SVHS Green and Gold

Dr. Cohen's Newsletter to the SVHS Community

July 26, 2020 Edition

A message from Dr. Cohen

I hope that this message finds all of our Screaming Eagles healthy and well. I know that you are disappointed by the news that MCPS has decided to go all virtual for the first semester. Many of you have been working hard to prepare for fall and winter sports, plays, concerts, art shows, dances, pep rallies, international nights, dance and cheer competitions, and the hundreds of other things that make high school fun and exciting. I also know that many of you experienced frustration in the spring as we worked together to figure out how to do this thing called continuity of learning.

I want to assure you that the staff at SVHS is hard at work making sure that we are prepared to provide our students the high quality instruction that you have come to count on from us. We don't yet know what the school day structure will be, more on that from the BOE in the coming weeks, but we do know that our staff will be ready. In case you missed them, I have included the most recent messages from MCPS and the superintendent below. Please be sure to check your emails for regular updates. As soon as I have something new to share, I will do so.

And now a favor. While each publication of this newsletter regularly gets between 450 and 600 views, that does not come close to representing the population total for our school. As the primary source of information from SVHS, it is important that all of our families have the opportunity to be fully informed. Additionally, because we are 100% virtual this fall, having the correct contact information will help ensure that you don't miss any critical information from club sponsors, and coaches.

Here is how you can help:

  • Make sure we have an accurate telephone number AND email address in our system for your student. We send a link to the newsletter to your email address every time we publish. If you are not sure if we have the right contact information, please check your child's online profile or contact your child's counselor.

Counselor Assignments

Counselor Students

Fellows - Students with last names beginning with A - Card

Patel - Students with last names beginning with Cardi - Del Mar

Murray - Students with last names beginning with Del Pilar - F

Moore - Students with last names beginning with G - King, C.

Matthews - Students with last names beginning with King, D. - Nunez Enriquez

Teixeira - Students with last names beginning with Nunez Rodriguez - Shad

Yarmus - Students with last names beginning with Shah - Z

  • Follow SVHS on Twitter @SenecaValleyHS. We post a link to this newsletter every time we publish. We also use this source for regular updates and important announcements.
  • Visit our website,, on a regular basis. We post a link to this newsletter every time we publish. We also use this source for regular updates and important announcements.
  • Follow our PTSA on social media. They are hard at work on behalf of our students, staff, and community. If you don't follow them already, please consider doing so. They are working hard to keep you informed and to engage you in important work rop help make the year a special one for all of our Screaming Eagles.

    Facebook: Seneca Valley High School PTSA

    Twitter: @PTSA_SVHS


MCPS has determined that the safest choice for the school district is to remain in a virtual-only instructional model for the first semester and for the foreseeable future. This plan will be reassessed in November and will change only if state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students and staff to return safely beginning in the second semester. See below for the official announcement from Dr. Smith, our superintendent.

A letter from Superintendent, Dr. Jack Smith re: Virtual-Only Learning

Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:

I am writing to provide an important update on our Fall 2020 recovery plans. MCPS has been working closely with county and state health officials on the potential reopening of schools. Yesterday (July 20), we received additional guidance from Dr. Travis Gayles, county health officer, in which he shared that “based upon the current state of surveillance and epidemiological data, I would not recommend in-person instruction for students inside school buildings at this time. I recommend investing in a virtual instruction model until, at earliest, the completion of the first quarter in November, with consideration for virtual instruction through the first semester.” As I have shared previously, our plan has always envisioned starting in a virtual-only model. However, given this updated guidance, the safest choice for our district is to remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester—January 29, 2021; or until state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students to return safely after the first semester. This decision includes the cancellation of all fall and winter sports. Working with Dr. Gayles and county elected officials, we will reassess at the end of the first quarter (November 9, 2020) to determine if we are able to implement a phased blended model in the second semester (beginning February 1, 2021). We will continue to engage with our community as we continue to navigate this incredibly complex situation.

We anticipate that Governor Larry Hogan and Dr. Karen Salmon, state superintendent of schools, will also provide an update on the state’s recovery plan for schools this week. We will review their guidance and make all necessary adjustments to align our plans.

We continue to explore creative ways to support students receiving special services and families with significant challenges in accessing curriculum through a virtual model. We also know that this decision to extend virtual instruction will significantly impact the work schedules of many parents in our county. We are seeking the ability to allow buildings to remain open in a limited capacity for essential purposes, including meal service; to support access to technology and other materials; and for use by some child care providers.

On August 6, 2020, we will provide an updated plan to the Board of Education. This update will reflect adjustments stemming from changes in guidance from local health officials and the important feedback we’ve received from students, staff and the community. The Board of Education will vote on this plan at that time.

We are building on what we learned during the spring to provide a robust and dynamic virtual learning experience for our students. Our staff is being provided additional professional development to enhance their instructional abilities in a virtual model; we have put systems in place to ensure all students have access to digital devices and access to the internet when they are away from school buildings; and we are building in additional time for student support and learning opportunities. We are also streamlining digital tools and platforms to make it easier for our students, staff and families to engage in teaching and learning.

Our students are the heart of what we do and why we exist. There is no doubt in my mind that we all want what’s best for students. This decision is incredibly difficult as we know how much students need school for their academic success and social-emotional well-being. We take the immense responsibility of ensuring staff and student safety, educating our students and creating opportunities for all seriously. Thank you for your continued support and collaboration as we work together to meet the needs of our students, staff and families.

Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools

MCPS Summer Food Service Program Will Provide Free Meals

Beginning July 6, 2020, MCPS will provide breakfast and lunch meals to all Montgomery County children and all MCPS students (regardless of age) at more than 60 MCPS sites across the county and 30 community-based programs. Meals will be provided at MCPS sites from 10 a.m.–noon at school sites and from 9–10 a.m. at bus distribution sites. No identification will be required for students/families picking up meals at the MCPS school, mobile or bus distribution sites. Meals will be provided four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information and the full list of sites, click here.

MCPL Summer Reading Program Open to All MCPS Students

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) invites all students to participate in this year’s summer reading program, which will run through August 31, 2020. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story.” The program offers children and teens a chance to fill their summer with great books and fun activities. Students will have an opportunity to earn badges and prizes and enjoy fun raffles. For more information and to register your child, visit the MCPL website.

Available Technology for Students and Staff

Students who received Chromebooks and MiFi devices at the start of remote learning will be able to keep those devices through the summer for their continued teaching and learning opportunities. Students who are participating in summer programs and still need a device or a mobile hotspot, or need to replace a device that is not working can go to 45 W. Gude Dr. in Rockville, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Please note that as MCPS looks to the 2020–2021 school year, we are planning to move to the use of a single platform (myMCPS Classroom) for learning, based on feedback from students, parents, teachers and principals. Details about that plan will be shared in the coming weeks.

Wellness Resources

The safety and wellness of our students remains a top priority. Below are resources to support the physical, social and psychological well-being of our community. If you believe your child is in crisis, please contact the Montgomery County Crisis Center at 240-777-4000. Students can also reach out to their counselor and school psychologist to set up a confidential appointment.

Waymaking Video Series

Mindful Moments Video Series
Tips on Addressing Student Grief
Tips for Preventing Youth Suicide

Having trouble with your Distance Learning Technology?

As a reminder, you can pick up or exchange Chromebooks and MiFi devices at 45 West Gude Drive from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. every weekday. Families should wear masks and bring their child’s student ID number with them. For the technical needs of any student or parent during remote learning, please call 240-740-7022

Having trouble with myMCPS Classroom?

Community Resources

Below is information regarding food/grocery access beyond the MCPS school meal sites:

Food Assistance Resource Map: The Montgomery County Food Council created an interactive map of food assistance providers and benefits application assistance sites in Montgomery County. It is searchable by location, food assistance type, accessibility and many other special features. This resource can give principals and families a quick view of local resources in their area. The information indicates where, when and how to access the resources. **We would caution parents and staff supporting parents to pay particular attention to how one qualifies to access food as some sites state requirements.

Weekend Bag Program: MCPS, Manna Food Center, and Women Who Care Ministries are distributing weekend backpacks with groceries to the families of MCPS students each Friday. The location of distribution sites and times are listed at the bottom of the webpage.













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