McKinley Elementary School

What's Happening —

A Few Updates

Transportation Fund:
Our super social worker, Cherelle Washington, shared that some McK families are experiencing difficulty paying for transportation to run essential errands (including, in one case, getting to a COVID-19 testing site). She's asked if the PTA could set up a fund where we could help defray the cost of taxis, Ubers, etc. for families who need to make these kinds of trips. She will dispense the funding--I am just the money collector. If you'd like to contribute, please Venmo @Mary-Kadera or PayPal me at marykakdera@gmail.com. We'll keep this open through next Tuesday.

Kaleidoscope Update:
As you probably know, the School Board's approved budget for FY21 cuts the funding for elementary schools' Exemplary Projects by half. We'd definitely like to preserve as many aspects of our Kaleidoscope arts integration initiative as possible, including our wonderful partnership with ETC. In order to do that and offer two plays next year, we're going to have to ask families whose students are involved in the two ETC productions to pay a participation fee of $30/student per play. Scholarships will be available.

APS Updates: 

  • Planning Unit data review is now underway through June 5. See https://www.apsva.us/engage/data-review-for-fall-2020-boundary-process/
  • In light of Gov. Northam's extension of the stay-at-home order for Northern VA, APS has decided that summer school will be a remote learning experience this year.
  • APS is planning for "several scenarios," according to Asst Supt Bridget Loft during last night's CCPTA meeting, with regard to schools re-opening in the fall. APS and other VA districts expect guidance from the VA Dept of Ed to be released very soon to aid in the planning.

Opportunity for Food Distribution in Westover

The Cooperative for a Hunger Free Arlington (CHFA) has an opportunity to expand free meals that Bayou Bakery is providing.  They offer a plant-base meal of rice and beans, fruit, and greens up to 5 days a week. Their funder, Real Food for Kids, now has a truck that could deliver the meals to the Westover area. CHFA is investigating possible sites in Westover to serve as the distribution/pick-up location.

CHFA reached out to explore if the McKinley and/or Swanson PTAs could staff this location. The details are still getting ironed out, but if you’d be interested in helping, please email Mary.

PTA Activity Leads Needed for 2020/21 School Year

(Updated 5/12/2020)

While you’ve got time at home to think, please consider volunteering for one of these activity leads for next school year. Lots of training and appreciation provided!

  • International Night: Plan (with help) a multicultural celebration that coincides with the annual spring Art Fair.
  • Newspaper Club: Sponsor an afterschool club of McK student reporters to publish 3-4 print editions of the school newspaper.
  • Auditor: Behind-the-scenes but essential, this person works over the summer to prepare our annual financial audit.

Please email Mary or Jon if you're interested in taking on one of these important roles!

Highlights from 4/12 Virtual PTA Meeting

Enrichment Activities for Students:

Above and beyond the instructional activities, if your child is looking for other ways to create, explore, and interact with others, here are some things to consider:

  • Baroody (our Enrichment vendor) is offering a series of virtual classes. They start this week and run 6 weeks.
  • ETC is offering K-2 and 3-5 online classes starting April 20.
  • APS has a page with recommended educational resources for families.
  • Adrienne DeSantis, our fabulous librarian, is sending out a "Library Weekly" every Monday with suggested reading/language arts activities.
  • Many of the apps your children may be using in school, like Dreambox (math) and RAZ-Kids (reading), present increasing challenge as students move through the activities and will "level up" automatically. If you have questions about which apps do this, you can reach out to your child's teacher or Marnie Lewis, our talented Instructional Tech Coach, for guidance.

PTA Lending Program:

It may well be that your kids are getting tired of the books, games, outdoor toys, etc. that you have at your house. If you're interested in borrowing these types of things from other McK families--and lending out yours--we're organizing a Lending Program. You can access a set of spreadsheets HERE to see what's available to borrow and to add items you'd be willing to lend. Details about how to pick up or drop off will be left to you and the other family to arrange.

Support for Families in Need:

We will be keeping in close contact with Cherelle Washington, our McK social worker, to learn about any McK family needs that we can help with. Countywide, you're encouraged to consider one of the following:

  • The GoFundMe campaign organized by some Yorktown teachers is wrapping up soon-- you can donate here.  So far, this campaign has provided more than $220,000 in grocery cards to needy families--but it's not nearly enough. Consider donating before this campaign closes on 4/20.
  • AFAC can use your help--consider making a donation here. 

2021 Elementary Boundary Process:

Colin shared that APS has formed a committee to get started working on the school moves for Key, ATS, and McKinley. This committee includes staff from various departments at APS as well as the principals of each affected school. Colin shared that the group will be developing a work plan and timeline in early May; this and other information will be posted on the Engage website in the coming weeks. It's my understanding that Colin (and the Engage site) will be our main conduit for information and engagement. 

A Thank You, Auction Update, and More

Thank You to everyone who contributed cash and gift cards to McKinley families in need. Together we raised more than $3,600! 

If you find that your family is experiencing financial hardship because of the closures in our area, please know that you can reach out to our school social worker, Cherelle Washington, at cherelle.washington@apsva.us and get confidential assistance. She can point you to some good community resources.

Auction Update: Our indefatigable Auction Committee has wisely but regretfully concluded that we need to table the auction entirely until next fall. We recognize that families may have economic hardships now and that our collective priority needs to be the well-being of the community. Look for the fall game plan later this spring.

A Note from APS Regarding Social Distancing Measures

Parents have asked: what does social distancing mean, and how can I protect my family? Here are some reminders.

  • Avoid group gatherings, such as play dates, sleepovers, parties and visiting each other’s homes.
  • Those in need of childcare should limit the number of families involved as much as possible.
  • Get outside, take walks, ride bikes, go to the playground or go on hikes, but maintain 6 feet of distance between individuals outside of your immediate family.
  • Cook meals at home, if possible.
  • Limit visits to stores and restaurants or coffee shops; try to plan grocery store trips during non-peak hours if/when possible.
  • Practice prevention like covering coughs, hand washing and social distancing techniques with children and have them practice among themselves.
  • Remember that there are many safe activities to explore – family game nights, reading books, listening to music, going for walks and spending time outside, checking on a friend and group video chats are a few.

As the weather continues to improve, outdoor gatherings of fewer than 10 are viewed as appropriate at the moment, but social distancing techniques must still be practiced. Teens are included in this group, and activities like bike riding and hiking/walking are viewed as better alternatives to gathering in groups.

What's Next —

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What We Did Last Year —

1,700 POUNDS OF FOOD

Donated to AFAC through the Food Bus

$30,000+ IN GRANTS

Gifted to McKinley staff for training, supplies, field trips and more

3,000 Books

Purchased at the Book Fair, including 60 for the McKinley library

30 ENRICHMENT CLASSES

Offered to students, from robotics and coding to yoga, cooking, and more

12,000 TICKETS

Traded in for carnival games, activities, and food at the Fun Fair

200 STUDENTS

Participated in the arts thru Reflections and the Educational Theater Co.

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