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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Please join us next Tuesday night for a virtual PTA meeting over Zoom (details on how to connect are below). Agenda as follows:

  • General check-in: How are folks doing? Are there any McK community needs we should be aware of?
  • APS Virtual Learning: Later this week we’ll get some more information from the APS Superintendent about the system’s plan for virtual learning the rest of this school year. We’ll have an opportunity to discuss it and ask Q’s during this meeting.
  • PTA Stuff: We’ll talk about our finances, remaining business for this year, and prep for next year’s work.
  • APS Stuff: If I have any updates from APS about the next steps in 2021 Elementary School Planning, I’ll share during this meeting. I emailed Lisa Stengle again a few days ago.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/232195082

Meeting ID: 232 195 082

Join by phone: +1 312 626 6799

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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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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.

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Hi all,

I received some wonderful messages from you all asking how we can support families in need, both in the McK community and countywide.

Here’s the information I have in hand. If you have other information or ideas, please email me.

Thanks, Mary

Q: What will happen to the hourly employees who work in/for our schools? (e.g., bus drivers, cafeteria staff, etc.)
A: APS has reported that at this time, it will continue to compensate hourly employees as planned. Other positions, including clinic staff and crossing guards, are employees of Arlington County, which has also confirmed these employees will be paid through this time. 

Q: What will happen to families in our community who can’t pay bills (rent, utilities, etc.) because parents may be temporarily out of work?
A: There is a program called Arlington Thrive which provides emergency funds to low-income families in need in our area. You can donate to this fund at https://arlingtonthrive.org/donate/.

Q: How can I help McKinley families in need, specifically?
A: The request from our school social workers, counselors, and admin team is this: they would appreciate donations of gift cards, either grocery gift cards or gift cards that function as cash (like a VISA gift card) to help families with bills. You can order one via Amazon Prime and have it mailed directly to me: 901 N McKinley Rd , Arlington VA 22205. Gina Miller will pick them up from me next Monday, 3/23 for distribution.   

You may also/otherwise donate to one of the countywide programs/efforts described elsewhere in this email, or to others you may know about. 

McK’s families in need are encouraged to get in touch with Cherelle Washington, our school social worker, or Maria Montas, McK’s bilingual resource coordinator.

Q: How can families in need access food?
A: There are a number of ways you can support families’ access to food, above and beyond the measures that APS is taking to provide free lunches to children in need (APS described this in an email late last week). Additional measures you could take include:

  1. Donate to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. I’ve heard from many other PTAs at schools with a high percentage of low-income families that their families will be turning to AFAC for help. https://afac.org/donatepage/donate-give
  2. You can donate to the GoFundMe grocery card campaign organized by two Yorktown HS teachers. So far more than $145K has been raised and more than 300 grocery cards delivered! https://www.gofundme.com/f/optin-one-pantry-at-a-time
  3. You can donate to Real Food for Kids, which is providing lunch food to families in need in N Arlington (note that the two APS sites are in S Arlington, so this is a good supplement to what APS is doing…) More info on that follows.

    Real Food for Kids and award-winning chef, David Guas, are teaming up to help our neighbors. Starting Tuesday, March 17, Chef David will be cooking up meals for grab-and-go distribution at his Arlington restaurant, Bayou Bakery, between 10-11:30 a.m., Monday-Friday

    Needy Arlington children and families can come to Bayou Bakery to pick up a meal, no questions asked. Bayou Bakery is located at 1515 N Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA 22201.

    For more information, please email contact@realfoodforkids.org.

    PLEASE DONATE. Your support is urgently needed to help prevent hunger during this unprecedented lapse in access to school meals.

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