Veterans Elem. Eagle Express Update

March 29, 2020

From The Principal

Good afternoon Veterans Community,


This week we will begin our journey into the world of Virtual Learning. Please understand that we will go slow at first. Howard County was not ready to embark on this ambitious project but it is sprinting to provide these opportunities to our students. There are several issues on which the school system is working to reconcile in a very deliberate way.


1. Student access to technology, our goal is to have a system in place that ensures that no student is left behind when it comes to virtual learning.

2. Our entire staff must be trained on the nuances and logistics of virtual learning. You can not simply "flip a switch" to enable virtual learning.

3. Our staff must be well versed on the curriculum they will implement.

4. Students with special needs such as English as a second language, students with 504's and Individualized Education Plans must also be addressed.

5. There are many other issues which will be dealt with as the weeks unfold.


The school system is committed to doing the best job possible but realize that we may hit rough patches as we roll out our Continuity of Learning Plan. This week teachers will begin a multi-week regimen of professional development to ensure their skills are up to the task. We have given students optional activities to help maintain and sharpen their skills. This week teachers will make contact with their families by email and steadily increase that interaction over the next several weeks. I will meet virtually with my staff tomorrow morning to begin laying out my expectations for their professional development and interaction with their students over the next few weeks. As parents, continue to focus your children on the optional activities provided to them.


I believe that as this system unfolds, we will end up with something that can work for all of our students as the situation changes. It can be something for which we all can be proud. If you have questions, continue to email me at robert_bruce@hcpss.org

Big picture

Additional Meal Pick Up Sites Added this week !

  • Additional Food Distribution Sites to begin Monday, March 30 (please share with your community):

    • Wilde Lake Middle School
    • Talbott Springs Elementary School

    The Howard County Public School System will continue to provide free "Grab-N-Go" meals to anyone age 18 and under and/or any HCPSS student, regardless of age, throughout state-mandated school closures, extended through April 24 (Links to an external site.). There will be no meal service Friday, April 10 or Monday, April 13. Participants will be given a Grab-N-Go snack, lunch and dinner for that day, as well as a Grab-N-Go breakfast for the following day. Participants are encouraged to bring a bag to carry home meals each day. HCPSS is pleased to announce the following expansions of our meal distribution program:

    • Beginning March 30, HCPSS food distribution is expanding from nine to 12 locations, and now will include snacks in addition to three meals per day.
    • Beginning April 3, meals to sustain children through the weekend will be provided on Fridays at all locations except Forest Ridge and Monarch Mills apartments, and Bethel Christian Academy.

    There is no application, enrollment, or fee for this program. This meal service extension replaces HCPSS' previously scheduled spring break meal program, as those locations are now closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HCPSS Free Meal Service:

**There will be no meal service Friday, April 10 or Monday, April 13. Meals for those days will be distributed Thursday, April 9, with instructions for storage and preparation. A list of additional food distribution locations, not sponsored by HCPSS, is available online (Links to an external site.).

Veterans Elementary School

The building is closed due to the State Superintendent's decision regarding the COVID-19 virus. We can still be reached by contacting our principal at robert_bruce@hcpss.org

Homeroom Teachers will touch base this week !

We are asking all of our teachers of homerooms to touch base with their families via email on Monday. As the weeks unfold there will be more interaction. Effective Monday March 30, 2020, you will be able to reach teachers by email. They may need to refer you to Mr. Bruce for answers to your questions but you should be able to reach them by about Noon March 30, 2020.I ask that you are patient as we get virtual learning up and running. While every student has been provided with activities, direct instruction will occur once teachers have been fully trained on multiple aspects of online learning. Further, the county continues to ensure that all students have access by surveying the community and providing technology, please see the section below on Technology.

County making Technology Acquisition a priority to facilitate Virtual Learning

Technology. Last week, HCPSS ordered 20,000 new Chromebooks and directed staff to begin gathering over 15,000 Chromebooks from our schools so that we can equip as many students as possible who may not have a device at home. The new purchases are backordered and we do not expect to receive them all until mid-May. There is a needs survey currently underway and additional information regarding device distribution is included in the plan detailed below. These purchases were not funded in our current budget so we will be looking for savings in other areas of our budget, redeploying existing funds where possible, and continuing to monitor the possibility of state reimbursement for these purchases. It is also likely that we may need to use funds from the HCPSS unassigned fund balance. These savings were intended to reduce our historic Health Fund Deficit and we have informed the Board and the County of this possibility.


We also ask that you help us prepare by completing the online HCPSS Student Technology Survey so that we can assess where we are as a community, and how to best distribute the limited devices we have available for student use. More information on student technology and device distribution is available online. Starting Monday, our student services staff and school administrators will begin reaching out to families, with a specific focus on families who may require interpretation services or may not have internet access to complete the survey online. We also plan to provide print copies at meal distribution sites and have staff available to assist families in survey completion.

Waiver Granted for Statewide Assessments


The U.S. Department of Education approved Maryland's waiver request for 2019-2020 Assessment and Accountability Requirements. With this federal approval, Maryland will not need to administer its statewide assessments to all students in the 2019-2020 school year, or make 2019-2020 accountability determinations.

Statewide Assessments

  • The Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) - Grade 5, 8 and 11

  • Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) English Language Arts and Mathematics - Grades 3-8, Algebra I/II and English 10.

  • MCAP Social Studies - Grade 8

  • High School Assessment (HSA) for American Government

  • Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) - Alternate Assessments

  • Maryland School Survey