The Falcon Flier
Vol 51, Issue 7 - September 22, 2023
Phelps Luck Elementary School
Sandra McGraw, Assistant Principal
Jennifer Stairs, Assistant Principal
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From School Administration
Did you know that we have a school improvement team at Phelps Luck? That team creates a school improvement plan to monitor progress and craft goals in order to improve teaching and learning at our school. Continuous school improvement is essential to creating an effective educational learning environment for our students. Each year, various forms of data are used to create, monitor, and evaluate our school improvement plan. Additionally, target areas are established to provide benchmarks for student achievement and growth. Our plan also outlines action steps we use to accomplish our goals for the year. Here at Phelps Luck, we are always striving to improve our teaching and learning environment. Throughout the school year, our team regularly meets to ensure that our staff and community are aware of the learning and behavioral goals that we have developed. We also monitor the data benchmarks to measure how well we are doing toward meeting our schoolwide, team-level, and classroom goals. Our school improvement plan and Positive Behavior Interventions and Support strategies are used to improve the educational setting and environment so children can learn in a positive and productive environment.
A copy of our School Improvement Plan Snapshot is available here.
Mr. Cosentino, Ms. McGraw, and Ms. Stairs
Important Upcoming Dates and Events
For a complete list of dates and events visit ples.hcpss.org/calendar.
- 25 - Yom Kippur - Schools and Offices closed
- Down Syndrome Awareness Month starts
- National Bully Prevention Month
- 9 - Schools closed for students - Professional Learning Day
- 11 - PTA Meeting (Hybrid)
- 12 - First Food Pantry Night, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
- 12 - ESOL Parent Information Night, 6:00 p.m.
- 16 - Flu Clinic
- 19 - Field Day
- 19 - Watch D.O.G.S. Kick-off
- 20 - Schools closed for students - Professional Learning Day
- 24 - Picture Day for Individual Student Pictures
- 26 - PTA Trunk or Treat
- 31 - Schools close 3 hours early - End of 1st Quarter
*Updated dates are in bold.
Come learn about Cub Scouts with Pack 678
Is your child interested in outdoor activities, learning new skills, and going on adventures with friends? If so, come learn about Cub Scout Pack 678 at our big recruiting event at 7pm on September 27 at Phelps Luck Elementary School. Pack 678 meets most Wednesdays at the PLES cafeteria and accepts boys and girls from kindergarten through 5th grade. We have a fun year ahead of us filled with hiking, camping, and the always popular Pinewood Derby. We can’t wait to meet you! Email email@example.com if you have any questions.
Cubmaster, Pack 678
News From PTA
Join the PLES PTA in the Howard High School Homecoming Parade
This year's parade will be on Saturday, October 7th, from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm. Families from PLES can join the PLES PTA group and walk the route. Sign up and find more information here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090A4EA8AB2FA3FF2-44385551-ples
Support PLES by joining the PTA! Our memberships help sustain PTA programming from fun events like the “Trunk or Treat” to staff appreciation efforts. Join here: https://phelpsluckpta.memberhub.com/store?limit=21&live=true
Our fun events like Bingo Night, Trunk or Treat, Staff Appreciation Week, and more can’t be successful without the help of our amazing PLES families!! Looking to get involved at PLES? Any amount of time you can contribute is greatly appreciated! Sign up here: https://forms.gle/WWCaYgyZyYdAs49g9
Raise Right E-Gift Card Fundraising Program
Support the PTA when shopping at your favorite stores! You can earn fundraising dollars for Phelps Luck PTA by participating in our RaiseRight (formerly Scrip) program! This easy-to-use program means you earn fundraising dollars by purchasing electronic gift cards to an extensive list of large businesses (Target, Amazon, Giant, Old Navy, Lowes, etc.) and a percentage of that sale is returned to the PTA as fundraising dollars. This program will be ongoing throughout the year. Visit https://www.raiseright.com/enroll and look for “Join an existing program”. Enter our Enrollment Code: BRWAATM9HK7P and click “Join a Program”.
Follow the PTA on Facebook
Stay up-to-date on events and news: https://www.facebook.com/phelpsluckpta
WHAT IS SEL? HOW CAN YOU HELP AT HOME?
At Phelps Luck, we focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) daily in each homeroom classroom. This builds a strong classroom community and relationship while fostering a sense of independence as students learn to become problem solvers.
Fostering Social and Emotional Learning at Home
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a framework that gives students the skills to recognize and manage emotions and help solve problems effectively by establishing positive relationships. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), encouraging SEL yields positive results for students, adults, and school communities. Parents can use these tips to help foster SEL at home.
Focus on Strengths
When your child brings home a test, talk first about what they did well. Then talk about what
can be improved. Praise specific strengths; don’t just criticize things that were done wrong.
Ask Children How They Feel
When you ask your child about their feelings, the message is that feelings matter and you
care. It shows the importance of being a good listener and helps children feel heard in a way that fosters a strong parent-child relationship.
Be Willing to Apologize
Parents need to be able to apologize to their children if what they said was not what they
meant. Calmly explain what you really wanted to say. By doing this, you’re being a good role model. You’re showing how important it is to apologize after hurting someone. You’re
teaching that it’s possible to work through problems with respect for the other person.
Give Children Choices—and Respect Their Wishes
When children have a chance to make choices, they learn how to solve problems. If you make all their decisions for them, they’ll never learn this key skill. Giving children ways to express
preferences and make decisions shows that their ideas and feelings matter.
Ask Questions to Help Children Solve Problems on Their Own
When parents hear their child has a problem, it’s tempting to step in and take over. However, this can harm a child’s ability to find solutions on their own. A helpful approach is to ask good questions. Examples include, “What do you think you can do in this situation?” and “If you choose a particular solution, what will be the consequences of that choice?”
Published with permission from the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
HCPSS POLICY NOTIFICATION HIGHLIGHTS
The following are summaries of policies related to student responsibilities and behavior and can be found in the HCPSS Student Handbook - Student Responsibilities and Behavior/Policies
The most current copies of the policies are available at www.hcpss.org/board/policies/ or through the Policy Office at 410–313–8954.
Attendance (Policy 9010)
Regular daily attendance is vital to the continuity of classroom instruction and participation in school activities. Therefore, students are required to be in school or to be attending a school activity each day school is in session. In recognition that situations do arise that necessitate absence from school, the Board of Education allows students to be lawfully absent for a death in the family, illness, a court summons, hazardous weather as determined by the Superintendent, work release, religious obligation, declared State emergencies, suspension, or for other emergencies or set of circumstances which in the judgment of the Superintendent or designee constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence.
Note: If your child has an excused absence due to behavioral health reasons and you would like information on resources available through the school or community, please reach out to their school counselor or have your child reach out.
Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation (Policy 1060)
The Board prohibits acts of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation because these behaviors compromise the learning environment and well-being of students, staff, and community.
Bullying may include the following specific behaviors:
- A real or perceived power imbalance.
- Repeated behaviors targeting an individual/group.
- Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, hair pulling or throwing something.
- Getting another person to hit or harm the student.
- Teasing, name-calling, critical remarks, or threatening, in person, by email or text message.
- Bullying by demeaning and making the target of jokes.
- Rude and/or threatening gestures.
- Intimidation, extortion or exploitation.
- Spreading rumors or harmful gossip.
Civility (Policy 1000)
The Board has set clear expectations for civil behavior that supports a safe, engaging, and supportive environment on school property and at school-related activities. Unacceptable behaviors include but are not limited to:
- Rude, insulting, or demeaning language and/or actions.
- Persistently unreasonable demands.
- Repeatedly interruptive behavior.
- Displays of temper.
- Threatening and/or abusive gestures and behavior.
Each individual is responsible for behaving in a civil manner and for cooperating in resolving incidents of uncivil behavior.
Discrimination (Policy 1010)
The Board is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from discrimination, fosters equitable opportunities, and values diversity and commonality. To that end, the Board prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, immigration status, religion, physical, mental, or educational disability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or socioeconomic status in the educational program, including co‑curricular and extracurricular activities, and in the workplace.
Gangs, Gang Activity, and Similar Destructive or Delinquent Group Behavior (Policy 9290)
The Board prohibits any gang activity and any similar destructive or delinquent group behavior on school property, on school buses or at school-sponsored functions. This includes reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report gang activity or individuals who are victims, witnesses, bystanders or have reliable information about gang activity.
Grading and Reporting (Policies 8010 and 8020)
The Board of Education is committed to ensuring that all students meet or exceed rigorous performance standards. Accordingly, grading and achievement information must be determined in a consistent manner and regularly reported to students and their parents. Grading and promotion within the school system is based on the degree of success the individual student has achieved in the educational program. Decisions regarding promotion, retention and acceleration are made based on a student’s performance and academic progress over the entire school year.
The grading system for kindergarten through Grade 8 includes evaluation, effort, and instructional codes and/or comments. When the performance of any K–8 student is below grade level, the teacher, with appropriate participation of parents, will develop strategies and apply appropriate interventions to assist the student.
The decision to retain or accelerate a student is based on a number of factors, which are listed in the policy.
An elementary student who is not performing on grade level in reading and mathematics will automatically be considered for retention.
Responsible Use of Technology, Digital Tools and Social Media (Policy 8080)
Students must act in a responsible, civil, ethical and appropriate manner when using technology, digital tools and/or social media. The use of technology, digital tools, and social media may not interfere with student or employee work, cause disruptions to the school or work environment, result in additional costs to HCPSS, or violate applicable laws or Board of Education policies. Please note: Students must always turn off or put away devices when requested by staff at any time during the school day.
Students will not create, access, share, download, store or print content that:
- Depicts profanity, obscenity, the use of weapons, terrorism, gang affiliation, and/or violence.
- Promotes use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or other illegal or harmful products.
- Contains sexually suggestive messages or is sexually explicit or obscene.
- Contains language or symbols that demean an identifiable person or group or otherwise infringe on the rights of others.
- Causes or is likely to cause a disruption to HCPSS activities or the orderly operation of HCPSS.
- Contains rude, disrespectful or discourteous expressions inconsistent with civil discourse or behavior.
- Constitutes bullying, cyberbullying, harassment or intimidation in violation of Policy 1020 Sexual Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct; Policy 1040 Safe and Supportive Schools; and Policy 1060 Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation.
Safe and Supportive Schools (Policy 1040)
The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, engaging and supportive school climate. Behaviors that compromise this commitment, interfere with school operations, or are otherwise contrary to the basic mission of public schools will not be tolerated.
Any behaviors that interfere with or threaten the physical, emotional, mental or academic well-being of students or employees will be addressed through the application of the appropriate Board policy and the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct, even when they do not occur on school property or at a school-related activity.
Students, employees and third parties engaging in these behaviors are subject to disciplinary and/or legal action. Students who violate this policy may also be subject to appropriate educational interventions and/or counseling.
Student Assault and/or Battery on Staff (Policy 9270)
In order for learning to take place, the school environment must be safe and orderly. Therefore, any assault and/or battery by a student on a school staff member is strictly forbidden. An assault is any attempt or threat to inflict harm upon another person that gives the victim a reasonable fear of physical harm. An assault may be communicated in a behavioral, oral, written or electronic manner. Battery is the touching of another person by the aggressor or by some substance or force put in motion by the aggressor which is not consented to by the other person and results in a reasonable feeling of apprehension or discomfort; and it may also include circumstances which reflect the aggressor’s blatant disregard for the safety of employees or other persons evidenced by, but not limited to, the aggressor’s intentional conduct, disregard of directions, or the fact that the battery resulted in serious bodily harm.
Consequences for violations of this policy range from a Level 2 to a Level 5 response as outlined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct. The following is a delineation of consequences by school level:
- Elementary Grades pre-Kindergarten–2 – start with the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct Level 2 to out-of-school suspension.
- Elementary Grades 3–5 – will range from the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct Level 3 to out-of-school suspension.
Student Discipline (Policy 9200)
The Board of Education recognizes that student discipline should reflect a continuum of progressive discipline strategies and a restorative approach with the goal of meeting students’ varied behavioral and developmental needs in a fair, equitable, and consistent manner that fosters positive behaviors.
Student behavior is the shared responsibility of the school, the student and the home. The professional staff at a school has the responsibility for taking appropriate action when a student is involved in a situation that is not conducive to a safe, engaging and orderly environment.
Disciplinary consequences should be progressive in nature and designed to change inappropriate behavior, encourage responsible actions and promote the development of self-discipline. The student has the right to due process. The Board of Education has approved the following forms of discipline:
- Alternative Educational Setting – A location outside of the designated home school designed to accommodate the needs of students who have demonstrated the need for significant academic or behavioral support.
- Detention – The placement of a student in a non-standard, supervised setting during the school day, before or after school or on Saturdays.
- Restricted Access – Limitation of a student’s presence on school property.
- In-school Intervention – The opportunity afforded a student, after the student is removed to an alternate location within the school, to continue to:
- Appropriately progress in the general curriculum.
- Receive the special education and related services specified on the student’s IEP if the student is a student with a disability in accordance with COMAR 13A.05.01.
- Receive instruction commensurate with the program afforded to the student in the regular classroom.
- Participate with peers as they would in their current education program to the extent appropriate.
- Suspension – The denial of a student’s right to attend regular classes or school for a specified period of time for cause. Suspension includes extended suspension, in school suspension, short-term suspension or long-term suspension.
- In-School Suspension – The removal of a student within the school building from the student’s current education program to another location within the school building for up to but not more than 10 school days in a school year for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.
- Short-Term Suspension – The removal of a student from school for up to but not more than three school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.
- Long Term Suspension – The removal of a student from school for 4–10 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.
- Extended-Suspension – The exclusion of a student from school for 11–45 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the Superintendent/Designee
- Expulsion – The exclusion of a student from the student’s regular school program for 45 school days or longer as determined by the Superintendent/Designee. Expulsion may occur when the Superintendent/Designee has determined that the student’s return to school prior to the completion of the expulsion period would pose an imminent threat of serious harm to other students, staff, or others.
This policy applies during school hours as well as at other times and places, including but not limited to, school buses, school-sponsored events, field trips, athletic functions, and any other activity where school administrators have jurisdiction over students. Other procedures may apply when a student is receiving special education services or has a 504 plan.
Disciplinary action may also be taken for off-campus incidents in accordance with Policy 9280, Students Charged with Community or Reportable Offenses as well as violations of Policy 1060, Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment or Intimidation.
Any student who is suspended from school is precluded from attendance at or participation in extracurricular or school-related activities during the period of the suspension or expulsion. When a graduating senior is suspended for 10 days or less, and the period of suspension includes the day of commencement, the student may appeal directly to the Superintendent.
Student Dress Code (Policy 9210)
The Board is committed to equitable educational access for all students. The student dress code does not differentiate based on students’ race, color, creed, national origin, immigration status, religion, physical, mental or educational disability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, socioeconomic status, body type, body size or personal style.
While student dress and appearance are the responsibility of students and their parents, the Board believes that dress and appearance should not interfere with any aspect of the educational process and expects that dress and appearance are consistent with all Board policy. Student attire may not interfere with the health or safety of any student, nor contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for any student.
Students will wear attire that contributes to a safe school environment conducive to learning.
Students may wear attire of their choice that is otherwise not prohibited.
Students may wear attire that aligns with their gender, gender expression, or gender identity.
Students may wear religious attire without fear of discipline or discrimination.
Students must wear:
- Bottom (e.g. pants, sweatpants, shorts, skirt, dress and leggings)
- Shoes (curricular-specific and activity-specific shoe requirements are permitted)
Students are permitted to wear:
- Hats, hoods, and headwear (as long as the student’s face is visible and wearable technology is visible to ensure it is not interfering with instruction and student safety)
- Ripped jeans, as long as undergarments are not exposed
- Tank tops, including spaghetti straps, halter tops, and strapless tops
- Athletic attire
- Clothing with commercial or athletic logos, as long as they do not violate expectations in other sections of this policy
Certain body parts must be covered for all students. Clothes must be worn in a way such that the chest, midriff, pelvic/groin area, and buttocks are covered with opaque material.
Students are not permitted to wear attire, including wearable technology, that is disruptive to the school environment, that promotes illegal or harmful activities, or that could endanger the health or safety of that student or others during school hours and school-related activities. Prohibited attire includes, but is not limited to:
- Attire that depicts profanity, hate speech, obscenity, the use of weapons, or violence
- Attire that promotes use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or other illegal or harmful products
- Attire that promotes, implies or contains sexually suggestive messages
- Attire that exposes or reveals the chest, midriff, pelvic/groin area, and buttocks
- Visible underwear or bathing suits (Visible waistbands or straps on undergarments worn under other clothing are not a violation.)
- Helmets or headgear that obscure the face, except as a religious obligation, observation of a religious holiday, or for a school-related activity
- Attire that depicts gang affiliation
- Attire that contains language or symbols that demean an identifiable person or group or otherwise infringes on the rights of others
- Attire that causes or is likely to cause a material disruption, a substantial disorder to school activities or the orderly operation of the school, or an invasion of the rights of others
- May damage school property
- Wearable technology and other attire when it interferes with instruction or student safety
If a student is in violation of this student dress code policy, a staff member will discretely and respectfully request that the student rectify their attire to align with the policy. This communication should avoid drawing undue attention to the student. In the event that the student is unable to rectify their attire immediately, and the attire is not disruptive, the student should be permitted to remain in the instructional setting and address their attire at a time that will have minimal impact on their learning. Policy implementation should minimize interruption to instruction.
In the event that the student refuses to rectify their attire, that staff member will refer the student to an administrator who will follow disciplinary action in accordance with the provisions of Policy 9200 Student Discipline and the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.
Students’ Rights and Responsibilities (Policy 9020)
The rights and responsibilities of individuals are preserved through the protection and preservation of the rights of others. Students have a responsibility for their own learning, for their personal conduct and for the manner in which they exercise their rights. Students must accept the consequences of their actions. Students have the responsibility to participate in the educational program offered by their schools and, in doing so, are bound by the policies of the Howard County Public School System.
Students have specific responsibilities and rights related to school attendance, student expression, disciplinary action, due process, search and seizure, student records, student activities, use of school facilities, and non-discriminatory practices.
Student Search and Seizure (Policy 9260)
Authorized Searchers have the right to search students, their possessions and automobiles, property assigned to a student for school use, such as lockers, desks, electronic devices and cubbies during the school day and at school-related activities when the school official has a reasonable belief that the student possesses an impermissible item.
Weapons (Policy 9250)
The presence of weapons on school property poses a serious threat to the safety and well-being of students and staff. It is a violation of policy for persons to carry or possess any rifle, gun, knife or deadly weapon of any kind on any public school property. A weapon, as defined by school system policy, includes: any gun, dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, buck knife, hunting knife, throwing star, razor, metal knuckle, Nunchaku, explosive device, or any other object or implement intended to cause harm to another or used in such a way as to cause harm to another. Any student found in possession of a weapon on school property will be suspended and the police notified. Possession of a gun, or any implement possessed under a circumstance that would reasonably lead a person to believe it was a gun, will result in expulsion.
Information Worth Repeating
The purpose of this page is to provide students, families, and the community with information and resources about Standards Based Instruction and Reporting (SBIR).
Gifted and Talented Seminars
Our Gifted and Talented Resources teachers, Mrs. Fleck and Ms. Jones, offer many GT recess seminars for the fall. Permission slips are coming home and can be returned by Friday, Sept 22, 2023. Recess seminars are offered to all interested students in grades 2-5 and occur during the recess block once a week.
- Second grade: Paper Airplanes and Origami
- Third grade: Maze World and Learn to Play, Play to Learn
- Fourth grade: Weather Watchers, Dash, Green Team
- Fifth grade: Weather Watchers, Scrabble, Green Team
Nothing Bundt Cakes - Books & Bundts
National PTA School of Excellence
The Phelps Luck PTA knows that a strong partnership among our families, school leaders, and community members is important to the success of our students and school. As a school, we feel that families should feel welcomed and empowered to support student success, and the PTA is a key partner for continuous school improvement. We feel Phelps Luck Elementary School and the Phelps Luck PTA can achieve that together—and the result will be national, state, and community-wide visibility for the positive impact we are making together at Phelps Luck Elementary School.
We need your help! As part of the process, the National PTA requests feedback from families, administrators, and teachers at two points in the school year—the beginning and the end. Your feedback will help us improve our family-school partnership and achieve excellence.
Please take 5-10 minutes to reflect on your experience at this school and complete the survey below. Choose from the drop-down menu for each question. The survey will be open through Thursday, September 21.
Does this sound like a PTA program you’d really like to help with? Join us! Contact either of us to learn more.
Karen Mattingly, PTA President &
Ed Cosentino, Principal
Free and Reduced Meals Application
HCPSS participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, which provide families with significant benefits to help save money. Qualification is based on family size and income, and enrollment is confidential. All children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get free meals regardless of income, and students from households that meet federal income guidelines are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals.
Free and Reduced Meals eligibility provides discounts for summer programs, SAT, recreation programs, Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and internet programs. Other discounts are listed below. FARMs eligibility also may provide your school with much-needed Federal funding. Visit the HCPSS Food & Nutrition Site for more information.
Membership in PTA
Support PLES by joining the PTA! Our memberships help sustain PTA programming from fun events like the “Trunk or Treat” to staff appreciation efforts. Join here: https://phelpsluckpta.memberhub.com/store?limit=21&live=true
Calling for Watch D.OG.S. Leaders!
Watch DOGS University is one of the nation’s largest and most respected school-based, family, and community engagement organizations in the country. Since the program’s creation in 1998, more than 6,450 schools across the country have launched a WATCH D.O.G.S. program of their own. Each school year, hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures make a positive impact on millions of children by volunteering millions of hours in their local schools through this amazing one-of-a-kind program. Who are Watch D.O.G.S.? Fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, and other father figures who volunteer to serve at least one day a year in a variety of school activities as assigned by the school's administrators.
In partnership with the PLES PTA, we are excited to move into our sixth year! As we plan for the upcoming year, we are putting together our Watch D.O.G.S. Leadership Team of volunteers to plan for our Kickoffs. If you are interested, please email Sandra McGraw by Friday, August 18, 2023. Please either click on the name to email or call the school at 410-313-6886. Once we establish our team, we will contact you for the date and time of our first Watch D.O.G.S. Leadership meeting. Thank you!
Help Beautify PLES
In alignment w/ Policy 10010, the following announcements have been approved by the Public Information Office for distribution. The below community notices are neither sponsored nor endorsed by the HCPSS.