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COVID-19 Updates and Resources

MileStone Academy High School Jenkintown Philadelphia PA

MileStone Academy uses this website as the main platform for communicating key updates to our community, parents, partners, staff, and students. If you would like to receive direct notifications, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list.

MileStone Academy is actively following the corona-virus pandemic closely and takes the health and safety of its students, staff, and neighbors seriously. We follow guidance from the CDC (, while recognizing that may be over-ridden or changed by the school district, state, or local authorities.

Keeping our community connected and working as normal as possible is serious right now. With this in mind, we have put together the following frequently asked questions regarding access to healthy meals, teaching and learning, facilities maintenance and other topics. Each answer was provided by the school districts or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Are healthy meals available for students while schools are closed due to COVID-19?

Yes. The School District of Jenkintown and Philadelphia, several charter schools, and the Housing Authority are coordinating with the local offices of children and families to provide free, nutritious grab-and-go meals for all Philadelphia children and youth at 100+ locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. We strongly encourage families to bring a backpack, pushcart, or reusable bag with them to carry the items. Click here to review distribution locations and hours of operation.

Are meals available for people who are not a student?

Yes, call the WhyHunger hotline at 1-800-5HUNGRY or text your ZIP code to 1-800-548-6479 to receive a list of nearby food pantries. You may also visit the Community Resource Connects website to find food and other resources in your area.

Who qualifies for free healthy meals?

Everyone is eligible for free meals and no ID is required.

Does the child have to be physically present at the meal site to receive meals?

No, the children do not have to be present at the meal distribution sites. Family members can pick up enough meals for all children in their household.

How is the food being served with safety in mind?

Each of the grab-and-go sites are staffed by food services employees who are trained in proper hygiene and cleanliness practices. In addition to following the social distancing and hygiene recommendations from health experts including covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and regular hand washing, they are also required to wear appropriate food service attire including hairnets and gloves. All food serving stations and surfaces are regularly sanitized using a disinfectant solution that is proven effective against coronavirus, and sanitizing wipes and gel is used in all packing and distribution areas.

How can I receive creditable updates from the City of Philadelphia?

For COVID-19 updates from the City, please visit or text 888-777 and enter message “COVIDPHL” to receive regular updates.

How can I donate food or money?

We ask that all food and monetary donations for food be directed to MileStone Academy. Click here to get started.

What can I do if I missed the opportunity to pick up a Chromebook for my K-12 student?

Unfortunately, individual schools are no longer distributing Chromebooks. If you still need one, there are two centers still working during specific days and times:

  1. SDP Administration Building – 440 N. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19130
  2. Fitzpatrick Elementary School Annex (behind Fitzpatrick Elementary School) – 4101 Chalfont Rd. Philadelphia, PA 19154

Parents or guardians must bring a form(s) of identification to help us in verifying their student’s identity. High School students should bring their official School District ID badge. More info is HERE.

What are the options for internet access?

In addition to providing Chromebooks, the District continues to work with the City to create a comprehensive list of low-cost Internet options or access to free WiFi mobile hotspots across the City. The list, and more information about getting connected can be found HERE.

For those families who live in areas of the city where Xfinity WiFi is available, Comcast is making Xfinity WiFi free for everyone – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit

How will you grade students who do NOT participate in online lessons/work? Do they receive a failing grade?

We want all students to continue to learn and grow while school buildings are closed. It’s important for all students to participate in MileStone Academy’s virtual learning plan, so they can continue to learn and enhance their skills. Regular participation and completion of coursework is required to receive grades and class credit, just as it would be if schools were open. If you are having challenges with having your child’s participation, please contact your child’s guidance counselor or teachers for support. More details will be shared when available.

When will the school year end?

Per the Department of Public Education, there will be no change to the current calendar for the school year. The last day of the 2019-2020 school year is June 12th.

Will students have the option of repeating the grades they are in?

We will handle requests on a case-by-case basis as we have done historically. Our plan is to minimize the need for students to repeat their grade. Our virtual learning plan for May and June is aligned to what would have been covered during the 4th report period. As we plan instruction for the 2020-2021 year, we will also reinforce instructional skills and concepts from the current report period.

How do I talk to my children about COVID-19, especially when they are showing signs of stress?

With so much information being shared about coronavirus, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. These and other resources are available in the Resources section of the School District website at to help you talk to your child about coronavirus and manage any stress you or your loved ones may be feeling.

Thank you for your flexibility and patience as we take time to work things through thoughtfully and with the best interests of all children in mind. This website is updated regularly, so visit often for the latest information or subscribe to our mailing list. Please take care and stay safe!

Conquering COVID-19 with MileStone Academy

MileStone Academy’s Response to COVID-19

During these stressful and unusual times, the teachers and administrators at MSA have faithfully continued to support the students and their parents through an active online Instructional Program.

The prescribed activities, which ultimately address curricular goals, are based upon student interest, computer skill, creativity and entertainment. Each of our teachers has taken responsibility for developing and implementing learning “events” that their students would consider meaningful and a good use of their time and energy. 

Continuing Classroom Activities

MileStone has implemented a virtual platform to educate our students. We are now using the internet platforms Google Classroom and Hangouts. These platforms assist us in teaching the children live and assigning tasks for students to complete.

We have begun engaging MileStone students by having them answer a question of the day. In addition, we have decided to base student’s learning on a specific theme that will be the main topic of each class. This week we have chosen to designate the topic of Travel in Philadelphia for all subjects. Some of the lessons, teachers have developed include places to visit, and famous places to eat just to name a few. To further enhance this topic, videos, virtual tours online, journal assignments along with face to face instruction has assisted in teaching this week’s’ topic.

Class of 2020 Graduation

With this transition to online learning, Senior student’s have not been forgotten. Individual conferences will be held with each Senior student to continue their learning. They have already been introduced to resume writing and completing job applications. In addition, they are individually working on projects that are to be completed by the end of this school year. The many hours of work that our Seniors and Educators have invested in these Senior students will continue throughout this online learning process.

Next Steps

In the coming weeks, the students and teachers will certainly become more familiar with these teaching platforms. The level of excitement and engagement from the students will continue to grow as we partake in this new online learning endeavor.

As the weeks pass, we will surely update you on the progress our students are making as we and they attempt to bridge the gap between the classroom and their home situation.

We would love to hear from you! Questions regarding assignments, enrollment, and tech support can be addressed by calling (215) 663-1160 or send us an email.
Thank you for your continued support and please, stay safe.


Carol Wolf
Director of Admissions
MileStone Academy

How to Conquer Cyber Classes

History and Growth of Distance Learning

For some, the thought of taking an online class is scary — regardless of age. It is the newest development in distance education that began in the mid-1990s with the spread of the internet and the World Wide Web. Distance learning began as early as the mid-19th century while developing the United States Postal Service. The notion of reliable, long-distance correspondence led to the growth and operation of what were called commercial ‘correspondence colleges’, where instructional letters would be distributed through the postal service between students and professors.

According to a 2015 report from the International Association for K–12 Online Learning, more than 1.3 million students participate in cyber education courses at the high school level. As of 2013-2014, 29 states have full-time, statewide online schools…with more in progress.

Since the beginning of March 2020, United States traditional brick and mortar schools closed due to the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic – in hopes to decrease the spread of the virus. Over the years, we loved brick and mortar schools because it provides students a traditional community environment with ample social opportunities. Students also get regular face-to-face contact with teachers and school staff, making it easier to get help outside of class. Students also more easily learn about extracurricular sports and academic opportunities attending a physical school. As a result of COVID-19 school closures, educators and students must enter the cyber classroom.

Researchers are still analyzing the effectiveness of cyber classrooms. Therefore, MileStone Academy educators continuously research the innovation, tools, and advantages and disadvantages of cyber classrooms.

Advantages of Cyber Classrooms

Depending on the size of the school and its classroom sizes, virtual education can be very cost effective. It also opens a wide variety of options for the student, teacher and parent. For instance, rather than hiring school-specific teachers, a teacher may supply instruction to students taking the same class in multiple districts. Students also have greater access to advanced placement classes. Additionally, students who struggle in the traditional classroom due to the unavoidable and unpredictable disturbances, usually excel in cyber classrooms. Moreover, of the online high schools require their teachers to be accessible 24 hours a day. This is a advantage facility for the online high school students. They do not have to keep their doubts pending till the end of the week or the month due to lack of the teacher’s availability. With such a robust faculty support, the students get to experience wholesome learning.

Disadvantages of Cyber Classrooms

While there is an abundance of reasons why cyber classrooms are effective, we must discuss the disadvantages in comparison to the traditional classroom. For outgoing students, it is difficult to readjust to the lack of social interaction during our nations quarantine and self-isolation. Also, depending on the school’s budget, the students loose face time with their instructors. On average, teachers at minimum, interact with students through email and/or virtual chat. Even though teachers are supposed to be accessible 24 hours a day, students must patiently wait for an electronic response versus’ raising their hand in the classroom or staying after to ask the teacher for extra help.

Furthermore, cyber student progress and assessment is not as effective as those conducted by a teacher in a classroom setting. A teacher can express multiple assessments such as observational notes, group assessments, individual assessments, portfolios, written work, etc. In cyber school, there is only really one way to assess a student — by the work they submit online. Of course, students still have access to books and notes; however, a complete viewpoint of the student’s overall progress are not very accurate.

Admittedly, trying to do school assignments on the computer, can easily be distracting by countless things such as: house duties, cell phones, online games and media sites and so much more. The traditional school environment lessens the distractions

Staying Focused

How can students stay focused while taking and studying for an online class? Here are six pointers to help students stay engaged in cyber learning:

  • Be positive. Do not be afraid. Schools supply easily accessible student technical help or support for any questions or troubleshooting. Blooming through a change is tough but possible with a cheerful outlook. Positivity about online learning is the best gift you can give yourself. Everything you learn, whether it is your most or least favorite subject, will help you grow as a person.
  • Get organized. A tidy learning space to do schoolwork will put you ahead of the game. Create or rename electronic folders for each class on your computer and in your email program. If your virtual school provides an online planner, use it to schedule your personal appointments and create your “to do” list, with items ranked in order of urgency.
  • Establish a dedicated study area. Do not double your living room, kitchen or dining room table as a classroom. Avoid common household distractions by setting up a quiet workspace. An established work area is a big step in getting and staying focused for an online class.
  • Eliminate distractions. Turn off TVs and radios. Make sure your class work is the only item pulled up on your web browser. That is right, no Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or YouTube! Just your online class work!
  • Find and use your resources. Of course, students have textbooks, the library, online instructional tools, and trusted websites. But do not forget the many human resources like parents, siblings, neighbors, tutors, teachers, school counselors, and principals are great sources of information. A good rule of thumb is if you have been looking for an answer for more than five minutes, reach out for help!
  • Reward yourself. Rewarding yourself is a MileStone Academy favorite. Cyber classes are a real chore, so break up your study session to avoid burn out. For instance, you might study for 30 minutes, then take a five-minute Twitter break. Or study for an hour and reward yourself with a short walk around your neighborhood or quick phone call to a close friend.

Cyber classes are challenging, which is why it is important students take the necessary measures to ensure you stay disciplined and motivated while taking them. Following the above tips will help students get the most out of their education. Lastly, young students become independent learners and gain valuable time-management skills that will serve them well, in secondary education, and in the workforce!

MileStone COVID Stay Home Banner

Why Is Social Distancing So Important?

We know you have heard “STAY HOME!” countless times by news, local or national politicians, and even your physicians. The MileStone Academy team is a here to remind you to continue social distancing, as well as, why it is so important. Many of us have never experienced a pandemic. Before February 2020, others did not know that a pandemic is a global outbreak of disease or virus. Therefore, it is understandable why our communities, our neighbors and most importantly, our youth do not understand the dire need to faithfully practice social distancing during this time.

What is Coronavirus-19?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus found during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

How does COVID-19 Spread?

The virus spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses here.

What is Social Distancing?

The CDC defines Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” as keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • In addition to everyday steps to prevent COVID-19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread locally and across the country and world.

When COVID-19 is spreading in your area, everyone should limit close contact with individuals outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

What is the Difference Between Quarantine and Social Distancing?

Social distancing and quarantine both mean you have no contact with the public. However, quarantine is the term used for those who were exposed to a person with COVID-19 but have yet to receive a test or positive results. The CDC highly suggests these people to stay away from others for 14 days or longer, to make sure they do not spread the virus during this “pre-illness” or incubation period. On the other hand, social distancing separates sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. In the home, anyone sick should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom (if possible).

Tips for social distancing

  • Follow guidance from authorities where you live.
  • If you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Use mail-order for medications, if possible.
  • Consider a grocery delivery or order ahead pick up service.
  • ALWAYS cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, including when you must go out in public, for example to the grocery store.
  • Stay at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you wear a face covering.
  • Avoid all large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place. This advice applies to people of any age, including teens and younger adults. Children should not have in-person playdates while school is out. To help support social connections while social distancing, learn tips to keep children healthy while school is out.
  • Work from home when possible.
  • If possible, avoid using public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  • If you are a student or parent, talk to your school about options for digital/distance learning. To learn more about MileStone Academy’s program, contact Michele Hewitt-Webster.
  • Stay connected while staying away. It is very important to stay in touch with friends and family that do not live in your home. Call, video chat, or stay connected using social media. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and having to socially distance yourself from someone you love can be difficult. Read tips for stress and coping.

MileStone Academy

A Student-Driven Approach to Experiential Learning

What is the Reggio Emilia Method?

The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It is a pedagogy described as student-centered and constructivist that uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. Pedagogy is the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.

What are the principles of the Reggio Emilia Method?

The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery through a self-guided curriculum. At its core is an assumption that children form their own personality during early years of development and are endowed with “a hundred languages”, through which they can express their ideas.

What is the purpose of the Reggio Emilia Method?

The aim of the Reggio approach is to teach how to use these symbolic languages (e.g., painting, sculpting, drama) in everyday life. It was developed after World War II by pedagogist Loris Malaguzzi and parents in the villages around Reggio Emilia, Italy, and derives its name from the city.

Watch how Wooranna Park Primary School in Victoria, Australia implements the Reggio Emilia Method.

Please complete the form below to begin MileStone Academy’s enrollment process for your student in 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. A member of our team will connect with you as soon as possible to discuss next steps.

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Navigate College Prep with Dr. Jennifer Thompkins

Jennifer Thompkins

Last month we discussed the challenges college prep, especially for those with learning disabilities. You may recall that the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, guarantees a free and appropriate education to students in high school. However, there is no legal requirement for post-secondary schools to provide a free and customized education style for students with disabilities. Instead, the Americans With Disabilities Act and another federal regulation simply guarantee equal access and ban discriminatory practices.

This month we want to introduce you to a local resource to assist your graduating high school senior.

TriZen, LLC. is a Philadelphia based DBE Certified Business Consulting and Leadership Development Company, comprised of a team of top-tier professionals who offer a unique combination of management consulting and human capital development experience.

Among its many accomplishments, TriZen has developed and facilitated youth leadership programs for over 1,500 students.

Dr. Jennifer Thompkins is an essential MileStone Academy supporter who has over 10 years in youth development experience. She currently serves as the Director of Programs at TriZen. Prior to becoming Director of Programs, she served as Assistant Director of Youth Programs for TriZen, LLC.

Dr. Thompkins helps students and their families navigate the college process through creating individual plans based on a student’s academics and extracurricular activities. In short, she creates the best post-secondary options for a student based on their profile .

Jennifer Thomkins College Admission Coaching Services

20 Questions with Dr. Jennifer Thompkins

We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Thompkins with 20 fun, yet informative questions. We hope you enjoy getting to know Dr. Thompkins as much as we did!

1. MS: Who is your hero?

Dr. Thompkins: Coretta Scott King

2. MS: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Dr. Thompkins: I would live in Geneva, Switzerland. Absolutely gorgeous city and country!

3. MS: What is your biggest fear?

Dr. Thompkins: Being mediocre. I was born to stand out.

4. MS: What is your favorite family vacation?

Dr. Thompkins: Trips down South (Durham, NC to be specific). It started when I was a child and I still love a great road trip!

5. MS: What would you change about yourself if you could?

Dr. Thompkins: I wish I had longer arms. ?

6. MS: What really makes you angry?

Dr. Thompkins: Injustice.

7. MS: What motivates you to work hard?

Dr. Thompkins: The next generation. The children are our future!

8. MS: What is your favorite thing about your career?

Dr. Thompkins: The opportunity to impact students and families every day!

9. MS: What is your biggest complaint about your job?

Dr. Thompkins: They don’t supply breakfast every morning ?

10. MS: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Dr. Thompkins: Becoming a member of the first and finest Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated! Skeeeeeeee-weeeeee! ?

11. MS: What is your favorite book to read?

Dr. Thompkins: Warriors Don’t Cry. This book made me fall in love with reading and learning!

12. MS: What makes you laugh the most?

Dr. Thompkins: Hearing old stories from my aunts and uncles about how “times used to be!”

13. MS: What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?

Dr. Thompkins: I went to see “Just Mercy” and it is a cinematic treasure as it reminds us of the work that still needs to be done!

14. MS: What did you want to be when you were small?

Dr. Thompkins: A doctor.

15. MS: What does your child want to be when he/she grows up?

Dr. Thompkins: Not applicable.

16. MS: If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Dr. Thompkins: I would choose to binge watch movies or tv shows. Only one could hope!

17. MS: What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?

Dr. Thompkins: My favorite sport is college football. I love to play squash!

18. MS: Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?

Dr. Thompkins: Drive a Car! ?

19. MS: What would you sing at Karaoke night?

Dr. Thompkins: “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” by Denise Williams

20. MS: What two radio stations do you listen to in the car the most?

Dr. Thompkins: NPR and WDAS.

More About Dr. Jennifer Thompkins

Dr. Jennifer Thompkins graduated cum laude with departmental honors from Ursinus College in 2009; earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a concentration in Africana Studies. After graduating Ursinus, Dr. Thompkins matriculated to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she earned a Master of Theological Studies degree in African American Religion and Religion of the Americas in 2011.

Do you or someone you know need college admissions coaching? Contact Dr. Jennifer Thompkins to schedule a consult at (484) 686-5525 or email

Please complete the form below to begin MileStone Academy’s enrollment process for your student in 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. A member of our team will connect with you as soon as possible to discuss next steps.

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MileStone Academy Jenkintown PA
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COVID-19 Update

MileStone Academy physical location will reopen on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 We are still enrolling new students for full time, part time, summer, fall, and tutoring. Complete the request information form and we will schedule a virtual introduction to MileStone Academy. Learn more about MileStone’s plan of action and messages about COVID-19. Click Here.

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