FHES Back to School Update


Welcome to School Year 2022-23!

Dear Freedom Hill Community,

It is time to launch into another great school year! The staff at Freedom Hill have been working diligently to prepare a welcoming, safe environment for students and families. Our goals for the beginning of the year are like each school year – to know each child by name and by need, and to provide learning opportunities that allow our students to develop the skills they will need to make their dreams a reality.

Classroom teacher assignments were mailed from the school yesterday and should arrive soon. In addition, we look forward to hosting families on August 19 for our annual Open House. Times are listed below, and we have assigned times by last name to promote social distancing and time to speak with teachers. If you have several students, you are welcome to attend both sessions if needed to stop into each classroom. As with last year, we are hosting an earlier time for students and families in our specialized programs. 

We are still on the search for individuals interested in joining us as student monitors and substitute teachers. Please see below for more information!

We encourage our new and returning families to read this newsletter each weekend, making special note of the "Upcoming Dates" section below. We also feature updates from our wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic PTA at the end of each newsletter.

Finally, if you will be using the Kiss 'N Ride this year, please stop into the office on Thursday or Friday to pick up your number. We will be distributing them during Open House, as well. Families with students who take medications at school should also find a special note below about drop-off times. 

We look forward to continued partnership this year!

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Assistant Principal

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

2022-23 FCPS School Calendar

  • August 19 - Open House, 9:00-11:30 (see your times below)
  • August 22 - First Day of School 
  • August 30 - Virtual Back to School Night for Families, 6:00
  • September 9 - PTA Back to School Picnic, 5:30
  • September 28 - Watch D.O.G.S. Kickoff Night, 6:30-7:30PM

Medication Drop-Off Times


The school health room/clinic will be accepting medications for students from parents on August 17th from 1pm to 3pm and on  August 18th and 19th from 9am – 2:30pm.  Please be advised that there is a new process and paperwork for medication drop off this school year in the county.  All medication must be in new/unopened containers and there is another form to fill out, so please allow more time than in past years.

Open House - August 19

Each year we welcome families into the building the day before school starts for you to have an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher, to drop off school supplies, and to see their classroom. To alleviate parking and interior crowding, we will offer several sessions on Friday:

  • 9:00 - 9:45 - EAC, ID, IDS, and Preschool Class-based
  • 10:00 - 10:30 - Student Last Names A-L
  • 10:45 - 11:15 - Student Last Names M-Z

Some other details:

  • You will meet your child's teacher and visit the classroom to explore the safe and welcoming environment that our incredible teachers have created. 
  • If you cannot attend the Open House, staff members will be available on the first day of school to assist students in locating their classrooms. You could also look it up in your ParentVue account starting this Wednesday.
  • The PTA will be selling FH spirit wear in the lobby!

School Supply Lists

School supply lists for the 2022-23 school year can be found on our website


Your Help Needed!

We've had many families reach out this summer asking "how can I help in this coming school year?" As you likely know, the nation is currently faced with a significant teacher and school staff shortage. And while we are nearly fully staffed at Freedom Hill, we are looking for interested individuals to serve in a variety of essential support capacities. Here are a few opportunities - we ask your help in spreading these to any interested individuals:

  • Student monitors - we are searching for 2-3 individuals who will provide support to students throughout the school day at lunch, at recess, and around the school. This is a 7.0 hour per day role. Email your resume and contact information for your two most recent supervisors to Dr. Zapadka. 
  • Daily substitutes - a lack of consistent substitutes can cause significant daily hardship for schools. In order to ensure that our students are safe and supported each day, we would like to develop a list of 10 Freedom Hill community members who are interested in substituting consistently. If interested, please apply on the FCPS website and send an email to Ms. Cadena-Gonce and Dr. Zapadka
  • Calling all FH dads! We will be starting our long-awaited Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program this year. This program gives fathers or other caregivers the opportunity to spend a day volunteering in our school and being a presence in their student's academic life. We will be holding our informational Kickoff Night for the program (which will include pizza and refreshments for dads and students) on September 28. Mark your calendars!
  • PTA Volunteers - our wonderful PTA holds a variety of events throughout the school year that benefit and enrich our school community. Volunteers are needed! Please see the PTA section at the bottom of this newsletter.

Thank You!


A big thank you to our families and staff who helped the principals to weed and mulch our front bed last week! The school is looking great!

Transportation Information

Bus transportation information will be shared with families this week and will continue to be populated prior to the start of school. Please access the information via ParentVue. Additional information regarding bus transportation and how to access please access these links: 

Bus Delay Notification System  and the Transportation page.

Free and Reduced-Price Meals 22-23

Families must submit an application and be approved to be eligible for free and reduced-price meals for the 2022-23 school year.

Interested families are encouraged to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meal application ten days prior to the first day of the 2022-23 school year. The online application will be available later this summer and accessible via the FCPS homepage.  

Students approved for Free and Reduced-Price Meals may qualify for additional benefits such as waived or reduced fees for instruments, uniforms, field trips, and FCPS class fees. Schools also benefit from funding opportunities based on Free and Reduced Price Meal application numbers. 

Watch your email and our website for more information. Learn more about the Free and Reduced-Price Meal program online. If you have questions or need assistance with the Free and Reduced-Price Meals application, please contact the main office at 703-506-7800.

Follow us on Twitter at @FreedomHillES or #FHHighlights

new Ts

PTA Updates


Want to help but don't have time to be a PTA Chair? No worries! There are lots of smaller time commitment opportunities through out the year and here's one. Help sell spiritwear on August 19th between 10-11:30. We've set up a schedule in 30 minute shifts so people can of course go meet their child's teacher. Older kids who can manage cash can also help too! We'll be accepting cash, checks and use our iPads with Square for sales. Sign up genius is here!



Three cheers to three new chairs. Tina Helwig who is managing the Back to School Picnic, Aleksia Ilic Forster who is managing In Person Spiritwear Sales and Nicole Camara who is managing Family Dinners Out with training from Jen King. We just need a couple more key positions filled.  The first area is managing our FHES Spelling Bee! Thyaga Nandagopal has does this for so many years at FHES and would be a great trainer. The timing for this starts in late November/early December and wraps up by February. There are also a great many resources since this is a national program done by Scripps.  The second area is taking the lead with Halloween Movie Night. Tori Brent and Sahar Javadi can help train this person. Planning starts in September and the event is Friday, Oct. 21st. This is a great event to partner with a friend and do as co-chairs! Check out our FULL LIST of volunteers here for additional positions needed. Remember a PTA is nothing without its volunteers to support it and it can not rely on just a few people. Please email Sahar Javadi or Rachel Shabica for more details. We have additional PTA positions available - reach out to find out more info!