August 24, 2020

Dear HHA Family,

Welcome to the new school year! I hope your family and friends are faring well. What an extraordinary time for all of us. I imagine you are doing the very best you can to provide everything your child needs as well as dealing with the pressure of working or searching for work yourself. I know it’s an incredibly challenging time for you. Due to COVID, we are fully remote this fall. We know that every interaction our teachers have with your child will be magnified. We know our staff can inspire and provide structure, purpose, and hope as they teach. In the words of civil rights leader Ella Baker, “Give people light and they will find a way.” We know that our job is to provide light for each child at HHA to find their way. With your help, we will find a way.

As the school year comes into focus, I write with many details. The building will be staffed between 7 am and 3 pm next week and between 6 am and 6 pm the following week and moving forward. Parents will not be permitted to enter the building for now. You may drop off materials at the door and office staff and/or administrators will be available to meet with you outside of the front doors. Alternatively, you may e-mail or call the school at 410-396-9146 or 443-984-2859 to reach office staff.

I have been working from school most days for the last seven weeks. I find the separation of work and home as well as access to school resources and the occasional in-person meeting to be very refreshing and productive. It has been nice to see a few of you who have come by.

Staff members are permitted to enter the building. No guests of staff will be admitted. Staff must have a mask to enter. At the front door, staff will be asked a wellness question and have their temperature checked each time they enter. Staff are permitted to work remotely from a home office. We expect about 65 staff to work from home and about 25 staff to choose to work from the building.

There are many people who can help you and your child! The 2020-2021 HHA Leadership Team, which you should use as a constant resource, includes myself, John Paz (Assistant Principal, 5-8), Cassandra Bailey (Assistant Principal, PreK-4), Katie Johnson (Academic Coach, PreK-1), Megan Trainer (Academic Coach, 2-4), Mike Lucas (Academic Coach, 5-8 and LGP Chair), Carey Fetting-Smith (Academic Coach), Steven Plunk (Director of Restorative Practices), Laura Guitian (Director of Enrichment), Tina Luthers Bradford (Chair, Diversity and Equity Committee), Kirby Costello (Director of Student Outcomes Committee), Ashley Wallis (PreK/K Team Leader), Marybeth Smith (1/2 Team Leader), Kelsey Schultz (3/4 Team Leader), Kelli Poole (5/6 Team Leader), Kat Locke-Jones (7/8 Team Leader), Melissa Riorda (Resource Team Leader), Sara Bailin (ESOL Team Leader), Jennifer Shaffer (Special Education Team Leader), Sarah Hohman (SFC Chair), Leonard Lee (Technology Specialist), Felicia German (Director of Latino Outreach), and the person who keeps us connected to each other – Geri Swann (Director of Community Outreach). You can find contact information for everyone attached and here: Staff Roster with E-mail. Staff e-mail addresses will be active for use by parents not later than this Friday.

There will be at least one administrator on site each day. Ms. Varner and Ms. Castelan will be in the office every. Cafeteria Manager Gwen Moore and her team will start running our kitchen as one of the 80 or so food distribution sites in City Schools. Breakfast and lunch will be a grab and go set-up with the actual distribution taking place outside between 8 am and 2 pm each day. Food distribution starts Tuesday, September 8, which is the first day for students.

Building and custodial staff including Ms. Chris, Ms. Mel, Ms. Rasheed, Ms. Davis, Ms. Carmen, Ms. Flora, and Ms. Olivia are working every day to make sure HHA is as clean as possible. With an assist from the wonderfully supportive HHA PTO, we have 16 classroom-sized HEPA filters and 10 office-sized HEPA filters that will be delivered shortly. All classrooms and offices will have HEPA filters shortly.

Scroll through the next pages for more information on the new school year. I can’t wait to see each of you virtually or masked-up in-person. Enjoy the last days of summer break!


Matt Hornbeck, Principal
Hampstead Hill Academy
410-591-3911, Cell

Get the Details on the New School Year at HHA Here!

Homeroom and class assignments
Parents may now view student homeroom assignments and class rosters – Elementary and Middle School.

Virtual Learning Schedules
Please see virtual learning schedules for students here: HHA 20-21 Distance Learning Student Schedules. Hampstead Hill Academy’s school day remains 8:00 am – 2:40 pm. These schedules outline synchronous learning, which is live online instruction with the teacher. We will provide more detail regarding asynchronous learning (online but not in real-time) and enrichment as the school year begins. Many thanks to Coach Johnson, Coach Trainer, and Coach Lucas for working with administrators  and teachers to put the schedules together.

Make Sure You Have Access
Your child should log-in to their HHA Google account (for example, BEFORE the first day of school. Your child will receive invitations to join Google Classrooms at this account. If your child was enrolled last year at HHA, their email account should still be active. If your family is new to HHA, an email account will be assigned to your child within the next week or so. The account is a Google address, so you navigate to to check it. The address is almost always your child’s first initial and last name The default password is Welcome01, which your child will need to change the first time they sign-in.

Your Child’s Digital Citizenship
A reminder that digital citizenship at HHA – for teachers, parents, and students – calls for a commitment to being on time and presenting a professional appearance. During synchronous learning, HHA uniforms are preferred but not required. If a student chooses not to wear the uniform, please make sure they look like they are going to school. Please set up a quiet space in your home for your child’s remote learning classroom. Your child will need power, WiFi, a device like a laptop or Chromebook, a mouse, headphones, a water bottle, and access to a restroom. Teachers will provide detailed supply lists next week.

G-Suite Certification for HHA 7th and 8th Graders
HHA is proud to offer to cover the exam fee of $37 for any 7th or 8th grader who takes the G-Suite certification exam. This certification is valid for two years and shows prospective high schools that students are fluent in digital collaboration tools. Learn more about this exciting opportunity here: G Suite Certification | Teacher Center

Connecting with your child’s teachers – We know that when we build a strong relationship with you and your child, the school year will be better. Every teacher will make at least three connections next week with each student in their homeroom. Homerooms will meet synchronously with their teacher or teachers on a Zoom call for about 30 minutes. Ms. Swann will post a Zoom link for you. Each homeroom teacher will plan a Meet Your Teacher event. It might be in-person in small groups on the greentop or in the park or on a Zoom call with one or two families. Finally, teachers will be getting all communication up and running. They will send invitations to join Bloomz, send an e-mail, call and/or text. You may be asked to simply reply “got it!” We want to make sure teachers know how to reach you and you know how to reach them. Bloomz is going to help a lot with communication.

Look for a detailed syllabus for the year from your child’s teachers that will include a schedule, month-by-month academic skills, units, writing assignments, portfolio expectations, teacher contact information, how to work with Bloomz, book reports, celebrations, homework policy, grading policy, virtual supply list, virtual field trips, and so on.

Refresh What You Know About Zoom – Your child’s teacher and any HHA staff hosting a Zoom call have accounts authorized by the district. If you have not already done so, please download the free app on your child’s device. The host’s account will provide for privacy and safety. Our staff accounts are set to protect the privacy of students and staff. By default, participants are muted and their video is turned off upon entering a meeting. By default, the chat is set to permit chat with everyone by not private chat one-to-one with other participants. By default, participants are placed in a waiting room to be admitted by the host. There will be more on these procedures provided by your child’s teacher. Learn more about Zoom at

Familiarize yourself with Bloomz – As soon as we sync our registration/enrollment software with Bloomz, which should happen in the next week, you will start receiving e-mails and/or texts inviting you to download the Bloomz app and connect with your child’s teachers. You will be able to find other families in your child’s classes as well. Bloomz is going to be big at HHA. We hope it makes communication and the coordination of assignments, calendars, events, and volunteers easier for everyone. Additional resources on Bloomz are here:

Bloomz Support
Joining a Class with an Invitation Email
Joining a Class Through Text
Joining a Class with an Access Code Joining Another Class

That’s it for now! Take steps each day and it will all get done. Rely on each other and on us. Consider everything you do to get ready from the perspective of your child and you’ll be fine. Most of all – thank you!