VES Eagle Express Newletter

DECEMBER 5, 2020 - Volume 14, Issue #16

SY2020-2021: Saturday Weekly Circular

Veterans Elementary

Robert Bruce, Principal -

Amy Green, Assistant Principal -

Kelly Ryan, Administrative Intern -

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.


Now, this is hard part! Hang in there! Many of you continue to work hard with your children on their virtual instruction. As the winter months come along, this is when we need to be strongest for our children. We need to keep our students focused. As much as it is not perfect, it is consistent. Our staff has been working hard to deliver a consistent program to our students. This a good time to review how we ended up in virtual learning. No one asked for Co-VID but it is here. Everyone needs to continue to wash hands thoroughly, socially distance, and wear a mask to try to remain Co-VID free. Let's not forget that some of our neighbors have been hit hard by coronavirus. Their families have suffered and of course, our thoughts and prayers are with them. If we have not been impacted by Co-VID, now is the time to double down on our efforts to remain healthy and more importantly, help those who need us.

School Calendar

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


24 thru 31 - Schools and Offices Closed: WINTER BREAK (State Mandated Holidays)


1 - Schools and Offices Closed: New Year's Day 2021 (State Mandated Holiday)

4 - Return to Virtual School from Winter Break

18 - Schools and Offices Closed: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (State Mandated Holiday)

29 - Schools Closed to Students: Professional Work Day


Big picture

HCPSS Google Meets:

Students are reminded that they may not participate in a google meet unless a staff member set it up and is present. If you enter a google meet and staff are not present, leave immediately. Our students have worked hard to use technology appropriately and we applaud this. There are a few students that have abused technology. Please remember that an abuse of HCPSS Technology is a discipline issue, even virtually. Please use the technology as intended. Please know that our Technology department has the ability to trace usage to specific IP addresses.

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,

From The VES Counseling Department:

SPIRIT WEEK ~ INCLUSION WEEK December 7 -thru- 11

VES will be participating in Inclusion Week. This will be the week of December 7th-11th. Inclusion is being a part of what everyone else is, being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs. We will participate in a spirit week and have activities in classrooms to help celebrate! Below is more information about the Spirit Week!

Monday, Dec. 7:

Be a HERO for inclusion. Dress up as someone you look up to or a superhero you admire.

Tuesday, Dec. 8:

We are UNIQUE! Dress to show what makes you unique.

Wednesday, Dec 9:

EXERCISE your right to be different! Wear athletic wear.

Thursday, Dec. 10:

Let’s “LIGHT IT UP BLUE” for Autism Awareness.

Friday, Dec. 11:

Unity Day! We are all INCLUDED in the VES community! Let’s wear our VES colors/spirit wear to show how we are one!

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

Greetings from your VES School Psychologists!

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!


Watch for further directions about Spiritwear Pick-Up, Coming Soon!

Happy December Veterans Family!

It is the season of giving and we want to highlight a few opportunities to support our community during this difficult time. We need to fill these needs quick to be able to get things distributed to families! On your mark, get set, GO!

Support Families in Need at Veterans - Deadline Friday Dec 11

The counseling department is organizing gift card distribution to our families in need at Veterans. You can help this effort by sending an electronic gift card of any amount to or

Please only send Target, Walmart, or Amazon e-gift cards to make distribution easier.




The PTA cannot buy or receive giftcards designated for specific people, so this effort is being coordinated through the counselors at Veterans with our help in getting the word out.

Support the Preschool Families with Learning Toys - Deadline Friday Dec 11

Here is the link to the Amazon Wish List for preschool families in need. All gifts will ship directly to the Michal Boyars in the counseling department at Veterans Elementary school. Please choose "Michal Boyar's Gift Registry Address" at check out or type in Michal Boyars

Veterans Elementary School

4355 Montgomery Road

Ellicott City, MD 21043

Thank you for your generosity, Veterans!

Any questions about either opportunity email Cara Adornetto at

P.S. Spirit Wear has arrived! Stay tuned for a pick up night this week!

Follow us on Facebook:

Big picture

HCPSS Community News

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

A Message on Technology Security from the Superintendent

During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has helped us connect and deliver instruction and supports. Our school system has made significant strides to provide devices and connectivity to our students to ensure continued instruction. As we continue to rely on technology every day, it is critical that each of us does our part to ensure that technology is used safely. Threats to our online safety and the health of our technology are present every time we click a link, open an email or visit a website. As we have witnessed recently in the news, there will always be “bad actors” looking to obtain access to data and leverage over an organization.

While HCPSS continues to invest in information security efforts, upgrade our equipment and ensure that our network is secure, it is absolutely critical that our user groups - which include students, staff and parents/guardians - do their part to maintain a safe virtual learning environment. HCPSS has provided helpful guidelines on our website and I encourage you to review and follow these guidelines. Parents and guardians, I ask that you talk to your student(s) about the importance of making safe choices. Thank you for continuing to ensure that HCPSS remains a safe place to learn, both in person and virtually.


Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D.

2020-2021 Inclement Weather Protocols

The implementation of virtual instruction has changed the way the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) will manage inclement weather days. In prior years, inclement weather delays and closings have resulted in scheduling challenges and instructional disruption for students, staff and families, as well as unpredictability about when the school year will end.

For the 2020-2021 school year, while in virtual, small groups or hybrid instructional models, HCPSS will transition to fully virtual instruction during inclement weather days. This will allow the school system to make a decision earlier when inclement weather is expected and provide families with earlier notice so they may make necessary adjustments. The Maryland State Department of Education has approved the inclusion of virtual instruction days among the 180 minimum required academic days each school year, so these days will not have to be made up at the end of the school year.

Four possible inclement weather decisions are provided below. For the 2020-2021 school year, there no longer will be an option for a 2-hour delay. Instead, HCPSS will transition to virtual learning on those days.

On inclement weather days that virtual instruction is implemented, the same virtual schedule will be implemented that has been in place for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year. Students will be expected to log in to each of their classes and attendance will be recorded. To provide consistency and remain aligned to current virtual instructional schedules, instruction will be synchronous on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and asynchronous on Wednesday.

It is important to note that the primary purpose for closing schools is for safety. Cancelling all instruction on inclement weather days would require make-up days to be used in the summer. By being able to use virtual instruction during inclement weather days, HCPSS will be able to follow the academic calendar as scheduled. This will allow staff better flexibility to implement summer interventions without disruption for students requiring the additional academic support.

The full list of weather status codes are available on the HCPSS Status website.

2020-2021 Inclement Weather Options:

Virtual Instruction; Buildings Open

This option will include minor weather events that are deemed not significant enough to close the building for staff. This option allows HCPSS to make the decision and provide notification to families and staff much earlier without having to make up a day of instruction at the end of the school year.

Virtual Instruction; Buildings Closed

This option will include weather events that may have closed school in years past. Similar to the Virtual Instruction; Buildings Open option, all instruction will be delivered virtually resulting in an approved academic day.

  • Instruction: Virtual for all students
  • Meal Service: Canceled
  • Buildings: Closed
  • Athletics: Canceled

No Instruction; Buildings Closed

This option mirrors a typical inclement weather day when schools and offices are closed. This decision may be implemented at times of widespread internet or power outages when virtual instruction is not feasible. These days would potentially need to be made up at the end of the school year.

  • Instruction: Canceled
  • Meal Service: Canceled
  • Buildings: Closed
  • Athletics: Canceled

Early Dismissal

This option would be implemented when an unexpected weather event occurs while students may be in school buildings (small groups, hybrid, etc.). During an early closing, instruction would end early (90-minutes or 3-hours) for all students, including those learning virtually.

  • Instruction: Virtual and in-person ends early
  • Meal Service: May end early
  • Buildings: Closed early for all
  • Athletics: Canceled


Nominate an Outstanding Principal or Teacher

Nominations for the HCPSS 2020 Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards are now open and are due no later than Friday, January 8, 2021. HCPSS will publicly announce its principal and teacher nominees in the spring. Read more

ABLE Accounts Transition Workshop

Wednesday, December 9, 4-5:30 pm, Virtual session

Families of individuals with disabilities are invited to participate in an online workshop about the benefits of ABLE accounts and how they can help in saving and investing for the future. Co-sponsored by HCPSS and Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Howard County Association of Student Councils Meeting

Wednesday, December 9, 7 p.m., Virtual session

All middle and high school students interested in getting involved in student leadership and service are invited to the monthly meetings of the Howard County Association of Student Councils (HCASC). The December meeting will focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, including discussions with HCPSS staff. Students should pre-register to receive the meeting link. For more information, please email

Student Support and Community Resources: Community Advisory Council Meeting

Wednesday, December 9, 7 p.m., Virtual session

The December meeting will focus on HCPSS Student Support Teams and community resources. CAC meetings are open to the public. Interested participants may request the virtual meeting link by emailing The link will be sent one day prior to the meeting. Learn more about CAC.

Virtual Public Hearing: 2021-2022 Proposed Academic Calendar

Tuesday, December 22, 7 p.m., Virtual session

The public hearing on the 2021-2022 Proposed Academic Calendar will take place on Tuesday, December 22 at 7 p.m. Board meetings are currently held virtually, live on the HCPSS website and on Comcast 95/Verizon 42. Learn about pre-registration and testimony. Register online to testify by Friday, December 18. Specific instructions on testifying virtually will be emailed to each registrant prior to the public hearing.

Spring Planning

Find updated information about the 2020-2021 school year on the HCPSS website, now with a spring planning page. Answers to frequently-asked questions are provided on the HCPSS Help site.


Community Academy: Social Media, Human Trafficking and Peer Pressure

On December 5, participating parents/guardians will learn about the potential impact of social media usage on peer relationships and mental health as well as effective strategies to protect children from human traffickers. Co-sponsored by The Council of Elders. Learn more and register to receive a link to the online session.

2020-2021 School Year Information

Find updated information about the 2020-2021 school year on the HCPSS website, now with a spring planning page. Answers to frequently-asked questions are provided on the HCPSS Help site, including a recent topic on handling connectivity or logon problems during virtual instruction.

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.



HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE - Sponsored by Reservoir High School Young Activists

With the end of the year holidays approaching and the COVID-19 pandemic surging across the country, Young Activists is holding a toy drive for families and children in need this winter season. See the posters provided for information, and please consider donating to one of our eight locations across Howard County! For a list of accepted items, see the poster at the top of the page!

After School Art Classes

Winter 20/21 - Abrakadoodle

Offered via Zoom

email Marianne at or 410-381-5566

During the Day!! The solution for virtual schooling assistance for your kids! Now Enrolling for 2021! Our business partner, The Okinawan Karate Dojo, is a fully-licensed ChildCare Center by the Maryland State Department of Education. Voted as the #1 Martial Arts School and (one of) The Best ChildCare Facilities in Howard County, they are excited to provide your kids (kindergarten thru 8th grade) a healthy, safe, and enriching environment where they can receive virtual schooling assistance, spend time with peers, stay physically active, AND have fun! Most important, the dojo's COVID-cautious practices and reviews from current parents who use this service are - EXCELLENT!! Program hours are 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. After Care is available from 4 to 6 pm. Partial week and partial day options are available...see the attached flier or contact them for details. In order to keep group sizes small, enrollment is limited. Secure your child’s spot NOW! Email: Call: 443 574 8999 Website:


Are you a girl looking to have fun and adventures with new friends? VES Girl Scout troops have openings in all grade levels, and a new kindergarten troop is forming!

For more information, contact Lauren Oviatt at

Cub Scout Pack 305

For information, please contact Heidi Potter at
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.

Meal Service at Gorman Crossing Elementary School Closed Dec. 3-18, 2020

Meal service at Gorman Crossing Elementary School is suspended through Friday, December 18, and will resume on Monday, December 21. Students and families may pick up meals at any other HCPSS school meal site. Meals that were pre-ordered for pickup at Gorman Crossing during this period may be picked up at Murray Hill Middle School.

Meal service was suspended because of insufficient staff availability to operate the food site. The school building remains open for all other operations, as scheduled.

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

Action Howard County Sponsoring Free Events (Dec 3, 10, 17)

"Eradicating Racism: A Path Forward" (Dec 3, 10, 17)

Eradicating Racism: A Path Forward is a series of three 90-minute Zoom sessions with the goal of assisting individuals to eradicate racism in their community through creating safe, healing learning environments to understand the complexity of racism and develop implementable strategies to address/repair the harm it has caused. Book Club

In July 2020, we started with "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD. The goal is to tackle difficult subjects through literature and small group discussion via Zoom. By being completely virtual, we've had participants from almost all U.S. states and some international.

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.

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.

Privacy Guidelines for Parents/Guardians

Español | 中文 | 한국어

To maintain a positive, productive learning environment and assure confidentiality for students and teachers during distance learning, all parents/guardians are asked to follow the following privacy guidelines.

  • Google Meet virtual instruction is designed for students. To prevent disruptions to the learning environment, parents/guardians should not actively participate in check-in sessions, although parents/guardians may assist their child with technology and/or remain nearby.
  • Do not video record, audio record, photograph, live stream, or transmit in any other way any part of a Google Meet, including not posting on any social media platform.
  • Any confidential or personally identifiable information related to students participating during Google Meets should not be collected, discussed or shared.
  • Parents/guardians should not engage with students during Google Meets. If you need to speak with your child during a check-in session, first mute your child’s microphone.
  • If a parent/guardian has a question, please email your child’s teacher.

Parents/guardians should email your child’s principal with any questions or concerns regarding privacy or virtual classroom expectations.

Thank you for your support and cooperation in ensuring that distance learning is a positive, productive and enjoyable experience for all participants

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