The Hopkins School Hawk Squawk

Hopkins' Principal Updates - 1/18/2021

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Updates from the Hopkins' Office

Dear Hopkins' Families,

Every year, on the third Monday of January, Americans honor a humanitarian and champion for civil rights who left an indelible impact on our nation and world. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated tirelessly for justice- regardless of who we are or what our background, he believed that all of us deserve freedom and equality. As I took a few moments today to reflect on the words of this charismatic and passionate leader, I was struck by how timeless they truly are - and how critical it is to share them with our children. As you discuss the importance of MLK, Jr. at home this week, I have posted a video below by Kid President that discusses the life and message of this exceptional man.

This month, the Core Value that students at Hopkins will be reflecting upon is that of perseverance, the idea of taking on something difficult despite difficulty, hardship or setbacks. This ideal was echoed in many of the words of MLK, Jr., but especially when he stated, "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Perseverance is one area of SEL that is particularly hard to "teach." As parents, we are programmed for rescue from the moment of our children's birth. I believe it is a species-survival mechanism to pick them up when they fall, to save them from pain or heartbreak, and to minimize the challenges they face as they grow. When to intervene and when to not is a constant battle for many parents, myself definitely included! As educators, we face similar dilemmas- so often it would be easier to "give the answer" or "do it for them," forgetting that it is often the struggle that leads to the solution. Not every struggle is life-changing, but developing resiliency and grit in our children is born from adversity and these experiences have the ability shape and "build" character.

For the past five years, my daughter Maddie has suffered pain and trauma - physical and emotional, from multiple patella dislocations to her knees. The agony, disappointment and frustration she’s faced along the way are things I can only imagine- and she will no doubt be stronger and more successful in life having faced this rough and bumpy path. Two weeks ago, she started on what we are all hopeful might be the final chapter in this challenging stage of her early adolescent life - reconstructive knee surgery. We know there is much more work for her ahead - and making her take the first, tenuous steps towards recovery each day is scary, but necessary. As our school motto for the year states, “The best view comes after the hardest climb!"

I tell Maddie's story to illustrate those little choices we make all the time as an adult: should we run back home to get the forgotten soccer cleats or make our child sit on the sideline for that practice so they think twice about what they need next time? Do we help them finish the project they procrastinated on or let them take the lower grade? When they cry about the math problem they are stuck on, do we give them the answer or let them struggle to that final solution? Never is there one right answer- and each parent or teacher must make that call in the moment. It illustrates the intangible art and impromptu nature of both parenting and teaching.

As you know, I use the Hawk Squawk as an opportunity to share various videos, links and articles of interest to all those who partner with us to prepare our children for a happy and healthy future. I update the section below entitled, "Social Emotional Learning Resources for Families" throughout the year. This month's resources/videos are all about perseverance:

2021 started off with yet more heartache and exhaustingly terrifying news headlines. Between the events in Washington D.C. and the surreal numbers coming out related to COVID on a daily basis, we are no doubt in for a couple of long and dark months. As we approach a year's time from when the pandemic, along with the hateful rhetoric and heightened emotions of a nation divided, put us on the brink as a society, we need to "lean in" to each other more than ever. With the realities that our weary world is facing, we need to rely on the values that we hold dear. In closing, I'd like to leave you with a few more words from Martin Luther King, Jr. that seem particularly relevant, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”


Vanessa Bilello

Principal, Hopkins School

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The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President

Upcoming Hopkins' Events

  • Now through February 12th - Principal's Cabinet Service Project: Our Principal's Cabinet for Kindness/Empathy are sponsoring a service drive for the Baypath Humane Society, located in Hopkinton. Students can bring donations to the main lobby, where we have a box for donations. See info below for their wishlist of items for dogs and cats.

  • Friday, January 22nd - Memory Book Cover Contest Entries due to Hopkins' Office

  • Friday, January 22nd - Early Release Day (Conferences) - 12:15 PM Dismissal, Lunch is served

  • Thursday, January 28th and Friday, January 29th - Principal's Cabinet for Kindness Spirit Days - Teacher/Student "Swap" Days

  • Friday, January 29th - Early Release Day & Term 1 Ends - 12:15 PM Dismissal, Lunch is served

  • Monday, February 1st - Final HPS Student Learning Model Date (for families approved for change by Principal)

  • Thursday, February 11th- Term 1 Report Cards Viewable in PowerSchool

  • Friday, February 12th - NO SCHOOL (PDD)

  • Monday, February 15th - Friday, February 19th - February Vacation- NO SCHOOL
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Winter Scenes from Hopkins

Hopkins' Virtual Office

Click here to visit the Hopkins' virtual office, including important links and the Daily Announcements/Pledge of Allegiance!

Updates from the Hopkinton PTO

BOX TOPS- Yes, we are still collecting! An easy way to support our schools! You can contribute all year using the new Box Tops app:

Download for free, make an account and select the Hopkins School, then scan receipts within 14 days of purchase. No more clipping! If you happen to have some actual box tops still, turn into the Hopkins' office.

MEMBERSHIP- if you haven't already, please take a moment to visit and purchase or renew your membership. And thank you if you have! Your $25 membership fee means a lot to Hopkins, and to all the schools in Hopkinton. It helps to fund educational resources and programming in each building. In fact, that’s why we switched from being the HPTA to the HPTO - so that ALL the money from membership fees goes back to supporting our schools.

Your support really does make a difference in Hopkinton! It will continue to provide enrichment programs (most will happen this year, albeit with a twist), purchase supplement school curriculum or supply needs, support staff recognition, and much more! Wondering how you can support our efforts? JOIN! Also consider these options:

If you have any questions or want to find out how you can volunteer for the HPTO this year, please don't hesitate to reach out to us using the HPTO links above or email us at

-Nikki Howell and Katie Principe
Hopkins HPTO VPs

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Social Emotional Learning Resources for Families

Resources on Building Kindness in Children

Common Sense Media

Website supporting families and educators navigate a digital world where children and teens thrive through expert advices, reviews, objective advice, helpful tools and much more!

Challenge Success Parenting Video Collection

Click here to access parenting videos from the Challenge Success organization

Kids in the House

Parenting Resource for the modern parent, with over 8,000 videos from 450 experts

100 Free At-Home Learning Resources and Activities

Click here to explore a variety of awesome ideas for resources and activities to inspire learners of all ages- children and adult alike!

Hopkins' Counseling Department Resources

Social-emotional well-being is first and foremost for all of us! The Behavioral-Emotional Support Team of Hopkins, including Mrs. Shea (Guidance Counselor/504 Coordinator), Mrs. McCorvey (Adjustment Counselor), Mr. Shade (BCBA), Mrs. Clabbers (Psychologist), Mrs. Steen (Nurse), Mrs. Callahan (SPED Team Chair), Ms. Babson and I are firmly committed to helping families navigate these uncharted waters, so please reach out if you and your child need support! The Hopkins' Counseling Team has gathered a tremendous list of resources to support families, so please reach out if you need assistance!

Hopkinton Public Schools Tech Support

Distance Learning Resource Tutorials for Families

Click here to access HPS Online Tech Tools for Families

Support from HPS Tech Department

  • Mrs. Doty, our Elementary Technology Specialist, will be hosting a zoom "help desk" for Tech support office hours, where she will help families navigate the home learning experience and assist with questions, especially related to our new Learning Management System, Schoology. She will be available on Zoom each day of the week for basic account issues and troubleshooting Schoology and Seesaw issues. Please do not ask them about hardware issues, those issues should be addressed through the ticketing system. Her office hours are listed below
  • Schoology Video Link -

  • If you are have hardware or other tech problems related to your HPS device, please email and put your question in the body of the email and a ticket will be generated for you.
  • The Tech Center is managing and triaging all tickets and someone will reach out to you with help. If you see a reply from the helpdesk ticketing system please respond to it. This is how we can engage in a back and forth conversation about the issue. Please know that call volume is HIGH right now, so please show patience!
  • Techs will be available to help parents and students between the hours of 7:30am and 8pm. So please submit a ticket and we will get to your issue as soon as possible.
Hopkins' Remote Learning Expectations

Please click here to read the Hopkins' update on remote learning expectation to review as a family.

Hopkins School Key Info

What do I do if I have a technology related issue?

Please check out the full "tech section" above for info related to technology, including our new "help desk," hosted by Mrs. Doty, for support with our Learning Management System, Schoology, as well as the ticketing system info for hardware issues related to HPS devices.

What are school office hours?

Hopkins' office hours will be 7:30-3:30. Students may not be dropped off until 8:00 AM, when supervision will begin in the front of school, for walkers and parent drop-offs, and behind the building for busses. The tardy bell and announcements occur at 8:15 AM. At 3:30, the office closes and families will not be able to gain access to Hopkins.

What about lunch?

School lunch is available from HPS, including on home learning days. Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch. Remote Learning Students picking up lunch or student taking home lunch for their home learning days MUST Pre-Order meals by 7pm Wednesday for the following week. The order form is accessible from your Parent Portal in Powerschool. Please check the school calendar and the district website for details about the school lunch program.

What about all the Health Protocols?

Please check out the school webinar and district website for the latest information from our Department of Public Health and our District Nurses. Check out key slides from our district nurses below!

What about face coverings?

Please review this policy carefully and note:

(1) The Hopkinton Public Schools is not permitting the wearing of gaiters or bandanas;

(2) Cloth masks must have multiple layers of fabric;

(3) Disposable masks should be 3-ply.

The school district has been able to provide an optional face shield for every student and staff member.

In addition to the School Committee Policy, here are a few resources from the HPS Nursing Staff on preparing for the return to school and wearing a mask safely.

Policy EBCFA - Face Coverings

HPS Preparing for Return to School

9-14-20 HPS Wearing Masks at School

How can I get involved?

Families are encouraged to learn more about volunteer opportunities with both the HPTO (Parent-Teacher Organization - please see below for more info!), HEF (Hopkinton Education Foundation), and SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council). These are great ways to become part of our community at Hopkins- and are extremely important supporters of our schools in Hopkinton! We look forward to inviting families to volunteer in classrooms in a virtual format later in the year - stay tuned for updates!

Family Drop-Off and Pick-up Procedures:

For those of you not familiar with our process, information can be found on our website. Drop-offs in the morning start at 8:00. Please know that if you drop off your child prior to 8:00, we are unable to provide supervision or entry to the building. Therefore, we ask you aim for as close to 8:00 as possible. Our tardy bell rings at 8:15. The pick-up line will begin dismissing students promptly at 2:30. Be prepared with ID for all parent pick-ups at the end of each day. As seen in the image below, family drop-off/pick-up is at the areas marked on the map 2 & 3, along the sidewalk next to the front of the building.

Dismissal/Transportation Changes for Students:

It is critical to your child and our staff at Hopkins that we know your child’s dismissal routines, or, if there is a change to transportation at the end of the day. Please complete the dismissal change form for any changes for your child. Hopkins parents/guardians must complete dismissal changes before 1:15PM. Any dismissal changes also need to comply with our District’s Transportation policies.

Security Reminders

Drop-off/Pick Up Window:

Drop off hours for forgotten lunches and other items occur between 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM at Hopkins School. Please do not bring forgotten homework to school. To drop-off items, you will be buzzed into our main entrance exterior door, and a cubby/shelf will be located in the vestibule. Please leave the clearly-labeled items on the table. Our staff will call students down to the Main Office to pick up these items at approximately 10:35. For families in the Elected Remote model, materials for instruction will also be left in these cubbies for pick up, as arranged with the classroom teacher.

School Doors:

Access to school buildings is incredibly limited, in order to ensure the safety of those inside. Meetings with families will be scheduled via Zoom or phone wherever possible. To review the map of traffic flow for dismissals, please see the Drop Off/Dismissal section below. As a reminder, it is necessary to stay in your vehicle when in the dismissal line. This is not applicable for the Kidsborough Afterschool Care, which has their own dismissal protocols.

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Health Resources for Families

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Our school website has static information, but it is also updated with current news, photos and bulletins. Every other week, you can expect a school-wide update from the Principal’s Office, the Hawk Squawk. This is distributed to families via email and can also be found on the school’s webpage. You can also follow us on Twitter: @hopkinsschool, Instagram (hopkins_elementary), and Facebook (HopkinsElementarySchool).

In addition to the above school-wide methods, please communicate openly with your child’s teacher(s). Each teacher has an email address and voice mailbox. Many also utilize a website and/or Twitter to share news. You can find their contact information on our school website or you can call (508)-497-9824 to reach teachers’ voicemail.

Important Links for Families

Hopkins School Website

Click here to visit our school website.

Welcome Back Hopkins! September 2020
Hopkins' Staff 2019 Goosechase
Hopkins Educators Perform at the 5th Grade Talent