Thurmont Primary School News

November 2020

Principal's Message

Dear Families,

2 months...9 weeks...42 days...countless hours...I sit in awe of ALL that has been made possible during the start of a very unique and unconventional school year! None of it would have happened without each and every family member, caregiver and adult who are making sure their children are meaningfully engaged in virtual learning!!

As we enter the 2nd Quarter of the year, it is important we continue with the routines which have proven successful so far. Keeping a consistent morning and bedtime schedule at home will ensure your child is ready for their school day. Attending live learning sessions in Google Meet and completing work in Schoology will assist your child in keeping up with skills/concepts being taught. Participating in small groups and/or individual conferences will allow your child more time with their teacher focused on their specific needs. Taking time away from the computer each day and focusing on your child's social and emotional well-being will ensure they are positively managing the stress associated with a school year like no other.

Please know we are here to support you and your child. If you have questions, concerns or needs please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher, our front office or me ( We are #BetterTogether and will continue to make sure all students are successful this school year!

Yours in education,
Michele Baisey



Schedule Enhancements

Our teachers continue to consider all the ways they can best meet student needs in the virtual learning environment. Just as when we are in person, this includes moving beyond whole group/class teaching in order to provide more individualized support.

As was shared in the last newsletter, there are some exciting upgrades to our virtual learning schedule including:

  • virtual teacher-led small groups in reading and/or math
  • virtual specialist-led small group support in reading, math and/or social-emotional skills

Additionally, please remember virtual specials classes will be held on Wednesdays via Google Meet (just like the other days of the week).

We know changes in the schedule can be difficult given individual family circumstances. We appreciate you prioritizing having your child participate in these classes/groups as consistently as possible. If your child is unable to meet during an identified group/class time please let the teacher know so you can work together to reschedule.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our virtual learning plan and ensuring your child experiences success while learning from home!

Learning Material Pickup - Round 2

On Monday, November 9th from 9am – 2pm we will be providing students with additional materials to support their learning at home. Please plan to stop by the school for a contactless curbside pickup of these additional materials.

We hope these materials will allow your child to experience continued success in virtual learning!

Cougar Learning Lab

Our Cougar Learning Lab remains available for students who want to receive help with Schoology assignments, practice reading and/or math skills and review daily lessons.

From Tuesday, November 10th through Saturday, January 30th students can access support on:

  • Mondays from 3:45-4:45pm with Ms. Orlando (Reading)
  • Thursdays from 6:30-7:30pm with Ms. Dove (Math)

Please see our Cougar Learning Lab Flyer for details and Google Meet codes.

Continuous Improvement Process

Our school remains focused on supporting students in growing their brain, heart and body power every day. We know by channeling our inner "Courage of a Cougar" we can grow, learn and care together even while we are apart.

Each year schools utilize a School Improvement Process (SIP) to identify goals and strategies which will ensure students, staff and our community experiences continued success. Our school will be focusing on the following strategies in the coming year:

  • Sense of Belonging which includes building relationships, developing self-regulation strategies and supporting social-emotional learning.
  • Build Students' Self-Efficacy which focuses on supporting students in believing in their own ability, goal-setting and assuming ownership over the learning process.
  • Engage with Content which activates students' prior knowledge, develops connections between learning experiences and addresses misconceptions in skills/concepts.
  • Give Feedback which supports students in making progress specific to their individual needs and allows for self-reflection and evaluation of learning.

We invite any interested family members to join our SIP team meetings monthly. We are currently meeting virtually through Google Meet. Anyone interested in attending can contact Dr. Baisey at 240-236-2800 or

Book Exchange in Back

It may be a virtual learning world, but Mrs. Gaeta cannot wait to have physical books back in the hands of students!

How will it work?

Starting on Sunday, 10/11/2020, students may use the Thurmont Primary Library Media Center catalog to place books on hold. If students are unsure of what to place on hold, they can fill out the interest survey instead and allow Mrs.Gaeta to choose a bundle of books for him/her. Then, on scheduled days, families pick up their bagged/bundled books at the school’s main entrance on Wednesdays, 12:30-4:00 or Thursdays, 1:00-3:30. If your student attends in-person sessions he or she will be given their books to take home.

How does our family get started? Follow the steps below"

  1. First, access our Book Circulation Guidelines and Pickup Schedule for specific details.
  2. Next, complete this quick Parental Acknowledgement Form.
  3. Your child may begin placing books on hold!

See our How-To Guide. Students will also receive guided instruction on placing holds during library class.

Please contact Mrs. Gaeta through Schoology or via email with any questions.

MLK Artwork Contest

This year, the 31st annual FCPS Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration will be going virtual! As a part of the event, the Elementary Visual and Performing Arts Office would like to feature one artwork from each elementary school that demonstrates this year’s theme: “‘Only in the Darkness Can You See the Stars’: Courage to Be The Light.” Your student's art teacher has been asked to provide information regarding this optional opportunity for student artists to submit work.

Your child may create an artwork with any selected 2D or 3D medium as long as the work exemplifies the theme “‘Only in the Darkness Can You See the Stars’: Courage to Be The Light.” Artwork must be photographed and submitted to the student’s visual art teacher by Friday, November 13, 2020. Your school's visual art teacher(s) will select the final artwork for submission to the Visual and Performing Arts Office.

Selected artworks will be incorporated into a slideshow that will be featured during this year's virtual celebration, and will not contain information that identifies students other than a first name, last initial, and school. If you have questions regarding this opportunity, you are welcome to email Susan Thomas at the email address listed above. Thank you for your continued support of the Visual and Performing Arts Program at Frederick County Public Schools.

Please contact our TPS Art Teacher, Mrs. Riggs, at with any questions.

Holiday Assistance

The following community agencies are available to support families with holiday assistance.

  • Seton Center - Emmitsburg
  • Salvation Army Angel Tree - Frederick
  • Toys for Tots - Frederick

The Holiday Assistance Information flyer includes contact and application process information.

If you have any questions please contact Lisa McQuay, school counselor at 240-236-2860 or

Free Flu Shots

The Frederick County Health Department (FCHD) encourages all Frederick County residents to get a flu vaccination this season.

The Maryland Department of Health provides FREE flu vaccinations for children 6 months to 18 years of age who do not have health insurance, have health insurance that does not cover the cost of immunizations, or who are unable to get vaccinated by their healthcare provider. Only the injectable (the shot) is available.

Appointments are required and available on Wednesdays from 8:30 AM-3:30 PM. To schedule an appointment, call 301-600-3342 and ask to speak with an immunization nurse or visit to sign up for an appointment.

Important Dates

Tuesday, November 3rd - Schools Closed for Election Day - No Virtual Learning

Friday, November 6th - Last Day of Quarter 1

Monday, November 9th - Schools Closed for Students (Teacher Work Day)- No Virtual Learning

Tuesday, November 10th - First Day of Quarter 2

Monday, November 16th through Friday, November 20th - American Education Week

Wednesday, November 25th through Friday, November 27th - Schools Closed for Thanksgiving Break - No Virtual Learning