The Bobcat Bulletin

October 13, 2022

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From the Principal

Dear Families and Caregivers,

It has been a busy first six weeks of school! We have settled into the routines of school and have truly enjoyed welcoming families into our building for both Open House and Family Conferences.

Thank you to the Essex Town PTO for organizing and executing the Fun Run last Thursday. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. The many folks who volunteered their time helped make it a special morning for our school community. There is magic in all the smiles that come from a large-scale community event such as this one!

Please see below for some important schoolwide updates. As always, reach out with any questions!


Sara Jablonski

FMS Principal


Fun Run Excitement!

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Schoolwide Morning Meeting

We gathered as a school community on Friday, September 30th in our first all-school morning meeting. We started by sharing a greeting in Arabic (a language spoken by many members of our school community). We celebrated following our schoolwide expectations in shared spaces, and talked about how to continue keeping our school community a peaceful place to learn.

We will gather monthly this year as a way to connect on our behavior practices. We have newly adopted PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention System) and are working on a schoolwide educator goal of increasing positive teacher language. The intended outcome of this goal is to increase positive behavior and decrease negative behaviors.

We will also be engaging families and caregivers in this work throughout the year. Thank you for supporting our school systems!

Homework Practices

Students are provided time in school to complete their reading, writing, math, science and social studies work in the classroom. At the elementary level, there is a large body of research that supports there is no academic benefit from homework.

All FMS students are expected to read outside of school for 20-30 minutes each day. Reading research has shown, time and again, that the best predictor of reading achievement is the amount of time a child spends reading, so it's important that children have well-rounded reading lives at home and school.

Research has also shown that home reading logs actually serve to decrease student motivation to read. At FMS, we will continue to encourage students to read outside of school, but will not require students to complete reading logs outside of school. This article from Edutopia summarizes these ideas well.

Exceptions to these homework practices include:

  • Students who do not complete class work during time provided

  • Students who participate in music lessons during the school day and miss class time may need to make up work at home

  • Occasional projects as determined by the classroom teacher throughout the school year

If you have questions about these practices, please contact your child’s teacher or Sara Jablonski.

Pickup Patrol

Thank you all for utilizing Pickup Patrol and for your cooperation while we iron out the details!

Use the PUP web app for:

ATTENDANCE: Notify the school office when your student will be absent, arriving late or leaving early. If your student will be absent from school, report the absence using PickUp Patrol by 9:00am on the day of the absence.

DISMISSAL CHANGES: Submit changes to your student’s regular dismissal plans. For example:

  • A student normally rides the bus, but is getting picked up today.

  • A student usually goes to aftercare, but is leaving early for an appointment.

How it works:

Students usually follow the same dismissal plan every week. We call this the Default Plan.

Whenever you have a change to the Default Plan, you’ll submit a change through the PUP app. When the plan is submitted, the school will be notified and your student’s teacher will relay the change to them. Some of the default plans for students have already been uploaded. Please be sure to confirm or enter the default plan if you do not see one.

All plan changes should be entered in PickUp Patrol. This will help to minimize phone calls and emails, but you are always welcome to reach out to us directly regarding your student’s dismissal plans if you are unable to use the portal.

Help the EWSD Shape the Direction of our Educational System!

The EWSD is leading the way in making 21st-century learning a reality for all students. We are seeking diverse perspectives from our students, families, staff, and the broader community in developing a Portrait of a Graduate.

Now more than ever, our students must be provided high-level learning opportunities that foster critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and other 21st-century skills and mindsets. Our shared aspiration is that all our students have an educational experience that prepares them to be lifelong learners and contributors today and tomorrow.

If you are interested in taking part, please fill out this two-question survey. You can also learn more by visiting:

Important Dates: Mark Your Calendars!

Friday, November 4, 2022: Picture Retake Day

Monday-Friday, November 21-25, 2022: Fall Break, No School for Students

In the Community

Essex Fire Department Annual Open House

Saturday, October 15, 2022

10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Hot dogs, hamburgers and learn about fire safety!