Raider Nation Newsletter

Week of October 12, 2020

A Plethora of Resources

Dear Atholton Families,

Last week was a special week as we had the opportunity to see the Class of 2021 as they came in to take their senior pictures. This marked the first time that any of them had set foot in the building since our last day back in March. It was a strange but oh so familiar feeling watching them enter through the auditorium doors and head into the auditorium for their pictures. I want to thank each of them for adhering to our social distancing guidelines and for wearing a mask. It appears that this has definitely become our new normal. For those seniors unable to book an appointment last week, there will be two additional days on November 9 and 10.

Navigating the information overload that occurs in a virtual environment can be overwhelming. In fact, it is often the case that we are only using a small percentage of the features available to us on our school platform, Canvas. In light of this, Atholton has embarked on a mission to make sure our community has all of the resources necessary to navigate all of our platforms -- Canvas, Synergy, Family File, etc. Our website,, provides a one-stop-shop for all of your inquiries. Here you will find helpful videos on navigating Canvas, resetting passwords, etc. Please make use of this resource BEFORE reaching out with a question. You will find all the information you need on our website.

This coming Friday is a three-hour early dismissal. There will be a special schedule for this day. Please see the schedule below and remind students of the change in schedule.

HCPSS staff is currently evaluating possibilities for in-person instructional options for the second semester, which begins February 1, 2021.

Early this week, we will distribute a short survey to all HCPSS families to gather data on whether families intend to send their student(s) back to school or continue fully virtual learning through the end of the current school year. No decision has been made regarding the learning format for the second semester. The data from this form will facilitate planning and is not a commitment for the second semester. This information will assist the Board and HCPSS leadership during discussions about possible models for the second semester.

Families will have the opportunity to formally select a learning option following the Board's deliberation and final decision on second-semester plans.

Kudos to Mr. Posner and our fabulous Marching Band for their virtual performance on Friday. Don’t worry if you missed it, once the final cut is finished, we will be posting the link.

Lastly, you will find some very important information regarding AP Exam registration, meal distribution, and athletics below. Please read the information carefully.

Have a great week!

Warmest Regards,

Robert A. Motley


3hr Early Dismissal Schedule -- Friday, October 16

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Advanced Placement (AP) Exam Registration

The Advanced Placement (AP) testing program for the 2020-2021 school year has been modified to allow for the maximum flexibility when registering for exams. Students and teachers are navigating the change to the 4x4 block schedule while dealing with the uncertainty of the health and safety for spring testing. The changes below will hopefully help students feel comfortable registering for exams and demonstrating their knowledge.

Last school year, CollegeBoard implemented an emergency at home testing option. CollegeBoard is currently not planning to offer an at-home option and is expecting students to test in person with health and safety protocols. Due to social distancing requirements, some exams may be administered off-campus. Test site details will be shared as we approach the May test windows.

Critical Changes and Rationale for the 2020-2021 School Year:

  • All students in an AP class will be defaulted to “Yes” for taking the exam

    • CollegeBoard is waiving cancellation fees. This allows a student to decide up until the test date to not take the exam. Only students who take the exam will need to pay the exam fee.

    • Students who select “No” for taking the exam and then decide to change to “Yes”, will be charged a $40 late registration fee. The fee only applies after the Nov 13th deadline for first semester courses and the March 12th deadline for second-semester courses.

  • Students/families will complete an AP Registration Google Form if they plan to take the exam. Submissions will be due Nov 13th for first semester courses and March 12th for second-semester courses.

    • Information on the Google Form will help AP Coordinators generate invoices and begin planning for proctors.

  • Payments for the exams will be due April 16, 2021. Any student who does not pay by this date will not be able to sit for the exam. $95.00 per exam or $15 per exam if the student qualifies for a fee waiver.

    • If students pay early and then change their mind, payments will be refunded.

AP Program Outline for Atholton High School

  • First Semester AP Courses

    • Sept-Oct: Students register for AP Portal using the join codes that AP teachers provide to students.

    • By Nov 13: Students/families complete this AP Registration Form to register for taking the exam.

    • Nov-Apr: AP Coordinators will invoice students/families based on November 13th form.

    • Apr 16: Last day to submit payment to participate in May testing.

    • May 3-14: AP Exams

  • Second Semester AP Courses

    • Feb: Students register for AP Portal using the join codes that AP teachers provide to students.

    • By Mar 12: Students/families complete this AP Registration Form to register for taking the exam.
      Note: Form will be sent in the second semester.

    • Mar-Apr: AP Coordinators will invoice students/families based on March 12th form.

    • Apr 16: Last day to submit payment to participate in May testing.

    • May 3-14: AP Exams

  • Self Study/Exam Only Students
    Students who are independent/self-study students who want to take an exam for a course in which they’re not enrolled need to:

    • Email or to notify the AP Coordinator that they would like to take a specific exam for a course that they are not enrolled in.

    • Due to the steps needed within the AP Portal, the deadline for the exam only requests is November 9th.

If you have specific questions, please contact Nina Dix at or Deborah Sauers at

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Athletics Update

The announcement last month by MSDE Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon and Governor Larry Hogan to allow the start of HS athletics to begin October 7 has generated much discussion in our community about whether HCPSS would begin athletics sooner than the second semester, as was originally determined by MPSSAA.

Last week, a message was distributed to the community that HCPSS would continue to participate in statewide discussions before revisiting our decision on the return of in-person athletics. A decision has been made that HCPSS will not participate in the State's new plan. Instead, HCPSS leadership will advocate for the State's adoption of a proposed December 7 start and target all preparation efforts for that date. Additional information and benefits related to the December 7 proposal are posted on the HCPSS website.

If the State declines to adopt the December 7 start, HCPSS will participate in the State's original two-semester plan that begins February 1. In the interim, HCPSS coaches are still permitted to engage virtually with prospective team members for 60-90 minutes one day each week through January 22, 2021.

Coaching staff additions:

The Atholton HS athletic program is pleased to announce two new additions to the winter coaching staff.

Boys Indoor Track: Roderick Gray

JV Boys Basketball: Demico Coleman

AHS MEDIA CENTER -- Contactless Book Pick Up / Drop Off

  1. Students will place requests for materials using this form, called I NEED A LIBRARIAN/MEDIA SPECIALIST.

  2. Students will receive an email message to their preferred email address when their holds are ready for pick up on WEDNESDAYS.

  3. Books will be placed on the cart outside the front entrance for student pick up. They will be wrapped in brown paper sleeves with the name of the recipient identified on the spine.

  4. All returned books will sit in quarantine for seven days before circulating back out to households. The latest guidance can be found here (Links to an external site.).

  5. Books can be returned ANY DAY to a cart provided outside. PICKUPS will only be outside on WEDNESDAYS.

School Meals

A stopgap U.S. government funding bill signed into law last Thursday, which includes almost $8 billion in nutrition assistance, allows USDA to extend the meal waivers, previously due to expire at the end of December, through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Thus, HCPSS will be able to provide meals at no cost to any HCPSS student, and all children 18 and under, through the entire school year, assuming continued availability of USDA funding.

Beginning Monday, October 12, HCPSS will add a snack and dinner to each weekday meal, in addition to breakfast and lunch already being served. Additionally, weekend meals will be included with meals provided on Fridays, and in pre-ordered meals picked up on Thursdays.

HCPSS also has adjusted the pre-order process. Meals for multiple days need to be pre-ordered at least two days in advance for pickup on Mondays and Thursdays. Pre-order meal pickups will be offered only on those two days, to enable Food and Nutrition Services to improve service and efficiency while balancing staffing and food resources.

Full details on HCPSS student meal offerings can be found online.

HCPSS 2020 Seasonal Flu Vaccine Clinics

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, obtaining a vaccine for seasonal influenza (flu) is even more important this year than ever. HCPSS Health Services is continuing its partnership with the Howard County Health Department (HCHD) and the Maryland Partnership for Prevention (MPP) to offer several regional seasonal flu vaccine clinics for HCPSS students and staff during the month of October. The clinic dates are October 7-14. The clinics will be held at 24 school sites, outdoors, from 4:00-6:00 pm, and ANY HCPSS student or staff may attend any clinic they wish; pre-registration with appointments will be required.

The dates and sites are as follows:

Wednesday, October 7 – AHS, CHS, DLES, SFES

Thursday, October 8 – GHS, WLHS, JHES, ARL

Friday, October 9 – MRHS, HOHS, LWES, HMS

Monday, October 12 – RHS, MHHS, BWES, CRES

Tuesday, October 13 – OMHS, HCMS, LES, DRES

Wednesday, October 14 – RHHS, LRHS, GCES, LES

Administrator Assignments

Ms. Nasir -- ALL 9th Grade AND Last Name Sm - Z Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Veslany -- Last Name A - H Grades 10 - 12 (

Mr. Richman -- Last Name I - Sl Grades 10 -12 (

School Counselor Assignments

Ms. Wade -- 9th Grade ONLY (

Mr. Cohen -- Last Name A - E / Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Meledick -- Last Name F - Kj / Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Clearfield -- Last Name Kk - P / Grades 10 - 12 (

Ms. Rogers -- Last Name Q - Z / Grades 10 - 12 (

Mark Your Calendar

October 16 -- School Closes 3 hours Early

November 3 -- NO SCHOOL -- Election Day