From the Principal's Pen

March 22, 2020

Principal's Message

Dear JC Community,


I can only begin with telling you how much I miss seeing our students every day! I usually joke around when at school and say, “If only the students weren’t here, I could get so much work done!” Well, here it is and I am not sure I am really getting any more work completed than before this crisis. It turns out Distance Learning is not an easy task for anyone!

I say that knowing the impact this crisis has had on each one of our families as well. There are economic, academic, personal and health stressors that weigh heavily on all of us. We are all feeling the impact.


I have served the Greenwich Public Schools for 23 years in different capacities and we have served our students and families through many difficult times including 9/11, the recession of 2008, as well as the monster storms of Irene and Sandy. I had been impacted personally in some way by all of these crises and worked with many families who were impacted by them as well. There is one message that comes out of all of this….and it is how important family and friends are — that every moment is truly special! These times bring out the best in most people!


So as you are feeling the weight of these monumental moments, take a breath and appreciate the kids even when they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing:) Keep the structure of getting up at the same time every morning, getting dressed (even if they are fresh pajamas) , and going to school /work on your computer as much as you can! The structure will help!

If the school work is causing too much stress, contact your child’s teacher and help your child make a plan to do their personal best!


Please feel free to send me a picture or video of you and your family working and let me know if I can share it on Twitter. I am happy to see the children even when you don’t want me to share the pictures with the public. They are the heart of our school! I will send out morning announcements daily not because I want to overwhelm you with emails but because we want to add some sense of “normalcy” to our lives!


These days with 180 minutes of distance learning a day are counting as school days. If your child has not completed any work for an entire day then they will be marked as absent. It is really important to stay in contact with your child’s teacher. Your child has from the time the work is posted until the next morning at 8 am to submit their work. If your child is sick please email Mary_Keller@greenwich.k12.ct.us and copy Lisa_Maniscalco@greenwich.k12.ct.us and let her know. When it comes to illness privacy issues are of great importance, and buildings will not be sending out notifications or informing the broader school community. In addition, we also don't want to spread rumors when a person "believes" he/she may have the virus but has not actually been tested. We must let the medical professionals work through this issue on our behalf. Unless we are directed otherwise, we must follow the Department of Health expectations.


I have copied the notes from the Superintendent on report cards below. Unfortunately, we will be missing all of our parent-teacher conferences. The report cards for JC were written prior to the school closure with the conferences in mind. You will not see a full set of comments on the report cards as we believed each teacher would be meeting with a parent. We thought about virtual conferences but all of our student’s work is still in the building and teachers do not have access to the buildings. If you would like to speak to your teacher about the report card after receiving it please send them an email and they will contact you.


Wishing you all health and sanity during these times!


Mrs. McGuire

Updates on School Closings

The most updated information from the district regarding school closings can be found on the Greenwich Public Schools website by clicking on the link below.


https://www.greenwichschools.org/


Also, please be sure to keep an eye on your email for information from your child's teacher as well as school-specific updates.

Reporting Absences/Illness

To report your child as sick, please email Mary Keller and Lisa Maniscalco, so that your child can be marked absent. For specific questions regarding your child’s illness please call your healthcare provider or if you have concerns about COVID-19 please call the Yale Call Center at (203) 688-1700 for general information about the virus.

Elementary Report Cards

Report cards for elementary schools will be emailed home on March 30th and 31st. There will be no hard copy paper versions as the GPS Print Shop is not in operation at this time. Thank you for your patience as we pushed the date back slightly to provide more time for our teachers who are trying to balance their own families, teaching remotely, and working to stay healthy.

Online Work Posting Times

Teacher Posting Times

We are providing more flexibility for our teachers regarding the posting of work. Many of our teachers are finding their individual schedules have been difficult to maintain, especially those families with little ones sitting at their feet all day because their schools are also closed. The “new” school work will be posted by 8:00 am the morning when the work is to take place. Some teachers may still post in the early evening the night before, but we recognize that for some teachers it is causing unnecessary stress.


Student Posting Times

In the same frame of thought, we understand that many students may have childcare or family responsibilities during the day, and that is why our timeline for doing schoolwork has been adjusted to be more flexible for students. While assignments do not need to be completed by 3:00 pm, we do ask that students aim for the next time the class meets. Please reach out to your teacher if your child is showing signs of stress. We want to work with families to make distance learning as positive as possible. Most importantly, there is no assignment worth fighting over with your child. If needed, set the assignment aside, play a game of monopoly, take a walk, or listen to some music together. Email the teacher if your family just needs a short break. We understand.

Message from the JC PPS Team

Special Education Teacher Check-In:


Special Education Teachers will touch base with families to see how things are going. This can be through phone calls or emails. To limit the frequency of contacts, we will touch base on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can always reach out to your child’s teachers but on these days your child’s monitor will send an email to see how things are going and if there is anything that is needed.


Please take a moment to respond back, we look forward to hearing from you!


Accommodations


Parents, please keep in mind that the activities provided by the general ed teachers will be more accessible to some students than others, but you may use your judgment and we recommend that you at least try them with your child.


If needed, your child can have accommodations! Below are some accommodations that may be listed in your child's IEP and how they would look when given at home...


Extended time: To give extended time at home separate the activity across two days, it does not all have to be completed in one sitting


Text to speech: If your child is struggling with a grade-level text feel free to read the passage out loud or encourage them to highlight the text on their iPad and select 'speak' so it will read to them (this can be turned on in Settings ---> Accessibility if it is not already)


Rephrase Questions/Directions: This is self-explanatory, but feel free to repeat the directions or give verbal prompts


Shortened Tasks: If your child is frustrated it's ok to walk away and end the assignment early!



Most importantly, we hope you are all staying healthy and safe!


Best,


Meredith Gillam, Anthony Oddo, Kim Tartaglia, Morgan Gedney,

Melissa Danko, Yaneli Avila, Gillian Howard, and Lisa Melmed

Mental Health Resources

Our counselors, psychologists, and staff stand ready to provide resources if your child is finding this time in their life stressful. If our children do not feel safe and secure, it makes learning that much more difficult. Please reach out to the Mental Health Team at our school - they are here to help.


Gillian_Howard@greenwich.k12.ct.us

Lisa_Melmed@greenwich.k12.ct.us


In case of an emergency, please call 911 or 211 (Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services or EMPS).


Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-203-1234 if you or someone you care about are experiencing a crisis or are concerned about someone who might be.


Kids in Crisis - 24 Hour Hotline - (203) 661-1911

Need help? Not sure? Any time of the day or night, there is always a live counselor on the end of the phone. These trained Crisis Counselors are available to provide immediate help and assess services needed to address and work through any situation.

Please follow Mrs. McGuire and Mrs. Brush on Twitter

@JCSPrincipal and @JCSEaglesAP

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