Whittier Weekly Newsletter

April 5, 2021

The Month Ahead

Dear Whittier Families,

I hope everyone had a Spring Break that brought with it an opportunity for something that you wanted to do: spend time together, take a break from at least some of the daily to-do list, see loved ones, do some spring cleaning, or whatever was needed. This week, we will be returning to the last instructional week of Quarter 3. There are some items immediately on the horizon that I want to remind you of for your planning purposes.

Picture Day:

For students who come to school in person, yearbook and portrait pictures will be taken at school Tuesday and Friday.

For virtual only students, we will be scheduling about 12 students every 15 minutes either Tuesday afternoon or Friday. Please use this SignUpGenius link to reserve your spot ahead of time.

Families can park in the Independence Street parking lot and enter through the gym/Whittier rec. center door.

*Masking and social distancing will be required.*

Note: This sign-up is for students attending in a virtual manner only. Cohort A students will be photographed during school hours on Tuesday, April 6th and Cohort B students will be photographed during school hours on Friday, April 9th.

Cohort Changes for Quarter 4

We received 70 requests to switch from virtual to hybrid for Quarter 4. I am pleased to say that we have been able to honor all requests at this time. These changes will take effect on Tuesday, April 13th. If you requested a change for your student, the classroom teachers will email you by Wednesday, April 7 with the schedule and other important information.

End of Term 3

Friday, April 9th is the last day of Term 3. There is no school for students on Monday, April 12 as teachers work to finalize grade reporting for this past term. Teachers have communicated with students about learning assignments that need to be completed before the end of term.

Substitute Teacher in PE for Term 4:

PE teacher, Kalli DiBella will be on leave through the end of the school year. While Mrs. DiBella is out, her classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays will be taught by Rachel Millison, who is currently a PE teacher at Green Valley Elementary School. Mrs. DiBella's Tuesday and Friday PE classes will be taught by Monica Pennington, our Whittier Elementary resident substitute teacher. Please join me in wishing Mrs. DiBella well and in welcoming both Ms. Millison and Ms. Pennington to our PE classrooms.

Lexia Program Update

The Lexia program has provided us with personalized online instruction and practice with foundational literacy skills during this disrupted and unpredictable year. It focuses on language development and skills in phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, reading fluency, and comprehension. The screenshot below gives a broad overview of our entire school for the year. Some conclusions can be drawn from the data: Most importantly, the students who have consistently worked in the program have made gains in their skills over the course of the year. Some have completed the grade level expectation and can now elect to take a break or continue on if they wish. For others, Term 4 is the opportunity to get on track and finish strong. All families will receive an overview of progress for the year specific to their child with report cards. Thanks for supporting this work with your student.

I am looking forward to seeing our students both in school and online tomorrow.

With kind regards and appreciation,

Lorcan OhEithir, Principal

Big picture
Big picture

Counselor's Corner with Mrs. Reese and Mrs. Leatherman

We cannot wait to see everyone when we return tomorrow.

Counseling Lessons for April: We will be coming into your child’s classrooms - both virtually and hybrid in the next few weeks to continue our Leader in Me and Counseling lessons.

Grades K-2: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. We will be focusing on Tolerance and Accepting Differences.

Grades 3-5: Coping with Anxiety and Resilience. Sharpen the Saw! We are learning tips to manage stress and anxiety in fourth grade when we return from break.

After break we will be Seeking first to Understand, then to be Understood. We will be learning more about Diversity, Tolerance and Acceptance.

Student Small Groups Schedule : Our small groups will continue to meet virtually during hybrid. The virtual schedule for groups is posted on the Counselor’s Corner Schoology Page.

HYBRID Mrs. Leatherman's Google Meet Codes

Hybrid Schedule: Mrs Reese's Groups

Spring is here and we are all emerging from this Pandemic slowly and very different than we were before. The Mental Health Matters Campaign is coming up the Week of May 2nd – May 8th, 2021. At Whittier, we will be acknowledging this important campaign. Be on the lookout for information about our Activities and Spirit Days in our April Newsletters.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on our Schoology Counselor’s Corner or by phone or email.

We continue to support the Social Emotional Well being of all Whittier Students.

Mrs Leatherman 240-236-3135 Kirsten.Leatherman@fcps.org

Mrs Reese: 240-236-3170 Lisa.Reese@fcps.org


Communication is Key

Please provide a note if your child is not able to attend in person or virtually due to illness.

E-mail your student’s teacher AS WELL AS the Whittier Attendance email address (WHES.Attendance@fcps.org) so we can keep track of student absences.

Virtual Snow Day Information:
In the event of inclement weather, FCPS may call for a virtual learning day where all students will access learning from home. Students should join their homeroom teacher's schedule for that day.

Health and Safety Information - Please Review Carefully

Daily COVID-19 Screening

FCPS is asking for your help keeping all our schools and communities safe. Please review the list of COVID-19 symptoms below with your student prior to leaving for school every day. You will be provided a weekly communication reminder of this requirement. Students who are ill or are experiencing symptoms are expected to remain at home.

Parents/Guardians are affirming and attesting to the following for their student:

(a) Your student has not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days, or in the last 14 days had any close and prolonged contact ( * within 6 feet for 15 minutes or greater) with anyone who is either confirmed or suspected of being infected with COVID-19, AND

(b) Your student is not currently experiencing or displaying, and your student has not in the last 10 days met the criteria for a person experiencing a COVID-19-like-Illness:

Any 1 of the following: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or



At least 2 of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or higher
  • Chills or shaking chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore Throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting, or
  • Diarrhea

If the answer is YES to any of the above statements, your student should not come to school.

Please contact your healthcare provider with any questions regarding next steps for your


Thank you for your cooperation.

* 15 minutes of close contact in a cumulative 24-hour period

Safety Measures:

Mask Expectations: Everyone in the school building will wear a face covering while at school. The information linked here is intended to provide clarity about the FCPS requirements for wearing face coverings in school buildings.

Virtual Attendance in the Event of Mild Symptoms: If students are experiencing any symptoms of illness, they should stay home and parents should follow up with their child's health care provider. Students are encouraged to attend virtually any day they are not in school if they feel well enough to do so (even if it is a day for which they are scheduled to be in person).

Please provide a note if your child is not able to attend in person or virtually due to illness.

E-mail your student’s teacher AS WELL AS the Whittier Attendance email address (WHES.Attendance@fcps.org) so we can keep track of student absences.

Close Contact and Quarantine Details for Parents - What to Expect: When a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed, FCPS will conduct a case investigation to determine if there was any close contact with other individuals. Close contact means that an individual was within six feet for a prolonged period of more than a cumulative of fifteen minutes over a 24-hour period. All identified close contacts will be immediately notified and asked to quarantine for ten days and monitor for potential symptoms. If the close contact becomes symptomatic, the individual should seek assistance from their healthcare provider.

Quarantine means:

  • Stay home except to obtain medical care.
  • Your child may not participate in any in person school activities.
  • Avoid public spaces and practice physical distancing of six feet or more from other people.
  • Wear a mask at all times around other people.

Monitoring means:

  • Watch for fever. Check temperature twice a day, at least 6 hours apart and record in a log.
  • If your student or anyone else in the household develops symptoms such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pains, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

For further details, the FCPS guidance for Student Health and Safety and COVID-19 Response Plan can be found at this link.

Whittier Community Resources - Mrs. Lewis

Mrs. Lewis, our Community Liaison, has many resources for families. She may have just what your family needs. If you know Mrs. Lewis, you know she always finds ways to help families who need some help.

Whittier Elementary School - Believe, Achieve, Succeed

Please use Find Out First for up-to-date FCPS and WHES news.

We will also communicate through our school website

Follow me on Twitter @fcpsOhEithir where I will communicate school news and happenings