The Baker Buzz

Newton D. Baker School of Arts Family Newsletter - Mar. 2021

Reopening - A Message From Our CEO



I am pleased to provide an update on our plan to reopen CMSD schools for in-person instruction in a Hybrid Learning environment.

Today, I announced my recommendation to begin our transition from Remote to Hybrid Learning in a phased in approach over the next several weeks. This recommendation was based upon continued review of public health and safety data, survey data from students, parents and caregivers, information on the progress of staff vaccinations, and feedback from the Cleveland Board of Education.

First, on Monday, February 22nd, CMSD will begin practices for our spring athletic programs, including baseball, softball, boys tennis, and outdoor track and field. Our coaches and student athletes will be expected to adhere to carefully designed health and safety measures, including when and how to use masks during practices and contests, social distancing requirements, and proper personal hygiene and equipment sanitation requirements.

Next, on Monday, March 8th, the district will welcome back a number of our students with significant learning disabilities needing additional in-person attention and care. In addition to these students, some career-technical education students and some twelfth grade students requiring extra support may also be welcomed back to in-person learning.

Next, beginning on Monday, March 15th, we will begin to welcome back several student groups, including Level 1 and 2 English Language Learners, PreK students, students in grades K through two, off-track 9th grade students, off-track seniors, additional career-technical education students, and additional students with learning disabilities. This transition period will happen over a period of two weeks and will include an orientation period and a phased-in return to in-person instruction.

Beginning on Monday, March 22nd, we will begin a similar final transition period for all remaining elementary and middle grades students and all remaining high school students. Again, this two week transition period will include an orientation period before a phased-in return to in-person instruction.

This phased–in approach to reopening our schools will enable CMSD to honor its pledge to begin bringing students back by March 1st. It also enables us to more cautiously acclimate students and families to a Hybrid learning environment and the changes you can expect when schools reopen this spring.

Next week, parents and caregivers should expect to receive a Back to School mailer for each of their children that includes your child’s school and transportation assignment, as well as the days your student is assigned to in-person instruction at school.

The mailer details the Hybrid and Remote Learning options available and includes information on how families who choose to remain in remote learning can opt out of Hybrid Learning.

Families who prefer to keep students in fully remote learning can opt of their child’s hybrid learning assignment without losing seats in schools where the students are enrolled ​for the 2021-2022 school year. Contact our CMSD Enrollment Specialists to opt out of Hybrid Learning by calling 216-838-3675.

The same is true for parents who opt to enroll their student(s) in CMSD's virtual academy. The ​opt out period begins Monday, February 22nd and will remain open through March 19th for families opting out of Hybrid learning.

With students and staff returning to school buildings, it will be just as important as ever for our school community to continue following COVID-19 health and safety protocols to keep our school community safe.

The extensive health and safety protocols already in place in every CMSD school can be accessed on our website at where you can take a video tour of the changes you can expect to see when schools reopen and review information about hybrid and remote learning options, safety guidelines in place at your school, what to expect in a hybrid learning environment, Frequently Asked Questions and other information about our preparation to reopen CMSD schools.

While we know that for most students teaching and learning is best when our student and educators are together in school, I remain mindful of the need to be empathetic to the comfort levels of our school community during times of uncertainty. This is why we are providing an opportunity for families to opt out of Hybrid Learning if they wish to do so, by calling our enrollment specialists at 216-838-3675.

Thank you, to our families and caregivers, for your continued partnership on your child’s success. We look forward to welcoming those students and families who are ready to do so back to in-person learning soon and keeping you informed of our reopening plans and progress in the days ahead.

Hybrid Opt-Out Form

Complete this form if you would like your scholar to remain in remote (virtual) learning.

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A New Learning Pod

I am happy to announce that Newton D. Baker community partner, GCNCA, opened an academic learning pod on the West Side in February. They are enrolling 12 students in the pod located at Second Calvary Missionary Baptist Church (12017 Emery Avenue, Cleveland 44135). Below is a flyer for your reference.

Please contact Tiara McGuire at or Judy Varn at for enrollment information.

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March Testing Update

The following tests are conducted in March. Reach out to your scholar's teacher with any questions in regard to testing.

  • OELPA (Grades K-12) Feb. 1 – March 26, 2021
  • Alternate Assessment (AASCD) Feb. 8 - March 19
  • Early Learning Assessment (PreK) Feb. 16 - May 14

Be sure your scholar is able to perform to the best of his or her ability by having your scholar follow these tips:

  • Log into class on time and every day!
  • Complete synchronous and asynchronous assignments
  • Get a good night sleep.
  • Have a healthy and nutritious breakfast.
  • Practice every day!
  • Relax!

Mark Your Calendars

  • March 10 - No School for PreK & Kindergarten Only (Teacher Professional Development)
  • March 26 - End of Marking Period 3
  • March 29 - Spring Break Begins
  • April 6 - Students Return From Spring Break

**When hybrid learning begins, Wednesdays will remain asynchronous learning days. The school building will be closed for cleaning and sanitation.**

Virtual Learning Opportunities for Parents/Caregivers

There are many community partners, agencies and organizations offering FREE online learning opportunities. Please check out the offerings below to attend a variety of workshops on topics which will assist you with supporting your family and gain new skills. These offerings include Online Computer Training, free high-quality courses, and career training programs online, and SEL and academic workshops to support scholars and families. Check them out on our Parent University webpage.

Cleveland Public Library Delivery Service

Adult residents of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District may now have Cleveland Public Library books and movies shipped to their homes. Learn more about Words on Wheels at and Cleveland Public Library.

Baker Highlights

#CMSDSafe Staff Vaccinations

In an effort to keep everyone safe during CMSD's transition to hybrid learning, Newton D. Baker teachers and staff received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine in February. We're doing our part to be #CMSDSafe! Check out the pictures below!

SEL Lunch With Ms. Tobin

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is important in all settings including the remote setting. To promote SEL, Mrs. Tobin and Baker's Antibullying Group, The NDB Peacemakers host a lunch every Wednesday from 11:00-11:40. All 7th and 8th grade students are invited to join and socialize with their peers. Virtual games are played such as Scavenger Hunt, Blooket, Kahoot, and Simon Says. Prizes are given to the students with the most wins! However, everyone really wins with socializing and providing one another with emotional support.

If you would like further information on how to join, email Mrs. Tobin

Room 231 First Semester Awards

Ms. Smith would like to give a shout out to Aaron Rhone, Ennaisa Sankey, Alex Gonzalez and Julisa Thompson for all their hard work during the first semester! They all received Honor Roll in the subjects of ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. Ms. Smith celebrated with her scholars by putting together a fun and engaging awards presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint! Room 231 you rock! Keep up the good work.

Room 136B First Semester Awards

Ms. Dechant-Coleman would love to share that they had their very first Remote Awards Ceremony on Friday, February 12, 2021! Ms. Dechant-Coleman incorporated a disco themed wheel of names and the students received digital award certificates. These awards were created awards using Publisher and emailed the awards to the students and their families. The class celebrated academic and behavioral achievements by clapping, dancing, and playing music as each student received awards in the following categories: Math and Reading Awards, Honor Roll, Merit Roll, Perfect Attendance, Most Improved and All-Around Good Student. Each student earned 2 or more awards for all their hard work for the first semester.

Ms. Dechant would also like to shout out scholar's family members that attended including Capric Odom, Kimberly Pitts, Michael and Jennifer Edmonds! Thank you for being a part of the Baker family!

Beats With Doc

Fifth grade scholars in Ms. Burkhardt's & Ms. Campion's classes are working with Center For Arts-Inspired Learning (CAL) Artist, Doc Harrill on producing a hip-hop rap. Students are working with Doc to make up the "beats." In the remote setting he is using a computer program which he screen shares. Doc has opened the students' eyes and ears to the engineering process of creating music with multiple computer programs. The students make critical choices on not only the words but on how they want them to be emphasized in the song.

The students are at the halfway point of this 8 week creative writing program, which has been uplifting and given our students a platform for their voices and concerns. Students just began brainstorming ideas for the "hook." It's been a lot of fun watching and listening to their wonderful ideas!

The students are learning so much, including revising and editing in writing, fractions with 4/4 time, the engineering design process, sound concepts, and learning their Voices can be heard.

Check out the beginning of their song at THIS LINK.

Third Graders Respond to Growing Up or Remaining a Child?

Is It better to grow up or remain a child? Third graders contemplated that question recently while reading Peter Pan, the story of an adventurous, fun-loving boy who refuses to become a man. While many third graders look forward to growing up and shouldering adult responsibilities, at least half of Mrs. Sherwin’s third graders feel it is better to be a child than an adult.

On her ninth birthday, Isabella Martin shared her strong preference for remaining a child when she explained: “I have four reasons why I don’t want to grow up. The first reason why I don’t want to grow up is that I don’t want to have a job and do work all day. The second reason I want to stay a kid is that I want to live with my parents instead of moving away like people do when they grow up. My third reason to stay a kid is that I like playing video games, but if I have a job I won’t have much time to play. Finally, kids have more fun than grown-ups because we are less serious. Just like Peter Pan, I do not want to grow up—AT ALL!”

Meanwhile, Dak Majok welcomes the rewards of becoming an adult. He wrote: “I would like to grow up for four reasons. First, I don’t want to stay in school forever! Next, when I am a grown-up I won’t have to eat vegetables. Also, if I am a grown-up I can go on vacations whenever I want. Finally, I want to grow up so I can be a dad someday! Unlike Peter Pan, I can’t wait to grow up!”

The biggest reason students gave for not wanting to grow up is that they would miss their parents. In fact, several kids stated that they want to live with their parents forever!

Our Scholars Are Out of This World!

Ms. Campion's fifth grade class learned about the planets in our solar system. The scholars were asked to self-select a planet in the solar system, create a poster, and present the research project to the class. Research projects included information describing the atmosphere, distance from the sun, composition, diameter, and more!

In the picture on the right, Carter Starr shows off his presentation! Awesome work, fifth graders!

Stay Connected With Baker

Strong communication is the key to making a partnership work. While our staff will reach out in a number of ways (robo-calls, Schoology, Remind and ClassDojo as some examples), one of the best ways to stay up-to-date with the happenings at Newton D. Baker is through our Facebook page. Be sure to follow us! Access Newton D. Baker School of Arts on Facebook @ndbsoa.

Synchronous (On-Stage) vs. Asynchronous (Off-Stage)

Synchronous time is the live instruction held on Zoom or Teams that your scholar participates in at a set time on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Links to all live sessions are on the Seesaw/Schoology pages of the teacher.

Asynchronous learning is student-centered and student-guided learning. Examples of asynchronous learning include self-guided lesson modules, pre-recorded video content, virtual libraries, and discussion boards.

As much as your scholar would like you to believe - Wednesdays are not "free" days. On the contrary, they are strictly dedicated to asynchronous time. There is assigned classwork on your teacher's Seesaw/Schoology page. Office hours are held in the morning where your scholar is able to meet with the teacher to receive extra help. This is also a good time for parents/guardians to meet with teachers as well!

As always, reach out to your scholar's teacher if there are any questions about what is assigned during asynchronous time!

Tech Respect & Responsibility

Families, we need your help with talking to your children about being respectful and responsible digital citizens. There have been a few items that have come up this year that teachers and administration have been and will continue to be addressing in class, but we would appreciate your help with reinforcing and monitoring at home. Thank you for partnering with us in creating amazing and safe digital citizens!

In Need of Tech Support?

If you have technology challenges, please call the CMSD Help Desk at 216.838.0440. They are there and eager to support!

If the problem has not been resolved through the Help Desk, then give us a call at the school. We are willing and eager to assist! Please call the CMSD Help Desk at 216-838-0440 before coming to the school with technology issues.

Need to Enroll?

If you are interested in enrolling a student at Newton D. Baker, please reach out to our secretary, Ms. Lee, directly at 216-838-6650.

If you would like more information about PK enrollment, please see the flyer below.

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Family Resources

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COVID-19 Assistance

If you or someone you know is in of need support because of the COVID-19 pandemic, please call the district's COVID-19 hotline at 216.838.WELL.

Newton D. Baker School of Arts

The Baker families are what drive this community! Reach out to Newton D. Baker in a number of ways!

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