Week of October 12th Updates
It is hard to believe that we have completed the first 5 weeks of school! Wow, time is flying! I have been blown away by the partnerships that were built between home and school that continue to flourish. I know you may have felt these past 5 weeks as parents….but you’ve got this!
This week the routine and flow should start to emerge. For those of you with 1st – 5th graders, start to build the independence with your students by helping them to set timers or reminders of when to be online, creating a schedule together, learning to read a digital or analog clock, and encouraging (expecting!) students to be responsible for their own logins. It may not be quick (or pretty!), but they can do it even as a 1st grader! We promise! As always, if you or your child are struggling with something, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher.
This week also kicks off National School Lunch Week. The National School Lunch Program serves nearly 30 million children every school year. President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week (NSLW) in 1962 to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom. A huge shout-out goes to Cheryl Martin, our Cafeteria Manager, she comes in every day, even during COVID, to ensure our community has food. There's no beans about it- we appreciate everything she does!
As you may remember, our Related Arts Schedule is spread over a 5 week cycle. We have revised the schedules so you are aware of the Related Arts Schedules for the next 5 weeks. Click on your child's grade level and then click on the "Related Arts Schedule- Cycle 2" tab at the bottom:
- RECC (There has been no changes to our RECC schedules.)
- 1st Grade
- 2nd Grade
- 3rd Grade
- 4th Grade
- 5th Grade
It was nice to have families join us at our FES Coffee House last week. This was an opportunity for us to get know some of our parents/guardians over a cup of coffee as well as answer any questions they may have had. We recorded all questions and placed answers to our October FES Coffee House here. We have also posted them on our website. We will be opening up our FES Coffee House on the following dates at 8:00am: 11.04, 12.02, 01.06. Mark your calendars now!
Indigenous Peoples’ Day & other Celebrations to lift up our Cultures
Today, Monday, October 12, we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day! According to the United Nations, Indigenous people are “those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived” (n.d.). In the month of November, we will be celebrating Native American Heritage specifically which will align with Indigenous Peoples’ day as well! Below you can find some information about Indigenous Peoples’ Day to share with your children!
Also, a quick reminder to fill out the Parent Survey if you are interested in being celebrated this month for your Hispanic heritage or your job that uses science or engineering. Below is an updated link that should allow anyone from any email service to fill it out. The permissions have been fixed! Parent Survey
If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Cailtyn Gudenius via email at email@example.com
Small Reading Groups Start Today!
As a reminder, small reading groups begin today for students in Kindergarten-5th grade. Our teachers reviewed data from Lexia Core5, informal assessments and observations during the first five weeks of school, BAR assessments in grades K-2, and MAP in grades 2-5 to determine initial placements in reading groups. To help with this revision in your child's schedule, your child's teacher has scheduled a consistent time each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for your child to meet with their group. This reading group may occur during your child's English/Language Arts block or during the additional Synchronous time designated your child's schedule. Reading group schedules have been carefully developed in order to coordinate efforts among general education teachers, special educators, and academic support staff. Please be on the look out for communication from your child's teacher about what time they will be meeting for their small reading group. We are also actively working for this to be apart of your child's Canvas Calendar to serve as a reminder of when their small group reading lesson will be each day.
Please note, we practice flexible grouping, where students are included in small reading groups based on their specific instructional level. As a result, students may change reading groups throughout the year to best address their needs based on data. Whenever this occurs, your child's teacher will reach out to you to communicate the reason for the change and the time of the day their new reading group would be.
Battle of the Books
We are excited to partner with the Howard County Public Library and Howard County Public Schools to promote reading, teamwork, vocabulary and good sportsmanship through the Battle of the Books. This year the event will be presented in a virtual format and we have shared this information with all 5th grade students during their media class!
- Teams of 3-5 students and one adult coach each read the same 11 pre-determined books.
- Students must have a coach that will be responsible for registration and attending the mandatory meetings.
- Thanks to generous sponsors, all teams receive a set of books. In addition, copies of each year's titles are available for borrowing at the Howard County Library System.
- More information about how the virtual event will run are forthcoming.
Other Important Dates:
- Oct. 23 – Nov 6, 2020: Online Registration for BoB *Registration will close on Nov 6 or when capacity is reached, whichever comes first
- Nov. 18, 19 & 21, 2020 Mandatory Coaches’ Meetings via Zoom Curbside pickup of books
- Mar. 23, 24 & 25, 2021, 7:00 pm Mandatory Logistics Meetings for coaches via Zoom
- April 16, 2021 Battle of the Books!.
Our Media staff can answer any questions you might have. If you are interested in coaching a team please contact Mrs. Cerand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mrs. Fischer (email@example.com ) so they can support your enrollment in this great program.
More information can be found by visiting.
Canvas Calendar Update
Students can now view up to 20 calendars within Canvas! There are a variety of views of the calendar (month, week, and agenda). We encourage you to explore the best setting for you and your family. Learn more about the Canvas Calendar.
Update your Family File
HCPSS utilizes Family File for parents/guardians to complete emergency information. Regardless of virtual or in-person learning, parents/guardians must verify and/or update information for each child. Parents/guardians can complete Family File by logging in to HCPSS Connect, selecting the More Options tab on the left, and then selecting Family File in the center column. Family File guides are available online.
HCPSS School Meals Update
A stopgap U.S. government funding bill signed into law last Thursday, which includes almost $8 billion in nutrition assistance, allows USDA to extend the meal waivers, previously due to expire at the end of December, through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Thus, HCPSS will be able to provide meals at no cost to any HCPSS student, and all children 18 and under, through the entire school year, assuming continued availability of USDA funding.
Beginning Monday, October 12, HCPSS will add a snack and dinner to each weekday meal, in addition to breakfast and lunch already being served. Additionally, weekend meals will be included with meals provided on Fridays, and in pre-ordered meals picked up on Thursdays.
HCPSS also has adjusted the pre-order process. Meals for multiple days need to be pre-ordered at least two days in advance for pickup on Mondays and Thursdays. Pre-order meal pickups will be offered only on those two days, to enable Food and Nutrition Services to improve service and efficiency while balancing staffing and food resources.
Full details on HCPSS student meal offerings can be found online.
Dreambox Reference Sheet for Primary Families
Are you a parent of a K-2nd grader? Below please view the Dreambox K-2 Environment Reference sheet that explains what a lesson is, how to track number of lessons as well as what the different colors and numbers on the lessons mean.
Also, if you are interested in checking out how many lessons your child(ren) has completed during the week- you have two options:
- When your child is in Dreambox, click on their avatar and a drop down will appear and tell you how many lessons your child has completed.
- You can sign up for the parent insight dashboard and monitor lesson completion, as well as concepts your child is working on, try out the lessons your child is working on and more. You can also get a report emailed to you from DreamBox weekly if you sign up for the dashboard, which gives you detailed information on your child's weekly progress.
Math MAP Testing this Wednesday & Accessing your child's Test Scores
This Wednesday, October 14th, our 2nd-5th grade students will take their Math MAP test. The data from the MAP assessment will help teachers measure where your child is starting the year academically. We also intend to administer MAP in winter and spring to measure how your child’s learning is progressing throughout the year. The MAP test does not affect grades and the difficulty adjusts depending on how your child responds. It is normal for students to only answer about half the questions correctly. To learn more about the MAP assessment, please visit: https://www.nwea.org/the-map-suite/common-questions-families/.
- Wednesday, October 14th: 9:00am and 1:00pm MAP-Math
Here are some suggestions for a successful MAP experience:
- Minimize distractions for your child as much as possible
- Have scratch paper available for your child to write down Session Name and Password provided in the Google Meet chat
- Please allow your child to take this test independently.
- A link to the test site will be provided in the Google Meet chat
- Your child will then login using the Session Name and Password (this will be provided the day of the test in the google meet).
Due to MAP testing students in 2nd-5th grade, the following adjustments will be made for the week of October 14th:
No Dreambox assignments will be assigned on Wednesday
No Lexia Core5 assignments will be assigned on Wednesday
No mathematics task will be assigned on Wednesday
No changes will be made for related arts and science asynchronous assignments.
Please note this is for 2nd-5th grade students only, for Wednesday October 14th.
MAP Test Scores will be uploaded each Friday through the end of the testing window (October 30th). Please use the link below to learn exactly how to access your child’s score. In addition, remember they have only taken ELA at this point and if they have not completed the test or will not be taking the test, you will not see their scores.
Reminder: Google Meetings (Synchronous Classes)- Guidelines for Parents
You can view all of the HCPSS Google Meet Expectations for Parents and Students on the HCPSS website.
- Google Meet virtual instruction is designed for students. To prevent disruptions to the learning environment, parents/guardians should not actively participate in check-in sessions, although parents/guardians may assist their child with technology and/or remain nearby. This includes asking the teacher a question or typing in the chat. Only students should be on camera and use the chat.
- Do not video record, audio record, photograph, live stream, or transmit in any other way any part of a Google Meet, including not posting on any social media platform.
- Any confidential or personally identifiable information related to students participating during Google Meets should not be collected, discussed or shared.
- Parents/guardians should not engage with students during Google Meets. If you need to speak with your child during a check-in session, first mute your child’s microphone.
- If a parent/guardian has a question, please email your child’s teacher.
Family Survey for Second Semester Planning
HCPSS staff are currently evaluating possibilities for in-person instructional options for the second semester, which begins February 1, 2021.
This week, HCPSS will distribute a short survey to all HCPSS families to gather data on whether families intend to send their student(s) back to school or continue fully virtual learning through the end of the current school year. No decision has been made regarding the learning format for the second semester. The data from this form will facilitate planning and is not a commitment for the second semester. This information will assist the Board and HCPSS leadership during discussions about possible models for the second semester.
Families will have the opportunity to formally select a learning option following the Board's deliberation and final decision on second semester plans.
Dates to Remember
- October 13th: Virtual PTA Meeting 7:00pm
- October 14th: MAP-Math administration for grades 2-5 9:00am & 1:00pm
- October 16th: Schools close 3 hours early (FES Early Dismissal Schedule- October 16th)
- October 24th: PTA Online KidzArt Class 10:00am
- October 25th: PTA Virtual Fun Run
- November 3rd: Schools and offices closed- Election Day
- November 6th: Schools close 3 hours early
Upcoming Council of Elders and HCPSS Parent Workshop Series
The mission of the Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County is two-fold. To develop, strengthen, guide and advance the educational and cultural well-being of the Black Community of Howard County. To sustain and grow itself as a community of Elders that actively serves to advocate for the Black Community of Howard County in collaboration with parents, educators and other community leaders.
Save the Date!
The Council of Elders Community Academy
The Council of Elders and the Howard County Public School System have partnered to sponsor the following 2020–21 parent workshop series:
- October 17- Effective Home and School Communication
- December 5 - Social Media, Peer Pressure, and Human Tracking
- January 30 - Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships
- March 13 - Suicide Prevention and Substance Abuse 9–10:30 a.m.
Sessions will be held virtually. Please click on this link for additional details.