investments in technology and software, addresses critical shortages in special education, and enhances funding to support student mental health services and dyslexia and reading instruction.

The FY 2022 Proposed Budget totals $932.4 million, representing an expenditure increase of $13.8 million, or 1.5%. If advanced by the Board of Education, the request to the county of $642.4 million represents $22.1 million, or 3.6% over FY 2021. Also included are $282.7 million in anticipated funding from the state, consistent with the FY2021 allocation; and $667,100 in federal and other funding support, representing an expected decrease of $375,000 compared to FY2021. The final amount of funding allocated to the school system is subject to change, based on state actions on MOE requirements, state funding levels, and county funding availability.

Enrollment Impact: The budget proposal includes funding to support projected FY 2022 enrollment of 58,522 K-12 students, which represents growth of 380 students over FY 2021 budgeted enrollment. It provides for 54.8 new general education positions to support enrollment growth, and 70.7 special education positions to support enrollment growth and maintain existing special education service levels.

The budget proposal moves the school system forward in its multi-year goal to increase funding to address critical shortages in special education. With this proposal, the funding allocated has increased by over $38 million over the last five years – an annual growth rate of 5.5% for special education, compared to average combined growth of 1.9% for other operating budget program areas.

Critical investments: The budget proposal includes modest investments in three key areas that are essential to equity and the quality of the instructional program. These include:

  • $500,000 for the addition of 4.5 reading specialist positions and professional learning to increase early intervention on reading skills and address universal screening for reading difficulties and dyslexia, including Orton-Gillingham training.
  • The addition of 7.0 positions to increase mental health supports for students. These will strengthen the complement of supports that HCPSS has been building over the last several years through previous additions of student services positions and increased collaboration and access to community agencies and providers.
  • The addition of 5.0 technology positions and funding to sustain the school system's recent investments in computers to support a 1:1 student-device ratio, including investments for instructional software and to strengthen cybersecurity and bandwidth.

Martirano also noted the impact of the pandemic on student achievement, and the additional supports that will be needed as students return to classrooms. HCPSS is preparing a robust program to support learning recovery and acceleration for all students, which will be presented to the Board over the coming weeks. The school system will pursue grant funding to support the learning acceleration plan.

The Board will hold public hearings on the Superintendent's FY 2022 budget proposal at 7 p.m. on February 2 and 16, 2021. Work sessions will be held on January 28 and February 2, 4, 9 and 16, 2021, with an inclement weather date on February 18, 2021. All work sessions begin at 1 p.m. A complete budget schedule can be found online.

The Board is scheduled to adopt its budget request on February 25, 2021, at 3 p.m., and to approve the final FY 2022 Operating and Capital Budgets and FY 2023–2027 Capital Improvement Program on May 27, 2021.

The Superintendent’s complete budget proposal is posted online.


Workshop for Spanish-Speaking Families of Children with Disabilities

Sunday, January 31, 2-4:30 p.m., virtual session on Google Meet

Learn how to help your child with virtual learning during this Spanish-language workshop, which will focus on using Google Meet and Canvas.

Taller para Familias de Habla Hispana de Niños con Discapacidades

Domingo, 31 de enero de 2 a 4:30 p.m., Sesión virtual en Google Meet

Aprenda a ayudarle a su niño/a con el aprendizaje virtual durante este taller en español que se enfocará en el uso de Google Meet y Canvas.

Virtual Public Hearing: Superintendent’s Proposed FY22 Operating Budget

Tuesday, February 2 at 7 p.m., virtual meeting

Registration is open for the Board of Education virtual public hearing on the Superintendent's Proposed FY22 Operating Budget. Community members who wish to testify are required to register online by January 29. Instructions on testifying virtually will be emailed to each registrant prior to the public hearing. Dr. Martirano will present his proposed budget during the January 21 Board meeting, which will be streamed live and may viewed on the HCPSS website, or on Comcast channel 95/Verizon 42 in Howard County.

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The Read-A-Thon is still zooming along - Already our students have proven to be active readers and have raised over $3000!

You can keep track of our school’s progress here:

A few Read-a-thon reminders:

- Students should only be logging the time they read independently (or read to you) during the day and on weekends, just as they would for their class reading logs. This ensures all students are logging time the same way to keep everything equitable.

- Only minutes logged between Jan. 14 and Jan. 29 will count towards the final Read-a-thon totals.

- Don’t forget to invite sponsors - every little bit helps and we are already so close to meeting our stated goal of 3k. How much further can we go?

Happy Reading!

Family Fun Virtual Trivia Night - February 20

Mark your calendars! We will be using Zoom to play some fun Kahoot Trivia!

How well do you know the related arts teachers? See you on the 20th to find out!

Sign Up link will be sent out in early February.

Questions? Email Cara Adornetto at

Seeking Volunteers for the Virtual County Wide School Events:

Links are coordinated by the Bushy Park PTA

International Night (April 2021)

Career Fair (May 2021)

Questions? Email Cara Adornetto at

Follow us on Facebook:


BOOKS and "BUNDTS" Reading Program 1/15/2021 thru 3/31/2021

Who: Pre-K thru Elementary School Students

What: Students will receive a FREE Bundtlet for each month that they read for 400+ minutes.

When: January 15, 2020 - to - March 31, 2021

Why: Reading at an early age enriches children's brains, increases vocabulary and test scores, introduces readers to the world around them, and helps develop their imaginations.

A Youth Reading Program by Nothing Bundt Cakes

Columbia, MD Location

10730 Little Patuxent Pkwy

Columbia, MD 21044

(410) 587-0670

Message from Media Center:


Your child will be able to check out from our Media Center with no contact.

You can request books from the VES PAC and pick them up on
Wednesdays 11AM - 3PM.
All the information about the procedures, how to set up your child's account, how to request books, and how to see if books are ready for pick up are in your child's Canvas Media Course in the module named Check Out.

If you have any questions, please email your media specialist,

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 by selecting HC Library.


Free Student Meals

January 2021 Meal Service Adjustments

With schools being closed for students on Friday, January 29, families who pre-order or walk-up for Grab-and-Go meals on Thursday, January 28 will receive meals for Thursday through Sunday. Meals are free of charge for all students and any child under age 18. All meals include breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.

Learn more

Grab-and-Go meals are served every day school is in session, Monday through Friday from 8-9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., and are free of charge for all students and any child under age 18. All meals include breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Find details about pre-ordering, weekend meals and more information online.

FARMS Applications: Applications for the Free and Reduced Meals program for the school year 2020-2021 are available online in multiple languages and paper copies are available at all meal sites, effective 9/8/20. Please use this document for strategies for increasing FARMs awareness and participation.

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.

COMCAST Internet

To help connect more families to the internet at home, Comcast is offering two months of free internet to new Internet Essential customers. more information

Send all attendance notes directly to:

During Virtual Learning, attendance will be taken daily by teachers for

Homeroom/ELA (.5 day) and Homeroom/Math (.5 day)
to account for a full school day.

Each HCPSS school now has an attendance email for parents to send notes pertaining to their child missing any time out from school, even during virtual learning
(ie. sick, appointment, travel, etc.)

Please take the time to review: HCPSS ATTENDANCE POLICY


MOVING into VES: FILLABLE_VES RequestforRecords.pdf
We can assist you to obtain student records from their prior school by filling out the

Request for Records form and emailing it back to the registrar.

MOVING AWAY/ Withdraw from VES: FILLABE_Withdrawal form

Please initiate the process by filling out the HCPSS Withdrawal Form and email it back to the registrar.


Technology Support Centers

HCPSS is currently operating two Technology Support Centers for device exchanges, returns and support: Old Bushy Park Elementary School, Room E2 and Applications Research Laboratory (ARL), Room B37. Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 2-5 p.m. The Technology Support Centers are closed any day that HCPSS offices are closed. The HCPSS Logistics Center and Ascend One facility are no longer available for technology.

Online Safety

While HCPSS continues to invest in information security efforts, upgrade equipment and ensure that the network is secure, it is critical that all students, staff and parents/guardians do their part to maintain a safe virtual learning environment. View safety guidelines and additional resources.

HCPSS News Subscriptions: HCPSS News emails and text alerts keep families up-to-date on news and events, and delivers real-time notices of emergency closings and information. All HCPSS News subscriptions are generated from the information provided in Family File and have been automatically updated for the 2020-2021 school year.

Parents/guardians new to the system are automatically enrolled for email notification, however must opt in to receive text alerts.

NEED VES TECH ASSISTANCE? Fill out this VES Student Device and Tech Support Request Form

We are here to help you!

Debra Moniodis (School Psychologist, Infants and Toddlers):

Michal Boyars (School Psychologist, RECC):

Katie Burkhouse (School Psychologist, K-5):

Kristen Marsico (School Psychologist Intern, K-5):

School psychologists are available for parent and staff consultation by level. Please reach out via email to schedule an appointment!

If you have an immediate need for help with depression, suicidal thoughts, or other serious

mental health issues, please contact:

Grassroots Crisis Intervention at 410-531-6677

The Maryland Crisis Hotline: Dial 211 and then choose option 1

The Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 and a trained counselor will respond.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255