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Reimagine, Reopen, Recover:

Fall 2020 Checklist for MCPS Parents/Guardians and Families

Getting Your Child Ready for Virtual Learning Success

  • Make sure your child has basic technology and access.

    • Get a Chromebook and/or WiFi hotspot (if needed) from your school. Principals will share information on pickup locations, dates and times directly with parents.
    • Visit the MCPS Digital Backpack webpage to learn everything you need to know to help you navigate the parent portal, plus other digital and help resources.
      • Parent Portal (ParentVUE) Activation. Beginning Friday evening, August 21, activation emails and letters for the new parent portal were sent to MCPS parents. If a parent has an email on file, an email with activation instructions will be sent (remember to check spam folders). If a parent does not have an email on file, a mailer will be generated and mailed to the parent address. If parents have difficulty with activating accounts, or if they do not receive a communication, they can contact the MCPS help line at 240-740-7020.
    • Write down or print out your student’s login information for easy access. 
    • Check your home internet connection before school starts.
      • If you are experiencing spotty or poor internet connection at home, here is a five-step guide on how to troubleshoot it for free.  
  • Be aware of upcoming changes to the MCPS Meal Service Program.

    • If needed, be sure to complete a FARMS (Free and Reduced-Priced Meals) application and map out your plan for accessing meals. More details, including a link to the online application, can be found here.
  • Prepare your child’s work environment. 

    • Find a space in your home for your child to complete their work. 
      • Some students and families feel more comfortable with greater degrees of privacy. One tip is to have your student position themselves to work with their back to a blank wall, so that only a plain background is visible behind them when they log onto class.  
    • Plan for distractions. 
      • Where possible, set up separate work zones in your home for each child.
      • Kid-friendly headphones or earbuds like this low-cost option can help reduce distractions.
    • Know where basic supplies are in your home. 
      • Keep pencils, pens and notepads or paper organized and available during school hours. 
      • Contact your school or principal if your family needs help getting basic supplies.
  • Start preparing your child for full days of instruction and work.

    • Rise and shine. Encourage earlier sleep and wake times so your child is rested and alert for class. Eat a good breakfast. 
    • Dressed and ready to learn. Encourage your child to follow the same morning routine as they did for in-person school. Remind them that they will be visible on screen to classmates and their teachers, so adhering to appropriate school attire is still expected and important. 
    • Discuss expectations. Talk to your child in advance about expected behaviors, attendance and work responsibilities during the virtual school semester. Let them know of all the supports in place to help them be successful.
  • Review the virtual learning schedule sent by your child’s

    • Map out a family schedule around live instruction, self-paced work and student support that fits your family’s specific needs, including the needs of working adults in your household.
    • Reach out to your student’s teacher if you have questions in response to any communications they may have sent out in advance.
  • (For Parents) Register for our Parent Webinar Series.

    • These sessions provide technology training on a variety of topics for parents and students.
  • Check your email or other designated portal for class-specific communications and instructions from your child’s teacher.
  • Review each teacher’s class requirements with your child and ask if they have any questions.
  • Email your child’s teacher with any specific information they should know about them, including concerns and challenges.

Tips for making it  work:

  • Plan your child’s learning schedule around your work schedule. For example:
    • Have your child work on more challenging activities when you are available to them.
    • Have your child work on independent reading and subjects that come easiest to them during your designated work hours.  
  • Use to-do lists and planning tools that are age- and grade-level appropriate. Follow up to make sure assignments are done and submitted on time.
  • Be flexible.
    • There may be times your child won’t be able to work on something without your help. Set aside another time to complete that particular assignment, and have them work on something else.
    • For full-time working parents, evenings and weekends may be the best times to be a hands-on learning coach.
  • Give your student brain breaks and exercise breaks. Tips and resources on student well-being will continue to be posted to the BeWell 365: Be Healthy, Be Kind, Be You BeWell webpage. Bookmark and visit that page often for the latest information.
  • Technology
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • The MCPS Parent Academy
  • Crisis Intervention
    • *NEW* Text-To-911 Now Available In Maryland. If you’re experiencing an emergency and are unable to place a voice call, you can send a text to 911. Follow the steps below to request emergency services.
      • Enter 911 in the “To” line.
      • Enter a brief message that includes the location of the emergency and type of service needed—police, fire or ambulance.
      • Hit send.
      • Respond to questions from the responding 911 specialist and follow the instructions provided.
    • Safe Schools Maryland Hotline: 833-MD-B-Safe (833-632-7233)
    • Montgomery County Health & Human Services Information Line: 240-777-1245
    • Montgomery County Crisis Center: 240-777-4000
    • Youth Crisis Hotline of Montgomery County: 301-738-9697
  • Important Contacts
    • Keep handy the contact information for:
      • Your child’s teachers
      • Your child’s principal and school
      • Technical support

If you have challenges at home, share them with your child’s teacher and/or the school principal. If you need assistance in another language, please call AskMCPS at 240-740-3000. 

From the MCCPTA Safe Tech Committee in partnership with MCPS
Monitoring Your Kids' Social Media
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Setting Up Your Child's Tech for School

  1. MCPS-issued Chromebooks are already "locked down" to lessen distractions. If using a personal device, use parental controls to minimize "wandering" and access to inappropriate content.
  2. Have your child's screen facing toward you (or anyone else who walks by), not facing a wall or window.
  3. Encourage eye breaks and stretching every 20 minutes.
  4. Put away cell phones during school time.
  5. Turn off notifications on ALL other devices in the house during school time. This is a sanity saver!
  6. Dress appropriately and be sure your background doesn’t include anything you wouldn’t want to share with others