VES Eagle Express Newsletter

APRIL 24, 2021 - Vol.14, Issue #34

SY2020-2021: Saturday Weekly Circular

Veterans Elementary Student Day Hybrid Schedule 9:45a.m - 4:15p.m.


Robert Bruce, Principal -

Amy Green, Assistant Principal -

Kelly Ryan, Administrative Intern -

Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:25 p.m.
Please call ahead 410-313-1700


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)

Send Dismissal Change Notifications by 2:00pm:

Please send any dismissal changes for the day no later than 2:00 p.m. to Include the student's name, date(s), and the details of the changes (ex: will be a car rider instead of the bus).

Please also cc the homeroom teacher on the email.


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.


April 30th is the deadline for any parent wishing to recommend a student for retention or acceleration. Grade level retention is a serious decision. Teachers will make recommendations to me and we will convene a meeting to discuss the possibility of a child repeating a grade. This has been an unusual year. Many students managed to keep up but several struggled. We will fully analyze each student's academic performance and social needs when considering this issue. We fully anticipate that next year we may have larger than normal numbers among our below grade level students, we will plan for this as well. Parents must contact their child's teacher to discuss retention if you feel you would like to suggest that for your child. Please do this before April 30th. Retention meetings will be scheduled sometime in May.

We anticipate that most children will move onto the next grade. If your child's teacher is considering retention, they should have contacted you by now.

A shout out to every child who participated in the Battle of the Books. Our hats are off to a fantastic group of students.

Robert C. Bruce
Principal- Veterans Elementary School



3 thru 7 - Teacher Appreciation Week

5 - MAP Reading Test: Gr. 1 thru 5, 10:00 a.m. - Noon
11 - PTA Meeting: via Zoom, 7:00 p.m. (see PTA section below for zoom link and code)

12 - MAP Math Test: Gr. 1 thru 5, 10:00 a.m. - Noon
13 - Schools Closed to Students: Professional Learning/Articulation Day
20 - PTA Election Meeting: VES Front Lawn, 7:00 p.m.

31 - Schools and Offices Closed: Memorial Day (State mandated holiday)


8 - Last Day of School for half-day PreK/RECC Students

10 thru 15 - 3-Hour Early Dismissal for Students: Staff Professional Work Days

15 - Last Day for All Student: Staff Professional Work Day

Perform Daily Health Checks

Parents/guardians should keep their children home if they are experiencing symptom(s) associated with any communicable disease. In addition, parents/guardians are to perform daily health checks for COVID-19 symptoms before the student leaves home.

Send all Absence notifications directly to:

Please take the time to review: HCPSS ATTENDANCE POLICY

UPDATE: Attendance will be taken daily by HR, ELA, & MATH teachers:

* Class begins 9:45 a.m. by Homeroom for In-School students only
All student groups for ELA (.5 day) and Math (.5 day) sections
to account for a full school day.

Dismissal at 4:15 p.m.


Parents, remember to send a BACKPACK daily with the following items:

  1. assigned chromebook
  2. charger
  3. headphones
  4. a refillable water bottle closed tightly and of course
  5. child's mask for the day

Reminder to wash these everyday when they come home.

Carloop Etiquette

If you are choosing to drive your child to school and participate in the carloop, we ask that you adhere to the following in order to keep our students safe and keep the line moving along:

· Pull all the way forward

· Parents are to remain in the vehicle at all times

· Children are to exit and enter the vehicle from the passenger side (closest to the curb)

· Children should be able to buckle and unbuckle themselves from car seats/ seatbelts (practice having your child do this at home). If your child is unable to do so, please park in a parking space to unbuckle your child and walk them to the portico

· Stay in line – do not pass to jump in front of other cars while waiting or make a u-turn out of the line

· Avoid blocking the intersection where buses turn into their loop

Thank you for following these guidelines in order to have our carloop run efficiently and safely.



Last Friday evening many of our students participated virtually in this year's Battle of the Books competition. This quiz bowl style event was sponsored by the Howard County Public Library. VES had several teams show off their book trivia skills from a list of pre-selected books.
In addition to answering trivia questions, students came creatively dressed in team costumes and shared team posters. Thank you, parents and staff, for supporting our students.

Congratulations to all who participated!


New Chromebook Care webpage:
Please be aware of a new webpage for students, Chromebook Care, which includes tips on caring for and transporting Chromebooks, as well as student mobile technology duties and obligations and additional resources.

The following digital tools do not require consent because they are already available to students in HCPSS computer labs:

Book Room, Word Work, Scratch BluBot, Scratch JR, Sketch-Up, Collector Classic, JamBoard, and Google Earth.

These supplemental digital tools are approved by HCPSS and comply with federal, state and Howard County Board of Education student data privacy policies.

Please note that your student(s) will have access to these digital tools when the second semester starts through the Google Play Store icon on the Chromebook when logged in with an HCPSS account.

If your elementary school aged child has not been issued a Chromebook, one can be picked up at a Technology Support Center.

Please note:

  • HCPSS cannot guarantee that apps are available on devices other than HCPSS Chromebooks.
  • Teachers may or may not choose to use any or all of these apps during instruction. Students will be notified when a particular app will be used for instruction.
  • In addition to these Google tools, HCPSS has approved a robust set of supplemental digital tools. Your child’s teacher will notify you of the particular supplemental digital tools being used in each class via email or on their Canvas course page.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Webb at

Student Headphones

Headphones- The school has a limited supply of headphones. If you can, send in any pair the system has already secured for your child if they are hybrid students. If you bought a pair that your child is comfortable with, please send these in for your child’s use, well labeled.
These may go back and forth to home with the child.


HC DrugFree Updates for Parents/Guardians:

Free Parenting Classes: HC DrugFree and the Howard County State's Attorney's Office, partnering with HCPSS and the Health Department, will once again provide evidence-based classes for families to gain skills and knowledge to reduce the risk that their children will engage in risky behaviors including using drugs. This 4-class series for parents of 9-14 year olds will be held on Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, May 4, 11 and June 1, 8. Parents/guardians must register at If you have questions, email Joan Webb Scornaienchi, HC DrugFree’s Executive Director at

Drive-thru Medication, EpiPens, Needles, and Syringes Collection in the Wilde Lake Village Center Parking Lot: Bring your expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medication and “sharps” to HC DrugFree's convenient drive-thru collection on Saturday, April 24 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the Wilde Lake Village Center parking lot near the Swim Center and The UPS Store. Medication will be guarded and transported by the Howard County Police and the DEA. Safe distancing. Masks worn. No need to remove labels or get out of vehicle. Sharps must be in appropriate sharps containers. Separate sharps from meds. Looking for adult volunteers to assist at the event and medically-trained adults to assist with the medication collection. Go to

Receive HC DrugFree's Free Newsletter: To receive HC DrugFree's free electronic newsletter packed with information for parents and opportunities for students, go to

Find Answers to Questions Online

HCPSS’ Help site provides answers to hundreds of questions about hybrid learning, health and safety, transportation, and more.

The State of the School System

On Wednesday, May 5, Superintendent Michael J. Martirano will reflect on HCPSS’ unique challenges over the last year and discuss plans and priorities for the year ahead. This virtual event is sponsored by Bright Minds, the educational foundation supporting HCPSS students and schools. Registration is $20 and proceeds benefit the programs of Bright Minds.

Learn more

State Reporting of School COVID-19 Outbreaks

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) posts the definitions of classroom and school-wide COVID-19 outbreaks on its website along with school outbreak data for the state. A state-defined outbreak does not automatically necessitate closure of a classroom or school. HCHD monitors all positive cases and will notify HCPSS if a school or classroom closure is warranted. All outbreak data related to HCPSS schools is being tracked and posted on the MDH website.

2021 Summer Programs Registration Open Through April 29

The window for online enrollment requests for currently enrolled HCPSS students is open through April 29 at 6 p.m. for the BSAP Summer Institute, Gifted and Talented Summer Institutes for Talent Development, Innovative Pathways High School (Math and Science only), and STARTALK Chinese Language Summer Camp.

Commit to the 2021-2022 HCPSS Digital Education Center by May 5

Español | 中文 | 한국어

The Howard County Public School System is planning for a full-time online option for students entering grades K-12 who wish to learn virtually for the 2021-2022 school year. Once finalized, the Digital Education Center (DEC) program will give students the opportunity to take classes and earn credits virtually, while receiving support services from both the DEC and their assigned home school. DEC students will continue to be enrolled in their assigned home school and will be able to participate in athletics and activities at that school if/as schedules and transportation allows.

Parents/guardians who wish to commit to the DEC should log in to HCPSS Connect Synergy by Wednesday, May 5 at 4 p.m. (see directions below). Families must commit to the DEC for the full 2021-2022 school year. Students who wish to return to in-person learning during the 2021-2022 school year, if that option is available, should not sign up for the DEC. The Superintendent and Board of Education members have stressed that they consider the return to normalized, five-day, in-person learning this fall to be essential for the majority of HCPSS students, however, an official decision on the 2021-2022 academic year has not yet been made.

In committing to the DEC, parents/guardians acknowledge that:

  • This is a commitment that your child will attend the DEC for the 2021-2022 school year, and that students will need to go through the reassignment process if they choose to return to their home school for instruction.
  • Not all course requests may be able to be honored in the DEC environment.
  • There are attendance requirements that will apply in the DEC environment.
  • The implementation of the DEC is pending funding from the HCPSS Board of Education. Should funding not be provided, students automatically will be returned to their assigned home school.

Prior to making any decision, we strongly encourage families to review details about the DEC that are available online, as well as answers to frequently asked questions for the DEC in general and student-specific information.

Families who commit to the DEC will be contacted by DEC staff in the coming weeks to review student courses prior to final enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year. This decision has no impact for students on the current school year.

To access the commitment form:

  1. Log in to HCPSS Connect Synergy using parent/guardian credentials
  2. Select More Options from the left panel
  3. Select Digital Education Center Commitment from the middle of the page
  4. Complete the questions in the form for each child and select “save”

Please note, families of incoming kindergarten students will not have access to the commitment form. Those families who are interested in committing to the DEC should call the school your child is enrolled in for the 2021-2022 school year.

Email with any questions about the Digital Education Center. If you need assistance completing the online commitment form, please contact your child’s school

2020-2021 End of Year Updates

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching, with the last day of school for students being Tuesday, June 15. Details about graduations, grades, testing, and more are available online to help you plan ahead.

Learn more

Public Hearings: FY 2022 Operating and Capital Budgets; Pupil Transportation and Students’ Rights and Responsibilities Policies

Thursday, May 6, 7 p.m., and Tuesday, May 11, 7 p.m., hybrid sessions

The Board will hold the following public hearings during upcoming Board meetings. Learn about pre-registration and testimony. Specific directions will be emailed to each registrant prior to the public hearing.

  • May 6: FY22 Operating & Capital Budgets & FY23–27 Capital Improvement Program. Register by May 3
  • May 11: Policy 5200 Pupil Transportation. Register by May 7
  • May 11: Policy 9020 Students’ Rights and Responsibilities. Register by May 7

The State of the School System Event Postponed

Due to scheduling conflicts, the annual State of the Schools fundraiser, originally scheduled for May 5, has been postponed. The Bright Minds Foundation, HCPSS’ education foundation, and HCPSS hope to reschedule the annual fundraising event so that the Foundation may continue to enhance the educational experiences of all HCPSS students.

Optional Pronoun Settings

Students, staff and parents/guardians are now able to identify the pronouns they wish to have used to refer to themselves in various Canvas pages.

Digital Education Center Virtual Information Sessions

HCPSS is planning for a virtual school option for students in grades K-12 who wish to remain virtual for the 2021-2022 school year. Students and families interested in learning more are invited to attend level-specific virtual information sessions.

Provide Consent for Voluntary Student COVID-19 Testing

HCPSS now offers a voluntary K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program that provides free tests for students and school-based staff who develop COVID-like symptoms or are identified as close contacts while they are in a school building. Parents/guardians of students under age 18 can provide consent via HCPSS Connect. Students age 18 years or older are considered “eligible students” and must complete a print version of the consent form.

Health and Communications Protocols

HCPSS has developed protocols for responding to positive cases in schools in conjunction with the Howard County Health Department. These protocols outline how parents should communicate with school staff in instances of suspected or confirmed exposure, as well as how staff communicate with their school communities in those instances.

Hybrid Reopening Update

Learn the latest information about updated health protocols, building readiness, athletics spectator guidelines, graduation plans, the role of all stakeholders in keeping students and staff safe and healthy in schools, and more in Dr. Martirano’s recent update to the community.

Early Admission to Pre-K

Applications for early admission to pre-kindergarten will be accepted starting April 1. Children must be 4 by September 1 and meet other eligibility criteria.

Learn more

Kindness Pantry Partnership

HCPSS’ new partnership with The Kindness Pantry will increase access to school supplies for teachers and students. The non-profit organization will coordinate the collection and distribution of school supplies and snacks by establishing online wish lists, working with community members and organizations to fulfill school requests, conducting school supply and snack drives, and organizing and distributing donated supplies.

Learn more


In addition to a location at Old Bushy Park Elementary School, a new support center will open at the nearby Old Cedar Lane building in Columbia.

Full details


Veterans Spring Spiritwear 2021.pdf

The PTA is excited to announce our Spring Spirit Wear sale is up and running! Need a new Veterans hoodie, t-shirt, or shorts? We have those items and more on our PTA Memberhub website.
The sale runs from April 21st to May 5th.

To order, please visit

If you have any questions, please contact Amie Price at

PTA Elections - May 20 - 7pm - Front Grass outside school
All PTA members please attend

All positions are open for nominations. You may nominate yourself. We particularly need a Corresponding Secretary and 2nd PTA Delegate. We will train you. Just need 1-2 hours/ month.

Descriptions are below. If interested or just want to learn more please contact

Corresponding Secretary
This position would help the board with correspondence such as assembling information for the weekly PTA Newsblast and Eagle Express. You would also help with any paper correspondences that would be sent home with students.

PTA Delegate

As a delegate, you would attend the monthly Howard County PTA meeting (usually the first Monday night of every month from 7-9pm) and relay the information back to the VES PTA at our monthly board meeting. There are two VES delegates so you can take turns attending the monthly meetings which makes this position very flexible to fit your schedule. If interested or just want to learn more please contact

5th Grade Activities

5th Grade T-Shirt & Donation Forms were sent out last week through Canvas. Please submit items by Friday, March 19th. If you have any questions or concerns please email Tina David

T-shirt link:

Donation Link:

Thank you!

5th Grade Committee

SECAC Meeting - April 21 - 7pm

If you have a student with a disability, this meeting is for you!

Register in advance for this meeting:

Topic: Transitioning aged Youth.

Youth ages 14 and up have a lot of things to consider once they leave high school. IDEA requires that “all children with disabilities have available to them a free and appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.” The future holds so much for our youth. Hear from panel experts from the community and school system, and self-advocates who will share their experiences in the transitioning process. It is also never too early to start planning for your childʻs future, so parents of younger children might be interested to learn more. We welcome your contribution and meaningful input. We will also be discussing nominations for SECAC Executive Board positions. Voting will be at the May meeting.

Join a PTA Meeting - May 11 - 7pm

We meet once a month to discuss community building events, fundraising, and county wide school updates. If you are interested in learning more about the PTA, please join us. You must be a member to attend meetings. Need to join, here is the link:

Our next meeting is via Zoom.

Tuesday May 11 - 7pm

Meeting ID: 957 1852 5632
Passcode: 173491

Join the PTA:

Follow us on Facebook:

Join a Committee!

Wondering what committees the PTA has here at Veterans? Want to inquire more about one of them? Take a peek and email us if you want to learn more.


Mobile Testing Sites

Howard County is dedicated to expanding COVID-19 testing to residents in our community who many not have adequate access. First Call Urgent Care and Centennial Medical Group are implementing four mobile testing units in the following locations:

  • Long Reach Village Center (Monday, 3pm-7pm)
  • North Laurel Community Center (Tuesday, 3pm-7pm)
  • Recreation and Parks Headquarters (Thursday, 3pm-7pm)
  • The Elkridge 50+ Center (Friday, 3pm-7pm)

Rapid testing and PCR testing will be available to residents at no cost. These new testing sites will help us promote more equitable healthcare and ensuring our most vulnerable populations have access to COVID-19 testing.

Still Hiring Classroom Monitors and Classroom Substitutes

Classroom Monitors and Classroom Substitutes- We are still in the process of hiring classroom monitors and classroom substitutes for our classrooms. If interested please go to this site and apply:

Employment – HCPSS

Seeking Substitute and Temporary Employees. In preparation for students and staff returning to hybrid in-person instruction beginning March 1, 2021, the Howard County Public School System is currently hiring substitute teachers, classroom monitors, and lunch and recess monitors.

If you apply, please inform Mr. Bruce so he can keep an eye on your application process.

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 in the VES front entrance vestibule.
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.
Big picture


Hello VES Community!! One of our local partners is looking for families to provide food to. Food can be picked up at St. Peter's Episcopal in Ellicott City. If you are interested, please fill out the Pete's Packs Sign Up and we will be in touch with more details. Thank you!!

Julie Chang Wentz, M.Ed, NCC
School Counselor
Veterans Elementary School

2021 Meal Service Adjustments

Meals are provided at no cost to any HCPSS student or any child under age 18. More information about 2020-2021 meal services is provided 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


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.

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

Learning Together Program (LTP)– Prekindergarten

Learning Together Program – Prekindergarten

The Veterans Regional Early Childhood Center (RECC) prekindergarten programs are making preparations for classes for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. These classes include children with and without disabilities. The program’s focus is helping all children develop communication, literacy, math, problem solving, motor, and social skills. Parents of children who will be 3 by September 1st or are already 4 may learn more about the program by reviewing the Learning Together Program (LTP) Flyer (English).
Online applications will be accepted starting February 22, 2021 and priority will be given to applications received by April 1st. Link to application:

If you need assistance to complete the application, please contact Early Intervention Services at or at 410-313-7017.

HCPSS is committed to providing instruction based on the statewide Early Learning Standards which are in alignment with Kindergarten Readiness. The fees listed in the application will be collected monthly regardless of the learning model determined by HCPSS throughout the upcoming school year (virtual, hybrid, or in person). If you have any additional questions , please contact Mary Jens at (410) 313-1700 or .

Helping Your Child Get Ready for Kindergarten

Kindergarten teachers are prepared for children to enter school with varying abilities, strengths and needs. Each child is taught at their appropriate level through differentiated instruction. Learn more what your child will learn in kindergarten.

Review the 2021 Road to Kindergarten slideshow for information about kindergarten readiness, the kindergarten program, and registering your child for school. Prior to kindergarten there are many things parents can do to support their child’s transition to school. From making sure appropriate documentation is gathered, to playing with, reading with and listening to their child, the year before kindergarten is a great opportunity to develop school readiness!