Dear McKinley Community,
You can read this, or watch or listen to me at this YouTube Link! Some people have asked for less text, so here you go! If you feel like reading, read on. :)
Welcome back from break! Well, for many of us that is…. We at McKinley are not exempt from the staffing and attendance struggles that Dr. Means referred to in his recent 1/4/22 communication. Many of our McKinley families and staff members are experiencing the recent wave of post-holiday COVID-related isolations and quarantines. At McKinley, our substitute fill rate is actually higher than most of our Wauwatosa schools, partly because of the amazing dedication of a wonderful group of our school parents who have taken on subbing and have picked up jobs, often at a moment’s notice. We are so grateful! This week, too, we have had some college students on break who have signed on as subs. Max Herteen, a McKinley alum, is one of those subs who has been with us all week. He is enjoying the “new” McKinley while on break from grad school at Marquette.
Increased stress often comes along with the daily uncertainties that we face. Recently I revisited a TedTalk on stress from a few years ago. The reminder of this research made me laugh a little and helped me to reframe how I experience stress at work. I love the message that we can handle life’s challenges, and we don’t have to face them alone. Living and working in this community is a gift, we work together, help each other out when things are hard. My mantra has been “we can do hard things!” I want to thank you all for your continued support as we navigate these times.
As our cold season continues, a reminder that we want all children to play outside during recess. When students arrive without snow pants, boots, or mittens/gloves, they are often so disappointed that they have to stay on the blacktop areas. Please send children with appropriate outdoor gear for maximum fun in the snow! While our baseline for going outside is generally zero, weather is relative: Zero after a few warmer days in the 30s often feels really cold; while -5 after a week of -25 feels okay. We use the National Weather Service’s guidelines on windchill factor and exposure to help with our decisions.
I also want to reiterate the information that was sent out about our Hug and Go drop off and pickup system. If you haven’t had the chance to view the video, please take the three minutes to do so. Also, please pass it along to anyone and everyone who might drop off or pick up at McKinley. Here is the link again so you don’t have to search for it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmQNxfeMZHw
We have had some days with extreme winds--on these days our custodial lead, Chris Fetzer, is not placing the one-way signs. We still expect one-way traffic around the building at drop-off and pick-up. We have had a few lapses in getting the signs in after school when our evening lead custodian has been absent. If you ever notice a one-way sign still out after 4 p.m., please contact me so I can be sure to have it taken care of for everyone’s safety!
Even with an uptick in staff and student absences right now, we will head into Star testing the next few weeks to get a glimpse at where students are performing in math and ELA. These tests are just a small measure of learning, and, in conjunction with classroom assessments and teacher observations, help us to adjust so that we know that students are getting what they need. I am thrilled to see the deep learning that is happening throughout the building. Students are fully immersed in their grade level academics. When I visit classrooms, students are eager to explain to me the importance of what they are doing or to tell me about some neat discovery that they have made. I love the palpable energy of the brainwork and the excitement expressed! This is also a time when things start to also get less comfortable—students are engaged in a productive struggle—so we continue to focus on perseverance. When the going gets tough, our students keep on working, and the staff keeps on teaching and encouraging. We will persevere through whatever is handed to us!
Coming up this month: Thursday, January 13th at 6:30 p.m. we have a PTO meeting. We are in need of officers and committee heads for the 2022-2023 school year. If you are interested or curious and want to know more about the PTO and how it operates, please join us either in person or via Zoom at this link. We need you!
Finally, mark your calendars: No school on Monday, January 17th for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. January’s previously scheduled Kid’s Trivia Night is moving to February 25th. We are holding out hope that, pandemically-speaking, all will be moving in the right direction by then.
Happy 2022 everyone--have a wonderful January!
Please make sure you are aware of important things going on in the district!
Welcome to McKinley!
Kyah Carson is our newest food service Sodexo staff member, working in the cafeteria to prepare our students’ lunches. She has been with the district for about two years, previously at Longfellow and Eisenhower. Kyah has been in food service for years prior to joining Sodexo. She has a son, Khalil 7, and also works at Amazon evenings. She likes to write poetry and short stories.
Dear Community Members,
Thanks to an Educational Foundation of Wauwatosa (EFW) Grant, we were able to purchase an 8-pack of multicultural color crayons for every JK-2 student in the district. We are thrilled that each child will be able to represent themselves, as well as those they know and love, in their true colors! Here in Wauwatosa, we celebrate diversity, and the unique perspective that each child brings to our community. We would love to hear your feedback about this grant and its impact; please feel free to contact us any time.
Mrs. Tracy Carus (Elementary Equity Coach) email@example.com
Dr. Carrie Streiff-Stuessy (Elementary Reading Specialist) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Kumferman’s Korner- News from your School Social Worker
Happy New Year! Hard to believe it’s January already yet easier since there is finally some snow! My focus will be to get into the remaining classrooms to facilitate the bullying prevention lessons, as well as revisit some Zones of Regulation. I wanted to share the language of Zones of Regulation so that you can use it with your children at home and reinforce that naming feelings can help in order to process through them. Feelings are not “good” or “bad” as any feeling is okay to have, therefore it’s okay to be in any Zone. (Example: It’s okay to be angry and be in the Red Zone, but it’s not okay to hit or throw things when we are angry.) We might even have more than one feeling at a time! Once we can identify which feeling and Zone, we are better able to reach into our toolbox and figure out what’s needed in order to change it so we are best ready to learn and interact with others. By the way, this works for adults, too, and kids learn by example!
Blue Zone- low energy, not ready to learn (ex. Sick, tired, bored)
Green Zone-Ready to learn, ready to go! (calm, focused, happy)
Yellow Zone- Starting to lose control! (excited, silly, frustrated, confused)
Red Zone- Out of Control, not ready to learn! (very angry, extremely wiggly and silly, annoyed, very frustrated)
Use this prompt:
I feel __________________. I am in the _____________ Zone.
What tool can I use right now to get back to the Green Zone?
Lastly, thank you to all who provided emergency snack donations! Snacks are provided when students are unable to eat breakfast or bring a daily snack, and for those who forget a snack on a particular day. Donations of packaged snacks will still be accepted all year long so just drop them off in the office or to your child’s teacher marked ‘Kumferman’. Some suggestions are: Goldfish, Cheez-Its, Teddy Grahams, granola bars (nut free if possible), fruit snacks, Popcorn. Thank you!!
Art Room Needs:
Materials needed for upcycling in the art room!
Small cardboard boxes, paper board tubes, cardboard or plastic egg cartons, clean styrofoam produce trays, small plastic containers with lids, and any other material a student can make into a recycled piece of art!
This is an unprecedented and challenging time for us all. But together, we will get through this. Taking care of your mental health is equally important as your physical health during this time.
Student and Family Assistance Program: District students and their families have access to six free counseling sessions through our Student and Family Assistance Program. They are teleservice at this time. Learn more.
DHS Counseling Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 provided through the Department of Health Services.
211 Info Hotline - Dial 211 for information about COVID-19 in Wisconsin
CDC Hotline - Get facts by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO
This is a rapidly changing situation and we will continue to keep you updated as information is shared.
For now, Stay Safer At Home and remember, we’re in this together.
* * Tosa Cares * *
Due to the spread of COVID-19, and social distancing, group distributions have been cancelled for the near future. If you need to schedule or change an appointment call, text or email Linda to leave a message for a drive-thru appointment.
Call: (414) 258-0456 x 410
Call or text: (414) 861-4725