Montgomery Blair High School

Principal's December Newsletter

Dear Blair Families,

Happy December, I hope that you and your family are well.

As you know, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will offer both virtual and in-person learning experiences as health metrics permits. MCPS could begin a phased-in return to in-person instruction beginning January 12, 2021, with a focus on specific special education programs and certain Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs. If health metrics continue to be met, larger groups of students will begin phasing in on February 1, 2021.

Please complete the survey to indicate whether you prefer to have your child remain virtual or go to school in person. We want to hear from all families so that we can plan staffing and our building for a safe return. The deadline to complete this is December 3.

If you need to contact school staff, our directory is here with staff email information,

This is a reminder to tune into our Blair Network Television Show to watch our talented Blazers and receive school news and information. Click the InfoFlow link below to see the latest episode.

Finally, enjoy our BLAZER PRIDE Marching Band performance of Hey Ya! by OutKast, below!

Thank you for your support!

Thank you,

Renay Johnson


The Montgomery Blair High School BLAZER PRIDE Marching Band presents Hey Ya! by OutKast
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Blair Network Communication: InfoFlow Show:

Counseling Department News:

NEW: MCPS Grading and Reporting Changes:

MCPS has revised grading and reporting guidelines as we enter the second grading period of the year. Below are some areas where the guidance has changed.

Progress Checks

Progress Checks are county-wide assessments given in select core subject areas (i.e. English). These assignments were typically scored as 10% of the quarter grade in their own category. While Progress Checks may still be administered, they will no longer be scored in their own category. If they are scored, they will be entered as other assignments are.

Work Load

The minimum number of assignments for the Practice/Preparation category has been reduced to four per marking period. Practice/Prep assignments are those scored for completion, not accuracy and can be worth up to 10% of a course grade as a group of assignments.

A recommendation was made for teachers to assign seven to nine major assignments per marking period. These assignments are graded for accuracy. This is a recommendation and some courses may have fewer or more assignments depending on course needs.

Due Dates & Deadlines

It is very important for students to meet due dates as assigned by teachers. This helps students be prepared for new instruction and avoids work snowballing for the end of the marking period. Work turned in after due dates can receive a 10% deduction for being turned in late.

We understand that the current pandemic has caused disruptions to our students’ lives. For this reason, teachers are instructed to be lenient with accepting and grading late work when a student cannot get the work done by the due date. Students having challenges getting work done by the due dates or their parents should communicate with the teacher in order to receive additional support.

Incomplete Grades

If you have an “Incomplete” grade for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, you have the opportunity to complete credit recovery assignments and receive a passing grade for the Spring 2020 semester. Please refer to the links below to register with the department for the class(es) you need to recover credit in. The Department Resource Teacher will connect you with the credit recovery assignments to be completed. All credit recovery assignments must be completed by Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

Fine Arts: Fine Arts Department Google Form

Career/Tech. Ed.: Contact Mr. Street, Resource Teacher;

English: English Department Google Form

ESOL/Reading: ESOL/Reading Department Google Form

Math: Math Department Google Form

PE/Health: Contact Mr. McMahon, Resource Teacher;

Science: Science Department Google Form

Social Studies: Contact Ms. Hughes, Resource Teacher;

World Languages: World Languages Department Google Form

For any other questions, please contact your student’s grade level administrator.

Adriana Burgos-Ojeda, Assistant Principal, 12th Grade,

Joseph Fanning, Assistant Principal, 11th Grade,

Dirk Cauley, Assistant Principal, 10th Grade (Last names A-L),

Candace Wilkerson, Assistant School Administrator, 10th (Last names M-Z),

Lavina Carrillo, Assistant Principal, 9th (Last names A-L),

Tracy Pettis-Jones, Assistant Principal, 9th (Last names M-Z),


Montgomery Blair High School is the University of Maryland Clark School’s Top Source School for in-state talent in the undergraduate engineering programs. Congratulations Staff and Blazers!
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Niche 2021 Best Public High Schools:

The mission of Montgomery Blair High School is to ensure that all students graduate equipped with the skills to successfully navigate their chosen path.

Belief Statement: Education is the shared responsibility of the school, student, family, community, and government.

The 2021 Best Public High Schools ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, and high school ratings. Read more on how this ranking was calculated.

This year, Blair is ranked #8 (last year #11) out of 26 high schools in Montgomery County and #12 out of 223 high schools in Maryland. As you know there are many systems that rank schools using many factors and data points. I do not endorse any ranking systems, I am sharing this report which has been shared with the public. The complete report is at the link below.

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Congratulations Blazers!

This feature will highlight our outstanding students and staff Blazers. Send your good news to your grade level administrator to be featured in next month's newsletter.

Congratulations to our 1717 Blazers who have earned Honor Roll for the first marking period of the year!

Congratulations to Matthew Casertano and Dhruv Pai, founders of Teens Helping Seniors on their feature in Mensa publication and People magazine.

Congratulations to Madeline Gold, grade 9, on her achievement as a published author! For the past few years, she has devoted much time and energy into writing and illustrating a book titled, Read This Book and Save Your Brain (A Book About Alzheimer's for Tweens and Teens). It is a book aimed at teaching adolescents and adults alike about the truths of Alzheimer's Disease while providing information on how to keep yourself safe. Centered on the interplay between different parts of the brain and positive preventative methods against Alzheimer's, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to protect their brain from the cruel, currently incurable, Alzheimer's Disease.

Here is the link to Madeline's book.

Congratulations to Blair Junior, Lana Anderson! Lana was recently chosen to be a Raven's Quarterback! Very exciting news.

Congratulations to Mr. Louis Hoelman for being named the 2019 - 2020 National Federation of State High School Associations Softball Coach of the Year!

Congratulations to Mr. Kenneth Smith, National Board Certified Teacher renewed!

Congratulations Silver Chips Online News and Newspaper Reporters!

The National Scholastic Press Association has presented the following awards to our student reporters:

Oliver Goldman and Aviva Bechky 1st place for sports story of the year!

Prayag Gordy (our Editor-in-Chief, Blair Class of 2020) won 1st place for digital story of the year for his COVID coverage on social media!

Anna Fisher Lopez won honorable mention (top ten) for journalist of the year!

Shashi Arnold won honorable mention (top ten) for artist of the year!

Clark Zhang and Sarah Mckenzie won honorable mention (top ten) for Local Climate Coverage!

Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper, Ms. Elie, Staff Sponsor:

Silver Chips Newspaper, Mr. Stelzner, Staff Sponsor:

Varisty Blazers Pompons "Fight Song" Performance

Culture of Respect, A Student Online Training Lesson

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.

MBHS Academies Capstone Information video

If students are interested in completing a capstone project or would like more information about completing a capstone project, students should complete this google form and Beth Sanchez, Academy Coordinator will be in touch.

AP Exams

The deadline to register for AP exams was November 13. Students can still register to take a test, but there is an extra $40 late registration fee. To pay for your AP exams online, go to this website - Families who need financial aid should fill in the information in this Google Form or contact Leslie Blaha at Families who qualify for a fee waiver can pay online here - If you wish to pay with a check, make it out to "MBHS," write your student's name and ID in the memo line and mail it to:

Leslie Blaha, MBHS, 51 University Blvd East, Silver Spring, MD 20901.

SAT / ACT Administration:

SAT Update: MCPS and College Board are moving forward with plans to administer the SAT to registered students on Saturday, December 5 at select high school centers. College Board registration information is here. The focus of this effort is ensuring that seniors graduating in the Class of 2021 have additional opportunities to access these college entrance examinations.

SAT support is available for the Class of 2021 Seniors: MCPS and College Board are providing support with testing fee waivers and transportation for the December SAT, if needed. Grade 12 students can arrange for fee waivers and a transportation request to an MCPS test center by contacting their school counselor or college and career information coordinator.

    ACT: Additional information about the possibility of ACT National administrations in December 2020 and February 2021 will be shared soon.

    PSAT Information:

    Eleventh-grade families! Information about taking the PSAT this January is now available in English and Spanish; the deadline for registering is 12/11; you can go directly to the registration page here

    Diversity and Inclusion Updates:

    As the school community transitions from a tumultuous election cycle, we will increasingly turn our attention to long-term efforts supporting anti-bias professional development, and expanding equitable practices for staff and students. To this end, our Instructional Leadership Team has begun to engage in training on race, equity, and restorative justice from MCPS instructional specialists. Additionally, the school will launch in December its 2020-21 Equal Opportunity Schools initiatives to increase access to advanced and rigorous instructional opportunities for all students. We are also engaged in a school-wide equity audit, including the review of student leadership selection and recruitment practices for publications and extracurricular activities.

    Mr. Rahman Culver

    MBHS Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator

    Blair Wear, A GREAT Holiday Gift:

    Purchase Blair Spirit Wear and surprise your favorite Blazers! It's the Blair Apparel Fanshop! And you can also get a Blair face covering or a Blair fanny pack.

    Check-out Blair Athletics Boosters Holiday Spirit Wear Sale Online!

    The Blair Athletic Association Boosters will be selling BLAIR SPIRITWEAR at their HOLIDAY SALE ONLINE on their website: Online purchasing will be open from Dec 4th until December 9th. Supplies are limited, so order early! This will be our last gear sale for 2020. All proceeds go to supporting student-athletes at Blair. Payment is by credit/debit card only and we will be mailing out purchases by USPS mail. Questions can be emailed to Thank you for your support!

    Senior Class of 2021:

    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.)

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    Student Service Learning Information:

    Student Service Learning

    Check out the latest SSL updates and SSL opportunities on the new SSL website!

    All SSL forms should be sent to

    Beth Sanchez, SSL Coordinator is hosting office hours to answer you SSL questions on Wednesday from 11:15 to 12:15. Zoom meeting information can be found on Blair's SSL website.

    Blazers: Get involved and join an activities or club:

    MBHS National Art Honor Society:

    The National Art Honor Society has taken on its first service project of the year with the non-profit organization Youth Art For Healing. This is our seventh year working with Youth Art For Healing and over the years we have made a little under 200 works of art for local hospitals and health organizations. This year NAHS students will be creating 30x40 “Gifts of Gratitude” Paintings for local Health Care Professionals. The paintings we make are usually permanently installed into health care facilities, however, this year the art will be a gift for the health care professionals to take home as a thank you for all their hard work during the pandemic. 13 of our Blazers have been matched with 13 local health care professional and are working on finalizing their sketches while we wait for supplies to be delivered to Blair. Check out Youth Art for Healing for more information.

    The sketches below are by our talented Blair students: Angela Tu, Anne Michelle Sandjol, and Emily Reyes-Gonzalez

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    Blazer Community,

    Hoping this newsletter finds you well and safe. We are in our last two weeks of the winter virtual athletics season and the teams and coaches are doing a great job and having fun with guest speakers, skill work, knowledge work, and workouts, all virtual. We are now headed into the spring sports virtual season. All students enrolled at Blair High School are eligible to participate. The season consists of a minimum of three student-athlete and coach engagement sessions per week over the course of five weeks.

    Coaches may schedule sessions after the school day until 9 pm and from 9 am - 3 pm on Saturdays. The spring virtual season is scheduled to occur between December 14, 2020, and January 22, 2021. The spring sports at Blair High School are Baseball, Coed Softball (corollary sport), Gymnastics, Lacrosse (Boys), Lacrosse (Girls), Tennis (Boys), Tennis (Girls), Track & Field, Volleyball (Boys), and Volleyball (Coed).

    All students participating in the spring virtual season, as part of the MCPS interscholastic athletics program, must complete the online registration process. Registration is done electronically through the Blair Virtual Spring Athletics Registration form found here: English Version Blair Virtual Athletics Registration. The Spanish version of the Blair Virtual Athletics Registration form can be found here: Spanish Version Spring Virtual Athletics Registration form. This form will be available from November 24, 2020, to December 13, 2020. As of December 13, registration will be closed. Students and parents/guardians who have difficulty with registration should contact the Blair Athletic Director, Rita J. Boulé. More information can be found at

    A student-athlete is highly encouraged to have a medical clearance form completed and on file at Blair High School in the Athletics Department for the virtual season. The only form that can be accepted is the form found here: SR-8 Medical Clearance. If this form was submitted to the Blair Athletics office during the 2019-2020 school year, it is valid for the virtual season.

    Lastly, the Montgomery Blair Boosters Athletic Association is working hard to provide opportunities to purchase apparel in the next couple of weeks. There is also a plan to build a community with a virtual Community 5K Run For The Heart in February! More details to come.

    If you should ever have questions or comments, please reach out to Athletic Director/Specialist Rita J. Boulé at Blazer Athletics looks forward to the rest of the semester and moving through these virtual times engaging our community and students and working with Blair staff to support them! Stay safe and healthy!

    Membership Matters: Join Blair's PTSA, Mariama Orange, PTSA President:

    Montgomery Blair High School's next PTSA meeting is Tuesday, December 15, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. This meeting will be led by Ms. Maria Portella, PTSA Leader of Los Padres. Los Padres is our parent group for Spanish speaking families. Our meeting will be in Spanish with simultaneous English translation. Many school opportunities, resources, and supports for students will be shared at this meeting, so we encourage you to attend.

    December PTSA Meeting

    Tuesday Dec 15, 2020, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

    Join Zoom Meeting

    Meeting ID: 884 7618 8147

    Passcode: 043048

    One tap mobile

    +13017158592,,88476188147# US (Washington D.C)

    Join the PTSA:

    PTSA Staff Appreciation:

    Hi Blazer Community!!

    We hope you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving; onto more holidays and a chance for you to show your appreciation for our hardworking MBHS staff!

    This year have 3 ways to do so, all of which are covid-safe and bound to make our staff feel celebrated! Take a minute to spread some holiday cheer today!

    1. Postcard Positivity -- You can send an e-postcard to our staff using this easy-peasy Google form -- send a note to one of your child's teachers, or your student can send a note as well! Drop a line to folks in the Main office and MBHS building services, for keeping MBHS all ready for when the Blazers return! Send a shout to our counselors or coaching staff!

    This is for Blair High School - Postcard to a Teacher or Staff

    2. Bon Appetit Blazers -- A 2020 Virtual Cookbook. We are planning to create a 2020 virtual cookbook for our staff featuring our community's favorite recipes! We know you have them (and our staff know too) -- while big staff lunches in the SAC are on hold for a bit, dig out that recipe that our staff loves and send it to us (along with a photo if you can). Then we will compile it into a nice big PDF for our staff as a holiday thank you! The deadline for these submissions is December 18 so we can get our virtual cookbook all ready to go home with staff before winter break!

    This is for Bon Appétit Blair Recipe Book

    3. Gift Cards -- In prior years, our parents have donated gift cards to be raffled off at the staff holiday party at El Golfo. Sadly, the staff can't gather there this year, but Mrs. Johnson promises to do her raffle act for the staff at the Virtual Staff Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 15.

    We need your help to purchase gift cards and we can have a contactless drop off at my house (I live pretty close to Blair); you can buy electronic gift cards and send them to my email; or if it's easier, feel free to give me $$, and I'll pick up the cards. We'd like for Mrs. Johnson to continue to raffle gift cards off on a rolling basis after the party all month long.

    Please let us know if you have any questions or run into any technical issues!


    Diane Kelleher ( and Ale Mercado (

    MBHS Staff Appreciation

    Silver Spring Links, Inc. Young Master Writers Program Competition:

    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
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    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 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:

    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!

    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

    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.

    Cell: 240-506-8576


    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, 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, 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.

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    COVID-19 Rent Relief Program for County Residents:

    The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is providing short-term rental assistance to eligible families that have experienced financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While funds are available, the program will provide up to $4,000 to eligible households to cover the cost for back rent (arrears) and/or a rent credit for future months. The program is funded through a $20 million supplemental appropriation to DHHS.

    You can learn more and apply for the rent relief program at this website.

    Student Attendance:

    It is our expectation that all students will attend the live class sessions every day. Parents/guardians should send Ms. Roxanne Fus, an email ( 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:

    ❏ The attendance secretary will then reconcile the absence on the student record.

    ❏ Students with extenuating circumstances should communicate with their grade level/program administrator.

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    Support our School Chipotle Fundraiser!

    Enjoy dinner and support Montgomery Blair High School's fundraiser. Come into the Four Corners Chipotle at 10135 Colesville Rd in Silver Spring on Tuesday, December 8th between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

    Bring in our flyer, show it on your smartphone or tell the cashier you’re supporting the cause to make sure that 33% of the proceeds will be donated to Montgomery Blair High School.


    Use code GMQFLKV before checkout in the ‘promo’ field. Orders placed on or through the Chipotle app for pickup using this unique code will be counted towards the fundraiser. Be sure to mention the school's name when ordering or to use the code on the flyer if placing an online order.

    Blair Information:

    If you do not receive log-in information for your teen, please contact Ms. Melissa Young, Latino Achievement Coordinator, or Ms. Andrea Lamphier, Media Specialist,

    Student Schedules:

    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:

    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.

    Melissa Young, is our MyMCPS/Synergy Parent Portal Staff Liaison,

    Retrieving Medication From Last Year: Contact Joseph Fanning,

    Health Room: Full Time School Nurse: Anisa Harris,

    Health Room Tech: Sophia Duque,

    Principal's Administrative Secretary, Claudine Biggs,

    Attendance Office: Roxanne Fus,

    Blair Security Office: Darryl Cooper, Security Team Leader,

    Financial Specialist: Donna Franklin,

    Parent Community Coordinator: Faye Nabavian,

    Pupil Personnel Worker: Ramona Washington,


    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

    Montgomery Blair High School

    Montgomery Blair High School is a nationally recognized award-winning high school located in Silver Spring, MD. Celebrating 86 years of tradition, pride & excellence! The mission of Montgomery Blair High School is to ensure that all students graduate equipped with the skills to navigate their chosen paths successfully.