FH Weekly Update - 3/3/24


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

We have an exciting and eventful new month ahead, beginning with our Read-A-Thon this week. We had such a blast kicking off the Read-A-Thon by welcoming local author Gabriella Aldeman, who shared her writing process with our students and read her book, Paula's Patches. It was fabulous for our students to hear more about her journey as child in Panama who became a author. 

As many of you know, this is our school's/PTA's primary fundraiser for the year, with proceeds benefitting the many extra programs and materials that we have at our school each year. Please see the PTA section below for more information on how to enroll your student(s). As parents and elementary educators, we know that reading is one of the most enriching activities for a child, and we are pleased to promote it this week during Read Across America Week. A BIG thank you to Amber Halaka, who is the PTA lead for our Read-A-Thon this year! 

This week, we also celebrate National School Social Work Week and want to give a special shout out to our school social worker, Mrs. Tara Rice. This week provides us with an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions that Mrs. Rice provides our students, staff, and community. Thank you, Mrs. Rice!

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

  • March 4 - 15 - 2024 Read-A-Thon
  • March 5 - Election Day, School Closed
  • March 7 - PTA Meeting, 6:00, Library
  • March 18 - 21 - Spring Book Fair, Updated Volunteer Flyer
  • March 22 - End of Q3
  • March 25 - 29 - Spring Break, School Closed
  • April 2 - Kindergarten Orientation, 2PM


2024-25 Staff Hiring

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 working on ONE of the FIVE overarching pillars of the Positivity Project. Identifying and appreciating the good in others can sometimes be difficult to do if we are too focused on ourselves.


“It’s not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.”  



Questions you might enjoy talking about:

  • What is expressing appreciation?
  • Why does it take COURAGE to express appreciation?
  • What are some ways you can show appreciation of others?
  • How does it make you feel when someone expresses appreciation?

Kindergarten Registration

As a reminder, kindergarten registration is now open.  Students that turn five prior to September 30, 2024 are eligible to attend kindergarten this fall.  Please reach out to our Student Information Assistant, Ms. Sujo, at ssujoromero@fcps.edu to schedule a registration appointment.  As as reminder, Kindergarten Orientation will be held Tuesday, April 2 at 2:30. You will learn more about the kindergarten curriculum from our staff, and your child will be able to visit classrooms and connect with new friends.  We hope to see many new and returning families on April 2! 


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!


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 tomorrow, 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 should start entering reading minutes Monday, March 4th. Contact readathon@freedomhillpta.org with any questions.

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!



Our next PTA meeting is in-person in the FHES library Thursday, March 7th at 6:00PM.  Agenda will be posted to the PTA website prior to the meeting.



The PTA still needs at least 2 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 week. 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!



Registration opens this Wednesday 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 8:10-9:10 AM and after school classes run from 4:15-5:15 PM. Limited financial aid opportunities are available for those who qualify. Thank you Ross Camara for organizing so many exciting options.