Bushy Bear Tales

Edition 5 - October 16, 2019

Bushy Park Elementary School

BPES Community,

We have certainly had a busy few weeks since our last newsletter! We hope you enjoy reading about and seeing photos from our Bus Driver Breakfast, October PTA Family Fun Night, and other highlights from the past several weeks below.

Recently, we asked you to provide us with feedback on our community-building and informational events from this summer and our opening of the 2019-20 school year. We so appreciate the feedback we received from nearly 60 parents. This week, a small group met to analyze the survey results and determine some next steps for our school team to consider later this year as we plan for an effective opening in 2020. We will provide more details later in the year, but please know that your feedback was extremely helpful to us as we reflected on this year's opening while it is still fresh in all of our minds. It is our intention to communicate our dates for all of our summer and opening events to our community in print and electronically in the early spring, so that you may have ample time to plan.

As we move further into October, our staff is beginning to plan for our annual BPES Halloween Parade! Mr. West and I look forward to experiencing this beloved Bushy Park tradition for the first time. As your family prepares, we want to ensure that you have the following information:

  • The BPES Halloween Parade will be from 2:30-3:00pm on Thursday, October 31. Classroom parties will immediately follow the parade. Due to time and space limitations, only room parents are able to join for our class parties. If you would like to contribute something for your child's party, please go through your room parent. He or she is working closely with the teacher to identify the needs for the party and adhere to the HCPSS Wellness Policy and respect all allergies within the classroom. Please do not send in extra candy, treats, or goody bags.
  • Students should not come to school on October 31 dressed in costume. Please send costumes that can be quickly and easily changed into prior to the start of the parade. No toy weapons of any kind are permitted. When helping your child select a Halloween costume, please consider that we have students at BPES ranging in age from 3-10 years old. Overly scary, gory, or bloody costumes can be quite disturbing to our younger students.
  • Parents and community members who are attending our Halloween Parade are asked to also consider any costumes they may be planning based on their appropriateness for the ages of our young students. In particular, we must ask that visitors to our school for the parade refrain from wearing any masks for safety purposes.
  • On the day of the parade, please respect any directions and requests from BPES staff members. We are looking forward to having a safe Halloween Parade with our 750+ students and staff members and all of our visitors!
  • For students in our RECC programs, the Halloween celebrations will be as follows: AM Pre-school and MINC-PK will parade throughout our front office, then have classroom parties at 11am, and PM Pre-K will participate in the school wide parade at 2:30 and then have classroom parties.

We will be offering an alternative fall-themed activity for any students who will not be participating in our Halloween Parade and Parties in our Media Center from 2:00-3:45pm. If you would like your child to participate in the alternative activity, please email Mrs. Bialeski directly at julia_bialeski@hcpss.org.


Julia Bialeski, Principal

Upcoming Dates to Note:


18 - Schools Closed for Students

25 - PTA Bushy Bear Dash & Spirit Day: Pink Out

31 - Halloween Parade & Parties - Parade will be from 2:30-3:00pm


1 - 3 hour early dismissal for students (Dismissal at 12:50pm) & Last day of Quarter 1

11 - PTA Family Fun Night: FIT Night - 6:45pm

18-22 - American Education Week

22 - Spirit Day: Jersey Day

25 - 3 hour early dismissal for students (Dismissal at 12:50pm) & Parent Teacher Conferences

26 - 3 hour early dismissal for students (Dismissal at 12:50pm) & Parent Teacher Conferences

27 - No School for Students & Parent Teacher Conferences

28 & 29 - No School for Students

Updated HCPSS Attendance Procedures

Research is clear that showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic and social success starting from kindergarten and continuing through high school. Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school or even facing social challenges.

  • Missing 10% (or about 18 days of a school year) can drastically affect a student’s academic success.

  • By the 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that can indicate if a student is at risk for dropping out of high school.

  • In the 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

Student attendance is a major point of focus for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Starting in school year 2018-2019, MSDE lowered the chronic absenteeism rate from 20% to 10% which means that at 10% a student should be receiving support and interventions to improve their absenteeism.

Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) believes that attendance is key for student success. Per Policy 9010, HCPSS defines exemplary attendance as a final attendance rate of 96% or more of the student year.

In support of achieving Exemplary Attendance for all students, we are sharing with you a comprehensive approach for attendance supports and interventions.

  • If a student has missed 5% of their monthly attendance days (as few as 1-2 days a month), parents will receive a Care and Concern Phone Call and letter from their school. This step will allow staff members to coordinate with families to determine how the student can be supported for better attendance.

  • If a student has missed 10% of their monthly attendance days (this is defined as chronic absenteeism by MSDE), parents will receive a 10% Chronic Absenteeism Attendance Letter. Parents and students may be scheduled for an attendance conference. Other interventions and supports may also be used in an effort to assist the student.

  • If a student has missed 15% of their monthly attendance days, in addition to the interventions and supports at 5% and 10%, these students may require an attendance support plan. Students may also be referred to the Central Attendance Team.

  • If a student has missed 20% of their monthly attendance days, parents will receive a 20% Emergency Chronic Absenteeism Letter or Habitual Truancy Letter. Students may be referred to Project Attend and may be referred to the State’s Attorney’s Office for habitual truancy.

With the collaborative effort of HCPSS parents, staff and students, we are confident that all students can have successful attendance. This will improve student success in school and in future life.

BPES Celebrates our Bus Drivers!

On October 4, we held a special BPES Bus Driver Breakfast! Our staff generously donated a beautiful breakfast spread, our students spoiled the bus drivers with handmade, personalized cards of appreciation, and Mr. West treated the drivers to a terrific morning focused on building connections and promoting a safe and positive bus experience for our students! Many thanks to Mr. West for his leadership in executing this event!

Photos from Last Week's Spirit Day - Gladiator Day!

The Advocate - The HCPSS Elementary School Counselors' Monthly Newsletter

Thank you to the PTA Hospitality Committee, chaired by parent Brianne Miller, for the beautiful fall-themed snack cart that was provided for our staff last week. Thanks to all of our generous families for donating the snacks and drinks! What a special treat!
Big picture

Our First Family Fun Night - Art Night!

A special thank you to our PTA and to BPES parent Elisabeth Baumwald of The Creative Can art studio for our first Family Fun Night - Art Night! We enjoyed spending time together as a community while painting pumpkins! We hope your family can join us for the November Family Fun Night - FIT Night, on Monday, November 11 at 6:45pm.