FHES Weekly Update: 1/31/2021


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

Thank you for your continued support at home as we march into the third quarter of our year. Last week, staff participated in professional development on using the Imagine Learning adaptive reading program. As a school, we are setting a goal of having all students access this program for a minimum of 30-minutes a week to ensure that we are all growing as readers. Our teachers will discuss this with students. If you are having any technical challenges accessing the program, please let your teacher know so that we can support.

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. We expect an update this week at the February 2 School Board meeting. The draft plan being proposed by the superintendent is below.

Please keep an eye on your email or on local news in case school delays/cancellations are issued. Wishing you a safe week and hope everyone can have some fun in the snow!

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Asst. Principal 

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

  • January 31 - Student intention survey due (see above)
  • February 1 - PTA Citizenship Contest Essays Due
  • February 3 - Curbside Library Checkout, 2-6PM
  • 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: Integrity




This week, we are focusing on Integrity. You are honest and speak the truth. You present yourself genuinely and sincerely.

“Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it.”


Questions you might enjoy talking about.

  • What does integrity mean to you?
  • When is difficult to show integrity in your day to day life?
  • Why is it important to show integrity in your relationships with others?

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!

Imagine Learning & Literacy

Imagine Language & Literacy is an adaptive program designed to accelerate reading and language proficiency in grades K-6. Staff and students are encouraged to use this engaging and adaptive program as a component of their instructional day. Access is easy through the link our school’s Digital Learning Tools Page https://freedomhilles.fcps.edu/index.php/digital-learning-tools


Congrats Dr. Z.!

Dear Freedom Hill Community Members,

It is with great joy that I present the news that our very own principal has received the award "2020-21 New Principal of the Year" in FCPS Region 2. Dr. Zapadka’s dedication and professionalism were evident from the first day I set foot in Freedom Hill and have not wavered for a single minute. His calming influence as a leader has helped us weather the coronavirus pandemic. By placing an emphasis on a shared enthusiasm for student learning and caring for one another, Dr. Zapadka has helped grow a school ethos driven by wonderful and resilient educators and community members.  Even when presented with his award, Dr. Zapadka was quick to point out the staff, students, and community members who make Freedom Hill a special place to learn and grow. Going forward, Dr. Zapadka will compete with the other Fairfax County regional winners for the title of "FCPS New Principal of the Year". Regardless of the outcome, I am happy to say that I work with an award winning principal every day.


Eric Kopacz

Assistant Principal


Stuff the Bus!


Fairfax County's Stuff the Bus food drive is back and committed to meeting the increased demand for food due to COVID-19. Donate nonperishable foods in person on Saturday, February 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at locations throughout Fairfax County. Social distancing will be in place. There is also an option to make monetary donations by visiting Stuff the Bus partner websites. More information here

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


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.