VES Eagle Express Newletter

DECEMBER 12, 2020 - Volume 14, Issue #17

SY2020-2021: Saturday Weekly Circular

Veterans Elementary

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.


So many of our families are hurting this holiday season. Not just because of the season but Co-VID has made it so difficult to hold onto a job and to take care of our families. Likewise, I have some of our families who are anxious to help this time of year but are not sure who or how to help. At Veterans Elementary School, we have a Student Help Fund. In the past this fund has helped to pay for school lunches for those in the process of getting applications approved, helped to provide grocery gift cards, and helped to provide transportation to school for meetings. I have been asked if the community may donate to this fund. The answer is yes! Just send your donation to Veterans Elementary School and please earmark it for the Student Help Fund. We will acknowledge your gift with a thank you letter. We want to thank our staff and various outside groups for assisting us this time of the year. We appreciate the generous donations from St. Peter's Episcopal Church, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bethel Baptist Church, and The Safeway Foundations School Spirit Campaign.

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


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Instruction the Week of December 21:

During the week of December 21, no asynchronous assignments in content, ELA, math, or related arts will be assigned to students. This includes Dreambox and LexiaCore. Students will have synchronous related arts as scheduled but no asynchronous related arts assignments. Likewise, synchronous social studies instruction will occur on Monday, December 21 for grades K, 2, and 4 and on Tuesday, December 22 for grades 1, 3, and 5; however, there will not be social studies asynchronous follow up lessons.

Asynchronous Assignments:

Families, particularly of primary students, have expressed concerns about the virtual elementary workload including the complexity of asynchronous lessons, the number of content areas taught, and the number of weekly asynchronous assignments. In order to support elementary students with successfully navigating during virtual instruction, the following adjustments have been made:

  • Students will only have asynchronous assignments in social studies, science, or health during a given week. There will not be an overlap of instruction or assignments for these content areas.
  • Health lessons will be taught for one week during the marking period and include two synchronous lessons and two asynchronous lessons instead of five asynchronous lessons as assigned in the first quarter.
  • The length and complexity of social studies, science, and health asynchronous assignments have been reduced.
  • Related arts asynchronous assignments have been streamlined.

Preferred Name Process:

A new process will be enabled in January 2021 to allow students to show a preferred name in Synergy, Canvas and Google. Students can follow this process.

  1. Go to

  2. Go to Synergy

  3. Click on “Student Info” in the lower left

  4. Look for the “Preferred First Name” field to see what is there now.

  5. This name will show in Canvas and Google beginning the first week of January, 2021.

    1. If you do not want this name to show or would like something else to show, contact your administrator by December 21, 2020.

    2. If you do want this name to show, you don’t need to do anything.

Note: The preferred name will carry over from year to year unless a change is requested. Once a requested change is made, that preferred name will remain for the student’s HCPSS career unless another change is requested through the school secretary/administrator.

For students who are transgender or gender non-binary, there is an additional procedure to mask their legal name and/or gender assigned at birth, providing additional confidentiality. If you think this may apply to you, please reach out to your school counselor to discuss. Let your counselor know that you are interested in learning about the presenting name option/masking process.

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.

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Thank you to the over 50 VES students who participated in the annual Howard County Young Author's Contest! Our school has some amazing writers, and as always, judging was a difficult job! We would like to congratulate this year's grade-level Veterans Elementary School winners! These individuals will have their writing submitted for the County-level judging later this month.

5th grade Short Story: Hu(gh) Bris(s) by Kheamraj Rambharat

5th grade Poem: COVID 19 by Diya Moozhiyill

4th grade Short Story: To the Day I Die by Kavitha Brighton

4th grade Poem: Fall by Minaya Ranaweera

3rd grade Short Story: Alien Night by Parker Finkelstein

3rd grade Poem: The Golden Deer by Ayushman Mazumdar

2nd grade Short Story: Clinging to Home by Janani Devi Rambharat

2nd grade Poem: no entries

1st grade Short Story: Learn to Earn by Karthika Gajendiran

1st grade Poem: I Cough Everywhere I Go by Oliver Palmquist

Congratulations again to all of the winners, and thank you to all participants for submitting your wonderful writing!

From The VES Counseling Department

Upcoming Parent Workshop with the Family Institute

Worries, Concerns and Apprehensions

Wednesday December 16, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m

Young children have anxiety and parents can help children learn positive ways on how to cope during these difficult times.

In the early years, schoolwork, friends, reactions to negative experiences, or just the anticipation of something happening can overwhelm a child. In addition, the changes, stress and uncertainty of COVID has increased children's worries. Many parents report about the anxiety that affects children and the entire family. Attend this workshop to:

Review the signs and the symptoms of worry in children. Understand how to identify what is causing your child stress. Learn techniques to teach and demonstrate strategies to help your child process and work through their worries. This interactive workshop allows time to ask questions to a mental health professional on how to help your family. For pre-k through elementary age. Free Online Workshop, Register here

Hosted by The Family Institute

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!

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,


Special Thank You to all the families who contributed gift cards and toys to Student Support Services. Our wonderful counselors were able to help 30 kids! So heartwarming to see families helping families.

Coming Soon from your PTA...

Whooos Reading Read-a-Thon - January 2021

Who can read the most in the whole school?? Who will!

Zoom Family Trivia Night - February 2021

We will be using Kahoot to run a family trivia night for the school via zoom. Fun for the whole family!

Any questions or want to volunteer, contact
Cara Adornetto, PTA President, at

Follow us on Facebook:

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

HCPSS Launches New COVID-19 Dashboard

The dashboard reflects positive test results that are newly reported to HCPSS each week of students, staff or visitors in school or office buildings during their contagious period. The data is non-cumulative and is displayed by individual location and by school level, for each of the prior three weeks. An archive of data dates back to July 15, 2020.

Learn more

Student Preferred Names Settings

Students may log in to Synergy to request a preferred name that will replace their displayed name in Google and Canvas only. Requesting a preferred name does not impact students’ legal names in HCPSS systems. All preferred names will be approved by school staff prior to becoming live in Google and Canvas in early January.

Read more

HCPSS Metric Color Bands

December 9, 2020

    The Board of Education in October approved metrics and color bands for moving to a virtual environment that apply to instructional programs within HCPSS buildings, but not to the status of the building and other services provided within the buildings.
    HCPSS buildings remain open to for staff and for Food Services to maintain meal service.

  • → Updated Metrics Color Band

Board of Education Third Quarter Decision

    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


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.

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


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.

2020-2021 Inclement Weather Protocols

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. View the four possible inclement weather decisions.

Free Student Meals

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.

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.

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.


46th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast:

We hope that you will join us for the official launch of our 46th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Sunday, January 10, 2021 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. ​
Due to the pandemic, the event will be virtual. The proceeds from the event help fund our educational and scholarship programs. ​This year’s theme is to Keep Moving Forward: The Struggle Continues. The keynote address will be provided by our fraternity brother, Jeff Johnson, famed journalist, communication specialist, and non-profit executive (NAACP, Hip Hop Summit Action Network, Black Entertainment Television). Ticket patrons will retain access to the recorded event following the launch date.

For ticket information​, please visit the following link: 46th Annual Dr. MLK Jr. Memorial Breakfast Ticket (Links to an external site.). For any additional questions/inquiries, please email K​appa ​P​hi ​L​ambda​ Chapter President, Bruce ​E. ​Nelson at


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!

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!

Call: 443 574 8999


Winter Break Meals Adjustments

Schools will be closed for winter break from Thursday, December 24, through Friday, January 1.
To ensure children have access to essential nutrition during the holiday period, families may pick up additional meals in advance of the break. Pre-ordering will not be available for meals picked up December 21-23 or January 4-6. See all service and schedule adjustments.

Meal Service Closures at Gorman Crossing ES and Wilde Lake MS Extended until January 4, 2021

The current suspension of meal services at both Gorman Crossing Elementary and Wilde Lake Middle School has been extended through the HCPSS winter break meal closures, and will resume on January 4, 2021. Students and families may pick up meals at any other school meal location.

  • Meals that were pre-ordered for pickup at Gorman Crossing Elementary during this period may be picked up at Murray Hill Middle School.
  • Meals that were pre-ordered for pickup at Wilde Lake Middle School during this period may be picked up at Wilde Lake High School.

The suspension of meal services at these locations has been extended due to insufficient staff availability to operate the food site. The school buildings remain open for all other operations, as scheduled.

Please note, all HCPSS meal service is suspended during winter break from Thursday, December 24, 2020 through Friday, January 1, 2021. There will be no meal service during this time. To ensure children have access to essential nutrition during the holiday period, families may pick up additional meals in advance of the break.

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

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.

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