From the Desk of the Principal November 22, 2023

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 1:59pm

“This a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before.” —Maya Angelou


“Make it a habit to tell people, ‘thank you.’ To express your appreciation sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”

—Ralph Marston


"I am learning that happiness is an emotion that’s a result of circumstances.  Joy, though, is a spiritual engagement with the world based on gratitude. It’s not the big things that make me grateful and bring me joy.  It’s more the glory of the small: a touch, a smile, a kind word spoken or received, that first morning hug, the sound of friends talking in our home..."  - Richard Wagamese, Embers"


I love our American tradition that gives us a time to practice Thanksgiving, and the rhythm that the school calendar that makes it possible to slow down.  I'm grateful to our community for the welcome I've received at Patuxent Valley and for the ways that my personal community has expanded this school year.  Thank you for your part in that.  


I’m also thankful for the support to our young people and staff from the parents in our community.  There were so many parents in our building on Monday for in person conferences and I know that many virtual interactions have been taking place also.  A truly huge thank you to our PTA for the staff lunch that was provided on Monday - when you take care of us in that way it deepens the connection between school and community.  Thank you.


Check out the information below for items we’ve been sending out this week, and a number of new items. Let us know if you have any questions or if there is something you’d like to see in the newsletter.  All of this information is also posted on our website at


There is nothing too big or too small for us to work on together, so don’t hesitate to reach out.



Richard Smart, Principal (



11/22: Schools Closed for Students/Parent Teacher Conferences

11/23 & 24: Schools and Office Closed

12/11 8th grade orchestra at the Hammond HS feeder concert     Hammond HS

12/14 All Bands Winter Concert at Hammond HS

12/15 Choral concert at Hammond HS

12/18 All Orchestras Winter Concert at Hammond HS

PVMS Updates (New this week)

Mobile Dental Clinic will be held January 18th, 2024. Parents should check for the forms which will be sent home with the students this week. 

HCPSS and The Council of Elders (TCOE) Community Academy - Social Emotional Well-being and Substance Misuse: On December 16 from 9-10:30 a.m., parents and families are invited to attend a virtual session regarding how to effectively support students in maintaining positive Social and Emotional Well-Being and prevent substance misuse. Representatives from HCPSS and community partner organizations will provide resources for social and emotional development and education on prevention, risk factors, and warning signs of substance misuse. This session is for families of students at the elementary, middle, or high school levels and will be held virtually. To register, please complete the registration form linked here.

PVMS Updates (recurring from previous newsletters)

Apply for JROTC by Jan. 5, 2024

HCPSS’ Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program provides an introduction to career opportunities in the United States Armed Forces and teaches principles of leadership, discipline and civic responsibility. To apply for participation for the 2024-2025 school year, students must contact a JROTC official between Nov. 13, 2023, and Jan. 5, 2024, to schedule an interview. Only students who are interviewed during this designated period will be considered for enrollment.

To learn more about the program, visit the HCPSS JROTC website-

LGBTeaQi&A - opportunity for parents and parents with middle and high school students

One of the topics of interest/concern brought forward in our LGBTQIA+ Advisory group is that parents of our LGBTQIA+ students have been looking for ways to connect and receive support. As one possible solution, we're starting an LGBTeaQi&A to provide an opportunity for parents to meet, connect, ask questions, and receive information and answers.

We're holding our first opportunity on Saturday, December 9th from 2:00PM - 4:00PM at Plot Twist Horse Farm in Glenwood. Parents are welcome as well as middle and high school students who want to connect with peers. Service learning opportunities for our middle and high schoolers will be available - though space for students is limited. 

A flyer is connected to this email as well. Registration is required to attend. 

Please share with parents who you think might be interested in participating.

Viewable/Downloadable Flyer

Registration Form

Do you need support during the holidays?  See resources here

Carson Scholars Fund

The Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to students who excel academically and are dedicated to serving their communities.  Any interested student must be nominated by the principal at his or her school to be able to compete for a Carson Scholarship. Only one student from each school can be nominated. Carson Scholars must have a GPA of 3.75 or higher and display humanitarian qualities through community service. Scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of academic achievement and humanitarian qualities. Please review this information if you are interested in participating in this year’s process.  

Fan Behavior and Safety at HCPSS Athletics Events

High school athletic events serve as a wonderful opportunity for students, friends, families, staff and community members to come together in support of their favorite teams. To ensure these games are able to be safely enjoyed by all in attendance, it is imperative that everyone adheres to the rules, expectations and laws in place to ensure safety.

All children who are in 8th grade or younger must be accompanied by an adult or will be turned away from entry.

Athletic contests are considered extensions of the school day, and behaviors that violate the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct or Board of Education policies are subject to the same disciplinary measures as those that occur during the school day. Any students found to engage in inappropriate, illegal or dangerous behavior, including verbal and physical abuse at games, are subject to discipline up to the forfeiture of the game itself. Non-student spectators who violate event rules may be asked to leave the premises and may be banned for the remainder of the season. Additionally, the Howard County Police Department maintains a presence at games and will be sure all applicable laws are adhered to.

Please note that substances such as tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol are illegal to have on school grounds. Furthermore, no spectators are permitted to be under the influence of these substances upon entering school grounds.

HCPSS schools are welcoming environments for our friends around the county and state. All spectators are expected to display good sportsmanship to the athletes, coaches officials, members of the marching band, cheerleaders and poms, dance teams, opposing fans, and anyone in attendance. Please show respect for all those around you.

PVMS Attendance Procedures 23-24

Please review for comprehensive attendance procedures.


HCPSS utilizes Family File for parents/guardians to complete emergency information. All parents/guardians must verify and/or update information for each child each school year.  Parents/guardians can access their student's Family File by logging into HCPSS Connect, selecting the “More Options” tab on the left and then selecting “Family File” in the center column.

Please be sure to read each section carefully and answer all of the questions.  You can contact us here at school if you have any questions or concerns.


Please be aware of the following procedures for any visitor to a school/office:

  • The front door is the only entrance point for all visitors.

  • Please ring the bell and look into the camera.

  • Be prepared to state your name and purpose for visiting.

  • All visitors must walk directly into the front office with a valid photo I.D. and sign in using our LobbyGuard system.

  • A visitor’s sticker will be given to visitors following the above procedures and must be worn and prominently visible.

  • Any visitor in the school without a visitor sticker will be escorted directly to the front office by a staff member.


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.


The Patuxent Valley Middle School-Based Wellness Center is a partnership between Howard County Health Department and Howard County Public School System. School Wellness Centers do not replace students' regular health care providers in the community. By providing some health care at school we can help parents stay at work and help students stay at school or more quickly return to school. There is no co-pay or fee for visits at the Wellness Center. Read more

Please visit the Community News and Programs page on the HCPSS website for announcements of upcoming events and programs sponsored by non-profit organizations.