EMS Newsletter

October 30, 2020

Dear EMS Families,

Today was the last day of the first quarter. It has been quite an unusual start to a school year. Regardless, throughout each day, we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with your kids.

Please see the message below regarding "Incomplete" grades. Students are expected to turn in work and to reach learning targets. We have created the "Incomplete" guidelines in case students have struggled with remote access. We would like to continue to support efforts.

As we move forward, we are shifting some staffing in order to better accommodate students on their remote days. Students who are fully remote will receive a schedule for "live" learning sessions for math, science and humanities by Monday. In one week, we will expand the opportunity to include "drop in" capability for hybrid students to access on their remote days. That schedule will be finalized and distributed next week.

The Vermont "Strong and Healthy Start" guidelines changed significantly last Friday. The new guidelines necessitate more changes in our procedures. For example:

- Starting on Monday, we will no longer be doing the morning screening on the lawn. We will have the students enter the building immediately, and the screening will take place at the building entrance. (Please drop your child off as close to 7:50 a.m. as possible. Anyone who comes earlier will be screened and will wait in the gym until school starts.)

- We have had to cease using the cafeteria for lunches.

Each day, I send a message to the entire staff. Below is today's message. We are so grateful...

As I travel throughout the building...

I see professionals working hard to serve students...

Caring about the needs of each student...

Pulling these amazing kids closer...

And I am grateful to be a part of this team.

With Gratitude,


Important Information about Quarter 1 Grades

Last year, schools made significant changes to their grading practices in recognition of the challenges and limitations of a sudden shift to remote learning. This fall, most schools entered the year planning to use the grading practices they used pre-COVID. Yet we are still not teaching and learning in pre-COVID conditions. With that in mind...

Students failing a Quarter 1 course will initially be assigned an “Incomplete” rather than an “F”.

This decision is based on a few premises:

  • Grades are meant to represent what students know and can do;

  • When a student has not turned in multiple learning tasks, teachers are unable to determine what students know and can do -- there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate proficiency as measured against specific course criteria;

  • When a student submits tasks that show they have not yet mastered essential learning objectives, it is our responsibility to circle back and offer additional support to the student to work toward or reach mastery.

What does an “I” mean?

An “I” (Incomplete) means one of two things:

  1. The student has not submitted enough classwork (evidence) to allow the teacher to assess content mastery, and more evidence is needed; OR

  2. The student has submitted classwork that shows a lack of mastery and a need for additional support and revision/resubmission of assignments is needed to achieve a passing grade.

In both cases, the grade of “I” will be accompanied by a teacher comment indicating the reason for the Incomplete for a given course.

What happens after my child is assigned an "I"?

An Incomplete begins the following process:

  • Teachers will determine precisely which essential skill(s), learning objective(s), and/or proficiency/ies the student must demonstrate mastery of in order to earn a passing grade for the quarter

  • Teachers will create a makeup work plan that identifies what tasks need to be completed, how they will be assessed, and a clear timeline for completion (typically, 2-4 weeks after the end of Quarter 1, depending on what tasks need to be completed)

  • Students will be able to work with their teachers and other supports to get help

  • Once the makeup work due date has passed, teachers will assess what has been submitted, using their best professional judgment to determine the letter grade earned.

What if my child chooses not to complete tasks to resolve their “Incomplete”?

This is an opportunity for students to have another chance to complete work and learn skills in order to earn a passing grade. Students are strongly encouraged and will be given all possible support to take advantage of this opportunity. Yet, if despite all reasonable efforts outlined below, a student elects not to complete the work plan for satisfactorily resolving the “Incomplete”, an “F” will be assigned at the end of the makeup window. The student’s choice not to complete the plan will be noted in the grade report.

Important Information about Our Remote Elective Classes

Expectations for Attendance and Work Completion for Remote Electives

Students are expected to attend both their in-person and remotely-offered courses; attendance is taken daily. Please keep in mind in particular that remotely-offered courses meet synchronously; when a student elects to enroll in a remotely-offered course on their at-home days, they are committing to attend these class meetings just as they would on-site class offerings; failure to attend or complete classwork will negatively impact their grade.

At the start of Quarter 2, students (and families) enrolled in remote electives will receive communication from the remote teacher as to the dates and times of these class meetings, as well as attendance and grading expectations. If your child is enrolled in a remote course, please support their success by ensuring that consistent attendance and work completion is part of their daily at-home routine.

Information about Disenrolling from Remote Electives

If your child enrolls in a remotely-offered elective during Quarter 2, and then changes their mind about attending or are no longer able to maintain this responsibility, please contact the teacher and/or Julia Stein as soon as possible to consider disenrollment options, and/or to potentially enroll in a different available elective course. All students enrolled in a course will receive a quarterly grade, even if they choose not to attend, so if your child is no longer able to participate in a remote elective, the school needs to be notified right away.

Looking for more “Live” Courses on Remote Days?

EMS is offering an array of remotely-taught courses that fully remote and hybrid students can attend from home. It is not too late to join! If your child is interested in taking one or more of the classes below -- or you wish to add more synchronous learning to their remote days -- please contact either Julia Stein or the class’s teacher as soon as possible to check availability and potentially get your child enrolled for Quarter 2. Elective offerings include:

  • Spanish - Ms. Smith

  • French - Ms. Smith

  • Chorus - Ms. Ott

  • Band - Mr. Lambert

  • Orchestra - Mr. Hakim

Introducing MusicFirst for EMS BAND! Students

This week the EMS BAND! is rolling out an exciting new software that will allow our students to get a great amount of support while learning music at home. They will be able to hear the song, change the speed, get immediate feedback, and have a backing track play while they practice/play. In short, MusicFirst will be helping us to create, understand, and learn music more fully during our remote band program.

Follow these steps to log in

1) Go to and bookmark: https://edmunds-ms.musicfirstclassroom.com/login

2) Your username is your name with capital letters and no spaces or hyphens

Example 1: Graham Lambert = GrahamLambert

Example 2: Graham Foster-Lambert = GrahamFosterLambert

3) Your password is: emsband

4) Watch this introductory lesson on how to use MusicFirst

Submitting Assignments and Grading

- To submit a recording to complete an assignment you will still take a video with your Chromebook and submit that to your Unified Classroom assignment.

- All grading will still be done on Unified Classroom

Edmunds Celebrates Bullying Prevention, #BLUEUP !

EMS has been participating in Bullying Prevention Activities throughout this month. Students and staff wore bandaids as a reminder to all that bullying hurts, and that we are all here to help heal one another. EMS also came together as one big team and rocked out blue shirts for #BLUEUP Day to raise awareness of bullying prevention.


Pandemic Portraits Take 2

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

Toni Morrison

Our main job as artists is to make the art that only we can make, right now in the times in which we are living.
Allison Smith

After looking at the work of contemporary collage artists Patrick Bremer, David Hockney, Benon Lutaaya, and Derek Gores, 7th and 8th grade students set about creating their own portraits using collage as the medium.

The patience needed to create these pieces is nothing short of herculean. 7th and 8th graders deserve a medal for their persistence and commitment to this persnickety art from. Absolutely fabulous work!

Judy Klima

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