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 22 – 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 21, and school resumes again on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, promptly at 7:45 am.  In addition, this will be the last Sunday evening message of 2018; the next Sunday evening message will be Sunday, January 6, 2019.


"Lockdown with Options" Drill: Tuesday, December 18

Every year all MCPS schools conduct a number of emergency drills to ensure students are prepared in the case of an emergency.  These drills include evacuation, reverse evacuation, lockdown, shelter-in-place, severe weather, and earthquake.  This year, in alignment with the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018, MCPS schools are training staff and students in active assailant protocols.  These new active assailant protocols are very similar to a lockdown drill.  In a lockdown drill, the teacher locks the classroom door, covers the door window, and has the students sit alongside a wall out of view of the door and remain silent. 


This new drill in MCPS will be called a “lockdown with options” drill.  One key element of this drill is to prepare students and staff to avoid and escape harm if they cannot get into a room that locks because they were out of the classroom for any reason.  The expectation is that students would exit the school to avoid danger.  During our first “lockdown with options” drill, students will not actually leave the school; however, they will be taught that they can exit as a way to ensure their safety.


Northwest High School is conducting a “lockdown with options” drill this Tuesday, December 18, at 8:30 am.  This drill will be different than many of our other drills in that students and staff will not be practicing any specific activity.  Instead, the “drill” involves teachers facilitating discussions with students about scenarios and appropriate responses. 


In order to accommodate the time for the drill on Tuesday, we will be using a modified bell schedule to extend 2nd period:  Please note that counselors will be available on Tuesday to support students who express concerns or questions as we train them in the new active assailant protocols. 


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 21

All personal ads for the yearbook are due no later than this Friday, December 21.  A variety of sizes is available, and the ads can be purchased online at, or through Ms. Ellis in Room 122.  More information is available by clicking on the “Yearbook” Quick Link on the left side of the Northwest website:


Key Club Fundraiser at Kentlands Chipotle: Monday, December 17

Tomorrow, Monday, December 17, our Key Club will be sponsoring a fundraiser at Chipotle in the Kentlands from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  All you have to do is mention Northwest when you order, and the Key Club will receive a percentage of the sale!


Booster Club Fundraiser at Anytime Fitness in Germantown: Saturday, December 22

This coming Saturday, December 22, the Booster Club will be sponsoring a fundraiser at Anytime Fitness in Germantown (18319 Leaman Farm Road).  All you have to do is show up for a $15 yoga class at 9:00 am or a $15 Zumba class at 10:30 am, and Anytime Fitness in Germantown will donate one-third of the proceeds to the Northwest Booster Club.


Minority Scholars Program Holiday Gift Drive

Our Minority Scholars Program has partnered with Clarksburg and Richard Montgomery High Schools to collect new toys, toiletries, coats, gloves and socks for homeless families in Montgomery County.  Items can be dropped off in the media center before Winter Break.


Blood Drive Sponsored by Key Club: Wednesday, December 19

In partnership with INOVA Blood Donor Services, our Key Club is sponsoring a blood drive for students and parents this Wednesday, December 19, from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm in the auditorium.  Students can pick up a parental consent form in the gym lobby during lunch tomorrow, and parents can e-mail Mr. Maradei at  All donors must be at least 16 years old and weight at least 110 pounds, and all students must have a signed parental consent form in order to donate.


“Be the Match” Marrow Donor Registration Drive: Wednesday, December 19  

Matthew Dahan, one of our 12th grade students, is working with the National Marrow Donor Program to sponsor a “Be the Match” bone marrow donor registration drive at Northwest this Wednesday, December 19.  All students 18 and older are invited to participate during lunch, and parents are invited to stop by the auditorium between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm. The drive is 100% digital now. Students and parents will use their phones to join. After they join digitally, a swab kit will be mailed to their home. They can swab their cheeks at home and mail the kit back. Registration is free.  


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.” 


Registration for 2019-2020 School Year 

This week all 9th, 10th and 11th grade students will receive their registration cards and information on the course registration process for the 2019-2020 school year.  In order to help students make informed course selections, we are holding an Advanced Placement (AP) class and elective fair on the 3rd floor during lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tables will be set up throughout the hallways of the 3rd floor to give students an opportunity to learn more about the 28 AP classes we offer at Northwest, along with many of the electives students can choose.  Students will have an opportunity to speak with the teachers of the AP classes and electives, as well as talk to students who are taking those classes.  Due to space limitations, students in grade 9 are encouraged to attend on Tuesday, and students in grades 10 and 11 are encouraged to attend on Wednesday.  In addition, in order to provide more time for the fair on Tuesday and Wednesday, we will be using special bell schedules both days:


MCPS Budget Presentation: Tuesday, December 18

Parents and members of the community are invited to view Superintendent Jack Smith’s Fiscal Year 2020 Recommended Operating Budget Live Presentation this Tuesday, December 18, at 6:30 pm on MCPS TV or online on the MCPS website.


Deadline to Submit First Semester SSL Hours: Friday, January 4, 2019

The deadline to submit first semester student service learning (SSL) hours is Friday, January 4.  Completed SSL forms should be submitted to Ms. McCarthy-Redd in the counseling office.


AP Exam Registration: Deadline for Payment is Friday, March 1, 2019

Students registered for their AP exams earlier this month through their respective AP courses, and a parent/guardian will need to pay for the exams through the online system. Exams are $98 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, March 1, 2019.  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. Amy Mason, staff development teacher, at, or Ms. Autumn Myers, media specialist, at


Cap and Gown Fee

The graduation cap and gown price for this year is $60 through February 15.  The fee can be paid online at


Tentative Graduation Date: Thursday, June 6, 2019

Our 2019 commencement ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 6, 2019, at 9:00 am at XFINITY Center.  XFINITY Center is located in College Park, Maryland, on the campus of the University of Maryland.  More information will be shared with senior families in early 2019.


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.  Northwest currently has 179 Giant Rewards designations and earned $1049 from September through November 2018. 
  • With Amazon, Northwest PTSA receives money when you select “Northwest HS PTSA” and shop through Amazon Smile with every order. 

If you have not done so already, please register your cards and accounts by using the links below:


Giant Rewards Card Registration:

Our school ID is 03647.  If you do not know your 12-digit account number, you can call 877-366-2668 and they will help you register.


Harris Teeter VIC Card Registration:


Amazon Smile Registration:

Search for “Northwest High School PTA.”  Be sure to use the link every time you shop.


Maryland State Department of Education School Report Cards

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has released a new accountability report card for every school in the state of Maryland. The Maryland Report Card for Northwest High School can be found here: 


The Maryland Report Card is designed to measure school success in several ways, including state test results in English and math; postsecondary readiness; progress of English learners in achieving English language proficiency; graduation rates; and students with access to and earning credit for a well-rounded curriculum.


For more information on the Maryland Report Card, please visit this website created by MCPS:


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! 

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