FHES Weekly Update: 1/24/2021


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

We hope you are well and enjoying the chilly yet sunny weekend. Our 2nd quarter and first semester have come to a close. Tomorrow is a teacher work day and our staff will be involved with professional development related to return-to-school and providing additional reading supports to students. As we continue to strive for a successful virtual year, our planning is also beginning for the 2021-22 school year. We are asking that all families complete this intention form (one per child) by January 31, 2021. 

As you know, FCPS has put a pause on the draft schedule for students returning to in-person learning as well as the update bell schedule, though the superintendent did provide an updated proposal this week. It can be viewed below. While these plans won’t be solidified until the February 2nd School Board Meeting, we wanted you to have this information on your radar. We will communicate with grade level families directly after timelines are confirmed, so please be on the lookout for more information. We will continue to keep you informed as soon as we have information.

Lastly, we have included a variety of webinar links below related to supporting students at home. We encourage you to sign up for any that might be relevant for your family. The FCPS Parent Resource Center does a great job facilitating these and providing learning experiences for families. 

Wishing you a safe week.

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Asst. Principal 

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

  • January 25 - Teacher Work Day; No AM Meetings
  • January 31 - Student intention survey due (see above)
  • February 1 - PTA Citizenship Contest Essays Due
  • February 4 - Kilmer MS Rising 7th Grade Curriculum Night, 6PM

Return to School Updates

The superintendent shared the updated draft return-to-school dates with the School Board on 1/21. This plan will be further discussed at their next meeting on 2/2. 


Positivity Project: Helping Others


We hope you're all doing well and enjoying teaching your students about perseverance. Next week, we'll begin learning about the Other People Mindset (OPM) element of Supporting Others When They Struggle. 

Supporting other people when they struggle is a critical piece of being human. There is a Chinese saying that sums this up: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

From Mrs. Canape:

Hello, and Happy last week of January to our Freedom Hill Staff! Our Positivity Project Team put together this padlet for our students and staff to reflect and connect on what we learned in the month of January. Please feel free to send this link to your kids so they can post messages of their own, and read what other students write about our January Positivity Project Traits!

Browser Hygiene – Clear Your Cache

Clearing the cache can help your computer run smoothly. This quick fix can solve issues with frequently used sites like ST Math and Imagine Learning.


Parent Resource Center Webinars

From Chaos to Calm: Strategies for Families to Create Calm and Confidence in the Midst of Chaos and Uncertainty: A Webinar for Families

Learn practical tools that can be applied IMMEDIATELY to restore your sense of calm and focus so you can cultivate joy and connection in your family.

Presented by Corinne Coppola, M.A., and Well-Being Professional.

Friday, February 12, 2021 10 – 11:30 a.m.

Register for From Chaos to Calm: Strategies for Families to Create Calm and Confidence in the Midst of Chaos and Uncertainty: A Webinar for Families


Encouraging Positive Behaviors at Home Series: Teaching your Children to Follow Directions

Parents/guardians will receive an overview of instructional control and will review strategies to support their students with following directions.

Thursday February 18, 2021, 10 - 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Register for Teaching Your Child to Follow Directions


Strategies to Support Social Emotional Learning at Home: A Webinar for Families

Parents and families are critical in helping children develop social and emotional awareness. This webinar will highlight strategies to see children’s behavior and emotions as communication, create emotional safety, and recognize/support personal and family strengths.

FCPS Social Worker, Jeanne Veraska & FCPS School Psychologist, Lisa Phifer

February 17, 2021 6:30 - 8 p.m. or February 19, 2021 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Register for Strategies to Support Social Emotional Learning at Home: A Webinar for Families


Is it Over Yet? How to Help your Child Cope with the Pandemic and the Eventual Return to Normalcy: A Webinar for Families

Join licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Bateman for a webinar on parenting strategies to help children cope with the pandemic. 

Strategies include coping with stress, changes in routine, uncertainty, loss of regular activities and social interaction, virtual school, etc.

Friday, February 26, 2021 10 – 11:30 a.m.

Register for Is it Over Yet? How to Help your Child Cope with the Pandemic and the Eventual Return to Normalcy: A Webinar for Families               

Forms for Families

We will periodically re-post forms for our families:

Consent to use digital resources

Opt-Out forms  

Paperless Report Cards

Student Rights and Responsibilities & Acknowledgement

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


PTA ENGAGEMENT SURVEY Please take a 5 minute survey so your FHES PTA can best focus on the activities that matter most to you for the rest of the school year. A reminder that the PTA is 100% run by volunteers. The majority of them are parents, teachers & staff who work full time jobs just like you so please help us prioritize what to focus on with limited time, resources and volunteers. Please complete by 1/27.


6TH GRADE FAMILIES - KILMER BAND! Want to have fun playing a band instrument in school every day? Make great music with your friends? Be a member of the largest team at Kilmer MS? Then you want to be in the Kilmer Band program! Whether you have never played an instrument before or you've been playing for a while, we've got a place for you in the Kilmer MS Bands. For lots of info, visit tinyurl.com/kilmermsbands. Email the lead band director, email Ms. Bonneau for any questions.


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!


DIRECTORY UPDATE Please update the AtoZConnect directory! You should have gotten an email which will prompt you to update the Freedom Hill Directory with your current information. Take 2 minutes to update your info for your child, teachers, and contact info.