Hollymead Buzz

A Newsletter for Parents

August 19, 2020


Dear Hollymead Families,

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year. Yesterday, the teachers officially began their before school activities (but most worked throughout the summer), and while it is certainly different, there is a renewed energy and excitement to get to know your students and begin teaching them in a few weeks.

This year, as a staff, we will be continue our work to make Hollymead a school where students are part of a learning environment that is engaging, equitable, and challenging. Even in a virtual environment, we will continue our work on integrating the Arts throughout the curriculum, and responsive classroom and culturally responsive teaching techniques to facilitate learning.

This year will be different, particularly at the start. We are working hard to have many different systems in place, and will send more information out as September 8th draws closer. Thank you for your patience in the process, and we are looking forward to a great year!

Please contact me if for any questions or concerns. You can reach me by phone, 434 973-8301; by email at cdommer@k12albemarle.org; or in person at school.

Craig Dommer

Principal, Hollymead Elementary School

Thank You

Thank you to our office and custodial staff for getting our building ready for the new year, and for registering and contacting hundreds of families to learn how virtual learning could work for you. We could not do it without them!

Staff Changes and Teacher Assignments

We have had a few staff changes since the end of last school year. Mrs. Walters, a kindergarten teaching assistant, has decided to not return. In addition, Ms. Santana, a second grade teacher, has decided to pursue a different opportunity for the coming school year. Eileen Gomez, who has been the school nurse here for many years is taking the position of Division COVID Coordinator. We expect her to return to us next year. We will miss all of them.

We have welcomed two new teaching assistants - Brittany Durrer, and Samantha Preston - Welcome!

We have also hired three new teachers - Mrs. Loren Henslik, Ms. Sarah Vrhovac, and Mr. Jim Loffredo. Please read more about them below!

Following some enrollment shifts, and the staff changes, the teachers in each grade level are:


Mrs. Beth Kohler

Mrs. Susan Peck

1st Grade

Mrs. Leslie Anderson

Mrs. Loren Henslik

Ms. Sarah Vrhovac

2nd Grade

Ms. Erica Hernandez

Mrs. Pam Snead

Ms. Clare Stenger (Winn)

3rd Grade

Mrs. Cindy Hersman

Mrs. Sarah LaPrade

Mrs. Clare Neill

4th Grade

Ms. Becky Brown

Mr. Jim Loffredo

Ms. Sarah Parsley

5th Grade

Ms. Kim Blevins

Mrs. Cindy Groeber-Fard

Mrs. Anna Shaner (Snyder)

Mr. Jonathan Whitehead

Your child's homeroom teacher will be active in Parent Portal on the afternoon of Monday, August 24th.

Big picture

Welcome Mr. Loffredo

I am so happy to have arrived at Hollymead after 22 years of teaching at Scottsville Elementary.

My wife and I have two kids, one dog and one cat. We are very active outdoors and I continue to be active in the soccer and lacrosse communities. I am very excited to start this school year and get to meet so many new students and their families.

Big picture

Welcome Ms. Vrhovac

Hello Hollymead Hornets!! My name is Sarah Vrhovac and I am so excited to be joining such an amazing community! This will be the start of my third year teaching First grade. I graduated from Longwood University in 2018 where I played field hockey and earned a Bachelors of Science (Education PreK-6)! As a life long learner I decided to continue my education at James Madison University where I graduated May 2020 with a Masters or Reading! I love integrating technology and arts into daily lessons and am always looking for new ideas and strategies to continue my learning! Outside of school I enjoy spending time with family, playing games, baking, and painting!
Big picture

Welcome Mrs. Henslik

Hello! My name is Loren Henslik and I am beyond excited to be joining the first-grade team at Hollymead! I have been teaching third and fourth grade in Virginia for the last eight years at Rappahannock County Elementary School. I am a native New Yorker and taught kindergarten, first, and fourth grade in New York before relocating to Virginia. I love all things outdoors! On the weekend, you will often find me hiking, rock climbing, or reading a good book on my back deck. My husband and I just purchased a canoe so I am excited to add canoeing to the list. I am thrilled to be joining the Hollymead Hive and look forward to working within this amazing community of learners!

Virtual Schedule

Albemarle County has developed a schedule for virtual learning that will provide consistency across all 15 elementary schools. Here is how it will work:

Each student will have a synchronous block of instruction (interactive with the teacher). It will include opening and closing class meetings, and instruction in the core content areas, and will last 2.5 - 3 hours with breaks away from the screen included.

Each student will have a primarily asynchronous block of learning which will include activities through SeeSaw, or projects given by the teacher, or practice. The two exceptions will be a specials class which will be during this block, but will be synchronous, and any intervention or special education instruction which will be synchronous, and during this block.

The synchronous block will be taught twice per day, and each student will be assigned to be either a morning, or afternoon synchronous student.

The school day will run approximately 8am-3pm, and teachers will be creating, and sharing their individual schedules, as well as placement in the morning or afternoon synchronous block with their families next week.

We will be recording synchronous sessions for students who are unable to attend.

Specials classes will be offered during your student's asynchronous block, and we recommend that each student attends 1 art, 1 music, 3 PE, and 1 Library/Media class per week.

This is a lot of information, but your child's teacher will make it much simpler when they share with you what it will look like for their class. Please talk with them about any concerns you have, and they can best answer questions and provide possible solutions.


Distributing technology will be done on multiple days in the next two weeks. We will be sending out individual grade level emails in the coming days complete with sign ups, but here is the overview of information and then how we will distribute.


All students in K-2 will be distributed and IPAD as soon as possible. We are awaiting shipment on the rest. Therefore we are going to collect IPADS from all rising 3rd graders on August 25th, even if they have a sibling in K-2. Any rising 1st or 2nd grader who has an IPAD can keep it. Any 1st or 2nd grader who needs a loaner laptop until IPADS are ready can sign up to pick one up on August 27th. All Kindergarten IPADS will be distributed on Monday, August 31st.

3rd Grade

All third graders will pick up their laptops on August 25th from 1-3pm. If you have an IPAD from last year, please bring it at that time, including power blocks and charging cords. You will need to return it to get a laptop.

4th and 5th Grade

If you have a laptop that you kept from last year, please continue to use it, and you need to take no further action. If you need a laptop because you are new to the school, or didn't get one last spring, you will pick your laptops up on Thursday, August 27th.

Please be on the lookout for grade specific emails with sign ups.

Open House

Our Open House will be virtual this year. On Tuesday, September 1st we will send out a school wide welcome video introducing staff members and welcoming the students. Our Specialist teachers will host a Zoom meeting at 11am that day for any new families that want to meet them, or any returning families that want to say hi. Classroom teachers will also be conducting Zoom meetings with families the week of August 31 - September 4th to get to know you, help make sure you are able to access our virtual platforms, and iron out any other issues before learning starts on Sept. 8th.

Student Meals - 2020-21

Last week, there was information sent out about the school lunch program. Please see that information here:


To register, please follow this link:


School Supplies

We will publish school supply lists by Monday. We will also have a school supply pickup on September 4th if you need supplies from the school. More details will follow in next week's Buzz.

Help Wanted!

A wonderful thing about Hollymead is all of the volunteers that help to make our school run smoothly.

As we gear up for virtual learning, we will be in need of volunteers in both a virtual environment - to help with Zoom meetings, or provide additional support to students, and in a physical one - gathering supplies, distributing materials, monitoring bathrooms or providing teacher breaks once we are back in a hybrid model.

I know many of you are beyond busy, but if you were wondering how you could volunteer this year, those are some examples. Teachers and the school will send out specific requests as we need them.