May 10 2020 Community Update
Dear Parents and Guardians:
The May 10 community update includes information on phase III of online learning, recovery plans, and celebrations for the Class of 2020. You can view the message here:
Schools Closed Through June 15th
Dear Parents and Guardians,
State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced today that all Maryland schools are to remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Please read this important community update: https://www.
May 3, 2020 Community Update
Dear Parents and Guardians:
The May 3, 2020, community update includes information on the grading criteria for the 4th Marking Period and the district’s plan for monitoring student engagement during this time of remote learning.
April 26 2020 Community Update
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:
The April 26, 2020, community update includes important information on grading and reporting, 3rd Marking Period report cards, online registration for new MCPS students, and more. You can view the message here: https://www.
Schools Closed Until May 15
Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Community Members,
Today (April 17), Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that Maryland public schools will be closed until May 15. While we are sad and frustrated that our students and staff won’t be able to be together in schools to learn and work together in person for another month, we believe that this was the right decision for the health and safety of our students and community.
We know that the announcement of the extended closure raises many questions for our parents, students and staff—from plans for the continuation of online learning to the school calendar and graduation. This weekend, we will send messages to the community that will begin to address many of these questions and concerns. We encourage you to visit our coronavirus webpage frequently and sign up to receive important alerts through the Alert Montgomery system.
Please continue to stay safe and take care of one another.
Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Week Three of Online Learning
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Members of the Community:
Please read this important update from Superintendent Jack Smith. The message includes information about what to expect for week 3 of online learning, and additional wellness resources for the entire family. You can read the message here: https://www.
Distance Learning Schedule
Continuity of Learning at TPMS – Guidance from Gretchen Weigel, TPMS PTA President, 4/9/20
This is an emergency situation. MCPS and TPMS have been focused on meeting basic needs of meals, chromebooks and wifi access for students. Teachers have only had a few days to learn what may be new platforms and recalibrate to an online atmosphere. MCPS is not set up to be fully online (this would be a challenge for most middle school age kids anyway). This experience will not fully replicate a regular in-class experience.
Online learning is different from in class learning. It is more student driven, and requires more active participation from the student in time management and organization. This can prompt a student to take more ownership because s/he is more actively involved in scheduling his/her day, or it can prove a further organizational challenge for some students (& hence, their families). Getting assignments on a calendar will help make them manageable. Also, here are a few articles Ms. Deeny has recommended:
Important Information About Online School Schedule at TPMS
Schedule: TPMS’s weekly schedule will involve Odd/Even days Mon-Thurs and independent study Friday (see Ms. Deeny’s schedule attached). Even though class times are scheduled, that does not mean students will necessarily meeting as a group during this time. This is time that the teacher has set aside to devote to the class. S/he could be meeting one on one with various students or working on materials in the classroom. Students will need to keep track of when they are meeting as a group, when assignments are due and when teachers are available for one on one contact. They will also need to budget time (I recommend morning hours) to work on projects. An online calendar app is really useful, especially you can set alarms on it. Ms. Deeny is also trying to put together a graphic organizer that students can fill in. Finally, it’s useful to budget time to check on new material/assignments, progress etc at the beginning of the day. Say, the day starts off with 9:30-10 checking on assignments/class and making a plan for 10am-noon work block.
Communication: This can be confusing since teachers use a variety of platforms and methods. Ms. Deeny is asking teachers to send out a weekly notice to students by Monday morning via MyMCPS, so students (and parents) will have a sense of what to expect for the week for each class. (Note, this may not start this week). The notice should have info on assignments and the platform(s) that class will use. You can sign up to receive these notifications as emails through MyMCPS. Not sure how? Mr. Degasperis made this handy video!
He also made one for Google classroom if you want more info, but (hopefully) all the teachers will be giving weekly overviews in My MCPS.
From Mr. Degasperis: If you have not set up your MyMCPS parent portal access, email your child’s grade level administrator or counselor for your access code and directions. To get access to your child’s Google Classrooms, you need to ask any of their teachers who are using Google Classroom to add you as a guardian. Once any teacher adds you, you will be able to see all of your child’s Google Classrooms.
Meeting Clashes. This has been a problem the first week and may still be an issue next week as teachers and students are adjusting to online. This should sort itself out as teachers get acclimated to the schedule. No teacher should be conducting a group class outside of the period slot, even if it is optional. If you are having a problem with clashes, contact the teacher (who is scheduling in the wrong spot). If it can’t be resolved or is persistent, contact your grade administrator.
Keeping up with New Postings. I know it’s been a bit frenetic with teachers loading material and assignments throughout the week. Going forward, this should get better. Teachers should be posting a week preview by the Monday of the week (please be patient if this doesn’t happen next week) in MyMCPS, so parents can get an email copy. That will help students anticipate the workload. Any new material/projects for a given day should be posted by 9am, so if a student is checking at 9:30am, there shouldn’t be any new material for that day added after that. If there are problems with this, please contact the teacher. If they persist, contact your grade administrator.
Work Overload. Sometimes assignments that are more independent in nature become more involved than originally plan. Some teachers, in exuberance for embracing online learning may what seems like an immense amount of work. These are stressful times, and the workload should be somewhat less than normal. If it seems more, please contact the teacher and/or grade admin. This is an experimental situation, teachers want to help your kids. Feedback is useful.
Worry about missing class content. Maybe your class meeting clashed with another or your kid forgot to get online, and no you’re worried about missed content. Teachers should be understanding and patient helping facilitate continued learning. Reach out to him/her if you’ve missed something. If you remain concerned, contact your grade administrator for help.
My class is scheduled for today, but I don’t see an online meeting. Remember that the online schedule does not replicate an in-class schedule. Not every appointed “class time” will involve group meeting situations. Check the weekly preview of work from the teacher, or email the teacher with questions.
Patience. OK, this isn’t really a problem, but it’s something most of us need more of. Please try to be patient with teachers learning new modes of communication and adjusting assignments with very little prep time. Remember that they are people who are trying to connect with over 100 students each. Please be patient with admin – they have been responsible for helping students with basics like meals and chromebooks as well as developing new schedules, helping teachers and managing school security. It’s been a lot. Please remember that these are human beings who have been thrown huge curveballs. They have families. They may be facilitating their own children’s online learning. They may be dealing with illness or even death of a family member or friend, or possibly become sick themselves.
Here is a link to the TPMS Staff Directory, so you can contact relevant teachers/administrators.
If you aren’t sure who is your grade administrator:
6th – Mr. Degasperis
7th – Mr. Barnett
8th – Ms. Patterson-Breese
· Reach out to teachers, school counselors and school administrators if you need help. They want to help you.
· Be sure you’re signed up to receive MyMCPS communications to help you plan for what’s coming each week.
· Don’t expect online class to fully replace or replicate the in-class experience.
· Talk to your kids about their work or needs. Help them set a schedule. Ask them to walk you through their classes. Have them start to make a calendar, or do it together (I’ll be honest, my kid is more productive if I stay out of it). So, maybe back off to let them have a hand at more autonomy, while checking in periodically.
I hope you all are well. Keep breathing and do your best to help your kids through this. If you think I can help in some way, feel free to drop me a line.
All the best,
Gretchen, PTA Pres & mom to Grace (8th)
If you found this helpful, pay it forward by either supporting the combined food pantry for TPMS and its feeder ESs (donations can be made through TPES’s PTA page at: https://tpespta.net/donate-
Or, donate to TPMS PTA – next year will be rocky, and we don’t want to leave them in the hole. http://www.tpmspta.org/donate-