Hollymead Buzz

A Newsletter for Parents

March 5, 2021

March is a busy month!

Dear Hollymead Families,

I hope you've been enjoying the warmer, drier weather over the past few days. I want to thank you for continuing to support your students and making sure that stage 3 was a success. We are moving to Stage 4 next week, and information on our plans will be prevalent in this newsletter. I appreciate your attention to our safety protocols, and patience as we work out any hiccups over the next week or so.

March is also National Reading Month. To celebrate we are going to read Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott. There will be more information below, but it will be fun, rewarding and a great learning experience.

Additionally, our Book Fair will be occurring virtually starting on March 15th and going through March 26th. This is a great way to get kids excited about reading, and to support the PTO and the school. It will be a very exciting rest of the month, and we are looking forward to it!

Stay safe,

Craig Dommer


Planning for Stage 4

We had our six town hall meetings over the last two weeks. There is a lot of information at the links below. Feel free to look at it at your own pace. I have also highlighted some important points in their own sections of this newsletter.

Town hall Slideshow

Town Hall Video

Here is the Return to School Website


The safety video starring Mrs. Gomez and some Hollymead Favorites!!!

New Specials Schedule

There are some changes to the Specials Schedule for Stage 4. Here is the schedule for virtual students, and the hybrid 4th and 5th graders (who will participate in Specials on their asynchronous days).

New Specials Schedule

Arrival and Dismissal for Hybrid Learners

Here is a quick cheat sheet for Arrival and Dismissal


Arrive at 7:40, Depart 2:35 - Please make sure you have a bus stop in Parent Portal if you're expecting one. If you don't, please call the school next week.

Walkers: Arrive beginning at 7:40, depart just after buses. Use the Walker exit door for entrance and exit.

Car Riders: Arrive at 7:40. Unload only at the 3 marked stops. Wait for temperature checker to come to car. Have kids sit on passenger side if possible. Please do not park and walk across. Please utilize the drop off lane if you are driving in.

Depart beginning at 2:20 - have a sign in your dashboard with your last name. We will call children out one at a time.

Book Fair

The Virtual Book Fair is coming to Hollymead. Please consider purchasing books if you are able as proceeds help the school through the PTO.

Information will be coming next week in student folders.

- Free Shipping on orders over $25

- E-wallet for teacher gifts

- School specific specials and recommendations

It will be a lot of fun!

One Book One School

Our school is about to take part in a special, community-wide shared reading event. Every student and staff member will receive a copy of the same book – Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott – and will be asked to read it together at home over the next few weeks. I am personally asking you to make the time so that your family can participate in this special activity. We will also be posting videos of Hollymead Staff reading, so it can be family viewing each night as well.

With this program, we aim to build a Community of Readers at our school. Everyone – students, parents, teachers, even administrative staff – will all be following along together.

Your child will receive a copy of Dragons in a Bag in school or at supply pickup in the next couple of weeks. There will also be a kickoff video posted in SeeSaw for the students to see.

In school, your child will be invited to answer daily trivia questions and given an opportunity to see the reading videos in case they didn't get a chance the night before. In class, students will explore the book through activities and discussion. Throughout the month, everyone will be talking about Dragons in a Bag!

This is a novel program in that children of all grade levels will all be listening to the same book. Strange or daring as that may seem, it actually makes sound educational sense. Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child's own reading level. We also believe that you can and should continue reading chapter books with your older children, even when they are able to read by themselves. We have selected a title that can be followed and understood and enjoyed by younger students, but will still captivate and stimulate older children.

I know that you’ll enjoy this special reading time with your children. I hope to talk with both you and your student sometime in the days to come about Jaxon and Ma and their big adventure.

“When a whole school reads a book, there's a lot to talk about.”

EDEP Registration

The Extended Day Enrichment Program (EDEP) will be operating at Hollymead during stage 4. There are still a few spots left. Here is a link to information on the program and how to register.


Stage 4 Hollymead FAQ

What will the in person day look like?

Students will be in a classroom with a teacher for the majority of the day. They will participate in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, and have a morning and closing meeting, 3 recess breaks, and a lunch. Desks and tables are 6 feet apart, and we also have spots marked on the floor in the classroom and in the hallway to keep students at a proper distance. Each student has a container of individual materials and supplies. If students are in 4 days per week, then they will spend some time with a co-teacher doing independent work, practice, read-alouds, and their specials activity.

Will students have to wear masks all the time?

All staff and students are expected to wear masks. Students can have mask breaks when they are outside and distanced, during lunch, and if they need one during class, a teacher can make arrangements. We have been very successful thus far with our mask protocol.

What would the at home day look like?

If a student is in a 2-day per week then, for the at-home day, work will be provided by a teacher. The student will have a morning meeting on those days to make sure that they are set up well to complete their at-home tasks consisting of independent practice, projects, reading, ST Math, etc.

What will the virtual day look like?

The virtual day will largely look the same. Synchronous instruction in the AM or PM, and independent work and specials during the opposite block. During Stage 4, specials classes - Art, Music, PE, Library, will be synchronous, but offered a little less frequently.

What are the times of the days?

Virtual will largely be the same. In-person days will begin at 7:45 and end about 2:25. We have 3 entrances and exits for buses, walkers, and car riders, so we start letting students in at 7:40, and begin dismissal with car-pickups at 2:25 depending on how many there are (we dismiss car riders individually from classes, so it can take some time.) Bus riders are dismissed at 2:30, and walkers after the buses leave at approximately 2:35.

How many kids are in a class?

The max number of kids in a hybrid section is 11, and virtual sections don't technically have a cap, but right now are between 8 and 16.

How does lunch and recess work?

Each class has a designated outdoor space for lunch, where they sit at least 6 feet apart and remove their mask to eat. If the weather won't allow for outdoor eating, students eat in the classrooms with masks off and usually view something on screen to limit talking for safety. Recess occurs 3 times per day. Students remain masked in order to play with one another. If they'd like a mask break they can remove their mask if they're not playing within 10 feet of one another.

What does co-teacher mean? Who will that be?

For all students coming 4 days per week, a class will have a co-teacher. We will utilize teaching assistants, specials teachers, and interventionists to be co-teachers?

What about intervention?

Intervention will continue.

What happens if someone gets sick?

If a student is sick with symptoms they are sent home until a doctor submits a form for their return or 10 days after the symptom started. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and has been with their class within 2 days prior, then the class would be quarantined and instruction would be virtual for 2 weeks.

What if I change my mind?

We will always work to accommodate changes based on space and teacher availability. Thus far, we've accommodated all requests for changes.

What if we have other questions?

Contact us!

Hollymead Virtual Student Learning Handbook

Here is the official handbook supplement to cover virtual learning. It is the same at each school, and hope it provides some clarity. It may be modified as we learn and grow through this experience.

Seesaw and Zoom

Seesaw and Zoom will be the critical tools for virtual learning. Teachers have been working so hard to improve the Seesaw experience from the spring, and we expect that the daily interaction of students and teachers over Zoom to be critical in making this Fall a success. Please see the links below that the Department of Technology has created for Seesaw and Zoom to help you at home.


Zoom for IPADS

Zoom for Computers (school laptops in particular)

If there are technology hardware or software issues with your device, please call the school, or ACPS technology support directly at 434-975-9444 and we can work to get a repair ticket started for you.

Student Meals - 2020-21