Raider Nation Newsletter

Week of February 15, 2021

Preparing for Hybrid Model

Dear Atholton Families,

Happy President’s Day!

This past week saw the resurgence of activity on the campus of Atholton. We had our second-semester textbook distribution, school pictures for our 9th, 10th, and 11th graders, Class of 2021 cap and gown registration, AND the beginning of our fall athletics season. It was so nice to see students on the campus and I am looking forward to officially welcoming everyone back very soon. Please be sure to see the information below regarding fall athletics and spectators.

The Howard County Board of Education approved changes to the 2020-2021 academic year calendar during its February 11, 2021, meeting. Thursday, February 25, and Friday, February 26 are now scheduled as 3-hour early dismissal days for students at all levels, rather than full academic days as previously designated.

The changes are made in preparation for HCPSS' phased transition to a hybrid model of in-person and concurrent learning, which is scheduled to begin March 1. Designating February 25-26 as early dismissal days will provide school-based staff with the additional time needed to complete classroom setup and other preparations necessary to ensure a smooth transition for students and staff.

It is hard to believe that preparations for welcoming back staff next week and our first group of students in two weeks are underway. Last week, Atholton had its readiness walkthrough by HCPSS and we are just about ready. Please take a moment to review the HCPSS Return to the Workplace Guide for detailed guidelines on our preparation.

The selection process to return to in-person instruction has officially ended. We are now in the process of reviewing all of the data to determine how many of our students have elected to return to a hybrid model and how many have elected to remain in a fully virtual model. As we prepare for the safe return of students, we will use the data to determine how many students we can accommodate and make any necessary adjustments in our classroom and cafeteria set-up. For this and other logistical reasons, we cannot accommodate any changes that add to our in-person learning model. If for some reason you would like to move from the fully virtual model to the in-person hybrid model, you will need to go on a waitlist. We need to determine if we will be able to accommodate additional students in the building. You may access the waitlist here: Atholton High School Hybrid Learning Waitlist.

I have fantastic news to share with you regarding the outstanding achievement of our students. Atholton High School is VERY PROUD to announce its SEVEN National Merit Scholarship Finalists! The National Merit Scholarship Program determined which of the 16,000 Semifinalists named back in September have met all the requirements to advance to Finalist standing in the competition and seven are from Raider Nation! Please join me in congratulating:

  • Nikki Farnham

  • Peter Frazier

  • Lucas Howarth

  • Richard Hu

  • Stone Li

  • Alexander Nguyen

  • Jaikrishna Raghavan

We wish all of them the best as they continue in the competition. Once again, congratulations to each of our seniors!

I hope you consider nominating a staff member for the PTSA Above and Beyond Award. In light of everything our teachers and staff have endured during our virtual instructional period, I know that many of them have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Many of you have even reached out to me to let me know. Let’s honor them officially! See the information below.

Lastly, as February is Black History Month, the Parents of Black Students Association (PBSA) reached out to me regarding providing a Black HIstory Month Spotlight each week. Please see this week’s spotlight below.

Have a fantastic week!

Robert A. Motley


PBSA Black History Month Spotlight

Big picture
Big picture

Spectators at Fall Athletic Events

Prior to the start of practices, parents received information that was provided as we knew it at the time. As you can imagine, we are learning new information nearly every day and will continue to provide it to you as we receive it. We wanted to provide you with a few updates that we have learned in the past few days.

We are encouraged that based on current County and State guidance, our games will be able to be conducted as planned, meaning that football games will be 11 v 11, volleyball games will be 6 v 6, and all other fall sports will be able to have their full complement of players.

Additionally, we are hoping that a limited number of spectators will be permitted at games but we are still working through those details. Based on current orders by the State, we are limited to a maximum of 250 people at outdoor contests and 100 at indoor. This includes the players, coaches, officials, and other essential personnel. That leaves little room for spectators at certain sports, but we are currently working through those logistics. We want as many parents to be able to watch their student-athletes compete as we possibly can allow within the State’s current orders.

We will continue to update our student-athletes, parents, and guardians as new information is learned and plans finalized. We got off to a wonderful start to sports this past weekend and thank all of you for your continued collaboration and focus on health and safety so that we may be able to continue with an uninterrupted fall season.

PTSA Above and Beyond Awards

Nominate Faculty & Staff Members for Above and Beyond Awards:

Parents & Students, as we end our first semester, the PTSA would like to recognize those faculty & staff members who have made a real difference and have gone “Above and Beyond” the normal call of duty.

Every year the PTSA presents “Above and Beyond Awards” to staff/faculty members who go out of their way and make the extra effort to support students. Nominees are recognized in three categories: Academic, Extracurricular, and Student Services/Support (e.g., office staff, Student Services, custodians). You can nominate one staff member in each category.

To submit your nomination(s):

Send an e-mail to Michelle Maslan ( indicating:

Name of the staff member you are nominating

The category for the nomination (Academic, Extracurricular, or Student Services/Support), and a few sentences explaining/supporting the nomination

Nominations will be accepted through Friday, February 19, 2021, these first semester winners will be announced and then recognized at the end of the school year along with second-semester winners. Thank you!

School Pictures (9th - 11th Grade)

Lifetouch Studios will be taking pictures for any 9th, 10th, and 11th grade student who would like their picture taken on February 10th, 11th, and 16th in the auditorium of Atholton High School. Students will need to use the Sign-Up Genius link to register for pictures. Our number one priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of every student and staff member. Please abide by the procedures identified below.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021 from 4pm-8:45pm

Thursday, February 18, 2021 from 4pm-8:45pm (MAKE-UP)

Location: Auditorium

Link to register for pictures: Sign Up Genius for Underclass Pictures


• Students can only signup for one spot and must adhere to this reservation.

• Only students will be allowed in the school to take pictures.

• Students must wear masks at all times, except for when taking the picture.

• Students must adhere to social distancing guidelines throughout the process by remaining at least 6 feet apart at all times. Distances will be noted with blue tape marks in the hallway and in the auditorium.

• Parking for pictures will take place in the junior lot (auditorium area).

• Entrance for the pictures will take place at the auditorium side doors- closest to the math hallway. Entrance will be marked ENTRANCE TO SENIOR PICTURES.

• Students must arrive at their designated picture time. Any students who arrive early will be asked to wait in their cars.

• No Walk-Ups, confirmed appointments only.

• Atholton staff will check students in by the auditorium.

• Sanitizing wipes and sprays will be used on all setup materials and equipment.

• During photography, equipment used or touched by staff/students will be sanitized.

• Pre-moistened alcohol wipes will be used on the cameras.

• Hand sanitizer will be frequently used by photographers’ throughout the day.

• The picture process will take less than 1 minute for each student.

• EXIT: Signs will be posted for students to exit the auditorium. Students will exit the auditorium through the doors marked EXIT.

• Students must go to their cars and vacate the parking lot immediately.

If you have any specific questions, please contact Mr. Senisi at

Class of 2021 Information

Seniors and Families of Soon-to-be Graduates:

Below, you will find links to important information such as cap and gown orders, outstanding teacher nominations, and more. If you have any specific questions, please see the graduation resources on the Atholton Website or email Mrs. Krista Bopst,

Cap and Gowns as well as other graduation memorabilia can be ordered directly through Balfour. You can view their brochure or order directly online. Balfour will be at Atholton on Wednesday and Thursday, February 10 and 11 from 2:00pm to 4pm to collect in person orders if needed. The deadline for ordering is Saturday, May 1. Please take care of placing orders as soon as possible after the meeting, as the price of the cap/gown/tassel package will increase by $10 on April 1.

Students should visit the voter registration website for the state of Maryland. If a student is not eligible to vote at this time, there will still be valuable information about registration in the future. In order to register, eligible students will need a driver’s license number, learner’s permit number, or social security number (last four digits only). Students should also be prepared to make a choice of affiliation at the time they register.

Graduation performance auditions will be completed by submitting an online application through google forms. Performances are not limited to speeches. We encourage not only speeches but musical performances, dance, or any other creative performance highlighting students' time at Atholton. The due date for all submissions is Tuesday, February 16 by 8am. Submissions will then be evaluated by a panel of staff judges. Students who have been selected will be notified in early March.

Finally, there is a form to complete for parents who are permanent, Howard County Public School System employees. Each employee is offered the opportunity to present the diploma to his/her senior on stage at the commencement ceremony (if both the parent and student agree to this). If you are an HCPSS employee and interested in this opportunity, please complete the form no later than Monday, March 29, 2021.

Information regarding senior activities will be updated during the year, so please check out Graduation News on the Atholton website [].

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

February 16 -- 9th - 11th-grade pictures

February 18 -- 9th - 11th-grade pictures

February 25 -- 3 hr Early Dismissal

February 26 -- 3 hr Early Dismissal

March 1 -- Group E Students Return to Hybrid Learning