Deer Families

Deer Hill School News . May 1, 2020

Hello Deer Hill Families,

This week's PEP includes Deer Hill's updated Remote Learning Plan. Feel free to skip ahead to the Something Educational section to take a peek, but don't forget to circle back to the rest of our newsletter -- there are some darling pics of Deer Hill students showing off their remote learning smarts!

Something Personal

Maybe your family has a calendar like we do -- one that you make each January with pictures of the year before. Ours hangs in the laundry room, and I found myself avoiding it (a perfect excuse to not do laundry!) because it made me sad to see the pictures from last spring of places we went and things we did. As if there isn't enough to think about, I started worrying about what our next calendar would look like. Coupled with the fact that both of my kids are now camera-wary teens, and I was sure there would be nothing worthy of a calendar. However, when I took a few minutes to scroll through my camera roll, a different picture emerged; one that tells an authentic story of how our lives are now. Sometimes sad, sometimes very very funny, I have pictures of hearts in windows throughout my neighborhood, walks we take together as a family, and even the container of Clorox wipes that I was so happy to score for my mom at our beloved general store in town. I have puzzles we've completed, a selfie of us wearing masks so thoughtfully sewn by a Deer Hill 3rd grader, and LOTS of pictures of what I've been eating, including a chocolate chip cookie my daughter passed to me one night when the emails felt daunting. I have many more pictures of our dogs, Roxy and Finn, than I might otherwise, and I have simple moments of sibling harmony and industriousness, such as when they band together as my dinner sous chefs. It was by looking through these pictures that I realized our family will have many memories of this time to share. Like our world today, our calendar will look quite different, and that's okay. As the Beatles sang, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, life goes on, brah, Lala how their life goes on." How grateful I am for that.

Something Educational

Last Friday, Commissioner Riley from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) shared additional guidance in response to the closure of school buildings through the remainder of this academic year. Based on this guidance, I would like to share our updated Deer Hill Remote Learning Plan with you. Thank you for taking the time to read it, though I will offer one spoiler: beginning next Friday, May 8th, our Weekly Communications will be shared with families on Friday evenings by 5:00 pm for the upcoming week (I think I'm able to hear the cheers from my open window!). Thank you for keeping in mind that I strongly encourage teachers to unplug over the weekends in order to be at their best for their work with students during the week. Please understand that emails received over the weekend will be addressed during typical school hours or at the discretion of individual teachers. The updates in this plan also address details on the impact of the newly identified Prerequisite Content Standards on curriculum content, a rationale for our approach to synchronous instruction, and information regarding our Grading Policy for Trimester 3. I am proud of the ongoing efforts of Deer Hill staff and know that their commitment to students will not waiver. While you may not agree with every detail of how we are implementing remote learning, I appreciate that the emails I receive recognize the dedication, effort, and caring that Deer Hill staff are demonstrating. I count that as a win.

P.S. A reminder that progress reports have been published to Aspen accounts today. You can access these reports through the CPS Aspen Login page. Please email Heidi Salerno and cc Collette McElhinney if you are having difficulty logging in to your child's Aspen account. This Aspen Student Portal login information may also be helpful to you.

Something Profound

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our district prided itself on keeping social-emotional learning (SEL) at the forefront of what we do. CASEL's 5 Core Competencies are outlined in our Deer Hill Family Handbook and are embedded in our daily practices throughout the building. Our emphasis on SEL has only heightened in recent weeks. In the article, Social-Emotional Learning Should Be Priority During the COVID-19 Crisis, Tim Walker provides insight into why any academic work we hope to accomplish during this time is predicated on the social-emotional wellbeing of our students, their families, and school staff, too. Quoted in this article, Christina Cipriano, Director of Research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (YCEI) articulates it well. “It’s a daunting reality, no question, but the worst thing we can do for our teachers, students, and families is de-prioritize SEL during the pandemic,” she explains. “It is next-to-impossible to expect teaching and learning to occur in a crisis without attending to our emotions.” While Phase III of remote learning will sharpen our academic focus, Deer Hill will continue to put our care and concern for our students' wellbeing first.

All the best,

Alexandra L. Sullivan

Principal, Deer Hill School

Deer Sightings & Photo Opps

There's a lot of heart and a lot of learning in this week's photo gallery!

Life Imitates Art

Inspired by a challenge from the J. Paul Getty Museum, Mrs. Berman encouraged Deer Hill artists to recreate famous works of art. They did not disappoint!

Cohasset Cares Cards

It's not too late to participate in this community service project! We are so grateful to the Cohasset Fire Department for collecting our cards and to 5th grade teacher, Ms. Bradford, for organizing the drive. Once you'e donated some cards, go home and make some more!
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Deer Hill's Flipgrid Fun

Deer Hill staff misses our students. How much? If you didn't peek at our Staff Flipgrid that was shared last week, here's your chance to see for yourself!
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March Madness Book Brackets

Final votes for the last matches of Round 2 are due on Sunday, and we will start our Final Four matches on Tuesday. Keep watching and casting your votes to ensure your favorite book stays in the game!
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