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LCTA PTA eROAR, September 30, 2020

A Message from the PTA President The 360 Committee officially launched our monthly “Coffee Conversations" (a discussion from a multicultural perspective to increase awareness and inclusivity at LCTA) yesterday evening with Matias Palavecino leading the conversation. Matias shared memories of his childhood before immigrating with his parents and siblings to the United States from Santiago, Chile. He also shared what life was like after arriving in the United States and how his family kept their Chilean traditions alive. This sparked a lively discussion about the Chilean and Hispanic culture. One of the traditions we learned about is "Once," Chile's version of tea time (pronounced on-se). Each family observes Once in their own way, but usually with bread, avocados, palta (jam), hot tea/cocoa, and in Matias' family, with strawberry smoothies! This was once of Matias' favorite childhood memories. We talked about how food and bonding truly go hand-in-hand and how food can be a thread for connecting people from different backgrounds. Matias shared what it was like to come to this country as a young child and to not speak English, and to then help his parents learn English. We discussed ways that we as a community can better support and welcome students and families in this situation, and we talked about the importance of acknowledging that ethnicity and race can be different.

Also highlighted was the book list Ms. Powell put together (please refer to the link below in the newsletter). These books are a wonderful resource for introducing our children to Hispanic Heritage month. The idea was also mentioned to share with our children Disney-Pixar's "Coco" (a film where an aspiring young musician journeys to the land of his ancestors and uncovers the mysteries behind his family's traditions and stories).

And last but not least - we learned that the grapes and avocados are particularly amazing from Chile and that there is an authentic Chilean pastry shop on route 1 called "Tango Pastry" with the best empanadas!

Matias said that it was truly a pleasure for him to sit down and think about his Hispanic heritage in preparation for this presentation. He challenged us all to take a minute and think about what brought us joy growing up. Especially during this time, this can be a therapeutic and meaningful exercise!

You can find a clip from Matias' presentation and accompanying slide on the PTA 360 Inclusion website.

Thank you to Matias, our 360 Inclusion Committee co-chairs April Bryant and Alexis Doxey, and our 360 teacher liaison Ms. Powell for organizing this delightful evening. Thank you to Dr. Zissios, Ms. Ricks, Ms. Yonkers, and Ms. Davis for participating and supporting. And of course - many thanks to all who attended; we truly appreciated your presence and comments!

Our next Coffee Conversation in October will be hosted by another parent in our community, Danielle Epps, who will focus on Disability Awareness. Stay tuned!


They are coming!! We appreciate your patience. The Yearbook is an enormous volunteer undertaking and it takes countless hours to produce such a keepsake for families to enjoy. This year has been ever more challenging with how the school year ended. We aim to ensure that no child or family is left out. Tracking down photos was a lot of extra effort with everything and everyone operating remotely. 

Please support our PTA and its’ tireless volunteers in their efforts. Be kind! The yearbook is with the printing plant and will arrive before October 31. If you are willing to help in the undertaking of distribution of yearbooks (curbside at the school), please contact:

National Walk to School Day

National Walk to School Day is next Wednesday, October 7! Although our school buildings are not open, we are encouraging students and families to take a walk in their neighborhoods on that day before logging on to Virtual Plus.

Joint City-ACPS Facilities Master Plan: Virtual Community Engagement Opportunity

ACPS has extended the feedback opportunity for the Joint Facilities Master Plan through October 11, 2020. Please take some time to watch the short video and fill out the accompanying survey. ACPS and the City Council are in the process of creating a long-term strategy that offers creative solutions to address the needs of Alexandria’s growing community. Information can be found here: 

Here is the direct video link:  

October General Membership Meeting

Wednesday, October 14 at 7pm

We will have a Dr. Kynai Johnson, ACPS Director of School Social Work, to talk with us about helpful tips for working with our children through the stresses of virtual learning.

VirtualPLUS+ Feedback

ACPS is conducting a survey (to close October 4 at 11:59pm) to hear your thoughts on virtual learning. This feedback will be used to inform next steps, which are scheduled to be discussed by the School Board on October 15.

Another avenue to share your feedback regarding VirtualPLUS+ and potential in-person learning is to contact our VP of Legislative and Strategic Affairs, Janice Kupiec at  Janice will share your feedback directly with the ACPS Board of Education members. Parents are also welcome to contact the Board of Education and Dr. Hutchings directly: or use this link to access the online form.

Zoom Issues on Chromebooks If your student is having audio/visual issues on their Chromebook during Zoom, please email the Helpdesk with the information below. The Helpdesk does feel that they have pinpointed an element that might be causing the issue and they are currently working on a solution. 

Email the Helpdesk at:

Student Name: Teacher name: School: Grade: (Very important) Brief description of the problem: Make: Model: (This can be found by turning over the Chromebook and looking at the identification information)

A Message from the 360 Inclusion Committee: Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month

September is Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month, which officially began September 15. The 15th was selected because it marks the independence days of five Latin American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Did you know that Sonia Sotomayor, who was confirmed in 2009, is the first Hispanic person to serve as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

The 360 Inclusion Committee is focusing on actionable items and discussion topics that offer a perspective of the diverse voices of LCTA. Please note these engaging new initiatives:

Let's Chat Together!

"Coffee Conversations"

We have officially launched our monthly “Coffee Conversations" which are designed to be a discussion from a multicultural perspective to increase awareness and inclusivity. The inaugural "Coffee Conversation" event was held yesterday, September 29 with Matias Palavecino leading the conversation. Matias shared memories of his childhood before immigrating to the United States from Santiago, Chile, and sparked a lively discussion about the Chilean and Hispanic culture.

Let's Read Together!

"Heritage Month Book List"

What better way is there to celebrate with children the diverse cultures and families that are a part of the LCTA school community than with books? Every month we will post a reading list that accompanies the Heritage theme for the month. This informative and inspiring book list created by our own 360 Committee Teacher Representative, Ms. Powell, recognizes the wide range of voices and stories within Hispanic and Latinx culture. Also included are Ms. Knoll's reading suggestions! Most are accessible via YouTube and do not require purchasing.

To join the 360 Committee, or if you have questions and comments about 360, please reach out to April Bryant and Alexis Doxey at

Slides from Nuts and Bolts

If you missed Nuts & Bolts and would like to review what was discussed, you may find the presentations here.

Healthy Kids Running Series

The fourth season of Healthy Kids Running (HKRS) is kicking off in Arlington. HKRS is a national nonprofit and has been in motion for 10 years.  After a virtual spring season, they are back to running in-person this fall and excited to offer parents an outdoor physical activity for their kids. Covid-19 prevention protocol is in place. 

  • Who: all kids ages 2-14

  • What: multiple age-appropriate races (50y dash up to 1 mile) over the course of 5 Sundays - all races are run each Sunday, so each registered child has the opportunity to run 5 races. But it's perfectly fine to run whichever races your schedule permits

  • When: Sundays at 3:30pm (done by 5pm): September 27th, October 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th 

  • Where: Kenmore Middle School (200 S Carlin Springs Road)

  • Why: it's a LOT of fun! And everyone is very supportive of each other. Participants receive a t-shirt and medal. 

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