School Community Newsletter - 12/29/20
Dear Thomas Middle School Community,
With 2021 upon us, we wanted to take a moment to wish all of our families a very Happy New Year! As we move forward into what we hope will be a year filled with more happiness than heartache and more peace than worry, we have a few things to share.
The TMS staff is so very PROUD of our students! Thank you for caring for them and for sharing them with us. The TMS PRIDE OF THE WOLF PACK is STRONG and we are excited to bring on the new year and celebrate the Class of 2021!
This global pandemic has impacted so many of the things we love to do and the people we love to see. It has forced us all to learn skills in delayed gratification, which is incredibly hard since the world as we knew it pre-pandemic was built for instant gratification. However, TMS students have shown skills in resiliency and they have demonstrated the ability to be flexible and accommodating. Our community continues the tradition of #BeTheGood. For example, please take a look at the photos below of the hard-working D25 Food Service Department that has been providing food to our community each week during this pandemic. According to Feeding America, more than 54 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 18 million children, due to the effects of the pandemic. We can feel this impact within our community and we are grateful for our food service department and the support they give.
Focusing on ways to help others is a proactive strategy to use when times are difficult. Bringing joy and spreading kindness works wonders for the receiver and the giver. Our hope for you this holiday season is that you are on both ends of these experiences.
REMOTE LEARNING UNTIL JANUARY 19, 2021: Unfortunately this global pandemic has hit the TMS building hard and we are forced to continue remote learning for the first two weeks of 2021. We have said all year long that we are prioritizing safety, connection, and instruction. At this time, in an effort to keep our students and staff healthy, we will be connecting with the students via Zoom and providing enriching lessons that we hope the students will engage in.
GOOD NEWS... At this time, we are on track to open for in-person instruction starting Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
PARENT PARTNERSHIP: Parents, we are desperately seeking your help to keep your children healthy. We encourage social distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing, and limited travel. Please also help us accurately track student illness. If you have not already done so, please notify the TMS office if your child is ill or has tested positive for Covid-19 or if anyone in your household is ill or tested positive for Covid-19. As always, everyone should monitor their health and stay at home if they develop any symptoms.
Lastly, we have asked that you simply try the best you can... And we are grateful that so many of our students have not only risen to that challenge but have exceeded it! As adults, we are faced with many hardships and struggles during this pandemic. If you're finding that doing your best is just too challenging right now, help is available. These times are tough on everyone, and parents have unique struggles and responsibilities. There is a great deal of support for our parent community as well. For example, please join the Arlington Heights Council of PTAs TONIGHT - Tuesday, December 29 @ 7 PM via Zoom for "Parent Emotions: Setting the Tone in Our Families" an informative evening on your emotions as a parent: how and when to share these with your children, how our emotions affect our children, and how to manage big reactions as a parent, especially during this time of division and conflict. The registration link is below.
This pandemic is forcing us to do things and learn in a different way, with different measures. The "real-life" learning of things like adapting, perseverance, and patience can be very hard lessons to cope with, especially for families with middle schoolers during a pandemic. We realize that life struggles and mental health warning signs can occur anywhere and at any time, particularly during the holiday season or the months that follow. Children and adults may be experiencing anxiety, depression, fatigue, poor concentration, substance use, or suicidal thoughts. If this is the case, HELP IS NEEDED AND AVAILABLE! Please take a look at the variety of local, state, and national resources below.
We hope that 2021 brings everyone good health, happiness, and an abundance of joy! We look forward to returning to doing the things we love with the people we love. Until that time comes, please be safe and take care. Please continue to spread kindness while maintaining social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands often. Also, be sure to take time to sleep, rest, relax, read, be silly, smile, play, and have fun! We look forward to seeing you in 2021!
On behalf of the entire Thomas Middle School Staff, we wish you a Happy New Year!
~Lori, Nick, & Greg
"Parent Emotions: Setting the Tone in Our Families" - Tuesday, December 29, 7-8 pm, via Zoom
Food Distribution - Wednesday, December 30, 9 am - noon @ TMS
- School Resumes - Monday, January 4, 2021 - ALL Students Remote Learning
- D25 STEP 4 Selection Forms Due - By Tuesday, January 5 at 7 pm
Selection Forms for STEP 4 I In-Person or Remote Learning Model
Per Dr. Bein's December 18, 2020 email:
District 25 is preparing to move to Step 4 | In-Person or Remote Learning model once the determined metrics (www.sd25.org/TransitionMetrics) are met (with a target date of Tuesday, January 19th). For details on the move to the Step 4 | In-Person or Remote Learning model such as the schedule, the proposed metrics, the social distancing guidelines, and more, visit www.sd25.org/Step4Guide.
Please note the following prior to completing the selection form:
Every entry must have a valid Student ID number submitted.
Do not fill more than one form out per ID number (parents and guardians, please coordinate).
Your selection via this form commits your child to that choice through the end of spring break.
Please respond to the form by Tuesday, January 5 at 7 pm.
*NOTE: If the metrics are not met and the District does not move to the Step 4 | In-Person or Remote Learning model, your chld(ren) will remain in their current Step 3 | Hybrid Learning model selection, unless you fill this form out: www.sd25.org/Step3Switch.
STEP 4 I TMS In-Person and Remote Registration Numbers as of today - 12/29/20
PLEASE NOTE: To the greatest extent possible, students will be seated 6 feet apart. Social distancing will differ from classroom to classroom depending on how many students are present for in-person learning. (e.g. students may be spaced 6 feet apart in Classroom A while students in Classroom B may be 3 feet apart)
REMINDER - TMS MEASURE FOR SAFETY:
Clarify in-person attendance expectations: Students that have selected Hybrid for in-person learning are expected to attend in-person learning on their scheduled days unless they have an illness related or scheduled absence. If a family has a safety concern, please move to remote learning until our next selection date. We ask that you do not request to be remote on a daily basis as this is incredibly difficult to manage and creates many challenges with contact tracing.
STUDENTS MAKING CONNECTIONS
TMS MEASURE FOR CONNECTION:
Utilize a TMS Student Check-In Form. Students will be asked to complete a TMS check-in form during homeroom that asks if the student would like support, such as a personal check-in, from a TMS staff member.
REMOTE LEARNING LUNCH BUNCH (Week of January 4-8, 2021):
Do you have a remote learner that is looking to connect with peers? Please encourage them to check this out...Each day during the week we return from break, students can log into a lunch bunch group during the lunch hour. Students will have the opportunity to chat with peers and play some games if they choose. More details on this can be found in the Daily Announcements. *Depending on how things go, the lunch bunch groups may continue through the school year.
Food Distribution Over Break | Time Change
Please note that during the two weeks of winter break our Food Distribution Team will be distributing tomorrow ~ Wednesday, December 30 from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm (noon).
If you are not able to pick up meals during that time, please contact the Department of Food Services and arrangements will be made.
In order for these arrangements to be made, you must call or email the Department of Food Services and leave the following information:
Family Name | Address | Number of bags needed | Phone number
NEED HELP? RESOURCES FOR MENTAL HEALTH OR ECONOMIC SUPPORT ARE AVAILABLE! Please take a moment to review these Resources
D25 & Local Resources: Click here for SUPPORT to help navigate this unexpected and difficult time of COVID-19. There is a wide range of support available for children and adults in the following areas:
- Mental Health
- Economic Support for families
We realize that mental health warning signs often occur outside of the typical school day. Students may be experiencing anxiety, depression, fatigue, poor concentration, substance use, or suicidal thoughts.
The Illinois State Board of Education has compiled resources to support students’ mental health 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The list includes:
- Call4Calm (text TALK or HABLAR to 552020 to get connected to a counselor)
- Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor),
- Safe2Help Illinois (a 24/7 tip line that gives students a safe and confidential way to share information that might help prevent suicides, bullying, school violence, or other threats to school safety).
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (call 1-800-273-8255 for free and confidential support for people in distress and best practices for professionals).
Family Resource Program The OMNI Youth Services Family Resource Program provides services that address basic immediate needs. OMNI designs resource services to give parents and youth the skills they need to build healthy and successful families.
It is important that our parent community stays informed, especially as conditions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to change. Information about COVID-19 and how it impacts District 25’s school plans for 2020-2021 is fluid and therefore will be continually evaluated and updated in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines.
IDPH: Contact Tracing
IDPH COVID-19 School-Aged Metrics and School Outbreaks:
CCDPH COVID-19 Surveillance Data:
IDPH School Guidance:
CDC: Contact Tracing and how it works