Montgomery Blair High School
Principal's February Newsletter
Happy Second Semester!
I hope that you are well and had a chance to enjoy the snow this week. The second semester has begun. We have updated our school canvas page so that our students can easily access their classes and course information, see the sample picture below.
We are celebrating Black History Month by teaching, learning, and acknowledging the achievements and sacrifices made by African Americans. Our Staff, Student Government Association, and Minority Scholars Program are hosting events and dialogues for our students.
As you know, the Board of Education voted to delay the start of returning small groups of students for in-person instruction to March 15, 2021, on the condition that health metrics are met. We will update you as soon as possible if there are changes in our schedule or return to school dates. The latest MCPS communication on reopening is here: https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/publicinfo/community/school-year-2020-2021/community-update-20210205.html
Signs of Suicide Presentations
Montgomery Blair School Counselors will be completing the Signs of Suicide prevention lessons within English courses for our students within grades 9-12. Please find our community letter with more information regarding the lesson. We recognize this may be a difficult topic, so please reach out to your school counselor if concerned about attending. There will be supports in place throughout the day if a student needs a break from the lesson during their class period.
Our monthly PTSA Meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The primary focus of the meeting will be to receive feedback from the school community, including students, on the proposed resolution on School Resource Officers (SROs) from the Montgomery County Council of PTAs (MCCPTA).
Also, Mrs. Makeyda Soriano, Blair's Resource Counselor will be providing Parent training for Signs of Suicide prevention. This will be an opportunity for parents to have a glimpse of what their students will be learning within their Sign of Suicide class lessons. Resources will be provided as we bring continued awareness to this topic for our students. As always, PTSA and school news and information will be shared.
Topic: PTSA Zoom Meeting
Time: Feb 16, 2021, 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 820 9786 6060
Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
Meeting ID: 820 9786 6060
Find your local number: https://mcpsmd.zoom.us/u/kitNh3Bbs
PTSA’s LOS PADRES Meeting
“Reapertura: Estudiantes de Educación Especial y Carreras de Tecnología (Edison)”
“Reopening: Special Education and Technology Career Students (Edison)”
February 13, from 9:00 to 11:00 am
PIN: 481 155 530#
Classroom Monitors Needed
As MCPS prepares for our return to an in-person learning experience, we anticipate a need for adults to support the supervision of students. If you know any adults with a high school diploma/GED who would be interested in monitoring students at $15.72 per hour, please encourage them to apply to be considered for the position of classroom monitor.
Duties include monitoring classrooms for teachers who are providing virtual instruction to students in the building and supporting in-person teachers. Interested individuals need to apply on https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/careers/
We do anticipate the need for classroom monitors at our school however, we cannot guarantee our site will be the location all interested individuals would be assigned to work.
MBHS Counseling Department Newsletter, Video and Information
Please find our MBHS School Counseling Video update for February here. We also have our February Newsletter, and the College/Career February Newsletter available as well. We are excited to be offering supports for our Class of 2021 Seniors with financial aid, scholarship essays, and a Montgomery College application drive. As always, if you have a question, please reach out to your school counselor or Mrs. Makeyda Soriano.
School Counseling Video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1grhJlxXoIyACmdpuIfcAWpyl2maTSvPw/view?usp=sharing
School Counseling Newsletter: https://bit.ly/2MrhIi4
CCIC Newsletter: http://bit.ly/3rjRqNs
February Supports for Seniors: http://bit.ly/2NZUT5I
National School Counseling Week!
This week is National School Counseling Week. We know that our amazing counseling staff has been a great support to all the students, staff, and families at Montgomery Blair High School. Please take a minute to complete the short survey below to acknowledge our amazing counseling department. Once you complete this form the counselor will receive your sentiments in a festive letter celebrating them.
The 6th Annual ACT-SO Poetry Read-In, Saturday, February 6, 2021 2:45 PM – 6:00 PM
This annual afternoon of poetry celebrates Black History Month and is part of the African American Read-In. This event is designed for enrichment in culture, literacy, and fun. Students have an opportunity to showcase their work and talents. distinguished community members read poetry written by black poets and encourage others. Our special guest is poet E. Ethelbert Miller!
Denny Tsitsiwu, Blair Senior and Student Poet will perform his poetry.
Sankofa 2021: A Virtual Celebration of African American Life, History, and Culture through TV and Film
We are excited to continue Blair's annual tradition of celebrating African American history and culture through a virtual production this year. The production will follow a reimagined format featuring a montage of pre-recorded musical, dance, and spoken word interpretations focused on the theme of African Americans in TV and film. Students are already engaged in preparing and recording content for the finished production that will be released online before the end of the month. More details will be made available via the school's website prior to the production's release. For more information, please contact Rahman Culver (firstname.lastname@example.org), Celita Davis (email@example.com), or Isabel Hernandez Cata (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Collection and Distribution of School Materials
Collection of student materials
On Monday, February 8 – Wednesday, February 10 there will be a collection of first semester materials (textbooks, musical instruments, etc.) that students no longer need. Students and/or parents can drop off materials in front of the SAC between the hours of 8:30 – 4:00 each day.
Students should place their materials inside a bag with their name and student ID number on the exterior of the bag. For more information, please see this link.
Essential Materials distribution for the Spring 2021 semester
Students and/or parents will be able to pick up Spring Semester essential materials (including textbooks, musical instruments, magnets, and bags) for their students between the hours of 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM on Tuesday February 16 – 19. Blair 10th – 12th grade students will also be able to get new chrome books at this time. The pick will be in front of the Student Activity Center (SAC) and social distancing protocols including masks will be followed. Please see this link for your assigned day and additional information.
NEW: Diversity in STEM Website, Created by Ms. Duval, Blair Science Teacher
MCPS CREDIT/NO CREDIT COURSES
As a reminder, middle and high school students can take up to two courses Credit/No Credit (Pass/Fail) in courses not specifically required for graduation, using MCPS Form 270-32, High School or MCPS Form 270-32A, Middle School.
· Students/parents/guardians will have until the beginning of the fourth marking period to decide Credit/No Credit or withdraw from a course, without notation on the transcript (extended from the 25th day of the semester).
· Also, students/parents/guardians will be permitted to retroactively apply the Credit/No Credit option to courses taken during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. Systems, processes, and instructions are in development. Students/parents are being advised to wait to make any requests until at least February 16, 2021, after report cards are received.
· A meeting with all resource counselors will be held this Friday, February 5 at 8:30 a.m. (high school) and 9:00 a.m. (middle school), to review these options and next steps.
The Graduation Date for MBHS Class of 2021
Our 2021 commencement ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 2nd, at 10 a.m. at the UMBC Event Center. The UMBC Event Center is located in Catonsville, Maryland, on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Please note that this date and location is contingent upon the finalization of the contract with the graduation venue, as well as a review of COVID-19 health and safety metrics within Montgomery County and the local government authorities in Catonsville. More information will be shared with senior families in the coming weeks.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigate the next steps. We are committed to doing everything we can to provide a graduation experience that truly celebrates our students' accomplishments and represents our Blazer Pride.
Class of 2021 Commencement Speaker: Mayor Kate Stewart
Kate Stewart is the Mayor of Takoma Park, Maryland and has served as Mayor since 2015. Kate also serves as the Vice-Chair on the Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. She received her BA from Haverford College and her Master of Science from the University of Maryland. Kate lives in Takoma Park with her husband Jon and her two children Bridget and Jamie.
MCPS Provides Funding for Caps and Gowns for all Seniors
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) recently approved Continuity of Learning funding to be used to support the purchase of graduation caps and gowns for all current Grade 12 students expected to participate in commencement exercises this June 2021.
The traumatic financial and social-emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lost opportunity for communities to support schools with typical fundraising efforts has necessitated this funding support.
MCPS will allocate $45 per graduate candidate to each of our 25 comprehensive high schools, alternative education programs, and our special schools to cover the costs associated with caps and gowns purchases.
Update on Senior Portraits, T-Shirt and Venue Fee
Historically Black Colleges and Universities Fair
The 13th annual HBCU Fair will be held on Feb. 12 and 13. Many HBCU representatives will hold on-site interviews with 12th grade students, and students can potentially receive application fee waivers, scholarship awards and on-site admission. Info:
Daily Blazer Community Tech Support: 8:00 am to 9:00 am
Blazer parents welcome to Semester 2!
Your children have new teachers, schedules, and Zoom links! It’s also time to help your children register for Athletics! Now Blazer Community Tech Support is available daily from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. If you need help with ParentVUE, Canvas, or Athletics Registration tech support, we can help or find help for you! Ms. Melissa Young, Blair’s Latino Achievement Coordinator, can also help by phone in Spanish. Here is her phone number: 240-630-2079. Here is Ms. Young's email address: Melissa_Young@mcpsmd.org
Here is a form in English and Spanish to gather the information we need to help you: https://mbhs.libwizard.com/id/d9654b88779879b4c62949e4e801b32b.
It is our expectation that all students will attend the live class sessions every day. Parents/guardians should send Ms. Roxanne Fus, an email (Roxanne_F_Fus@mcpsmd.org) with the reason for their child's absence, including the date of absence, student ID #, and a daytime phone number to verify the absence
❏ If a student is absent during the live sessions, they can access the recorded lesson within 72 hours.
❏ Student/Parent/Guardian must attest to viewing the recording by completing the school-specific Attendance Google Form found on the school’s website and here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfI682JHZy_aI1i9t1CigBdDsj6K48bIjxzMeuJ-QTu-Qw-WA/viewform?entry.255371218=Montgomery+Blair+HS
❏ The attendance secretary will then reconcile the absence on the student record.
❏ Students with extenuating circumstances should communicate with their grade level/program administrator.
MBHS Math Support
Blazers, here are some options for you:
- Go to virtual check-in with the teacher on Wednesdays (by period)
- Send emails to the teacher and request help during the Student Support time (B Days, 2:45-3:15 p.m.)
- Sign up for Saturday GBTLA sessions (they are great): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1H697hA4pI7ny7oMlQxeFaqVftR1LgTdQdK2PmO-gjNo/edit?usp=sharing
Tutoring Available to MCPS Students
Does your teen need help? As of February 1st, 2021, MCPS has begun offering Tutorme, an online homework help service. Tutorme.com is a secure, online resource that will be easily accessible through MCPS student Canvas and StudentVUE accounts and will offer on-demand assistance on any subject from grade 3 through grade 12.
Free SAT School Day for Grade 11 Students
MCPS is moving forward with tentative plans for all high schools to offer SAT School Day (without Essay) at no cost for any Grade 11 student (or other eligible students in the same graduation cohort), depending on health and safety conditions. Additional information will be provided in a February 11 memorandum to principals. Here is a preview:
- The primary SAT School Day testing date is April 13, 2021, with a designated make-up date of April 27, 2021.
- Students and parents/guardians will be able to elect to participate in the assessments regardless of their selected preference for in-person learning.
AP Testing Update
This Google doc contains instructions on how students can access online test prep resources for AP exams https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s8uISIasW-7n76MQSDdjeT1ESuXMGJv81IHg_1sNKP8/edit?usp=sharing
Update from College Board:
- While colleges and universities were willing to accept abbreviated exams last year, this year they expect exam scores to reflect the full scope of AP coursework.
- An updated testing schedule with two contingency testing dates for each subject—one in the second half of May and one in the first half of June—will support schools that want more instructional time before testing. The schedule is supposed to be released in February.
- Full-length digital contingency exams can be taken at home, if authorized by the AP coordinator, if a school is closed or coronavirus-related risks prevent a student from testing at a school.
Congratulations to Tony Calderon-Gonzalez, Blair Senior, and POSSE Winner! Tony has earned a four-year full scholarship to Sewanee: The University of the South! He is an ACES student, Co-Editor in Chief for Silver Chips, and will be playing Baseball at Sewanee too!
Congratulations to Blair Senior, Anika Seth, Women in STEM Scholarship recipient, sponsored by Dominion Energy. View Anika's speech and event video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHLPwY61FXE&feature=youtu.be
Please join me in congratulating Timothy Qian, Blair Senior, for being named a Regeneron Finalist, one of two finalists in Maryland! Timothy wins $25,000 for being named a finalist and he advances to the final competition in March. We wish Timothy all the best in the final week's competition with a chance to win $40,000 to $250,000. A special THANK YOU to our staff who have prepared Timothy for this prestigious award.
Congratulations to our Blazers on their performance at the COMAP High School Modeling Competition (HiMCM). The HiMCM is an international competition with a total of 779 teams, with up to 4 students each, from 302 schools and 20 countries. Blair had six teams participate and all our teams were very successful. We have four award winners: one finalist team, one meritorious team, and two honorable mention teams.
The award-winning teams were:
Congratulations to Ms. Bosse and Mr. Schafer, on being named 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Search Teachers of Merit!
GREAT NEWS: Montgomery Blair High School earns College Board's AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award! College Board is honoring schools that are closing the gender gap and increasing diversity in Computer Science courses.
Check-out Blair's Network Communication Show, InfoFlow
Media Center News
Daily Community Tech Support hours!
The Media Center is now providing daily Community Tech Support for parents and students. We can help you with myMCPS (Canvas), ParentVUE, StudentVUE, and offer guidance on using a variety of instructional tools. Daily Community Tech Support is 8:00 am to 9:00 am. Here is the dedicated Zoom link. Here is the Meeting ID: 834 2801 1407 & Passcode: 053291. Here also is a help request form (in English & Spanish) requesting information to help us resolve ParentVUE questions as quickly as possible.
Project LIT @Blair sponsors Community Read February 23, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
We are happy to announce that the First Blair Community Read of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning.
This event will be a virtual event on Tuesday, February 23, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. We are working with Blair’s Diversity and Inclusion Instructional Coordinator, Mr. Rahman Culver. Students who read the book, attend the Community Read and submit a reflection can earn 10 SSL hours!
Here are the details: Sign up on the form to get a free copy of the book mailed to your home! Ask parents, Blair colleagues, and friends to join as well! https://forms.gle/mg3Q7e7RDVSmUR5D8.
· Start reading and take note of sections that have meaning for you.
· The discussion is Tuesday, February 23, 2021, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. You must attend and participate to earn your 7 to 10 SSL hours as a reader!
· Stay tuned for the Zoom announcement with details closer to the date!
· We look forward to meeting around Reading with the whole Blair Community!
PTSA MiniGrants updates and a HUGE thank you!
The Media Center and our wonderful Project LIT @Blair students have been happily at work helping fellow Blazers continue to enjoy great books at home! The choices on our next giveaway list were selected by Project LIT @Blair as a component of their community service projects.
Thanks to generous minigrants from the Montgomery Blair PTSA, our Project LIT @Blair community service leaders have selected the books on this TeachingBooks link. We could not have done it without YOU! Ms. Lamphier will send this link out to Blair students through Canvas at the end of the week. In addition to thanking the PTSA, we also send a HUGE Thank You to the Main Office staff who have helped us get these books to your students at home. Ms. Franklin, Mr. Crabtree, and Ms. Heiss, You Are the BEST!
Climate Youth Town Hall Meeting
Calling all students! The County Executive, MCPS & Montgomery College want to hear from you! Our Climate Youth Town Hall is on February 11. Let us know what’s important to you & engage with other students on climate change. Register: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJArd-GsrTgtGdLwoEd8s2JI2i5YE_Vq5FWW#MCClimateAction
Bridging the Gap, a Conversation on Equity
Join author Lauren Markham & a panel of local Latino leaders, educators & students at 7 p.m. Feb 11 for a discussion on the challenges that the Latino community faces, & how we can work together to mitigate those challenges. Learn more & register:
Councilmember for a Day Challenge
The deadline to Councilmember RicePolitics' 2021 Councilmember for a Day Challenge has been EXTENDED to February 15. To learn more about this exciting new inclusive storytelling experience and to register visit: https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/cm4ad/?utm_content=buffere9c7f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Choose Respect Video PSA Contest Accepting Entries:
The 11th Annual Choose Respect Montgomery video PSA contest is now accepting entries. This contest challenges middle and high school students to create an original 50- to 70-second public service announcement video to promote awareness of dating abuse and domestic violence among teens. The contest is open to students in Grades 6 through 12, and students may enter on their own or as a group. The top three videos win cash prizes. The submission deadline is Monday, March 1, 2021. More information can be found at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/fjc/chooserespect/video.html.
The Montgomery County Youth Media Festival
The Montgomery County Youth Media Festival will be held virtually on Saturday, April 24. Secondary students and young adults aged 18–25 are invited to submit original works of video and art for consideration. Learn more: https://www.youthmediamd.org/media-festival-competition
Parent Community Coordinator(PCC) Faye Nabavian:
If you or someone you know needs resources and seasonal items, please refer them to Kindness Corner at Blair High School. Together, we provide resources and supplies to our students and families, through Kindness Corner and county and federal resources.
Please visit the resources page at https://blairpcc.weebly.com/
Kindness Corner at Blair is grateful to many for their generous contributions and we continue to collect gift cards and other items through the kindness corner registry.
Please contact Faye Nabavian with any questions.
School Meals are Free for All Students
Montgomery County Public Schools is providing curbside meal service at Blair. Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (double meals), no meal service on Thursday, and triple meal service on Fridays, to help address food insecurity for MCPS students over the weekend.
We ask that you wear a facemask and practice physical/social distancing as you pick up meals. Menu information is available on the main Menu webpage, https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/foodserv/menus/secondary_lunch.aspx. Allergens, nutrients, and other information can be found on the Wellness & Nutrition webpage.
Complete the 2020 - 2021 online application for free or reduced-price school meals. Click the link below and apply now, https://www.myschoolapps.com/. If you qualify, you are eligible to receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch. Also, you will be eligible for the following benefits: Waivers for Advanced Placement and SAT Exams, field trip cost, and discounted internet service.
Montgomery Blair High School Information
If you do not receive log-in information for your teen, please contact Ms. Melissa Young, Latino Achievement Coordinator, Melissa_Young@mcpsmd.org or Ms. Andrea Lamphier, Media Specialist, Andrea_Lamphier@mcpsmd.org.
Student schedules are now available in ParentVUE and StudentVUE. Parents and students will need to log in to the report using the student’s ID and password. Report Link: https://studentschedule.mcpsmd.org
Scheduling, Transcript, Social Emotional Wellness Questions, Contact Your Teen's Counselor
School Counseling Department:
All Things College and Career: Contact Carmen Salazar, College and Career Coordinator. Carmen_A_Salazar@mcpsmd.org
Melissa Young, is our MyMCPS/Synergy Parent Portal Staff Liaison, Melissa_Young@mcpsmd.org
Retrieving Medication From Last Year: Contact Joseph Fanning, Joseph_M_Fanning@mcpsmd.org
Health Room: Full Time School Nurse: Anisa Harris, Anisa_Harris@mcpsmd.org
Health Room Tech: Sophia Duque, Sofia_Duque@mcpsmd.org
Principal's Administrative Secretary, Claudine Biggs, Claudine_Biggs@mcpsmd.org
Attendance Office: Roxanne Fus, Roxanne_F_Fus@mcpsmd.org
Blair Security Office: Darryl Cooper, Security Team Leader, Darryl_J_Cooper@mcpsmd.org
Financial Specialist: Donna Franklin, Donna_M_Franklin@mcpsmd.org
Parent Community Coordinator: Faye Nabavian, Farzaneh_Nabavian@mcpsmd.org
Pupil Personnel Worker: Ramona Washington, Ramona_L_Washington@mcpsmd.org
Renay Johnson: Principal
Adriana Burgos-Ojeda: Grade 12 Administrator
Joseph Fanning: Grade 11 Administrator
Dirk Cauley: Grade 10 Administrator A-L
Candace Wilkerson: Grade 10 Administrator M-Z
Lavina Carrillo: Grade 9 Administrator A-L
Tracy Pettis-Jones: Grade 9 Administrator M-Z
Peter Ostrander: Magnet & CAP Programs
James Funk: School Business Administrator