FH Weekly Update - 3/17/24


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

We hope you had a great week! We'd like to say a big THANK YOU for your support of the Read-A-Thon. Our students logged over 260,000 minutes of reading! We far surpassed our fundraising goal and are so pleased with how invested our students were in our goal of advancing literacy in our school. A big thanks to Amber Halaka for her continued coordination of our community fundraiser. Another big thank you to the staff, families, and students who participated in our 6th Grade Career Day, our 4th Grade Field Trip to the Baltimore Aquarium, and our collaborative Kindergarten/5th Grade Leprechaun Trap creation. Our students had so much fun!

ALSO on the topic of literacy, our Spring Book Fair kicks off this week. Ms. Trott has family nights set up for Wednesday and Thursday evening - see details below! Come support our wonderful library while picking up some great books!

ALSO ALSO on the topic of literacy, Mrs. Rossman and Mrs. Mansuy facilitated our Family Learning Series session on the new science of learning to read, and shared some information on how families can support their students reading at home. If you couldn't make it, the recording link can be found below. 

On the radar for the coming weeks - Spring Break, Kindergarten Orientation, Spring Picture Day, and the faculty vs. Westgate volleyball game. Don't forget that the Yearbook is now on sale (see purchase options below). 

Enjoy your week as we finish the third quarter of the year!


In partnership,

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Assistant Principal

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

2023-24 FCPS School Calendar

FCPS Lunch Menu

  • March 18 - 21 - Spring Book Fair, Updated Volunteer Flyer
  • March 22 - End of Quarter 3
  • March 22 - Spirit Wear Orders Due
  • March 24 - Spring Enrichment Registration Ends
  • March 25 - 29 - Spring Break, School Closed
  • April 1 & 2 - Staff Dev. Days, School Closed for Students
  • April 2 - Kindergarten Orientation, 2PM
  • April 4 - Spring Individual and Class Picture Day
  • April 10 - 3rd Quarter Report Cards Sent Home
  • April 19 - Freedom Hill vs. Westgate Faculty V-ball Game, 7PM


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. 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)
  • The Science of Reading & Supporting Your Child at Home with Mrs. Rossman and Mrs. Mansuy (Link)

Later this Year:

  • April 4 - All About the SOLs with Mr. Kopacz and Dr. Zapadka (7PM in English and Spanish)


Due to last week's Read-A-Thon, this week our school community will be focusing again 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 2:00. 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. 

Solar Eclipse on April 8th

☀️ Safely View the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8th

A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, April 8th, and will be viewable, depending on weather, in Fairfax County. The eclipse will begin in our area around 2:04 p.m. and end around 4:32 p.m., with the maximum eclipse occurring around 3:20 p.m. 

Because the timing overlaps with FH dismissal at 4:05 PM, it is crucial that students understand the importance of safe viewing practices. We encourage families to review these Solar Eclipse Resources, especially the eye safety information. We hope everyone takes the opportunity to learn more about this extraordinary natural phenomenon while prioritizing safe solar viewing.

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!

Hill Happenings


PTA Updates

With just this week of school before Spring Break, don’t forget to 1) purchase spirit wear, 2) register for before/after school classes, 3) spend Read-a-thon prize money, and 3) apply for a PTA Board position!



Thank you all for a great Read-a-thon!  We crossed the finish line with over 250,000 minutes read and raised over $13,000!  Reading was celebrated across all classrooms with finger flashlight Fridays, SCA spirit week, and teacher's choice rewards, like PJ day or movie time.

Congratulations to the students this year for meeting our school-wide goal! Students can look forward to throwing water balloons at the Principals during Field Day in June!

Students can still accept donations here, and should spend their prize money by Tuesday, March 26th by logging in here.  Questions? Contact readathon@freedomhillpta.org.



The PTA is looking for individuals to serve on the PTA Board next school year (July 2024 - June 2025). Position descriptions and an application form are available on the PTA website. Please submit your application by Thursday, April 4th - it takes less than 5 minutes to complete. If you have an interest in any position or just want more information, please send a message to info@freedomhillpta.org.



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 this Friday, March 22nd. Thank you Michelle Zahalsky for having us covered.



Mark your calendars for the annual Freedom Hill ES vs. Westgate ES staff volleyball game on Friday night, April 19th at Marshall High School. More information to come home in a flier after Spring Break.

Be sure to check out the spirit wear sale if you want to dress the part and show your support at the game!



Don’t want to worry about registering for a class while on Spring Break?  Register here today!  Registration is underway and will close Sunday, 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.