From the Principal's Pen
June 7, 2020
Navigating Recent Events
A Message from the Superintendent
These last few months have been challenging for our students and families due to COVID-19, and now we see events unfolding due to violent racial injustice happening across our nation. I’ve received some notes from concerned parents who are looking for guidance from the District about how to discuss these recent current events with their children. First, let me say that we celebrate and support everyone in our District -- our students, staff and teachers -- and we truly believe that our differences and our diverse backgrounds, perspectives and thoughts are what make us special. I know I speak on behalf of everyone in our District when I say discrimination, racism and hateful acts have no place in our schools and in our communities. In moments like this, I lean on our mission and vision, as it’s a true reminder of what matters most in our goals as educators. Two components of our mission and vision very directly demonstrate the value we put on educating and preparing our students so that they can: ‘Conduct themselves in an ethical and responsible manner; and recognize and respect other cultural contexts and points of view.’ We build these capabilities in our students in hopes that they will perpetuate the good they see in the world, and recognize and act on what needs to be fixed. And as we have seen in the news, there is still much progress to be made on making the world a safer, more respectful place for every person; but I know our students, staff and families will be part of the solution.
There are many helpful resources for parents to have thoughtful conversations with their children about what they may be seeing on the news or in their surrounding neighborhoods. Below are just a few resources:
This Saturday, June 6, at 10a.m. ET, CNN and "Sesame Street" will host a 60-minute special: "Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families". “The show will talk to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding.”
And finally, as with any issue or challenge that arises, I encourage students, staff and parents alike to raise questions, concerns, suggestions and other thoughts with members of our District team and with members of our Board of Education. I continue to be so proud of the passion and persistence of our students, staff and parents to advocate for what they believe in, to push for inclusivity and equality, to stand up against injustices, and to do their absolute best to make our schools, our community and the world a better place.
Dr. Toni Jones
JC Virtual Spring Recital
This past Monday, June 2nd, we would have hosted our Spring Concert. In an effort to still give the students a performance experience and showcase all of the hard work they have done this year, Ms. Sanford and Ms. Brown organized a Virtual Recital! Please take a moment to enjoy the performances of our very talented JC musicians by visiting the links below.
Many thanks to Ms. Sanford and Ms. Brown for continuing to provide engaging musical instruction throughout distance learning!
JC Beginner Orchestra MixTape: https://flipgrid.com/+sanford9564
JC Advanced Orchestra MixTape: https://flipgrid.com/+sanford2845JC Band MixTape: https://flipgrid.com/+brown8154
Field Day Fun
Share your activities on the PE Field Day Flipgrid! It will be open until Friday, June 12th. https://flipgrid.com/6400da73
WELCOME, NURSE THERESA!
READ-ALOUD FROM OUR NURSES
RETURN OF iPADS
All students will keep their iPads over the summer and return them to school in the fall. Fifth graders will return their iPads to the middle school and exchange them for a Chromebook. If your child is moving or leaving the Greenwich Public Schools then you may return your child's iPad to Julian Curtiss on June 11th between 12:00 and 2:00 pm.
GPS Seamless Summer Learning
The 2020 Seamless Summer Learning webpage is now live!
This newly updated page is the one-stop-shop for all GPS families this summer. There are literally hundreds of activities for students at all grade levels! This is also where you and will find everything you need to know about accessing tech tools and apps throughout the summer.
The webpage is linked below:
LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS!
Families As Partners In Learning
Dear Julian Curtiss Families,
Thank you for welcoming me into your school community this year. It was a joy working with parents so eager to learn how they can help support their child's learning! We started the Families As Partners In Learning field test with a focus on the December Parent-Teacher Conference, and with your opportunity to bring important information and questions to that meeting. We made progress on new practices we put into place for conferences.
99% of the JC students were reported as having an adult come for a conference. That is an incredible turnout! It's a credit to you, the families, and to the teachers at JC. You worked hard to make yourself available for this important event and were inspired to bring what you know about your child to the conversation.
53% of the JC students had a Pre-Conference Questionnaire returned to the teacher by a family member. That is families thinking ahead of time about their child as a learner and providing teachers with information that the teacher may not have had before.
We were ready to go into our second round of Parent-Teacher Conferences for the year when schools closed and we went into Distance Learning and sheltering at home. I'm confident that I would have been able to share more and even better results with you if we had been able to complete the second round of conferences. All of our work is not in vain, though. Everything we talked about can be used at any point during the year, whether students are in school or learning at home, during the school year or during the summer. Here are a few reminders.
REMEMBER, families are a child’s first teacher and continue in that capacity for a long time! You are an expert on your child and can offer insights in conversations with your child's teacher.
The normal school day provides 6 hours of instruction, but school runs for only 180 days during the year. That means that your child spends only 12% of the total hours in a year in school learning! This fact alone makes Families As Partners In Learning a MUST have! Your help at home can contribute greatly to your child’s progress in school.
Everything we talked about as efforts family members can make to prepare for a conference can be done right now as well. Asking questions of your child and their teacher can help you help your child in the best way.
Ask your child how they are doing. What do they enjoy? What do they not enjoy? And why for each.
What questions do you have about what they are studying and how they are progressing?
What do wish you understood better in order to help your child?
Check in with your child's teacher to find out how to help your child continue learning over the summer in a FUN and productive way.
The transition from teaching in the classroom to in the home has not been an easy change for anyone - student, parent, or teacher. But you’ve learned about and become more connected with your child’s day-to-day education during this time. That learning will serve you, your child, and your child's teacher well as we finish this school year, continue learning over the summer, and begin the next school year.
Have a healthy and happy summer!
Patti Jomo, Willow Road Consulting