VA Weekly Navigator

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

(Week of January 30, 2023)

Virtual Academy Calendar for February 2023

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Please click HERE for the overall MVA calendar.

Weekly Meal Kits for MVA Students- Reserve Now for Pick-up on *Friday, February 3, 2023*

MCPS and the Division of Food & Nutrition Services will be providing bulk meal kits to MCPS students enrolled in MCPS Virtual Academy. The boxes will be distributed at the designated locations listed below. The location selected will be your assigned location to pick up your pre-ordered meal kit.

Please utilize this form to place an order for our Bulk Meal Kits.

Meal Kits will provide 5 Breakfasts and 5 Lunches.

***Distribution & Distribution Sites***

Meal kits will be distributed at each site listed below every Friday (unless otherwise noted) from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm.

  • Seneca Valley High School
  • A. Mario Loiederman Middle School
  • Richard Montgomery High School
  • Department of Food & Nutrition Services (DNFS) at Turkey Thicket


All orders for meal kits should be placed a week in advance for distribution the following week.

Meal kit orders must be placed using the google link each week.

The ordering link closes every Friday at noon and reopens Friday at 3:00 pm for the following distribution.

Parents must provide the first and last name & I.D. number of each student if they are requesting a meal kit.

Link to Meal Request form:

***Questions & More Information***

Questions regarding meal kits can be sent to the meals dropbox: (The email dropbox is having technical challenges. Please email with meal questions to pass along to food services until the dropbox is repaired.)

MVA Student Council Updates

Student Member of the Board NOMCON Delegate Applications (Due Jan. 30)

SMOB NOMCON Delegate Application Form

Are you interested in seeing the process of the SMOB election unfold? Want to attend the annual IN PERSON SMOB Nominating Convention to participate in the democratic process in the selection of our two finalists for the next SMOB? If you are interested, please fill out and submit the form linked above to be considered for this opportunity. Form submissions are due by Monday, January 30th at 3pm. If you would like to learn more about the process to becoming a delegate to the SMOB Nominating Convention, contact Mr. Ettinger at

MAP Testing (Middle School families only)

Winter MAP Testing is underway. We have already held testing sessions for MAPR, MAPM and a make up session for both. Thank you for reminding your child to test! We had an extremely STRONG turnout.

To minimize learning interruption, we are not offering any more scheduled makeup sessions for the whole school. Make up opportunities will be scheduled with students who still need to complete MAP. Marjorie Cohen, MVA Testing Coordinator, will be working to connect with students/families that still need to complete MAP testing.

Any questions about MAP testing should be directed to Marjorie Cohen, MVA Testing Coordinator at

Greetings from the MVA Computer Science, Technology and Engineering Department!

Course registration is around the corner, and we would love to have your student(s) expand their learning by taking a class(or TWO!) in our department. If you're not sure what the CSTE department is all about, please check out the link below. It will take you to a one-pager with a few videos that explain Computer Science and STEM!

For High School students who are not sure what class to take, please try our handy-dandy "MVA HS CSTE Course Selector" app which was developed in App Lab, a resource used in our Foundations of Computer Science course!

If you or your student has any questions about any of our courses, please reach out to the CSTE Resource Teacher, Mr. Kevin O'Neill at kevin_o'

MVA Application for 2023-2024

On Thursday, January 5, 2023, MCPS released the Montgomery Virtual Academy application for the 2023-2024 school year.

  • Families who previously completed the Notice of Intent form and indicated a request to remain in the Virtual Academy next school year do not need to apply again.
  • Families who did not complete the form, or who had indicated a desired to return to the home school, but now wish to remain in the Virtual Academy, must apply on ParentVUE using the new application.

The open application period began on January 5, 2023, and will run through February 2, 2023. You can read the full announcement from MCPS on our website at this link:

Preparing Students for ACCESS for ELLs Online

The WIDA ACCESS test window is January 9 - February 17. All ELD students are required to take the test in-person at their home school. Please check your email and remind your child to check their email for communication from your home school. Home schools will begin contacting families after December 16th with information regarding test dates and times. The test usually takes two half days. Student’s attendance will be recorded at the home school and reconciled at the MVA to be marked present.

Questions: Contact Jill Schuck - English Language Development (ELD) Resource Teacher

Scholarship Opportunity for English Learners

We are excited to announce that our 2023 ELLevation Scholarship is now open!

Since 2018, we have granted 25 scholarships to current or former English learners across the country to continue their education journey. This year, we are thrilled to be increasing that number.

ELLevation will now be awarding a total of ten $2,000 scholarships to deserving multilingual learners (MLLs) pursuing higher education. In addition, all scholarship recipients will have access to networking opportunities and mentoring for the 2023-2024 school year through the Ellevation community. Help us spread the word and share this opportunity with any eligible students! Application requirements and the link to apply can be found here.

Applications are open today, January 13th, and will be accepted until March 2nd, 2023 at 3 PM Central Time.

Best of luck to all applicants!

Inspiring Person of the Week

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 submit their slide or canva poster using this google form.

Here is this week’s Inspiring Person of the Week: Judith Heumann

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FREE Online Computer Classes for Winter 2023

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center is offering free online basic computing classes for adults. Online classes are taught using the Zoom platform. There is very limited space. It is first come, first served. So, please do not delay!

To apply, click here!

Note - The form must be completed only by the person taking the class.

For classes that are full, you will be placed on a waiting list.

¡Clases de Computación En Línea GRATIS Para El invierno 2023!

Las clases se enseñan a través de la plataforma Zoom.

El espacio es muy limitado y la inscripción es por orden de llegada. ¡Así que no se demore!

Para llenar el formulario, presione AQUÍ

Nota: Sólo la persona que va a tomar la clase puede llenar el formulario.

Si la clase que usted eligió está llena, su nombre será puesto en la lista de espera.

Counseling Updates:

The Pearls of Hope Scholarship Foundation

The Pearls of Hope Community Foundation, Incorporated (POHCF), is pleased to announce our new Scholarship Program! In 2023, this exciting scholarship program offers scholarships ranging from $1,000-$8,000 over four years to graduating high school seniors. We are currently seeking high school seniors to apply for a variety of scholarships that exemplify our values in community service, entrepreneurship and social action, and pursuing higher education.

The deadline for applications is Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Download the Application PDF here, and visit the website:

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MoCo Coats

If you are in need of a winter coat for you or your children, please connect with your school counselor. MoCo Coats of Olney, Maryland is providing coats to families.

MVA Counselors 22-23SY

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SSL Updates

SSL Updates & Link

The following is a preview of the important information that will be in this week’s SSL Link below:

  1. Upcoming Districtwide SSL Opportunities

  • Family Forum on Fentanyl (January 28, 2023)

  • Additional January 2023 SSL Opportunities

  1. Message to share with students and families

  • Student service learning graduation requirements

  • SSL Hours Documentation

  • SSL Awards

  • Non-profit Hosted SSL opportunities

  • MCPS Form 560-51

  • MCPS Form 560-50

  • MCPS SSL Hub for students

  • Student SSL Rewards on Student/ParentVue

  • MCPS SSL Program Overview

SSL Link:

SSL opportunities - and

SSL forms, resources, and guidelines -

SSL program overview -

Step-by-step directions for viewing student SSL record on StudentVUE -

Introduction to SSL Handout:
English | Español | 中文 | Français | tiếng Việt | 한국어 | አማርኛ | Portuguêse

Student IDs Ready for Pick-Up

Students who had their picture taken on the September 30 make-up day can pick-up their child's ID from our offices 7:30 AM -4:30 PM, M-F.

Technology Challenges?

We are aware that some of our students have been experiencing challenges with accessing instruction in the recent weeks. We have been in close contact with our partners in the technology office to try to identify what might be causing some of the specific issues. To support this work, we have been gathering data from our staff to try to identify any patterns. As we work to find a more comprehensive solution, we shared some tips at the MVAPTC meeting this past week. The tips that were shared address obstacles that we typically see, as well as the current issues with the password resets and Zoom functionality issues. These tips have helped some of our students, but not all. In most cases, the issue is not with the device itself and does not require a device swap. Please continue to reach out to our main office at 240-740-6060 and email the Community Help Desk mailbox at . We thank you for your continued patience and willingness to help problem-solve.

MVA Parent Teacher Council Updates & Reminders

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 (Montgomery Virtual Academy Parent Teacher Council) Announcements:

Seeking donations & volunteers for the MVAPTC Spring Auction to be held in March. Please contact Jessica, MVAPTC President, at to express your interest.

Request: Shirt Donations for Staff Appreciation: Thank you to all who donated!

Shirts, Necklaces, and Earrings are available for purchase at the MVA office.

Next MVAPTC Meeting: Thursday, February 9th at 6:30 PM.

Special Presentation on Restorative Justice in the MVA

Meeting slides, meeting minutes and other documents are available for review on the MVAPTC website located at
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 830 0426 4203 & Passcode: mvaptc

Next MVAPTC Special Education Committee Meeting: Thursday, February 16th at 6:30 PM.

Special Presentation on general services & how to access them for your student.

Please contact Andrea Levy, Chair at for additional information.

Meeting notes are available for review on the MVAPTC website located at

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 826 2881 5806 & Passcode: 570626

Amazon Smile: Go to: (web browser and activate in the Amazon Shopping app) - Set your Charity to MVAPTC (Montgomery Virtual Academy Parent Teacher Council, Inc), Rockville, MD, Parent-Teacher Group)

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.

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.

Mental Health Provider Resources for Children who have Medical Assistance

The Montgomery County Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services program offers mental health services for children and adolescent residents of Montgomery county who are uninsured or have Medical Assistance. We try to help as many people as possible, because we know how challenging it is to find mental health services. This list is intended to help you find treatment elsewhere if we are unable to help you. We hope you find it useful. Please see this link for more information!

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Virtual Cafe Zoom Link

Contact Jill Lynch at for more information!

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!

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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!

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.

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.


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!

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.

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!