Montgomery Blair High School
Principal's Newsletter March 2021
Dear Montgomery Blair High School Families,
Women’s studies has its roots in the student, civil rights, and women’s movements of the 1960s and 70s. While common on college campuses today, few high schools offer the course. Blair began its women’s studies program in the 2017-2018 school year. The women’s studies program promotes the idea of learning for social change and action, as well as restoring lost histories and allowing silenced voices to be heard.
Blair students have examined the role of gender in popular culture and private life, in the workforce and politics, and in laws and social policies. They have explored real world topics like diverse representation in politics, body image, equal pay and affordable child care, and women’s health issues. They have critically examined the intersection of gender with race, ethnicity, class, age, sexualities, abilities, as well as with other categories of difference.
Blair students have investigated more than 100 trailblazing women in areas such as science, political activism, and the arts, celebrating and sharing these women’s accomplishments with the Blair community during Women’s History Month. Women’s studies is a place for students to talk about their own experiences, expectations, and socialization and to expand their worldview, discovering issues they might not have otherwise considered.
The deadline has passed for parents to request in-person learning as we have to plan our staffing to support over 1100 Blazers returning to our building, while still providing instruction to over 2200 Blazers who will remain virtual. We are happy to add students who still wish to return to in-person learning to our waitlist. Parents can request a change from in-person to virtual at any time.
It was so good to see so many of you at our parent meetings this week and hear your feedback and support of our amazing school! After our reopening meeting, we reviewed the feedback and revised our return to in-person learning schedule so that students will attend by grade level, and not by the last name, and for more days during the week. If additional changes to our schedule or return to learning dates happen, I will inform you as soon as possible.
Thank you for your support!
Renay Johnson (the first woman principal of Montgomery Blair High School)
Montgomery Blair High School's Reopening Plan
Frequently Asked Questions are at this link:
Counseling Department Update:
Also, please find our SAT School Day Community letter here with information on registration for Juniors, as highlighted in video.
School Counseling Video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XrdgDNcsl4xWqsBlCCnzO2h5kuvkV_lC/view?usp=sharing
School Counseling Newsletter: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HxQ1HDhPauxklqOU6BCUm07wTVRrBKbM/view?usp=sharing
CCIC Newsletter: http://bit.ly/383IbtN
SAT Community Letter: https://drive.google.com/file/d/119-y5iPN9Mf6xIM-
Normally, spring brings with it plans to administer the state tests in English, Algebra, Government, and Science required for graduation to all of our students. This year, as of March 4, the Maryland State Board of Education voted to move the administration of the MCAP English Language Arts (ELA) and Algebra tests from Spring of 2021 to next Fall. It was previously decided that the Government HSA and Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) will not be administered in Spring of 2021. The ACCESS for ELLs is still planned to be administered to our in-person ESOL students.
In December 2020, the State Board of Education granted an exception for the Government test for 2021 graduates. They must pass the NSL course but are not required to pass or take the assessment or complete a Bridge project. Additional information will be forthcoming about the status of high school graduation requirements regarding waivers for students who were scheduled to take the Government and/or HS MISA this spring. The requests for these waivers will be brought to the State BOE from MSDE during their meeting in March.
We will continue to update you as more information becomes available. Please email Ms. Burgos at Adriana_Burgos-Ojeda@mcpsmd.org with any questions or concerns.
Advance Placement Testing
MCPS will release a community statement re: AP exam administration by March 12.
This presentation link contains Blair-specific information. It is a working document and I will continue to add more detail as we learn more from the county.
Please contact Leslie_V_Blaha@mcpsmd.org if you have any questions!
PTSA Meeting - Ms. Mariama Orange, President
Montgomery Blair High School's next PTSA meeting is Tuesday, March 16, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Blair PTSA elections are coming up soon! We need people to run for office and we need volunteers to serve on the Nominating Committee to recruit candidates.
Time: Mar 16, 2021 06:00 - 8:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 873 5154 5252
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,87351545252#,,,,*506119822# US (Washington DC)
Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
Meeting ID: 873 5154 5252
Find your local number: https://mcpsmd.zoom.us/u/kd5x7fTfGF
Join the PTSA: https://blairptsa.org/join/
- - -
Hispanic Outreach Group
Para conectarse desde este mensaje, use este enlace:
Meeting ID (Identificación de la Reunión)
Por telefono : +1 (503) 908-2164
PIN: 481 155 530#
Tutoring Available to MCPS Students
Student Service Learning (SSL) News:
The deadline for seniors to turn in their SSL hours is Friday, April 9th. Seniors must complete 75 SSL hours to complete their graduation requirement. Seniors that complete 240+ SSL hours will earn a Certificate of Meritorious Service and earn a purple tassel! To learn about virtual SSL opportunities please check out Blair's SSL website (which is updated weekly). All SSL forms should be emailed to SSLatMBHS@gmail.com. Questions can be emailed to Beth_S_Sanchez@mcpsmd.org or students can attend SSL office hours on Wednesday Check-In days at 11:15. Zoom link for SSL office hours can be found below:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 844 6344 3770
The last Spring 2021 Capstone Check-In will be on Friday, March 12th at 1pm. Our Virtual Academy Capstone Showcase will take place the week of April 19-23rd.
Juniors interested in working on an Academy Capstone during Summer 2021 and presenting Fall 2021 of their senior year should attend an information session on Wednesday, April 14th at 11:15. CLICK HERE to learn more about Academy Capstone projects and the MBHS Academies.
Zoom link for Academy meetings can be found below:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 951 9038 2398
March 10 Let’s Talk Careers to Highlight Engineering
The next installment of Let’s Talk Careers is scheduled for 10–11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 10, and will feature speakers from the world of engineering. Confirmed guests who will take questions from students include: Melissa Rhoads, project engineer principal, Lockheed Martin; Venedra Whigham, project manager, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission; Joe Batwinis, fuel system responsible engineer, Northrop Grumman; and Jessica Rosenthal, vehicle controls test and integration engineer, Rivian. You can watch here or on MCPS-TV (Comcast 34, Verizon 36 and RCN 89).
MBHS Math Department
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’s Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society (MHS) together with the Blair Society for Minorities in STEM (BSMS), is hosting a Pi Day celebration for grades K-5 to share the love of mathematics with younger students!
"UPDATE: Sankofa 2021 -- A Virtual Celebration of Black American Life, History, and Culture through TV and Film
While February is now behind us, we continue to celebrate the history and culture of people of African descent all year long! To this end, our students have been hard at work finalizing this year's all-virtual Sankofa production. The 2021 show will feature a reimagined format including a montage of pre-recorded musical, dance, and spoken word interpretations focused on the theme of Black Americans in TV and film. The finished production will be available for public viewing online the weekend of March 12. In the meantime, please enjoy the trailer below previewing the show. Stay tuned for announcements on our school website and via email and social media once it is released!"
Community Read of Stamped - what an experience!
On Tuesday, February 23, we held our first ever Community Read of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. We had over 130 registrations for the event, including students, parents, grandparents, and staff. The feedback from this Community Service event was overwhelmingly positive! Our student leaders in Project LIT @Blair did a fantastic job and are to be commended for working many hours to plan for the event! A frequent comment in the evaluations was "when is the next Community Read"? We are still working through the SSL forms responses, so if your child read the book and attended the event but did not fill out the student evaluation, please ask your child to complete the information on this form.
Opportunity to connections with books:
The Maryland Humanities Council sponsors Community Read of I’m Not Dying with You Tonight. The title of the event is: Why It Matters: Reckoning with Race. Equity. Allyship.
Date & Time: March 16 from 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Join authors Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal on March 16 from 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. as they discuss their best-selling book, I’m Not Dying with You Tonight, inspired by the death of Baltimorean Freddie Gray. In their conversation, they’ll touch on some of today’s most pressing topics—the recent resurgence of our country’s reckoning with racial inequity, a video that went viral after the death of George Floyd and reaching beyond platitudes to work together on issues of common concern. The conversation will be moderated by Christine Platt, author and Managing Director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University. The conversation will be followed by Q&A.
Montgomery Blair HS
51 University Blvd., East
Silver Spring, MD 20901
The Fall season has begun! It is so exciting to have our student-athletes on campus! The student-athletes, coaches, security, and athletics staff are doing a great job working together to keep everyone safe and healthy and follow the operations plans. Blazer Athletics has completed its registration for the fall season and is able to field at least one team for every sport!! Practices began on Saturday, February 27th. As of now, competitions will start on or around March 19th for all teams except football which will start on March 26. Additional information on the Return to Athletics in MCPS can be found in this memo from MCPS regarding the return to athletics.
Competitions will not have spectators as of now. Most competitions will be able to be live-streamed. More information to come in the week of March 8 or so when received from the county.
Spring sports will start on April 17th with registration starting in mid-March. All students must be registered for athletics through ParentVUE. If you are going to register, please activate your ParentVUE account soon! If you need help activating the account, please contact Rita_J_Boule@mcpsmd.org for assistance. Registration will close on April 12. Parents have the ability to upload a medical clearance in the registration or submit it to the athletics office by emailing it to Rita_J_Boule@mcpsmd.org.
Here is a form in English and Spanish to gather the information we might need to help you with ParentVUE: https://mbhs.libwizard.com/id/d9654b88779879b4c62949e4e801b32b.
Help with Synergy can be found here (athletics section starts on page 35).
Students should complete their pre-participation physical (MCPS Form SR-8) so that the medical eligibility form and COVID pre-participation form (last two pages of SR-8) is ready for online submission or for submission to the athletic director before tryouts/practices. Physicals are valid for one calendar year. Note: This is a change from the policy during the virtual engagement in the first semester. At that time, physicals were valid for two years. A partial list of Clinics that offer Sports Physicals within the Montgomery County area is available online, including the Care for Kids program through Montgomery County. Physicals can be uploaded by the parent during the registration process. However, if a parent needs to submit a physical after the student has already been registered, email an electronic copy of the pre-participation physical (MCPS Form SR-8) to Blair Athletic Director, Rita J. Boulé.
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! Let’s Go Blazers!
Rita J. Boulé, CAA
Montgomery Blair High School
Vote for the C-Span StudentCam Fan Favorite
Two of our current Sophomores, Aileen Qi and Kevin Rha, participated in the C-SPAN StudentCam documentary competition, and their film, "Let Science Speak", was recognized as one of the top 15 entries nationwide, making it a nominee for the "Fan Favorite" award!
The "Fan Favorite" award winner is chosen based on the results of a public voting window that closes this Sunday (3/7) at midnight. Up until then, votes may be cast daily with a simple click via https://studentcam2021.us.launchpad6.com/FanFavorite/entry/8
It is a truly excellent video! If you agree, please support your fellow Blazers and vote!
Congratulations to Blair’s Mock Trial Club for another amazing season! The team won the Quarter Finals on March 2nd and will be advancing to the Semi-finals against Richard Montgomery High School on Thursday, March 4th. The winner of that round will go on to the State Finals on March 9th. A special congratulations goes to our awesome team captains - Alex Heywood, Dana Graham, and Lucy Attis. All of the team members have put in a lot of hard work and effort to make it this far. Good luck in the next round to team members - Maggie Crow, Maia Egnal, Talia Egnal, Sammy Gallun, Josephine Panner, Cate Sauri, Caleb Savoie, Madeline Silbey, Simran Thakkar, Colette Astame-Ndong, and Sarah Stone.
Congratulations to our It’s Academic Team Advances to the playoffs, TV Air Date May 22, 2021, 10:00 a.m. NBC4.
Blair was awarded College Board’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award!
Thank you to Montgomery County Government and Montgomery County Council for proclaiming February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month! Blair Senior, Vikhyana Gonzalez, our DVCC Student Member, presented at the meeting.
Fine Arts News
- The Maryland State Department of Education is currently curating an Exhibit for First Lady, Jill Biden. Two artworks from every school district across Maryland will be on display at the virtual exhibit. Congratulations to freshman, Abjini Chattopadhyay who has been chosen as one of the two students who will represent MCPS. Abjini created the still life using pencil in Ms. Foraker’s Studio Art 2 class. (see attachment for the artwork).
- Congratulations to the SIX Blair Music students accepted into All Eastern Ensembles! The virtual event will include rehearsals with the 2021 All Eastern Conductors, workshops with renown clinicians, and a final performance which will be premiered online.
All Eastern Band:
Isabella Tang, Flute II
Jocelyn Hao, French Horn II
Emily Liu, French Horn II
All Eastern Orchestra:
Hawon Lee, Violin I
Chris Lee, Cello
All Eastern Mixed Choir:
Carsten Portner, Bass I
- Congratulations to the Blair Music students accepted into MCPS Honors Jazz Ensembles and the MCPS Senior All County Orchestra! Well done!
MCPS Jr. Honors Jazz Ensemble:
Milo Simon, Guitar
MCPS Sr. Honors Jazz Ensemble:
Philip Daniel, Tenor Saxophone
MCPS Sr. All County Orchestra:
Brigitte Bonsu, Cello
Lottie Doughty, Violin
Zachary Parsia, Cello
Kevin Rha, Violin
Alan Whitman, Violin
- Congratulations to Ivy Liang, Flute, for winning the 2021 Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra (PVYO) Senior Division Concerto Competition.
- Tri-M Music Honor Society hosted our first Virtual Music Night last Thursday, February 25. Over 200 elementary and middle school students from all across MCPS registered for the event. Students experienced the magic of music over Zoom and participated in a variety of fun and engaging musical activities! (see attached)
- Ms. Roberts' music classes have welcomed a variety of guest speakers throughout this virtual school year. The following musicians have provided unique enrichment opportunities for our students during this time:
- Improvisation Masterclass with MGySgt Glenn Dewey, bassist with "The President's Own" United States Marine Band
- Q&A Session with GySgt Karen Johnson, concertmaster with "The President's Own" Marine Chamber Orchestra
- Masterclass with James Stern, professor of violin at the University of Maryland
- Sectionals with James Stern and Syneva Colle, University of Maryland
- Sectionals with UMCP Faculty James Stern, Irina Muresanu, Katherine Murdock, and Eric Kutz
- Women in Jazz Presentation with Jenn Krupa, University of Maryland
- Presentation and Q&A from composer Brian Balmages
- Fundamentals 2.0 Clinic with MSgt Janet Bailey, violinist with "The President's Own" Marine Chamber Orchestra
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.
The required $30 Graduation Venue Fee here; interested Seniors can also still get the Senior t-shirt here.
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
Yearbook information galore!
Free Grab and Go Family Meals, Thursday, March 11 at Blair
Lana Anderson, Blair Junior, and Founder & President of Small Things Matters will be providing grab and go hot family meals to our Blazer families on Thursday, March 11, 3:00 - 4:30 at Blair. Thank you Lana for providing food for our community.
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.
Parent Community Coordinator(PCC) Faye Nabavian:
include your name, student ID number, and a contact cell number.
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.
Silver Chips Fundraiser
Blair's student-run newspaper Silver Chips is hosting a restaurant fundraiser month this March. The three restaurants are Mod Pizza (Tuesday the 9th), Chipotle (Saturday the 20th) and California Tortilla (Wednesday the 24th). All three of these restaurant fundraisers will be for takeout and/or delivery. Make sure to check out the PDF below for information on how to make sure your order supports Silver Chips! Thank you for your help in funding our newspaper!
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