From the Desk of the Principal, February 23, 2024

Fri, 02/23/2024 - 7:26pm

Dear Patuxent Valley Families,
Wednesday was a great day at Patuxent Valley when we recognized over 400 students who achieved Honor Roll or On a Roll for their work in quarter 2.  It was wonderful to see the expressions on the faces of the students and the buzz in the school building for the whole day.  I loved seeing families in our school building to celebrate with their young people - what an amazing school and community we have!

Yesterday our student council members hosted Student Focus Groups with 6th, 7th and 8th grade sessions run by students to get feedback and ideas.  Today I was part of a committee meeting with students who wish to be delegates to the HCPSS Student Member of the Board Convention in March.  Our young people are critical thinkers about their school experiences and I'm loving all the ways that they want to partner with me, our staff and students in making Patuxent Valley a place where the needs of all are considered in our decisions.

Black History Month Continues at Patuxent Valley and now almost all of our students have visited the HBCU museum and our preparations for the evening event “Rhythm and Flow” are almost complete.

See below for the flier for the event on March 7 and use the QR code to book your tickets.  We’ll begin with Coffee and Conversations w/Mr. Smart at 5pm, followed by the HBCU Community Gallery Walk, and then the Rhythm and Flow program.  We are only able to accommodate 175 people with 4 tickets per family so please book your spots soon.  Student performers do not need tickets, reservations close by close of business on March 1st and electronic tickets will be distributed the week of March 4th through email.

Our hope is that our Black History Program helps us as a community to engage with the message of the quote from James Baldwin on our Marquee: “"Know from whence you came.  If you know from whence you came there are no limits where you can go."  We’d love to hear from you and see you at all our Black History Month events.

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 (


2/23 - 3/1: Employee Appreciation Week 

2/27 & 2/28: Strings Assessments @RHS

3/4, 3/5 & 3/6: Band Assessments @GPHS

3/7 - Rhythm and Flow PVMS BHM Celebration, 6:30pm in the Cafe

3/15, 3/16 & 3/17 - Spring Musical - High School Musical Junior

3/13, 2024 -Professional Work Day-3 hr early dismissal  for students

3/14 - PTA Meeting - 7pm in the PVMS Library

3/25 - 4/1, 2024 - Schools Closed for Spring Break

4/9- End of third Marking Period

4/10- Professional Work Day- Schools closed for students

4/17- Reports cards issued via Synergy

PVMS Updates (Priority and New this week)

Employee Appreciation Week

February 26th - March 2nd is Employee Appreciation Week throughout HCPSS. 
We wanted to allow our families to join in on the fun. We encourage our families to take a moment to recognize a staff member who has made a positive connection and impact on your child and family. Feel free to submit this form multiple times for different staff members. This can and should include teachers, paraeducators, secretaries, custodians, nurses, and other support staff!  We will share your message with each individual staff member Thank you, PVMS Families, for the outstanding support and encouragement you always show our staff!

Maryland School Survey February 26

State law requires that all public schools in Maryland survey students about school climate. The purpose of the survey is to gain valuable information about the quality and character of each school’s learning environment so that schools can promote a climate that supports student learning.

Students will take the Maryland School Survey during regular school hours on February 26, 2024. The survey will ask students about topics such as student engagement, interactions with adults and with other students in the school, the school environment, bullying, and safety. The survey will not ask about a student’s personal experiences, and students will not be asked to provide any information that might violate their privacy.  

The survey is confidential and school personnel will not have access to the responses of specific students. The responses your child provides will be combined with the responses from other students in the school, and results will be reported for each school and district.

We are eager to receive this very important information about your student's school and about schools across the state. Frequently Asked Questions and the Survey Item Bank may be found on the Maryland School Survey page at

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact LaVerne Porter @ 410-880-5840 or by emailing

La ley del estado de Maryland requiere que todas las escuelas públicas realicen una encuesta a los estudiantes acerca del clima escolar. El propósito de la encuesta es obtener valiosa información sobre la calidad y el carácter del ambiente de aprendizaje de cada escuela para que puedan promover un clima que apoye al aprendizaje de los estudiantes.

Los estudiantes participarán en la encuesta durante el horario escolar regular.  La encuesta preguntará a los estudiantes sobre temas como la participación estudiantil, interacciones con personas adultas y con otros estudiantes de la escuela, el ambiente en la escuela, el acoso escolar y la seguridad. La encuesta no preguntará acerca de las experiencias personales de un/a estudiante, y no se les pedirá a los estudiantes que proporcionen ninguna información que pueda violar su privacidad. 

La encuesta es confidencial y el personal de la escuela, del distrito y del estado no tendrá acceso a las respuestas de estudiantes específicos. Las respuestas de su hijo/a se combinarán con las de otros estudiantes de la escuela y se informará los resultados de cada escuela y distrito.

Estamos ansiosos por recibir esta información tan importante sobre la escuela de su hijo/a y sobre las escuelas de todo el estado. Las Preguntas Frequentes (Frequently Asked Questions) y el Survey Item Bank se encuentran en la página web Maryland School Survey en .

Si tiene alguna pregunta sobre esta encuesta, póngase en contacto con LaVerne Porter @ 410-880-5840 o enviando un correo electrónico a

Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA)

The Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) is a science assessment for ​8th grade students. This assessment provides educators, parents, and the public with information on student progress towards science literacy.

At PVMS​,  MISA has been scheduled for March 5-8 during science periods. 

It is essential all students come to school on time on testing days and we ask that you not schedule appointments or early dismissals on testing days. Additionally, students should bring their charged Chromebook and charger to use during testing. Students should continue to bring all classroom materials. 

Personal electronic devices (cell phones,earbuds, ipads, smart watches, etc.) are not permitted in the testing areas.  

Please contact ​LaVerne Porter at or (410) 880-5840 with any questions.  

As always, thank you for your support and flexibility!

PVMS Updates (recurring from previous newsletters)

2024 Summer Programs Registration Opens February 15 at 6 p.m.

Synergy online enrollment requests for currently enrolled HCPSS students will open Thursday, February 15 at 6 p.m. for the Innovative Pathways High School (math and Science courses only), STARTALK Chinese Language Summer Camp, and Summer Math Scholars programs.

Families can find up-to-date course information and enrollment directions on the Summer Programs web page (

Black History Month Announcement

Background: Negro History Week originated and was announced in 1925 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, mostly in response to the “lack of information of the accomplishments of Black people available to the public.” Dr. Woodson’s aim was to extend and deepen the study and scholarship on African American history, all year long. Over 50 years later – in 1976 – it was expanded to what we now know as Black History Month. 

Black History Month is a time to honor and celebrate the rich tapestry of African American heritage that has shaped the course of United States history. It serves as a poignant reminder of the struggles, triumphs, and enduring resilience of Black individuals and communities. This month is not only a time to reflect on the contributions of iconic figures like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Harriet Tubman, but also to recognize the countless unsung heroes who have fought for justice, equality, and freedom. 

By acknowledging and amplifying Black voices, experiences, and achievements, Black History Month fosters greater understanding, empathy, and solidarity across cultures and generations. It's a time to educate, uplift, and empower, inspiring us to continue the journey towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all.  

2024 BHM at PVMS: This year we have planned ways for our students to show what they have learned as a result of visiting the HBCU Museum. There will be several opportunities for students to answer trivia questions, to put their creativity to the test, and to test their geographical knowledge, among other things. Some activities will include:

Who am I? (ongoing)

Where am I? (ongoing)

Sneaker Design Contest (2/5 - 2/15)

Jacket Design Contest (2/19 - 2/29)

Door Decorating Contest (2/1 - 2/23)

Location, Location: African and Caribbean Diaspora (ongoing)

Student Voice: Listen and Learn (Date: TBD)

In addition to the contests and trivia, there are mini-lessons embedded within the HBCU Museum. When they visit, students will be given a small packet to complete as they explore the museum. They will have the opportunity to complete the HBCU packet and submit it for a chance to win a prize.  

Finally, as a culminating activity, the PVMS school community will host our first Rhythm & Flow: The Ties that Bind Us program on March 7th. An intra-county collaboration between PVMS and its feeder schools, where students will perform routines in celebration of the sounds, movements, and spoken word of the African and Caribbean Diaspora.

Hammond High School Community Event:

✨ Calling all parents and children! ✨

Join us for a day filled with eco-friendly fun and education at Hammond High School's 10th Annual Green Fest! Celebrate our commitment to a greener, more sustainable future on Saturday, February 24th, from 10 am to 1 pm.

???? What to Expect:

Exciting eco-friendly activities for kids and adults

Informative displays showcasing environmental initiatives

Prizes and giveaways

A vibrant community atmosphere

???? Special Program by Howard County Library:

The Howard County Library is thrilled to host a special program just for kids during the event! Spark your child's curiosity with entertaining and educational activities that promote environmental awareness.

???? Why Attend?

Foster a love for nature in your children

Learn about sustainable practices for your family

Connect with like-minded individuals in our community

Support Hammond High School's commitment to environmental education

???? Location:

Hammond High School

8800 Guilford Road, Columbia, MD 21046

Recognizing and Reporting Bullying

As we approach the second half of the school year, we wanted to remind you that HCPSS is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment that focuses on student well-being. We are taking this time to uplift the importance of reporting any type of bullying that has occurred. We will be reviewing this with our students and staff as we start the second half of the school year, and we hope that you, too, can uplift this at home. 

For children facing the emotional toll of bullying, a supportive individual can make all the difference. Please encourage your children to reach out to a trusted staff member at school should they need to report anything. As parents and guardians, you will use the same reporting form as students by following the steps outlined below. 

How do I report bullying?

  1. When you believe bullying has taken place, you should report it through the Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, and Intimidation (BCHI) reporting form.  Reporting can take place in one of three ways:
    1. Complete a BCHI online reporting form
    2. BCHI paper reporting form (available in the main office, staff workroom, school counseling office, media center, and health services office
    3. An oral report to a staff member 
  2. It is important to note that the policy states “In the event the reporting party does not complete a BCHI Reporting Form, school administrators/supervisors will take the appropriate steps to address and document the incident.”  Therefore, if you or someone else makes an oral report, it then must be documented (i.e. through a BCHI reporting form) by the administrator.

Thank you for your partnership and attention to this important topic.


This is a friendly reminder to our community that per HCPSS Policy 8080, middle school students “will not use personal technology devices during non-instructional time, to include but not limited to transition between classes, lunch, recess, or in bathrooms.”  Please remind your students that their cell phones should be off and away during the school day. Students are always welcome to use an office phone to reach out to a parent during the school day. If you need to contact your child at school, please call 410-880-5840.

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.