VA Weekly Navigator
Your guide to news, updates, and reminders in the Upper VA
(Week of September 19, 2022)
A Note from the Dean: Grading, Reporting and Feedback
- Teachers are using a 4-point scale to provide feedback and grades on significant assessments. This lines up with the overall letter grades we're all used to -- A, B, C, and D... with an E indicating that there is not enough evidence to assess for mastery.
- Each assignment is worth a specified number of points in the grade book: 10, 20, 30, 50, or 80. This scale helps to clarify how "weighty" each assessment is, in comparison with everything else in the gradebook. Students who are missing work should always discuss their plan with their teachers, but in general, it's best to focus on the assessments that have the highest number of "points possible."
- Each course should have between 9 and 14 total assessments in the 90% "All Tasks" category by the end of each marking period -- these are core assessments such as essays, performances, projects, unit tests, etc.
- Each course should also have between 5 and 10 total assessments in the 10% "Practice and Preparation" category -- these are smaller assignments such as exit tickets, quizzes, reflections, practice drills, etc.
- Late work is not penalized in the gradebook in the Virtual Academy. There are two deadlines each quarter: just before interims and just before the end of the marking period. After these dates, teachers can choose not to accept late work for a grade.
These updates and changes to how we report grades will take everyone some time to adjust to, but we firmly believe they will help our ongoing pursuit of making grading practices as transparent, useful, and equitable as possible. You can review our GRAF Core Beliefs below, the cornerstone of our philosophy around the complex system of grading and the values it entails. More information will be coming throughout the year!
National Merit Semi-Finalist
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.
- All students are expected to appear on camera for the majority of every class
- Students should actively demonstrate engagement throughout each lesson.
- Students who demonstrate no engagement for the entire class period may be marked “Absent” for that class period.
- 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 this document. Thank you for your support and encouragement as we work together to connect students with their teachers and each other!
Testing Updates for This Week
MAP Testing continues this week! Please see the schedule below for when your child’s grade will be testing:
- Tuesday, September 20th 7th Grade MAP-M @ 12:35
- Wednesday, September 21st 6th Grade MAP-M @ 12:35
- Thursday, September 22nd 8th Grade MAP-M @12:35
Make Ups for 9th and 10th Grade MAPR testing will be announced through English classes.
Back to School Night 2022
MVA Science Website
Picture Day, Part Deux: The Make-up!
Annual Notice for Directory Information and Student Privacy
Using this form, parents/guardians may also indicate that the student does not want to be recorded during virtual classroom sessions for future viewing by students in the same class. Completing this form does not exclude a child from having a camera on during non-recorded instruction. Parents/guardians who choose to complete this form should do so by September 12, 2022. Please use the following guide to support you in this process: https://montgomery.service-now.com/csm?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB0010232
MVA Library Media Center Announcements
Click here to view the site! The Media Center Website is also linked at the top of the Montgomery Virtual Academy website.
Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards
Gold, Silver and Bronze recipients are selected in each category and receive a one-time grant to fund their college education or to fund a community service effort that tackles a social issue.
Once selected, recipients will be celebrated in 10 virtual ceremonies and will become part of our broader HHF network of 200,000 professionals and fulfill our unique cycle of leadership where we meet America’s priorities in the classroom and workforce.
The Youth Awards program is the main pipeline to Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s (HHF) system of talent that prepares and positions Latino youth through the award-winning Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT) program as they transition from high school, to college, to graduate school, and into their careers.
Virtual Academy Calendar for Setpember 2022
Zoom Links and Contacting Teachers
The MCPS website features "Calendar Central," where you can find information on holidays, early release days, and other special events throughout the school year.
SSL Links and Resources
SSL Updates & Opportunities
The Student Global Ambassador Program is offering 4 SSL hours for students ages 12+ to help with our Fall Clean-up on Saturday, September 24, 2022. Please distribute the following flyer (attached). Do share the following message with students: Middle and high school students: Kick-off Back to School with the SGAP Leaders' FALL CLEAN-UP! Bags, gloves and grabbers provided. Meet us at one of the following parks from 9-12 on Saturday, September 24, 2022. We will provide light refreshments. Grab a friend and come! Earn 4SSL hours. Age 12+ ONLY 50 VOLUNTEERS PER PARK
@ Parklawn Park
@ East Norbeck Park @ Winding Creek Park
Four Seasons World Dance Auditions
Arise & Flourish:
Students will need to visit the Montgomery County Volunteer Center (https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteercenter/) and in the red box “Find a Volunteer Opportunity”, type in Arise and Flourish. Students will find the volunteer opportunity for the cycle of addiction video review project. This SSL opportunity has been approved by the MCPS SSL department. Please let the students know NOT to use their MCPS email address as we will not be able to respond to them.
Once students respond for the volunteer opportunity on the site, we will send the student/parent permission slip and detailed volunteer information. Please make sure the students do NOT use their MCPS email address as we will not be able to respond to them. Students will watch two video presentations provided by our organization. One video is our speakers who are people in recovery who share their personal experience. The second video is the presentation on the cycle of addiction which has information on how addiction happens.
Students have the ability to earn the following for the quality completion of this project:
1) Earn 1 SSL hour for watching one speaker video and the video for the cycle of addiction and completing one paper or artwork or;
2) Earn up to 4 SSL hours for watching up to 4 speaker videos along with the one video for the cycle of addiction and completing 4 papers or 4 artworks.
Students can watch anywhere from 1 - 4 speaker videos and the video for the cycle of addiction and completing one paper or artwork for EACH speaker video watched.
Check Out Our VA SSL Website
Here you'll find...
- Contact information for our SSL Coordinator (Dr. Simarjeet Sandhu) and our counseling team
- An introductory video about SLL hours and how to complete them
- The official submission form for reporting hours
- Timely updates on service opportunities within and outside of the Virtual Academy
- and more!
How to Check SSL Hours in ParentVUE
- Navigate to https://md-mcps-psv.edupoint.com/PXP2_Login.aspx.
- Select "I am a parent" or "I am a student."
- Enter your User Name and Password, then click "Login."
- Click "Course History" from the left-hand navigation.
- The Course History page shows the student's graduation progress, test requirements, and SLL hours earned. (Students need 75 hours for graduation.)
- Toggle on "Detail" to see full Service Learning details.
SSL Opportunity: Project Linus
Attention families and students: More SSL opportunities are available through Project Linus, an organization that provides handmade blankets to children experiencing trauma in Montgomery County and surrounding areas.
Project Linus is a national organization with chapters across the country (www.projectlinus.org). Their Montgomery County Maryland chapter works with partner organizations like Holy Cross Hospital, Children's Hospital, A Wider Circle, and the Montgomery County Department of Social Services, to distribute blankets to children who are in the hospital, homeless, in foster care, in shelters, and in other situations where just a small comfort can make a major difference. All these blankets are made by volunteers.
Middle and high school students can earn SSL hours with Project Linus in 3 ways:
Attending one of their monthly meetings and helping to make blankets. They meet on the 4th Monday or every month (except December, where it’s the third Monday) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Richard Montgomery High School. They provide all the necessary supplies, and their adult volunteers supervise the blanket-making activities. No special skills or experience required. Meeting dates are listed on this flyer.
Students can also earn SSL hours remotely by making blankets at home. When they drop off the blankets, they also need to send a picture of them with the blanket(s) they made. We ask that students making blankets at home first attend one of their meetings, or contact the organization at email@example.com, to make sure they are following the proper instructions. Project Linus does not provide supplies for blankets made at home.
Finally, they are always looking for volunteers to help with blanket pickup and delivery and other activities.
Need to Reach a Counselor?
Office hours are:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 8:00 - 11:00 a.m.
- Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:35 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Students and families can also reach out to their counselor using this resource or consulting the list below (alphabetical by last name). Please note that during these first few weeks of the year, all counselors are inundated with schedule requests and questions -- thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to serve the needs of our 1,800 students and families! (Click the image of the list below for a web browser version, for easier viewing.)
Please use this link to access important information about connecting with school counselors.
Apply Online Now for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Benefits
Families of students who may qualify for free or reduced-price meals can now apply for assistance for school meals. Eligibility is based on family size and gross income. Students in Maryland who qualify for reduced-price meals will receive free breakfast and lunch meals.
Apply here. Learn more about the program.
MVA Parent Teacher Council Updates
The MVAPTC is the MVA parent-teacher organization with non-profit status and insurance.
NEW: MVAPTC Craft Fair is seeking vendors & volunteers - October 8th at Earl B Wood located at 14615 Bauer Dr, Rockville, MD 20853 from 12-5 PM. Space discount available to MVAPTC Members (Families, Staff & Students). SSL hours are available to student volunteers. Please contact Andrea Levy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tim Stefanoski at email@example.com to register.
NEW: Montgomery Connect is offering MVA families & staff 100 computers for those who need them. They are requesting that the priority be for individuals that do not have a computer and are unable to purchase them for themselves (parents/caregivers/children/staff who need it for educational/work purposes). Registration opens at Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 2 PM. 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.
Thursday, October 6th at 6:30 PM. Meetings will be held on the second Thursday of each month. The zoom link is: https://mcpsmd.zoom.us/j/83004264203?pwd=M09hQzNtbVgyWVB6SGF3UE1sU2Fodz09, the Meeting ID is: 830 0426 4203 and the Passcode: mvaptc
NEW: The PTC wants your input! Please use this survey to share your ideas for possible meeting topics for the Parent Teacher Council over the year. Thank you!
Meeting slides, meeting minutes and other documents are available for review on the MVAPTC website located at http://www.mvaptc.org. We are working on getting this years meeting slides and minutes translated into Spanish.
Sunday, October 2nd from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, we will meet 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. https://www.benjerry.com/rockvillectr
MVAPTC Craft Fair - October 8th from 12:00 to 5:00 PM at Earl B Wood Middle School.
Shirts are available for purchase at the MVA office. Shirts are self-service and after you select your shirts for purchase, please pay at https://mvaptc.square.site Shirts will also be available at the socials for purchase. Children and adult sizes available in a variety of styles and colors.
Dues/Membership for the 2022-2023 school year are $5 for staff membership, $10 for individual/ two person membership and $15 for family/household membership. MVAPTC also has a pay what you can/want option with a $2 fee to cover square costs. Donations are also greatly appreciated. https://mvaptc.square.site Dues/membership are not required to attend meetings and participate in events/activities, but greatly appreciated to help pay for the yearly insurance, organization expenses, teacher appreciation, social events and school needs/wants.
Volunteers are needed to host socials, fundraise, teacher appreciation, translation, assist with the facebook page and website, run and participate in committees and much more. Please contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Teacher Wish Lists are located in the facebook discussion group. Lets support our teachers by helping them fill their wishlists. Facebook Discussion Group: MVAPTC Discussion Group - Montgomery Virtual Academy Families & Staff(MD)
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: https://mvaptc.square.site
Please contact Jessica, MVAPTC President, at email@example.com to volunteer, or with any questions or concerns.
Alert MCPS provides emergency information about school closures or emergencies via text or email messages to devices you register. Sign up here.
Attendance Questions and Absence Notes
Advisory ("Homeroom") Reminders
Every student in the VA is scheduled for Advisory (indicated as "Homeroom" on their schedules).
Advisory meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Students are able to:
- connect with peers from their home school
- receive Virtual Academy updates and information
- participate in fun and interesting advisory lessons
It is important for students to log in each Advisory day for learning and attendance. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, asynchronous activities are provided for students; completion of these activities counts for Advisory attendance on these days.
Contact your advisory teacher for information and to answer questions.
Activating and Utilizing ParentVUE
Activate Your ParentVue Account
This important tool will provide near real-time access to information on assignments and scores, attendance, class schedules, transcripts, graduation status, and more. You may access ParentVUE online, but for the best mobile experience, we encourage you to download the ParentVUE App from the Google Play Store or Apple Store, as this app will replace the current myMCPS mobile application.
Contact Your Child's Administrator or Counselor for your activation letter
Free English as Second Language Classes for Parents
In collaboration with MCPS, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County (LCMC) is offering free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for MCPS parents. The classes will be held virtually and there will be options for all levels of English speakers. They are available to any MCPS parent for whom English is not their first language.
Please see this flyer for details:
Parents can complete this Interest form to receive a placement test.
If you are having technology issues, please submit an e-ticket by emailing your question or issue to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 https://montgomery.service-now.com/csm.
A support guide for the Community Tech Support portal is available here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cczbhEXF7x3TBquSMQGUGsxIcqsm_BtG2KBBi_bA0_0/edit
Helpful SSL Tip
When you submit your SSL forms, it’s really important that you complete all sections properly, so the form does not get returned to you. Check out this video from our SSL committee that demonstrates how to complete the SSL form in its entirety.
Thank you, Ms. Marks, for the helpful video!
Free Computers for MoCo Residents in Need
The Montgomery County government has received grant funding to provide a computer to residents who do not have one. All you need is a valid Montgomery County library card and a photo ID to register. Click here for more information: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/obp/computer-for-you.html
VA Weekly Navigator Archive