Raider Nation Newsletter
Back To School -- Week of September 7, 2020
School Starts Tomorrow!
I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the holiday weekend with family and friends. Moreover, I hope you enjoyed your summer and it was full of reading, resting, staying active, and just having fun! On behalf of the Atholton Staff, I would like to welcome you to the 2020 – 2021 school year. To our returning families, thank you for your patience and understanding, and support as we navigated a transition to virtual learning and a world-wide pandemic last school year.
For the newest members of Raider Nation, we are pleased to welcome you to our family. Our school community truly feels like a family and you are going to love it here! I enjoyed meeting many new students this past week at our virtual New Student Orientation.
It is hard to believe that our virtual school year begins tomorrow. Our experience with virtual learning will be quite different from what was experienced in the spring. In a recent EdWeek article, the author wrote about virtual learning experiences and how last spring we were not truly engaged in a virtual learning experience but instead referred to it as a pandemic learning experience. He clarified that virtual learning takes place when teachers, leaders, and students can reflect on the best options to engage virtually and then go through a process where they learn what works and what does not. Pandemic learning is when the opportunity for virtual learning is created overnight. There is a great deal more of planning and preparation that goes into virtual learning. It is now time to shift our focus from Pandemic learning to authentic virtual learning experiences for our students.
Some of the changes to our virtual learning environment you may have already experienced. First and foremost, we return to our traditional grading protocols. This means that students will have deadlines for assignments and may not be afforded the opportunity to make up work (excluding parameters outlined in a 504 or IEP plan). Students will be asked to turn on their video and/or audio for teachers to assess learning. While it will not be a requirement for the entire synchronous time, if a teacher asks a student to turn it on to assess learning, the student must comply. Lastly, attendance will be taken every synchronous period and be recorded as present (in class for the entire time), absent (did not appear in class or arrived 20 minutes or later to class), tardy (arrived up to 19 minutes late to class), or dismissed (student left class without permission). Please make note of these changes to our virtual learning environment expectations and feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
I want to thank everyone for your cooperation during our textbook and materials distribution this past Friday. We had over 800 families come through in five hours to retrieve materials for the start of school tomorrow. If you still have to retrieve items, please email Jamie Melcher at Jamie_Melcher@hcpss.org to set up a time to come pick up items this week. Once again, not every student has items to retrieve. Below you will find the list of courses that require a textbook and/or materials.
As usual, the staff has been working hard to get ready for the new school year. They have worked hard to familiarize themselves with various technology tools in an effort to maintain the very best possible virtual learning environment for your children. They are eager to share with you their plan for the semester. Please join us for Back To School Night this Thursday, September 10 at 6:00pm. We will have the same format as we did with our New Student Orientation -- a video presentation followed by classroom visits. A detailed schedule will be sent out this Wednesday.
The administrative team will hold virtual meetings with each grade level to review virtual school expectations and answer any questions that students may have regarding their virtual learning experience. We will use this Wednesday, September 9 for grades 9, 10, and 11. On Monday, September 14, during Raider/Flex Time, we will meet with seniors to discuss expectations and plans for the year. The schedule is below. We ask that families please make sure students attend these very important sessions. Additionally, please familiarize yourself with our school expectations by reviewing the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct. Below are the administrator assignments. Feel free to contact your child’s administrator with any questions.
There are a couple of very important TO DO items for parents:
· Update Your Family File Information Before School Begins! Even if nothing has changed, you must indicate so! We are seeking 100% completion.
o HCPSS uses Family File for parents/guardians to complete emergency information. Parents/guardians must verify and/or update information for each child, and can do so by logging in to HCPSS Connect .
o Once logged in, parents/guardians will be asked to provide or update the following information:
· Student information
· Parent/guardian contact
· Emergency contacts
· Medical information
· Arrival/dismissal procedures
· Media release (photo approval)
· Data confidentiality
· Join our PTA! Please help support the school by joining our PTSA. I am excited to be working with our new President, Monica Lewis. The PTSA affords us the opportunity to offer many activities and school events through your participation. We are seeking 100% participation! You may join online here.
We have had a busy summer. We expect just under 1500 students at the start of the school year. The administrative team promises to build on Atholton’s long-standing commitment to excellence, so that EVERY student is academically challenged, experiences success, and feels valued and cared for by our staff members. Additionally, you will find information in the following places:
· Twitter: @hcpss_ahs
I cannot wait to see our students virtually in classes tomorrow! Enjoy the remainder of your extended holiday weekend!
Robert A. Motley
Grade Level Administrator Meetings
School Counselor Assignments
Ms. Wade -- 9th Grade ONLY (Kim_Wade@hcpss.org)
Mr. Cohen -- Last Name A - E / Grades 10 - 12 (Phillip_Cohen@hcpss.org)
Ms. Meledick -- Last Name F - Kj / Grades 10 - 12 (Dana_Meledick@hcpss.org)
Ms. Clearfield -- Last Name Kk - P / Grades 10 - 12 (Lisa_Clearfield@hcpss.org)
Ms. Rogers -- Last Name Q - Z / Grades 10 - 12 (Yvonne_Rogers@hcpss.org)
Canvas Orientation Video
Textbook / Materials Course List
General Announcements / Important Information
Free and Reduced Meals Program: The coronavirus pandemic is causing a lot of hardship for many of our friends and neighbors. Many HCPSS families have been impacted financially by the pandemic, and may be eligible now to receive benefits through the Free and Reduced Price Meals (FARMs) program. Qualifying families can take advantage of a wide range of additional resources and discounts, including testing fees, tuition, internet and more. Click here to learn more or to apply. Please share this information with your community.
Standardized Testing Update (SAT / ACT / PSAT)
The school system will be proceeding with hosting the upcoming Saturday administrations of the SAT/ACT. The schools registered for upcoming dates are listed below. Most colleges have gone “test optional” during COVID, but are still favoring admissions that have an SAT or ACT score. Supporting these Saturday administrations will provide an opportunity for students to participate.
SAT Saturday Test Dates
September 26, 2020
Centennial, Glenelg, Oakland Mills, and Reservoir
October 3, 2020
Centennial, Glenelg, Hammond, Mount Hebron, Oakland Mills, Reservoir, River Hill, and Wilde Lake
October 24, 2020
ACT Saturday Test Dates
September 12, 2020
Glenelg and Wilde Lake
September 19, 2020
September 24, 2020
PSAT/NMSQT - College Board is now offering a January administration of the PSAT/NMSQT. The HCPSS is canceling the October 14 administration and planning for the January 26 option for juniors. The January administration will still act as a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The Assessment Office will be in touch with STCs to provide additional details. Contact Tim Guy in the Assessment Office with any questions.
Mark Your Calendar
September 8 -- First Day of School for Students
September 9 -- Administrator Sessions with Grades 9, 10, and 11
September 10 -- Virtual Back To School Night 6:00PM
September 14 -- Adminstrator Session with Seniors (Raider/Flex Time)