Electronic Friday Folder -- December 4, 2020

Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming ASFS Dates
  • Sunday-Thursday, December 6th-10th - ASFS Virtual Book Fair
  • Monday, December 7th - ASFS Pajama Read-Aloud, 6:30-7:30pm (via MS Teams)
  • Tuesday, December 8th - ASFS PTA Meeting, 7:00-8:30pm (Gifted Services Overview with ASFS RTG, Mr. Villacrusis)
  • Monday, December 20th - Friday, January 1st - NO SCHOOL (Winter Break)

Please visit the ASFS Master Calendar for all 2020-21 school year dates.


Greetings from the ASFS PTA

Thank you to our generous Arlington Science Focus School community! We are so thankful for...

  • Our ASFS Families: Please help all of our families have a great holiday season by donating gift cards to ASFS Holiday Helpers (it's the last week to donate)!
  • Our ASFS Teachers and Staff: See the Holiday Wish Lists below and ways that you can say thank you for all they do this holiday season!
  • Our School: Shop the ASFS Virtual Book Fair! Visit readearlyanddaily.org/asfs-book-fair beginning this Sunday, December 6th.


Principal Notes from Ms. Begley

Ways to Support Your Child During Virtual Learning

As we continue to learn how to support students using different platforms and applications on their devices, I wanted to share some thoughts and offer clarification about parent and student engagement.

*Asynchronous Mondays are NOT optional.  These lessons are crafted to support students in the practice of what has been taught during the previous week.  Every lesson throughout the week is important to your child’s learning and the expectation is that children are engaged in learning Monday through Friday from 8:50am-2:20pm.  Many grade levels have specials on Monday and this is an important part of each student’s social emotional and physical development. If you have questions about this, please email me and we can set up a time to talk about these expectations. Our goal is to have our students moving forward in their learning and be prepared for benchmarks and grade level expectations.  All assignments, Monday through Friday, are part of their grades and progress. Please remember that our learning day is 1 hour and 21 minutes shorter than if we were in person, and there is no homework other than to practice reading daily, so every minute is necessary.

*Students should be on their devices at 8:50am each morning.  The 10 minutes of morning announcements help students to identify with other students in the school, learn interesting facts, share news about students throughout the school, and learn the local weather.  During these times where we are not together, we look for opportunities to share on the camera.  The Tech Crew has done an excellent job of providing this programming to all students.  Besides the announcements and some humor, it provides a team building time for children to see other members of the community.  

*Assistance on activities and assessments. We are so appreciative that parents and guardians have been assisting students with getting connected, keeping them on task, and assisting when needed. You all have been amazing in working with us to collaborate on virtual learning.  We do ask that you allow your child(ren) to complete their own assignments and assessments. As student write, they may make errors in their spelling and punctuation.   Our teachers will meet with individual children to help them with these skills.  When study guides for tests are given in the upper grades, we appreciate having you quiz the student(s) before his/her assessment, but not during the assessment.  

Some of our placement materials, such as Lexia, RAZ Kids, and Performance Matters, are meant to be completed independently so we know what skills students have mastered and what we need to reteach.  Please help us, by allowing your child(ren) to complete these tasks independently. 

*Leaving the student’s camera on.  While it is not required, it is extremely important for all elementary students to keep his/her camera on throughout the learning day unless the teacher asked the student to turn his/her camera off.  Just as if we were in person, we monitor our students visually as they are working.  We prompt them to be on task and engaged at points in the lesson so they can access the information and skills.  Imagine if you tried to drive a vehicle with your eyes closed.  This is how we feel when we cannot see our students. Please help your child(ren) to stay engaged by having his/her camera on.  This is also another tool for building community and social emotional learning.  The students benefit from seeing each and their teachers as they are learning throughout the day.  While they cannot be in person, we need to ensure they have the opportunity to see each other on camera and engage in Morning meeting to share feelings, ideas, and learn through peer and teacher modeling.

*Technical Difficulties including not being let in a “room.”  We work every day to try and keep all students engaged and to ensure that the technology works.  Mr. Harvey is here every day helping people in person, on the phone, and by email.  However, we must recognize that there are glitches with technology and sometimes, we cannot fix the problem.  Some days, connectivity can be an issue which creates some challenges.  During a recent incident, we did find out that many student iPads had various websites open and it “clogged” our system.  All of these pieces, we are learning as we continue on the digital highway of learning.  No one purposefully exit a student or teacher from a classroom.  These are pieces of technology and we must work through them together.  Please be patient.

We could not have come this far with virtual learning without your help, support, and feedback. You all have been so collaborative and we want to thank you. More than any other time in our educational journey, we need you actively engaged.  It is this tripod approach, you, your child, and us that makes this work.  Please wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance, and keep safe. 

We all count our many blessings during this season and are grateful for health and family.  Please know that we are the ASFS Community and we care about each other. Thank you.

Mary E. Begley, ASFS Principal

LAST WEEK! Donate Holiday Helpers Gift Cards for ASFS Families 

Thank you to those who have donated gift cards already! Please help us to reach our goal to ensure all of our ASFS families have a great holiday season! If you are able, we are in need of additional $25 Target and Safeway gift cards to be delivered to ASFS families this holiday season. Please consider signing up below to donate $25 gift card(s):

Donate to ASFS Holiday Helpers

Gift card donation delivery reminders:

  • All gift cards need to be received by Friday, December 11th. 
  • Please place your gift card(s) in an envelope labeled "ASFS Holiday Helpers."
  • You may either:
    • Drop off at ASFS during office hours (M-F 8am-4pm)
    • Mail to ASFS: Arlington Science Focus School (Attn: Holiday Helpers) 1501 N. Lincoln St. Arlington, VA 22201

Thank you for your generosity in supporting Arlington Science Focus School families!


OPENS SUNDAY! Shop the ASFS Virtual Book Fair (12/6-12/10)


THE ASFS VIRTUAL BOOK FAIR OPENS THIS SUNDAY! Visit readearlyanddaily.org/asfs-book-fair to shop online beginning Sunday, December 6th! The ASFS Virtual Book Fair, in partnership with Read Early And Daily (READ), will open for online purchases this Sunday, December 6th, and close Thursday, December 10th at Noon.

PAJAMA READ-ALOUD! MONDAY, DECEMBER 7TH from 6:30-7:30pm: All ASFS families are invited! Parents can shop the online book fair while kids enjoy story time with READ's Pajama Mama! Here is the MS Teams Link for Monday, 12/7 6:30pm (also posted in Canvas on student iPads):


Enter to Win! Everyone who places an online order by midnight on Wednesday, December 9th will be entered into a RAFFLE FOR A FREE BOOK OF CHOICE!

Teacher Gift Cards! If you are looking for a way to thank your teacher at the holidays, teacher gift cards for classroom books will be available for purchase. These gift cards are in the same spirit as the teacher wish lists, just a different approach aligned with the virtual fair format.

READ Book Bus Delivery: Check out one option for receiving your book fair books with READ's Fabulous BOOK BUS (Arlington Co Fair)

When you buy a book at the book fair, you will be supporting more books for our ASFS library and classrooms, as well as providing new books for young children who need them the most, as part of READ's mission

Learn more how all children benefit reading mirror and window books, and meet READ's founder, Jennifer Sauter-Price (aka "PajamaMama"): Introduction of READ and Pajama Mama

Need help navigating the online book fair? Thanks to Ms. A'Hearn, here are two videos she posted for students:


ASFS Staff Wishlists


This holiday season thanking educators for their service is more important than ever. Overnight, the pandemic imposed radical changes, including the major shift to remote learning. With the support of our school system, parents, teachers, and students have been able to carry on. Hats off to all!

The pandemic made us realize just how much our teachers do. Seeing that teaching involves more than a list of day to day activities, we watch them go above and beyond the call of duty.  If you are considering a gift for your teacher and ASFS staff this holiday season, take a look at what is on their WISH LISTS! ​​​​​

    Feel free to send a gift directly to your teacher via email. Something as simple as an e-card would be appreciated too. Gifts do not need to be expensive, and participation is not mandatory.

    • For contact information for ASFS Teachers and Staff, visit the ASFS Staff Directory.
    • Make sure to keep the APS Gifts to Employees Policy in mind.
    • The wish list will be updated weekly.
    • If you do not see your teacher on the list, Amazon, Target, VISA, and Starbucks seems to be a good idea for a gift card! 
    • Also, support the book fair by buying our teachers gift cards to purchase books! Visit readearlyanddaily.org/asfs-book-fair beginning Sunday, 12/6.


    There will be a HOLIDAY MAIL BOX outside the main entrance at ASFS starting Monday December 7th through Friday, December 18th. Students could drop their little homemade gifts, cards, or other little gifts. Please label clearly who the gift or card is for.

    Let's spread the holiday cheer! Happy Holidays to all!

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rabia Oubenadi. --Rabia Ismail Oubenadi, ASFS Teacher & Staff Appreciation Chair​​​​​

    APS Elementary School Boundaries for 2021-22

    The Arlington School Board voted 4 to 1 to approve the the elementary school boundaries for the 2021-22 school year at last night's December 3rd School Board meeting. Details can be found in the Fall 2020 Elementary School Boundary Process Presentation (12/3/20), and additional information on the APS Engage Fall 2020 Elementary Boundaries page.

    For ASFS families, the following planning units are reassigned as follows:

    • ASFS to Taylor: 24010, 24011, 24020
    • ASFS to the new school at Key: 24050, 24051, 24060, 24070, 24071, 24130, 24031, 24030, 24033, 24032, 24090, 24040, 24041, 24042, 24043, 24081, 24082
    • Please share any questions you have using the link for the ASFS PTA Meeting coming up this Tuesday, 12/8, or feel free to reach out to our ASFS leads anytime: Submit Your Questions for the ASFS PTA Meeting (12/8/20)


    December ASFS PTA Meeting - Tuesday, 12/8

    Join us on Tuesday, December 8th from 7:00-8:30pm (via Zoom) for our December ASFS PTA Meeting! In addition to ASFS and PTA updates, our ASFS Resource Teacher for the GIfted (RTG), Mr. Villacrusis, will provide an overview of Gifted Services at ASFS, including programs across grade levels as well as the selection process. We are also fortunate that Claire Peters, Principal at the new ES at Key, will join us with the next steps on planning for the new elementary school. Please submit your questions for Ms. Begley, ASFS teachers and staff, and/or the PTA below. Hope to see you there!

    Submit Your Questions for the ASFS PTA Meeting

    Zoom Meeting Details

    Join Zoom Meeting

    • Meeting ID: 848 9353 3444
    • Passcode: 165044
    • One tap mobile
      • +19292056099,,84893533444# US (New York)
      • +13017158592,,84893533444# US (Washington D.C)

    Meeting Materials: Here is the ASFS PTA Meeting Agenda (December 2020), and complete meeting materials, including the electronic voting ballot, will be posted prior to the ASFS PTA meeting.

    ASFS Social-Emotional Resources for Families

    Ms. Hawthorne and Ms. Proietti, ASFS Counselors

    Thanks to our ASFS Counselors, Ms. Hawthorne and Ms. Proietti, the ASFS website Social Emotional Learning page has been updated with new home links connected to our November Emotion Management unit. Visit https://asfs.apsva.us/counseling/social-emotional-learning/ for details, including links for each grade level.

    If you have any questions about the Emotion Management Unit or the Second Step program, please contact Ms. Proietti and Ms. Hawthorne. Thank you for helping us make our school a safe, respectful place where everyone can learn.

    From APS Information Services: Issues with IOS Installation on Student iPads

    APS Information Services has indicated that there are currently some issues arising from the installation of IOS 14.2 update on student iPads. Specifically with graphics and images disappearing from student canvas courses in the Canvas app on student iPads after updating to this IOS.” At Science Focus students in grades K-3 have the newest ipads capable of updating to IOS 14.2. Students in grades 4 and 5 should not encounter any issues as their iPads most likely are not able to be updated beyond IOS 13.6. To remedy this issue please go into setting and find the Canvas app which is named “Student” and turn on the “cross site tracking” feature. This should bring all graphics back after relaunching the Canvas app.

    Please contact ASFS ITC Mr. Harvey with any questions or device related issues.

    Send Your Photos by 12/14: ASFS Family Holiday Traditions Celebration Video

    Since we are unable to get together in person this year, we will celebrate virtually with an ASFS Family Holiday Traditions Celebration Video on Friday, December 18th during the morning announcements! Similar to the virtual ASFS Halloween parade we all enjoyed, we'd love photos of your favorite family holiday traditions to share with our school community. Ideas might include holiday decorations, customs, cooking/baking, festive attire, or any other ways your family celebrates the holiday season.

    If you'd like, send a photo of your child(ren) enjoying a favorite holiday tradition to Courtney Davison by Monday, December 14th, and feel free to include grade level(s) in your email. Thanks to Ms. Hall, we'll put together a virtual celebration video for our entire community to enjoy. (Note: We'll be posting the video link on social media, so sending your photo confirms your permission to share online.) 

    ASFS Yearbook 2020-21 Update - Submit Your Virtual Learning Photos

    Great news! We have confirmed that even though we are not in school together so far this year, we will still have an ASFS Yearbook for the 2020-21 school year. Stay tuned for details on pre-ordering your yearbook in early 2021, with distribution targeted by the end of the school year, pending the state of delivery from Lifetouch. School picture plans are still tentative, and we will keep you posted as we have more information.  

    In the meantime, we need your help to submit your virtual learning photos! Thanks to this year's ASFS Yearbook Lead, Michelle Shine, send pictures of your students learning at home and participating virtually in school activities for use in the 2020-21 yearbook. Please be mindful of the following when submitting a photo:

    • Photos should only be of current ASFS students
    • Photos should focus on ASFS Distance Learning or other School Activities (no non-school related events)
    • Photos should relate to the ASFS Curriculum, Specials, Band/Orchestra, School Events, or other ASFS Activities and Groups
    • Photos submitted should be centered around one student. If you have multiple children at ASFS, then you will need to submit a separate form for each child. You may submit as many forms as you'd like. We will be collecting photos until mid March 2021.
    • Submitting photos does not guarantee that all will be used in the yearbook.

    Click the link below to submit your yearbook photos, and email Ms. Shine-Flaus with any questions. Thank you!

    2020-21 ASFS Yearbook Photo Submission Form

    ASFS Hour of Code

    Helana Bales, ASFS Computer Science Teacher

    Hour of Code

    Students around the globe are participating in the Hour of Code in an effort to get as many kids coding as possible! Here at ASFS, we're making history by teaching computer science to our students, a class only taught in approximately 45% of high schools, let alone elementary schools. Our students are participating in the Hour of Code by choosing between several coding choices available on the ASFS Computer Science App/Website during Computer Science with Mrs. Bales. Check out hourofcode.com for more ways that your student can continue to code after class. Happy Coding!

    APS Virtual Hour of Code: APS encourages and supports the integration of computer science throughout the entire school year, and we dedicate the month of December to celebrating the fun of coding! Join us for our 2020 Computer Science Education Week which provides an opportunity to participate in the worldwide celebration of the “Hour of Code!” (more info: www.hourofcode.com) Our week of activities will offer a variety of coding and programming activities for students in grades PreK-8th grade and their families. For additional details, visit: 2020 Computer Science Education Week – APS Hour of Code 

    Submit Your Interest by Friday, 12/11: New ES Naming Committee

    The APS School Board will be seeking input on the naming of the New Elementary School at the Key Site via a Naming Committee. This committee will be comprised of representatives from civic associations, the community, and any school that has had its boundary redrawn to create the new attendance zone. One spot on the naming committee is reserved for a parent from each school whose boundaries are redrawn to create the new attendance zone. You can click on these links for more information about the School Board policy for naming facilities and the policy implementation procedure for naming facilities.
    One parent representative will be selected to represent the ASFS community. They will need to attend three virtual night meetings over the course of three months (December-February). In between each meeting, they will be required to gather feedback on the work of the naming committee. The naming committee meetings are open to the public to view. The first meeting is planned for Wednesday, December 16th. The naming committee will make recommendations to the School Board, who will decide on a name for the New Elementary School. If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to reach out to Claire Peters.

    Submit Your Interest by Friday, December 11th: The ASFS PTA Executive Board is seeking a parent to represent the ASFS community as part of the APS Naming Committee for the New Elementary School at the Key Site. If you are zoned for the new school and plan to attend in the fall of 2021, all interested parents are encouraged to send a brief write-up to Dena Porter by Friday, December 11th explaining your interest and how you would be able to represent the community. The ASFS PTA Executive Board will select one ASFS parent by Monday, December 14th to serve on the APS Naming Committee, with the first meeting planned for Wednesday, December 16th. Please email Dena Porter with any questions. Thank you!

    ASFS Winter Clothing Drive for The Clothesline

    The Clothesline

    Support ASFS families and Arlington kids with your winter clothing donations! Drop off your everyday WINTER school/home clothes in sizes 4T-Adult (teen styles) in excellent condition in the marked bin at ASFS for donation to The Clothesline for Arlington Kids​​We will collect donations through Friday, December 11th.

    • Only winter clothing is accepted at this time
    • Everyday school/home clothes in EXCELLENT condition (free of stains, free of damage, free of pet hair)
    • Size 4T – Adult (Teen Styles Only)
    • Coats, jogger pants and bras are particularly needed
    • Clean sneakers in excellent condition (currently unable to accept other types of shoes)
    • NO used underwear or socks
    • NO Baby/toddler clothes (0-3)
    • NO Toys, books, hangers, uniforms, promo/event T’s

    If interested in helping with sorting, labeling, and delivering ASFS donations to The Clothesline, email ASFS PTA VP Community Service, Kristen Jeffreys, to help out.

    You may also donate funds to support The Clothesline: Your monetary donation helps purchase new underwear and socks as well as cover the regular expenses of our volunteer-run non-profit. Importantly, a recurring donation helps us to plan for future growth in services. Click here to support The Clothesline.

    The Clothesline helps low-income families keep their kids warm - free of charge. This fall and winter, The Clothesline expects to provide assistance to over 500 kids, including Arlington Science Focus School families. However, we need your support to make this happen! Families that need clothing can complete an online form in English or in Spanish.​​​​


    December Volunteers Needed: ASFS Gardening Help

    We are seeking volunteers to keep the ASFS gardens beautiful! Click below to sign up for a week at a time to weed the front gardens. Come anytime during your assigned week as it fits into your schedule! A great way to spend time outside and support our school, and all instructions and supplies will be provided.

    ASFS Gardening Volunteer Sign-Up

    Please contact Rebecca Ferree with any questions.

    Support Our Community: Food and Book Donations

    Donate Food to the Food Pantry: Drop off canned goods to support the Food Pantry at Key ES in the bin outside ASFS from 8:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday. Canned Items in Demand include: Vegetables, Protein (mostly beans), Fruit, Whole Meals (i.e. Chef Boyardee, canned pasta). 

    Donate Books to the ASFS Book Cabinet: Drop off your Kindergarten-5th Grade level books in the bin outside the front doors at ASFS, so that we can continue to provide books for students to read this school year.


    Shop the 2020 Gifts That Give Hope Online Fair!

    Support Arlington's 10th Annual Gifts That Give Hope Alternative Giving Fair! Visit ARLGivesHope.org to support charitable giving for 18 deserving nonprofit organizations by donating gift items on behalf of a loved one. This year you can choose a digital download to print or email, or receive a card in the mail to personalize and send. Make sure to visit the online Kids Fair as well, to teach children the importance of giving. 

    Remember to follow us on Twitter (@novagiveshope) & Instagram, like us on Facebook! Visit us at ARLGivesHope.org to learn more, and spread the word to your friends & family! Thank you for your generosity and giving gifts of hope this holiday season! 

    2020 Gifts That Give Hope Online Fair Flyer


    Used Book Donations: Arlington CCPTA Holiday Book Drive


    Support books for Arlington students this holiday season! The Arlington CCPTA Holiday Book Donation Drive is collecting new or used ES level books (PreK-5th Grade) to donate to students before holiday break. Click below for the list of drop-off locations, and please drop off your book donations by Friday, December 11th. Thank you for donating books and supporting our community! 

    Arlington CCPTA Holiday Book Donation Drive Flyer

    Questions? Contact Dena Porter (CCPTA Partnerships Committee)


    Last Day to Donate! Arlington CCPTA Fresh Food for Families


    The Arlington County Council of PTAs (CCPTA) is partnering with FRESHFARM to provide fresh food to seven school-based distribution sites serving approximately 900 Arlington families. Donate by EOD today, Friday, December 4th! A $22 donation covers a week’s worth of produce for a family of four. 

    Donate to Arlington CCPTA Fresh Food for Families

    See the Arlington CCPTA Fresh Food For Families Flyer for more details, and contact ccptapartnershipsarlington@gmail.com with questions or to get involved.


    Upcoming Arlington Special Education PTA (SEPTA) Events

    Click for the latest news on upcoming SEPTA support and events:

    Upcoming SEPTA Support and Events

    Highlights include:

    • Parenting in a Pandemic: Virtual Parent Support Group
    • Crisis Intervention Training for Parents/Caregivers
    • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Arlington Parent Support Groups
    • Arlington SEPTA’s Annual Superintendent Chat
    • Access to SPY: Opening Our Virtual Doors to the Autism Community (SPY Museum)
    • Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee (ASEAC)
    • Austism Society Support, including a new podcast "Onward: The Formed Families Forward"
    • Keeping Up with Medicaid Waiver Contacts Resource Form
    • Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide

    Contact ASFS SEPTA Liaison, Karrie Beaudry, with any questions.

    APS 2021-22 School Year Calendar

    The Arlington School Board voted unanimously to approve the proposed APS 2021-22 School Year Calendar at the December 3rd School Board Meeting.  For complete details, see the APS 2021-2022 School Year Calendar Options Presentation (12/3/20). For the APS 2021-22 School Year Calendar, click here.

    MLK Virtual Literary and Visual Arts Contest

    Now Accepting Entries for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Literary and Visual Arts Contest

    Does your student have a creative side or love to write? We are now seeking entries for the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Literary and Visual Arts Contest. The contest is an opportunity for students to describe in writing or through visual arts how they are contributing to their community and how they can make a difference through acts of kindness in the spirit if Dr. King’s vision. Entries are due by Dec.16. Learn more.

    APS News & Updates

    Leigh Rex, VP External Affairs

    Here are a few key APS links relevant to ASFS families. For the latest updates, bookmark the ASFS PTA APS Updates page.

    APS Initiatives and Items to Watch

    Some Useful Sites to Bookmark and Follow:

    Ways to Engage: 


    Barnes & Noble Book Fair for Arlington's Outdoor Lab

    From December 5th to 9th only, your holiday gift to family and friends is also a gift to Arlington's Outdoor Education Outdoor Lab. To help the Outdoor Lab, shop at BN.COM/bookfairs. Don’t forget to enter Bookfair ID# 12603981 at checkout! See the Barnes & Noble Book Fair Arlington's Outdoor Lab Flyer for additional details!

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Please send all eFF submissions to Puja Valiyil by EOD Wednesdays. All content will be subject to approval by ASFS administration and the ASFS PTA.