Montgomery Virtual Academy K-5 News

Weeks of 12/18/22, 12/25/22, & 1/1/23- WINTER BREAK EDITION

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A Note from the Dean's Desk

Greetings Montgomery Virtual Academy Voyagers!

Winter Break for students in MCPS begins on Friday, December 23 and ends on Monday, January 2, 2023. Between now and the week we return from winter break, many families will be celebrating important and meaningful religious and cultural holidays. While this is a special time to focus on our own celebrations at home, this is also a great opportunity to learn about the traditions and cultures of our diverse community. Below are links to learn more with your child!

Upcoming Holidays

Please accept my sincere wishes for very happy and joyful holiday season with your families and loved ones!

Also, because winter break is an important opportunity for everyone to step away from school, work, and our computers, please enjoy this triple edition of the newsletter! No new update will be sent over the Winter Break. A Happy New Year refresher version of this newsletter will be sent on Jan. 2. The next new update will be released on Jan. 8!

I want to thank all of you all for your support & partnership! We are so happy to have you on our voyage!

Mrs. Cassandra Heifetz



  • Monday, December 19- Winter Spirit Week begins with WINTER UP Day! (see below!)
  • Tuesday, December 20- Winter Spirit Week- SWinter Up day!
  • Wednesday, December 21- Winter Spirit Week- Snuggle Up day!
  • Thursday, December 22- Winter Spirit Week- Cozy Up day!
  • Thursday, December 22- Meal Box Pick-up (by prior reservation)
  • Monday, December 26- Winter break- Schools and offices closed
  • Tuesday, December 27- Winter break, MVA office open 10 AM -2 PM
  • Wednesday, December 28-Winter break, MVA office open 9 AM -3 PM
  • Thursday, December 29- Winter break- Schools and offices closed
  • Friday, December 30- Winter break- Schools and offices closed
  • Monday, January 2- LAST DAY OF WINTER BREAK- Schools & Offices Closed for New Year's Holiday
  • Tuesday, January 3- Students return from Winter Break
  • Thursday, January 5- MAP testing - K & 1st Grade
  • Friday, January 6- MAP testing - 2nd-5th Grades
  • Friday, January 6- Meal Box Pick-up (see linked form below)
  • Wednesday, January 11 - MAP testing - 3rd-5th Grades
  • Thursday, January 12- MVAPTC Meeting at 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, January 19- MVAPTC Special Education Committee Meeting at 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, January 25- Semester 2 K-5 Materials Distribution from 1-6 PM (sign-up below)
  • Thursday, January 26- Semester 2 K-5 Materials Distribution from 1-6 PM (sign-up below)
  • Friday, January 27- Semester 2 K-5 Materials Distribution from 9-5 PM (sign-up below)
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Winter MAP Testing

MAP Testing is starting soon!

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


  • Kindergarten 1/5/23 AM ----MAP-P
  • Grade 1 1/5/23 AM ----MAP-P
  • Grade 2 1/6/23 AM ----MAP-P
  • Grade 3 1/6/23 PM ----MAP-M & 1/11/23 PM ----MAP-R
  • Grade 4 1/6/23 PM ----MAP-M & 1/11/23 PM ----MAP-R
  • Grade 5 1/6/23 PM ----MAP-M & 1/11/23 PM ----MAP-R

In the event that a student is absent or unable to test on their grades’ assigned day, there will be makeup opportunities that will be provided, no need to worry! Your homeroom teachers will communicate ahead of time what the specific schedule for the day will be.

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.

Additional Notes

  • 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

MAP Student Resources site

The Parent Toolkit - The online home for parents interested in learning more about MAP Growth

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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WIDA ACCESS Testing for ELL Learns

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.

More information will be shared when we return after Winter Break. If you have any questions please contact the MVA ESOL Resource Teacher- Jill Schuck at

Weekly Meal Kits for MVA Students- Reserve Now for Pick-up on *Friday Jan. 6, 2023*

Virtual Academy Meal Order Form Reminder: Schools and offices will be closed on Friday, December 30 and no meals will be distributed. Distribution of meal kits will resume on Friday Jan. 6, 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.)

Weekly Meal Kit Request Form

Use this same link each week. The ordering link closes every Friday at noon and reopens Friday at 3:00 pm for the following distribution.

K-5 Semester 2 Materials Distribution: Jan. 25-27, 2023

All K-5 students will need a new set of curriculum materials for Semester 2. Please see the flyer linked here or from the image below to access the sign-up and other details.

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.

Digital Citizenship Lessons

MVA lower school students are taking part in digital citizenship lessons from Common Sense Education to learn the habits and skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly in school, at home, and beyond. The Common Sense lessons help kids in grades K–2 develop healthy media habits and learn how to be safe online. Lessons in grades 3–5 continue to focus on screen time and online safety. Older kids also learn how to recognize cyberbullying, what is and isn’t OK to share online, and how to find credible news and information. Our media specialist, Ms. Jeffcott, and media assistant, Mrs. Rahr, will be plugging into classes throughout the year to share these lessons with our students. Click here for tips and strategies to use when talking about digital citizenship at home

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.

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 click here or on the picture below to view the flyer for the Kids for Equity Club! (in English & Spanish)

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.

Counselor's Corner

During the month of December, all K-5 Virtual Academy students received a lesson on the topic of Internet Safety. We use the website for many of our lesson materials and resources. This website was created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It has sites for parents and children to view. If you have time, take a look!

Please view the provided Parent tips on Internet Safety linked below.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

K-2 grades: Nicole Bamberger -

3-5 grades: Corinne Whited -

We have also provided parent tips on internet safety linked here.

Protecting your Kids Online:

English Protecting Your Kids Online 2.0.pdf

español Protecting Your Kids Online 2.0 ES.pdf

Cyberbullying unplugged:

English Cyberbullying_Unplugged.pdf

español Cyberbullying_Unplugged_ES.pdf

Being a Trusted Adult:

English being-a-trusted-adult.pdf

español being-a-trusted-adult-es.pdf

Gaming Online:

English gaming-safely.pdf

español gaming-safely-es.pdf

Cellphone Safety:

English Parents' Guide to Smartphone Safety.pdf

español Parents' Guide to Smartphone Safety ES.pdf

Report an Absence Form

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


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:

Community Tech Support Portal Support Guide:

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 (Montgomery Virtual Academy Parent Teacher Council) Announcements:

Request: MVAPTC is requesting $5 gift cards from a store of your choosing (Amazon, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Chipotle, etc) to be distributed to all the MVA staff for the holidays. Our goal is to provide one gift card per staff member to let them know how much we appreciate all their hard work as a community this school year. Gift cards can be emailed to or can be mailed/delivered to MVAPTC/Montgomery Virtual Academy, Attn: Staff Appreciation, 15 West Gude Drive, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD 20850. If you wish to send a gift card or gift to an individual teacher or staff member, please send it to them directly as we do not have the volunteers to manage individual gift card distributions. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

New: Seeking parents/guardians and teachers/staff to form a subcommittee of the MVAPTC to make recommendations to the MVA regarding policies pertaining to attendance, grading, student engagement, schedule, improving parent/teacher communication, innovation, and more. Please contact Jessica, MVAPTC President, at to express your interest.

Staff Appreciation Wish Donation Wish List: Thank you to all who donated!

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

Next MVAPTC Meeting: Thursday, January 12th at 6:30 PM.
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 hosted by Andrea Levy: Thursday, January 19th at 6:30 PM.

(Please note that the December meeting has been canceled due to the holidays.)
Topic: Transitions: What does it mean to transition to the next school level?

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!