2023-2024 Welcome Letter from Dr. Fine & Mr. Payne
Welcome, Families and Students, to the 2023-24 school year at Flower Hill!
Welcome to Flower Hill Elementary School where we build our collective knowledge and cultivate belonging! I hope everyone has enjoyed an opportunity to rest, restore, and reconnect with family and friends this summer. This summer has been a busy one on and off our Hill. Over 120 students engaged in academics, enrichment, and wellness during our Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) summer school program this July at Harriet Tubman Elementary. Meanwhile, we were busy with construction at our Flower Hill Way campus and we are excited for our students and staff to see our fully renovated bathrooms that feature new floors, sinks, air dryers, and toilets! Finally, we are also planning a few community engagement opportunities to reconnect with you as we plan for the best school year yet!
Meet the Principals: Summer Engagement Opportunities
Flower Hill is excited to welcome Mr. Travis Payne as our new Principal Intern for the 2023-24 school year. Dr. Fine & Mr. Payne will be out in our community this August to meet with students and families. We hope to see you and share a popsicle at one of the three opportunities:
- Thursday, August 3rd at 5:00pm at Flower Hill Elementary School
- At the corner of Flower Hill Way and Mountain Laurel Lane
- Popsicles and Water will be provided
- Tuesday, August 15th at 5:00pm - Washington Square Apartments (Fairhaven Drive)
- Popsicles and Water will be provided
- Thursday, August 17th at 6:00pm - Zoom
- Join Zoom Meeting
- Meeting ID: 217 372 1362, Passcode: 268384
Back-to-School Kindergarten Play Date & Open House
Believe it or not, the school year is right around the corner. Flower Hill will hold a kindergarten play date and an open house to give all students and families an opportunity to see their classrooms, meet their teachers, and gain valuable information for the upcoming school year. Grade 1 - Grade 5 students will receive a welcome email from their teachers by Wednesday, August 23.
- Kindergarten Play Date
- Monday, August 21 from 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
- Meet in the Flower Hill Cafeteria
- Grade 1 - Grade 5 Open House
- Thursday, August 24 from 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
- At Flower Hill Elementary School
2023 -2024 School Priorities
This year, staff and students will work together to build knowledge and cultivate a sense of belonging for each child.
- Knowledge Building: Natalie Wexler, author of the The Knowledge Gap, writes “the more knowledge a child starts with, the more likely she is to acquire yet more knowledge. She’ll read more and understand and retain information better, because knowledge, like Velcro, sticks best to other related knowledge” (2019, 35). This year, along with our continued focus around the science of reading, we will be incorporating explicit instruction around vocabulary, writing, language, and comprehension as we build knowledge at Flower Hill.
- Belonging: Belonging is a feeling of connectedness to a group or community. At Flower Hill, we will promote virtues which cultivate inclusion, self-esteem, antiracism and friendship to ensure our school is safe, free from bullying & bias, and welcoming for each and every student.
2023-2024 Flower Hill Staff
Flower Hill has the World's Best Staff! We are excited to welcome new teachers and announce changes in some positions for the 2023-24 school year.
Please join me in welcoming these new staff members to our nest:
- Madison Aguilar, Kindergarten Teacher
- Toshi Saraogi, Grade 1 Teacher
- Bridget Gilbert, Grade 4 Teacher
- Harling Lagos, Kindergarten - Grade 2 Teacher within our Social Emotional Special Education Supports Unit
- Alexia Gunn, Grade 3 & Grade 4 Teacher within our Social Emotional Special Education Supports Unit
- Maggie Mae Malat, Instrumental Music
- Paige Niemeyer, Restorative Justice Coach
- Heather Levine, Primary Talent Development & English Language Department Teacher
- Shannon Medina, English Language Department Teacher
- Anthony Andrews, Paraeducator Social Emotional Special Education Supports Unit
- Beatriz del Rosario Cadillo Santa Maria, Paraeducator Social Emotional Special Education Supports Unit
- LaTricia Prather, Paraeducator Social Emotional Special Education Supports Unit
- Isaiah Sutton, Paraeducator
- Thomas McFarland, Building Service Assistant Manager
In addition to these new staff members, some of our veteran staff are taking new roles on the Hill this year:
- Ms. Sri Panchangam moves from our English Language Department to Grade 1 Teacher
- Ms. Kennedy Collins moves from Grade 4 Teacher to Grade 2 Teacher
- Ms. Catalina Diaz moves from English Language Department to Mindfulness Teacher
- Mr. Garland Owens from long-term substitute to paraeducator
Below are a few pieces of information to ensure everyone is ready for the upcoming school year. Please reach out to us directly at 240-740-5820 with any questions or concerns.
The first day of school is Monday, August 28th!
Student Arrival 8:40 am – 9:00 am
Breakfast in Classroom 8:40 am – 9:00 am
Instructional Hours 9:00 am - 3:25 pm
Pre K Morning/Afternoon 9:00-11:30 am / 12:55-3:25 pm
Arrival and Dismissal
All students must arrive before 9:00 am. Students walking to school or arriving by bus use our front entrance to enter the building. Students being dropped off by car and all kindergarten students may use our kindergarten entrance closest to our front playground to enter the building.
Students are dismissed at 3:25 pm on typical school days and 12:55 pm on early release days. Kindergarten students and students being picked up by car will be dismissed at our kindergarten entrance closest to our front playground. Students riding the bus home will be dismissed through our front entrance. Students walking home in grades 1-5 will be dismissed from the back of our building and parents who wish to meet them should wait on our back playground.
Attendance & Chronic Absenteeism
Your child’s daily attendance at school is the most critical component to their learning. In elementary school, children learn foundational reading and math skills that cannot be replicated through make-up work but have a huge impact on their entire academic careers. This school year, the Maryland State Department of Education will be tracking students who are Chronically absent. Chronic absence is when a student misses 10% (18 school days) or more of their days on roll for any reason, whether it is excused, unexcused or due to suspension. It is different from truancy which only measures unexcused absences or average daily attendance which measures the average number of students that show up each day of school. Chronic absence is the rate of absenteeism that highly correlates with students falling off the path toward academic success.
There will be no cost for breakfast and lunch this year! That's right, all students will receive the option of free breakfast and free lunch each day at Flower Hill. Last year, our community returned the Free & Reduced Meals forms at a high rate which made us eligible to become a Title 1 school and receive this benefit.
School Supply List
Our supply lists can be found in English and Spanish by grade-level on our school website.
Although all students will receive a chromebook to use during school this year, they will not be able to regularly take the chromebooks home. If your family would like a chromebook for home use, you may complete this form and MCPS will lend your child a device.
Bus Routes & Schedules
We have not yet received school bus schedules but will notify you when they arrive and ensure they can be accessed on our website. We are not expecting any changes to our bus routes from previous years.
On Friday, September 15 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, the PTA is hosting a back to school community event featuring large trucks, all sorts of different machinery, face painting, food, and fun. Save the date for this fun family event held here at Flower Hill.
On behalf of the staff at Flower Hill, we look forward to working together to ensure a successful school year for all students.
Joshua Fine & Travis Payne
Flower Hill Elementary School