Lowell Weekly Parent Newsletter

January 10, 2021

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Message from Mrs. Phelan

Greetings!


It's a new year, thank goodness, but if this past week is any indication of what we might face over the next few weeks, we may have a few more ups and downs ahead of us. As educators, we have always used current events to educate and motivate our students. This moment is not any different from events in our past. Last week Lowell's leadership team shared many resources and with you. We will continue to share material we think will help to build a bridge between home and school. Additionally, we want to help parents talk about difficult conversations with their children.


This month we will begin a series of whole-school read aloud by high-lighting beautiful stories written about and by black and brown authors and illustrators. Our school instructional leadership team selected these books. I've included the list of titles below this message.


We will also spend time this month during our professional learning time to discuss Ibram X. Kendi's How To Be Antiracist. This book is an adult book study text. We are using it to facilitate difficult conversation at the adult level. The book Antiracist Baby by the same author is being used in class this month.


We are also asking the students to participate in several school activities to celebrate Martin Luther King's legacy as a peaceful change-maker and national hero.


Dr. Martin Luther King popularized the notion of the “Beloved Community.” King envisioned the Beloved Community as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings.


As explained by The King Center, the memorial institution founded by Coretta Scott King to further the goals of Martin Luther King:


Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the earth's wealth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger, and homelessness will not be tolerated because international human decency standards will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.


How is King’s Beloved Community a prescription for a healthy society?


Fundamental to the concept of the Beloved Community is inclusiveness, both economic and social. The notion that all can share in earth’s bounty describes a society in which the social product is shared far more equally than it is in today’s world. The Beloved Community also describes a society in which all are embraced, and none discriminated against.


We feel Dr. Martin Luther King's teachings are aligned with our school and district core values. Please join us in celebrating MLK all this month.


We will be asking students to share a quote they feel exemplifies Dr. Martin Luthers Teachings. We will hang up their quotes on the walls of our school. We are also asking students to make cards to send to children who are in the hospital through an organization called Cardz for Kidz.


Thank you again for your support,

Stacy

Lowell Whole School Reads

I'm sharing the list of our next set of the whole school read alouds we've bought for each classroom. The ILT team with lots of help from Kelly McCollum has put this list together to support our students by high-lighting beautiful stories written about and by black and brown authors and illustrators.


The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

  • The Skin You Live In delivers the very important message of social acceptance to children and touch on themes as social harmony, friendship, self-esteem, and diversity. All in all, The Skin You Live In is a wonderful children's book that shows the importance of diversity and acceptance.

  • Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/W_Bjz1xFteQ

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018) is a beautiful portrayal of what it feels like to be an outsider, to grapple with differences in a world that can be cruel.

  • Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/oM3DesXftrQ

Sweet Music in Harlem by Debbie A. Taylor

  • C. J. needs to act fast. A photographer from Highnote magazine is on his way to photograph Uncle Click, a well-known jazz musician, but Uncle Click's signature hat is missing. Now it's up to C. J. to hunt down the hat in time for the photoshoot. Little does C. J. know that his whirlwind search through Harlem sets in motion the making of a magical moment of friendship and music. Illustrated with exuberance by fine artist Frank Morrison, Sweet Music in Harlem is an action-packed romp inspired by a historic photograph from Harlem's jazz heyday. Readers everywhere will rejoice in the power of music to bring people together in wonderful, fun-filled ways.

  • Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/vzI5eQj0USU

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes

  • About I Am Every Good Thing A difference-maker. A leader. The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He's got big plans, and no doubt he'll see them through–as he's creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up.

  • Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/b7Sv737LDQ4

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

  • The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.

  • Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/B1yCg2PdeEA

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

  • I Am Enough is the picture book everyone needs This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

  • Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/mKKRQOs1AJ4

A is for Activism-

  • A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.

  • The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

Thank you, Omu By Oge Mora

  • In this remarkable author-illustrator debut that's perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street and Extra Yarn, a generous woman is rewarded by her community.

  • Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?

  • Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love. An author's note explains that "Omu" (pronounced AH-moo) means "queen" in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean "Grandma." This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora's life.


You Matter By Christian Robinson

  • In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.

All Because You Matter By Tami Charles

  • Accompanied by illustrations by renowned artist Bryan Collier, a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient and a nine-time Coretta Scott King Award winner or honoree, All Because You Matter empowers readers with pride, joy, and comfort, reminding them of their roots and strengthening them for the days to come.

  • Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/zWQhFhunqh0

New Kid. Jerry Craft (Graphic Novel but 3-5, Newbery Winner)

  • Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Read Aloud: https://youtu.be/OCy7gjdMvjU

ACCESS Testing for English Language Learners


We begin ACCESS testing for EL students this week, it is important for students to come to school to be tested. ACCESS testing will help the school and parents determine whether students have lost or gained English language proficiency during the pandemic so appropriate resources can be provided to assist them.


If you are uncomfortable sending your child to school to take the test, or if your child has underlying medical issues that preclude them from coming to school, the only consequence will be to consider the child “absent” for the test. Neither a score nor a progress determination will be assigned to the child, and there will be no penalties for the child or parent.

Site School Council

Thursday, Jan. 14th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Zoom Link


  • Open

  • Whole School Reads

  • Update on ILT

  • Report Cards and Assessment

  • Having Difficult Discussions

  • School Improvement Plan

  • Comments and Questions Time

Report Cards and Assessment

As the semester comes to a close, teachers will be completing report cards. This will be the first report card distributed to elementary students since the pandemic began last March. We will be using the same report card and the standards we used last year. This is our opportunity to give parents and students formal progress notes for each academic area.


We will be assessing progress based on completed work and assessments. Asynchronous work assigned for Social Studies and Science will be measured on this report card. This is a reminder; if work is not completed, it will be reflected in the report card. The only way to measure progress in Social Studies and Science is by completed work. Please make sure your child completes their weekly assignments.


Report Cards go home on February 8th.


Last week at the Lowell

The Lowell Leopard was spotted in Ms. Moriarty's 3rd grade class

In Ms. Moriarty's class students have begun the study of biographies in literacy this week! As a class we explored the interesting life of George Washington Carver and learned about his contributions in the field of agriculture. Students were busy reading biographies on Epic. In math, students learned about rounding to the nearest 10 and 100. In social studies, students learned about who the Puritans were and in science they experimented with forces.Ms. Moriarty and Lennie are so proud of the students hard work!

Class Meeting Expectations

As we have entered the new year, we want to remind all families of the zoom meeting expectations. One important reminder for families, when students microphones are unmuted ,we hear everything in the background, please be mindful of this during class time.


  • Please follow school dress code (no pajamas)

  • School appropriate language and behavior

  • Respect each other during the meeting

  • Students (and teachers) have the option to turn off their video if they are more comfortable participating that way

  • This is a fun way to re-connect, but we also need to keep it school/professional.

This week at the Lowell

Celebrating our Lowell School Fifth Graders!

The years have flown by for the Lowell School 5th Graders who will soon be on to middle school. Each week this year, we look forward to celebrating them here in the Principal's newsletter. Best wishes to all! We are so proud of you!

Congratulations, Maisie!



What are you looking forward to in middle school?

I’m looking forward to more challenging classes and going from class to class and having different teachers. That part is exciting and novel to me!

What is your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobby is swimming. I am on a swim team and when I am in the water everything melts away and I feel strong and happy.

Tell your classmates something they might not know about you.

I love mythology - I love reading and learning about the mythology of different cultures. Whenever I discover a new god, goddess, deity, or monster I didn’t know about already, I feel a thrill!

Congratulations, Noah!


What is your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobby is skateboarding because I enjoy doing it with my dad and my brother. And it’s really fun.

What are 3 words that describe you?

Energetic, smart, and kind.

What’s your favorite Lowell School memory?

My favorite memory from the Lowell School was in first grade with Ms. Peca/Mrs. Hantson making Snowman Soup (aka delicious hot chocolate).

Voluntary Student COVID Testing

We will be continuing our voluntary student COVID pooled testing this week at our elementary schools. Lowell will be testing on Tuesdays (Cohort A) and Wednesdays (Cohort B). Testing moving forward will take place in each of the elementary schools throughout the school day, with minimal disruption to instructional time. Please click here for more information.

Upcoming Events

Martin Luther King Day

On Monday, Jan. 18th, there will be NO school to commemorate MLK Day. The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 18, 2021, is the 26th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

Watertown Unity Breakfast

Monday, Jan. 18th, 10am

This is an online event.

More information

Please join our community for a virtual version of this important Watertown tradition honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and our commitment to racial, economic, and social justice.



Note: you can also watch UB21 on your TV -- channels 9 (Comcast) and 3 (RCN).



Please follow the link to the flyer for the 2021 Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Unity Breakfast.

Make MLK Day a Day On Not Just a Day Off!

The Lowell School invites you to make a difference on

Martin Luther King Jr. Day!


Student materials and directions will be given to students this week in class. Our virtual school students will receive their materials with their Lowell T-shirts and book bags on Monday, January 11th, just in time for the latest Materials Distribution Day.


We will be making cards to send to children who are in the hospital through an organization called Cardz for Kidz. We are sending every student home with cardstock and colored pencils, but feel free to use any of the following materials to decorate your cards:


  • Glue or tape

  • Scissors

  • Construction paper

  • Colored pencils/crayons/markers/paint

  • Stickers

  • Magazines


IMPORTANT: We want the cards to be positive! Cardz for Kidz asks that we do not include phrases that talk about illness. Please DO NOT include the phrases like “get well soon,” “hang in there,” “stay strong,” or “feel better!”


Here are some phrases you could put on your cards:

  • “Have a great day!”

  • “You are loved!”

  • “You are awesome!”

  • “You are strong!”

  • “You’re the best!”

  • “Don’t forget to smile today!”

  • School-appropriate jokes

  • Other positive messages


Please sign your card with your first name only.

If you speak a language other than English at home, you can also write your cards in that language! Please write the language on a post-it and stick it to your card.

Parent Diversity Council Meeting

Our next Parent Diversity Council meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 21st from 6:00-7:00pm. The agenda for this meeting is below

  • Diverse Book orders (round 2)
  • Starting Student Diversity Council



Topic: Lowell Diversity Council

Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime


Join Zoom Meeting

https://watertown-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/j/96342530411


Meeting ID: 963 4253 0411

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Meeting ID: 963 4253 0411

Find your local number: https://watertown-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/u/abjZ4umbDm


Virtual International Week



The PTO will be sponsoring a virtual International week on January 25th- 29th. This week will celebrate our community's cultural diversity. There will be opportunities to share songs, dance, recipes, stories, and more from countries around the world. More information will be coming out soon!

Technology Updates

We look forward to supporting you with your educational technology questions.


Here is a link to the weekly 01/08 Family Ed-Tech for All Newsletter, LIVE Ed-Tech Support Sessions, Resources, Tutorials & tips that are curated and created, just for you. Do you need help with Ed-Tech? Please complete the WPS Ed-Tech Support Request Form. A member of the WPS Ed-Tech team will reach out to you within 1 school day.


Additional Updates:

1. Please visit our WPS Family Ed-Tech for ALL Website for updated resources.


2. Here is a link to the WPS Student Data Privacy Initiative Website


3. How to install Google Read and Write on Chrome


Thank you and have a terrific day,

Rashmi Pimprikar (District Ed-Tech Coordinator), Digital Learning Team and IT Team

Parent Resources

PTO Corner

Updates:


Happy New Year from the Lowell PTO! We hope you enjoyed the time off and we look forward to supporting the school community in 2021. Please read along for some important PTO announcements.


Order a School Shirt: We hope you liked your school shirt! School shirts were distributed to students, teachers, and staff before break. Remote students will be receiving their shirts during the next distribution day. The PTO is now selling shirts if you would like to purchase any additional ones for kids or adults. Shirts cost $15. Order and payment information are available through this Google Form: https://forms.gle/dkBBmeid1KipPFWD9


Let’s Chat: Please use Padlet to share any question, thought, or concern that you might have with the Lowell School’s team that supports students’ social and emotional well-being. Look for the plus sign (+) on the bottom right to add your response. The experts will answer you there and through the monthly “Let’s Chat” events.


Upcoming PTO Meeting: Please join us on Tuesday, January 12 at 6:30pm. All are welcome! The link for the Zoom meeting is found on the Lowell PTO website. We’ll be discussing upcoming events including International Week and the Read-a-thon.



Save the Date for International Week! We'll be having a fun-filled week of virtual events January 25 - 29 to celebrate our community's cultural diversity. There will be opportunities to share songs, dance, recipes, stories, and more from countries around the world.



Talking to Kids in Difficult Times: Thanks to Liz Marino for compiling some helpful resources for families to navigate discussing this week's events in DC.

Helping Kids Understand the Riots at the Capitol from the Child Mind Institute

Helping Kids Navigate Scary News Stories from PBS Kids

How to talk to your kids about the chaos at the Capitol from National Geographic