Message From The Principal
As the school year gets underway, the bulletin boards in our hallways are starting to take shape. My favorite bulletin board so far includes this art project of neurons firing from Mr. Petrone’s fourth grade class. To me it represents our year; lots of moving parts, a wealth of new connections, but all centered within a functioning structure.
This school year has proven to be just as complicated than the past as we grapple with how to keep kids safe. Last school year, the Vermont Agency of Education gave very clear, detailed, and specific guidance. The level of specificity, coupled with our own COVID Task Force, made decision making easier.
This school year the guidance is minimal and leaves much to be determined at the task force and school levels. Please know in the forefront of our minds is student, staff, and community safety. Having said that, we will make mistakes and also will make decisions that might not be comfortable to all. If at any time you become aware of a practice that makes you uncomfortable, please let your child’s teacher know right away. They can share with you the reasoning behind decisions and, if need be, problem-solve solutions. Sometimes we will be able to easily make adjustments, other times we may not.
A great example of this is our current situation with recorders in third and fourth grades. Our current guidance and the guidance from the Covid Task Force allows for students to remove their masks for the brief amount of time when they are playing the recorders, even inside. However, this made some families and staff members uncomfortable. Solution #1 to this dilemma was to use special masks that have a slit in them to allow the instrument to be inserted in the mask. We did this only to realize that having a hole in the mask actually provided students with less safety than our previous practice. Solution #2 involved accessing our outstanding parent resource group who are coming this weekend to clear out an outdoor space and put up a tent for outdoor recorder, band and other musical use.
I am always looking for silver linings, especially in the last two years. Last year the guidance didn’t allow us to have students play wind instruments. The silver lining in the recorder situation this year is that even though our practice did not feel good to everyone at first, the end result allowed students to play their instruments and gave an opportunity for families to make a huge difference. My one request is that people please send messages to us assuming that we have positive intentions with the decisions we are making. All members of our school system want to keep kids safe and provide meaningful learning opportunities. We do not in any way mind feedback, suggestions, and people pointing out how we can do better. We appreciate kind emails that assume positive intentions.
The beautiful painting from Mr. Petrone’s class shows how our brains bring order to the wealth of incoming information. We strive at MCS to bring order to the wealth of information that comes our way each and every day. We appreciate all that you have to offer as partners to keep kids safe and provide an environment where all students can learn and be successful.
Have a lovely weekend,
Message From Student Services
I truly hope the first three weeks of school have gone well for you and your family. It has been fantastic to see staff and students spending time building strong and supportive communities in their classrooms in order to support all of our learners. The essence of this work is to ensure that every student or family feels that they belong and are valued. One aspect of this is that we foster understanding of gender identity within the school community.
As part of her guidance lessons, Katie Cormier meets with each class and discusses gender and gender identity in an inclusive and developmentally appropriate way. Please feel free to contact Katie with any questions.
We also have structural systems that need to represent the inclusistivity we strive for. Following Vermont Agency of Education guidance regarding State Law 16 V.S.A. § 570 on transgender or gender nonforming students, we endorse and commit to the following:
If you have any questions, please be in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Coordinator of Student Support Services
School News and Information
It has been a wonderful start to the year and I am enjoying getting to know your children. I am providing the PreK-12 Algorithm to follow when your child is ill. I would also like to clarify some issues so there are no misunderstandings.
When you take your child to get a covid test or if they participate in the weekly Covid surveillance , it is not necessary for you to send in proof of negative results in paper form. It would be appropriate for you to send me a quick email letting me know of the negative results. In response to negative Covid-19 results if your child is sick, has persistent cough, continual runny nose and/or generally not feeling well they should not be in school. Sick kids need rest and can return when they are well and able to engage fully in school. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
The preschool is looking to build up their offerings in their new fenced in playground! We’re looking for some handy parents to build a small child size picnic table, a mud kitchen, a sorting table and a rock wall/stair climber! If any of these things already exist, we’ll also happily take donations, but because of our VT regulations, all items must be in excellent condition. If interested, please let me know. I am happy to send examples to help guide you!
Thanks so much,
Mrs. Cheslee, the Pre-K Team & the Preschoolers
Ms. Eastman (art teacher) and Katie Cormier (school counselor) are excited to be offering two after school programs for students this fall. On Mondays from 3:30-5:00 we will offer a Community Connections class open to ten 4th-6th graders and on Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 we will offer a Creative and Calm class open to ten Kindergarten-3rd graders. Classes will be held in the MCS art room. Please see below for descriptions and dates for each program.
Community Connections (4th-6th graders):
In this class students will be profiling Norwich senior citizens to learn their stories, create portraits and create a citizen walk around town.
Mondays: 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/8, 11/15. 11/22, 11/29, 12/13
Creative and Calm (K-3rd graders):
In this class students will create projects that help build resilience and create calm while practicing self soothing strategies along the way.
Thursdays: 10/7, 10/14, 11/4, 11/11, 11/18, 12/2, 12/9, 12/16
If classes fill over the limit, we will have a lottery to determine participants. To enroll, please email Katie Cormier and Caitlin Eastman
PAL and PE - On the move to physical and social success!!!
Kindness was our focus again this week (we plan to spend 3-4 weeks on each of Who’s Wise Words in PAL: Kind, Respectful, Responsible and Safe). This week’s challenge was to see how many acts of kindness you can create. Stay tuned next week for videos of our work!
Dear Families and Community
We are hopeful that at some point during this school year, we will be able to allow volunteers back into our schools.
Please reach out to Emma Cottage, the SAU70 Volunteer Coordinator and she will get you added to a Volunteer List.
Please be aware that there may be background checks needed, depending what level of volunteering you are able to offer.
In the meantime, opportunities do arise that don't involve being in the schools, or with the students.
802 299 1269
PTO Bulletin Board
1. MCS Spirit Wear! The Spirit Wear Store is open! Check it out at: https://mcsowls.itemorder.com/
2.Tea Towels! Thanks to Ashley Clapp and Caitlin Eastman we have our beloved tea towels again this year! The order form is on the PTO Website and a hard copy will be coming home in your child’s backpack as well.
Welcome to Cross Words. Here you will find the weekly newsletter as well as its archives. We encourage you to come back often to hear about the fun and exciting things happening around our school.
MCS Cross Words, September 17, 2021