This first quarter at The Foundation School of Montgomery County has been one like no other. Before the school year started, our teachers had to become masters of several new tools to develop and implement a robust fully distanced fall semester. Among these new tools are:
Nearpod, a slide presentation program that allows active engagement with students and real-time monitoring of understanding and work completion
Mathia, a math intervention program for high school students

Lexia, a reading intervention program for all grade levels

Canvas, a new learning management system where teachers create digital content and students can submit their work
Throughout the quarter we have seen our teachers plan creative lessons to engage our students through the computer screen. 
Ms. Osborne's elementary class did an interdisciplinary project, "Haunted Houses for Sale," in which students pretended they were spooky real estate agents. Using recycled materials, they built spooky monster houses. They then measured their houses, identified their spooky clients, and developed sales brochures to advertise their house. They concluded this project with a presentation and sales pitch to their classmates. 
Mr. Malone utilized the trivia program Kahoot to engage his high school students in review of social studies materials. He pulled in other staff members to test their memory of high school history topics, challenging them to play the games with the students.
In Ms. Enaya's English class, our middle school students are hard at work on a project called "Write Your Own Mini-Mystery." Our students are developing interesting characters and intriguing plot twists to craft their very own mystery. They will then engage in a peer review and editing process before presenting their story with a slideshow presentation, video, or storyboard. We are excited to see their final products!
These new tools and our staff's creativity have proved invaluable in this new learning environment!
On November 13, we recognized World Kindness Day! During group sessions, therapists presented the concept of kindness, the positive impacts of kindness on the giver and the receiver, and ways to demonstrate kindness. 
Students then shared how they demonstrate kindness and how they have been the recipient of kindness. To practice, our elementary students gave compliments and shout-outs to each other and to their teacher for the great job she is doing. The middle school then created kindness posters to share with the class! Samples of their posters are below.
Our amazing Links program has gone above and beyond to support our students. In September and October alone, they made an incredible 450 home visits! The Links program has assisted students with obtaining Chromebooks and hotspots, provided them with basic school supplies as well as special supplies needed for projects their classes are completing. They have also connected with students and their parents who are struggling with technology or virtual instruction. In addition, each week, our team delivers distance learning materials and learning incentives/rewards to more than 65% of our students.
Along with providing our students what they need to be successful right now, our therapists have applied for Life Enrichment Awards Program (LEAP) grants from MANSEF for our students to ensure they have the technology needed to pursue their transition goals. Eight of our high school students were awarded laptops through this grant program. These laptops support our students' success not only today, but also in their future endeavors. For several of these students, the laptop provided through this grant is the only family-owned computer in the household, opening new opportunities for post-secondary education and applying for job opportunities. 
FSMC staff of the quarter is program therapist Ms. Elizabeth Cocker!
Ms. Cocker has gone above and beyond to help her students and improve the program. She is always willing to help anyone who needs it, whether it is a student, parent, or fellow staff member. She thinks outside the box to imagine ways to help, and then takes the steps needed. She is creative with her therapeutic interventions and group lessons and is always very engaging with our students.
In addition, in the first quarter, Ms. Cocker presented to our staff on working with students with autism and also presented to a MCPS school to whom we provide training and coaching.
We recognize the dedication and perseverance of our incredible team to adjust and refine our new learning environment. We had such a hard time picking our staff of the quarter that we want to recognize not only Ms. Cocker, but also these three honorable mentions. Congratulations to all four of these amazing staff members!

Ms. Enaya Sharafuddin

As a middle school teacher, Ms. Enaya has developed a structured and captivating virtual classroom that makes her students motivated to come to class for every minute of every lesson.

Ms. Nicaury Lora-Vasquez

As a new dedicated aide, Ms. Lora-Vasquez has shown amazing flexibility as well as innovative thinking when it comes to working with difficult students, assuring that they stay connected and engaged.

Ms. Asuree Henderson

As an elementary school program assistant, Ms. Henderson has shown creativity in how she manages the virtual classroom, ensuring that she is constantly connecting with all of her students to make sure they remain engaged with their lessons.

Stay creative, kind, and engaged!

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