The Cobra Connection

The Sousa Middle School Family Newsletter | September 11

"Many hands make light work" (Tanzanian proverb).

Jambo Sousa Family!

The Adinkrahene is an elegant figure with three circles whose form means the importance of ideas and concepts. I chose this symbol to represent us as we enter week 3 of virtual learning because it reflects the interconnectedness among our students, staff, and community.

Together we are creating new relationships, building new capacities, and clearing new paths to teaching, learning, and leading. We are all developing skills we did not know we needed a year ago and there is comfort in doing this collectively and cohesively as one strong Sousa unit. We are mighty and we are protected by our purpose to love and lead our children to learn of their greatness.

I am honored to use the Adinkrahene symbol to signify how we are all apart of each other and together we enter another week prepared for what comes our way. That being said, please do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything from us (202)578-1269.

In Partnership,

Principal Wilkerson

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Communication is very important in any partnership. Please make sure we have all of your up to date contact information. If you need to change it, please complete the form here. We will also continue to use our Instagram account to keep you informed about the great things going on at Sousa via @SousaSTEAMAcademy1954.

The Cobra Connection newsletter is our family newsletter. We will share important district-wide and school-specific information with you on a bi-weekly basis to make sure you are in-the-know. Until October, however, we will be reaching out on a weekly basis.

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  • DC Public Schools will be starting the 2020-21 School Year virtually. These videos (1) (2) explain what this means when we start school on August 31, 2020.

  • Make sure you complete the tech survey if you need technology for distance learning.

  • Make sure you enroll your child as soon as possible! You can receive on site support M-F from 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM!

  • To learn more about our acceptable technology usage policy, click here.

  • Classes are happening via Canvas, so please make sure you also download the "Canvas Parent" app on the app store! You will use your scholar's log in information to see what they are working on!

  • Check out DCPS' grading policy for virtual learning here.

  • To learn more about the attendance policy, click here.

  • You can check your child's grades and schedule via ASPEN. Click here to access the parent portal. Click here to get help on how to access ASPEN.

  • Click here to learn more about Canvas and what your scholars can see from their side!
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Beginning of Year Testing

Our beginning of year (BOY) tests are needed this year more than ever. BOY testing for reading will happen on September 15, 2020. Please encourage your scholars to stay engaged and complete the assessment on September 15th.

Why testing matters

Testing matters because:

  • It helps school staff know what and how much our students know.
  • It helps teachers plan how they will support your scholar.

Testing Expectations

To ensure we are maintaining a sense of normalcy, during testing sessions make sure:

  • Cameras are on.
  • Scholars have a quiet place to take their test in.
  • No other windows are open on your computer to ensure distractions are limited.
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Testing schedule

If there are any questions please reach out to AP White ( or call (202)480-3206.

See the testing day schedule below:

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Virtual Schedule

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Scheduling Changes

Are there issues on your scholar's schedule? Email,, or for additional support!

Specialized Instruction

We will be starting IEP meetings very soon and your partnership is paramount to ensure your child receives the services they need and deserve. Please make sure your contact information is up-to-date so we are able to connect with you. Click here to update your contact information.

Please email Ms. Cobb with any concerns at!

Virtual Learning Tips & Tricks

Virtual learning is new for a lot of us! The tips below should help ease some of your anxiety as you prepare your homes for a successful term of virtual learning:

  • Create a learning space for your child that is quiet and free of clutter.
  • Make sure their cameras on.
  • Make sure they have a strong routine and that they stick to that schedule to maximize their instructional time.
  • Feel free to reach out to your child's teachers if your child needs additional support.
  • Monitor your child's usage of social media regularly.
  • As they are in class, make sure you stay nearby to support them with any questions they make have. Click here to learn more about Canvas and what they see from their end!

Preparing for Virtual Learning

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Tech support

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This year, all sports will be condensed into 8-week seasons. Below, you will find a list of sports we can offer based on interest:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Adaptive Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Track and Field
  • Cheerleading
  • Baseball
  • Wrestling
  • Bowling

If you are interested in playing any sports for the 20-21 SY please complete a sports packet ASAP.

Please contact Coach K for updated information (202)657-2814

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Do you have mental health concerns? The Sousa Health and Wellness Team is here for you.

The Sousa Health and Wellness team is comprised of the School Counselor, School Social Workers, School Psychologist, School-Based Therapist, and others to help support the social-emotional, and mental well-being of our students and families. The team provides supports through classroom lessons, group counseling, individual counseling, and wrap-around services.

Our team provides a wide variety of services to support the needs of our students, families, and staff including behavior support services, case management, consultation, medical services, psychological evaluations, referral to resources, social-emotional learning implementation, crisis intervention, homelessness liaison support, 504 and IEP development and coordination, test monitoring, behavioral assessments, Response to Intervention (RTI), individual therapy sessions, group trauma sessions, family engagement coordination, chronic attendance support and home visits. ​

If you have any mental wellness concerns or want more information, please reach out to Mrs. Batie,

Mindset in Middle School

The Sousa Health and Wellness Team is committed to working in partnership with parents/guardians in supporting student social and emotional well-being. Recognizing that middle school is a time of significant change, the team will use the weekly newsletter to share information about essential topics using a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) framework that focuses on five key areas: relationship skills, responsible decision-making, self-management, self-awareness, and social awareness. Social and emotional wellbeing sets the groundwork for a safe and positive learning environment and enhances a student's ability to lead a well-balanced life.

Middle School Matters!

Middle school can be a confusing time, for parents as well as their kids. Your child is becoming more independent, yet still needs your support. As your child's independence increases, it is important to stay involved by lending support and guidance at home. One area we want to pay particular attention to is how your teen views their intelligence and abilities. How they see themselves in these two areas is shown to have an impact on not only how they adjust academically to middle school but also how they adapt emotionally. It has been noted that students who adapt positively to middle school are those that believe their intelligence and abilities can change over time; by trying new things, experiencing failure, learning from mistakes, and knowing learning takes patience, effort and time (a GROWTH Mindset). When students view their intelligence as fixed they believe there is no room for improvement, and experience feeling discouraged, wanting to give up or are afraid to make mistakes. By being attentive to how they view their intelligence and abilities, we can step in when needed to help our teen become skilled in positively reframing how they see themselves.

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SEPTEMBER 15th- Reading Test

SEPTEMBER 15- Parent University Webinar: What Will Attendance Look Like for SY20-21?

Register Here

SEPTEMBER 15- Latinx Heritage Month Launch via IG Live

SEPTEMBER 16TH-Tutorial on how to use Teams and your ELi device (10:00 AM & 5:00 PM)

Click here to join.

SEPTEMBER 16TH- ELA Book Pick-Up (11:00 AM-3:00 PM)

SEPTEMBER 23- BTS Day! (12:00 PM-1:30 PM)

SEPTEMBER 30- BTS Night! (5:00 PM-6:30)

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Please do not hesitate to reach out! We are in this together!

To contact our administrators use the following information:

Principal Wilkerson


phone:(202) 578-1269

AP White


phone: (202)480-3206

AP Green


phone: (202)595-6536

Dean Clavis, Dean of Students


phone: (202)738-0074

Ms. Scott, Director, STEAM Academy


phone: (240)721-0310

Ms. Coan, Manager, Strategy & Logistics


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If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or celebrations, please share those here.