Cougar Connections

November 13, 2020

Dear Families,

As we move into the second quarter of the school year, I want to thank you for your patience and partnership. Dr. Alban, our FCPS Superintendent, talks about the "Pearls of the Pandemic"; those positive things that have arisen during this time. One of those "pearls" has been the engagement in education that we've seen from our families. You have advocated for your children in so many ways, especially through the feedback you've provided that has helped us to improve. While there have been challenges during virtual learning, we've learned new tools to engage students, and we've seen students take more ownership of their learning to become more independent learners, all "pearls" to celebrate! When you receive your child's first quarter grades, be sure to celebrate the "pearls", as well as areas to improve.

Yours in Education,

Debbie O'Donnell

BOE Votes For Hybrid Model to Begin in January 2021

The Board of Education (BOE) met this week (11/11) and voted that FCPS will implement the hybrid learning model for students in grades PK-12 beginning on Thursday, January 28, 2021. All teachers and instructional staff will report back to work in school buildings on Wed., January 13th to facilitate the transition to the hybrid model. Decisions to modify implementation of the hybrid model or small group instruction will be determined by the Superintendent in collaboration with the FC Health Department, based on a review of the metrics provided by the MD Department of Health. Be sure to stay tuned.

Parents will continue to have the option to keep their children enrolled in the virtual learning model; FCPS will send communications to determine parents' choices. We are also reviewing survey results from the fall and making phone calls to those families who didn't respond. We are in early planning stages now!

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TES Media Center Open for Book Check-outs!

Remember that your child can now check out books for independent reading. We encourage you take advantage of this opportunity. If you have any questions about the process, contact Mrs. Sandy Smith, our Media Specialist at You can pick up books every other Thursday from 9:30-5 PM.

How does your child get started?
Step 1: First, access our Book Circulation Guidelines and Pickup Schedule for specific details.
Step 2: Next, parents must complete this quick Parental Acknowledgement Form
Step 3: Your child may begin placing books on hold!
See our How-To Guide. Students will also receive guided instruction on this process!

TES Book Fair in Progress!

Despite this pandemic, we are committed to making sure our students have access to books! TES and TPS media specialists have collaborated to bring a book fair to our school. There's nothing better than a great book for a holiday gift! Our online Scholastic Book Fair is open through Sunday, Nov. 22. Shop online at Online Scholastic Book Fair Link. Books will be delivered directly to your home. Questions can be directed to or the front office
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Mrs. Best's BEST Math Tips!

Is your child struggling with multiplication and division fact acquisition? We’ll feature a new tip in each newsletter to help your child become more efficient with math facts.

Tip #3

  • Nine facts are the same as 10× the number minus the number.

Example: 9×6 = 10×66 = 60−6 = 54

When you think about multiplication as equal groups, the equation is asking for 9 groups of 6. In this example you can find ten groups of six because the student can fluently multiply by tens. Then subtract a group of 6 to get the total with 9 equal groups. This strategy could also help your child with x4 facts (thinking of the number x5 and then subtracting a group). We frequently talk with students about starting with what they know. Since 5s and 10s are easy numbers to count by, students can use these facts to access harder ones!

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Frederick County Public Libraries Support Learning

Go on a Web Adventure each month with FCPL, highlighting library and other learning resources. This month, send your children on a fun, educational web quest featuring awesome animal facts from National Geographic for Kids. At The Zoo:

Go to to find out how to access books, videos, movies, television shows and other learning resources.

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Mrs. Brotman's Counselor Corner

Talk with your child about concepts they're learning about each week to support their success during virtual learning including:
  • Prioritizing NOT procrastinating

  • Setting attainable goals

  • Showing initiative

  • Being fully engaged in learning

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YMCA Comes to Thurmont!

Our Thurmont Town Office is working closely to partner with YMCA, starting with “Y Without Walls”. Three areas identified for the “Y Without Walls” will focus on:
  1. Arts & Humanities
  2. Health & Wellness Education
  3. Teen Activities
The first “Y Without Walls” program is scheduled for November 14 at Thurmont Community Park. Call the town office for more information about upcoming programs!

Weis 4 Education

If you shop at Weis, then use the information below to apply your purchase points to monies for our school! Paper flyers are available at the school.

FCPS Meal Distribution

Due to the Thanksgiving break, the schedule for FCPS Food and Nutrition Services meals distribution will be different for Monday, November 23-Sunday, November 29. From 11 AM-1 PM, all school and community locations will distribute to-go breakfast, lunch and supper meals as follows:

  • Monday, November 23--meals for Monday only
  • Tuesday, November 24--meals for Tuesday through Sunday

Meal distribution will go back to the normal schedule on Monday, November 30.

Please visit for locations and meal distribution details.

Need Holiday Help?

Cougar Families, we recognize that this is a tough time for many of you. If you are in need of holiday assistance please consider the following community agencies that are offering help:

Seton Center

Address - 16840 S. Seton Ave. Emmitsburg MD 21727
Phone - 301-447-6102
Website -
Application Deadline Information - Intake goes thru Thanksgiving

Toys for Tots

Phone - 301-619-0129
Website -
Application Deadline Information - Registration ends on 12/16

Thanksgiving Distribution
at the Frederick Keys Stadium Parking Lot on November 24 from 11:00-4:00. Must bring photo ID from Frederick county to receive free meal. Call 301-600-1506 for more information.

If you have any questions concerning holiday assistance please contact Tammy Brotman, our School Counselor, at

Mark your Calendar!

  • Nov. 19 Report cards issued
  • Now until Nov. 22 Online Scholastic Book Fair
  • Nov. 25-27 Thanksgiving break