The Messenger

Newsletter for the Monroe Community of Schools

November 20, 2020

Volume 1 / Issue #6

A Message of Gratitude

As we get ready for our week-long Thanksgiving Break, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you parents and educators who have made continual sacrifices during this extraordinary year in order to prioritize the well-being of our students.

Although schools are working hard to prepare for the safe return to campus for students and staff when it is safe to do so, we are also seeing a steady rise in COVID-19 infection rates. It is more important than ever to keep safe and follow the guidelines of our local health officials so that we can bring our students back to learning where they learn best – in the classroom.

My best wishes to all in the Monroe Community of Schools for a safe, happy, and grateful Thanksgiving!

Cara Schneider

Monroe Community of Schools Administrator

Tips to Foster Gratitude

Adapted from an article in Psychology Today.

  • Keep a journal or take note of the big and little joys of daily life.
  • Identify three things that have gone well for you and identify the cause.
  • Write thank-you notes to others.
  • Think about people who have inspired you and what about them was most significant.
  • Engage in "mental subtraction." Imagine what your life would be like if some positive event had not occurred.

Community and District Updates

Thanksgiving Resources for Familes

Black Youth Guidance Forum at CSUN

The Black Youth Guidance Forum provides participants with a unique opportunity to engage in educationally purposeful activities which include featured speakers, four instructional tracks (PreK-5 graders, 6-12 graders, Parent Advocacy, and Leadership), and the Nonprofit Resource & Advocacy fair.

All are invited! School staff, parents, students, community partners, etc. Click on the flyer to download a copy.

Have you completed the School Experience Survey?

Planning for a Safe Return to Campus

Thank you to all who attended our Return to Campus Town Hall on Tuesday, November 17. If you did not have an opportunity to join us, please look out for information from your school about a Town Hall or Coffee with the Principal during the week of November 30-December 4. Schools will be sharing much of the same information, plus you will learn about the specific preparations they are implementing for the return of students and staff when it is safe to do so.

Los Angeles Unified regularly monitors the weekly data shared by the California Department of Public Health, which uses a color coding system to define the risk level: from purple which is defined as “widespread” to yellow which is “minimal.” The current level in Los Angeles County is Tier 1, which is purple. In order for schools to reopen, LA County needs to be on the Tier 2 (red) level for at least three weeks. You can monitor how the State of California is tracking COVID-19 data by visiting their tracking website.

Return to Campus Family Guide and Program Selection Form

As the level of the virus in the Los Angeles area remains widespread, state guidelines say schools cannot reopen at this time, and we will not reopen schools until it is safe and appropriate to do so. We are preparing to serve students at schools as soon as possible, in the safest way possible. Detailed information on the safety protocols at schools and instructional models we are preparing can be found in the Return to Campus Family Guide. Download the Family Guide here in English or Spanish.

In preparation for an eventual return to campus, we are giving every family a choice to make the best decision for their children – a return to school or continuing with online learning. Please complete the Program Selection form by Sunday, December 6. If no response is collected for your child, the default option for each student will be the Hybrid Model. The selection form can be completed in several different languages by clicking on the menu in the upper right hand corner. Click here for the selection form or click on the picture below.

Free COVID-19 Testing for ALL Students

Principal D'Aloisio Gives a Tour of the Holmes MS Testing Site

To show students and families how easy it is to take a free COVID-19 test at her school, Holmes Middle School Principal D'Aloisio and her son Ollie made this fun video. Families are encouraged to watch it with children, especially if they have any anxiety about testing.

Focus on Rosa Parks Learning Center

Author David Shannon Visits Rosa Parks Learning Center

The 2nd Grade students at Rosa Parks Learning Center greeted a very special visitor this week. Award-winning writer and illustrator of children's books David Shannon read his new book, Roy Digs Dirt, and shared with the students fun information about his most famous book series, No, David! He explained that his dog Fergus, a West Highland terrier, can be found in each book in the series. Fergus has since passed away, so now his new dog Roy is included in his books.

RPLC Librarian Sharon Purser reached out to Mr. Shannon's publisher to arrange for this fun and engaging Zoom meeting. "She is fabulous!" Principal Miriam King said about Ms. Purser. "Because of her, they are sending us a copy of [Mr. Shannon's] new book to every 2nd grader at RPLC!"

Family Art Night

Thanks to Art Teacher Tiffany De Marco and Principal Miriam King, over 100 families engaged in Family Art Night at Rosa Parks Learning Center. Take a look at some of their beautiful creations!


Dr. Alana Burton

Systems of Support Advisor

Monroe Community of Schools

Social Awareness

Social Awareness is the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports. This awareness is essential in making people feel like they belong and are a vital part of the community and contributor to creating a positive culture. Here are some great videos for students to watch:

Teen Voices: Friendships and Boundaries
SEL Lesson Social Awareness Week 2
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Affirmations: I can empathize and try to understand how social norms have changed my life and the lives of my classmates, people in the United States, and people all over the world. I can ask for help and resources.

Affective Statements:

  • It makes me _____ when I empathize and try to understand how social norms have changed in my life, the lives of my classmates, people in the United States, and people all over the world.
  • I feel ______ to ask for help and available resources from my teachers, parents, and friends.

Questions: How have you empathized or tried to understand how social norms have changed the lives of your classmates, people in the United States, and people all over the world? Who can you ask for help or resources from? How will you show empathy to improve your social awareness?

Extension activity: Visit The Wonderment and learn, change, make, or meet people or topics that can strengthen your global social awareness.

Join the Zoom Hang Out!

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Specialist, Least Restrictive Environment

Monroe Community of Schools

Behavior Strategies to Increase Engagement

Your child may need additional support to maintain engagement and focus. Sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time can be difficult for many kids no matter what their age. Allowing your child to hold a fidget tool such as a spinner, stress ball, or therapy putty can help maintain focus. Provide your child with a working space that allows them to stand or sit while participating in class. A table can easily be adjusted by placing your electronic device on some books or boxes so that your child can stand or move around while listening to a lesson.

Visual Schedules

Having a visual schedule provides students with predictability which helps reduce challenging behaviors that occur during transitions. Schedules allow individuals to prepare for what is coming up and allows your child to know when they will be done with a task or activity. Schedules help to strengthen expectations by making it clear what your child will be doing for the day or period of time. Depending on the reading level of your child, you can use pictures to show your child what they will be doing or write the schedule if they read independently. Schedules can be broken down by the hour or the day. Allowing your child to check off or remove items from their schedule helps with motivation.


Providing your child with choices is a powerful tool that helps address behavior and motivates your child to engage in expected behaviors. Giving your child choices fosters ownership and supports independence. When your child displays resistant behavior in following your expectations, offering choices allows your child to feel that their voices are acknowledged and that they have some control. There are many ways to embed choice-making throughout your child’s day. You can allow them to choose what task they can do first, next, and last. They can also choose what materials to use such as a color pen, crayons, markers or color pencils. Or when they are working asynchronously, they can choose where they want to work such as in the backyard, the patio, the bedroom, the dining room or the living room. They can also choose with whom they are going to work with or when the task can be done as another way that we empower our children in making choices.


Reinforcement is a behavior strategy that can help shape a behavior that you want your child to exhibit more often. Reinforcement can be used to teach new skills, teach a replacement behavior for an interfering behavior, increase appropriate behavior or increase on-task behavior. Children benefit from being reinforced be it praise, a hug or pat on the back, clapping and cheering, or a tangible reward. When using reinforcement it is important to establish what your child needs to do in order to earn the reinforcement and what they will earn if they meet those expectations. A token board can be used to show your child their progress towards earning their reinforcement or using a checklist can be used with older children.

Parent and Community Engagement Unit


Parent Educator Coach

Monroe Community of Schools

Click on the flyers below to download a flyer in English and Spanish.

We are Here to Help

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