Parent Newsletter:Return to Hybrid
Lowell Elementary School 10/24/20
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Greetings from Mrs. Phelan
We're looking forward to a big week as we welcome back many of our students! Candice and I realize there has been a lot of communication being sent your way within the last week. We are streamlining this newsletter to keep the information as clear and as simple as possible. I do want to address one important change we've made this week which is changing the closing circle time. I've had some parents ask me, "why the change in the closing circle time?" I want to take a moment to explain the rationale for the change.
1. The teachers felt that dismissing their in-school students at the same time they were running a closing circling virtually would be too difficult to manage, and it would most likely adversely affect the virtual student more than students in school. We also recognize that dismissing the students from school will take longer to manage due to social distancing requirements protocols. Our specials end in most grades at 12 o'clock, which only allows for a 15 minute closing circle meeting time. Students typically need 5-10 minutes to pack up their belonging and exit the building. We expect this may take a bit longer. Classroom teachers will be managing this transition, which makes holding a closing circle very challenging, especially in grades k-2.
2. As administrators, we've been asked by the state to make sure we can quantify student engagement and attendance during normal school hours, which are 8:15-2:30. We need to take attendance multiple times a day to verify student attendance. We also need to check to see if they have completed their asynchronous work during the time it is assigned. How do we do that? By taking attendance during closing circle and checking to see if asynchronous work has been completed.
3. Why now? When our original plan was proposed in August, we hadn't been given the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's attendance requirements. Over the past few weeks and with the pending state audit, we recognize the need to make adjustments to satisfy the state's requirements. Additionally, we thought it would make more sense to wait until we transitioned to hybrid (in-person) learning to make this change as students and families would be adjusting to this new schedule.
Attending school during the hours of 8:15-2:30 and attending specials is still a state requirement. Taking meeting attendance throughout the day and checking completed assignments is the only way to illustrate student attendance and engagement.
I hope students will enjoy seeing their teachers and friends at the end of the day and it also helps children feel there is an official end to the school day.
We appreciate your continued cooperation and support.
WHOLE SCHOOL READ!
Each classroom teacher will receive a hard copy of this book in their mailbox on Monday morning. Our School's Diversity Council choose this books among many others they thought would help frame meaningful conversations about:
The books were purchased by our PTO!
Apply in the Classroom
Introduce information about the powers and responsibilities of government and explore how local elections impact your community and affect kids’ lives. Safe water, new books in the library, and parks to play in are all connected to who is in office and running local governments.
Ask students to think about the many ways local governments affect them. Talk about what students can do to be heard about issues important to them, even if they aren’t old enough to vote. Together, research the types of local government in your community (county, city, school district, etc.) and learn about the various roles politicians, citizens, and others play in local government. Have your class “vote” on a local elected official to research and learn more about the office he or she occupies. Invite this politician to your class (or to make a video visit) to read aloud, give a talk about the election process, and explain what it is like to work as an elected official.
Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing
Who can vote?
Why can’t kids vote? Do you think that kids should get to vote? Why or why not?
Why should people vote?
How does voting help people?
What is important to you and your future?
HOW TO MAKE RECESS FUN DURING TIMES OF COVID
Once again, Ms. Donahue and Ms. Loguidice have come up with resources to help our teachers run fun recess activities. If you remember last year they developed a recess games handbook for teachers. This year they've made one, especially for COVID. Find the handbook below. All see Watertown's Field Hockey Team demonstrate games from the handbook.
Eileen and Tina! THANK YOU! As Always!
A Message to Families of Students in Grades K, 1 and 2
We are looking forward to seeing you in school this week! Students in Grades K, 1 and 2, please bring your Fundations notebook with you to school. We will be using it in class!
For students in grades 1 and 2, please also bring back the ziplock bag of 5 books that you received when you picked up materials. You can bring these to your teacher who will collect your bag and give you a new bag of books next week.
Parent to Parent
It's the moment many of our students have been waiting for.........Returning to In-Person Learning.!!!! As a Lowell and Early Steps Parent, my three children, Taylor(9), Logan(6), and Carter(3), are so excited to be back for In-person learning. As parents, my husband and I realize that there are many changes from how school looked in the spring, and how returning to school will look this week. We are so appreciate of all the safety measures that are in place in each building, and have a peace of mind knowing our children's' health and safety remains a top priority. I will say , its going to take a lot of patience to get through the morning tantrums, hectic routines, and anxiety of making sure each child has exactly what they need when leaving the house, however, we welcome the challenge. To make our lives a little less hectic, we came up with a morning checklist. We wanted to share this checklist with the Lowell Community in hopes that your transition is as smooth as possible, and a little less worrisome. Remember, we are in this together, and please give yourself and your children grace next week as we prepare to head back into the classroom. I welcome the opportunity to talk, problem solve, and share my parenting experiences. Feel free to email Candice.Whitmore@watertown.k12.ma.us or call 617-926-7770.
From one parent to another.....
Parent Resources for Return to In-Person Learning
Arrival/Recess & Breaks/Dismissals
Update from Nurse Taverna
Epi-Pens and Asthma Inhalers with signed MD orders and parent permission forms need to be turned in on the first-day students return to school in person.
Nurse Taverna will set up a station under the tent to collect forms, Epi-pens, medications, and doctor's orders on Tuesday and Wednesday.(Oct. 27th and 28th)