Back to School News 2020-2021

Hawley Elementary School ~ August 29, 2020

From the Desk of Mr. Moretti

Dear Hawley Parents/Guardians,

I hope that you are safe and well, and having a terrific summer making memories with family and friends. We have been busy gearing up for the start of an exciting, yet very different, new school year.

We are looking forward to seeing all our returning faces and welcoming our new students and families to the Hawley School Community. I hope you had the opportunity to watch the video that I sent out Friday with some generic information. If not, click here for the link to the Principal's Video Message.

I wanted to take a moment and share some information that will be helpful for you to have prior to the start of school. Things are very different and there are many changes. It is more important than ever to read things that come home thoroughly.

As always, if you have any unanswered questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

See you soon-

Christopher Moretti
Excited Hawley Principal


Welcome Back from Ms. Connors

Dear Hawley Families,

Welcome back to school! I am so excited for the 2020-2021 school year. I have enjoyed my summer with my children, and I am now looking forward to all of the energy and excitement that a new school year brings. I am busy preparing for our opening days and cannot wait to see all of the smiling faces the first days of school. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns as the school year approaches.


Jenna Connors, Lead Teacher

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Our Dynamic Classroom Teachers are back and excited to greet their students (under any conditions). With enrollment shifts, retirements, and changes to our schedule- we have some new Teams (see next section for new teachers). Here is our Amazing Starting Lineup:


  • Mrs. Albano, Mrs. Cappelli & Ms. Lubin

Grade 1

  • Mrs. Davies, Mrs. Leja & Mrs. Shanahan

Grade 2

  • Mrs. Fries, Mrs. Rea, Mrs. Vazzano & Mrs. Whitmore

Grade 3

  • Mrs. Galassi, Mr. Haber & Mrs. Pirone

Grade 4

  • Ms. Markelon, Mr. Poeltl & Ms. Tatto


  • Mrs. Griffin Walter & Ms. Donath


  • Mrs. Carlson


  • Mrs. Marak


  • Mr. Michlovitz


  • Senora Montanez & Senora Justiniano


There have been some staff additions. We are fortunate to have found amazing talent to add to our school this year. Please join me in welcoming the following individuals to the Hawley School Community/Family.
  • Sabina Rea taught 3rd grade at Sandy Hook all last year including Distance Learning in the spring.
  • Jean Griffin Walter is the art teacher at Middle Gate. She will now be splitting her time with us here at Hawley as well.
  • Carly Donath joins our Art Department. She joins us from the Glastonbury School District.
  • Nicole Justiniano joins our World Language Department. She comes to us after working for Fairfield Public Schools.


We look a little different this year. That being said, we still care for kids and love our jobs. We can make anything fun. We are so glad to be back, we don't care how it looks. But here are what typical classrooms look like by grade....


I realize that a tremendous amount of information is being sent home and it is difficult to keep track of it all. That being said, for your child's comfort, it is important that you know and understand what the plans are for school (as a District and in individual schools).

Again, here are the plans:

  • Click Here for the Newtown Public Schools Re-Entry Plan
  • Click Here for the Models of Instruction (Distance Learning & Hybrid Models)


The Hybrid Model allows us to open school with fewer students in the building at one given time. It helps us to return safely and build comfort while being able to back-trace in the event the virus begins to spike.

Students have been divided into Cohorts (A, B & D).

  • Cohort A- This Cohort is in the building for In-Person Instruction Monday & Tuesday, and are At-Home Learners Wednesday-Friday
  • Cohort B- This Cohort are At-Home Learners Mon-Wednesday, and are at Hawley for In-Person Leaning Thursday & Friday
  • Cohort D- This Cohort has elected to be At-Home Learners every day.

The tentative plan is for Elementary Schools to move to an All In Model on Monday, October 5. Throughout the year, schools may move between models depending on the number of confirmed cases in the area. Be prepared as a family to shift between Models (All-In, Hybrid & All Distance Learning).
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During the first few days of school, as I explained in my Principal's Video Message, there will be fewer Live interactions with the At-Home Learners. This is based on testing equipment, addressing glitches, and the repetitive nature of the start of the year at an Elementary School. It will pick-up as we move along.

At-Home Learners may receive assignments in advance, but not like in the spring. They will not be sent a week's worth of work to complete when available. They will be given instructional times that they will need to Log In Virtually to participate in the class (via Google Meet). This includes Specials (such as Library and Music). Work will also need to be completed and returned in a timely manner. Attendance is taken and work is graded.

Teachers will be reaching out to Distance Learners before school starts to meet. It can be in person if you are comfortable coming to the building (1 student/1 parent). If not, a Google Meet will be arranged. It is important to us to develop relationships with our students, especially those not physically in the classroom.


We are working hard to have contingencies in place in the event a teacher is out. We are training our building subs as well as District subs in the technology. Some teachers may only be out a day or two, some longer (ex quarantine). Remote Teaching is part of the Re-Entry Plan and is a possibility at any given moment.

Remote Teaching would be mainly for student continuity and connection (not forcing a teacher to take a leave) or if a teacher is not sick but needs to quarantine (they can still teach with me covering the classroom with a sub).

Parents will definitely be notified in the event their child's classroom has or moves to a Remote Teacher. At this time, Hawley does not have any remote teachers.


As I have shared with you in the past, Chromebooks will be the device used in every grade level this year. Chromebooks will be available for any student that needs one. By need, I mean that they do not have one at home that they can use and that they did not borrow one last year.

Multiple surveys were sent giving you the opportunity to request one. Once delivered to the school, I will arrange for you to come pick them up (especially those that need them for the first day of school- Distance Learners and Cohort B).

Older students might bring them to and from school and younger students most likely will leave them at home. No student will need to, nor should, bring their own personal device (family bought and owned) to school.

Instruction for the At Home Learner

All classrooms have cameras and microphones. At predetermined times of the day, students will log into a Google Meet. They will be able to see their teacher (and sometimes their classmates) as well as the SmartBoard or whatever teaching tool the teacher is displaying (chart, calendar, book, math manipulatives, etc). The teacher will be able to see the At-Home Learners.

This is in a perfect world. Mics will not work, cameras will freeze, internet will drop. Patience and Flexibility will be required. Everything will be fixed and addressed but it may take time. And that is OK. No one is going to be in trouble and no grades will suffer for things that are out of the student's or teacher's control. We are in this together and will figure it out together, by helping each other.


Social Distancing

In classrooms, desks are spaced 4-6 feet apart. Most hallway travel will be managed or supervised. When walking in the hallways, students will be distanced in their lines to the largest degree possible that makes sense for the age. Bus rooms/lines as well as parent pick-up will also find students spaced apart 4-6 feet.


Everyone in the building (Staff & Students) will wear masks at all times. It is my hope that all students have been acclimating to wearing masks throughout the summer. Students that refuse to wear or keep a mask on will be encouraged to do so. In the event we are unsuccessful in getting a student to keep on a mask, a parent will be called to pick the child up.

We are aware that wearing a mask all day, especially in warm weather, is uncomfortable. There will be opportunities for mask breaks under conditions that still meet the Sate/District Safety Guidelines. When spaced farther apart, 8-10 feet, and outside or in a large area (like the Multi-Purpose Room, students can remove their masks. They will also receive managed breaks in the classroom when using their Desk Shields for independent work. Students also will not be wearing masks during lunch or snack, as they are either spaced further apart and/or are using the Desk Shields.


We are trying to keep as many traditions as we can while following State/District Guidelines. So these events are going to happen, they are just going to look a little different.

Kindergarten Bus Run

We are holding this event two times this year, Monday (8/31) for Cohort A and Tuesday (9/1) for Cohort B. Buses will pick students up between 8:05-8:45 (depending on the route). Students arrive at Hawley between 8:45-9:00. Students not riding the bus can be dropped off at Hawley around 9:00. Students will meet their teacher and classmates, and see their classroom. They can be picked up at Hawley at 9:30.

I feel it is important for parents, especially if this is your first child, to see your child's classroom and meet their teacher. I must follow guidelines but have found a way to accommodate. We will gather in the Bus Loop around 9:30. One parent (no siblings) will be allowed into the classroom for 10-15 minutes to see the room and meet the teacher.

New Family Meet

I also feel that if you are new to Hawley that you also have the right to see the building, your child's classroom and meet the teacher. Teachers will be reaching out to New Families to arrange a time for you to visit. Again, we can accommodate one parent and no siblings (unless you are visiting a sibling's classroom immediately afterward).


A highlight of mine each year is the Walk-Through. I just love the excitement of all the kids back in the building and the energy of seeing everyone again. Obviously we can not do this under State/District Guidelines. That being said, each teacher or Team will hold a 15 minute Google Meet with parents to introduce themselves and show you the classroom Virtually.

Although the events are different, being able to begin the school year connecting with families remains our priority. I am pleased to be able to still do these things to build the excitement of a new school year while reducing some of the anxieties that are present. Your understanding and support is greatly appreciated.

Parking Lot

At Hawley School, parking is a luxury. We only have 1 entrance/exit, a narrow drive-way and barely enough parking spaces for staff. There are 3 Visitor Parking Spaces by our Main Entrance. Our School Community has always been extremely patient, flexible and courteous when it comes to this and it has always been greatly appreciate

Please maintain proper speed (5-10 mph) and do not be on your cell phone while driving.

Allow others to pass and be mindful of Bus Lights


Our morning arrival and drop off procedures will remain the same, they just will be managed a bit more, slowed down and/or stretched out.

Buses will be unloaded one at a time by grade level. This reduces the number of students on the Bus Loop at one time as well as in the hallways.

Student Drop Off

Students that are driven in the morning are to be dropped off at the designated area around the back of the building. Please follow the signs/cones through the playground blacktop area to the turn-around-loop. Drop off normally occurs between 8:45 am and 9:00 am., but I am anticipating an increased number of students being dropped off at the start of this year. For this reason, we will keep drop off doors open as long as there is a steady stream of cars.

For safety, parents do not exit the car, but rather pull up to the designated area and students exit the car on the right side and enter the building immediately. Please pull up a car length past the door to allow more students to be dropped off, moving the line faster. A staff member will be at the door to monitor safe drop off procedures.

Students are not to be dropped off at the main entrance during Drop Off times.

Drivers are reminded not to be using cell phones while driving in the parking lot.

~ Dismissal & Student Pick Up ~


Our dismissal procedure will be slow and managed this year to limit the number of students in the hallways at one time. Students will be escorted to Bus Rooms/Hallways and then to buses as they are called.

VERY IMPORTANT (please read carefully)

Student Pick-Up

Our Parent Pick-Up process was a challenge Pre-Covid simply based on limited space in our parking lot. It is even more difficult with the added layer of Covid Guidelines. The below system eliminates parking, parents waiting in lines, and students walking through a busy parking lot. It's a little kooky and will require everyone knowing what to do and being in the proper location at the proper times. Learning in Hybrid will help as there will be fewer people at the start.
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We will no longer be parking on the playground blacktop area but lining up cars in 3 rows FACING the PLAYSCAPE with parents remaining in cars. Drive carefully as it will be tight. There will also be staggered times to line up to accommodate different situations. I will be out there each day to help make sure everyone is where they need to be as we learn this new system.

LINE 1: Begins at 3:20/25. As you pull into the playground blacktop area, you start the line closest to the parking lot/building (along the fence). This line is for parents picking up students at Hawley that then need to drive over to Reed to pick up a sibling (we are assuming this could be a situation for those still nervous about the bus). If you have students that you are picking up at both schools, we ask that you pick up your Hawley student first as we are dismissing early for this reason. I suggest carpooling with friends at the different schools if possible (one family picking up students at Hawley and another at Reed).

LINE 2: Begins 3:30/35. You are the middle row. This line is for parents picking up only Hawley students.

LINE 3: This line will begin around 3:40 and will be along the field side of the blacktop (basketball hoop side). This line is for parents picking up Hawley students and Reed School siblings that ARE riding over on the bus shuttle.

We are making laminated signs with your last name on it to be placed on your dashboard. (Cohort A will need a makeshift one for the first day). I will use the walkie-talkie to radio in names as I allow cars to drive around to the back loop. No car leaves the blacktop area until waved on. Cars line up in the loop area and students will be escorted by staff to cars (NO PARENT is to get out of a vehicle). Once your child is in your car, you drive out and the next wave of cars are waved around.

My hope is as we learn this system, it continuously flows like clockwork and does not back up. I am expecting delays at first and your patience and support is appreciated.

Again, it is imperative that you learn this system and explain it to anyone picking up your child. It is also vital that you are in the right line. Those that are not will be asked to exit the area, drive around and re-enter in the proper location.

Bus Information / Walkers

Bus numbers with routes and times will be available on the District website or by clicking here.


  • In the morning, buses stop at Hawley first and then go to Reed.
  • In the afternoon, Reed students are picked up first and buses then come to Hawley.
  • Reed students, in the afternoon, transfer from the shuttle buses to the bus they take home, or go to the gym if being picked-up with a Hawley sibling.


  • Students being picked-up after school need a note saying so. Notes can be sent in as needed, daily, or a permanent one-time note (ex. everyday, every Tuesday).
  • Notes about a student being picked-up should be sent in to whichever school the student attends (Hawley/Reed). Reed will communicate this information to us.
  • All pick-ups occur in the gym (see procedures above under student pick up)
  • Reed students WITH Hawley siblings can be picked-up together at Hawley. We get a list of pick-ups from Reed, the Reed student gets off the shuttle, walks in the front door, and meets their sibling and you in the gym.
  • No Reed student is picked-up at Hawley if there is no sibling attending Hawley. They are picked-up at Reed.


  • A walker is defined as a student that walks off the school campus with no adult. If a parent meets a student, even if they walk home together, they are considered a pick-up and will be met by the parent in the gym with all pick-ups.
  • Walkers gather in our lobby, check in with our guard and then leave.
  • Reed students can meet a sibling in the lobby, check in with our guard, and walk as well.
  • There is a waiver that needs to be signed giving permission to walk and taking responsibility for safe routes. The waiver is available on our school website or by clicking HERE.

Bus Reminders

  • Each year, buses are delayed the first few days of school as routes and stops are ironed out and tweaked. The speed of routes depend on the number of students on the bus and, of course, weather and traffic. A routine and dependable time does emerge.
  • If you are a Distance Learner that returns to school or a student that has not been riding the bus for a while and decides to start- please notify the bus company as they may not be in the habit of stopping at your house/stop.
  • Bus Passes to other houses, per District Protocol, is usually restricted and/or limited. Under current conditions, it will NOT be allowed.
  • If your child goes to different locations during the week (ex. daycare Tuesday and Thursday) in which bus transportation is available, you can fill out an Alternative Bus Stop Form. The form is available on the Hawley school website or by clicking HERE.
  • If you are allowing your student to be dropped off at a bus stop with no adult present, a Bus Drop Off Waiver form must be filled out. The form is available on the Hawley school website or by clicking HERE

Your patience the first few weeks is greatly appreciated. Please arrive at stops a little early and remain a little afterward to be safe. Let the bus company know directly if there are any issues.

You certainly can also feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have.


To Explain Covid & Address Confusion & Help with Anxiety and Fear

Students are going to be excited to return but also nervous, anxious, and possibly scared. Remember, kids take their cues from adults. If you are calm and relaxed and excited, then they will be. Regardless to how you feel, reassure them that they are safe and that all the adults at school are there to help them and to take care of them.

We will address any issue that arises just like we do under any circumstance. The Re-entry Committee worked closely with the School Counselors to create a Wonderful Presentation. It is kid friendly and explains much of what is happening (what is the virus, why hand washing and social distancing, why masks, why some friends are home, and feelings we are having).

This will be presented to every student on the first days of school (to both Cohorts live) and periodically as needed. I want to share the presentation with you so you are familiar with it and may use the same language at home. Click Here for the Presentation.

Miscellaneous Information

  1. District School Calendar 2020/2021: click here
  2. 2020-2021 Supply Lists: Located on our school website under the Halwey Parent Resources tab or you can click here
  3. District Early Release and Delayed Opening Professional Development Days: click here for a complete list.
  4. Current/Updated Contact Information: It is imperative that our database contains updated and accurate information. This includes, but is not limited to, addresses and all phone numbers, local emergency contacts, and the email addresses that you would like to use to receive school communications. Our 1st Day Packet will contain directions on how to log in, set up an account, and use the Parent Portal in PowerSchool. New families have had this already mailed to them.
  5. Student Picture Use: There are many wonderful events that occur throughout the year at Hawley School. We love to share pictures of them with you through our website, newsletters, Twitter and the Newtown Bee. We can only use your child's likeness with your yearly permission. You can grant this by updating your student's information in PowerSchool using the ParentPortal. Again, we need permission granted each year.

~ Funny Bones ~

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Our Website

Our website contains a tremendous amount of information and has the answers to most questions including, but not limited to, dates to remember, forms, handbooks, pictures, access to PowerSchool, PTA information, teachers websites and much more.

Click HERE to visit the Hawley website.


Follow us on Twitter @hawley_school to see pictures and to learn more about all things occurring at Hawley. You can also see Twitter Happenings on our school website.

  • For us to use your child's likeness, we need your permission. Permission must be given yearly. You can grant it via the ParentPortal.

Click HERE to go to the Hawley Twitter page.

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Final Thoughts

No one is happy about what is going on. I refuse to wallow in the misery and complain about everything. I choose to see all the wonderful people helping each other and celebrate a brand new school year (and am thrilled that teachers and students are returning to the building).

As I said in my Principal's Message Video, this year will be a Lazy River Ride. We start in the same place and we end in the same place. Some days we will be stuck on a rock or hit some rapids or even flip our tube. You know that another rider is going to come along at some point and help you out. Other days, there will be smooth sailing with calm, relaxing waters. And at the end, we look back fondly having enjoyed the ride.

I could not be more proud to be the educational leader of this amazing school community. We have such caring and dedicated staff that always put kids first. Our PTA provides such an array of student/family activities and cultural arts programming. You parents are so supportive of our work. And, if I can be so bold to say, the BEST students around.

Thank you for all that you do. If you have any difficulties opening links, if any information is confusing, or if there are any questions that you have, please reach out to me.

This may not be the school year that we want it to be,

but is going to be the best school year that it can be!!!