JHES Newsletter: Back to School Edition, 8.24.23

Thu, 08/24/2023 - 4:09pm

Upcoming Important Dates

  • August 25-

    • 11:00-11:30- Open House for PK-5

    • 11:30- Popsicles on the JHES Blacktop sponsored by the PTA

    • 11:45-12:15- JHES New Student and Family Orientation

    • 10:45-12:00- Zum school bus available for students and families to check out in the bus loop

    • 11:00-12:30- Family File and Tech Support Drop-In Session in the Art Room

  • August 28- First Day of School for all K-5 Students!

  • August 31- First Day of School for all Pre-K Students!

  • September 14-

    • Back to School Night for Grades 1-5

      • Standards-Based Instruction and Reporting Information Session for PreK-2nd Grade Parents/Guardians. 5:00-5:45 pm

      • Session 1: 6:00-7:00

      • Session 2: 7:00-7:45

  • September 19- Fall School Picture Day with Classic Photography


Staffing Updates for the 23-24 School Year

As we look forward to the new school year, we would like to extend our gratitude and best wishes to a few Jeffers Hill staff members who retired and/or moved on to new professional or personal endeavors.  Please join us as we say, “It’s never goodbye, it’s see you later!” to the following staff members:

  • Rebecca Biegel
  • Leanne Brech
  • Judy Burnett
  • Carolyn Dozat
  • Martha Torres-Gutierrez

We have many staff members serving in different capacities this school year.  Join us in congratulating the following staff members as they embark on new professional growth opportunities.

  • Sophia Posada, PK Special Educator to PK Teacher
  • Ai Wang, PK Special Education Paraeducator to PK Special Education Teacher
  • Krista McCormick, Kindergarten Teacher to 2nd Grade Teacher
  • Ashley Kibling, 1st Grade Teacher to Math Specialist
  • Kristina Dehaut-Acevedo, 3rd Grade Teacher to 5th Grade Teacher
  • Jacqueline Jarrett, PK Paraeducator to General Education Paraeducator for 1st-5th
  • Mihai Mihaela-Boyd, Lunch/Recess Monitor to Special Education Assistant 

Lastly, our Jeffers Hill family is GROWING! We are so excited to welcome several new staff members to our team.  Please join us in welcoming:

  • Jennifer Smith, Teacher’s Secretary  
  • Brenda Reyes, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Alexandra Hann, Kindergarten Teacher 
  • Lisa Balighian, 1st Grade Teacher
  • Katrina Hill, Alternative Education Teacher
  • Chidinma Sandra Amaramiro, Special Education Student Assistant
  • Carolyn Lunking, 5th Grade Teacher
  • Linda Tsai, ESOL Teacher
  • Kendra Johnson, Math Coach
  • Liz Babcock, Literacy Coach
  • Kailey Waskall, Occupational Therapist
  • Xiomara Hernandez, School Health Assistant
  • Ashley Marinelli, School-Based Mental Health Therapist
  • Marihah Hassan, Student Apprentice supporting Grade 3

Back to School Open House TOMORROW, Friday, August 25th

We can't wait to see you!!!!

We are so excited to welcome students and families back to Jeffers Hill tomorrow from 11:00-11:30 for our annual Open House.  During this time, students will have an opportunity to meet their new teacher and see their classroom.  We encourage families to bring their child's school supplies at this time so that students can begin to set up their desk and teachers have an opportunity to put away all of the supplies before the first day of school.  We encourage families to re-use supplies from last year, if available.  If you are unable to purchase and/or locate any of the items, we will ensure your child has what they need to be successful.  Please email Mrs. Golden, and/or Mrs. Moe if you need assistance or have questions.

It would be helpful to know your child's teacher's name before arriving to our open house, but if you do not know this information or can't access it, we will have staff available to help you get this information.  Please update and complete the Family File for each of your children so that you can gain access to this important information.  You can also check your email for a message from your child's teacher. 


If you need computer access or help completing the Family File for your children, we will have staff available to help and computer access for those who need it located in the Art Room. 

We will also have a Zum school bus on site parked in the bus loop in front of Jeffers Hill so that students can check out a bus, many for the first time, prior to the first day of school.

Update re: JHES Playgrounds

As we prepare ourselves for an amazing 2023-2024 school year, we want to share that Jeffers Hill Elementary School playgrounds (both K-2 and age 5-12) were scheduled to be replaced this summer, 2023.  However, the contractor recently informed our team that playgrounds will not be ready for the opening of this school year. While this is disappointing news, we are pleased that Columbia Association has graciously allowed us to temporarily use their playground directly adjacent to the school for all student recess shifts. School staff will ensure that all students who are using the playground are being monitored at all times. Please call the school at (410) 313-6872 if you have questions or would prefer that your child does not use the temporarily designated playground.

Update the Family File for each of your Students-  Every Child, Every Year!

Please note: Staff will be available on during Friday's Open House from 11:00-12:30 to help families complete the Family File or receive other Tech Help. Stop by the Art Room for assistance!

As we prepare to head back to school, it is time to update your child's Family File information in HCPSS Connect! Family File provides emergency contact and other important information for students within the Howard County Public School System. Completing Family File also ensures you are receiving importation information and updates for HCPSS and Jeffers Hill Elementary.  This information must be updated EACH school year for EACH child. Parents who have forgotten their login credentials for Family File may click the “Forgot Password” link on the sign-in page. If you need additional assistance, please call the school at 410-313-6872.

A video tutorial that explains the Family File process and written Family File directions can be found below:

Video Tutorial 
Family File Directions
Spanish Version 

If you have not completed your Family File for the current school year, please complete the following:

  • Log in to HCPSS Connect   
  • Select the Family File tab
  • Then click on Family File

Once logged in, parents/guardians will be asked to provide or update the following information:

  • Student information
  • Parent/guardian contact
  • Emergency contacts
  • Medical information
  • Arrival/dismissal procedures
  • Media release (photo approval)
  • Data confidentiality
  • PTA/PTSA directory

Changes of address may not be made through Family File. If you have recently moved, please contact JHES at 410-313-6872 as soon as possible as we need to update your address in our files as well.

Thank you for helping us gather this important information!


Please consider donating boxes of tissues and hand sanitizer to your child's teacher this year.  Thank you!

Registration for Pre-K and Kindergarten for the '23-'24 School Year
Pre-K: Families of children who will be four years old by September 1, 2023 may apply for Pre-K. For an application and more information about the program and 2023-2024 eligibility, please visit the HCPSS website. Parents/guardians should submit a completed application to hcpss_pk@hcpss.org or to their local elementary school. Pre-K Program Location fliers and posters have been distributed to all elementary schools; electronic versions of Pre-K applications and advertising fliers can be accessed on Canvas

Kindergarten: Registration for the 2023-2024 school year is open! Families of children who will be five years old by September 1, 2023 should enroll their child in kindergarten or submit a kindergarten waiver. “It’s Time to Register for Kindergarten” fliers and posters have been distributed to all elementary schools; electronic files can be accessed on Canvas. Families can find more information about enrolling children in kindergarten, as well as resources to support kindergarten readiness, the kindergarten waiver, and more on the HCPSS website.

JHES Start/End Times and Transportation Updates

Many changes have been made to school start times and transportation across Howard County schools. This school year, our school day will begin at 8:40 and end at 3:10.  Please note: the first bell will ring at 8:25 to give students enough time to enjoy breakfast and get ready for their day.  Our learning day begins at 8:40 sharp!  Aim to be early for school so that your child has ample time to settle in, eat breakfast, and start their day off in a positive way!  No one likes to feel rushed in the morning!

For families that receive bus transportation, bus stop information for the 2023-2024 school year is now available and can be accessed online via the Bus Stop Locator or HCPSS Connect Synergy under More Options and then Homeroom / Transportation / POS.

For families that do not receive bus transportation, if your child will be walking or riding their bike to school, we encourage you to take time now to familiarize your child with their route to and from school. Map out and walk the route between your home and school to ensure all roads, sidewalks and pathways are familiar for your child. In addition, review crosswalks and intersections that are safe for crossing the road if required and review safe pedestrian tips with your student. If you encounter any issues regarding safety as you walk these routes with your student, please contact the HCPSS Office of Student Transportationto make HCPSS staff aware. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact the school with questions related to the information provided here, or anything else related to traveling to and from school. Thank you for your partnership and we look forward to welcoming students to school on August 28!

DIBELS Screener Notification

The first DIBELS screener window begins September 11, 2023. To learn more about this assessment given to students in K-5, please read the Universal Screener Notification.

Message from HCPSS Food and Nutrition Services

HCPSS no longer will use Nutrislice for school menus or MySchoolBucks for meal payments. LINQ Connect is a secure, online portal that allows families to view breakfast and lunch menus, make online meal payments, monitor their child’s account, schedule automatic recurring payments, set up low balance alerts, submit a Free and Reduced Meals program application, and more. Details and information are available online.

Lunch/Recess Monitor Position Available at Jeffers Hill

Lunch and recess monitors, in collaboration with school staff, supervise a large group of students in the cafeteria and/or on the playground. The monitor works to promote a safe and nurturing cafeteria and playground environment for all students.  Monitors work for 3 hours per day, 10:40 am-1:40 pm The rate of pay is $15.00/hour. Click here for more information about this position.  Email Colleen Golden (Colleen_Golden@hcpss.org), Assistant Principal, with any questions or to express your interest in the position.

Howard County Health Department Back to School Vaccination Clinic, 8/28 and 8/29

Please see attached flyers in English and Spanish for the Howard County Health Department's FREE Back to School Vaccination Clinic on August 28th and 29th from 3:00-7:00 pm. 

BTS Vaccination Clinic- English

BTS Vaccination Clinic- Spanish


HCPSS Bullying Policy Information

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for all students. Preventing bullying is an important part of this goal.  HCPSS Policy 9460 states that bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation are prohibited in HCPSS. The BCHI Reporting Form should be used to report all alleged incidents of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation that occur at school or have a connection back to the school setting that create a risk of harm to other students while they are at school, or interfere with the educational environment. An online version is available and can easily and confidentially be used by students, staff, and family members. Hard copies of this form are available in the main office, staff workroom, school counseling office, media center, and health services office.  If you believe that a student has been bullied, please complete and submit this form as soon as possible. 


Once the form is submitted, school administrators will ensure the parent/guardian of both the alleged target and alleged offender are aware of the report and will begin an investigation within two school days of receiving the report. Parents/guardians can expect a school administrator to reach out to them during the investigation.  Once the investigation is completed, parents/guardians will be provided written notice of the outcome of the investigation within fifteen days of receiving the complaint, excluding extenuating circumstances. 


We want to take a moment to specifically lift up cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying using electronic media like computers, cell phones, and game systems. Our digital interconnectedness makes bullying different and more damaging than it’s ever been before. It allows hatred and publicly humiliating gossip or photos to be instantly far-reaching and inescapable as electronic media is everywhere. It can NOT simply be ignored. In October 2013, the State of Maryland enacted Grace’s Law, making misuse of interactive computer services a criminal offense. Its purpose is to prohibit anyone from using electronic media (computers, tablets, phones, etc.) to maliciously engage in conduct that inflicts serious emotional distress on a minor and/or places that minor in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury. A person who is found guilty of violating this law is subject to imprisonment and/or fines. While this will be reviewed with students at school, we are asking you to do the same at home. Thank you for your partnership.

More information can be found on the HCPSS Stop Bullying website. If you have any questions regarding this policy or its implementation, please contact a school administrator.

Supply List for the 23-24 School Year

Please view the school supply list for students for the 23-24 school year.  If you are unable to purchase and/or locate any of the items, we will ensure your child has what they need to be successful.  Please email Mrs. Strong, Mrs. Golden, and/or Mrs. Moe if you need assistance or have questions.

Related Arts Color Day Calendar for the 23-24 School Year

Please view the Related Arts Color Day Calendar for this school year. 

HCPSS Community News / Events

Families can quickly discover educational and recreational resources, events, and after-school programs offered by community non-profits on HCPSS’s new Community News and Programs website.