Lowell Parent Newsletter

May 23, 2021

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Message from Mrs. Phelan


Last week our professional development time focused on equity as the teachers broke into small groups and read two brief articles Interrupting Biased Comments in the Classroom and Challenging Biased Language. Teachers then began crafting value statements to share with their students. After reconvening as a full faculty to share our group work. The teachers decided they didn't want individual classroom statements but rather wanted to create a statement we can share with our students and staff that clearly states our intention to be an anti-bias and anti-racist school. Teachers also wanted to add another sentence to our daily pledge that articulates our commitment to equity for all. This work will continue at our future Equity sessions. Here is the PowerPoint from our PD which hyperlinks to the articles and extension work. There's also a self-assessment you can take to rate your personal bias if interested.

We also took some time to begin crafting interrupter sentences to use when students or staff say unexpected and bias statements. We are looking for tools to support the hard work our teachers are doing in their classrooms every day. Through this work, we strengthen our ability to tackle difficult scenarios in our community. The primary goal is to stop biased statements and to ensure dignity for all in our community.

The calendar is filling up! We've added several events recently so please make sure to keep an eye on end-of-the-year events.

The PTO will host Fun Day on June 15th, grades k-2 will attend in the morning, and 3-5 will attend during the afternoon. More details to follow soon.

MCAS will be completed on Tuesday after grade five finishes Science! Thank you to all those who made this happen during a pandemic.

With Gratitude,


Assistant Principal Search Update

The Search Committee will interview 12 candidates on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week. We hope to narrow our search down to two candidates. Staff, Parents, and Students will have a chance to meet the finalist on June 1 & 2.

Search Committee

  • 2 Classroom Teachers, Anne Sudbay and Haynes Altobello

  • 1 Instructional Assistant Lisa Cavaretta

  • 1 Special Educator Laura Homan

  • 2 SEL Kelly Cochrane, and Melina Jacovides

  • 2 Parents Adam McCready &Mrs. Ashley Harris

  • Director of Inclusion and Belonging- Dr. Kimberlee Henry

  • K-7 Literacy & Social Studies Coordinator Deborah Opar

Dr. Galdston and I have created a search timeline and a job description I share with you here. This week we will begin screening candidates and selecting people to bring in for interviews next week.

I will continue to keep you updated. If you have any questions, please contact me by email at stacy.phelan@watertown.k12.ma.us.

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Dates to Remember

SCIENCE MCAS 5th In-Person & Remote Students Tuesday, May 25th

No School: Monday, May 31st Memorial Day Observed

Kindergarten Screening Day: No School for kindergarten, Friday, June 4th

Assistant Principal Finalist Meet Staff, Students, and Parents June 1 & 2

Faculty Meeting Wednesday, June 2nd

Announcement of Assistant Principal Thursday, June 3rd

Kindergarten Screening Day Friday, June 4th (NO SCHOOL K)

HS Graduation Friday, June 4th

School Committee- Presentation of SIP on Monday, June 7th

Responsive Classroom Team Meeting Tuesday, June 8th

Professional Learning Time Wednesday, June 9th

Kindergarten Picnic 11:00 (Front Lawn and Playground) Friday, June 11th

Fun Day Hosted by PTO Tuesday, June 15th

Fifth Grade Move-Up Ceremony 12:00-2:30 Thursday, June 17

Grades K-4 Teddy Bear Picnic (bring a blanket and stuffed animal to lunch) On the front lawn during lunch. Thursday, June 17th

Celebration of Juneteenth Friday, June 18th

Move-Up Day for grades K-4 1:15-2:00 Monday, June 21st

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Superintendent's Update

Mask Wearing Update:

The past few weeks after our return from April vacation have been very encouraging in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. With only three positive pools and eight cases in our district since our return, we are optimistic about a gradual return to a more normal school experience. The downturn in the cases of COVID-19 across Massachusetts is undoubtedly due to our continued commitment to adhering to the health and safety measures in place and the vaccinations that are available for all people ages 12 and up.

Mask-wearing indoors and outdoors at school

As a follow-up to my previous update regarding the new guidance from the state, WPS will continue requiring mask-wearing both indoors and outdoors, even for staff and students who have been fully vaccinated. This is a local decision and is supported by the Watertown Health Department. We are very close to the end of the year and we want to end it on as healthy a note as possible.

Without a vaccine for children under 12 along with the challenges of maintaining social distancing while outdoors, continuing mask-wearing will enhance the safety of all of our students-those that are vaccinated and those that are not. Students have been wearing masks for a year, and we have just over 4 weeks left of school this year. Changing now will be disruptive to our very established routines. Please note that children already have mask breaks and don't wear masks during snack time and while eating lunch.

WPS administration will revisit mask-wearing after the Memorial Day break for students 12 and over, as vaccination numbers increase for this age group. We appreciate your support for keeping all of the members of our school community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WPS Athletics

Based on the recommendations of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), and the Middlesex League, the following protocols will be implemented for all students participating in WMS and WHS athletics:

  • MS/HS Athletes on spring teams in active play OUTDOORS are not required to wear a mask/facial covering.
  • MS/HS Athletes on spring teams in active play INDOORS are still required to wear a mask
  • Visitors, spectators, volunteers, and staff are not required to wear mask/facial covering at this time ONLY IF THEY ARE ABLE TO MAINTAIN SIX FEET OF DISTANCE.

Please remember that students should wear masks while not engaged in active play.

Any changes to this protocol or any additional changes regarding mask-wearing will be communicated to families as they are made.

Last week at the Lowell

The Lowell Leopard was spotted.....

This week Lennie took a break!! He will return with lots of energy next week!

Can you spot the Camouflaged moths?

Lat week, Ms. Hanson's 1st graders continued learning about animal adaption. They discovered that many animals camouflage themselves into their environment for protection. Ms. Hantson's class selected their own spots around the classroom and designed their moths to camouflage into their environment.

This Week at the Lowell

Students Leaving District

We are in the process of assigning class placement for the Fall 2021. If you are planning to move out of Watertown or the Lowell district, please send an email to Melina Jacovides, Guidance Counselor at melina.jacovides@watertown.k12.ma.us. If you prefer sending a letter via USPS, please send your letter to the attention of Kara Flynn, J.R. Lowell School, 175 Orchard St. Watertown, MA 02472. Please state that you will be moving at the end of this school year and not returning to the Lowell School, and include your new location.

Ms. Jacovides will send your child’s records after your child is enrolled in their new school, and she has received the records request form from that school.

MCAS ( 5th grade only)

This week students week all 5th grade students will complete the Science Session of MCAS on Tuesday, May 25th

All test are taken on chrome books. Students are very comfortable and familiar with this type of testing environment. Their teachers will be with them every step of the way from class prep, practice test and on the day of testing. Each session lasts approximately one hour. However, they are given as much time as they need. We do not want them to be overly anxious, but we do wish each understands it is important to try their best and demonstrate their highest ability.

You can help at home by making sure your child:

  • Comes to school by 8:15am

  • Gets plenty of sleep each night

  • Eats a nourishing breakfast each morning

  • Knows you believe he/she will do his/her best on the test

  • Wear comfortable clothes on the day of the test

  • Students are allowed to bring and chew gum during the test

Your care and concern are greatly appreciated. Please call us with any questions or concerns. Here’s a link with more hints on helping your child prepare for MCAS.


Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent and Teacher Conferences will take place on the following dates and times:

The ESL Team will be booking interpreters for conferences and calling families directly.

Conferences will be held on Zoom.

Thursday, 6/10 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM

Tuesday, 6/15 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM

Weds. 6/16 from 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Sign-up Genius will be open on June 1st.


June 4th, kindergarten will not have school. Teachers and staff will be welcoming and screening our incoming kindergarten students. Please plan accordingly.

Parent Math Night!!!

Watertown Elementary Parent Math Night

Tuesday, June 8th


Virtual Event: Zoom Link

Please join the elementary math coaches and the math coordinator to learn about how your students are developing their math skills.

  • Overview of the elementary math program

  • Essential skills and concepts taught at each grade level

  • How to support your mathematician at home and throughout the summer

Attendees will receive a copy of the book: Adding Parents to the Equation by Hilary Kreisberg

Please let us know if you will be attending by filling out this brief Google Form

Contact Elizabeth Kaplan, K-7 Math and Science Coordinator with any questions


PTO Corner

PTO Update

PTO Night Out!

Join other Lowell School parents and caregivers on Thursday, June 3 at 7PM at Donahue's Bar and Grill (87 Bigelow Ave.) for a fun and relaxed evening out. Appetizers to be provided by the PTO. Hope to see you there!

Join the PTO

The PTO is a great way to meet other families and get more involved in the events at school. We welcome everyone. There are many opportunities to volunteer - as a grade level coordinator, helping with events, making e-flyers, etc. Please reach out to lowellelementarypto@gmail.com for more information.

Resources for Teachers and Parents

PBS KIDS Talk About FULL EPISODE | Race & Racism | PBS KIDS

Watertown Boys and Girls Club

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