This week marked the start of our emergent pivot to an All-School Remote Teaching & Learning Model. We have been fortunate not to have any positive cases at school, but the rapid and consistent rise in cases in and around Manchester pushed this proactive move.
On Monday, staff worked collaboratively here at school to finalize the plans and schedules for the shift. On Tuesday morning, we welcomed our students back to learning.
MFCS Students may notice during Zoom meetings and instruction, that our teachers are working some days at school, and some days at home. This is all in an effort to minimize the number of people in the building on any given day. We are continuing to watch the COVID cases numbers tick upward – with yesterday reported as the most cases ever in NH, and across the country. We will monitor those numbers and community spread information, all of which may impact the time and frequency with which staff members are here in the building.
We have all learned a lot from last spring’s experience of remote teaching and learning. That has informed our practices this year. We have improved our lesson scheduling, mapped out clear expectations for student participation and attendance; and acquired technology for each of our students to use when learning remotely. We are providing tech support for all families and staff and we are regularly creating materials and follow-up work for our students which are designed to be done without use of the computer.
We have also begun a series of Tea with Laura for parents/guardians to speak with her about various issues impacting their children’s education and will continue to share resources that may be helpful to families during this challenging time. As a staff, we also have a regular standing session with a therapist who specializes in school staff issues. Our aim is to act intentionally, as we care for each member of our community.
We have weathered several twists and turns – from the ‘fall-backwards’ of daylight savings time (which always brings chaos especially for our littles), to the nail-biter of an election, to the sharp increase in COVID cases nationally, and locally.
But there were also some very bright spots, including the long awaited arrival and installation of our new bottle-filling water bubbler and our back-ordered Chromebooks which Jen Z. has now prepared for distribution, and the incredible weather we’ve had these last few days. They had her surrounded earlier today, as shown here to the left!
If you’ve tried to order anything these days, you know how hard it can be – from electronics to your favorite paper towels, to refrigerators and so much more. These are strange an unfamiliar experiences for most of us in small and big ways. That is why we are so thrilled that our Chromebooks arrived in time for distribution to those amazing families who have been using their own technology to help us ‘bridge’ this waiting period.
2020 – Full of sSurprises! And today’s? The snow! After an admittedly very modest amount of research, it was a relief to learn that an early snow doesn’t necessarily mean that we are in for a hard winter, weather -wise that is!
So it looks like we will still have time to clean up those leaves after all. ;-)) Beyond the snow, and the buzz for many around tomorrow’s Halloween, this week featured the annual Kinder Pumpkin Study, as well as the first in our series of Tea with Laura. We hope you enjoy taking a look at what’s been cooking shared here in pictures and a link to the recorded Tea.
This week featured, among other things, a full fall focus with pumpkin studies (great job on Big Works Wednesday!), a shared apple cake treat (thank you Ms. Tana), a special baking project led by Ms. Mindy with our English Language Learner Families, and the ever present raining down of the beautiful fall-colored leaves! It’s a short week, and with that this will be a relatively brief newsletter.
We hope our families enjoy a little extra time together this weekend – with today’s Professional Development Day for staff, the children have an extra day to rest and relax. Here at school, today was jam-packed with workshops and collaboration time. We began our day with Eric Mann from the Southeastern Regional Education Service better known as SERESC. Eric led us in a discussion of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) with an emphasis on supporting and modeling self-awareness and self-regulation in order to support the regulation in children, especially during this very challenging time. We discussed the value of establishing and embedding SEL-connected common language and practices across all levels of our organization.
Our afternoon workshop was led by the folks at Connor’s Climb Foundation. Linked to the new NH law around suicide prevention among young people, this workshop is required of all staff to attend. Connor’s Climb provides suicide prevention education to NH youth and the community by raising awareness, reducing the stigma around mental health, and equipping youth, educators, and communities with tools and resources focused on the vulnerable age group of 10-24 year olds.They collaborate with teachers and schools, the public, and the mental health system to ensure that the young people of NH have the life-saving resources needed to prevent suicide. Some of you may remember Kara LaMarche who was our beloved Art Teacher a few years back. She is at Connors Climb and is a great partner in this work.
We are more than half-way through October and with that comes the ongoing and beautiful color show of leaves, the associated yard work to clean up said leaves, and the occasional skunk spray of our pets (yup, that happened to at least one of us this week!). Ah, New Hampshire in the fall! In this week’s newsletter, we are highlighting those who shared their pumpkin decorations with us in order to be entered in a book raffle as part of our Virtual Fall Book Fair. Please take a peek below at the creativity! And if you haven’t yet shopped the Fair, please visit the link below! This is the final weekend of the Fair!
Fall Backward into Daylight Savings Time this year a little later than usual! On November 1st, we will turn our clocks back by one hour. In what can seem like a throw-back to our country’s more active agricultural days, it turns out that Daylight Savings Time is still used by about 40% of the world’s countries because the countries feel it makes better use of daylight and helps conserve energy. It’s always a bit jolting when we make the change and amazing how an hour can through us off our game. Oh the difference an hour can make…