The Bobcat Bulletin

13/August/2021 - FMS Family Letter

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Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year!

Dear Founders Families,

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful summer and your children are refreshed and ready to continue their educational journey. I am excited to join you as the new principal of FMS. Wendy Cobb is staying with the team as the Principal of Student Services and RTI for FMS and Essex Elementary School, and has been an amazing partner as I learn the ropes.

Here at Founders, our staff is working hard to prepare the best school year possible for our students. I am so proud of our FMS team and their commitment to student success, they’ve been so great to work with. After a difficult school year, our priority is to support all of our students socially and emotionally as we constantly adjust to external circumstances. We know we’ll continue to have to be nimble and adaptable.

Social emotional wellness of our students is the foundation for their academic success. Foremost on our mind is creating the type of learning environment where each student can be their true selves. This means they’re surrounded by kind and inclusive peers, they’re treated equitably by our teachers and academic systems, and they feel comfortable seeking support when faced with challenges. From there we can build our strong academic systems that meet every student where they’re at, and are designed to give each student a personalized learning experience aimed at constant academic growth.

Perhaps most important, we hope Founders will be a place where your child is happy, they love being here, and love learning. As a fellow EWSD parent, what else could we hope for? I sincerely hope to build a relationship with every student, and I look forward to working with you, the families.

Take care of yourselves and don’t hesitate to reach out.

Partners in Education,

Matt Melaugh - FMS Principal

Leadership Model

Founders Memorial School has a partnership with Essex Elementary School. Matt Melaugh has been selected as the new principal at Founders Memorial School. Mr. Melaugh will be taking over the role previously held by current principal Wendy Cobb and will be the primary contact for FMS.

This year, Ms. Cobb will share her time between Essex Elementary and Founders Memorial with a focus on student support services and multi-tiered systems of support. Ashley Gray will continue to be the primary principal at Essex Elementary School.

Starting last school year, as students move from second grade at EES to third grade at FMS, the intent is to create a seamless transition by using common language, similar teaching practices, and sharing common expectations. By using a tightly aligned curriculum and providing common experiences, students and families will become familiar with a one-school approach to learning.

Below is our leadership purpose statement along with our contact information:

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Important dates

  • Teacher Inservice is August 19 - 24, 2021.

  • The FMS Ice Cream Social is scheduled for Friday, August 20th from 2:30pm to 3:30pm on the Founders Playground.

  • Our first day of school is Wednesday, August 25th starting at 8:00 am. This is our first early release day (each Wednesday we dismiss students one hour early at 2pm).

  • Labor Day is Monday, September 6th - no school

  • FMS Open House is Thursday, September 23, 2021 - times to be determined

  • Parent~Teacher Conferences are Friday, October 8, 2021 - no school for students

  • Indigenous Peoples Day is Monday, October 11th - no school

  • Picture Day is Thursday, October 14th (Retake and make-up date is Thursday, November 18th)

Important Reminders and Updates about the 2021-2022 School Year

Safety Protocol Updates

Masks: Masks are required for all children, faculty, staff and any person coming to Founders while in the the school building at all times.

  1. When outside on our grounds, if adequate physical distancing cannot be maintained, face masks are required.

  2. Face masks are required on school buses and public transportation.

  3. Students should come each day wearing a mask and have an extra in their backpack. Masks need to be two ply. There are some masks that are not appropriate for use at school. These include gaiters, bandanas, ball cap shields, masks with respiratory valves, and those with inappropriate messages.

  4. All adults entering the building at any time, will be required to wear facial coverings.

  5. Schools will have disposable face masks readily available to students, staff, and visitors who do not have access to them.

  6. While face coverings are required, to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we recognize there are students or adults who have a medical or mental health reason for not wearing a facial covering. In these incidents, they will not be required to wear one as long as there is documentation and our nurses have an established partnership with their health care or mental health provider. For students not able to wear a facial covering, a form provided by the school will need to be signed by the health care or mental health provider. Documentation is required, there are no exceptions.

Also, all students and staff should stay home if they:

  • Show symptoms of COVID-19;

  • Have a fever (temperature greater than 100.4°F);

  • or are currently in quarantine due to close contact with an individual with COVID-19 or in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19.

  • If symptoms begin while at school, the student or staff member should be sent home as soon as possible, and the individual should be isolated from other staff and students until they can go home.

Communication @ FMS

We feel it is imperative that we are communicating with families regularly and in a number of ways. Please understand that information is changing rapidly. The name of the game again this year is flexibility. We will do our best to provide the most updated information as it becomes available. Ways to stay in the know:

  • Founders Memorial School Website Link

  • Founders Memorial School Facebook page - UPDATE: Because we have a new principal who will maintain the FMS Facebook page, Matt Melaugh will be creating a FMS Facebook page to replace the current page. Please be on the lookout for the link in the next few weeks!

  • The Bobcat Bulletin: Our school newsletter, The Bobcat Bulletin, goes out electronically regularly. Please let your child’s teacher know if you would like a paper copy of the bulletin.

  • EWSD Mobile App: Do you have the Essex Westford School District mobile app yet? The EWSD Mobile App is a great place to get school and district news and headlines, lunch menus, the academic calendar, and connect with school and district social media. You can follow individual schools or all of them. While the app provides an opportunity to enhance district community engagement, it is not a direct portal to the website. Teacher or department pages cannot be accessed using this tool. These can only be accessed by going directly to our website address listed above. You can download the Essex Westford School District app for free on the Apple App or Google Play Stores today!

  • EWSD Updates: You will continue to receive ongoing updates from EWSD.

Classroom Communication: Teachers will send home class/team newsletters discussing the specifics of their class and team. We encourage ongoing, positive, two-way communication. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. The easiest way to do this is through email. You can reach a staff member through email by using their first initial, followed by their last name, Please allow teachers 24 hours to respond to emails, unless you identify there is an emergency and something needs to be addressed immediately.

Procedures for Arrival and Dismissal

Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures:

  • We will be sending out separate, more detailed information about our drop-off procedures in the morning and pick-up procedures in the afternoon in the coming days. Please watch for it.

Bus Transportation

Parking and Responsible Pickup and Drop Off:

  • When arriving for drop off and pick up, please drive safely and slowly at all times near EWSD schools.

  • For safety reasons, parents cannot park, even for a moment, in the fire lanes in front of the school at any time. I cannot emphasize enough the need for everyone to please drive slowly and follow all safety rules when driving anywhere on school grounds. The safety of our students, families, and staff is of utmost importance. Thank you for helping us to keep everyone safe and helping to maintain accessibility for all.

Morning Arrival:

  • School doors will open at 7:30 am and will not open prior to 7:30 am. Please note, there will not be any adult supervision prior to that time.

  • Our school day is as follows:

    • The school day starts promptly at 8:00 am.

    • On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday our school day is 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

    • On Wednesdays, it is our early release day. Our school day is 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Attendance and Late Arrivals Procedure (after 8 A.M.):

To notify the main office of changes in your student’s attendance, do one of 4 things:

Students who arrive past 8:00 am are considered tardy. Parents do not need to bring students into the school. After 8 am please pull into the bus lane and send your student to the front door and office staff will meet your student there. Students must stop at the front desk and sign in then they can go straight to class. It's quick and easy for everyone!

Early Dismissal Procedure (before 3pm/2pm):
In the event that your child needs to be dismissed early, the following protocol must be followed:

  • On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday - you must pick up by 2:00 pm No early dismissals after 2 pm.

  • On Wednesdays, since it is a 2 pm early release day, you must pick up your student by 1:00 pm. There will be no early dismissals after 1 pm on Wednesdays.

  • Send your child’s teacher and Kim Kedzierski ( an email first thing in the morning letting them know what time your child needs to be dismissed, the reason why and the name of the person picking them up. Or, you can also call the attendance line at 879-6326 and leave a message stating your child’s name, time leaving, the name of the teacher, the reason why, and the name of the person picking them up.

  • PROCEDURE: When you arrive to pick up your child, please pull up to the front of the building (in the bus lane) and call Kim or Jane in the front office at 879-6326 to let them know you are here. We will call down your student and walk them out to you!

Walking and Biking to School:

If your children bike to school, we strongly encourage them to wear helmets. In addition, please take time with your children to carefully review safety protocols for crossing streets. We suggest walking or biking with your child, in advance of the first day of school, to review these important safety rules. We will have crossing guards at the end of Founders Road and at the crosswalk near Founders.

Child Nutrition Service

We are thrilled to announce that school meals will be FREE again this year for all students as part of the USDA’s COVID recovery plan.

  • The Essex Westford School District offers healthy meals every school day. During the 2021-2022 school year, all children will receive free breakfast and lunch regardless of their household income eligibility.

  • It is still very important for families to submit the Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals to track our community’s Free and Reduced Percentage. Filling out and returning the application may help your family, your school, and the community at large qualify for other financial assistance such as P-EBT benefits to your household, grant funds for the school, and telecom reimbursements for the community.

  • If you have any questions, please reach out to the Child Nutrition office at 802-857-7333 or email Scott Fay at

Student Expectations and Responsive Classroom

  • Our school uses the principles of Responsive Classroom as the guiding philosophy around student management. Essentially, we ask that students show RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECT, AND SAFETY in their interactions with each other and all adults here at school.

  • Responsive Classroom guides us in developing a sense of community and caring within each classroom and throughout the school. You will hear about morning messages, interesting greetings and activities that your child is doing to build community in their classroom, team, and school. You will hear about hopes and dreams children and staff have for themselves and for our school this year. If you have any questions about what this overall school approach means, please contact your child’s teacher. There is an emphasis on Cooperation, Assertiveness, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control (CARES). You can visit the Responsive Classroom website for more information.

School-Wide Expectations

  1. Take care of yourself.

  2. Take care of others.

  3. Take care of our school.

  4. Take care of our world.

Teams will work with students at the start of the year to determine what these expectations look like and sound like. They will set classroom and team expectations that directly connect to the above-mentioned school-wide expectations. Adults will model, practice with students, and review these expectations at the start of the year and in an ongoing manner throughout the school year.

Physical Aggression or Unsafe Behavior on the School Bus:

  • Per CDC Guidance the following protocols will be implemented for the bus:

    • Masks must be worn at all times

    • Hand Sanitizer will be available

    • Assigned seats

    • Attendance will be taken

  • The number one priority for all students is always safety. Kindness and respect towards others is the expectation at FMS. Like any other area of the school, all students have the right to feel safe on the school bus. Aggressive behavior and bullying on the bus is taken very seriously, just as it would be at school.

  • When aggressive, threatening, or unsafe behaviors are reported, the principal and the student management specialist will review video footage of the day and time in question. Bus suspensions may be implemented if the video reveals students are being physically aggressive, threatening to others, or unsafe. Depending on the severity or number of infractions, transportation privileges may be suspended for a short period of time or for the remainder of the year. Parents are responsible for arranging alternate transportation for their child if this occurs.

  • Please talk with your children about expected bus behavior. It’s important for students to know the school and their family are on the same page regarding expected behaviors at school and on the bus.

Hazing, Harassment, & Bullying:

  • The EWSD School District is committed to providing all of its students with a safe and supportive school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with respect. We take all reported incidents of bullying, hazing, and harassment seriously.

    • Each school campus has at least two designated employees that are charged with receiving and investigating reports of hazing, harassment and bullying.

    • Any person who believes they have been the victim of hazing, harassment and/or bullying or the victim of retaliation by making a complaint of such behavior, or any person with knowledge or evidence of conduct which may constitute hazing, harassment, or bullying shall report the alleged acts immediately to Matt Melaugh (principal) or Joe Arigo (student management specialist).

    • For a more detailed outline of HHB policies and procedures, see the parent handbook or the district website.

Equity and Inclusion:

In the EWSD, educational equity means that every child receives whatever they need to develop their full academic and social potential and to thrive every day. If our system is equitable, we would see all children reaching their goals and succeeding. For more information, please visit: EWSD Equity and Inclusion Policy

Social and Emotional Learning at Founders:

Across the district, EWSD elementary schools have adopted the Second Step SEL curriculum. In addition to the support we provide students in these areas throughout the school day, all students will engage in direct instruction of social emotional learning lessons. For more information, please visit:

Founders Memorial School

Here are a few of the the many ways you can stay in touch!