Raider Nation Newsletter
Week of February 1, 2021
Second Semester Starts Tomorrow
Dear Atholton Families,
I hope you are enjoying the snow! Just a reminder that the HCPSS Inclement Weather Protocols may be found here. Please stay tuned to find out if the weather will impact our instructional day tomorrow.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of our second semester this school year. What this means is that we begin a whole new school year! As we make this transition, there are a couple of things both parents and students need to know. First, in order to be sure that you have the most current and up-to-date schedule, be sure to log into Synergy and click on Class Schedule. Second, please join us this coming Thursday, February 4 for our second semester Back to School Night (more information below). This is a great opportunity to meet the new semester teachers and gain insight into the course topics and expectations. Lastly, there may be some questions surrounding our school schedule. We will continue with our current schedule until further notice. Therefore, we will continue with the same schedule we used during the first semester.
By now, many of you know that the Board of Education voted to begin a transition to a hybrid model with students and teachers returning in-person. You may find the details from this decision located here. Essentially, we will begin a phased transition of students back to a two-day a week model. The plan is as follows:
Week of March 1: Students identified for a program that will provide in-person instruction up to 5 days per week (including, but not limited to students receiving Special Education services, and others requiring additional learning support). Families who were previously invited to participate in school-based learning centers will receive an invitation to participate beginning March 1.
Week of March 15: Students in grades prekindergarten, Kindergarten, 1 and 2 return in a hybrid model.
Week of March 29: Students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, and those who participate in Career and Technical Education at ARL return in a hybrid model.
Week of April 12: Students in grades 7, 8, 10 and 11 return in a hybrid model.
We are working hard to get our building ready for our first group of students arriving on March 1. In order to assist in this preparation, WE NEED TO KNOW YOUR PLANS! Are you planning to send your student in for hybrid classes or will your student remain virtual? The survey is located in Synergy. A message about the survey and how to access it can be found below. PLEASE COMPLETE by this FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5.
A huge thank you to those parents and students who have dropped off their first semester textbooks. However, we are still short materials for our second semester classes. As a result, for this entire week (Feb. 1 - 5), you may still drop off your first semester textbooks at school. The bins will be located in the front vestibule or just outside. Please take the time to drop off these items as we need them for the second semester.
We have some remaining PSAT Student Guides available for Sophomores and Juniors while supply lasts. Students Practice Guides include two PSAT Practice Tests. They are located on a cart inside the first set of doors of the building.
Last week was the first meeting with the Class of 2021 as we began to prepare for graduation! Please be sure to read the information below regarding cap and gown purchases as well as other important information for seniors.
Lastly, tomorrow marks the beginning of Black History Month. On Thursday, January 21, 2021, the Howard County Board of Education approved a resolution on Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action (BLMWA). The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to school leadership for BLMWA February 1-5, 2021. BLMWA emphasizes that schools should be places for the practice of equity, for the building of understanding, and for the active engagement of all in creating pathways to freedom and justice for all people. It intends to highlight, uplift and affirm the rich history and contributions of the Black community and to cultivate in Black students a sense of pride, self-worth and self-love. BLMWA further encourages ongoing critical reflection and courageous conversations concerning systemic racism, social injustice, racial and ethnic bias; and to affirm the right of Black students to be treated with respect and dignity within schools and communities. Just last week, I met with student representatives in the Black Student Union to discuss their plans for a virtual video assembly for the school. I am looking forward to the exciting production they are putting together and cannot wait to share it with you.
Have a fantastic week and don’t forget to return your first semester items!!
Robert A. Motley
IMPORTANT PARENT SURVEY -- VIRTUAL or In-Person?
Recently, HCPSS announced that on March 1, 2021, the school system will begin the first phase of a transition to a hybrid instructional model, which provides the opportunity for students to attend school in-person for part of each week and receive virtual instruction for the remainder of the week. We’re excited at the prospect of welcoming your child back in person to Atholton High School!
You will need to inform HCPSS of your decision regarding whether you will send your child to school for 1-2 days per week. (Please note: students receiving Special Education services and certain others requiring additional learning support are given the option for up to 5 in-person days per week.) If you prefer, you may choose instead for your child to continue virtual learning full time for the remainder of the current school year.
To notify HCPSS of your decision, follow the instructions provided at the end of this message to complete a two-question survey by 4 p.m., Friday, February 5, indicating:
The type of instructional model – hybrid or fully virtual – that you choose for your child
Whether bus service will be used (if your child is eligible)
If your child is designated as a walker, transportation will not be provided. If you are unsure if your child is eligible for bus service, search for your address on the School Bus Locator (Links to an external site.) to find your child’s transportation eligibility. (At this time, the School Bus Locator should only be used to determine if your child receives transportation services, because pickup times and bus stop locations are being updated and are subject to change.)
This information may be helpful in making your decision:
Answers to frequently asked questions about student in-person return (Links to an external site.) can be found on the HCPSS Help site. This site will be continually updated as new information becomes available.
The phases of in-person student return (Links to an external site.) approved by the Board of Education are:
Week of March 1: Students identified for the 5-days-per-week program
Week of March 15: Students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and grades 1-2
Week of March 29: Students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, and students attending programs at the ARL
Week of April 12: Students in grades 7, 8, 10 and 11
HCPSS is striving to offer students two days per week of in-person learning. However, if the number of requests exceeds capacity, due to social distancing requirements, HCPSS may offer only one in-person day per week.
For families that opt to send students back in-person, HCPSS will make every effort to group siblings together. However, the school system cannot guarantee that siblings will be in the same grouping. Please take this into consideration when making your decision.
If you choose for your child to remain fully virtual, you may later request to switch to the hybrid in-person model at any time during the 2020-2021 school year. However, approval of that request is dependent on available space, social distancing guidelines, and other factors.
Additional information on HCPSS spring planning (Links to an external site.) can be found online.
Follow these instructions for completing the survey form, by 4 p.m., Friday, February 5:
Log in to HCPSS Connect
Select More Options from the left panel
Select “In-Person Commitment” from the middle of the page
Complete the questions in the form for each child and select “Save”
If you need assistance in completing the form, or have any questions, please call our school office at 410-313-7065.
Thank you for your support in helping us to provide the best possible learning environment for your child.
Second Semester BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT -- Thurs., Feb. 4
Collection of 1st Semester Items
In September, many students received materials for their Semester 1 classes. These included textbooks, musical instruments, art supplies, and so on. As the semester winds down, we need to recollect those items that will be needed for Semester 2 classes.
There are some materials that do NOT need to be returned. These include packets (papers) your teachers may have provided to you. Art supplies you received are yours to keep. There are some courses that will be allowed to keep their textbooks. This will be discussed by each teacher that is having students hold onto these materials.
Other textbooks and materials are expected to be returned to Atholton. We will be having a material drop off between February 1, 2021, and February 5, 2021. This will be available to families from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm on those days. Families will be asked to do the following:
- Place all materials in a bag (plastic grocery type bag for example).
- Complete the attached STUDENT MATERIALS FORM (or write down the information on a sheet of paper -- name, teacher, subject) and include it inside of the bag. FORM IS BELOW.
- During the drop off period, deliver materials to Atholton High School. There will be containers for materials underneath the overhang at the front door. (If there is inclement weather, the containers will be placed inside of the front doors. Please do NOT try to enter through the second set of doors. There will be clearly marked signs showing where to go in order to maximize safety and promote social distancing.)
- Leave items in the containers. Atholton staff will remove items from the containers throughout the day. Howard County Public School System and CDC guidelines require that we then quarantine these materials for a period of time to reduce the risk of potential COVID-19 exposure.
A few additional thoughts:
- Please do NOT leave Chromebooks or other electronic devices. We can’t be responsible for electronic devices that are lost or stolen.
- Please drop off your materials and leave the area promptly so that others may then drop off their materials. This reduces possible exposure for everybody.
- Staff will not be available to answer questions during this time. Please email appropriate staff as needed.
- You must wear a mask if you are out of a vehicle.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Mr. Richman at Samuel_Richman@hcpss.org
Class of 2021 Information
Seniors and Families of Soon-to-be Graduates:
Below, you will find links to important information such as cap and gown orders, outstanding teacher nominations, and more. If you have any specific questions, please see the graduation resources on the Atholton Website or email Mrs. Krista Bopst, email@example.com
Cap and Gowns as well as other graduation memorabilia can be ordered directly through Balfour. You can view their brochure or order directly online. Balfour will be at Atholton on Tuesday, February 2 from 2:00pm to 4pm to collect in person orders if needed. The deadline for ordering is Saturday, May 1. Please take care of placing orders as soon as possible after the meeting, as the price of the cap/gown/tassel package will increase by $10 on April 1.
Students should visit the voter registration website for the state of Maryland. If a student is not eligible to vote at this time, there will still be valuable information about registration in the future. In order to register, eligible students will need a driver’s license number, learner’s permit number, or social security number (last four digits only). Students should also be prepared to make a choice of affiliation at the time they register.
Graduation performance auditions will be completed by submitting an online application through google forms. Performances are not limited to speeches. We encourage not only speeches but musical performances, dance, or any other creative performance highlighting students' time at Atholton. The due date for all submissions is Tuesday, February 16 by 8am. Submissions will then be evaluated by a panel of staff judges. Students who have been selected will be notified in early March.
Every year, seniors have an opportunity to nominate an educator who has impacted their education/lives in a positive way. This is your opportunity to recognize a past or present educator who has inspired you. All nominations will be reviewed, and if necessary a committee of students will select the Outstanding Educator for the Class of 2021. Please make sure that you spell the teacher’s name correctly, provide reasons, and sign the form. The due date for your Outstanding Teacher Nomination is Monday, February 1 at 8am.
Finally, there is a form to complete for parents who are permanent, Howard County Public School System employees. Each employee is offered the opportunity to present the diploma to his/her senior on stage at the commencement ceremony (if both the parent and student agree to this). If you are an HCPSS employee and interested in this opportunity, please complete the form no later than Monday, March 29, 2021.
Information regarding senior activities will be updated during the year, so please check out Graduation News on the Atholton website [ahs.hcpss.org].
School Pictures (9th - 11th Grade)
Lifetouch Studios will be taking pictures for any 9th, 10th, and 11th grade student who would like their picture taken on February 10th, 11th, and 16th in the auditorium of Atholton High School. Students will need to use the Sign-Up Genius link to register for pictures. Our number one priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of every student and staff member. Please abide by the procedures identified below.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 8:30 am-4 pm
Thursday, February 11, 2021 from 4pm-8:45pm
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 from 4pm-8:45pm
Link to register for pictures: Sign Up Genius for Underclass Pictures
GENERAL AND COVID 19 PROCEDURES:
• Students can only signup for one spot and must adhere to this reservation.
• Only students will be allowed in the school to take pictures.
• Students must wear masks at all times, except for when taking the picture.
• Students must adhere to social distancing guidelines throughout the process by remaining at least 6 feet apart at all times. Distances will be noted with blue tape marks in the hallway and in the auditorium.
• Parking for pictures will take place in the junior lot (auditorium area).
• Entrance for the pictures will take place at the auditorium side doors- closest to the math hallway. Entrance will be marked ENTRANCE TO SENIOR PICTURES.
• Students must arrive at their designated picture time. Any students who arrive early will be asked to wait in their cars.
• No Walk-Ups, confirmed appointments only.
• Atholton staff will check students in by the auditorium.
• Sanitizing wipes and sprays will be used on all setup materials and equipment.
• During photography, equipment used or touched by staff/students will be sanitized.
• Pre-moistened alcohol wipes will be used on the cameras.
• Hand sanitizer will be frequently used by photographers’ throughout the day.
• The picture process will take less than 1 minute for each student.
• EXIT: Signs will be posted for students to exit the auditorium. Students will exit the auditorium through the doors marked EXIT.
• Students must go to their cars and vacate the parking lot immediately.
If you have any specific questions, please contact Mr. Senisi at Michael_Senisi@hcpss.org
School Counselor Assignments
Ms. Wade -- 9th Grade ONLY (Kim_Wade@hcpss.org)
Mr. Cohen -- Last Name A - E / Grades 10 - 12 (Phillip_Cohen@hcpss.org)
Ms. Meledick -- Last Name F - Kj / Grades 10 - 12 (Dana_Meledick@hcpss.org)
Ms. Clearfield -- Last Name Kk - P / Grades 10 - 12 (Lisa_Clearfield@hcpss.org)
Ms. Rogers -- Last Name Q - Z / Grades 10 - 12 (Yvonne_Rogers@hcpss.org)
Mark Your Calendar
February 4 -- Back To School Night (Second Semester)
February 10 -- Second Semester Textbook Distribution Day
February 12 -- School Closed for Students