November 2020 News and Notes

Home Learning Kits Delivered

Home learning kits were delivered to students at the end of October in an effort to maximize the quality of Chelsea School’s virtual learning program. Each student received a kit specially designed for their class schedule and their learning needs. Kits were delivered via parent pick-up and through staff delivery.

Each student received in their kits some learning essentials, such as a daily planner, paper and notebooks, pens and pencils, a dry-erase board, a hand-made facemask, fidgets, and a packet of specially selected graphic organizers, semantic maps, and templates.

Middle school students received art and ceramic supplies, a sports kit provided by Leveling the Playing Field, fraction and decimal tiles, a jump rope, and laminated maps for social studies classes. Upper Division students received materials for their specific classes, including geometric models, algebraic manipulatives, chemical molecule kits, anatomy models, cell models, maps, and workbooks.

The kits are designed to make virtual learning, which relies on the visual and aural modalities, more accessible to our students by providing tactile and kinesthetic modalities. “Having materials that they can touch, feel, and manipulate is very important to the learning process,” said Head of School Kristal Weems-Bradner. “We need to engage as many senses as possible to make the curriculum come alive for our students.”

The learning kits were made possible through the generous donations of Chelsea School parents, staff, alumni, board of governors, and supporters to the school’s fall fundraiser for virtual learning entitled “Keep them Learning, Keep them Safe.” In total, the Chelsea community raised over $15,000 for the virtual kits. The fundraiser was also supplemented by generous in-kind donations from the Brewer Foundation, Staples, Leveling the Playing Field, Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care USA, and the Chelsea School PTO.

In addition to the learning kits, Chelsea School also upgraded its chromebooks to better meet the needs of its students. The Chelsea School tech team selected a chromebook model that included a larger screen and keyboard, more memory and processing capability, and a touch-screen interface. These new machines will make it easier for our students to interact with challenging and engaging academic content. Many students have already received their chromebook “upgrade” and are successfully using the new machines.

School Leaders “Unbox” the New Learning Kits

To provide families with a comprehensive run-down of all of the amazing instructional tools contained in the new learning kits, Mr. Mills, Chelsea’s Executive Director, and Mrs. Weems-Bradner, Chelsea’s Head of School, took a page from their favorite YouTube stars by making their own unboxing video. They displayed and explained all of the items in the learning kits for the benefit of families. It took quite a bit of time, because these learning kits are packed! Thanks to the generous donations of Chelsea’s parents, staff, alumni, and supporters – along with some generous in-kind donations from some local businesses and charities, the school was able to provide learning kits that will help all of its students be successful in the virtual platform. To see the “unboxing” video, go here:

Chelsea Seniors Collect Food for Families in Need

Chelsea School’s senior class will be collecting food for local food pantries as well as families in our own school community who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations of non-perishable food can be made on Saturday, November 14th outside the school on our parking deck. The class encourages the donation of canned food, dried food, cooking supplies, and other items.

Many families have been struggling to make ends meet in recent months, and our school community wants to help. For individuals who wish to make a monetary donation for the purchase of grocery store gift cards, please go to

Family Feud at Chelsea!

On Wednesday, October 28th, students, staff, and families participated in the first-ever virtual Family Feud game at Chelsea School. The event was sponsored by the Chelsea PTO as a way to help families and staff connect socially during the pandemic. The event was the brainchild of Chelsea’s Social Taskforce Committee which has been charged with devising new and creative ways for students, staff, and parents to connect socially to build a sense of community during the pandemic.

The event was produced and hosted by Chelsea’s Director of Admissions Debbie Lourie, who worked tirelessly to make the event a success. Staff, students, and families were asked to participate in a survey in the week prior to the game to provide the “top ten answers” that would appear on each question board. Students, staff, and parents joined together in teams as they represented either the Blue Knights or the White Knights, Chelsea School’s two rival houses.

Chelsea Says Goodbye to Three Champions

On Friday, November 20th, Chelsea School will be saying goodbye to three outstanding educators: Linda Teabout (7 years of service), Carol McFall (18 years of service), and Pam McRae (25 years of service). The school will be hosting a virtual retirement party to celebrate these educators service to our school and to send them off with our best wishes.

Linda served Chelsea School for seven years as an Occupational Therapist. During her tenure at Chelsea, she provided therapy to many students and was a great contributor to school events and culture. Always ready to pitch in and help, and always wearing a welcoming smile, we will surely miss Ms. Teabout!
Carol McFall has been at the center of Chelsea School’s art program for the last 18 years. During that time she has taught art to thousands of students. The annual student art show at our Academic Fair was always a much-anticipated event! Carol’s love for teaching children was infectious, and her desire to introduce as many students as possible to art was much admired. Thanks to her, many students tried ceramics for the first time on the potter’s wheels. We will miss her generous spirt and the color that she brought to our walls.
Pam McRae has served students at Chelsea for 25 years, making an indelible mark on the lives of thousands of young people. More than a counselor, Pam served as the Head of Counseling as well as the Middle School Coordinator for many years. Her heart and soul was the students in the Middle School, for whom she advocated tirelessly. A creative and brilliant educator, Pam taught students to discover their learning difference “super power” in her Social Skills classes. Although on of the kindest people in our school community, Pam will be remembered for her fiery passion for her students.
The event is open to all current students, staff, and families, as well as former students, staff and families. Please contact Debbie Lourie, Director of Admissions, to RSVP for the event.


Exceptional Schools Fair 2020

Join us at the 2020 Exceptional Schools Fair!

This year’s fair will be held virtually on Sunday, November 8th, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. For more information and to register, please visit

October 2020 News and Notes

October 2020 News and Notes


And ….. We’re Off!  (Virtually)

Chelsea School’s 44th school year began with great fanfare as we welcomed back our Head of School, Kristal Weems-Bradner, to the fold. Mrs. Weems-Bradner was beaming with pride as she addressed the students on the first day of school.

“Each of you has a wonderful opportunity to make this the best school year ever,” she said through her webcam. “Set your sights as high as you can!”

Chelsea School is beginning the 2020-2021 school year in a completely virtual format, meaning that all classes, school events, advisories, and related services are being provided through videoconferencing. With this unusual format, other changes to our time-tested school program were necessary as well, including a shift to block scheduling.

‘It’s different, but it’s still Chelsea,” said Mrs. Weems-Bradner. “We still find a way to connect with children in a personal and life-altering way, even when we’re apart. We still come together each morning as a community to celebrate our achievements and milestones, process events happening in the world, and support each other during this difficult time.”


Chelsea Sophomore Launches Line of Beauty Products

Savannah Robinson, a 10th grade student at Chelsea School, has launched her own company, SBS Naturals (Savannah’s Beauty Squad). Savannah’s line of beauty products include body lotion, hair and beard oil, sea moss, and hair tea. She will be premiering her products in a pop-up sale on October 3rd at Star Struck Sports in Temple Hills, Maryland.

Besides being an honor roll student at Chelsea, Savannah is also a young entrepreneur who created a line of products based on the needs of her peers. She is currently working hard to get her business off the ground through pop-up sales, word-of-mouth advertising, and social media marketing.


Focus on Social Justice

This year, Chelsea School is providing its students with an opportunity to explore and discuss issues that concern them regarding equality, racism, sexism, and social responsibility. In a weekly Social Justice seminar, students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to think critically about issues facing society today.

During the school closure last spring, students were looking for ways to discuss issues that concerned them, especially issues regarding systemic racism. What started as informal chats turned into a formalized program that follows a social justice curriculum. In the seminar, students are not only encouraged to speak their minds, they are also challenged to think critically, develop skills related to media consumption, and consider their individual role in the broader society.

New, Fun Programming

In an effort to promote increased student engagement in the distance-learning platform, Chelsea has rolled out new programming for our middle school students to get them moving and expressing themselves. Besides their core classes, students will now have an opportunity to take Yoga, Digital Photography, Art, Ceramics, Physical Education, Health, and a new class called Culture Club where students explore geography and world cultures.

Besides this, Head of School Kristal Weems-Bradner has made physical movement a priority for all classes, asking every teacher to incorporate movement into their lesson plans each day.

“Physical movement is so crucial for our students, perhaps now more than ever,” said Mrs. Weems-Bradner. “Screen time was a major concern for us going into this year. We wanted to try to incorporate movement into every class period to promote better physical and cognitive health.”



Chelsea Student Serves as Children’s Hospital Ambassador

On October 17th, Chelsea School eighth-grader Lucas Khelawan will be taking part in Children’s National Hospital’s Race for Every Child (Virtual Edition). This year mark’s the fourth year that Lucas will be participating in this event in an effort to raise money for a hospital that he knows very well.

Lucas has made it his mission to improve the lives of children with serious illnesses. Lucas was diagnosed with cancer in August, 2015. For the next three years, Children’s National Hospital was his second home. Lucas spent a great deal of his first year there in a medically-induced coma while receiving aggressive chemotherapy treatments. During this time, his third grade year, he was unable to see his family or interact with his classmates.

Today, Lucas is a healthy 13 year old. This November will mark two years since he completed his treatment.

Besides this event, Lucas has also started his own nonprofit charitable organization called Lucas’ Toy Chest, which provides toys to children who have to stay in the hospital for extended durations due to serious illness.

To sponsor Lucas, please visit:


Fall Fundraiser Going Strong

Chelsea School’s fall fundraiser for its virtual learning program, entitled Keep them Learning, Keep them Safe! has raised over $12,000 towards its goal of $15,000. Many Chelsea School alumni, alumni parents and grandparents, staff members, former staff members, and friends and neighbors have contributed to this fundraising effort.

All donations received this fall will go to support Chelsea’s distance learning programming. Funds will be used to provide each student with a home learning kit that includes manipulatives, technology supports, art supplies, science lab equipment, hands-on learning tools, fitness materials, and other items essential for learning at home. Besides this, money is also being requested to support Chelsea families with groceries.

To donate to Chelsea School’s Fall Fundraiser, you have two options:

Virtual Tours Weekly!

Chelsea School will be hosting weekly Virtual Tours most Tuesdays.  Please RSVP by 12:00 pm noon. Please contact Debbie Lourie, Director of Admissions: to reserve your spot.  Registered guests will receive a Zoom invitation the day of the event.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions!


In-Person and Virtual Tour RSVP

  • To schedule a virtual tour, please contact Debbie Lourie, Director of Admissions at
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Leveraging Relationships in a Time of Pandemic

This spring, Frank Mills, our Executive Director, was invited to contribute an article to the Educating All Learners Alliance discussing Chelsea School’s remarkable shift to virtual learning in March. As local districts closed for several weeks without any kind of educational programming, Chelsea School was able to quickly pivot to a fully virtual instructional model with only two days of lost instruction.  

In response to widespread school closure, a group of special education advocacy and innovation organizations has formed the Educating All Learners Alliance to support the education of students with disabilities during COVID-19.  In April, the Alliance launched, a resource hub and online community dedicated to meeting the needs of all learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mr. Mills’ article can be found at

Moving and Grooving

One of the side effects of students being quarantined to their homes this spring was that they did not have many opportunities to exercise. Perry Nichols, our veteran physical education teacher, came to the rescue! He created a class for our students called “Fun Fitness Challenges” where, using their home spaces, they were able to enjoy 45 minutes of fun (and silly) exercise. Running in place, high kicks, rapid punches, stretching, and jumps were all part of the fun. Mr. Nichols’ high energy approach was highly engaging for the students, who were all smiles despite their initial reluctance to work out. Check out a clip here: Fun Fitness Challenge Class

Old Faces, New Positions

Kristal and Frank with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

In June, the Chelsea School Board of Governors announced two exciting position changes for the school’s senior leadership. Kristal Weems-Bradner, former Dean of Students and Co-Head of School, has returned to Chelsea and has taken on the role of Head of School. Frank Mills, former Head of School, is assuming the role of Executive Director. Ms. Weems-Bradner will be responsible for the internal day-to-day operations of the school, while Mr. Mills focuses on external concerns such as fundraising, development, and sustainability.

Kristal and Frank are working hard this summer to prepare for the new school year, but would love to hear from you! You can contact Kristal at and Frank at

Inside Virtual ESY

Our summer program, known as ESY (Extended School Year) kicked off on Monday, July 6th. For the first time ever, this program is being held completely online. Each day, students have classes meant to maintain and shore-up their basic skills over the summer: intensive reading tutorial, writing workshop, and mathematics lab. Once the school day is over, students are able to take part in optional “specials” that include coding, dance, fitness, yoga, and citizenship.  

This is our largest summer program ever, with over 90% of our students attending ESY. This result is thanks to Chelsea’s initiative of ensuring that all of our students have access to direct instruction over the summer. We feel so strongly about the need for continuous instruction that we offered ESY programming to all of our students, regardless of their ability to afford the five-week program. This has proved to be a bit of a financial strain for the school, and we welcome all all donations to help support this program, which we feel is essential for our students. 

Students are attending their classes using the Google Meet application. In this platform, teachers are able to deliver small-group virtual instruction that seeks to mirror the intimate learning environment that is a hallmark of our normal campus programming. The results have been extremely positive, with students turning out in great numbers the first week to get back to learning!

This program works only as well as the technology resources available to keep it going. Thanks to a number of grants from public and private foundations, Chelsea has been able to provide all of our students who need one with a Chromebook. As the virtual programming continues, the need for more Chromebooks and vital technological infrastructure increases. To contribute to this urgent area of financial need, please go to

Chelsea School Campus Closed Through June 17

Greetings Chelsea Families,

The State of Maryland has announced that schools will be closed for the remainder of the year.  We will be continuing with our virtual school model through June 17, which is the last day of school for students.  Individual jurisdictions have set their own end-of-year dates, but we are working to ensure all Chelsea Students remain in classes through this date.

Regardless of your jurisdiction’s end date, we will allow all of our students to remain in virtual school until June 17.

Our Extended School Year summer program begins July 6.  Given the likely closure of many youth summer opportunities, Chelsea is also working to engage as many of our current students as possible.

Please feel free to contact us with questions about graduation, summer opportunities, other distance learning options, and stay tuned for more details.

Thank you and stay safe,

Frank Mills
Head of School

Chelsea School Campus Will Remain Closed Through May 15

Chelsea School will remain closed through May 15, 2020, and continue academics in a virtual classroom.

All events and activities at Chelsea School, including The 2020 Walk for Learning Differences are suspended until further notice.  The fundraising portion of the Walk will also be suspended in order to help our students practice appropriate social distancing during this time.

For anyone interested in enrollment, the Chelsea School Admissions team will continue to review applications and referrals that come in via parents, advocates, law offices, and our local educational systems. Appropriate documentation is still required, but we are waiving all application fees until further notice.   Click here for more information about admissions.

Please watch for more information and updates and contact us with any questions.