FH Weekly Update - 3/10/24


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

We hope you had a great week, and are not feeling too sleepy after losing an hour of sleep! Don't forget to move your clocks ahead one hour today if you have not already as Daylight Savings Time begins.

Last week, we had a fantastic start to our Read-A-Thon! A big thanks to the PTA, our families, and our staff for facilitating a great week focused on literacy and the love of reading for our students. We continue with another week! As part of our week of reading, we are holding a Spirit Week as well as our next Family Information Series meeting this Wednesday. Mrs. Rossman and Mrs. Mansuy (our reading specialists) will be discussing the new science of learning to read, as well as sharing some guidance on how families can support literacy at home. More details are below. 

Thanks to everyone who joined our March PTA meeting on Thursday. Our fabulous volunteers have organized some great events for our school in recent months. They are on the lookout for parents who are interested in serving on the PTA board next year as well as organizing events. Please consider joining! Please email Kerrey Olden with interest.  

Lastly, our Watch D.O.G.S. program has begun! We had several FH dads in the building last week, and we appreciate their time. If you'd like to sign up for an April date, please contact David Hay. Due to SOL preparations and testing, the program will be taking a break from April 30-May 31. 

Have a great week! Sending warm wishes to all of our families who are celebrating Ramadan. 


In partnership,

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Assistant Principal

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

2023-24 FCPS School Calendar

FCPS Lunch Menu

  • March 11 - 15 - 2024 Read-A-Thon, Week 2
  • March 11 - Religious/Cultural Observance - First Day of Ramadan
  • March 13 - Family Learning Series - Literacy, 7PM, Link
  • March 18 - 21 - Spring Book Fair, Updated Volunteer Flyer
  • March 22 - End of Quarter 3
  • March 25 - 29 - Spring Break, School Closed
  • April 2 - Kindergarten Orientation, 2PM
spirit week


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 (Link)

This Week

  • March 13 - The Science of Reading - Our New Approach to Teaching with Mrs. Rossman and Mrs. Mansuy (7PM - Simulcast in English/Spanish, Link)

Later this Year:

  • April 4 - All About the SOLs with Mr. Kopacz and Dr. Zapadka (7PM English, 7:30PM Spanish, Link TBD)


This week our school community will be focusing on the character strength of Perspective. Perspective means you appreciate when people see things in different ways. You have the ability to understand the world from multiple points of view.

Perspective is also referred to as wisdom and is distinct from intelligence. People with this strength are sought out for advice because they see the big picture and can make sense of the world’s complexity. This strength of perspective gives individuals the ability to see to the heart of difficult matters and achieve clarity. Most importantly, they are honest and behave in an ethically consistent manner. 

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!


In addition to the SOLs, 5th grade students will be taking the VA Integrated Writing Assessment on March 20. 

First Full Day of Ramadan


The first full day of Ramadan is Monday, March 11. In Islam, Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset each day, while striving to increase their spirituality through prayers, charity, and good deeds. Read more about Ramadan in National Geographic Kids.

FCPS Family Engagement Survey

FCPS’ Family Engagement Survey will is open.  Parents/caregivers will received the survey link via email from independent research firm K12 Insight. Please participate — your feedback is critical in helping to inform and improve practices to best support our students.

Taking this survey will also help strengthen the partnership between your family and your school. When that partnership is strong, students can experience a range of benefits including improved school readiness, higher student achievement, better social skills and behavior, and an increased likelihood of graduating high school.

The survey will take about 10-15 minutes to complete and will be available in 10 languages. Please visit the Family Engagement Survey webpage for more information. Your voice matters!

National Women’s History Month


Every year, March is designated Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history. Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS. Read more about Women’s History Month in National Geographic Kids.

Hill Happenings


PTA Updates


Freedom Hill readers are rounding the corner to this Friday’s finish line!  Our reading Eagles have already raised over $9,000 and have read over 100,00 minutes!!  We are almost to our school-wide prize of water balloons thrown at the Principals during Field Day if we raise $10,000.

If you haven’t already registered your reader and started to record minutes, help us finish strong by registering today. Contact readathon@freedomhillpta.org with any questions. Many thanks to Amber Halaka for putting together a great event once again!

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!



The PTA is thankful to all the staff that support our students and foster such a positive and caring environment. We’ll celebrate and show appreciation for all staff with breakfast this Thursday, March 14th beginning at 8AM. Sign up here if you can bring food or drinks.  Thank you Sarah Lyon for organizing!



The PTA is looking for any individuals interested in volunteering to serve on the PTA Board next school year (July 2024 - June 2025). Look for position descriptions and an application form to be posted on the PTA website later this 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!

Be on the lookout for more information on the many PTA committees that run the different events throughout the school year.



With many of us doing spring-cleaning, now’s a great time to look in your student’s closet to see if they need to refresh their FHES spirit wear!  Check out all the t-shirts, shorts and more available for online purchase here through Friday, March 22nd. Thank you Michelle Zahalsky for having us covered.



Don’t forget to register here for before or after school spring classes!  Registration is underway and will close Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59PM. 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.