Bushy Bear Tales

Edition 9 - December 11, 2019

Closing Out 2019

BPES Community,

As we close out this calendar year, we are excited to be celebrating the accomplishments of many of our students and community members. We hope you will enjoy reading about these accomplishments in this newsletter. We have so much to celebrate and to be thankful for. We truly believe that our students, staff, and community are the best in Howard County!

One highlight of our month so far were last week's Inclusive Schools Week activities. Inclusive Schools Week is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) and Stetson & Associates, Inc., which is held each year during the first full week in December. Since its inception in 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated the progress that schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference, and other factors. The Week also provides an important opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else needs to be done in order to ensure that their schools continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children.

Led by our amazing special educators, students at BPES had the opportunity to attend a road show on the topic of invisible disabilities. After the presentations, each child was able to decorate a quilt square that illustrates what they learned about invisible disabilities and how to be a good friend to all. These squares will be assembled into grade level quilts to display around our school. Please ask your child about these presentations!

Please note that there will be no Bushy Bear Tales on December 25. Our next newsletter will be sent on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

We wish your family a restful and restorative winter break. Please note that the school and front office will be closed for the winter break. We look forward to welcoming our students back to school in the new year on January 2!


Julia Bialeski, Principal

Keith West, Assistant Principal

Upcoming Important Dates


12 - Identakid Photos

12-13 - CogAT Makeups

13 - Quarter 2 Interim Reports sent home with students

18 - 1st grade Gingerbread Houses

18 - In-person PTA Meeting - 6:30-7:30pm - Media Center

20 - Spirit Day - Pajama Day!

20 - 2nd grade Polar Express Day

23-31 - Schools Closed for Students - Winter Break


1 - Schools and Offices Closed

2 - Students return to school from winter break

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The Council of Elders Celebration of Academic Achievement

On December 2, we were honored to recognize five of our 4th and 5th grade students at the annual Celebration of Academic Achievement, sponsored by The Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County. This annual event publicly acknowledges and honors students of African and African American heritage who are currently in grades 4-6 and have earned a grade of "A" or "B" in all areas under mathematics and language arts in each of the four marking periods. Congratulations to Kofi Amponsah, Chelsea Jenson, Kiara Robinson, Julian Wilding, and Alexa Okojie!
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Updated Safety Protocols for Visitors

We recently received a new Lobby Guard electronic sign-in system. In order to ensure that our front office procedures are consistent with those of all HCPSS schools, we will be implementing the following changes, effective Monday, December 16:

  • All adult visitors will be asked to sign in and out using the Lobby Guard system.

  • Student late arrivals and early dismissals will be processed through Lobby Guard. We will no longer have paper sign in/sign out sheets.

Please ensure that you have your driver’s license on you when you come into the office, as Lobby Guard requires a scan of your driver’s license. We will not be able to release students for early dismissals without your driver’s license. As a reminder, any adults who pick up children for early dismissals should be listed in your Family File account.

We understand that these procedures will be different and will take some time to get used to for our community. We appreciate your cooperation as we move to a more consistent procedure to ensure the safety of our students. For more information on HCPSS School Safety Protocols, please visit https://www.hcpss.org/safety/protocols/.

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New Website and Systems for Emergency Closings

As we move into the winter weather season, it is important that all of our families know where to go for information about school delays and closures.

Effective December 1, HCPSS launched a color-coding notification system for emergency and other non-scheduled school closings, including for inclement weather. The new system standardizes the school system’s operational status to five possibilities to enhance consistency, while promoting the safety of HCPSS students and staff, and adhering to negotiated agreements on staff availability.

The HCPSS operating status will be identified on a new website: https://status.hcpss.org. Additional emergency notification sources can be found online.

December PTA Events

Thank you to Mr. Randee Wilding, PTA President, and our entire PTA for hosting two fantastic events this month: our popular Family STEM Night last week, and a lovely winter potluck this week!

Our STEM Night was attended by nearly 200 people and children and adults alike were able to enjoy a variety of presentations, many led by members of our own community. Children were able to learn about everything from mindfulness, to blood, to drones and the NASA Solar Probe, as well as engage in code-breaking, build and create in our Maker Space, paint with math, and check out the amazing creations by the Glenelg High School Robotiators!

At the Winter Potluck, in addition to the food and community, attendees were able to enjoy beautiful music courtesy of Damon Foreman.

Recognized with "Hearts Up" awards at the Winter Potluck were several members of our PTA. Congratulations and thank you to Brianne Miller, Stacie Morris, Christina Lawrence, and Cheryl Follmer!

In addition to the Hearts Up awards, our students who entered this year's Reflections art contest were recognized and their entries were put on display.

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January Carson Reading Room Volunteers Needed!

Our Carson Reading Room volunteer sign-ups have been updated through January. Please click here to sign up to take children to our Carson Reading Room! Questions? Please contact our PTA Carson Reading Room coordinator, Sarah Mitchell, at bpesptacarsonrr@gmail.com.

The Advocate - Monthly School Counselors' Newsletter

Please enjoy this month's edition of The Advocate - the HCPSS Monthly School Counselors' newsletter.