VA Weekly Navigator

Your Guide to News, Updates, and Reminders in the VA

(Week of October 10, 2022)

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Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, September 15- October 15 - Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Wednesday, October 12 - PSAT Day (in person at home schools)
  • Thursday, October 13 - MVA Parent Teacher Council Meeting (6:30 - 7:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, October 16 - All School Fundraiser at Ben & Jerry's (2:00 - 4:00 p.m. - see below for details)
  • Virtual Academy Calendar for October 2022

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    Reminder: PSAT Testing THIS WEEK!

    Reminder: PSAT Testing is this week!

    This message is for ALL 10th grade students and 11th grade students who registered to take the PSAT back in September.

    Wednesday, October 12th is In-Person PSAT testing at students home high school. All 10th grade students have a testing booklet reserved for them to participate in PSAT testing at their homeschool. 11th graders who signed up to participate in PSAT testing also have a book reserved for them. The deadline for 11th graders to sign up for participation in the PSAT was in September and it is too late to request a test booklet for 11th grade students.

    It is highly recommended that all 10th grade students participate in PSAT testing on 10/12, but it is not required.

    The MVA is not administering the test since there is no virtual option. High Schools will be sending an email out to 10th grade (and 11th graders who signed up) on Monday 10/10 with detailed information. However, if you have questions about the PSAT assessment, you can reach out to Marjorie Cohen, MVA Testing Coordinator, ( and she can assist with getting you the information you need.

    Students who participate in testing on October 12th will be excused from their classes on that day.

    Ms. Cohen is hosting an optional Zoom Check-in/Q &A for any students/parents who are taking the PSAT and still have questions.

    Link to PSAT Check-In/ Q & A on Tuesday 10/11 at 2:15-3:00

    Meeting ID: 850 1645 1310

    Password: mva

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    MVA World Languages Website

    The Montgomery Virtual Academy’s World Languages Department has a new website!

    MVA language learners and anyone interested in American Sign Language, French, and Spanish can access a rich database of digital resources. Fostering our MVA vision for an innovative, personalized virtual learning community, this website enables students to engage with the MCPS World language curriculum outside of the “traditional” modes.

    Students will receive up-to-date announcements on all the happenings in our department and ways they can engage with their peers in the virtual or in-person community. The website has over 30 web pages, a growing database of videos, and a plethora of stock images to engage our Gen-Z learners.

    Please watch the following promo video and access the website.

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    MVA Science Website

    Hello Voyagers! Click here to access the Middle School Science website. This site will provide you information on our science educators, student learning processes, course learning topics, display student work, and other important information.

    Inspiring Person of the Week (Another SSL Opportunity!)

    The Virtual Academy has launched the Inspiring Person of the Week Campaign. The campaign is designed to elevate the diverse people who have contributed their knowledge and talents to the United States.

    Students can earn 2 SSL hours by submitting a slide to the "Inspiring Person of the Week" committee. Student submissions must have the student's name and MCPS ID number, a title, a summary, a picture of the inspiring person, and links to additional information about the inspiring person.

    Students can email their slides or Canva poster and reflections to Mr. Henrique Vissotto: Because this is a school-hosted SSL opportunity, we will keep a log of the students who submit posters along with their reflections.

    Here is this week’s Inspiring Person of the Week - Lin Manuel Miranda.

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    Book Wars!

    BOOK WARS: Attention 6-8th graders. Do you love to read? Are you amazing at trivia? Join the MVA Book Wars team! Members read approximately 20 books a year and meet to discuss, collaborate, and celebrate reading, as we prepare for the MCPS spring Book Wars competition. Ms. Jeffcott will be hosting an informational meeting on October 11th at 3:00. Click on the flyer for more details!

    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 this document. Thank you for your support and encouragement as we work together to connect students with their teachers and each other!

    Youth Awards Application Tutorial

    Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards

    The Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s (HHF) 2022 Youth Awards educational grants program is now accepting applications! Our 24th Annual Youth Awards will award students who are in the graduating Class of 2023 with up to $4000 in educational grants to fund their higher education or to fund a community-based project.

    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.

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    Virtual cafe is held from 11:45 to 12:30 each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you are interested in being a student leader to help host, please let us know. Clubs are starting this week, see your sponsor for more information!

    Kesar Kaur Sandhu Medical Camp

    Hands2Inspire presents the Kesar Kaur Sandhu Medical Camp. This is a free health and wellness fair in Cooksville, Maryland. Students, Staff and their families are encouraged to come. There will be over a dozen medical doctors providing free screenings and individual consultations (first come first serve). In addition, there are over 20 different vendors that will have activities, demonstrations and LOTS OF FREE GIVEAWAYS! Plus the O's Bird will be there signing autographs!

    Students can earn up to 7 SSL hours for volunteering! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact

    Student Newsletter

    Did you know we have a separate newsletter for students, to help them keep up with all the important events and offerings in various areas of the MVA? Use this link to visit, and make sure your children are getting our updates each week.

    Annual Notice for Directory Information and Student Privacy

    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:

    MVA Library Media Center Announcements

    To kick off the school year, our media specialist, Tracy Jeffcott, and Lower School media assistant, Ellen Rahr has been visiting lower school classrooms to introduce students to our new MVA Library Media Center Website. Visits to our middle and high school students will be coming soon!

    Click here to view the site! The Media Center Website is also linked at the top of the Montgomery Virtual Academy website.

    Zoom Links and Contacting Teachers

    Use this link or click the logo to the left to access a full list of Virtual Academy teachers with their Zoom links and Outlook email addresses. If you have general questions, or you need a live human to assist you, please call us at 240-740-6060 during school hours.
    MCPS Calendar Central

    The MCPS website features "Calendar Central," where you can find information on holidays, early release days, and other special events throughout the school year.

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    SSL Updates & Opportunities

    Students need 75 student service learning (SSL) hours to graduate from Maryland public schools. Every month, Dr. Simarjeet Sandhu, the Virtual Academy SSL Coordinator, provides a listing of SSL opportunities that are virtual and in-person. Click on the link and get your child involved in these fun and rewarding service opportunities.

    Mental Health Awareness Week

    MCPS Mental Health Awareness Week - October 10-15, 2022 - Middle school and high school students will have opportunities to earn up to 9 SSL hours total during this year’s MCPS Mental Health Awareness Week! Live virtual events will take place on Wednesday, 10/12, and Saturday, 10/15 -- both events will serve as a 2-hour SSL opportunity for students! In addition, students may also earn up to 5 SSL hours for viewing videos tagged as SSL and participating in follow-up advocacy action throughout the week! To view the full schedule and learn more about the SSL opportunities offered, please visit

    ASIRT Road Safety PSA Contest

    Deadline: October 21, 2022 - The Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) and the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association are hosting a Public Service Announcement (PSA) competition for middle school and high school students centered on road safety and how to keep yourself and others safe on the roads. Participants who submit a PSA that meets the competition requirements will earn 10 SSL hours and have a chance to win prizes. To learn more, please visit this link:

    MoCo Board of Elections Future Vote

    The Montgomery County Board of Elections Future Vote Student Election Worker Program provides high school students with an exciting opportunity to serve as election workers. Depending on the number of days served, volunteers may choose to earn up to 65 Student Service Learning (SSL) hours or up to $630 stipend for their service along with a great hands-on introduction to the democratic process. Students with bilingual skills in Spanish and other languages encouraged to apply.


    Interested students must meet the following requirements to participate as a student election worker:

    • Must be at least 16 years of age by the time of registration

    • U.S. Citizen of the United States

    • Registered to vote in Maryland

    • Must have parental consent for workers under 18 years old

    Info: High School Poll Workers - Montgomery County MD


    To apply: Board of Elections (

    Questions: Email or 240-777-8533

    NPR News: The midterm elections need workers. Teens, veterans and lawyers are stepping up | MPR News

    Deadline: Tuesday, October 18, 2022

    Kesar Kaur Sandhu Medical Camp

    Hands2Inspire presents the Kesar Kaur Sandhu Medical Camp. This is a free health and wellness fair in Cooksville, Maryland. Students, Staff and their families are encouraged to come. There will be over a dozen medical doctors providing free screenings and individual consultations (first come first serve). In addition, there are over 20 different vendors that will have activities, demonstrations and LOTS OF FREE GIVEAWAYS! Plus the O's Bird will be there signing autographs!

    SSL Hours - you can earn up to 7 SSL hours for volunteering. If you are interested in volunteering contact This is a FREE event for the entire community!


    Latino Student Fund Tutoring

    Four Seasons World Dance Auditions

    Arise & Flourish:

    Students will need to visit the Montgomery County Volunteer Center ( 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.

    Project Linus

    Project Linus is a national organization with chapters across the country ( 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. See our previous newsletters (linked below) for more information.

    Check Out Our VA SSL Website

    You can now access many important resources for Student Service Learning (SSL) at our new 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
    • 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.

    Useful SSL Resource

    You can also stay up to date with SSL reminders, dates, and deadlines using this resource, and. contact Dr. Sandhu with any questions!

    Need to Reach a Counselor?

    Virtual Academy students in grades 6-12 who need to speak with a counselor can visit the open Counseling Zoom session every weekday using this link!

    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 & Reminders

    MVAPTC (Montgomery Virtual Academy Parent Teacher Council) Announcements:

    1) MVAPTC Meeting on Thursday, October 13th

    2) All School Meetup/Fundraiser on Sunday, October 16th at Ben and Jerry’s in Rockville

    1) MVAPTC Meeting: Thursday, October 13th at 6:30 PM. Meetings are 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

    2) All School Social/Fundraiser: Sunday, October 16th 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. We will meet at the tables in front of the store. 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.

    Helpful Links: Website: 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.

    Attendance Questions and Absence Notes

    If you have any questions about your child's attendance, or if you need to report an excused absence, please contact our Attendance Secretary, Ms. Hikeyya Falden:

    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

    ParentVue Directions

    Log in to ParentVue

    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.

    Technology Support

    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:

    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:

    VA Weekly Navigator Archive

    You can now easily review previous publications of this year's Weekly Navigators online: