VES Eagle Express Newletter

JANUARY 30, 2021 - Vol.14, Issue #22

SY2020-2021: Saturday Weekly Circular


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.


As many of you know the Board of Education voted to return us back to school in phases beginning March 1st. The first group scheduled back are students with IEP's and our first SBLC group. The week of March 15th Prekgn, Kindergarten and Grades 1 & 2 will return. On March 29th Grades 3,4,and 5 will return. Of course every family will have an option to remain virtual from now until the end of the year. Please remember to answer the parent survey and indicate your preferences. The hybrid model will allow students with IEP's to have in-person learning beginning March 1st. Beginning March 15th PreKgn through Grade 2 will have a chance for in-person learning two days a week and Grades 3,4,5 will have that opportunity beginning March 29th. If a large number of students select in person learning then we may have to scale it back to one day a week due to social distancing and safety guidelines. If you have any questions about the preference you need to express in the survey, do not hesitate to reach out to me by email.


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 - 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)

MARCH Phase-In Model (see below)


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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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Update on a Return to In-Person Instruction

Dear HCPSS Community,

I want to share an update on planning that is underway following the unexpected announcement made last week by the Governor and State Superintendent about hybrid instruction. Immediately following that announcement, staff worked quickly to develop and refine a hybrid model. On January 26, the Board of Education approved a hybrid model and implementation timeline.

The dates for students whose parents opt for them to return in person are:

  • Week of March 1: Students identified for a 5-days-per-week program (including, but not limited to students receiving Special Education services, those who were identified for the HCPSS small group program earlier in the year, and others as identified by school administrators) return to school
  • Week of March 15: Students in grades PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, 1 and 2 return to school
  • Week of March 29: Students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, and those who participate in Career and Technical Education at ARL return to school
  • Week of April 12: Students in grades 7, 8, 10 and 11 return to school

To prepare for this transition, HCPSS requests that parents/guardians complete a two-question survey by 4 p.m., Friday, February 5, with your decision:

  • The type of instructional model – hybrid or fully virtual – that you choose for your child
  • Whether bus service will be used, for children who are eligible for this service
    • If your child is designated as a walker, transportation will not be provided. View the School Bus Locator for your child’s transportation eligibility. PLEASE NOTE: Pickup times and bus stop locations are being updated and are subject to change. At this time, the School Bus Locator should only be used to determine if your child receives transportation services

To complete the form:

  1. Log in to HCPSS Connect
  2. Select More Options from the left panel
  3. Select “In-Person Commitment” from the middle of the page
  4. Complete the questions in the form for each child and select “Save”

I have received many emails from parents and guardians expressing strong views both in favor of, or opposing the State mandate, and I want you to know that I understand and empathize with all your concerns. I urge you to view the preliminary comments I made at the start of the January 25 Board work session, which provide additional clarity and clear up misunderstandings and misinformation that have been circulating in our community.

We all want our children to be back in classrooms as soon as possible. At the same time, I wholeheartedly understand the mixed emotions that accompany the State’s mandate, and realize that not all families will choose to send their children back in-person. All families will continue to have an option to continue virtual learning through at least the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

For those of you who will be sending your children back in-person, I assure you that we will be prepared to welcome them back into a safe and supportive environment. I commend and thank the many remarkable staff members who have been working in our buildings throughout the pandemic. This includes our wonderful teams and individuals from food services, technology, school administration, custodial, grounds, building maintenance and many others, including central office and special education staff providing in-person supports. Many teachers have been teaching from their classrooms or working in offices as well. Instructional and support staff will continue to return to buildings in order to prepare for the start of in-person instruction at designated times.

There is still much work to do and many challenges to overcome prior to our first group of students returning in-person March 1. You will continue to receive information and updates as we progress through this process.

My love and gratitude extend to the entire HCPSS community as we navigate this uncertain road together. Please remain engaged with me, the Board of Education and your school administrators and teachers to ensure that your children are receiving the supports needed during this trying time.

Michael J Martirano, Ed. D.


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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Wow 177,000 minutes

Whooo's Reading Read-A-Thon

Way to go VES! Our students have read over 177,000 minutes and raised over $5500 smashing all our Whooo's Reading goals! We are extending Whooo's Reading for one more day! Keep in touch with your friends tomorrow on your day off and relax with a good book. The PTA is looking forward to planning assemblies and celebrations when we can all gather again.

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 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, 2021 - 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.

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

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.

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!

VES School Counseling Department

School Counselors:

Ms. Wilson (K and 4th):

Ms. Wentz (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th):

We are available to support the school community.

Please reach out to schedule consultation time.

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