FHES Weekly Update: 12/20/2020


Principals' Message

Good morning Freedom Hill Community,

At the School Board Work session on December 10, Superintendent Brabrand presented a revised phased- plan to return all students who have selected the in-person option starting in January, 2021. Staff worked to improve start times and end times for all levels.

Barring any changes to the plan that may be impacted by the pandemic, the following bell schedule will be in place effective January 12, 2021 for both virtual and in- person instruction. This change will occur even if additional students do not return to the building. 

Freedom Hill's bell times will be 9:45-4:15. 

We feel this plan is a significant improvement and less disruptive over what was presented in the original plan last summer. We understand that changes may present a hardship to some of our families and staff. However, it is the only way we can return all our grade levels to in-person learning, while following the critical guidelines to help keep our students and staff safe.

We wanted to share this information with you before the holidays as we know this will lead to a change in family routines. Additional tentative dates for student return are shown below. The School Board will be voting on health metrics for school return on January 5. Thank you for your understanding.

Wishing you a happy, safe, and relaxing holiday season! We look forward to 2021 and seeing all of the incredible things that our students will continue to achieve through the support of our community. 

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Asst. Principal


Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

  • December 21 - January 1 - Winter Holiday
  • December 21 - 22 - Front Office Open, 9:00-1:00
  • December 28 - 31 - Front Office Closed
  • January 4 - Teacher Work Day
  • January 5 - 8 - Virtual week of instruction for all students
  • January 6 - Curbside Book Checkout, 2-6PM
  • January 11 - Teacher Work Day for 3-6 teachers
  • January 12 - FH Bell Schedule/Master Schedule Change to 9:45-4:15
  • January 12 - (Tentative) Pre-K and Kindergarten Return

FH Outstanding Employees


We are delighted to share that Freedom Hill received many nominations for 2020 Outstanding Employee Awards from our community. Thank you so much. All staff members will be able to view the content of these submissions. A school committee selected our finalists for Freedom Hill. These individuals were honored at a recent staff meeting and will progress to a "next round" for Marshall pyramid winners. 

Outstanding Teacher: Jessica Curran (3rd Grade Teacher)

Outstanding New Teacher: Melanie Callihan (1st Grade Teacher)

Outstanding Professional Employee: Craig Fenton (Technology Specialist)

Outstanding Operational Employee: Sey-Lu Sujo (Student Information Asst.)

Outstanding Leader: Eric Kopacz (Assistant Principal)

Outstanding New Principal: Nicholas Zapadka (Principal)

A big thank you to Ms. Lisa Bliss for organizing this process for us, and an additional thank you to our community for the ongoing support of our staff and students!

Join our Team!

We will be hiring classroom monitors to provide in-person classroom assistance for students when a staff member remains virtual.  If you would like more information about the position, please review the job description and qualifications online and apply if interested. Please feel free to share information about this opportunity with anyone else you think may be interested.

Holiday Meal Service

Below is an overview of the Winter Break meal service plans:

  • Monday, 12/21 -- Bus routes will offer 4 days of breakfast and lunch Grab & Go locations will not distribute any meals  
  • Tuesday, 12/22 -- Bus routes will offer 4 days of breakfast and lunch Grab & Go locations will offer 14-day meal kits  Meal Kits sites will offer 14-day meal kits
  • Wednesday, 12/23 through Friday, 1/1/21 -- No food service
  • Monday, 1/4/2021 -- Bus routes delivering breakfast and lunch will resume daily service
  • Tuesday, 1/5/2021 -- Grab & Go locations resume daily meal distribution
  • Wednesday, 1/6/2021 -- Sites that distribute 7-day meal kits resume

Return to School Form

For students who are returning for in-person learning, families must complete the Health Screening Commitment form prior to the first day of when your student will return. 

Please email the Health Commitment Form to ssujoromero@fcps.edu or drop off to the front office between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It can also be acknowledged through ParentVue. Again, we need the form prior to the student’s return to school.

Health Commitment Form- English

Health Commitment Form- Arabic

Health Commitment Form- Chinese

Health Commitment Form- Farsi

Health Commitment Form- Spanish

Health Commitment Form- Urdo

Family Resources

 Parent Technology Help Desk  833-921-3277 (833-921-FCPS) 

Parent and Student Technology Support Portal 

Freedom Hill Digital Tools Webpage  

FCPS Parent Resource Center 

FCPS Return to School

Updates from the PTA

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We wish you all a safe and relaxing winter break! 


Thank you to all the Room Parents and Families who helped arrange holidays gifts for teachers or added a video on various FlipGrids. You are all awesome!


Thank you to everyone who ordered spirit wear during our Fall sale!  If you ordered spirit wear and didn’t pay to have it shipped to your home, it is ready for you to pick up at Michelle Zahalsky’s house, down the street from the school. Email her at mzahalsky@gmail.com to let her know when you want to pick it up, and she’ll put it outside her door for you.  

WINTER BREAK ACTIVITIES While Enrichment Matters enrichment activities will continue in late January, check out these providers for Winter Break camps:

Little Coders, Scratch, Python, Web Dev & more! 4-day camps | Ages 5-18 INFO HERE

Silver Knights Enrichment Camps - Chess and Tactics - INFO HERE


ENTER THE VA PTA CITIZENSHIP ESSAY CONTEST  Virginia PTA is committed to promoting a sense of citizenship and responsibility in the lives of our children – tomorrow’s leaders. To demonstrate the value that Virginia PTA places on good citizenship, we are proud to sponsor, support, and encourage Virginia students to write an essay for the 2021 Citizenship Essay Contest. This year’s selected theme is “How can we stand together when we are so far apart?” There are different requirements for various grade levels. Details are here. Essays are due by February 1, 2021. Winners can receive a cash prize and may be sent to the state finals.