KG April Update 4.14.20

Welcome Back to Virtual School!

Dear Parents - Thanks to many of you for participating in the First Virtual Parent Coffee.  We truly appreciate the opportunities and also  the challenges that Distance Learning is bringing to families to support your child(ren)s’ learning.  Here is the recording of the session if you were unable to attend. Please do continue to stay in touch!  We will host another Parent Coffee next week – stay tuned for the date and time. 


This week we are celebrating #kgpride #joy as we return to work. The staff has put together a message for all of the students and is shown below.  Please participate with your child if you have a break during the virtual school day. Send any pictures to 


We are thrilled to see so many of you taking advantage of the valuable instructional resources available on the FCPS Blackboard 24/7 site:  This is the platform whereby messages will be posted for both parents and students. Another useful webpage is the FCPS Distance Learning site. You may also want to visit the new Learning at Home webpage, which offers simple strategies to support families during the transition to distance learning.  


Yesterday, we met as a staff to discuss the plans for the synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for your child that begin today, Tuesday, April 14th.   Teachers have been planning and prepping tools to ensure that your child is able to become acquainted with online platforms and resources.  We also have discussed the need to set appropriate norms and expectations around digital citizenship.  Teachers will share the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra link via an email and also in their Blackboard 24/7 site. Note that there is a great deal of usage both yesterday and today that resulted in challenges using the Blackboard 24/7 site.  FCPS is aware of the volume of traffic and will continue to monitor.


We would like to remind you that there will be challenges ahead of us as we embark on this new model of learning.  It will not look the same as a regular school day. Setting expectations for routines and encouraging participation during the scheduled instructional opportunities would be especially helpful but we realize that there will be times whereby your child may have to listen to the recorded session and follow up later with the teacher.  We encourage you to communicate with teachers, support staff, and administration whenever needed so we can assist each other in this process. 


Note that specialists are available as well and have scheduled instructional times.  Their information is posted in Blackboard 24/7 in the Specialists’ course.  All students can access each specialist's link.  These links are for music, art, physical education, advanced academic resource teacher, FLES, counselors, library, reading specialists, band, strings and more! 


We want to reiterate our teachers are also managing their own family systems, while completing their responsibilities as educators during this stressful time.  As we learn together, the concept of Distance Learning will continue to improve with the goal of finishing the school year strong!  


Thank you again for all you are doing to help your children stay focused and calm during this challenging time.  We are committed to doing all we can to support you.   


Holly McGuigan              Pier McGrath                                  Tia Hawkins

Principal                          Assistant Principal                         Assistant Principal

Links for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra 

Given the challenge of connecting consistently with Blackboard 24/7, we have requested that the teachers remit your daily link (it will remain the same for the rest of this academic year) to you by email.  For specialists we are creating a master page for you to access and will also ask your grade level teacher to include in their newsletters. 


Other Helpful Hints for Parents to Support Student Learning – Digital Citizenship

Please remind students when they enter a Blackboard Collaborate session to use their first name and last initial.  If a different name is used, the teacher will remove the student from the session and invite them to rejoin using their appropriate name.  Thank you for supporting your students!



Students will be given a grade for 3rd quarter based on assignments given through March 13, 2020 As shared by Superintendent Brabrand, fourth quarter grades will not be assigned to elementary students due to equity issues of access to technology and limited student ability to submit work during distance learning. Elementary students will continue to engage in teacher-led and independent learning and they will be given feedback. Note that students’ effort and progress within the Distance Learning window can be counted toward improving their Final Mark.  This Final Mark is the grade that will remain on their academic transcript.  Report cards will be mailed home centrally from FCPS. 

Attendance Updates for Elementary Students

Student attendance will be taken daily (Monday-Thursday) by classroom teachers during the “Virtual Teacher-Directed” Instructional hour when synchronous instruction is provided.  This is done to monitor participation across the division and to help teachers identify students they will need to provide additional support.  This data will be entered in the Student Information System (SIS), but will not be included in the student attendance history needed for state reporting.  

Advanced Academic Program Eligibility Decisions

The AAP office began sending notifications to families regarding eligibility decisions for Level IV services for SY 2020-21 beginning on Monday, April 13.  Due to COVID-related closures, Instructional Services has created an electronic communications system to be used instead of paper letters sent by mail.  Parents will have until May 4, 2020 to accept placement so that we can communicate acceptances that impact staffing to principals in a timely manner.   Letters for students who are found ineligible will contain information about the appeals process.  The AAP office is extending the appeals deadline until July 15, 2020 because appeals cannot be completed until they are able to access the original files and convene an appeals committee.  Note that if you have a child participating in the French Immersion program from out of boundary, they may continue to attend Kent Gardens and still receive the level IV services here. You may send a note to the AAP office and to Stephanie Will,, noting your decision to attend Kent Gardens rather than your base school’s AAP Center. 

Kent Gardens Advanced Academic Placements and Questions

We have been receiving some questions regarding the orientation session since we are out of school.  For those in this situation, Kent Gardens has traditionally retained the majority of our eligible AAP  students. We will be reaching out separately to connect with you with respect to questions.  For those parents who would like to appeal and need additional support, please do reach out to Stephanie Will at  For other questions, feel free to reach out to Ms. Will or one of the administrators, Holly McGuigan, Pier McGrath, or Tia Hawkins, .


We miss you!!  Join us for the virtual spirit week!