Is this email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser Date: April 3, 2020

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Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Community Members:

We have completed the first week of our new online learning model and, while we truly miss seeing all of our students in our buildings and classrooms, we know that the opportunities they had to connect with their peers and teachers this week brought some comfort and reassurance.

Here are a few highlights of the amazing work that is ongoing in our district:

  • More than 120,000 students engaged in live meeting sessions with their teachers this week
  • More than 45,000 Chromebooks were distributed to students and staff
  • MCPS received a $25,000 donation from Lockheed Martin to purchase mobile wi-fi hotspots for students, which will be distributed in the coming weeks
  • More than 546,000 meals have been served at 40-plus sites
  • Nearly 12,000 staff members participated in professional development courses

We are proud of these accomplishments, but we also know that there is more work to be done to tighten our plans and to address challenges that students and staff are facing as they engage in online teaching and learning. In case you missed it, here are our plans for week 2 (April 6-8) of online learning. MCPS will also host a virtual conversation on Saturday, April 4, to discuss what to expect next week. You can view it here.

Below are additional updates as we go into the weekend. We will continue to learn and adjust and do whatever is necessary to create meaningful learning experiences for our students. We must continue to support and encourage each other as we navigate through this global crisis.


Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Grades will be assigned for students for the third marking period, which ends on April 17. With regard to the fourth marking period, MCPS is working closely with the state to review options. We want to assure you that teachers will provide maximum flexibility and fairness in grading as students complete their assignments for the third marking period. Our collective goal is to reduce any stress about grades to the greatest extent possible. We will share information with the community about our plans for grading in the fourth marking period after the break.

State Assessments

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) applied for and was granted a testing waiver from the federal government for this year’s statewide administration of the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) assessments for students in grades 3-8. Administration of MCAP assessments for high school students is being reviewed by MSDE. Normally, these tests would be required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and preparation and testing would be under way at this point in the school year. We will provide information regarding other state tests when it becomes available.

Information for the Class of 2020

We know that seniors, along with their family and friends, are looking forward to the many events that are a signature part of the senior experience. Prom, yearbook signings, and graduation ceremonies and parties are cherished events for seniors. We also know that you have many questions about Student Service Learning (SSL) hours and other state requirements. While we do not know if these events will occur as scheduled and do not have answers to many important questions yet, we want you to know we are here for you and will continue to support you. We believe the state will provide maximum flexibility for graduation requirements and we pledge to keep you posted as this information comes in. Please visit our Class of 2020 webpage frequently to stay up-to-date on critical announcements and relevant information.

Technical Support Resources for Students and Parents

We know many students and staff had challenges getting connected to their Zoom meetings this week. We have developed a tips and best practices guide that provides instructions on how to access Zoom, as well as additional troubleshooting tips. Additional guidance, tips and resource documents for online learning can be found on the MCPS Continuity of Learning webpage.