The Mustang Spirit
The Principal's Newsletter - February 19, 2021
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From Principal Hills
We appreciate all of your support throughout these trying times. Please take a moment to read the message sent to the faculty yesterday. We can't wait to see your children next week! We are all in this together!
Remember, we will all be okay as we transition into our hybrid world of learning.
You may feel compelled to help students 'catch up’ on lost time and curriculum. We understand and sympathize with that drive. The best resource in our building is the combined experience and expertise of our faculty, staff, and administration. That experience may be telling you that 'more is more'.
And yet, if ever there was a time to emphasize balance, to spend time on the small things, and to slow down, now is that time. Through nobody’s fault, this year has been completely tossed upside down and sideways - for teachers and students alike. This year, you have all done - and continue to do - incredible work. Next week, we will share with you some of the data that shows that our students are learning and not regressing, which is a testament to the strength of our teachers and the resiliency of our community.
But like a runner before a race, our students are going to need to be stretched out before they can go the distance. Shifting from 55 minutes to 84 minutes is going to be a challenge. Shifting from virtual in the comfort of home to in-person in a new environment is going to be a challenge. We ask that you are extra attentive to students’ fears, anxieties, and needs as they return to your care.
Your Mustang Admin Team
IB Exams Update
The traditional International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations slated for May 2021 will not be occurring at the High School. Like many other school districts, we have determined that the traditional IB exams cannot be safely and fairly administered.
Students will still be receiving overall IB scores for their coursework. There will be no indication on the certificates and transcripts of the awarding route which was used. Universities worldwide have honored the 2020 results and will honor the 2021 results as well. Additionally, IB teachers are required to generate predicted grades and informed assessments of student work. All assessments required before May will be marked by IB examiners and the predicted grades will be used by IB to determine final scores.
We commend our teachers and our students for working hard towards the ideals of an IB education during these difficult times. Though virtual instruction has its challenges and the amount of actual class time has been reduced, our teachers have continued to approach their teaching and the students’ learning with the same focus that a world class education requires. The absence of the May exams does not change that. School administrators at the high school notified staff of this decision.
Students and parents should read the Mitigation Protocols, watch the video below, and print out the daily student self-monitoring health screening sheet (available in English and in Spanish) so that we may reopen in a safe manner and stay open.
The hybrid schedule begins on Monday with an independent learning workday for all students. Click here for a print-friendly version. In addition, students may use this template to create their own schedule by plugging in their classes in the appropriate blocks after making a copy of the template. Students who have cell phones may also easily access their schedules through the PowerSchool Mobile app - iPhone or Android.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
- Directions for Bus Riders, Drivers, Bikers, and Walkers
Student drop-off is shown in the map below as the Red Mustang Loop and students will be dropped off right by the old high school. From there, students will walk along the Pink Route to the high school entrance.
- School Bus
The hybrid school bus routes are now published on the Transportation page of the FCCPS website. Please take note of the new Walk Zone (in red) which was extended further east, past West Street; the Group 1 bus route which is for students who are in in-person classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (Groups B & D); and the Group 2 bus route which is for students who are in in-person classes on Thursdays and Fridays (Groups C & D).
Before getting on the bus, students' temperatures will be taken. The bus driver will let each student know their assigned seat the first time they ride the bus. Students will not be able to switch buses or seats due to contact tracing purposes. There is a limit of 25 students per bus to make sure students are socially distancing.
- Student Parking
Student parking lots are shown in orange on the map below--the old Senior lot, part of the old Junior lot, and the old Visitor lot. Students will then walk the Pink Route to the high school entrance.
Student parking will be free for the remainder of the 20-21 school year. A car registration form which included parking lot regulations was sent to all Juniors and Seniors through Schoology and email.
All in-person students will have access to breakfast and lunch at no cost.
- Students who would like breakfast and/or lunch for the two or four days of in-person learning must submit this Meal Intent Form every Monday.
- All students will eat in the Mustang Cafe in a socially-distanced and staggered manner.
Opportunities to eat outside will be available if weather permits.
Food sharing is not allowed.
School instructional activities involving food will not be permitted.
Any family with a virtual learning student can continue to participate in our food pick-up support services by ordering through this link. If a parent/guardian or a student does not have an FCCPS Nutrislice account, she/he/they will need to create one first here.
- Students are encouraged to bring their own personal water bottle from home to use during the school day. Water bottle fillers will be open to students where available.
- If you have any questions regarding food services, please send Richard Kane an email, RKane@fccps.org.
Get Your Yearbooks Today!
There’s nothing else like your school yearbook. If you would like to place an order for a 20-21 Yearbook, the current rate is $85 and can be purchased by clicking HERE. The last day to purchase your yearbook is April 16, 2021.
Thank you for helping us tell the story of the year,
George Mason High School Yearbook Staff
Photo on the left is the actual cover of the 20-21 Yearbook.
High School Virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Gather 'round the TV or computer to celebrate the Virtual Ribbon Cutting for our new High School on Sunday, February 21 at 1:00 PM on FCCTV or on the FCCPS YouTube Channel. We will have an in-person celebration in August or September.
Order a Better Together lunch meal from Lazy Mike's while you watch the ribbon cutting from home. The Better Together lunch meal comes with your choice of sandwich (Mustang, Cali, or Impossible Burger), chips, and a fountain drink for $15. Proceeds will go towards Falls Church Better Together to support the Falls Church Homeless Shelter supply drive. Order on Sunday, Feb 21 from 11 AM - 2 PM to get the deal!
Our History Matters!
On Monday, February 22 (independent virtual learning day for all students) at 10:00 AM, a Middle and High School student panel will be streamed live on The Home of the Mustangs YouTube Channel.
If your student is experiencing technical issues with their laptop, they will need to fill out this form first. Once the form is submitted, the tech team will be able to help.
Please subscribe to the Morning Announcements if you have not done so yet.