Aiken Update

August 24, 2022

Message from the Principal

Dear Aiken Families,


The time has almost arrived! As I walked around the building, I couldn't help but take some pictures of our classrooms and bulletin boards. Here is a "sneak peek" of what you will be seeing on Monday during our Open House Meet and Greet. The staff and I are ready for the year ahead and we can't wait to see you!


I have also included information regarding beginning of the year events, a health update, lunch procedures, arrival and dismissal and some exciting things that we worked on over the summer.


If you have any questions or anything that I can help with prior to the start of the year, please do not hesitate to reach out via email or phone call.


Enjoy the last days of summer!

Shannon

Big picture

Open House

Our Open House Meet and Greet, will be held on Monday, August 29th from 2:00-3:00. This is an opportunity for you and your child to visit the school to see their classroom and meet their teacher.


The ELC Open House for the AM group will be on Wednesday, August 31st, from 11:30-12:15. The Open House for the PM group will August 31st, from 12:30-1:15.

First Day of School

The first day of school is Wednesday, August 31st. Please remember that we dismiss at 2:00 on Wednesdays. Every other day is a 3:20 dismissal. In the morning, the first bell rings at 8:30 and the late bell rings at 8:35. Supervision for drop off begins at 8:20. Students will line up outside their classroom doors and teachers will welcome them into the building. Mrs. Mulready and Mrs. Scelia will greet students outside the main doors.


The first day for our ELC students is on Thursday, September 1st.


Here is a guide to where classroom doors are located around the exterior of the building.


Classroom Entrances

Nutrition Services

Please click on the link below for an important update from Nutrition Services regarding the upcoming school year. ALL students will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch for the start of the 2022-2023 school year.


Covid Guidelines

Please read below for the Covid guidelines that we will be following to start the year.


As the 2022-2023 school year commences next week, the administration and staff are preparing to warmly welcome all of our students back to school. For the coming year, the West Hartford Public Schools (WHPS) looks forward to continuing the transition from a pandemic emergency response model towards a more standard public health approach. To maximize successful in-person learning and minimize the impact of respiratory disease, WHPS will follow guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the West Hartford/Bloomfield Health Board (WHB).

Throughout the year, WHPS will closely monitor the situation and respond appropriately with flexible prevention strategies. To support these efforts, please read the following information carefully.


Vaccination

Increasing vaccination rates in our students, staff, and community is our greatest strategy for keeping students learning in-person. The CDC recommends COVID-19 primary series vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older, and COVID-19 boosters for everyone ages 5 years and older, if eligible. Everyone 6 months of age or older can also receive a seasonal vaccine for influenza.


Tests

Students and staff should test if they develop COVID-19 like symptoms. All WHPS schools have been supplied with COVID-19 test kits which are available to students and staff at no cost. Please contact your school if you need a COVID-19 test kit.


Isolation

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please contact your school nurse. Those who test positive should isolate for 5 days with the day of the positive test being Day 0. After the 5 day isolation period, students and staff are allowed to return to school if they have been fever free for 24 hours. It is still mandatory to wear a mask from day 6-10 when returning to school after a positive Covid case.


For those who have had a known exposure, the CDC recommends that instead of quarantining, exposed persons should wear a high quality mask for 10 days and get tested on day 2 or 3 and again on day 5 from the last exposure. Home tests are sufficient.


Mask Use

Masks will continue to be optional in West Hartford Public Schools. People may choose to wear masks as an additional layer of protection. Masks will be available in schools. While masks on public transportation are no longer mandated, masks are still encouraged on school buses as a layered protection strategy.

The CSDE and DPH recommend the TEST-MASK-GO strategy to maximize time in school. This strategy allows students with mild respiratory symptoms to attend school under the following conditions:

  • they are fever-free (< 100°F) and feel well enough to participate,

  • they do not live with anyone who has had COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks,

  • they test negative for COVID-19 prior to reporting in-person on every day they have symptoms, as well as one final test on the morning their symptoms have completely resolved.


Individuals who have any respiratory disease symptoms should not use the Test-Mask-Go strategy if:

• they have a fever (≥ 100°F) or feel feverish (they should not report in-person until their fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without the use of medication)

• they live with a person who recently tested positive for COVID-19 (within the past 2 weeks)


COVID-19 Dashboard and Tracking

WHPS will report student and staff cases weekly and maintain the COVID-19 dashboard starting at the beginning of the school year.

WHPS will continue to emphasize frequent hand washing and run the ventilation systems in each building at full capacity as directed by DPH guidance as mitigation strategies. WHPS encourages the use of outdoor learning spaces whenever possible. School events, before and after school programming, sports and all activities will proceed as planned.


Thank you for your partnership.

Anne McKernan

Assistant Superintendent for Administration

Flag Update

It has been a long held tradition at Aiken that our glass hallway has flags representing the background of our students. It is our mission for all students to feel seen and represented. Last spring, I sent a survey to families asking them to list the countries that represent their culture and heritage. Over 200 families responded to the survey. The 5th grade class donated 6 flags as their class gift, and this summer we purchased 32 new flags. We now have 55 flags representing the diversity of our school community.


This fall, I will invite our 4th and 5th grade students to research interesting facts and information about the countries that are represented to be displayed next to the flags. During Open House please take some time to walk through the glass hallway and library to see how many flags you recognize.

Curriculum Night

This year curriculum night will be Thursday, September 22nd. This will be an in-person event for parents and caregivers.


The schedule will be as follows:

  • 6:00-6:40 - Grades 3-5

  • 6:50-7:30 - ELC - Grade 2

  • 6:50-7:30 - Special Area Teachers, Support Staff, Pupil Services

PTO Events

First Day of School Coffee Social

Parents are invited to a coffee social after drop off on the first day of school. The event will be held in the small cafeteria.


Parents' Back to School Bash

This event will be held at GastroPark on Friday, September 9th from 7:00-10:00 pm. Tickets are $25 and include two drink tickets. Enjoy karaoke, corn hole, food trucks and more. Sign up via PayPal: Donatetoaiken@gmail.com.

New Technology

Each year, we are so incredibly thankful for all the ways that the PTO supports our school community. Thank you to everyone that attended a PTO event, participated in a fundraiser and donated to Parent's Night Out. Due to all of your collective efforts, the PTO was able to donate $16,000 for two new interactive Smartboards!


Our long-term plan is to replace all of the old Smartboards with this new technology. These interactive screen have a higher resolution that is easier for students to see, the built in software allows for unlimited opportunities to create and present engaging lessons, has surround sound, costs less to maintain and lasts longer. By the beginning of October all 3-5 classrooms will have the new interactive TVs and over the next few years we will be upgrading the technology in the K-2 rooms.

Arrival and Dismissal

Please take a moment to review the arrival and dismissal procedures for the 2022-2023 school year.


Aiken School Arrival and Dismissal Procedures


In your summer letter you received a pink Dismissal Plan form. Please return this to your child's teacher during Open House or on the first day of school.

Welcome Wagon

Would you like to help make new families feel welcome at Aiken? Then sign up to be a part of the Welcome Wagon, a Buddy Family program that pairs new families with veteran families to help ease the transition for both students and parents new to our school.


We are looking for a few families to help be a part of this great program aimed at creating new friendships and helping new parents and students understand the ins and outs of Aiken (and all of West Hartford).


Responsibilities include: sending out an introductory email to introduce yourself and your child to the new family you’ve been paired with; asking your child to include the new student in recess games; inviting the new family to meet you at Aiken events (Fall Festival, Pizza Bingo, etc); answering any questions the new family may have (or helping to guide them on where to find answers).


If you are interested in being a Buddy Family email Abiah Ruel at abiahruel@gmail.com. In the email, please include the name and grade level of your child. We will work to match families with a new child in their class.