Key Center February Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

 

March - MetroAccess application session (date and time TBD)

March - Animal  Assisted instruction - open house - date TBD

March 3 - School Planning Day - no school for students

March 10 - 6:30 pm ACCESS - Respite program

March 19 - 6:30 pm Parent Panel

March 26 - Lee Pyramid Art and Literacy Night

April - International lunch/fashion show (date - TBD)

April 6 - April 10 - Spring Break, no school

April 13 - Teacher Work  Day - no school for students

April 23 - Parent Coffee, 10:30 am - 12 pm - Community Services Board; transitioning to life in the community

May 12 - Parent Meeting, 6:30, Department of Behavioral Health; Alternative residential options for students older than 16

May 15 - Key Center Prom - High school and older students only

May 28 - Parent Coffee, 9:30, The ARC of Northern Virginia - Residential options for individuals with disabilities

May 29 - Key Center Graduation, 10 a.m.

June - TBD - Physical therapy/Occupational therapy Q and A

 

Sensory Updates

A central focus of our recent fundraising efforts has been to develop a multi-sensory environment in the school and now our new calming sensory room is starting to come together!  Thus far we have installed a bubble tube, a sound shell chair, some super fun mirrors and a vibrating lounger.  These various tools will work together to help bring students into a state where they are better able to focus and access their education.  We have held numerous fundraisers over the last 3 years and those events have enabled us to provide many additional experiences that help enhance our students' education. We expect to open the sensory room for student use after spring break.

Staff Notes

In November, 2019, four more Key Center staff members earned initial Professional Crisis Management (PCM) certification. Anastasia Kosmakos, Akberet Endrias, Gregory Hoobchaak, and Ana Azucar spent three days learning the strategies and interventions of PCM, ensuring that every Behavior Transition classroom has at least one certified practitioner. We’re very proud of our staff for volunteering to undergo this training in order to help make sure our students get the highest quality behavior support.

Classroom Connection

Student using a switch activated device to pour detergent.

From Ashli Onunaku and Caitlin Myers' classes

What a fantastic year we have had so far!  Students from Ms. Ashli and Ms. Caitlin’s room often find themselves working together for various activities.  The students participate is weekly group activities, in-school jobs, and various CWE’s/CBI’s (Community Work Experiences/Community Based Instruction).  One of the activities enjoyed most by the students are the weekly cooking lessons.  This lesson includes multiple steps from start to finish.  Every Thursday a group of students takes a CBI trip to Safeway where they purchase the cooking materials.  On Friday, the lesson takes place.  Students use many skills during the lesson from reading and following the steps of each recipe, measuring the ingredients, and the actual cooking of the food.  A recent recipe was a big hit for all students participating, nachos.  The students enjoyed making their choices for the toppings, did a great job heating them up, and most importantly enjoyed the final product.  Other hit recipes have included chocolate milkshakes, mini pizzas, and a potato bar. 

Yearbook News

Plans for the Key Center yearbook are well underway!   This year, families have the opportunity to purchase an ad or senior dedication for the low, low price of $12/half page or $20/full page.  Watch for additional information in next week's Wednesday folder. The deadline for purchasing an ad will be February 28.  You will also want to purchase your yearbook before that time, before prices go up!

Sadie Hawkins

Today Key Center held its annual Sadie Hawkins valentine dance.  Students have spent the last couple of weeks deciding whom to invite and whether or not they would rather go to the dance, or have a quieter experience watching a movie in the cafeteria.  We were so happy that several parents were able to come and enjoy this fun time with their student!

Smith's Missives

Key Center School is enjoying SHARE THE LOVE week!  We hope you are enjoying this festive way to break up the winter blues.  Our staff is looking forward to the culminating event this Friday with our Sadie Hawkins dance, parents are also welcome to attend!

 

Be on the look out for ways you can support Key Center School through our PTA.  The executive board members are crafting up a letter and will be sending out suggestions on how to support the great things Key Center School offers our students.  This went home in this week's Wednesday folder. in the next week or so. The optional event offers family members to reach out to friends, businesses, or anyone who might best support us.  It doesn’t hurt to ask, please look for the information and consider this activity to help our school.

Thinking of helping others, I want to remind families to please keep students home if they present symptoms of sickness. As you likely know, as a school we have the challenge of protecting students from illnesses.  The recommendation is that individuals who have symptoms should stay home for at least 24 hours after their symptoms subside without medication.  Staff members are also remained to stay home when they are not feeling well, this helps minimize our students exposure to illnesses.

Parents are invited to the next Parent Coffee event which will be next month, March 19 at 6:30pm  The format is a Parent Panel where all your questions about supporting our Key Center students and any family challenges can be addressed. We will have current and former Key Center family members represented so their experiences will be helpful to all in attendance.

Happy Valentines Day!

 

Don't forget...

6404 Franconia Road Springfield, VA 22150  | Main Office: 703-313-4000
Attendance: 703-313-4000 | Web | Facebook

Key Center January Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

January 17 - Australian Wildlife Rescue Bake sale

January 24 -Purple Star Celebration - Country Current  (Details)

January 27 - Teacher Work Day - no school for students

January 28 - Staff Development Day - no school for students

January 30 - MetroAccess Parent/Caregiver Help Session, 9:30 am

February 11 - Parent Coffee 6:30 pm- Caring for yourself while caring for others

February - Family Paint night (date TBD)

March - MetroAccess application session (date and time TBD)

March - Animal  Assisted instruction - open house - date TBD

March 3 - School Planning Day - no school for students

March 10 - 6:30 pm ACCESS - Respite program

March 19 - 6:30 pm Parent Panel

March 26 - Lee Pyramid Art and Literacy Night

April - International lunch/fashion show (date - TBD)

April 6 - April 10 - Spring Break, no school

April 13 - Teacher Work  Day - no school for students

April 23 - Parent Coffee, 10:30 am - 12 pm - Community Services Board; transitioning to life in the community

May 12 - Parent Meeting, 6:30, Department of Behavioral Health; Alternative residential options for students older than 16

May 15 - Key Center Prom - High school and older students only

May 28 - Parent Coffee, 9:30, The ARC of Northern Virginia - Residential options for individuals with disabilities

June - TBD - Physical therapy/Occupational therapy Q and A

 

Mid Year Reminders

 

It doesn't seem possible, but we are rapidly approaching the end of the first semester!  Where has the time gone?  Here are just a few reminders as we get ready to begin the second half of the year.

  • Check with you student's teacher to see what classroom supplies they might need or what supplies they need for your student (hand sanitizer, lotion, wipes, etc.)
  • Make sure your student has an adequate, weather appropriate change of clothing at school
  • Clean out your student's back pack
  • Clean out your student's Wednesday folder
  • Make a donation to support Animal Assisted Instruction (aka Pet Therapy)
  • Keep your student home if they have vomited or had diarrhea or a fever within the last 24 hours
  • Use the Attendance form on the website or email attendance to let us know if your student will be absent for any reason.
  • Review the FCPS policy of weather delays and closings

 

Key Center Families Invited! Classroom Connection

Student using a switch activated device to pour detergent.

From Heather Edwards and Krista Williams class

In room 344, students have various school jobs they work on throughout the week. Our school jobs are to water the plants and take care of the school garden as well as to fill laundry detergent containers so that students can do the laundry. We have plants inside the building as well for students to take care of, even during the winter months. Students work on their school jobs almost every day and do a great job!

Students in our room are also learning about continents this year. During the month of December and January, we have been learning about Africa. This week, we focused on the country of Morocco. Students explored music from Morocco by listening to different musicians and sharing their thoughts on them. They also explored food from this country by smelling common spices used in Moroccan dishes and making a Moroccan drink.

This student is pressing a switch to make the mixer work to help make the cookies

From Sara Lansang's Class

This month in room 341 we will be focusing on New Year’s traditions around the world.  We will be looking at the US, Mexico, Greece, Switzerland, Denmark and Australia.  We will be focusing on how each country celebrates the New Year and what traditions they have.  We will also try to do some of those traditions such as walking around the school with a suitcase for good luck.

We will also be continuing in our love of baking.  Each week we bake a new type of cookie or make a different food recipe.  When cooking the students help by counting to make sure we have all our ingredients, press the next button in order to turn the page for the recipe, counting out our scoops to equal the measurement given, and everyone loves operating the mixer by activating a switch. To see more photos of the class participating in this activity, visit our website!

Each month we go on a Community Based Instruction trip to a grocery store where we go and locate ingredients from a shopping list and then purchase them; some use a Big Mac (single cell communication device) in order to interact with the cashier and some use their individual communication device. 

 

Yearbook News

Plans for the Key Center yearbook are well underway!   This year, families have the opportunity to purchase an ad or senior dedication for the low, low price of $12/half page or $20/full page.  Watch for additional information in next week's Wednesday folder. The deadline for purchasing an ad will be February 28.  You will also want to purchase your yearbook before that time, before prices go up!

Adopt a Soldier Day of Service

Because of our strong military connection and our joy of doing good in the world, Region 3 of FCPS is partnering with America's Adopt A Soldier ® for a day of service on Monday, January 20, 2020!

Please join us as we come together for a day of service in Region 3 on the Martin Luther King Holiday.

 If you  cannot attend this day of service, we hope that you will help by providing donations of items from the list on our website. The Region is asking that you RSVP whether or not you plan to attend.

 

Benefit for Australian Wildlife!

As you are no doubt aware, terrible wildfires continue to consumes thousands of acres of Australian land.  It is estimated that over 800 million animals in Australia have been affected since September and the fires continue to take a catastrophic toll on the animals.  Key Center is having a bake sale on Friday, January 17.  The proceeds will go to WIRES (wildlife rescue) in Australia.  Please send in any baked goods to sell, or feel free to make a donation to  help benefit these defenseless animals. 

Smith's Missives

Happy New Year! 

Our classrooms are busy with activity and we have many things scheduled to broaden student experiences. Jeff Wolfe returned to conduct another day of Drumming with students.  Next week we’ll have the band Country Current, THE Navy’s premier country-bluegrass ensemble coming in to entertain our entire community of students, staff AND parents!  We hope to see some visitors as we utilize this event to also celebrate our Purple Star School Status, a recognition for schools who offer a welcoming environment to military families.

Thinking of military, thank you to those who made donations to our Adopt a Soldier event! These items will be sent over to Hayfield Secondary School for the Martin Luther King Day of Service this Monday Jan 20. A few members of our staff will be on if anyone wants to join us.  The event is 9 am-12 pm and is great for students looking for additional service learning credit.

This is the time of the year when we get snow and ice which creates school closure decisions.  Just last week we had our first ‘early release’ day in a few years.  Please remember to stay in touch with the news on days when we may have poor weather. In addition, it’s important that you help the school keep your contact information current, and all families will need to list additional friends or family who can meet your child should we release early.  If your contact is not on the emergency contact page, students will return to school for you to pick up and travel could be dangerous in poor weather conditions.

As always, if we can assist you or your family in any way, reach out to us at the school’s main number, we’re here to help you navigate resources.

Don't forget...

6404 Franconia Road Springfield, VA 22150  | Main Office: 703-313-4000
Attendance: 703-313-4000 | Web | Facebook

Key Center December Newsletter

GovDelivery 3 months 2 weeks ago

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Upcoming Events

 

December 23 - January 3 - Winter Break - No School

January 16 - Parent Coffee, 9:30 am Therapeutic Rec; Parents of Autistic Children

January 24 -Purple Star Celebration - Country Current  (Details)

January 26 - Teacher Work Day - no school for students

January 27 - Staff Development Day - no school for students

January 28 - MetroAccess Parent/Caregiver Help Session, 9:30 am

February 11 - Parent Coffee 6:30 pm- Caring for yourself while caring for others

February - Family Paint night (date TBD)

March - MetroAccess application session (date and time TBD)

March - Animal  Assisted instruction - open house - date TBD

March 3 - School Planning Day - no school for students

March 10 - 6:30 pm ACCESS - Respite program

March 19 - 6:30 pm Parent Panel

April - International lunch/fashion show (date - TBD)

April 6 - April 10 - Spring Break, no school

April 13 - Teacher Work  Day - no school for students

April 23 - Parent Coffee, 10:30 am - 12 pm - Community Services Board; transitioning to life in the community

May 12 - Parent Meeting, 6:30, Department of Behavioral Health; Alternative residential options for students older than 16

May 15 - Key Center Prom - High school and older students only

May 21 - Parent Coffee, 9:30, The ARC of Northern Virginia - Residential options for individuals with disabilities

June - TBD - Physical therapy/Occupational therapy Q and A

 

 

Outstanding Staff Awards

Key Center recently invited nominations for Outstanding staff in several categories and then voted on the candidates.  Everyone nominated was well deserving of the award and it was difficult to narrow it down to just one "winner".  However, the winner in each category is:

  • Outstanding Professional Employee - Trevor Thibeault
  • Outstanding Teacher - Caitlin Myers
  • Outstanding New Teacher - Marielle Sontag
  • Outstanding Operational Employee - Shannon Hacker

This is part of the FCPS annual Outstanding Employee awards process and these candidates will now move on to the pyramid level for evaluation against other candidates in the Lee High School Pyramid.

To learn more about these awesome staff members, as well as the others who were nominated, please visit our website.

Please Welcome!

Nora Skiba (l) and Carmen Gant (r)

The Health Room Team at Key Center is an integral part of our educational team and we are happy to welcome two new members.  Nora Skiba, RN is now our full time, onsite Health Room nurse.  She is resonsible for providing care for your child when needed throughout the school day.

Carmen Gant, RN,  is the new Public Health nurse for Key Center and one other school.  Carmen's role is to support the educational process by promoting optimum wellness and working closely with parents/guardians, teachers and administrators while assessing and evaluating the health needs of students.

Carmen is replacing Beth Adams,RN, our Public Health Nurse who is retiring at the end of this year.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to these two great health care professionals!

Classroom Connection

Students participating in a sensory activity accompanying a Plate Tectonics lesson

From Elizabeth Ganley's Class

We have had a fantastic start to the year!  Our classroom consists of students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.  We frequently team  with Becky Edmondson's class and Sean Ganley’s class.  We are in the middle of our plate tectonics unit.  Students learned new vocabulary words and concepts, navigated instructional Boardmaker books and activities, created classroom posters and individual study guides, and investigated various geological processes through educational video clips, songs, websites, and hands on learning activities (including science experiments).  The pictures above show students exploring the different movements of tectonic plates with graham crackers and whipped cream.  Students will finish our unit with a Jeopardy game before taking unit assessments on what they learned.  We are all looking forward to a great remainder of the school year!

From Marielle Sontag's Class

Students and staff have had a blast so far this year in room 324; we stay very busy. Students participate in three different school jobs around the school, they collect and do miscellaneous laundry, and collect and refill staff and student water bottles. The third school job the students participate in is collecting tin cafeteria trays from each classroom. After the students collect the tin cafeteria trays on Thursday, the whole class goes out into the community to PMI metals where they see the cafeteria trays get recycled. The students choose which school job they would like to participate in each day, and if they do not want to participate they can do vocational work in the classroom. These school jobs are a great way for the students to get out of the classroom to see their peers, teachers, and community. This week during our group lesson, students are learning all about opinion and facts and students will write their own opinions and facts. We always end the week with a delicious "Food Friday" lesson. This week we are making chocolate caramel “bark”. The students love trying, making, and giving their thoughts on each delicious recipe. We hope everyone has a safe and relaxing winter break!

 

Celebrating with Furry Friends

Veteran/Volunteer Honoree Lee Jost and PTA President Dave Gillum

Even our furry friends like to celebrate this time of year! Key Center students helped to decorate the tree at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) and also made several of the ornaments. AWLA is one of our favorite job sites - students fold towels and cut up food for the animals in their care

Service Learning at Key Center

Students in the 18 - 22 program are sponsoring a canned food drive for the holidays!  They are collecting non-perishable canned goods until Wednesday, December 18.  All food will be donated to the Koinonia food pantry.

The students collected a substantial amount of canned goods to support this great cause.

Smith's Missives

As we head into Winter Break, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and peaceful holiday season.  Our staff will be taking a much deserved break to spend time with their loved ones.

The office will be closed over Winter Break, however voice mail will be monitored, so don't hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Don't forget...

6404 Franconia Road Springfield, VA 22150  | Main Office: 703-313-4000
Attendance: 703-313-4000 | Web | Facebook

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