Montgomery Virtual Academy K-5 News

Week of October 30, 2022

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A Note from the Dean's Desk

Greetings Montgomery Virtual Academy Voyagers!

This week marks the final week of the marking period. Please be sure to check with your child's teacher if your child has any missed assignments to submit for grading before the close of the marking period.

I am aware that some families have reached out with questions about daily attendance notification calls. Students are expected to be logged in by 9 AM each day. Teachers will mark a student absent if they are not in class by 9 AM. Students who arrive late will have their attendance switched to tardy, but there are times when teachers are unable to make the adjustment before the automatic call system sends out notifications. Students who are late at brick-and-mortar schools have their attendance corrected by the main office staff, but since our students do not "pass through the office" this responsibility falls to our teachers. Because teachers need to focus on instruction after 9 AM, there may be a delay in adjusting an absence to a tardy. To avoid a daily attendance call, please be sure your child logs into class between 8:50-9:00 AM each day.

I also ask that parents take care to avoid interrupting instruction to share attendance and absence information with the teacher during class time. Rather, please complete the attendance form which can be found on website or below in this newsletter. I thank you for helping teachers minimize distractions to other students and also help our office staff make the correct updates to your child's attendance record. For questions about attendance, please reach out to our attendance secretary, Ms. Eboni Thomas at

Did you know that last week we made history in the MVA?! Interested Grade 5 students attended our first ever in-person field trip to Strathmore! This unique learning opportunity was made possible by Ms. Haden with the support of the MCPS Music office! Thank you also to Ms. Ludwig and Ms. DeStefanis for serving as chaperones! The kids had an amazing time!

Finally, I hope all of our students enjoyed last week's Fall Festival activities! I had the pleasure of playing some games with a few of our students and found it to be a fun and festive way to close out the week! For all those who are gearing up for some trick-or-treating on Monday evening, have a safe Happy Halloween!

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



  • Tuesday, November 1- Rainbow Club (Grades K-2)
  • Tuesday, November 1- Emancipation Day (Maryland)
  • Monday, November 7 - No school for students
  • Tuesday, November 8 - Election Day, schools and offices closed
  • Thursday, November 10 - MVAPTC meeting 6:30pm-8:00pm
  • Monday, November 14 - Marking Period 1 Report Cards available in ParentVUE
  • Tuesday, November 15- Rainbow Club (Grades K-2)
  • Thursday, November 17- MVAPTC Special Education Committee Meeting
  • Tuesday, November 22- Rainbow Club (Grades 3-5)
  • Wednesday, November 30- Kids for Equity Club (Grade 2-5)


MVA Weekly Boxed Meal Kits Interest Survey 2022-2023- Reply by 11/2/22

MCPS and the Montgomery Virtual Academy (MVA) would like to again offer MVA families the option to pick-up a weekly boxed meal kit from designated sites. Each kit will contain 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches. There will be no charge for the boxed meal kits. Families interested in accessing weekly meal kits for their children are asked to please complete the form below to assist MCPS and the MVA with the planning process.

Montgomery Virtual Academy Weekly Boxed Meal Kits Interest Survey 2022-2023

We are hoping to get a response from all MVA families! The form will take one to two minutes to complete. Even if you are not interested in a weekly meal box, please take a few seconds to respond to the form to share your preference with us.

Thank you very much for helping us to plan this opportunity for our students!


The Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation was established by the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights in 2019 to promote a better understanding of its history and legacy of African Americans in the county.

In response, Montgomery County Public Schools will observe Remembrance and Reconciliation Month by supporting local Emancipation Day celebrations, providing schools with age-appropriate lessons on local historic African American communities, and virtual changemaker workshops for students and their families in English and Spanish on November 15 - 17, 2022. Register here to attend a changemaker workshop.

FALL FUNDRAISER - Ends December 1, 2022

Looking to get a head start on some holiday or winter season shopping! Don't like going out to stores? Then our Fall Fundraiser just might be the answer! Our online fundraiser store has all occasion and holiday items, apparel, bags & totes, candles, floral items, sweet & savory snacks and treats, popcorn, jewelry, kitchen items, kids & pet items, magazines, gift wrap, and more!

With your help, we will be raising funds to be used to support Montgomery Virtual Academy K-12 students and teachers through general school-wide purchases that would otherwise not be funded by available school funds. We are encouraging every family to participate. We will reach our first goal when each student registers and shares the fundraiser with 5 or more supporters.

There are 2 ways to participate:


  1. Please register your student(s) at After registering, you will get a link/code to share with family & friends
  2. Send your link/code to 5 supporters
  3. Consider making a purchase

B) Not interested in registering, but still interested in supporting? Use this direct shopping link set up for MVA K-5 Admin & Staff:

Any purchase made will generate funds for the benefit of every child. Your participation is very appreciated. Thank you for your help and support! All purchases will be shipped directly to purchasers in time for the winter holidays! There are prizes for the highest sellers. See the linked letter for details.

Click to view the Believe Fall Fundraiser Parent Letter for more details

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.


Personal Body Safety Lessons


MCPS implements Personal Body Safety Lessons (PBSLs) with grade-level, age-appropriate content for students in every grade from Pre-K to 12. These lessons were developed with input from national stakeholders and County partners, and are designed to empower students to recognize and report suspected cases of abuse without fear of reprisal. The Chief of the State’s Attorney’s Office—Special Victims Division has commended MCPS on the PBSLs and shared publicly that these lessons are making a difference in children reporting incidents of abuse and neglect. In addition, embedded in the MCPS elementary and secondary health curriculum are age-appropriate lessons on safety and injury prevention, family life and human sexuality, cyberbullying and social media, healthy relationships, harassment, and intimidation.

Lessons will be provided by the Virtual Academy School Counselors during students´ class schedule one day during November. Please see the parent letters below about Personal Body Safety Lessons. Letters are available in 6 languages. Plus 3 additional links with detailed information about the lessons being provided.

Parent letter links:







Virtual Family Grief Supports

Virtual GRIEF SUPPORT program for FAMILIES to do together. Any family who is grieving the death of someone important to them can participate. We welcome families who speak Spanish and we have bilingual interpreters available.

Registration is required. Information is on the flyers. Family Night Information

Es necesario registrarse. La información está en los volantes. Noche familiar informacion general

Registration is now open for our Thanksgiving-themed Virtual Family Night program for grieving students and their families on November 10th (Registration deadline November 4th).


The Holiday Giving Project (HGP) of Montgomery County has provided Thanksgiving meals and December holiday assistance to families in need for over 30 years. A network of social workers, school counselors, and other human service professionals refer families and individuals in need of assistance. Local non-profits, faith-based organizations, service organizations, and other government agencies serve Holiday Giving recipients, as donations are available.

If you and your family are in need and would like to be referred to possibly receive assistance for the Thanksgiving or Winter holiday season, please complete the following referral form. The information is required to make a referral to The Holiday Giving Project. To be referred for assistance, you must complete this form by Monday, OCTOBER 24, 2022 to be considered for the Thanksgiving services. Applications for the Winter Holiday may be made at the same time. Resources are limited, please apply only if you and your family are truly in need. Winter holiday referral must be submitted by November 14, 2022. While a referral is not a guarantee of assistance, the Project helps as many families in need as donations will allow.

If you have any questions please email your student's school counselor. Ms. Whited: Ms. Bamberger:

Holiday Giving Project Referral (English)-

El Programa de Asistencia para los días de Fiesta Referidos (español)-

Weather-related Emergency Preparedness Tips

Safety of our staff, students and their families is of utmost importance to us and we know that one of the best ways to prepare for the unexpected is by being proactive with a safety plan. We are providing the tips below to our families to encourage you to talk to your children about a safety plan in the event of an unexpected weather-related emergency.

  • Designate and identify internal spaces such as interior hallways or a windowless bathroom as safe areas to go to in the event of a tornado.

  • Basements offer the best protection. Use interior rooms and hallways on the lowest floor and away from windows. Rooms with wide spans of open space and windows should not be used.

  • Monitor weather information from local radio and television stations or phone-based weather apps

  • Be prepared for a power failure during a tornado or other weather-related emergency. Access to a flashlight, or other equipment may be necessary.

  • In the event a teacher or staff member loses internet or power, classroom instruction should pause. Students may attempt to connect every 30 minutes if conditions at their home are safe.

  • In the event a student experiences severe weather at home, staff will check to see if the student has an adult present and encourage the student to follow the directions of the adult in the household. If no adult appears present, staff will issue the above guidelines to the child.

  • Students should log-off and move to a safe location if weather conditions worsen or feel unsafe.

The following websites may be helpful in providing families with resources to learn more and develop a plan that will best suit the needs of your family.

Report an Absence Form

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


Maryland's Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day in Maryland is celebrated annually on Nov. 1 to commemorate Nov. 1, 1864, the date Maryland abolished slavery in its constitution through an amendment that was voted on by the public. Maryland was the first state to end slavery by a popular vote.

Students and families are encouraged to visit local Emancipation Day celebrations at Button Farm Living History Center from noon–3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 and the Sandy Spring Slave Museum from 10–4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. Students can earn Student Service Learning (SSL) hours for attending. See the MCPS table at the sites for SSL forms.

Resource for Parents & Families: Did You Know? Facts about Local Historic African American Communities in Montgomery County

Free and Reduced Meals Application Still 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:

The "Ready for School" Initiative Now Provides Extra "Bonuses" for Eligible Families

Families who are complete an updated Free & Reduced Meals application and are eligible for benefits may be able to receive additional financial assistance and bonuses.

Ready for School Initiative and Montgomery County are providing several “bonuses” for eligible families, including:

  • $200 worth of free classes from the Recreation Department (provided by the Montgomery County Department of Recreation);
  • Discounts on extracurricular fees (provided by MCPS);
  • Reduced-price AP exam fees (provided by MCPS and College Board); and
  • Up to a $40 reimbursement for school supplies (provided by Ready for School Initiative).

To participate, families must follow three easy steps:

  1. Fill out an MCPS Free School Meal Form (
  2. Share their free meal eligibility letter with Ready for School Initiative
  3. Receive the bonuses

For more details and to submit visit:


Eligibility for Free School Meals is determined based on the the size of your family and your household income. You do not have to be a US citizen to qualify for Free School Meals.

MCPS does not report meal application information to migrant, immigration or refugee offices.

Additional Info also at:

Adult Literacy & Language Courses

The George B. Thomas Learning Academy offers two face-to-face Adult Literacy classes and one virtual (weeknight) class to parents of MCPS students. The program gives parents the capacity to support their children’s success and navigate through the processes of the MCPS school system. The classes offer basic, intermediate, and advanced levels and focuses on listening skills, reading, comprehension, speaking and writing.

Parents of MCPS students from any school in the county may attend after registering.

See flyer for details:

Additionally, in collaboration with MCPS, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County (LCMC) is offering free English as a Second Language classes for MCPS parents. The classes will be held virtually and in-person, and there are options for all levels of English speakers. They are available to any MCPS parent for whom English is not their first language. Parents can complete this interest form to receive a placement test.

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.

New Donation Request: Let's support our office staff and our volunteers for student materials organization days with food & drinks to let them know how much we appreciate them! Donations can be dropped off, mailed, or delivered to 15 West Gude Drive, 2nd Floor, or to Jessica in Kensington. Thank you in advance for your support!

MVAPTC Meeting: Thursday, November 10th at 6:30 PM.

Meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month. Meeting slides, meeting minutes and other documents in English and Spanish are available for review on the MVAPTC website located at A board member election will be held for the Vice President of Grades 3-5. Additional positions available are Vice President for High School, President-Elect, and Treasurer-Elect. Please contact Jessica at to express your interest. No experience is required.

The zoom link is:, the Meeting ID is: 830 0426 4203 and the Passcode: mvaptc

MVAPTC Special Education Committee Meeting will be held on Thursday, November 17tth.

The topic will be: IEPs and 504s: What are they & what questions do you have?

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!