FH Weekly Update - 4/21/24


Principals' Message

Dear Freedom Hill Families,

We hope you are enjoying a great weekend! Last week was a memorable one, with the staff volleyball game, the Marshall Pyramid Art Show, the 5th grade field trip, and more. What a pleasure to see so many members of our community supporting our students in staff around the area. Thank you, thank you! 

This week, we hope your family will join us for an Earth Spirit Week as we reflect on our planet and our responsibility to protect it. Staff Appreciation Week is also coming from May 6-10, and our wonderful PTA is planning a nice week of support for our staff. Have you thought about how you might say thank you to your teacher(s) this year? 

Lastly, this week is "Volunteer Appreciation Week". If you have volunteered at Freedom Hill this year in any capacity, please know how appreciated you are! The strength of our school community lies in its desire to support our students, and we couldn't be more thankful for you. 

Wishing a pleasant holiday this week to all of our families celebrating Passover or Theravada New Year. 

In partnership,

Nicholas Zapadka, Principal

Eric Kopacz, Assistant Principal

Upcoming Dates for Your Calendar

2023-24 FCPS School Calendar

FCPS Lunch Menu

  • April 22 - Earth Week Spirit Week
  • April 22/23 - Passover Observances (No evening FHES activities)
  • April 23 - Full Time AAP Family Orientation, 10AM
  • April 24 - Theravada New Year Observance (No tests/assessments at school)
  • April 30 - SOL Testing Begins (schedule below)
  • April 30 - PTA Family Dine Out Day - MOD Pizza / Ben & Jerry's - Vienna Shopping Center Locations




This week, we are focusing on the Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence. You notice and value the world’s beauty and people’s skills. You don’t take things for granted.


"Better to be blind and see with your heart than to have two good eyes and see nothing.”

                                                          ~Helen Keller


Questions you might enjoy talking about:

  • What do you think it means to see with your heart?

Why do you think we fail to notice the beauty around us?

Earth Week at Freedom Hill

For Earth Week, students are invited to wear the color matching each day’s theme to show your Earth Week spirit! You may also engage at home with this BINGO choice board!

  • Monday, April 22 – Earth Day - wear green
  • Tuesday, April 23 – Watershed Day - wear blue
  • Wednesday, April 24 – Zero Waste Day - wear white
  • Thursday, April 25 – Climate Change Day - wear red
  • Friday, April 26- Wildlife Day - wear nature print

Parent Input for Class Placement

As the 2023-2024 school year is coming to a close, your Freedom Hill staff is starting to prepare for the 2024-2025 school year. Class placement is one of the most important tasks that our staff engage in during the last weeks of school. When it comes to class placements, we consider many things, such as heterogeneous groupings, balancing academic abilities, and maximizing the support our resource teachers can provide students. 

If you feel that there is pertinent information to support your child’s success, please complete this optional Parent Input Form by Friday, May 24th.

Your child’s current classroom teacher, specialists, counselors, and administrators will collaborate to make well-balanced classes. We value and consider your insight into your child’s learning needs. Please note that this system is not intended for families to request specific teachers. 

Congratulations Q3 Soaring Eagles!

Last week we also celebrated our third quarterly Soaring Eagle Citizens. These students were selected by their teachers as students who showcase our Positivity Project traits, and who enrich our school culture through kindness, friendship, and respect. We hope they had fun eating lunch with our school counselor and principals! Many thanks to Ms. Hill for organizing this event. Congratulations to our Q3 Soaring Eagles:

Preschool / Adapted Programs:

Hadhif M. & Liam S. 


Abraham R., Chloe P., Madison C., Anderson W., Spruha T., Drake R.

1st Grade:

Andres Z., Scarlett R., Lucy B., Brandon C., Maya A., Diego O.

2nd Grade:

Sophia M., Michael F., Vedant H., Kira M., Liam J., Charlotte J.

3rd Grade:

Maria A., Samuel M., Ruth B., Josiah E., Elianny P., Nour E.

4th Grade: 

Alya A., Michael P., Roselyn L., Adam M., Gabriel A., Tala A.

5th Grade:

Radeen O., Allison G., Karim A., Claire O., Sophia M., Mohammad N. 

6th Grade:

Alex R., Karthika E., Yusuf S., Arjun J., Mia S. 


Summer Bookmobile Donation Request

The Freedom Hill Bookmobile is getting organized for summer 2024! We are in desperate need of our students’ favorite categories of books (click links to see examples):  I Can Read books,  2nd-3rd grade series books, graphic novels, and novels from easier to more complex for grades 4-6. We are low on storage as FHES grows, so we are accepting books that are within 5-10 years old and, hopefully, mostly I Can Read, 2nd-3rd grade series books, graphic novels and novels for grades 4th-6th graders. We have TONS of picture books, so you can hold onto those for now. Donations can be labeled as Bookmobile or Rossman and dropped in the main office. Students in need of service hours can reach out to Mrs. Rossman, msrossman@fcps.edu, to help her sort books. Our FHES students thank you!

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 (Intellectual Disabilities)
  • Teacher, Grades 4-6
  • Daily Substitute Teachers and Assistants 

School Pictures Available Soon!

Currently the photography company is working on processing all of the photos taken at Freedom Hill last week.  This usually takes 2-3 weeks.  Upon completion, you will be notified by email that the individual portraits and class photos are available to view and purchase through the Victor O’Neill Studios website.  You will also get a hard copy preview with ordering information in your child’s backpack after they arrive here from the company. We will provide an additional update when online viewing is ready.

Family Learning Series

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

Recording Coming Soon

  • All About the SOLs with Mr. Kopacz and Dr. Zapadka 


Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day 2024


Is April 25! Designed to be more than a career day, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work program goes beyond the average practice of “shadowing” an adult. Exposing children to what a parent or mentor does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities of work and family life, providing boys and girls a chance to share how they envision the future, and allowing them to begin steps toward their goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success. Learn more here

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!




Many Jewish communities in the United States celebrate Passover, a recognition of the deliverance of Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Passover is also known as Pesah, Pesach, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Many Jewish families in the United States eat a ceremonial meal known as the Seder, which involves telling the story of the exodus from Egypt as well as eating various symbolic foods, such as meat of the paschal lamb and bitter herbs, recalling the harsh life of slavery. Learn more about Passover in NatGeo Kids

Monday, April 22nd, and Tuesday, April 23rd, are designated half-O days in recognition of the first two days of Passover. Half-O days are full school days, but important events will not be held after school on those days. See the complete school year calendar.

Theravada New Year


In countries where Theravada Buddhism is the most dominant religion, New Year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon in April. Theravada means “the teachings of the elders.” Celebrations begin with people attending the local temple in the morning for chanting and meditation. In the afternoon they have a water festival in which they meet the Buddha image and pay respect to the elderly by watering their hands together. Building sandcastles is also one of the most popular activities during this day of celebration. 

Wednesday, April 24th, is designated as an O day for Theravada New Year. The school calendar recognizes many religious and cultural observances (O days) during the school year. There is school on these days, however tests, quizzes, field trips, graduation, homecoming, or FCPS-scheduled athletic events will not be held on these observance days. See the complete school year calendar.

Dr. Bussey Memorial Equity Award

Nominations are open for the 2024 Dr. Lawrence Bussey Memorial Equity Award.  The Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC) sponsors this award to honor the legacy of Dr. Bussey, a founding member of the MSAOC and a longtime advocate for students and families.  

This award recognizes staff or community members who have demonstrated significant and impactful efforts to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of students from groups who are marginalized or underserved.

Any FCPS employee, student, or community member can nominate an individual or group for the award. All nomination materials must be submitted by Wednesday, May 1st, 2024.  The winner will be recognized at the FCPS Equity Symposium.

Full details and the nomination information form can be found at the Dr. Lawrence Bussey Memorial Equity Award website

🎤 Our Schools, Our Future: Community Conversations Continue

Join Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid for Our Schools, Our Future – A Community Conversation. Your voice matters! Share your thoughts about FCPS and bring your questions to a conversation on:

Pre-registration for a Community Conversation is not required but will help FCPS plan. Childcare and interpretation services will be provided for all events based on staff availability. Events are open to all. Learn about other opportunities to connect with Dr. Reid.

Hill Happenings


PTA Updates


Thank you to all the fans who cheered on our wonderful staff in Friday night’s volleyball game.



Save the date for another opportunity to dine out (or take out) with the Freedom Hill community on Tuesday, April 30th at the Vienna Shopping Center located on Maple Ave West in downtown Vienna. Grab pizza at Mod Pizza all day (10:30AM to 10:00PM) and dessert from Ben & Jerry’s from 4PM to 9PM. If ordering online at Mod, use code MODGIVES20.  The PTA receives a portion of all sales from both locations!



This year’s SUN-sational Staff Appreciation Week is May 6th through May 10th. There will be treats for the staff all week long.  If you’re able, please sign-up to volunteer to lend a helping hand to set up/clean up, or bring in an item as needed. Look for a flier with all the details to come home this week, or check out the flier on the PTA website.



Nominate one (or more) staff or family members of our Freedom Hill community for the annual Harriette Best Award using this online form, or use the paper form that will come this week with your student(s).  Nominations are being accepted now through May 15th, and the award recipients will be announced at the year-end PTA Meeting on June 5th.


The Harriette Ann Best Award was instituted more than a decade ago by the FHES PTA as a tribute to honor former Assistant Principal Harriette Best. Mrs. Best was the epitome of dedication to the staff, students, and community of Freedom Hill from 1991 through 2003. She devoted hours of her own time and went above and beyond on a regular basis to assure that the staff and students at Freedom Hill had anything and everything they needed to be successful. This award is given each year to the parent(s) and/or staff member(s) who best exemplify the values and contributions for which Mrs. Best was known. A commemorative plaque hangs outside the cafeteria with all award recipients.