Back-to-School QuickNotes Newsletter - August/September 2012
QuickNotes: Your Information Connection to Montgomery County Public Schools (English)
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Don't Miss the 2012 Back-to-School Fair!
You won't want to miss the MCPS Back-to-School Fair on Saturday, August 25, from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. on the grounds of the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. All MCPS students and their families are invited to attend this exciting event to kick off the school year and to learn about the school system's programs and services, while enjoying free entertainment, family activities and more.
Free backpacks and school supplies will be available to students that need them. The Back-to-School Fair is made possible thanks to the generosity of many sponsors, including Kaiser Permanente, Montgomery College, Party Plus and the Washington Talent Agency.
For more information about the fair, visit the Back-to-School Fair website or call the Division of Family and Community Partnerships at 301-279-3100.
Send Us Your First Day of School Photos
For the third year, the Department of Public Information and Web Services is inviting parents to submit their favorite first-day-of-school snapshots for our back-to-school coverage.
After parents have snapped the moments from the first day of classes, which is Monday, Aug. 27, they can select the best photo and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com. The pictures will be posted on the MCPS website beginning Monday morning.
To contribute a photo, follow these simple steps:
- Choose your best, horizontal snapshot.
- Send the photo as a jpeg file that is no larger than four megabytes and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com.
- Include your child's name, grade level and school name. (We will not publish last names.)
By submitting a photo, parents are agreeing to its use for publication on the MCPS website.
Parent Academy Fall Workshops
The MCPS Parent Academy offers parents and community members the opportunity to attend free workshops that provide information, resources, tools and tips to support their children's success in school. The fall season of workshops will begin on August 30. Among this year's topics: learning about Curriculum 2.0, motivating kids to read, keeping children safe on the Internet, and preventing illness.
A full list of courses will be available on the Parent Academy website.
Orientation for Middle and High School Students Set for Aug. 23
Student Orientation Day is scheduled for Thursday, August 23. Orientation Day is an opportunity for middle and high school students to meet their new teachers and classmates, learn about class schedules, and ensure that students are ready for the first day of school. Classes start on Monday, August 27. Contact your child's school for more information regarding the school's programs and schedules.
Get Bus Route Information
Searching for information on your child's bus route? Find it here. Parents who have a question about their child's bus route can find answers here.
Department of Transportation
Back-to-School: A Parent Checklist
Parents, the start of the new school year is fast approaching. Are you ready? Here is a checklist of things to help ensure that you are equipped with the information you need to have a successful school year:
Be sure to complete your child's Student Emergency Information form so you can be contacted about school closings, illness and important updates. Let the school know right away if your contact information changes.
Parents of secondary students can use Edline, a Web-based system, to track their children's progress on assignments, tests and grades, and to exchange emails with teachers. Get instructions on how to activate your Edline account here. Instructions are available in six languages.
Your Child's Cafeteria Meal Account
Remember to use MyLunchMoney.com to add money to your child's account using a credit card. Depositing funds into the account eliminates the need for your child to bring money to school every day. School cafeterias also accept cash or check (payable to the school cafeteria) prepayment. Be sure the check includes your child's first name, last name and PIN.
Free and Reduced-price Meals
Applications for Free and Reduced-price meals are sent home at the start of the school year. Students who are eligible based on family size and income receive meals free or at a reduced price. Only one application is needed for all students in a household. Applications are available in seven languages. Check the website for more details or call 301-840-8155.
View, print or download the 2012-2013 school calendar. Calendars are available in six languages.
Look for information to come from your child's school about back-to-school night.
Learn More About Curriculum 2.0
For the past three years, MCPS has been making exciting improvements to its elementary school curriculum. This upgraded curriculum-called Curriculum 2.0-is designed to make sure our students receive a strong foundation in the core subjects of mathematics, reading and writing. It is also designed to put a renewed focus on other important subjects, such as social studies, science, physical education and art. Curriculum 2.0 helps seamlessly connect these areas while building creative and critical thinking skills that are so important in the 21st century.
Curriculum 2.0 will be implemented in all kindergarten through Grade 3 classrooms this year. We will also be improving our report card in these grades to provide parents with more useful information about how their students are performing.
Learn more about Curriculum 2.0 and the improved report card
Parent Advisory Council Seeks 15 New Members
The MCPS Parent Advisory Council (PAC) provides a great opportunity for parents to become involved and offer important input to the school system. The 30-member PAC works with the Division of Family and Community Partnerships (DFCP) to provide feedback on systemwide parent outreach. Council members must be parents with at least one child in the school system, and be able to serve a two-year term.
The PAC meets Mondays eight times a year at Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Dr. in Rockville, and is currently seeking 15 new members. Nominations are due Friday, September 14. The first two meetings of the year are on October 1 and November 19.
Download nomination forms or call DFCP at 301-279-3100 for more information.
Parent Advisory Council
Consortia and Special Application Programs
The Northeast (NEC) and Downcounty (DCC) consortia and high school application programs will be holding information meetings in September and October. Grade 8 students who live in the NEC or DCC will get information on high school options, Consortia schools, the Choice process and special application programs for current Grade 8 NEC and DCC students. Choice forms will be available on the MCPS website in mid-September.
October information meetings are scheduled for parents of Grade 3 students interested in learning about the elementary Centers for the Highly Gifted (HGC). Applications for students in Grade 3 will be mailed home in September and will also be available on the website. In September and October, information meetings are scheduled for parents and Grade 5 students interested in learning about the Middle School Magnet Consortium (MSMC) and middle school application programs.
All parents of eligible students will receive letters in the mail in mid-to-late September. Information will also be available on the Special Programs website.
Applications for students in Grade 5 and Grade 8 will be available at schools and on the MCPS website in late September.
Help Keep our Schools Safe
Everyone can contribute to a safe and healthy school environment. Often, tips from parents and students can prevent youth violence, drug and alcohol abuse, gang involvement and other dangers to the safety of students. MCPS has a confidential Safe Schools Hotline to report threats, or safety and security violations. This anonymous service is available 24 hours a day/seven days a week.
- Safe Schools Hotline: 301-517-5995
More hotline information
MCPS also has a process to document and investigate incidents of bullying, harassment and intimidation against students attending public schools that occur on school property, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity. Bullying happens more often than people think, and the intimidation can be verbal, physical, or written (including electronic).
Reports of bullying may be made by students, parents, close adult relatives and school staff members. Reports of bullying, which are submitted to the school principal, can be made on the Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form.
More about preventing bullying
Submit Summer SSL Hours by Sept. 28
Students must submit their documentation of service over the summer using MCPS Form 560-51: Student Service Learning Activity Verification, by Friday, September 28. Hours of service will be reflected on the first quarter report card.
Students who had their requests for SSL preapproved using MCPS Form 560-50 should attach the preapproval form to the certification form when they turn in documentation.
Student Service Learning
Online SAT, ACT, PSAT Test Prep Available
Students can take advantage of free online tools to help prepare for the upcoming PSAT, SAT or ACT. Students may use these study guides at any time to learn more about the tests, review specific skills, take practice quizzes and track their progress.
The study guides include FinalPrep for the SAT and ACT, online sessions designed for preparation the week before the test.
The fall test dates are:
- October 6
- November 3
- December 1
- September 8
- October 27
- December 8
High School Instruction and Achievement
Free Test Prep for College Entrance Exams
High School Juniors/Seniors Needed: Join the Election Day Team
The Montgomery County Board of Elections Future Vote Initiative is seeking high school juniors and seniors to serve as election judges in the upcoming presidential election on Tuesday, November 6. Students that serve as judges earn $180. Training sessions will be held in September and October. For more information and to request an application, email Dr. Gilberto Zelaya.
2012 School Based Seasonal Flu Vaccine Clinics
The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will conduct free nasal spray flu vaccine clinics (FluMist) in November for children 18 and under at various MCPS schools.
On Monday, Nov. 5, the county will hold flu clinics at John F. Kennedy, Richard Montgomery and Seneca Valley high schools. No classes will be held on that day because it is a professional day for teachers. These clinics will be open to any school-aged child.
All MCPS elementary schools will host a flu clinic on either Monday, Nov. 12, or Tuesday, Nov. 13, following early dismissal of students on those days. More information will be sent home from your child's school.
All clinics are free, but registration is required due to limited vaccine supplies. For more information, visit the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services website.
Board of Education Revises Flyer Policy
The Montgomery County Board of Education has approved changes to Policy CNA, which guides the distribution of printed materials and flyers in schools. Under the revised policy, nonprofit organizations will be able to send flyers and other materials home with students in elementary schools up to four times a year. However, such distribution will no longer be allowed in middle and high schools. The revised policy will still allow MCPS, government agencies and PTAs to distribute flyers and informational materials in all schools at any time during the year.
Help Improve the MCPS Website
Last year, MCPS's main website had 60 million views. With such tremendous traffic, we want to make sure you-our audience-has the best web experience possible. MCPS is gathering feedback to improve the content and structure of the main website. We're asking you to share your experiences with MCPS websites by answering a few questions. Your input is essential, so take this chance to be heard. Take the survey and be a part of the process.
Schedule for Report Card Distribution
Look for your child's 2012-2013 report cards on the following dates:
- November 14
- January 31
- April 11
- June 25: report cards to be mailed
Parents of middle and high school students can also access grades online using Edline.