Terrapin Tidbits

SY21 TCES Family Issue #3

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August 24, 2020

Greetings Town Creek Families,

Our teachers and staff returned to TCES this morning! They are truly the most dedicated group of educators. Know that we are committed to making the virtual learning start the very best that it can be for our students and our community.

Students: enjoy your last week of summer vacation! School starts just one week from today.

All the best,

Lindsay Brenfleck

Notable Dates

  • Homeroom placement will be available on the Home Access Center beginning August 26th at 4:00pm.

  • Quarter 1 Online/Virtual Learning: The new school year will begin on Monday, August 31, 2020, with all students enrolled in online/virtual courses through the Schoology Learning Management System.

  • Tentative Date: Friday, 9/4 --> Learning Materials & Tools Distribution (delivery dependent)

  • Labor Day: All Schools and Offices will be closed on Monday, September 7.

SMCPS Weekly Update for St. Mary's County Public School Families

SMCPS Update

Select the pink button above to read the update for SMCPS Families

  • Getting Ready for the First Day of School
  • Device and Access Information
  • Materials Distribution [see this issue of the Terrapin Tidbits]
  • Meal Services
  • SMCPS Recovery Plan

Student Schedules

Dr. Maher presented [LINK] sample elementary schedules during the [LINK] SMCPS Town Hall Meeting last Wednesday.

Your student's schedule will be shared by their teacher by the end of this week. We recognize that not knowing the schedule is hard and generates anxiety and frustration as you attempt to make plans. Scheduling is a high priority for us and requires thoughtful input from our teachers. We understand (and in many cases share) the multiple challenges that face you: balancing sibling schedules, daycare, full-time jobs, etc. We also know that learning for children in various developmental ranges requires teachers to consider attention span, physical and emotional health, and skill levels. We work together to help design programs that will help meet the needs of a wide range of students. Our teachers are using all of this information as they finalize the grade-level and class-specific schedules. Thank you for your patience!

Action Item: Email Addresses

Student email addresses are used to log in to Schoology and other SMCPS vetted resources.

Our students may require your support to log in as there has been a change from last year. Please review the [LINK to] Remote Learning Login Instructions to help you navigate this process.

All students will need to update their email address login information before they will be able to get into "Schoology" through the "Clever" button.

[LINK] Schoology

Information for Students, Parents, and Guardians

Device Distribution

Device distribution will occur at TCES as soon as possible! Specific information will be shared when SMCPS secures and distributes the devices to TCES.

Kindergarten, Grade 1

SMCPS is issuing iPads to students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 who need devices. This includes students who have no device and those who are sharing a device with others in their family. As soon as these devices are available to us, we will schedule distribution to families.

Grades 2 - 5

SMCPS is issuing laptops to students in Grades 2 - 5. Families who responded that their child does not have access to a device will be contacted by Wednesday, August 26th. Families who responded that their child is using a shared device will be included in distribution as soon as possible.

If you did not respond to the survey, or if your needs have changed since you provided an answer, please contact Ms. Suzanne VerHaagh at 301-863-4044 or smverhaagh@smcps.org.

Mobile Hotspots

The process for selecting which families will receive mobile hotspots will involve a review of broadband service availability by address, student and family need, and availability of hotspots across the school system. With the recent approval from the County Commissioners, hotspots are being purchased; however, there are no guarantees that hotspots will be available for every family. The link for the county webpage for availability is here: County Broadband [LINK].

A more detailed plan for prioritizing and distributing the hotspots is under development. In the meantime, if you do not have internet access at your home, students can access free wifi from the parking lot of any St. Mary's County Public School building as well as the county libraries. The county libraries also offer check-out of wifi hot spots.

REMINDER: Application for Free/Reduced Price Meals is Open

All families must complete a new application for each school year even if they automatically qualify for free lunch. Beginning this school year, parents may now apply for meal benefits online here: https://www.smcps.org/dss/food-services/meal-benefit-information.

If you prefer a paper copy, click here for the instructions on how to apply for meal benefits and click here for the application.

Stay Tuned!

Instructional Materials Distribution: We are waiting for several materials of instruction to be delivered to TCES. As soon as all learning tools are delivered, we will schedule distribution dates. Potential Date: Friday, September 4 w/ designated grade level pickup times

Teacher Communication: Expect communication from your child's teacher by the end of the week! They will provide details about opportunities to meet and connect through Google Meet as well as important information about the upcoming school year.

Directions to Receive Text Alerts [Link]

Stay up to date on events, closings, and alerts!

Communication Methods

  • School Telephone: (301) 863-4044
  • Website: https://schools.smcps.org/tces/
  • Twitter: @TCES_SMCPS
  • School Messenger: phone, email, SMS (text messages)
  • SY20 Issues of the Terrapin Tidbits [LINK]