AES Panther Press

Thu, 12/29/2022 - 10:56am

AES Panther Press

May 26, 2023


From the Principal’s Press Box….


Welcome to the end of May. It is hard to believe that we are almost to the last two weeks of the school year. We have had a very busy two weeks at AES….many fun filled events for our AES Panther friends!  We started off with our annual Field Day. Our students got to have a day of fun and games with their classmates as well as participate in some friendly competition.  We want to thank Ms. Smalls and Mr. Graham for facilitating and organizing this event. We also want to thank our AES PTA for the generous orange slices, water, and FreezePops….what an awesome treat!  In addition to Field Day, we honored all of our AES Volunteers throughout the school year who help out in our school as well at various events.  We are grateful for all their time, dedication, and hard work. You are the best!  


Our next event was our PTA AES Fun Run. It was great to see our whole school community come together for this annual event. Our thanks to the AES Fun Run Committee who organized and coordinated this for our AES families and community.  We want to give a special thanks to Dr. Calvin Ball, our very own Howard County Executive, who took time out of his busy schedule to stop by and kick off this special day for us.  


We also want to give a special shout out to our AES Band, Strings, and Chorus students who put on two amazing performances this past two weeks.  You are all so talented and have worked so hard on preparing for your spring concerts. We are proud of your accomplishments. Way to go!


Lastly, our fifth graders participated in our annual 5th Grade Simulated Congressional Hearings.  Our students did a fantastic job showcasing their knowledge about the important functions of our government. We are proud of each of you.


As you all may be aware, the conclusion of each school year brings about many changes to our school and staff based on a variety of factors.  Please know that these changes are all based on projected enrollment for AES.  Enrollment does fluctuate throughout the summer and staffing is subject to change as a result.  As of today, here is the number of classrooms per grade level.


Kindergarten- 4 sections

Grade 1- 4 sections

Grade 2- 5 sections

Grade 3- 3 sections

Grade 4- 3 sections

Grade 5- 3 sections


We will continue to keep the community updated if any staffing changes are necessary in the next few weeks as well as during the summer months.  



Ms. Malcotti

Ms. Tracy




  • May 29: Schools and Offices Closed

  • May 30: PreK Field Trip to Clark’s Elioak Farm

  • May 30: Gr.3 Field Trip to Sharp’s Farm

  • May 31: Gr.5 Field Trip to Annapolis

  • June 1: Gr. 5 Middle School Visit

  • June 1: HoCo Public Library Summer Reading Program Presentations during Related Arts

  • June 1: Gr 4 Financial Literacy/Career Day

  • June 5: Summer School Orientation, 6:30 pm

  • June 6: RECC Promotion

  • June 7: 3-hour Early Dismissal

  • June 8: 5th  Grade Promotion

  • June 9: Pre-K Promotion 

  • June 12: 3-hour Early Dismissal

  • June 13: 3-hour Early Dismissal

  • June 14: LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! 3-hour Early Dismissal 

  • June 16:Report cards available in HCPSS Connect at 4pm

Related Arts Color Schedule


  HCPSS Indicators of Educational Equity Survey (IEES) DUE MAY 31 

As part of our school improvement process, we are asking families to provide input about their equity priorities at our school. Please use the link below to complete the HCPSS Indicators of Educational Equity Survey by May 31st. We will use your input, along with other school data, to refine our school improvement plan for next year. 


This survey is anonymous and available in multiple languages. If you have children at more than one school, please complete one survey per school. 



If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Robin Malcotti, principal, at or Ms. Heather Tracy, assistant principal,  or Ms. DeNeatra Barkley, Area 1 ODEI coordinator,



Register by June 1 for 2023-2024 Bus Service
Families whose students are eligible for HCPSS-provided transportation are required to register by June 1 to receive bus service for the 2023-2024 school year. Families who reside in non-transportation areas and those who have students who receive transportation as part of their IEP or 504 Plan do not need to take any action.


Preschool End of Year June 6th:

Our Preschool End of Year Celebration will be held on Tuesday, June 6th @ 10:00 am (AM class)and 2:00 pm (PM class). Tickets are required for entry.

We are able to accommodate up to 5 guests per student. Tickets will go home in Friday folders on June 2nd. If parents wish to sign out a sibling to attend the program, they may, but the sibling must have a ticket to attend. Strollers are not permitted in the cafeteria, but can be housed in the conference room and/or our lobby during the event.

NOTE: Please be courteous of our neighbors and only park on one side of the street with all four wheels on the road. This will allow safe passage going in both directions on the street. Thank you!


5th Grade Promotion June 8th:

Our 5th graders have worked so hard this year! 

Our 5th Grade Promotion Celebration will be held on Thursday, June 8th @ 9:45 am. 

Tickets are required for entry.

Due to fire code regulations in our cafeteria we are able to accommodate 3 guests per student. Tickets will go home in Friday folders on June 2nd. If parents wish to sign their younger student out to attend the program, they must also have a ticket. Strollers are not permitted in the cafeteria, but can be housed in the conference room and/or our lobby during the event.

NOTE: Please be courteous to our neighbors and only park on one side of the street with all four wheels on the road. This will allow safe passage going in both directions on the street. Thank you!


Pre-K Promotion Ceremony June 9th

Our Pre-kindergartners have worked so hard this year! 

Our Pre-K Promotion Celebration will be held on Friday, June 9th @ 9:45 am. 

Tickets are required for entry. We are able to accommodate 3 guests per student. 

Tickets will go home in Friday folders on June 2nd. If parents wish to sign out a sibling to attend the program, they may, but the sibling must have a ticket to attend. Strollers are not permitted in the cafeteria, but can be housed in the conference room and/or our lobby during the event.

NOTE: Please be courteous of our neighbors and only park on one side of the street with all four wheels on the road. This will allow safe passage going in both directions on the street. Thank you!

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Pre-K team



Kindergarten, Here we Come!


The Howard County Library System will be hosting Kindergarten, Here We Come classes this summer!  These 45-60 minute classes will be offered during July and August at different branches of the library.  Classes will include an opportunity for children to practice boarding a school bus.  Some classes will be offered in English and some will be offered in Spanish.  Registration is required. Please go to for class details and registration.  More information can be found here.



Summer Curriculum Resources

The elementary curriculum offices have compiled several activities and strategies for students to enhance their learning during the summer. The resource can be found on the Canvas Parent Pages linked below.


Pre-K Programs for SY 2023-2024

The HCPSS Pre-K program is accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year! Families of children who will be four years old by September 1, 2023 may apply. The HCPSS Pre-K program is at no cost to families, and some locations are full-day.  Families or guardians can submit a completed application to or to their local elementary school. For an application and more information about the program and eligibility guidelines, please visit the HCPSS website or contact Early Childhood Programs at 410-313-6836.



Pre-K Accreditation


During the 2022-2023 school year our Pre-K program at Atholton Elementary School has been participating in Maryland Accreditation.


Maryland Accreditation is…

  • A way for programs to demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality learning environments.

  • A process for demonstrating and verifying program effectiveness and continuous improvement using the Maryland Accreditation Standards.

  • A process in which programs commit to, and demonstrate continuous quality improvement to benefit children, families, and staff.


As part of this process, we completed a self-appraisal earlier in the school year to help us take a deeper look at the quality of our program. The self-appraisal team consisted of a parent, an administrator, a parent, and a representative from the Office of Early Childhood Programs. The results of the self-appraisal helped us to develop a Program Improvement Plan.  Some of the goals we have been addressing include:

  • Communicating with staff, families, and the community about the Pre-K Accreditation process

  • Increasing the variety of materials and experiences available to students during recess

  • Ensuring that students can “see” themselves in the classroom environment in materials, books, pictures, posters, etc.

  • Planning for future family events and parent training opportunities

  • Training and support for teachers to meet the high-quality planning and instruction required to meet accreditation standards


Over the last few months, we have been collecting documentation and artifacts to verify the quality of our program.  In the Fall, validators from the Maryland State Department of Education will be visiting our Pre-K classroom to conduct our final Accreditation Appraisal.  During the visit, accreditors will observe and assess our classrooms, playground, and instruction for best practices using the Maryland Accreditation Standards. We look forward to sharing the results with you next year!


Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you have any questions about the Accreditation process.  Our Pre-K program at Atholton Elementary School is committed to meeting high standards for quality early education.  

School Start Times for SY 23-24

The Board of Education adjusted school start times for next school year. Please use this link for further information.


News from the Green Team

Every Thursday is THINK before you THROW Thursday at AES.  Show your support by wearing green and bringing a low-waste, recyclable lunch!


From the ART room: 

Mrs. Stewart is in need of metal jar lids that are the size or smaller than a spaghetti jar lid. Other lids that are wonderful are snapple, baby food lids, starbucks bottled drinks and olive jar lids. Please wash them well and send them in with your child in a ziploc bag. I collect these all year so keep them coming! Thank you very much!




Information Worth Sharing Again


Clarifications regarding Recess

We wanted to clarify permissible activities and games during students’ recess. Students’ recess time is supervised by a paraeducator and multiple lunch/recess monitors. Some grade levels have additional adults outside who are assigned to support specific students. Even though our recess staff are actively monitoring students, our recess staff still remains limited during recess time and at times not every recess event involving students can be observed. For this reason, we do have some overarching expectations for students to keep safety as a top priority.


Students are not to engage in physical contact with one another. Games like tag, tackle football, or other physical contact games almost always result in unintended injuries because children get caught up in their play and it becomes difficult for them to exercise self-control in the heat of the moment.  For most of the year, students have been able to play football with the expectation that tackling is not allowed. However, after multiple injuries and even broken bones, we made the decision to remove footballs from the recess equipment options and let students know they were not allowed to play football. It was just too difficult for them to refrain from playing rough and being too physical.


Other than football and tag, no other activities have been “canceled.” There are times when the recess staff may restrict an activity based on a specific incident that day or give specific students a consequence of not being able to participate in an activity because of rough play or not following the directions of adults. One concern that was brought up was the monkey bars.  Students are able to use the monkey bars by hanging from them and moving across the bars.  We do not allow students to do flips on the bars or climb up on top of the bars because there is not appropriate supervision or soft enough padding beneath the bars for this to be safe.


We encourage you to reach out directly to Ms. Malcotti or Ms. Tracy if you have any specific questions or concerns!


Safety Concerns During Arrival

We need your help to ensure that all of our students, staff, and families remain safe during our morning arrival.  We understand the frustration that families have about not being able to utilize the bus loop and continue to problem solve with central office staff about alternatives.  However, some of the choices that families are making during drop-off are unsafe and unacceptable.


  • The ONLY cars allowed through the bus loop during arrival are those with a RECC sign on the dashboard.  

  • Cars in the bus loop should ALWAYS DRIVE SLOWLY and cautiously as individuals may be exiting the cars parked within the loop.  Please follow the directions of the staff members posted at the bus loop.

  • Cars SHOULD NOT be parking along Seneca Drive, especially right before or right after the entrance and exit to the bus loop.  When cars are parked or pulled over in these areas, buses are not able to enter and exit the bus loop safely.

  • Cars SHOULD NOT enter the bus loop going the wrong way.  Each day, several cars pull into the exit of the loop, let their children out, and then back out onto the road.

  • Cars SHOULD NOT pass other cars or buses in the bus loop.

  • If you choose to park on one of the side streets and walk your child to the front of the building, please be sure to use the sidewalks and crosswalks.  We have had close calls with students walking through the grassy area where the flagpole is and trying to cross the bus loop when cars and buses are moving through that area.


Maintaining student, staff, and family safety during arrival is our highest priority.  Please be patient, cautious, and courteous during this high-traffic time.  Anticipate that there might be delays and plan accordingly to ensure that your children are in the building by 9:15am when instruction begins.

Late Arrival Sign In Procedure

Any student who arrives late to school is required to provide a note that explains the reason for the late arrival. As noted from the HCPSS Student Handbook: A note from the parent must be submitted to the school after the student’s return, indicating the date and reason for tardiness or absence from a regular school session.

At AES, we ask parents to provide the note referred to in the student handbook by bringing their child into the office and signing them in on the Late Arrival clipboard. Parents are able to indicate the date and time and reason  (e.g., dentist, appointment, overslept) on the clipboard.

Once the late bell rings at 9:15am, teachers take attendance and any students not in the classroom are marked absent. Staff are notified when a bus is running late and when it has arrived so that those students aren’t marked absent. It is important that we have an accurate record of which students are present in the building should we need to quickly account for everyone in the event of an emergency.  This is the same procedure we follow for students who come in after the start of the school day due to a morning doctor’s appointment.

We ask for your continued cooperation as we make sure all our students come in safely to begin their school day.


AES Bus Riders to Ride Assigned BUS

If your child is a bus rider, it is very important that they ride the bus to which they are assigned.  We have had instances where students have missed their assigned bus and gotten on another bus that also goes through their neighborhood. The Office of Student Transportation has assigned students to buses to ensure that buses are not overcrowded.  In addition, if there were to be an emergency or accident, we need to have an accurate listing of which students we need to account for.

To confirm the bus your child should be riding, please visit the HCPSS Bus Locator site and enter your child’s grade and address.  The search results will provide you with both the bus number and bus stop information for your child.

Please contact Heather Tracy, Assistant Principal, with any questions!



Behaviors on the Bus

There have been multiple reports of inappropriate and unsafe behavior by students who ride our buses.  These behaviors are occurring on several different buses.  Incidents include students standing or moving around the bus while it is moving, excessive screaming and shouting, eating on the bus, throwing items within the bus or out the windows, blocking the aisles so students cannot pass, pushing students onto or off of the bus, and physical contact. These behaviors are unacceptable and unsafe.  Several of our buses have assigned seats for students.  However, some students are refusing to sit in the seats assigned to them.  The bus drivers are only able to manage so much behavior while also focusing on driving the bus safely.  We need to be able to count on our students to follow directions and remain seated and respectful for the 10-12 minutes they are on the bus.

If your child is a bus rider, please talk with them about behavior expectations on the bus.  When we return from winter break, all bus riders and their parents will be sent a written copy of the bus expectations and be asked to sign and return a form to indicate that they understand these expectations.  Any behaviors that follow will result in days of suspension from the bus.


Access to Building Before and After School Hours

We have been noticing that parents and/or students have been coming back to the building after school hours to retrieve forgotten items. Teachers have reported coming back to their classrooms after their afternoon duty to find students or parents there. Please remember that access to the building must go through the main office which is open from 8:00am - 4:00pm. The only exception is for those dropping off or picking up for before and after care.  Columbia Association has its own procedures for accessing the building.  However, when parents enter the building to drop off or pick up their students for before and after care, they are not to go into other areas of the building.  These procedures are in place for the safety of our students and staff.

If a student leaves something behind, they will need to retrieve it the following day.  If there is something that you, as a parent, feel is absolutely necessary for your child to retrieve, you are welcome to call the main office and we will do our best to accommodate you.