Montgomery Virtual Academy K-5 News

Week of September 25, 2022

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A Note from the Dean's Desk

Greetings Montgomery Virtual Academy Voyagers!

Let me begin by wishing a Happy Rosh Hashanah to all MVA families who will be celebrating the start of the Jewish New Year which begins at sundown on Sunday. I hope the new year ahead is happy and sweet for you and your families.

This week, I also wish to remind families of MAP testing throughout the week, a Special Services information night on Tuesday, and our Hispanic Heritage read aloud and our early release day on Friday! Picture make-up day is also on Friday- see below for details!

I want to thank all of you all for your support & partnership! I am so glad you are joining us on our voyage!

Mrs. Cassandra Heifetz



  • Monday, September 26- No School for all MCPS Students and Teachers
  • Tuesday, September 27- Rainbow Club Kick-off (see flyer below)
  • Tuesday, September 27 - MVA Special Services Fall Family Night
  • Friday, September 23- Hispanic Heritage Read Aloud with Ms. Whited at 11:45 AM
  • Friday, September 30- Early Release Day- Lower School Dismissal at 12:55 PM
  • Friday, September 30- Picture Make-up Day
  • Sunday, October 2- MVAPTC Social & Fundraiser- Ben and Jerry's, Rockville
  • Tuesday, October 4- MVAPTC Playground Meetup for 2nd-4th graders (details below)
  • Wednesday, October 5- No School for all MCPS Students and Teachers
  • Friday, October 7- - Hispanic Heritage Read Aloud with Ms. Carlson at 11:45 AM
  • Monday, October 10-- Hispanic Heritage Month After School Activity & Celebration at 3:45 PM
  • Friday, October 14 - Hispanic Heritage Read Aloud with Ms. McIntyre at 11:45 AM


MVA Special Services Fall Family Night

The Virtual Academy Special Education & English Language Development department invites you to a presentation!

For: All families of Special Education and/or English Language Development students in grades K-12.

Date/Time: Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 6:30PM

What: Information about the special education and ELD program, supports & services.

Access: We will be using Zoom for our virtual meeting. A link will be shared prior to the meeting.

*The presentation will be recorded & interpretation services will be available.*

Back to School Night Recordings

It was great to connect with so many families at our Back to School night on Tuesday, September 13!

For those who were unable to attend, you can access the slides and view recordings of the webinar and the teacher presentations below.


Available Recordings

Instrumental Music Update

The Instrumental Music Parent Information Meeting was held on Tuesday, September 13 from 8:00-8:30 PM following Back to School Night. Families who were unable to attend the meeting can view the recording at this link:

Ms. DeStefanis has emailed all parents who registered their child for instrumental music. If you registered your child but have not yet received an email, or still wish to register, please contact Ms. Becky Destefanis by email at

Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15- October 15!!

Staff in the MVA are excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with our students and families! Please here click to see the kick-off flyer!

Hispanic Heritage After-School Event

The Hispanic Heritage Month team would like to invite staff, students and families to join us for an after school event Monday, October 10th from 3:45 - 4:45. We will have free choice breakout rooms of Music, Arts, Read Alouds and more. We’d love to see you there!

Also, every Friday from 11:45 AM to 12:15 PM during Hispanic Heritage Month, MVA staff will be hosting a Lunch Bunch Read Aloud! For details and zoom links see: Hispanic Heritage Month Friday Lunch Bunches

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MAP Testing Updates

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Testing is given to all MCPS students in grades K-8 every fall, winter, and spring. This is a test that can be administered virtually to our students! Please read through the following information, and reach out to your child’s teacher if you have any questions.

WHO: All MVA K-5 students

  • Several Virtual Academy staff members will be supporting testing

  • Students will be in breakout rooms with homeroom teachers, math teachers, ELD teachers and/or special educators

  • One room will have a staff member available for technical support and students will be sent there as needed

  • Student screens (cameras) must stay on for the duration of testing (county policy)

  • To ensure a limited distraction environment, we ask that testing rooms remain quiet. Students must stay on mute and raise their hand or type in the chat box if they need anything (like a bathroom break) so that we can pause the test for them

WHAT: Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)

  • Grades K-2: MAP-P → Math
  • Grades 3-5: MAP-M → Math & MAP-R → Reading

WHEN: Please see UPDATED schedule in image below.

WHERE: Students log in to their regular homeroom Zoom for their testing time; the students will log into the assessment following directions that we give, and will stay in Zoom for the duration of the assessment.

WHY: These assessments give teachers information about what students are already able to do, and what they are ready for next. The data helps inform our instruction. Please do not assist your child with identifying the correct answer. Helping students with the problems in any way at all will give us inaccurate data.


  • Ensure you have a Lenovo Touchscreen Chromebook. If you need to exchange of pick up a device, please come to 15 West Gude Drive (2nd floor) M-F 8am-4pm PRIOR to your assigned testing day.

  • Ensure that your child fully turns off the Chromebook each night to allow updates to be pushed through to the device. Closing the lid on the Chromebook, is NOT fully shutting it down and will not allow for these important updates to be made.

  • Please ensure that your student has a good night’s rest the night before

  • Please ensure that your student’s environment is free from distractions (quiet/ no tv/ etc.)

  • All students must have their cameras on during the test

  • We need to know that your student is completing the assessment by themselves

  • The assessment should be completed entirely by your student

  • Please encourage them to do their personal best

  • If we see grown-ups or siblings helping, we will have to stop your student’s assessment

  • Please make sure technology is fully charged or plugged in

  • This test is UNTIMED and students will have ample time to complete the test. Most students will complete the test in about 45-60 minutes. We are allotting over two hours to make sure our students have plenty of time!

Extra Resources for additional information about MAP testing

  1. MAP Student Resources site
  2. The Parent Toolkit - The online home for parents interested in learning more about MAP Growth
  3. The Family Guide (available in several languages here) which includes:

  • An overview of MAP Growth.

  • An explanation of the purpose and design of MAP Growth.

  • An introduction to the RIT score and how the assessment results are used

  • Students/parents/caregivers can check their device configuration here: to run a self-check on their devices at NWEA Workstation Diagnostic to verify they adhere to minimum requirements b. Disable pop-up blockers that may prevent access to

Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teachers with any comments, questions, or concerns.

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Picture Make-Up Day: 9/30/22

Students who missed the Student Picture Day on August 19 or wish to have a re-take, can sign-up for Student Portrait Make-Up Day on September 30, 2022. Getting your child's student portraits for the 2022-2023 school is as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Please use this link to sign-up for an appointment:

2. Please use this link to select and pre-pay for your photo package. Packages will be mailed to your home. Shipping charges are included.

3. Please come to 15 West Gude Drive, 2nd Floor at your scheduled appointment time on September 30.

August 19 Student Photos Update

If your child had their school picture taken at our offices on August 19, their student ID card is now available for pick-up at the front desk at the MVA office.

Feel free to contact the office at 240-740-6060 for confirmation prior to pick-up, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM, Monday-Friday.

MVA Media Center Announcements

To start the school year our media specialist, Tracy Jeffcott, and media assistant Ellen Rahr will be visiting lower school classrooms to introduce students to our new MVA Library Media Center Website. Click here to view the site! The Media Center Website is also linked at the top of the Montgomery Virtual Academy website.

Extracurricular Clubs and Activities

In an effort to create more social opportunities for students this year, we are working to expand our after-school clubs. Two clubs that will be starting in October are the Rainbow Club and the Kids for Equity Club. Both clubs will be run by MCPS central office staff and high school students in partnership with MVA staff. Other clubs are also in development and will be shared as information becomes available.

Please click here or on the picture to view the flyer for Rainbow Club (in English & Spanish). Please note that there is a kick-off event for interested students and their families on September 27.

The flyer for Kids for Equity is coming soon!

Students in the MVA are also permitted to participate in extracurriculars at their home school. Parents interested in an after-school activity at their child's school should contact the school for information and details.


Please click the link or the image to check out the September Counselor Department Newsletter from Ms. Whited and Ms. Bamberger
Report an Absence Form

Please use this form to report a student absence for any Montgomery Virtual Academy student in Grades Kindergarten - Grade 12.

Maximizing Student Engagement, Participation, and Attendance

Research indicates that meaningful personal engagement with their teachers and peers is one of the most important predictors of student learning and achievement.

As a result of a review of the research, the Montgomery Virtual Academy (MVA) presents the following revisions to its policies and expectations around student engagement, participation, and attendance for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond.

  1. All students are expected to appear on camera for the majority of every class
  2. Students should actively demonstrate engagement throughout each lesson.
  3. Students who demonstrate no engagement for the entire class period may be marked “Absent” for that class period.
  4. The MVA continues to expand opportunities for students to engage meaningfully with teachers, staff, and each other outside of the classroom.

For more detailed information on these expectations, please see:


Saturday School Registration Now Open

Saturday School provides low cost, core academic support aligned with Montgomery County Public Schools curriculum, plus other specialized programs. Standard registration costs $85 per child. There is a reduced fee of $40 for families who are eligible for Free and Reduced Meals (see announcement below to see if you qualify.)

Students may start any Saturday that the program is in session. Click below to register and to find the center closest to you or opt for the online option.


  • Burtonsville - at Paint Branch HS
  • Kensington - at Einstein HSClarksburg - at Clarksburg HS
  • Silver Spring - Montgomery Blair HS
  • Gaithersburg- at Gaithersburg HS
  • Silver Spring - at Springbrook HS
  • Germantown - at Northwest HS
  • Silver Spring - at Wheaton HS
  • Virtual Only

Free and Reduced Meals Application Now Open!

Families who meet certain federal income standards are eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits. All Virtual Academy families are encouraged to complete this year's application for Free and Reduced Meals. See flyer below for additional benefit that may be available to qualifying applicants. Apply online at to determine if your family qualifies.

Only one application is needed for all students in a household. A new application must be completed for any family requesting assistance this school year. The online application is now open for families to submit applications.

At this time, due to changes in federal funding, weekly meal box distribution to Virtual Academy families is suspended. Families who need food assistance are asked to contact the counselors by emailing or or call the Montgomery County Food Access Call Center at 311

For more information and How-To videos visit the Food Services website:

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Adult Literacy & Language Courses

The George B. Thomas Learning Academy offers two face-to-face Adult Literacy classes and one virtual (weeknight) class to parents of MCPS students. The program gives parents the capacity to support their children’s success and navigate through the processes of the MCPS school system. The classes offer basic, intermediate, and advanced levels and focuses on listening skills, reading, comprehension, speaking and writing.

Parents of MCPS students from any school in the county may attend after registering.

See flyer for details:

Additionally, in collaboration with MCPS, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County (LCMC) is offering free English as a Second Language classes for MCPS parents. The classes will be held virtually and in-person, and there are options for all levels of English speakers. They are available to any MCPS parent for whom English is not their first language. Parents can complete this interest form to receive a placement test.

Technology Support for Virtual Academy Families

If you are having technology issues, please submit an e-ticket by emailing your question or issue to or submit a ticket via the Community Tech Support portal This account is monitored daily and you will receive email notifications throughout the process.

For helpful support guides and screencasts in English and Spanish, please visit

A support guide for the Community Tech Support portal is available here:

To request tech support or submit a Chromebook Repair Request

Zoom Log in information & Troubleshooting

Zoom for Students /Zoom para estudiantes

myMCPS Classroom/Canvas Information & Troubleshooting

Having trouble logging in? Please review the support guide

MCPS Parent Academy

Families and students can stay engaged throughout the school year with Parent Academy TO GO, a series of webinars for families to watch at home. The webinars are available on the Parent Academy website. Registration is available here.


The following MVA Parent Council Announcements are being shared as a public information courtesy. The MVAPTC is the MVA parent-teacher organization with non-profit status and insurance.

MVAPTC Announcements:

1) Computers
2) Playground Meetup for Grades 2-4 on Tuesday, October 4th
3) All School Meetup/Fundraiser on Sunday, October 6th
4) MVAPTC Meeting on Thursday, October 12th

1) Montgomery Connect is offering MVA families & staff computers for those who need them. Registration is open. Computer pick up is on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 4:00 – 5:00 PM at McGee Library at 900 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910. This link/program is only available for MVA families & staff.

2) Playground Meetup for 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders: Tuesday, October 4th from 4:30 - 6:30 PM at Black Hill Regional Park - 20930 Lake Ridge Dr, Boyds, MD 2084. We will meet up at the Picnic Shelter A or B (look for balloons). Please bring snacks, drinks and games to share, if you are able. Please contact Jose Balcarcel at 301-335-1031 or for additional information:

3) All School Social/Fundraiser: Sunday, October 2nd from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on the patio of Ben and Jerry’s, located 199-F East Montgomery Avenue Rockville, MD 20850. Sweet treats are available for purchase and the store is providing 20% of the purchases back to the MVAPTC, if mentioned during of your purchase. This is a dog friendly event if your dog is friendly/not aggressive, vaccinated and good around young children. Ben and Jerry’s has dog ice cream for sale. MVA Shirts will be available for purchase.

4) MVAPTC Meeting: Thursday, October 12th at 6:30 PM. Meetings will be held on the second Thursday of each month. Meeting slides, meeting minutes and other documents are available for review on the MVAPTC website located at We are working on getting this years meeting slides and minutes translated into Spanish. The zoom link is:, the Meeting ID is: 830 0426 4203 and the Passcode: mvaptc

Helpful Links:
Facebook page: Montgomery Virtual Academy Parent Teacher Council
Facebook Discussion Group: MVAPTC Discussion Group - Montgomery Virtual Academy Families & Staff(MD)
Facebook Special Needs Discussion Group: MVAPTC - Children with SN - Montgomery VIrtual Academy (MD)
Shirts, Dues & Donations:

Please contact Jessica, MVAPTC President, at to volunteer, or with any questions or concerns.


Montgomery Virtual Academy Website

Check out our website to access the staff directory and other resources!