FH Weekly Update - 2/25/24


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

We hope you and your family are enjoying the weekend! A big thank you to everyone who joined us for our annual Science Fair, and to Kerrey Olden and our PTA/student volunteers who helped make it such an enjoyable evening. It was an amazing opportunity to see our students pursue some different areas of passion, whether through magnetism, plants, chemistry, geology, space topics, and many more. Great work, everyone! 

On Thursday, we will be celebrating Leap Day with a spirit day - Leap into the Past. Students may dress like their favorite decade (80s, 90s, 2000s, etc.). We hope to see some fun apparel! 

This Friday, we kick off our Read-A-Thon by welcoming local guest author Gabriela Aldeman, who will be sharing her recent book Paula's Patches. Families will be receiving more information on supporting their students literacy journeys as we embark on our year's biggest fundraiser. You can also register now by seeing the link in our PTA section below. Thank you for your support!

As a reminder, FCPS will be closed on March 5. Our building will be used as a polling site for this year's primary elections. 


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 29 - LEAP Into the Past Day (Decades Day)
  • March 1 - Read-A-Thon Kickoff (Author Visit Event)
  • March 4 - 15 - 2024 Read-A-Thon
  • March 5 - Election Day, School Closed
  • March 18 - 21 - Spring Book Fair, Updated Volunteer Flyer
  • March 22 - End of Q3
  • March 25 - 29 - Spring Break, School Closed


2024-25 Staff Hiring

It may only be February, but we are already recruiting talented and motivated staff members to join our community for the 24-25 school year! We kicked off hiring by attending the FCPS Job Fair this weekend. Dr. Z, Ms. Bliss, and Mrs. Hingl spoke with interested candidates who were eager to hear about the great work of our school. We are expecting openings in the following areas, and ask for our families' support in referring interested candidates to us:

  • Teacher, Special Education (Autism)
  • Teacher, Special Education (Preschool Autism)
  • Instructional Assistant, Special Education 
  • Daily Substitute Teachers and Assistants 

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)




This week, we are focusing on Love of Learning. You master new topics and skills on your own or in school.

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”

                                                          ~B.B. King

Questions you might enjoy talking about:

  • What kinds of things do you like learning?
  • Do you think it’s true that you can learn ANYTHING?

What do you think are the benefits of loving to learn?

2024 SOL Testing Schedule

SOL testing will be taking place starting at the end of April this year for students in grades 3-6. The SOL assessments are content assessments that measure a student’s growth in Mathematics, Reading, and Science (5th grade only). These tests will be conducted during the morning of the dates listed in the table below. As always, please try to avoid absences/appointments during testing days and ensure that your child has a full night’s rest and good breakfast on their testing dates. Thank you!


SCA Leadership

Congratulations to our newly-elected Student Council!


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.

Hill Happenings


PTA Updates


Our Read-A-Thon starts Monday, March 4th! In addition to individual Read-A-Thon prizes, classes will compete for a surprise activity with the Principals, and a school-wide prize of water balloons thrown at the Principals during Field Day if we raise $10,000.

We encourage you to activate your reader’s account today!  Teachers and parents will be able to enter reading minutes after the Read-A-Thon starts.

How to register your reader? It's as easy as 1 - 2 - 3...Go!

1 - Go to this link: https://www.read-a-thon.com/readers/r/323738323432/1

2 - Find and select your reader’s teacher

3 - Search for and select your reader, then create your account

Go - Send out emails, texts, Facebook posts, or donate!

Need help? Contact readathon@freedomhillpta.org



Save the date for our next PTA meeting - in-person in the FHES library on Thursday, March 7th at 6:00PM



The PTA needs at least 3 PTA members interested in serving on this school year’s Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee meets at least once during March/April to review the PTA Board applications and determine a slate of candidates for the PTA Board for the 2024-2025 school year. The slate will be presented at the April PTA meeting. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please email info@freedomhillpta.org.

The PTA is also looking for any individuals 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. Look for more information, including application forms, to be posted on the PTA website in the coming weeks. 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!



Thank you to all the students that participated in this year’s science fair, and thank you to all the friends and family that came out and supported them. The cafeteria was buzzing on Friday night with excitement and energy and so many attendees said they were already looking forward to coming back next year!

It was so sweet seeing the FHES community at Donutchew on Saturday! Thank you for supporting the PTA.



Registration opens on March 6th, at 9AM for spring enrichment classes! Below is a preview of available classes.  Classes will run from April 3rd to May 31st; before school classes run 8:10-9:10AM and after school classes run from 4:15-5:15PM. Limited financial aid opportunities are available for those who qualify. Thank you Ross Camara for organizing so many exciting options.