Eagle Parent Updates

December 17, 2021

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Finding Joy Within Ourselves & With Our Students

Dear Dawes Families,

As winter break approaches, many might be feeling stretched and juggling a lot right now. I shared with staff that there are days when I feel like I am on a conveyor belt. I am sure many of you are feeling this way, too. It is easy to get caught up with all the demands of keeping our families healthy, managing school and work schedules while hosting or preparing for this holiday season. Meanwhile, as I check in with students, I am remembering the importance of finding joy within myself and sharing that with our Eagles. Many of you know that I am a huge fan of Brené Brown and I recently started reading her new book, "Atlas of the Heart". It has given me lots to think about as we work to remain open-hearted and kind while having to process heavy things. I especially love how she describes joy as "the good mood of the soul". I learned that while experiencing joy, we don't lose ourselves, we become more truly ourselves. With joy, colors seem brighter, physical movements feel freer and easier, and smiling happens involuntarily. Some of you saw me joining students on the swings or going down a slide at the playground and wondered "How much coffee did she drink today?" Truth be told, I made a conscious choice to be vulnerable and share my joy fully with students. As we continue to navigate all that is coming our way, I cannot stress enough the importance of coming off the conveyor belt to find joy in the little things, to be fully present in mind and spirit and to create space for creativity, and wonder with your child. Educators continue to find creative ways to engage students in learning. For example, fifth graders held debates around important topics such as standardized testing and climate change. I can assure you we have some future lawyers at Dawes! As part of their unit on communities, Ms. Perry created opportunities for kindergartners to appreciate and understand the purpose and process of the US Postal Service through a re-enactment of the process. They had a blast! And lastly, we spread some joy to our staff and raffled off prizes each week! When we push away joy, we squander the goodness that we need to build resilience, strength and courage. Next week, we will continue building in opportunities for students and staff to find joy with one another in meaningful ways. Wherever there is joy, there is sure to be an intense feeling of deep connection, happiness, and appreciation.

With joy,


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Important Update: District 65 Test to Stay Protocol

On Wednesday, December 13th, families were informed that D65 will partner with SHIELD to implement a Test to Stay program for students. This will serve as an additional mitigation strategy that is considered low risk and allows more students to remain in school.

Students who participate must:

  • be identified as close contact due to exposure at school
  • not have any COVID related symptoms
  • complete SHIELD test at JEH between 7:30AM - 9:00AM during the week
  • complete SHIELD test at JEH on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 after last exposure
  • wait for results to come back negative prior to returning to school

Important reminders:
  • Fully vaccinated students do NOT need to quarantine or participate in Test to Stay unless they become symptomatic. Proof of vaccination card must be submitted to school secretary and nurse if you have not done so already.
  • Students participating in Test to Stay will not be able to ride the bus to and from school; attend extracurricular activities that are indoors; and must eat away from the general population

You may access more information here: https://www.district65.net/testtostay

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Important Update: SHIELD Testing Cancelled Next Week

Dawes completes SHIELD testing every Thursday. We were informed today that SHIELD testing will be cancelled next Thursday, December 23rd.
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Reminder: Report Card Distribution Today!

This is a reminder that all report cards were distributed today. All families received information earlier this week with directions on how to access student report cards on PowerSchool.

Families for students in K-2 as well as students who receive special services from interventionists, special education teachers and ESL teachers should also have received report cards narratives and/or progress reports. If you did not receive report card narratives or progress reports from your child's educator or service provider, please reach out to them via email or contact Ms. Quinn or Ms. Aponte for support.

*As a reminder, report card narratives are only for primary students in K-2 as students in intermediate grades are shifting towards student-led conferences and goalsetting.

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Winter Wonderland Before Break!

We are excited to partner with our PTA to host a few fun-filled activities for our Eagles. Over the course of next week, students will participate in themed activities tied to winter. Major shout out to our PTA and our PE educators, Ms. Linden and Mr. Rielley who worked with admin to design winter olympic activities for upper grades, too!

Themes & Activities By Grade Band:

  • K-3 - Winter Wonderland
    • Students build gingerbread houses at various stations after listening to a read aloud
    • Students in K-1 watch "Happy Feet" in the auditorium
    • Students in 2-3 watch "Ice Age" in the auditorium

  • 4-5 - Winter Olympics
    • Students participate in winter themed sports in the gym
    • Students in 4-5 watch "Cool Runnings" movie with their classmates
*all activities will be socially distanced and students must continue to adhere to our safety protocols in order to participate (keeping mask on and wearing it appropriately, maintaining 3 to 6 feet apart, and washing hands)

If you would like to volunteer, please use the following form to sign up. Please note that all volunteers must be fully vaccinated:


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Staff & Student Spirit Week At Dawes

Monday, December 20 - Twinning or Multiples Day

Tuesday, December 21 - Pajama Day

Wednesday, December 22 - Grade Level Color Day (see colors below)

Thursday, December 23 - Olympic Day / Dawes Swagg or Color Day

Grade Level Colors:

KG - Black

1st - Red

2nd - Blue

3rd - Green

4th - White

5th - Gold

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Reminder: Students Must Dress For Winter Weather

Students will continue to go outdoors for recess weather permitting. With the change in weather, it is important for students to come to school with appropriate clothing to play outdoors safely. We are able to provide support for families that do not have winter clothing and/or accessories. Please be sure to contact our social workers Ms. Hansen: hansenh@district65.net or Ms. Frydman: frydmane@district65.net if you are in need of any winter items.

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On behalf of our Dawes family, thank you to all of our parents who have dropped off snacks and special treats for our staff! It is greatly appreciated and we are so grateful for your support. Wishing you all a safe winter break with loved ones.