The Weekly Duck

Thu, 09/14/2023 - 3:48pm




 It is hard to believe next week starts our fourth week of the 2023-34 school year. WOW! It is an exciting time to be a Mighty Duck! As we visit classrooms we are proud to see our students focused on academics, working collaboratively, and being kind to each other. We have definitely settled into the routines of the new school year.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Friday, September 15, 2023 and ends at sundown on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Jewish High Holidays and is followed by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. To our students, families, and community members who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, “Shana Tovah.” Happy New Year!


Have a wonderful weekend!







  • 15 - Rosh Hashanah Begins at Sundown - Schools and Offices Closed
  • 20 - HCPSS Changes to School Start & Dismissal Times Begions (see information Below)
  • 20 - K-2 Standards Based Instruction and Reporting Family Night, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • 25 -Yom Kippur - Schools and Offices Closed
  • 28 - PTA Restaurant Night ~ Crazy Mason, 4:00-7:00 p.m.
  • 29 - PTA Back-To-School BlackTop Bingo, Pavilion Opens @6:15pm, Bingo starts at 6:45


  • 9 - Schools Closed for Students, Professional Learning Day
  • 20 - Schools Closed for Students, Professional Work Day
  • 25 - Flu/COVID Vaccine Clinic (more information to come)
  • 31 - End of Q1, 3hr Early Dismissal at 12:45 p.m.






New School Start Times Effective Sept. 20

The following is adapted from a message sent by HCPSS Superintendent, Dr. Michael Martirano to HCPSS families on Tuesday, Sept 12, 2023:

I am writing to share school start time changes that will take effect on Wednesday, Sept. 20, to better support the on-time arrival of school buses. It has been frustrating to know that thousands of students are experiencing delays that have interrupted instructional time at the beginning of the day and that some students are getting dropped off nearly two hours after their dismissal.

During the first few days of the school year, we addressed several logistical issues that impacted transportation. However, despite these adjustments, the biggest issue impacting the ability of bus drivers to deliver students to school in the morning and home in the afternoon on time is insufficient time between our school start times. Buses quickly become delayed at our earliest schools based on insufficient route timing, traffic delays, and competing with student drivers/car drop-offs entering and exiting schools at the same time. This results in a domino effect, and buses become later and later as they serve additional schools on their routes.

Board of Education policy allows me to adjust start times by 10 minutes or less. To build additional time into the student transportation schedule and prioritize getting every student to school on time, I am utilizing this flexibility to shift school start times effective Wednesday, Sept. 20. Start times will continue to follow the tier model the Board of Education approved in February.

The chart below also is available online.

Tiers (View Tiers) Current New
(Effective 9/20/23)
Tier 1 High and Middle Schools 8:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. 7:50 a.m. - 2:35 p.m.
Tier 2 Middle Schools 8:40 a.m. - 3:25 p.m. 8:30 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Tier 2 Elementary Schools 8:40 a.m. - 3:10 p.m. 8:45 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Tier 2 AM Pre-K 8:40 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. 8:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Tier 2 PM Pre-K 12:40 p.m. - 3:10 p.m. 12:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Tier 3 Elementary Schools 9:15 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. 9:25 a.m. - 3:55 p.m.
Tier 3 AM Pre-K 9:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 9:25 a.m. - 11:55 a.m.
Tier 3 PM Pre-K 1:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. 1:25 p.m. - 3:55 p.m.

I am sure you will have additional questions. We are working on updating the HCPSS website and FAQs, as well as addressing the impacts this may have on specific groups of students. Please note that the HCPSS Bus Locator is currently offline so it can be updated with the new times. Families will be notified as soon as it becomes available. A daily community update will be provided regarding transportation through September 20.

Adjusting start times is not a decision I made lightly. I know this is a big ask of families several weeks into the school year, impacting the times parents/guardians may need to be home, arrange for childcare, etc., however it is a necessary action. Our schools and staff will continue to be accommodating as students and families adjust to the new start and dismissal times.

Additionally, we anticipate the first day of implementation will not be perfect as bus drivers, students, staff and families adjust to the new times and account for traffic patterns and other factors and I ask for your patience and grace as we begin this implementation. I am optimistic that based on the data and the additional slack in the schedule, we will see improvements in the on-time arrival compared to the current arrival schedule.

Please click here  for the New Start & Dismissal Times form Manor Woods ES.   



WHEN:  Wednesday, September 20th @ 5:30 PM

WHERE:  This is a VIRTUAL Event


** Parents/Guardians will need to log in with student credentials. **


K-2 - Standards Based Instruction and Reporting Information Night for parents/guardians of students in Kindergarten ~ 2nd Grade 

Elementary Standards Based Instruction and Reporting Family and Community Resources



Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th each year in the United States. This celebration honors numerous people from Spanish-speaking backgrounds who have come to the United States. We celebrate their cultures and traditions during this month. September 15th was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Also, Mexico celebrates its independence day on September 16th and Chile celebrates its independence day on September 18th. 

Check out these websites for more information about Hispanic Heritage Month and how you can celebrate virtually and at home! 


MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Testing

The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment is designed to measure a student’s academic achievement and growth over time in reading and mathematics. Together with other classroom-based information, MAP results can help teachers make instructional decisions that match the needs of each child.  This fall, students in grades 1-5 will take the MAP assessment in both reading and math.  Please see the testing dates below.  For more information about the MAP assessment visit

MAP Math
First Grade - September 19
Second Grade - September 27
Third Grade - October 10
Fourth Grade - September 26
Fifth Grade - September 27

MAP Reading
First Grade - September 18
Second Grade - October 4
Third Grade - October 3
Fourth Grade - October 2
Fifth Grade - October 12


BSAP Saturday Math Academy 

The HCPSS Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) Saturday Math Academy Fall Session is approaching! 

This year, the BSAP Saturday Math Academy will offer an in-person enrichment program for Howard County Public School System students in all levels of math for grades 3-12 based on course availability. Registration will take place online Saturday, September 16, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. until capacity is reached. Class space is limited. Families can register by accessing the HCPSS Connect Website. For more information, please visit:  

Flyers for distribution: 

BSAP SMA Fall 2023 Flyer (English)

BSAP SMA Fall 2023 Flyer (Spanish)

BSAP SMA Fall 2023 Flyer (Chinese)

BSAP SMA Fall 2023 Flyer (Korean)



All students in 4th and 5th grades are welcome to join the Manor Woods Chorus.  PLEASE read the attachment in the link to find out how easy it is to be a member of such a wonderful performing ensemble.  Our first Chorus rehearsal will be next week!  

Thank you to everyone who has already signed up!  WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE PARTICIPANTS!

How do you sign up?  Please use either the QR code on the attachment or print and fill out the paper and return the bottom portion to school by Friday, September 15. LINK TO FORM: CHORUS SIGN-UP! Please email if you have ANY questions!


Mr. Dobson & Ms. Rinaldi




If you haven't already, please take a moment to join the PTA! It's quick, easy and membership funds help to support our school! The PTA funds and supports school-wide presentations, family fun events, teacher appreciation activities, items needed by the teachers for their lessons and classrooms and much more!

Join Today!

Did you know the PTA has a Facebook group to stay up to date with PTA events? Join here today!

Spirit Wear has arrived!

We have some exciting new items this year!

All orders will be placed online and shipped to Manor Woods. Items will be sent home with the students through their homeroom teacher a few weeks after all ordering is complete.

Please contact Jennie Hardy if you have any questions.


Community News & Events

HCPSS News                      

Families are encouraged to visit the HCPSS website for all your needs, including:

HCPSS Student & Parent Handbook

Click HERE for the county's 2022-23 handbook.  The Student & Parent Handbook can be found online and outlines districtwide practices and policies related to parents and students, including the Student Code of Conduct, school procedures, student responsibilities and more. 

HCPSS Student Code of Conduct

The Howard County Public School System is committed to providing a safe, engaging and supportive learning environment where all policies are enforced fairly and consistently. HCPSS policies and regulations emphasize instruction and rehabilitation rather than punishment and are designed to foster and reward appropriate behavior and keep students connected to school so they can graduate college and career ready. Please read and review the HCPSS student code of conduct with your child(ren) before the school year begins:



Click here to access the 9/8/23 Weekly Duck


Mandatory PE Attire

For a link to the HCPSS Physical Education guidelines for mandatory PE class attire, CLICK HERE.

The Importance of Attendance 

September is Attendance Awareness Month! Attendance in school is extremely important for student success. To stay on track in school, students need to be present every day. Missing 18 or more days of school in a year puts a child’s high school graduation at risk.  Being absent for just two days every month of the school year can put a child behind academically. 

Students with regular attendance are more likely to read well by third grade and score higher on tests. They also tend to be more engaged in school and feel better about themselves. 

Make school a priority. Every absence (excused or not) can impact a child’s academic achievement. Talk to your child about how important their education is. Make daily routines for homework and waking up on time for school. Maintain communication with teachers and keep an eye on your child’s academic progress.

Schedule wisely. Know your school’s calendar, and arrange doctor and dentist appointments after school, on weekends, or during holiday breaks, if possible. Resist the urge to schedule vacations when students will miss school. This could give students the impression that school is not a priority.

Important Reminders about Absences

Important Reminders About Absences

Reporting absences

To report a student’s absence, please email the following group email address: In your message please include the student’s first and last name, grade, teacher, why they are absent and the days absent. 

The school must receive a note, handwritten or emailed, from the parent or physician explaining the absence/tardiness of a student within two school days of the student’s return or the absence/tardiness will be unlawful/unexcused. When a doctor’s certification for chronic illness has been required and not provided within two school days of the student’s return, the absence/tardiness will be recorded as unlawful/unexcused until a doctor’s certificate is provided.

For absences of up to 3 days per year, the principal may determine whether the absences will be lawful/excused or unlawful/unexcused. Completed the Discretionary Absence Form. Submit the form to for the principal’s approval.

For absences in excess of three days, the principal in consultation with the administrative directors will determine if the absences will be lawful/excused or unlawful/unexcused. If the request is for 15 consecutive days or more, the written request should be submitted 2 weeks in advance.

Students with unlawful absences of 10 consecutive school days or more will be withdrawn from school and may be allowed to re-enroll, provided they meet enrollment requirements, upon their return. Students returning from lawful absences have an equal number of days to complete make-up work. 


School Counseling News

Welcome back! We're off to a great start to the 2023-24 school year here at Manor Woods. Ms. Heinlein and Mrs. Salapata, School Counselors, are here to support our students and families. Mrs. Heinlein works with grades K, 1, 4 and 5. Mrs. Salapata works with grades 2 and 3. Please reach out to us through email or by calling 410-313-7165 if we can be of assistance. 

Lunch Information

New! Student Meals & Payments

New for the 2023-2024 school year, HCPSS no longer will use Nutrislice for school menus or MySchoolBucks for payment. Instead, we have a new parent site for all things food and nutrition. LINQ Connect is a secure, online portal that allows families to make online payments to their child’s meal account, monitor their child’s account, schedule automatic recurring payments, set up low balance alerts, submit a Free and Reduced Meals program application, and more.
Please note: MySchoolBucks meal balances were automatically transferred to LINQ Connect. If your child had a balance at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, when you add your child to your profile, that meal balance will be displayed. To request a refund of meal balances at any time, complete this brief online form.

For the 2023-2024 school year, students whose families do not qualify for free or reduced lunch will be required to pay the daily meal price.

  • Breakfast - $2.00

  • Lunch - $2.80

MWES Breakfast and Lunch Menus

Information and Application for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs)

The HCPSS participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Students from households that meet federal income guidelines are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. Qualification is based on family size and income, and enrollment is confidential. All children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get free meals regardless of income, and students from households that meet federal income guidelines are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. Those eligible for Free and Reduced Meals receive both breakfast and lunch for free.

Parents/guardians must submit a new application every school year to maintain their student’s eligibility. Click the button below to apply.

Volunteers ~ Reminders/Information

All visitors and volunteers must complete the following documentation prior to volunteering: Confidentiality Training Course and Child Abuse Training course. Parents should print out the certificates associated with these trainings (below) and hand them in to the Front Office.  Confidentiality Training Certificate and Child Abuse Training Certificate

Howard County Recreation and Parks

Fall 2023 Howard County Recreation & Parks After School classes for students at Manor Woods ES. 

These classes provide fun, structured, educational, and enriching activities for students, benefitting both the child(ren) and parents!

Please click here to view classes:  Manor Woods Elementary Fall After School Flyer (1).pdf  

Sensory Friendly Story Time 

Thanks to a continued partnership between OEIS, the HCPSS Family Support & Resource Center, and the Howard County Public Library System, we are pleased to announce the return of the Sensory Friendly Story Time & More series. These monthly classes provide an opportunity for families to experience stories, music, and movement in a supportive environment. Classes will rotate throughout the County at different HCPL branches each month. Space is limited and registration is required. The first classes are coming up on 9/13/23 and 10/11/23, please see these fliers for details & share with families! Sensory Stories_September 2023 and Sensory Stories_October 2023