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.
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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.

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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. 

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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.

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