Montgomery Blair High School
Principal's January Newsletter
Happy New Year 2021!
Dear Montgomery Blair High School Families,
Happy New Year! I hope that you and your family had a restful Winter Break. As you know, last month all MCPS parents had the opportunity to indicate if they would like for their teen to return to school for in-person learning once it is safe to do so or continue virtual learning. Our school data graphic is below and we will share additional instructional and safety information at our January 19, PTSA meeting. I hope that you will join us for this meeting.
The events that unfolded this week in our nation's capital have shocked and saddened us. Your teen may be grappling with emotions of sadness, anger, and confusion about the violence and devastation that happened only 10 miles from our school.
While the full aftermath of these events are still unclear, we want to take this opportunity to reemphasize our purpose as a learning organization and our commitment to our core values of learning, respect, relationships, equity, and excellence.
Staff will be using the following resources in processing this week's events with students:
As the final steps in the political process continue to move forward in confirming our next president, we will reflect on our system’s core values, mission, and vision. These principles are valuable reminders for our work during these challenging times. Please notify your teen’s teacher, counselor or administrator if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your support.
Renay Johnson, Principal
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.
January Counseling Department News
Also, would it be approved for the following to be added to the online calendar and for a connect ed message to be sent out?
The MBHS School Counseling Department will be hosting an Understanding Course Selection Information Webinar on January 14, 2021, at 5:30 pm. This will be an opportunity to learn how students should be selecting their courses within StudentVue for the next school year. We hope this webinar will be beneficial in how you support your student through the process.
Montgomery Blair High School Return to School or Continue Virtual Learning Preference Survey Data:
PTSA Meeting: Blair's Reopening Plan
Montgomery Blair High School's next PTSA meeting is Tuesday, January, 19, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Although we do not know our return to in-person learning date, we will share our reopening plan for students who have selected in-person learning. In addition, many school opportunities, resources, and supports for students will be shared at this meeting, so we encourage you to attend.
Zoom webinar invitation link for the PTSA meeting on School Reopening
When: Jan 19, 2021, 06:00 PM
Topic: PTSA - School Reopening
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Webinar ID: 839 4792 4839
Join our PTSA, https://blairptsa.org/join/
Watch InfoFlow, our school news and information program
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.
Student Service Learning Opportunity: PeaceJam
MCPS is partnering with PeaceJam Mid-Atlantic (a regional affiliate of the international educational program that connects youth with Nobel Peace Prize winners) to host a weekly virtual leadership development program for interested high school students. Virtual sessions will occur every Wednesday from 3:30-5:00 PM beginning February 3, 2021, and lasting through May 12, 2021. Participating students will earn SSL hours. Applications will open January 4, 2021, and close January 15, 2021. The application link is https://bit.ly/MCPSPeaceJam2021. To learn more, students may visit the opportunity posting on the Volunteer Center website: https://montgomerycountymd.galaxydigital.com/need/detail/?need_id=558791
Culture of Respect, A Student Online Training Lesson - The deadline for students to complete the module is January 29, 2021
Montgomery County Public Schools is committed to ensuring our students are equipped with the information needed to be able to recognize signs of bullying/cyberbullying, harassment (including sexual harassment), hate-bias incidents, hazing, intimidation, and student gender norms.
An online student training lesson, entitled “Culture of Respect,” has been developed for students in grades 6 through 12. This online training lesson provides critical information that will help students better recognize the signs of inappropriate behaviors, including the various ways to report alleged/concerning incidents.
The training includes a student survey that will provide school leaders with valuable data to assess the current culture and climate of respect at their schools and determine potential next steps to plan for improvements. Students will earn two SSL hours to complete the training. Click here for more information.
Montgomery Blair Academies:
Juniors interested in learning more about pursuing a Capstone Project should complete the Capstone Project Intent Form https://forms.gle/L5rmRRo9mBP7czfG9
Academy teachers will be reaching out and working with interested Juniors throughout the spring semester.
On Tuesday, January 12, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to delay the return to in-person learning from Feb. 1 to March 15, as a result, the January 26, 2021, PSAT administration is canceled. Montgomery County Public Schools will not administer the PSAT this school year.
Juniors who do not take the PSAT this year can still quality for the National Merit Scholarship by alternate entry.
Alternate Entry Instructions To Compete for the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program (NSMP) instead of taking the PSAT/NMSQT:
National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NSMC) conducts the National Merit Scholarship Program, an annual nationwide academic competition for high school students in Grade 11. The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is typically the route of entry into the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP). If students are unable to take the PSAT/NMSQT in January 2021, students will still have an opportunity to compete for this prestigious honor using their official SAT scores. The process is outlined in the following link: Alternate Entry Form - 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program.
A brief summary of the requirements:
To enter the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program based on your SAT scores in lieu of the PSAT/NMSQT scores, students must:
- Take an official administration of the SAT given from August 2020 to June 2021.
- Request that the College Board sends an official SAT score report to NMSC. Please note: The College Board will not report a student’s scores to NMSC unless the student initiates the request.
- Complete the Alternate Entry Form - 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program no later than Thursday, April 1, 2021, to be considered for in the 2022 NMSP.
- Submit their SAT scores as soon as they become available. NSMC must receive your SAT scores no later than Friday, October 15, 2021.
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.
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
MONTGOMERY BLAIR SILVERLOGUE YEARBOOK- Order now and get a discount.
Board of Education Meeting
The Montgomery County Board of Education will meet again on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, to determine if metrics can be met by February 1 for a safe return to in-person learning. While the first group of students are currently scheduled to begin the transition back to in-person learning on Feb. 1 if metrics allow, MCPS has not determined specific dates for when the other groups of students will begin to phase-in.
The Board meeting will begin at 11 a.m. and you can watch it live on the MCPS website and on MCPS TV (Comcast 36, Verizon 34 and RCN 89). Details about what in-person experiences will look like will be shared following the meeting.
Join Blair Publications
We are excited to share the applications to join next year’s Silver Chips team! Apply for writing roles—both in English and for La Esquina Latina, our Spanish section, by January 22, 2021.
You can also apply to Montgomery Blair's Silver Chips Online newspaper, and Blair Network Communication.
Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB)
Attention all interested 10/11th graders interested in being the next @MCPS Student Member of the Board of Education:
The SMOB nomination period is OPEN now-January 28. Check out the SMOB election timeline, protocols & nomination form (pages 29 & 30):
Hello Grade 10 Families,
Do you have a 10th-grade student at a Montgomery Blair high school? Does your student want to attend college?
Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) is a collaborative program among Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and the Universities at Shady Grove that provides a seamless and supportive pathway to college completion.
The ACES program seeks to serve students who identify with any of the following categories:
- Historically underrepresented in higher education
- First in their family to graduate from a college or university in the United States
- Have differing abilities
- From a single-parent household
- From a low-income household - falls below the poverty line as defined by the State of Maryland
- English language learners
As a qualifying 10th grader*, students can receive:
- Individual coaching
- Preparation for college entrance exams
- College and financial aid application support
- Leadership development opportunities
- Career readiness training and skills
- Student success workshops
Visit acesmontomgery.org/apply/ for important information and to apply. The application deadline is January 15, 2021.
Contact for the ACES program coordinator at Montgomery Blair:
Mónica Burgos, LMSW
Montgomery Blair High School
Audition Information Now Available!
Blair Tops the State with Four Regeneron Scholars!
Congratulations to the 58 Blair Music students and counting who have been selected to County, State, and National Ensembles. We are still waiting for results for MCPS Sr. Orchestra, MCPS Jr. and Sr. Jazz, and All-Eastern Ensembles. Check out the list of our talented Blazers.
Congratulations to the nearly 60 Blair Music Students who were inducted into MBHS Chapter #4407 of the Tri-M Music Honor Society on Tuesday, December 22.
Congratulations to Chamber Orchestra violinists Karen Cao and Alena Hu who were selected as winners of the National Philharmonic's Virtual Solo Bach Competition. View their winning performances here!
Don’t Forget to Activate Your ParentVue Account
ParentVue is the brand new, powerful, single location for all information about how your child is doing in school. ParentVUE also is a new tool we use to stay connected with you.
When you are logged into ParentVUE you can:
· See your child’s schedule;
· Check your child’s grades (and report card);
· Check your child’s assignments;
· Send a message to your child’s teacher; and
· Update your contact information.
Soon, you will even be able to see a report on Student Service Learning Hours (SSL). If you haven’t yet activated your account, please be on the lookout for an e-mail and/or a notification via U.S. mail because MCPS will send you a new activation letter. Once you’ve received your activation letter, simply visit www.MCPSParentVUE.org to activate your account.
Weekly Blazer Community Tech Support
We continue to admire the work you are doing to support your students. We want you to know that additional help with Zoom, StudentVUE, ParentVUE, and myMCPS Classroom will be available every Wednesday morning at 9:00 to 10:00. Ms. Lamphier (Media Specialist), Mr. Hammond (Blair's IT Specialist), Ms. Young (Latino Achievement Coordinator), and, when possible, Dr. Fields (Blair's Staff Development Teacher). Ms. Young will be able to help students and parents in Spanish.
Ms. Young can also help by phone. Here is her phone number: 240-630-2079.
Here is a form in English and Spanish to provide the information we might need to help you: https://mbhs.libwizard.com/id/d9654b88779879b4c62949e4e801b32b
Here is the Wednesday morning Zoom link (Register in advance for this meeting)
Meeting Passcode: 053291
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
We hope to see you during these Zoom sessions!
Media Center News
The Media Center, sponsors of Project LIT @Blair, along with Blair's Diversity and Inclusion Instructional Coordinator, Mr. Rahman Culver, and Mr. Kenneth Smith's students in African American Studies, are organizing Blair's first Community Read. The title we've selected is: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds. Our plan is to create an inclusive community around reading this important book, so the Community Read is open to Students, Parents, and Staff. Student leaders will be from Project LIT @Blair and volunteers from Mr. Smith's class. We will also recruit additional adults from Blair Staff.
What you need to know:
We have already purchased 90 copies of the book. Copies of the Community Read, Stamped, will be free to participants of the Community Read. Depending on interest & funding, we may be able to purchase more hard, electronic, or audiobook copies of this title.
- We hope to have a robust participation of students (who will receive SSL hours for this community-building project) and inspire our Blazers to read for pleasure and lead a diverse audience of ages in coming together with books.
- The the reading schedule is not yet determined; Project LIT @Blair meets on Thursdays; our student leaders will create the reading schedule. Our intention is to begin shipping books by mid-January to be ready for Black History Month in February.
- The Community Read of Stamped will be the capstone of Blair's Media Center celebration of Black History Month. In past years, we have teamed up with Mr. Smith's classes to create community events for the African American Read-In, a nationwide celebration of reading works by and about African Americans. This year's event will be virtual, and we couldn't be more excited!
- More details to follow. If you are interested in participating, donating, or cheering us on, please fill out this form and we'll follow up with details very soon!
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 begins Monday, January 11. 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.
eBooks and Audiobooks collection grows by the minute!
As we continue our remote learning, access to the media center is still provided 24/7! This week, we added to our growing collection of eBooks and audiobooks, with many more to come in the coming months! Here's a look at our absolute newest titles from Overdrive using the Sora app. Using the Sora app, students have access to all of Blair's electronic titles (numbering into the thousands) AND access to young adult titles from Montgomery County Public Libraries! Here's a tutorial on finding OverDrive titles using Sora app to find search in both libraries!
Access to an even wider collection of interactive eBooks using our Destiny Library system is available to Blair students as well. Here's a tutorial to access all of the ebook and audiobook vendors from which we've purchased. This set of passwords can help students with access to services available through our website.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Lamphier by email: Andrea_Lamphier@mcpsmd.org
Happy New Year. Hoping this newsletter finds you well and safe. We are in our last three weeks of the spring virtual season which will end on January 22. This is the third and final virtual season of the first semester. During this first semester of the 2020-2021 school year, the Blair Athletics department has also conducted a Leadership program and a Strong Mind program every week. These programs are intended to advance and strengthen the skills of our student-athletes to be better prepared for sports and life. The student-athletes are doing a terrific job of staying the course and trusting the process.
Unfortunately, the winter season was canceled for our teams this year. It is a difficult consequence of the COVID pandemic. We hope health metrics improve dramatically and that gives us a chance to go in person for competitive seasons and/or conditioning programs soon. As the MCPS Board of Education determines this, MCPS Athletics continues to plan and prepare.
Interested in playing sports in college? An important NCAA Student and Parent seminar will be held virtually on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 3:30 pm. Eligibility to play in college and the COVID-19 Automatic Waiver and adjustments that have been made for the 2020-2021 school year will be discussed. Every year, many Blazers go on to compete at the next level. Information on the seminar will be sent out to all coaches to disseminate to their programs. Feel free to email me for details.
Lastly, the Montgomery Blair Boosters Athletic Association is working hard to build a community with a virtual Community 5K Run For The Heart on February 13th! More details to come. We hope to have many participants.
These are very difficult and seemingly unrelenting times. I am incredibly proud of our school community and continue to hope for permanent improvement in social justice, equity, equality, and health. Know that Blazer Athletics is available for any support that our community needs.
If you should ever have questions, concerns, or comments, please reach out to Athletic Director/Specialist Rita J. Boulé at Rita_J_Boule@mcpsmd.org. Stay safe and healthy!
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.
Blazers: Get involved and join an activities or club
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.
Enjoy Bon Appetit Blazer, Montgomery Blair High School PTSA Cookbook!
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.
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