Montgomery Virtual Academy K-5 News

BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT WEEK! Week of September 12, 2022

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A Note from the Dean's Desk

Greetings Montgomery Virtual Academy Voyagers!

What a week we have in store! Monday kicks off our first Spirit Week, Tuesday night is Back-to-School Night, Wednesday is an early-release day, Thursday night is the Upper School's Back-to-School night, and MAP testing starts on Friday for some of our classes!

And if you are reading this before 8 PM on Sunday 9/11/22, there's still a chance to show your MVA spirit and help the MVAPTC win $500 by checking in at the Lone Oak Brewery Back-to-School Food Truck Festival! Click here for more details!

Please take a few minutes to review all of the details below, including special announcements from the MVAPTC. We ask that you please complete this brief MVAPTC SURVEY about upcoming meeting topics and please let us know if you have any questions!

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



  • Sunday, September 11 - Lone Oak Brewery Back-to-School Food Truck Festival! Click here for more details!
  • Monday, September 12-Friday, September 16- SPIRIT WEEK!
  • Tuesday, September 13 - Lower School Back to School Night 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Tuesday, September 13 - Gr 4 & 5 Instrumental Music Interest Meeting 8:00-8:30 PM
  • Wednesday, September 14 - Early Release Day- Lower School Dismissal at 12:55 PM
  • Thursday, September 15 - Upper School Back to School Night 6:30-8:30 PM
  • Thursday, September 15- October 15 - Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Friday, September 16- Thursday, September 29 - MAP Testing
  • Monday, September 26- No School for all MCPS Students and Teachers
  • Friday, September 30- Early Release Day- Lower School Dismissal at 12:55 PM
  • Friday, September 30- Picture Make-up Day
  • Saturday, October 8- MVAPTC Craft Fair from 12:00 to 5:00 PM at Earl B Wood Middle School


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BACK-TO-SCHOOL NIGHT: Tuesday, September 13

Please join us for this year's K-5 Back-to-School Night on Tuesday, September 13 from 6:30-8:00 PM. Please see this flyer for information on the K-5 BTSN

Please see below for an overview of the evening. An additional email will be sent to families on Monday 9/12/22 with links to the teacher videos and their Back-to-School Night zoom sessions.

K-5 WEBINAR: 6:30-7:00

The evening will begin with a brief webinar from 6:30-7:00 PM with important information for all families. Spanish translation will be provided.

Webinar ID & Link: 834 4019 0559

Passcode: mva

Classroom Visits: 7:00-8:00 PM

  • Session 1 (7:00-7:20)

  • Session 2 (7:20-7:40)

  • Session 3 (7:40-8:00)

There will then be three 20-minute sessions for classroom visits. Families of students with different teachers for math and reading are encouraged to use session 1 to visit their morning teacher and session 2 to visit their afternoon teacher. The third session provides the opportunity to visit other teachers including art, music, physical education or the teachers for a different child.

To provide important information on the curriculum and classroom expectations, all teachers are preparing brief recorded presentations for families which can be viewed before or after Back-to School night. Teachers will not be showing their recordings during the live teacher-led sessions. The teacher-led session will be for parents to get answers to general questions. Please do not use the teacher-led sessions for individual conferences or conversations about individual students.

Note for Families of Accelerated Math Students and Hybrid (In-Person) Students

Your child's teacher will be communicating details on the best time attend a teacher-led session focused on your child's accelerated math class.

Technical Support During Back-to-School Night

Families having difficulty accessing zooms during Back to School Night may get assistance by joining the Family Tech Support Zoom which will be open from 6:30 PM-8:00PM.

MVA K-5 Family & Tech Support Room 2022-2023

Meeting ID: 884 6990 6493

Passcode: mva

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MVA Fourth & Fifth Grade Instrumental Music Program

Exciting News! The MVA Lower School will be offering Instrumental Music Lessons to 4th & 5th grade students. Students will have free group lessons weekly during the school day.

Students in grades 4 & 5 will be offered the opportunity to learn the following instruments: Clarinet, Trumpet, Percussion (snare drum & bells), Violin and Viola.

Students MAY also be offered Flute, Trombone, and Cello.

Students WILL NOT be offered Saxophone or Baritone.

The MVA has been allotted an extremely limited number of instruments for students so we will follow these procedures

  • Families who can rent an instrument from a music store are strongly encouraged to do so.

  • If your family can not rent an instrument from a music store, please send Mrs. DeStefanis an email with the name of your home school and the instrument you need. I will work with your home school to try to find an instrument for you.

  • If there are no instruments available at your home school, then an MVA instrument will be considered for use by the student.

If your child is interested in participating in the MVA Lower School Instrumental Music Program this year please come to the Back To School Night Instrumental Music zoom meeting on 9/13 from 8:00-8:30pm. After attending the meeting, please register your child for Instrumental Music lessons by using this link Please only register once per child.

Then go to MCPS Instrumental Music to learn more about how to rent an instrument. Finally look at this shopping list to be sure you get everything your child needs for Instrumental Music.

Please e-mail me with any and all questions!

The Instrumental Music zoom meeting on Tuesday, September 13 at 8:00-8:30 PM will be held on the following link:

Zoom Meeting ID: 874 1578 2156

Passcode: mva

Can't wait to get started!

Rebecca DeStefanis


Each school year families are asked to communicate updates about contact information, health, directory withholdings, emergency contacts and more. These updates are now processed in ParentVUE using Online Registration to access MCPS Form 281-13 “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:

Hispanic Heritage Month Starts September 15!

Staff in the MVA are excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with our students and families! Please click to see the kick-off flyer and stay tuned for details on upcoming events!

MAP Testing is starting soon!

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 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.

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. 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.
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:


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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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

Parent Academy Features Important Information for Families

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.

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 or Tim Stefanoski at 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:, the Meeting ID is: 830 0426 4203 and the Passcode: mvaptc

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.

Please complete this brief MVAPTC SURVEY about upcoming meeting topics. THANK YOU!

Upcoming Events:

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.

MVAPTC Craft Fair - October 8th from 12:00 to 5:00 PM at Earl B Wood Middle School.

Spirit Wear:

Shirts are available for purchase at the MVA office. Shirts are self-service and after you select your shirts for purchase, please pay at 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. 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 to volunteer.

Teacher Appreciation:

Teacher Wish Lists are located in the Facebook discussion group. Lets support our teachers by helping them fill their wish lists. Facebook Discussion Group: MVAPTC Discussion Group - Montgomery Virtual Academy Families & Staff(MD)

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!