News

Don’t let our small size fool you—we have BIG things going on! This is our rooftop—the place where we shout all the great news. Check here for the news and announcements that affect our school family.

NCOE Letter May 5, 2020

Dear Parents,

As you are aware, Governor Gavin Newsom stated on April 28 that he was, "considering the prospect" of an early start to the academic year, as early as July, provided that schools and businesses were able to continue implementing safe social distancing practices. This was not a directive, but merely a possibility among many others that is under consideration. On May 4 he announced that California is "entering Stage 2 of reopening starting Friday,", but then indicated that this stage does not include schools.

Locally, our Napa County School District Superintendents are working together to develop contingency plans for a range of circumstances schools may face once public health authorities and the Governor agree that is it is safe to reopen schools. Any decision to change the start dates for the approved 2020–2021 school calendars, however, would need to be proposed by each district superintendent for approval by their school district's governing board.

Please read the entire NCOE letter May 5, 2020.

Napa County Communication, Resources, and Test Data for COVID-19 In Napa, California

In a time where physical distance is needed, staying virtually connected has become more important than ever before. As our communities continue to respond, prepare, and communicate on coronavirus (COVID-19), the Napa County Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has a public information team that connects individuals with resources and information in English, Spanish, and Tagalong (upon request). Updates to the Napa County COVID-19 situation will be released Monday through Saturday at 11:00 a.m. on the Napa County Coronavirus webpage.

The summary will indicate the number of tests in Napa County that have been performed, confirmed cases, deaths, and persons being monitored. You can also find the test data on their test page. This page now displays the number of cases in Napa County by city, town, or area of residence. The (virtual) Local Assistance Center (LAC) is a website dedicated to connecting community members to food, financial, and health assistance and information. 

Our methods for communication are turning more digital and remote (email, phone, computer, text, etc.) As we have to limit in-person contact and be careful of passing physical papers to one another. Now, more than ever, it's important we stay connected and support one another as we're sheltering at home and practicing physical distance.

For more information, please see our full press release in either English or Spanish.

Extended School Closure Through the End of the School Year

Napa County Office of Education (NCOE) and the five school districts of Napa County (Napa Valley Unified School District, St. Helena Unified School District, Calistoga Joint Unified School District, Howell Mountain Elementary School District, and Pope Valley Union Elementary School District) recently announced that Napa County school districts plan to continue remote learning through the end of the previously scheduled school year. This decision was based on communication received from the California Department of Education and Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as the ongoing Napa County and California Shelter at Home public health orders.

After spring break we will expect students to access remote learning opportunities, and students will need to access Zoom and/or See Saw classroom instruction. Please reach out if your child does not have a computer or if this is a hardship so that we may address support necessary for your family. An extended school closure is not ideal for students, however, the unprecedented pandemic that we are all experiencing warrants further social distancing. Thank you for your patience, partnership, and community camaraderie during this trying time.

Please see below for additional information on the extended school closure.

Free Breakfast and Lunch Grab N' Go Meal Kits

Beginning on April 13, free breakfast and lunch grab n' go meal kits will be available to all children for pick up on Monday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through June 11. Children do not need to be present when picking up meals. Please drive through the parking lot of Howell Mountain Elementary School for your meals. See below for more information.

Various Channels to Stay Connected

Dear Napa County Community,

We hope this note finds you well. As our communities continue to respond, prepare, and communicate on COVID-19, we want to summarize the various channels to stay connected. Now, more than ever, it’s important we stay connected and support one another as we’re sheltering-at-home, and practicing physical distance.

Here are the ways to connect, ask questions, or get information:

  • Phone:
    Public Information & Support: (707) 253-4540
    (Monday–Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
  • Library Reference & Support: (707) 253-4241 (Monday–Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
  • Email:
    General questions or information
    Report a shelter-at-home violation
  • Website:
    Napa County Information
    Local Assistance Center
    NIXLE: For Advisory or Alerts: To opt-in just text your zip code to 888-777
    Facebook
    Note: you can view the Napa County Facebook page without having an account.

For situational status, there is a page dedicated to our updates as the COVID-19 response evolves. These are posted in both English and Spanish. In addition, we have a history of all situation updates if you would like to see the progression.

The Local Assistance Center website has launched. Visit to find a consolidated place that connects you to food, financial and health assistance, and information. If you need assistance navigating the website, or have a question you would like answered, call the public information phone number (707) 253-4540 (Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.) or send an email.

You can view test data and information on our website and it is updated by our Public Health Division, Monday through Saturday by 10:30 a.m.

We do update Facebook as a means to engage our community, but you do not have to have a Facebook account to see the posts. Please visit our Facebook page.

As we move forward into an era of practicing social distancing, our methods for communication are turning more digital and remote (email, phone, computer, text...etc.) as we have to limit in-person contact and be careful of passing physical papers to one another.

We are making a significant effort to be innovative and engage our community. Here is a video we recently made (English and Spanish) for medical surge and why social distancing is important to flatten the curve.

We will continue to prepare, respond and communicate. If you have questions, our team is here to support you.

Sincerely,
Your Napa County Team

Resources for Working and Learning from Home

We invite you to use these resources as you navigate through working and learning from home.

For additional resources on cyber security and working from home safety precautions, please visit the National Cyber Security Alliance COVID-19 Resource Library. This library features a wealth of free and updated information on current scams, cyber threats, remote working, and much more.

Help During Coronavirus

We know that the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been a very stressful time for a lot of you. If you are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

  • Bilingual Mental Health Crisis Phone Number: (707) 253-4711 
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

As you are aware, Howell Mountain Elementary School has been very proactive in implementing safety measures to combat all virus', especially COVID-19. On March 11, 2020, the Howell Mountain Elementary School District Board of Trustees adopted a district infectious disease outbreak plan which outlines levels of preparedness in which our district will take. This plan is available on our Home page under the “Parent” tab. In addition, our board of trustees must follow public health guidelines, mandates by Governor Newsome, as well as, legal mandates.

Schools are to remain open as of now. Please take a moment to read Superintendent Dr. Janet Tufts' complete letter for more information on COVID-19.

Measures of Academic Progress

In lieu of taking the state assessments this school year, our third through eighth-graders will be participating in the Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) district-wide assessment. Our teachers will share MAP scores and explain student progress during the parent/teacher conferences, which we will schedule for the last two weeks of school. These will be virtual, of course. 

Revolution Foods

Many of you are aware that our staff has been working tirelessly to prepare approximately 1,300 meals per week. We are stepping up to feed our community. We are experimenting with a more efficient system for the remainder of the school year. We will be contracting with Revolution Foods to provide these meals. your feedback would be greatly appreciated during this process. If this company's service works for Howell Mountain Elementary School, we will then continue to contract with this company.

Library Time

There have been requests to check out library books. And, since we are phase two of the governor’s reopening plan, we decided that we can safely provide curb-side access to our library. To request a book, please contact Mr. Van or call him at 965-2423, ext. 5. Mr. Van can bring your book out to your car on Wednesdays between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Also, this is an opportunity for students to return library books. Weather permitting, we will place a table in front of the school by the office for students to return school library books. Let us work together to keep these kiddos reading!

Please see our May 12, 2020, newsletter for more details.

Eighth-Grade Graduation

A non-traditional ceremony will take place for our eighth-grade graduates and their families on June 10, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. We invite families to decorate your cars to highlight the special eighth-graders in your families. Cars will assemble in the upper parking lot. This is where the ceremony will commence. Since we are still under social-distancing orders, families will need to remain in their cars. Upon completion of the ceremony, cars will drive through the lower parking lot. Each graduate will receive his/her diploma in the lower parking lot.

Third-Trimester Report Cards

In order to promote equity during distance learning, the third-trimester report card will be in narrative form. We invite parents to a Zoom parent/teacher conference during the first two weeks in June. In order to allow for the preparation of an additional parent/teacher conference schedule, there will be no virtual classes the second week in June.

Annual Author's Festival

We aim to keep the tradition of holding our annual Author's Festival. Some grade levels have already begun drafting their stories. Please keep an eye out for more details. 

School Board Meetings

HMS school board meetings are following executive order N-29-20 from Governor Newsom and are now virtually scheduled via Zoom on the second Wednesday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Agendas are posted on our School Board page. Public comment on any agenda item may be made via email to jtufts@hmesd.org by 4:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. We will share these comments during the public comment section on the board agenda.

Taste of Howell Mountain Auction

Our annual Taste of Howell Mountain Auction takes place during Father's Day weekend. The proceeds support art, music, drama, field trips, and so much more!

This valuable fundraiser takes many volunteers in order to be successful. We will be reaching out to all of our families to determine how they might best support this event. Some of these volunteer opportunities include setting up the day before, work during the auction, or clean up after the event. For more information, please contact Baylee Diegel.