November 2020



Patriot Families,

Happy November! I hope this letter finds you enjoying cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and time together with family. It's hard to believe we've completed our first quarter.

Last week, we mailed home student report cards for Quarter 1 (Q1). The format of this report card is different from those in years past. Each report card has a return address and the mailing address of the recipient in the top left corner, along with division-wide messages at the bottom. In reformatting the report cards to include mailing information, the grading table was accidentally left off.

E = Exemplary

S = Satisfactory

P = Progressing

N = Needs Improvement

Please reach out to your child's teacher if you have any questions.

Due to the nuances of becoming familiar with Canvas and the distribution of devices during the first quarter, children did not receive grades in special area classes for Q1. Please be sure your child completes his/her special area coursework each week, as grades will be given for Q2. Special area teachers have worked to be sure their activities and lessons are accessible. Please call to speak with our special area teachers if you have questions or need support.

Today, FCPS began offering a shortened school day to students who meet requirements to return to school for a six-week session. Children who will be attending this session were contacted by their teachers, and we have also started a waiting list.

In the next few weeks, your child's teacher will be calling you to find out if you'd like for your child to begin in-person school in January. Further planning will take place this month and in December. Please let your child's teacher know if you DO NOT plan to send your child back for in-person instruction when we return in January from Winter Break.

Hugh Mercer is looking for parent involvement as part of our Parent Advisory Committee. Please contact Mrs. Cindy Hurley by November 9 at or (540) 372-1115 if you'd like to be part of this committee. We are eager to have representation from each Ward, as well as tuition parents.

Thank you for your continued partnership and for your support of our students and staff. We're here to help. Let us know what you need. Please reach out to me directly if I can be of assistance or support.


Dr. Kim K. Doucette, Ed.D.



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Family Engagement in Schools Month

National Native American Heritage Month


School Psychology Awareness Week is November 11 - 15

American Education Week is November 16 - 20


Please use the attached road maps for information about reading and math instruction for each grading quarter. Don't hesitate to contact your child's teacher if you have any questions.


Parents/guardians of students with chronic health conditions requiring medication to be given and available at school (seizure action plans, allergy action plans, etc.) must provide the medication to the school nurse. MEDICATION MUST BE PROVIDED PRIOR TO THE CHILD ATTENDING SCHOOL.

Please contact Mrs. Sonja Coulon or Mrs. Jaime Deane-Byrd @ 372-1115 (x 2041 or 2044) to arrange drop-off at the school clinic. Prescription medication must be brought in a PHARMACY-LABELED bottle. Pills/gel tabs will be counted. The providing adult will provide their signature to confirm the medication order and count. Please refer to our K - 5 Handbook for the complete medication policy.

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  • Social Emotional Lessons (SEL) - Students spent the month of October learning about acts of kindness, buket filling, empathy, and other anti-bullying lessons. This month, our SE lessons will focus more on compassion and empathy, friendships and diversity, and gratitude and thankfulness.
  • French - Bonjours mes amis! Kindergartners are learning to count in French and will begin learning colors this moth. first graders have been learning the French name for school supplies and will work on family names this month. Second graders have been working with seasons and weather and will begin learning the months of the year in November.
  • Music - Patriot musicians have been learning about musicians such as Louis Armstrong, who has paved musical pathways for younger music lovers. Did you know that Louis Armstrong is considered one of the greatest jazz artists the wold has ever seen? Students are studying the words to "What a Wonderful World" and have been reflecting on the things that make their world BEAUTIFUL. They have also been learning about music as a language and are working on being strong musical "readers."



Order your original design spirit wear to commemorate this unique school year and support our PE department! Spirit wear is a great way to show your school spirit, or order as a gift for family and friends! Did you know that our art teacher, Mrs. Heather Wright, designed the logo on the garments available for purchase? The HMES Patriot is wearing a protective mask - just like you!

Proceeds from this sale enable our PE team (Ms. Armstead, Ms. Jonas, and Mr. John) to purchase equipment and supplies. All orders will be delivered to HMES before the holidays, and a drive-through pick-up session will be scheduled in December. Many thanks in advance!



PTA meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month @ 6:30 PM. We hope you can join us for this virtual meeting.



Thursday, Nov. 19th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.


The Good News Club, sponsored by Grace Fellowship Church, has been a part of the Hugh Mercer family for many years as part of an after school activities club. We have missed meeting with your participating children and have been working on a way to get together. So, we're planning a Thanksgiving Party on Saturday, November 21, as well as a Holiday Party on December 12. Both parties will be held via Zoom from 10-11 AM, and we'd love to have you join us! For more information or to register your child, contact us at We look forward to a fun time with your children!

Maria Janney, Good News Club

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  • FROM THE ART DEPARTMENT - Fredericksburg Area Museum's MERRY Trees Display - Several of our classrooms are participating in the Fredericksburg Area Museum's annual MERRY Trees Display by decorating a tree with children's literature themes from a book selected and read by the children in those classes. Decorations for the trees are designed and created by the children, and the trees will be displayed for free viewing at the museum during the month of December. Now here's how you can join - our art teacher, Mrs. Wright, has four additional trees to be decorated, and she's inviting YOU to help decorate them with individual ornaments created by students and inspired by a children's book. She can assist with display details, materials, and ornament ideas. Interested families should contact Mrs. Wright @

  • FROM OUR ENRICHMENT TEACHER - SHOW OFF YOUR TALENTS! Visit the special area homepage (Canvas) for an opportunity to submit work that may be selected to appear in the December School Board meeting! The focus will be on what communication is, what it means to be a good communicator, and the different ways we communicate with each other. Students will have until Tuesday, November 24 to submit their work.



Your ESL team hopes you've had a great month! Last month, the ESL team continued to assist classroom teachers in completing their VKRP and PALS testing. In addition, they began live Zoom sessions where they supported identified ESL students in a small group setting. Their aim is to reinforce material that students are currently learning in both English and math. These study session area an effective way for students to ask questions, seek clarification, and participate in live instruction. They love seeing their virtual students weekly on Zoom! Questions regarding ESL Zoom sessions or the program in general? Contact the corresponding ESL teacher for your child's grade:

KINDERGARTEN Mrs. Elizabeth Dominguez (

1st GRADE Mrs. Maricruz Baker (

2nd GRADE Ms. Jenna DiGiacomo (


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As we begin our second quarter of school, our Fredericksburg City Schools word of the month is Thinker. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (PYP) World School, being a Thinker is one of the Learner Profile Attributes that we strive to foster in our students.

As Thinkers, we want our students to be able to use critical thinking skills. Students are encouraged to come up with creative ways to identify and solve everyday problems. Not every solution will work and that is okay. Thinkers know that we learn from mistakes, as well as, our successes.

In our new virtual environment, students have had many opportunities to develop as Thinkers. They have had to work through the complexities of navigating their instruction on Canvas, and have learned how to troubleshoot the issues that come with digital learning. As Thinkers, students are learning to use new programs and applications. They are “zooming” with their classmates, recording themselves reading, and making videos to show what they are learning. Our Thinkers are thinking up new ways to show all they know!

You may have noticed that your student is being a Thinker at home as well. Your student may be finding new ways to help around the house, dreaming up new games, or exploring new hobbies. Encouraging students to talk about the challenges they face and the solutions they can try will empower your students to use their thinking skills!

Thank you for sharing your students with us. It is exciting to see all the ways that our students are developing as Thinkers!

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KINDERGARTNERS are acclimating to school very well. This month, they will be thankful to be learning new things. In reading, they will focus on events of a story and retelling. In writing, they will practice narrative writing with the focus being on identifying and writing the beginning sounds in most words. In math, they'll start out this month comparing and ordering sets of objects up to 20. Then they will identify the attributes of a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. They'll finish the month by identifying the number of pennies equivalent to a nickel, dime, and quarter. In core, they'll learn about the past and present. They will also learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and will finish the month studying the Mayflower, Native Americans, pilgrims, and the first Thanksgiving.



Title 1 is the largest federal aid program for elementary, middle, and high schools. Through Title 1, the federal government designates money to school districts around the country based on the number of students in need in each district. Each district uses its Title 1 money for extra educational services for children, such as:

  • class size reduction
  • additional teachers and paraprofessionals
  • parent resources
  • instructional materials and supplies
  • Tier 2 and Tier 3 support services

The focus of the Title 1 program is to ensure all students meet challenging content and achievement standards. Title 1 also authorizes federal grant programs that provide funds for reading instruction, services to migrant children, services to neglected and delinquent children, comprehensive school reform and dropout prevention.

All FCPS students in grades K-8 are eligible to receive programs funded through the Title 1 grant. Title 1 reading and math support is provided by the following staff members: Ms. Lisa Herbert, Mrs. Jill Kankam, Mrs. Pamela Douglas, and Ms. Patricia Balwanz (reading); Dr. Stefanie Hudson (math, Title 1). Administrative support for Title 1 services is provided by assistant principal, Mrs. Kisha Frye.


If your child has any type of learning or physical problem, he/she may qualify for accommodations under 504 or special education services. Please call the counseling office (372-1115 x 2023 or x 2039) if you have any questions or would like to refer your child for screening and possible assessment.

No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the Untied States shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: The Rights of Individuals with Handicaps Under Federal Law.


In the matter of non-resident student enrollment, the Fredericksburg City Public School Division does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origina, sec, age, or disability in its educational programs or activities. Any questions should be referred to Sue Keffer (Director of Human Resources), 210 Ferdinand Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401, or by calling (540) 372-1130.


The Fredericksburg City Public School Division recognizes the danger sex offenders pose to student safety. Therefore, to protect students while they travel to and from school, attend school and school-related activities, the FCPS Division shall request automatic electronic notification of registered sex offenders in the same or contiguous zip codes as any school within the division. Such request and notification shall be made according to the procedures established by the Virginia Department of State Police (State Police). The Superinetndent shall serve as the contact person with the State Police for receipt of the registered sec offender information.