Good evening, Northwest Families, this is Jimmy D’Andrea, principal of Northwest High School, with your Sunday evening message. I want to begin by thanking the PTSA for hosting the gift wrapping event for staff last Friday, and special thanks to all of the parents who donated desserts or helped to wrap items.  Everything was greatly appreciated!  



Winter Break: December 23 – January 1

Please remember that we have full days of school Monday through Friday this week.  Winter Break begins at 2:30 pm this Friday, December 22, and school resumes again on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, promptly at 7:45 am.  In addition, this will be the last Sunday evening message of 2017; the next Sunday evening message will be Sunday, January 7, 2018.


Recognizing Teachers and Other Staff Members

If your student has teachers or other staff members who are especially meaningful to them, this season of the year is a perfect time for you to send an e-mail to the teacher/staff member praising his/her work.  In casual conversations, many of you speak to me about teachers or staff members who you and your student think are outstanding, but staff members do not often hear those words of praise directly.  If you choose to do so, you may send a copy to me, and I will print it out for the staff member's file. 


Personal Ads for Yearbook Due Friday, December 22

All personal ads for the yearbook are due no later than this 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 this 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 this Saturday, December 23. 


Key Club Fundraiser at Kentlands Chipotle: Tuesday, December 19

This Tuesday, December 19, our Key Club is sponsoring a fundraiser at Chipotle in the Kentlands from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  All you have to do is mention Northwest to the cashier, and the Key Club will receive a percentage of the sale! 


“Be the Match” Marrow Donor Registration Drive: Monday, December 18

Matthew Dahan, one of our 11th grade students, is working with the National Marrow Donor Program to sponsor a “Be the Match” bone marrow donor registration drive at Northwest tomorrow, Monday, December 18.  All students 18 and older are invited to participate during lunch tomorrow, and parents are invited to stop by the auditorium between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm.  It only takes a couple of minutes to sign the form and then do a cheek swab.


Key Club Coat and Glove Drive Through Wednesday, December 20

Our Key Club is sponsoring a Coat and Glove Drive through this 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.


Deadline to Submit First Semester SSL Hours: Friday, January 5, 2018

The deadline to submit first semester student service learning (SSL) hours is Friday, January 5.  Completed SSL forms should be submitted to Ms. McCarthy-Redd in the counseling office.


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 this Tuesday, December 19, at 7:00 pm in the auditorium at Rockville High School (2100 Baltimore Road in Rockville). Interpretation services will be provided.


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 earlier this month (  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.


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

Students have started to register for AP exams 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

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.


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 I hope you and your family have a wonderful Winter Break!



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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