We have completed the second week of online learning and it has been amazing to see and hear about the various ways staff and students are reconnecting, and how teachers are delivering instruction. From creative rap songs to engaging math lessons, we are working together as a community to create meaningful learning experiences for our students.
Jack R. Smith, Ph.D
Superintendent of Schools
What to Expect for Week 3 of Online Learning
Students and teachers will continue to focus on engaging in lessons in core subject areas, and working on assignments and plans to successfully finish the third marking period, which ends on April 17. Teachers will continue to plan assignments with their school teams and check in with their students. Students and parents/guardians should check myMCPS Classroom, Google Classroom, email messages, or other communication tools that students are accustomed to everyday. These existing platforms remain the primary way that teachers will send messages, instructions, assignments and other critical information. Additionally, all schools will be posting their weekly schedules on their individual school websites. If you have a school-specific question, we ask that you submit your question here. We have received additional requests for paper packets at the elementary level; a distribution schedule will be shared when we return from spring break. These instructional packets have been posted online and can be found here
Information about grading for the third and fourth marking period will be shared with families the week of April 13. Elementary and secondary teachers will submit grades by April 21. Secondary students have had the opportunity to complete and submit work that was assigned prior to March 30. Teachers could assign up to two additional assignments to secondary students to provide opportunities for students to improve their third marking period grades.
Grades for the third marking period will be reported using the traditional grading system. Report cards will be mailed home the week of April 27.
MCPS is collaborating with the Maryland State Department of Education and other neighboring school districts to determine how students will be graded in Marking Period 4.
Meal Service For Students
This week, due to the upcoming spring break, MCPS provided free breakfast, lunch and dinner meals for children April 6-8. There will be no meal service Thursday, April 9, through Monday, April 13. MCPS meal service will resume on Tuesday, April 14. For a complete list of meal sites, please visit the MCPS Meals Service webpage.
Women Who Care Ministries will provide weekend meals for families on Friday, April 10, from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. at their Montgomery Village site located at 19642 Club House Road, Suite 620, in Montgomery VIllage. More information can be found here.
Manna Food Center will distribute weekend food sacks on Saturday, April 11. The time and locations will be posted on the MCPS website on Friday, April 10.
Additional opportunities to obtain Chromebooks will be provided in the coming weeks. If you did not have an opportunity to submit a request to your child’s school for the April 8 distribution, please contact your school to be added to the list for the next distribution.
For families without internet access at home, Comcast’s Xfinity Outdoor WiFi hotspots are available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity Outdoor WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser. Please note that these hotspots are not part of the Xfinity residential Wifi network.
MCPS has created a new series of videos entitled Mindful Moment. The goal of the Mindful Moment Series is to deliver simple and effective tools for all of us to manage our anxiety and stress. These videos, which can be accessed and used at any time, can be found here.
There are strategies designed for both elementary and secondary students, adults and families. Each video is presented by MCPS staff who lead you through a Mindfulness exercise. Some employ physical exercise, some offer breathing techniques, while others demonstrate mental exercises—all of which are proven mindfulness techniques to relieve the effects of stress, worry, frustration, depression, anger, fear and restlessness.
Protecting Students on Zoom
MCPS is committed to providing a safe learning environment both in person and online. To strengthen student privacy and limit external disruptions to the virtual classroom, MCPS has implemented several measures, including:
- A restricted system that only allows access for students and teachers with MCPS accounts
- A waiting room feature that allows teachers to review all students who seek access to their class
- Settings that turn off student cameras and microphones by default
Read more about MCPS’ commitment to student privacy here.
Combating Hate and Bias
As a school system, our goal is to create safe and welcoming spaces in our schools and offices so everyone feels valued, included, and able to thrive. We know that the vast majority of our community believes in this goal. However, we continue to hear from some community members about hateful attacks against Asian Americans because of the coronavirus outbreak. These acts of hate do not reflect who we are as a community. Students and staff members who engage in these racist acts will face serious consequences. There is absolutely no room for hate in MCPS. We take these incidents seriously and will respond to them appropriately.