Good evening, Northwest Families, this is Jimmy D’Andrea, principal of Northwest High School, with your Sunday evening message.


Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Resources

As you may have seen in the media, two MCPS high school students have taken their own lives since Thanksgiving.  In response, our Student Government President and Vice-President, our Resource Counselor, and I appeared in a special JAG-TV announcement for the entire school last Tuesday (  All students also received a flyer with information about resources and supports available if they or someone they know is thinking about harming themselves (  I encourage all parents to continue this conversation with their children, and MCPS has compiled a list of suicide prevention and mental health resources for families to assist in these conversations.  The list is at the end of this message.


Winter Instrumental Music Concert: Thursday, December 14

Our winter instrumental music concert is this Thursday, December 14, at 7:00 pm in the auditorium.  Admission is free, and all members of the community are invited to see excellent performances by our bands and orchestras!


Helping Families in Our Community: Gift Card Donations Requested

As we approach Winter Break, the counseling department, Booster Club and PTSA are asking for your support for Northwest families in need of assistance. To help these families during the holiday season we are asking for gift card donations.  Suggestions include gift cards to grocery stores, Wal-Mart, or Target.  Any amount is greatly appreciated.  If you would like to donate a gift card for one of our families, please bring it directly to the business office by this Friday, December 15.  Questions regarding donations may be directed to Ms. Ellen O’Connell, resource counselor, at 301-601-4642.  Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide!


Midpoint of Second Marking Period: Thursday, December 14

It’s hard to believe, but this Thursday, December 14, is the midpoint of the second marking period!  Please make sure you are monitoring your student’s grades using myMCPS Portal.  If you need assistance with setting up your myMCPS Portal account, or have myMCPS Portal questions, please contact Ms. Autumn Myers, media specialist, at


PTSA Fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings: Tuesday, December 12

This Tuesday, December 12, our PTSA is sponsoring a fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings in Gaithersburg from 11:00 am to 1:00 am.  All you have to do is give the fundraising ticket ( to the cashier when you dine in or carry out, and our PTSA will receive a percentage of the sale!


Blood Drive Sponsored by Helping Hearts Club: Monday, December 18

Our Helping Hearts Club is sponsoring its annual INOVA Blood Drive for students and parents next Monday, December 18, from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm in the auditorium.  Spaces are filling quickly, but it’s not too late to sign up!  Students can see Mr. Maradei in room 181 to pick up a permission slip, and parents can e-mail Mr. Maradei at  All donors must be at least 16 years old and weight at least 110 pounds.


Key Club Coat and Glove Drive Through Wednesday, December 20

Our Key Club is sponsoring a Coat and Glove Drive through next Wednesday, December 20, in 1st period classes. Please consider helping those in need during this winter season by sending winter coats, hats, gloves and/or scarves to your student’s 1st period class.  All items should be new or in excellent condition.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visual Arts Contest: Deadline is Friday. December 15

All students are invited to participate in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visual Arts Contest. The 2018 theme is “Fulfilling the Dream—A Celebration of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” Students are asked to interpret what their dreams are for the future. Prints, posters, collages, murals, photographs, and all other two-dimensional visual art forms may be submitted. Group projects are welcome. Please send entries to Linda S. Adams, supervisor, Pre-K-12 Fine Arts, Carver Educational Services Center, Room 258, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850. The deadline is 5:00 pm this Friday, December 15.


PTSA Staff Gift Wrap Event: Friday, December 15

On Friday, December 15, the PTSA will be offering a gift wrapping service to the wonderful staff at Northwest!  Staff members bring their holiday gifts, and the PTSA returns beautifully wrapped packages!  As an added bonus, the PTSA will have a table of cookies and other sweets for the staff to enjoy.  Please consider donating a couple dozen cookies, cupcakes, brownies, or other sweet treat.  Food donations may be dropped off in the main office all day on Thursday, December 14, or before 8:00 am on Friday, December 15.  Please click here to sign up:  Thank you in advance for your help!


Personal Ads for Yearbook Due Friday, December 22

All personal ads for the yearbook are due no later than Friday, December 22.  A variety of sizes are available, and the ads can be purchased online at, or through Ms. Mason in Room 122.  More information is available by clicking on the “Yearbook” Quick Link on the left side of the Northwest website:


Yearbook Buddy Ads Due Friday, December 22

Yearbook buddy ads are also due by Friday, December 22.  The ads cost $20 and include a picture of a group of friends with a short message.  Order forms are available from Ms. Mason in room 122 and online through the “Yearbook” Quick Link on the left side of the Northwest website:  


Yearbook Prices Increase Saturday, December 23

Yearbooks can be pre-ordered at, or from Ms. Mason in room 122.  The books are currently $75, but the price will increase to $90 on December 23. 


AP Exam Registration: Deadline is Friday, February 16, 2018

Students will start registering for AP exams this week in their respective AP courses.  Registration is completed online, and a parent/guardian will need to pay for the exams through the online system after the students have completed their registration. Exams are $94 each, and payment can be made with a credit or debit card. Payment plans are available, with a minimum payment of $25. The deadline to pay is Friday, February 16, 2018.  All students taking AP courses are expected to register for the corresponding AP exams. More information about registering for AP exams can be found by clicking on “AP Test Registration” under “Quick Links” on the left side of the Northwest website (  If you have questions, please contact Ms. Autumn Myers, media specialist, at  


Supporting Northwest When You Shop

As we enter the holiday shopping season, we encourage you to support Northwest when you shop at various merchants.  At Giant and Harris Teeter, Northwest receives money when you shop if you register your rewards cards online.  At, Northwest PTSA receives money when you register your account through Amazon Smile. We encourage you to register your cards and accounts by using the links below:


Giant Rewards Card Registration:

Our school ID is 03647.


Harris Teeter VIC Card Registration:


Amazon Smile Registration:

Search for “Northwest High School PTA.”


Prizes for After Prom Needed

The After Prom Party keeps our kids safe, off the roads, and away from negative forms of entertainment on prom night.  We need prizes as incentives to keep our students at the event all night long!

As you are shopping for the holidays, please keep After Prom in mind!  Don’t turn down that gift with purchase, as it could be a great After Prom prize item.  Consider items your kids would want such as gift cards, movie passes, small appliances, electronics, and items for college.

If you use Amazon to shop, please remember to use to support Northwest PTSA. If you have prizes to donate, please contact Kim Summers at to make arrangements for collection.


Northwest Free Store

Thank you to the Northwest Community for all of the donations to the Free Store and for helping our community to reuse school supplies!  Students visit frequently and pick up needed school supplies or enjoy choosing some of the unique items that line the Free Store shelves.  As the holidays approach, our awesome Free Store sponsor, Ms. Emily Asofsky, is requesting “cute trinkets” to make shopping at the Free Store an especially fun experience for students.  Any donations can be dropped off in the main office and should be labeled “Free Store.” 


MCPS Budget Presentation: Tuesday, December 19

Parents and members of the community are invited to attend Superintendent Jack Smith’s Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget Presentation next Tuesday, December 19, at 7:00 pm in the auditorium at Rockville High School (2100 Baltimore Road in Rockville). Interpretation services will be provided.


Free Microsoft Office 365 for Students

The Maryland Department of Education and Microsoft have entered into a collaborative partnership that allows all students and all school system staff to get the latest version of the Microsoft Office software suite, Office 365 ProPlus, at no charge. Office 365 ProPlus includes the full suite of Microsoft applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as well as the ability to create, save, and share Office files online. Under the program, students and staff are able to download and install the Microsoft Office software on up to five devices free of charge.  The devices may be PCs, Macs, tablets, or phones. For FAQs and download instructions in multiple languages, please visit



As always, please do not hesitate to call us at any time if you have questions or concerns.  Thank you for your support of Northwest, and have a great evening!



Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Resource List Compiled by MCPS

Montgomery County Youth Crisis Hotline, 301-738-9697, provides free, confidential, and anonymous support to youth by trained counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Montgomery County Crisis Textline, 301-738-2255, provides free, confidential, and anonymous text support by trained counselors.  This service currently is available from Monday through Thursday, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255, provides free, confidential, and anonymous support nationally.

The Montgomery County Crisis Center, provides crisis services 24 hours a day/365 days a year. These services are provided over the telephone (240-777-4000) or in person at 1301 Piccard Drive, Rockville, Maryland (no appointment needed). The Mobile Crisis Outreach will respond anywhere within Montgomery County to provide emergency psychiatric evaluations.

The Crisis Chatline is a service of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  Youth may access support 24 hours a day via chat.  

The Montgomery County BtheOne suicide awareness and substance use prevention campaign website describes action steps to help oneself and friends and includes links to resources and hotlines.

EveryMind, 1000 Twinbrook Parkway Rockville, MD 20851, 301-424-0656,, provides mental health services to youth, adults, and the military, as well as crisis support services. 

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide family resource webpage includes information on warning signs, how to support your child who needs help, and how to talk with your children about mental health, suicide awareness, and the aftermath following a tragic loss.

The Centers for Disease Control information fact sheet on the prevalence and public health issue of suicide, warning signs, and resources.

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is an eight-hour, internationally-recognized course that teaches adults who interact with youth how to identify signs of emotional distress and a five-step action plan to engage with youth and connect them to professional support.  Just as Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (or CPR) teaches individuals to help others experiencing a medical emergency until professional help arrives, Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches adults to address mental health crises until professional help can be accessed.  Courses are offered throughout the county.

The Dougy Center’s National Center for Grieving Children and Families provides resources, by age group, and information on support groups for youth, adults, and families experiencing grief following a death.

The Campaign to Change Direction’s goal is to change the culture of mental health so that individuals are able to seek and receive the help and support that they need.  The Campaign includes information and infographics on five of the warning signs of depression and strategies to support emotional wellbeing.

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