FH Weekly Update - 2/19/24


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

We hope you and your family are enjoying the long weekend! We certainly appreciated it after a busy week, with successful 3rd and 4th grade field trips, Valentine's Day celebrations, and of course our annual PTA Spelling Bee! Congratulations to our winner, Anjali S., who will represent Freedom Hill in the county-wide bee. Good luck, Anjali!

The fun and learning continues as we move toward the end of February. Please see details below for the upcoming Science Fair, Family Donuts Out opportunity, the annual Read-A-Thon, and the Spring Book Fair. Many of these events are facilitated by our fabulous PTA. Our organization is excited to welcome new parents into their leadership. It is a wonderful contribute to our school and learn more about our many families. Please email info@freedomhillpta.org with your interest. 

Have a great week!

In partnership,

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Assistant Principal

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

2023-24 FCPS School Calendar

FCPS Lunch Menu

  • February 23 - PTA Science Fair, 6:30PM
  • February 24 - Family Donuts Out, Donutchew of Vienna, 9AM-8PM
  • March 4 - 15 - 2024 Read-A-Thon
  • March 5 - Election Day, School Closed
  • March 18-21 - Spring Book Fair, Flyer


Smartwatch Usage at School

We have seen an increase in students using smartwatches and wearable technology in classes during the school day, and in particular to contact families. This causes a distraction to the student, their teachers, and classrooms. In accordance with FCPS SR&R, elementary students are not allowed to use the call/text function on smartwatches during the school day.  This policy includes non-instructional times including lunch and recess.  If your child is not feeling well, please remind them that they need to tell their teacher and we can support them in the clinic; they can call you from there. Please DO NOT call, message or reply to your child on their cell phone or smartwatch during the school day. Here is the language from the SR&R specific section regarding cell phones and smart watches. 

Elementary school Kindergarten-sixth grade 

Phones must be silenced and in backpacks for the duration of the school day. Watches that serve a dual purpose (e.g., smart watch) may be worn; however, phone features (e.g., texting, Internet, calls, etc.) are to be off when phone use is prohibited. Students are prohibited from using phones, tablets, and other mobile devices in restrooms and locker rooms, unless there is a medical necessity or emergency. Teachers may allow usage of cell phones for instructional activities where they are the most appropriate tool, however one-to-one FCPS devices should meet most needs. Cell phones may be used on campus only before and after school.  The full SR&R document is linked here.

Substitutes Needed!

Freedom Hill is eager to hire additional substitutes who are interested in working as instructional assistants in our preschool and special education classrooms. These individuals will support the classroom teacher and students from 9:00-4:00. If interested, please email the school principal, and apply for the position on the FCPS website. Pay bonuses are available this year for substitutes who work high volume days and/or achieve milestones of days worked. Thank you!

parent information

Our expert Instructional Support Team is excited to share the dates and topics for our new Family Learning Series. Our goal is to provide learning opportunities for parents / caregivers interested in a variety of topics related to our students' experiences. These will be held virtually so that topics can be recorded for families to view at a later time if desired. The first 30 minutes will be in English, and the second 30 minutes in Spanish. We look forward to seeing you!


  • Introduction to Advanced Academics with Mrs. Fredericks (September 2023, Link)
  • Full-Time Advanced Academics Screening with Mrs. Fredericks - for families with students in grades 2-6 (October 2023, Link)
  • Watch D.O.G.S. Kickoff Pizza Night with Dr. Zapadka, Mr. Kopacz. Please email David Hay with inquiries. 
  • Introduction to Special Education & Section 504 with Mrs. Tingler and Mr. Grumbach (Recording coming soon)

Later this Year:

  • March 13 - The Science of Reading - Our New Approach to Teaching with Mrs. Rossman and Mrs. Mansuy (7PM English, 7:30PM Spanish, Link TBD)
  • April 4 - All About the SOLs with Mr. Kopacz and Dr. Zapadka (7PM English, 7:30PM Spanish, Link TBD)

Black History Month


Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS. Learn more about Black History month.




This week, we are focusing on Humility. You do not seek the spotlight. You let your actions speak for themselves.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

                                         ~Rick Warren

Questions you might enjoy talking about.

  • How is being honest with yourself related to humility?
  • Would you be a good teacher of humility?

FCPS Summer Camp Information

The FCPS Career and Technical Education (CTE) office is once again planning engaging summer enrichment programs for students!  For our current Kindergarten - 5th grade students, we have Tech Adventure Camp.  For our current 6th - 11th grade students, we have CTE Summer Academy.  Please see the links below for more information and how to register.

Tech Adventure Camp (Gr. K-5), July 8-22

CTE Summer Academy (Gr. 6-11), July 8-26

Elementary Magnet School Application and Lottery Information

The Magnet Program registration window will be open from Tuesday, March 5, through Friday, April 12, 2024.  No late applications are accepted.

To learn more about the programs and the registration process, families are encouraged to attend one of the Parent Information Nights:

  • Bailey’s Upper, February 6, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. (Virtual only)
  • Hunters Woods Elementary, February 12, 2024, at 5:30 p.m. (In-person)
    • Snow date: February 26, 2024, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Bailey’s Primary, February 13, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. (In-person)
    • Snow date: February 21, 2024, at 6:00 p.m.

Eating Disorder Parent Information

In 2013, Virginia passed a law requiring every school system to provide information about eating disorders to parents/guardians of students in the fifth through twelfth grades annually. 

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA 2023),

Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental and physical illnesses that can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights. In the United States, 28.8 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

There is no single cause of an eating disorder. Rather, it is a complex combination of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors that converge and set off an individual’s predisposed genetic vulnerability.

In collaboration with the Fairfax County Health Department, FCPS has developed a web page with detailed information and resources about eating disorders.  To find out more, please visit the FCPS Eating Disorders website.

In addition to the information on the FCPS website, the National Eating Disorders Association has a toll free, confidential Helpline, 1-800-931-2237.

Hill Happenings


PTA Updates


Don’t forget to join us at this year’s Science Fair on Friday, from 6:30-7:30PM in the cafeteria. We are expecting nearly 50 student participants from grades K through 6 displaying over 30 projects.  Come learn about volcanoes, tornadoes, global warming, magic bubbles, soil and water, and many more exciting topics! There is no cost to attend this event.



Join us this coming Saturday, February 24th for something extra sweet - an all-day family donuts out at Donutchew of Vienna! From 9AM-8PM, Donutchew will donate 20% of all proceeds to the Freedom Hill PTA. Donutchew offers mochi donuts, croffles, and bubble tea - oh my! Located at 107 Maple Avenue West in the heart of Vienna, Donutchew is a great spot to start the day, catch an afternoon snack, or even an after-dinner treat.  



Congratulations to all the student participants, especially Anjali who came in 1st place and will move on to compete in the Fairfax County Bee on March 17th.



Students logged over 330,000 minutes of reading and raised over $10,000 last year for FHES. The proceeds collected from Read-A-Thon will be used to refresh two aging genre collections, as well as to continue to support hands-on materials for our phonics initiative for K-3 students. If we meet our school-wide goal of $10,000 raised, students get to throw water balloons at Principals during Field Day!  Look for more information to come home with students.



The PTA is looking for folks interested in volunteering with the PTA next school year (July 2024 - June 2025), whether that’s in a Board position or on one of our many committees. 


We are also looking for individuals interested in serving on this school year’s Nominating Committee.  The Nominating Committee will be elected at our next PTA meeting, Thursday, March 7th at 6:00PM in the FHES library.  They will then meet during March/April to review the PTA Board applications and determine a slate of candidates for the 2024-2025 school year that they will present at the April PTA meeting. Voting on the Board candidates will then occur at the following PTA meeting in the beginning of June.


If you have an interest in any position or just want more information, please send a message to info@freedomhillpta.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!



Looking for the PTA's School Directory? The directory is online! Visit https://freedomhillespta.memberhub.com/directory and log in using the email address you previously provided to the school. If you log in and do NOT have access, please send an email to directory@freedomhillpta.org with your name (first and last), the name of your student(s), and the corresponding teacher's name(s). Contact directory@freedomhillpta.org with any questions or concerns.