Montgomery Virtual Academy K-5 News

Week of September 19, 2022

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A Note from the Dean's Desk

Greetings Montgomery Virtual Academy Voyagers!

Last week's Back to School night was a great success and I want to thank all those who were able to join us for what I hope was a very informative evening! Please be sure to check out the videos below if you were unable to attend.

Please be sure to check out the MVAPTC announcements below regarding a special opportunity! Families who do not own their own computer should be sure to check out the information on how to request a free computer through Montgomery Connect. This special opportunity is available for up to 100 MVA families and registration opens on Sunday, September 18. Additional details below!

Finally, this week on Thursday night, the Fall equinox will occur, and we will officially wake up to the first full day of Autumn on Friday, September 23! Check out these links with your child to learn more about the change of the seasons!

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



  • Thursday, September 15- October 15 - Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Friday, September 16- Thursday, September 29 - MAP Testing
  • Friday, September 23- Hispanic Heritage Read Aloud with Ms. Kiernan at 11:45 AM
  • Monday, September 26- No School for all MCPS Students and Teachers
  • Tuesday, September 27 - MVA Special Services Fall Family Night
  • Friday, September 23- Hispanic Heritage Read Aloud with Ms. Whited at 11:45 AM
  • Friday, September 30- Early Release Day- Lower School Dismissal at 12:55 PM
  • Friday, September 30- Picture Make-up Day
  • Sunday, October 2- MVAPTC Social & Fundraiser- Ben and Jerry's, Rockville
  • Friday, October 7- - Hispanic Heritage Read Aloud with Ms. Carlson at 11:45 AM
  • Saturday, October 8- MVAPTC Craft Fair from 12:00 to 5:00 PM at Earl B Wood Middle School
  • Monday, October 10-- Hispanic Heritage Month After School Activity & Celebration at 3:45 PM
  • Friday, October 14 - Hispanic Heritage Read Aloud with Ms. McIntyre at 11:45 AM


MVA Special Services Fall Family Night

The Virtual Academy Special Education & English Language Development department invites you to a presentation!

For: All families of Special Education and/or English Language Development students in grades K-12.

Date/Time: Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 6:30PM

What: Information about the special education and ELD program, supports & services.

Access: We will be using Zoom for our virtual meeting. A link will be shared prior to the meeting.

*The presentation will be recorded & interpretation services will be available.*

Back to School Night Recordings

It was great to connect with so many families at our Back to School night on Tuesday, September 13!

For those who were unable to attend, you can access the slides and view recordings of the webinar and the teacher presentations below.


Available Recordings

Instrumental Music Update

The Instrumental Music Parent Information Meeting was held on Tuesday, September 13 from 8:00-8:30 PM following Back to School Night. Families who were unable to attend the meeting can view the recording at this link:

Ms. DeStefanis has emailed all parents who registered their child for instrumental music. If you registered your child but have not yet received an email, or still wish to register, please contact Ms. Becky Destefanis by email at

Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15- October 15!!

Staff in the MVA are excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with our students and families! Please here click to see the kick-off flyer!

Hispanic Heritage After-School Event

The Hispanic Heritage Month team would like to invite staff, students and families to join us for an after school event Monday, October 10th from 3:45 - 4:45. We will have free choice breakout rooms of Music, Arts, Read Alouds and more. We’d love to see you there!

Also, every Friday from 11:45 AM to 12:15 PM during Hispanic Heritage Month, MVA staff will be hosting a Lunch Bunch Read Aloud! For details and zoom links see: Hispanic Heritage Month Friday Lunch Bunches

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MAP Testing Updates

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 UPDATED 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.

August 19 Student Photos Update

If your child had their school picture taken at our offices on August 19, their student ID card is now available for pick-up at the front desk at the MVA office.

Feel free to contact the office at 240-672-6122 for confirmation prior to pick-up, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM, Monday-Friday.

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 (in English & Spanish). 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.

Happening Now: 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.

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.

MVAPTC Parent Survey:

Please help the MVPTC support your family by letting us know your needs and wishes for the school year:

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.

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!