Whittier Weekly Newsletter
January 18, 2021
In honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dear Whittier Families,
On this day, and every other day, I am reminded of Dr. King's words and actions. In our school and community, my hope is that we can continue to strive to be better and to do better for our students and families. While the Rev. Dr. King spoke eloquently and imparted wisdom so freely and frequently, I am always brought back to these words again and again:
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. The son and grandson of Baptist ministers, he attended college becoming a minister upon graduation. Dr. King earned his doctorate degree from Boston University in 1954.
From 1954-1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential advocates for civil rights. Dr. King promoted change through peaceful methods by organizing boycotts and other forms of protest, he travelled more than 6 million miles and spoke more than 2500 times to audiences in support of civil rights.
During his fight for civil rights, Dr. King was arrested upwards of 20 times, his house was bombed, his life was threatened, yet he persevered.
In 1963 Time Magazine recognized Dr. King as it’s “Man of the Year”. In 1964, at the age of 35, Dr. King was the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Upon being notified of this award, Dr. King chose to donate the $54,123 to continue the fight for civil rights. His “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and “I have a Dream” speech bear witness to the struggle for freedom and equality.
In 1968, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
The first proposal to honor doctor King’s birthday was presented four days after his assassination; however, it took until 1983 before the date was recognized as a federal holiday and 32 years after his assassination for all 50 states to make the day a state holiday.
The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 18, 2021, marks the 26th anniversary of the passage of the 1994 King Holiday and Service Act that created a national day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
FCPS is dedicated to fostering an environment that is welcoming and affirming for all students. As we strive to Reach, Challenge, and Prepare our students for success in a diverse global society, it is essential that we acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the diverse ethnic and racial identities, heritages, cultures, and perspectives of all members of our local, national, and global communities. BAAHM affords us an opportunity to make visible our commitment to a high quality and inclusive education for all students.
African American History Month or Black African American History Month?
Founders of the month, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, refer to February as Black History Month. The Library of Congress and Presidential Proclamation refer to February as African American History Month. With this in mind, FCPS uses Black African American History Month.
Recognition of Black History Month/Origins
In 1915 a gathering of African Americans observing the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was held in the city of Chicago. From this event that drew thousands of black Americans from across the country, grew what is today designated as Black History Month. A young black scholar, Carter G. Woodson, was one of the participants at the Chicago event. Woodson traveled from Washington, D.C. to Chicago to participate as an exhibitor in the observance. Having received a doctorate degree from Harvard University just a few years before, Woodson championed the promotion of black intellectuals and black history. At the conclusion of the Chicago gather, Carter G. Woodson, joined with two other participants of the event in creating the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History an organization committed to promoting the achievements of blacks and highlighting their scholarly works. In 1925 Woodson encouraged the organization to take up the mantle of not only creating the knowledge of the black past, but also of publicizing this knowledge. In February 1926 Woodson sent a press release publicizing what would be the first nationally organized Negro History Week.
Woodson chose February because of the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Many communities across the country already celebrated the birthdays of both men. Woodson hoped to expand on these traditional observances. Ultimately, his goal was to move away from the celebration of individuals and instead focus on the entirety of the black community and all the individuals within it that contributed to its advancements. Today the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History still serves in its capacity to promote the history and achievements of black/African Americans. As the organizer of the national observance of Black History Month, the ASNLH holds annual commemorative events, sets a theme each year for the February observance, and provides educational resources to the public, making Carter G. Woodson’s vision a reality. This year’s theme for Black History Month is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity”.
Some Other Dates to Know:
January 25-29: School Spirit Week & Great Kindness Challenge. Please see below in the Counselor's Corner for details.
Tuesday, January 26: Last Day of Quarter 2
Wednesday, January 27: Teacher Work Day (Schools Closed)
I continue to appreciate our community and what you are doing to support learning in our school. Please let me know how I may be of service to you.
My best regards,
Lorcan OhEithir, Principal
Book Exchange This Week
This week (Jan. 18-22) is B Week, so students will NOT have a Google Meet for library media. Instead they will have a lesson found in the folder marked "This Week's Lesson" in their Schoology library media course.
Counselor's Corner with Mrs. Reese and Mrs. Leatherman
The Great Kindness Challenge is Back!
We will be Celebrating the Virtual Great Kindness Challenge January 25th-29th.
GKC is a National Initiative to foster Kindness and Connectivity when it is needed most.
Students will be challenged to complete all of the acts of Kindness (virtually) on the checklist and to dress up to show their School Spirit every day!
The GKC Checklist and Spirit week themes are linked here:
This month Mrs. Leatherman and Mrs Reese will be coming into your child’s K-5 virtual classroom to present lessons on Kindness and Habit #4 (Think Win-Win)
Be on the lookout for our special guest Peer Mentor presenters! Be Kind… Always.
Student Small Groups:
We have been meeting with students in small groups to foster a sense of connection. Mrs Leatherman will be having “Breakfast Club” for students in the primary grades (K-2) on Friday mornings at 8:30. The meeting name is WHESLEATHERMAN . Our small groups are open to all students!
The Peer Mentors and Safety Patrols have been working with us to help with the groups and they have been a huge help! Kindergarten is at 2pm on Mondays, 1st grade group is Tuesday 1:45pm, 2nd grade group is Thursday 1:30pm. 3-5 group schedules remain the same- Tuesday (5th), Thursday (3rd) and Friday (4th) WHESREESE at Lunch and at 1:30. All Information is posted the Counselor’s Corner Schoology Page and in your homeroom Counselor Folder.
Support for Military Families: Looking for a way to connect with other Military parents? The CYB Military Family Life Counselor, Lauren Wynn, will be hosting a virtual group for Military Parents on the 1st and 4th Friday of every month from 11am-12pm Please reference the linked flyer if you are interested For questions, Contact Lauren Wynn at 240-818-5730. Military Parents Connecting
We are still welcoming participants for the Military Child Small groups! Lauren Wynn, LCMFT will be facilitating the virtual “Military Lunch Bunch” every Monday at 2:30 on Zoom. If interested, sign up here: Military Child Small Group Sign Up or contact Mrs Reese for details.
Kids Like US: WHES has been selected to pilot a Virtual Small Group called “Kids Like Us”.
We are finalizing the group for selected FOURTH GRADERS and will begin meeting next month.
Here is additional information about the VKLU program: Kids Like Us Small Group Although the program will initially meet virtually, when school resumes (post hybrid) , and in future grades, the students will meet during the school day in person.
If you are interested in having your 4th grade student participate in “Virtual Kids Like Us”, or if you have questions, please contact Mrs Reese at 240-236-3170 or at Lisa.Reese@fcps.org.
Mrs. Lewis, our Community Liaison, has many resources for families. She may have just what your family needs. If you know Mrs. Lewis, you know she always finds ways to help families who need some help.
FCPS Family Support Services & Frederick County Infants & Toddlers
Whittier Elementary School - Believe, Achieve, Succeed
We will also communicate through our school website
Follow me on Twitter @fcpsOhEithir where I will communicate school news and happenings