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Superintendent's Message

Concord Middle School

Initial DESE Reopening Guidance

June 25, 2020

Dear Families:

As you have likely heard, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released initial guidance for reopening schools today.  The document is attached to this email.

Over the coming days, I will send a summary of the document.  We will also be continuing our process via the District Task Force.  Additional opportunities for community participation will also be offered via forums and focus groups.

This document will allow us to start planning options in a concrete, specific way.  While that is a significant task, we look forward to collaboratively moving forward.

Best,

Laurie
File attachments:
DESE guidance6.25.20.docx

Updates and Events

June 22, 2020

Dear Families:

I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of the summer break!  This email is a bit of a catch-all with a few highlights from the end of the school year and reminders of various sorts.

The parent survey remains open through Wednesday.  It asks for identifying information to help inform us about bus ridership but you can simply put “Anonymous” in order to avoid that if that makes you uncomfortable.  The survey is located at: https://forms.gle/6rBimokBMtd3d2PB8

The District COVID-19 Task Force meets on Wednesday at 9 am.  The Zoom information is found at the bottom of this email if you plan to attend.

Musical selections for you to enjoy!  The CMS Virtual Honors Choir is featured here:  https://youtu.be/AV594yeZ41Y. The CMS Band is featured here:  https://youtu.be/hn-aUK9Sgzw

Friday’s Virtual Coffee was recorded and is posted here:  https://concordps.zoom.us/rec/share/950lM5at82dLep3z7mLxaoEjQ5_CT6a82yUYq6FcxEbd477ptL75Ehi339IAhTiI

Florence Roussel’s AP students have spent a great deal of time interviewing CCHS alumni who have lived or traveled extensively in francophone countries after graduation.  Enjoy these!  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1f6MM-cMjN1K-Z9Yg3kh3aU-ZY0_JJPRU/view?usp=sharing

Below again is the list of options for summer learning opportunities:

  1. ) Keep the Learning Going: Electronic Resources for Academic Practice
    Summer Resource Letter
  2. ) Summer Reading & Learning: Partnership with Concord Free Public Library
    Summer Learning Program for Kids& Teens.

Titles from the public library list can be accessed using Hoopla and a public library account. If you do not have a public library account, you can register remotely here. All students who participate by reading 6 books/learning experiences will receive two homework passes that can be used during the 2020-2021 school year. To participate, students may reside in any Massachusetts

3. ) Virtual Learning Resources
PreK – 5 Virtual Learning Resources 
6- 8 Virtual Learning Resources
9 – 12 Virtual Learning Resources 

The  Concord Free Public Library invites middle schoolers to read aloud together in a fun, supportive environment. The program will take place every Friday at 11 am – 12 pm, starting June 26. The group will focus on the Concord Middle School’s Big 6 Recommended Reading List.

The first book that the group will read together is Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez. This brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence poses this question: What would you do if you had the power to reach through time and space and retrieve anything you want, including your mother, who is no longer living (in this universe, anyway)? A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.

Students can instantly download this title on hoopla with a Minuteman Library Card.

Register each week in advance to receive the Zoom link: https://concordlibrary.org/news-events/events-calendar

For more information about the Summer Learning Program, including where and how kids can sign up to participate, visit:

https://concordlibrary.org/kids/summer-learning-2020

https://concordlibrary.org/teens/summer-reading-program-for-teens

We will continue to provide updates and information as we have them.

Best,

Laurie

 

With Gratitude

June 18, 2020

Dear Families:

As today marks the close of the 2019-2020 school year, I want to express my deep gratitude to everyone in the role they played to transform a school system overnight.  We will long reflect on the successes and challenges.  Tonight, I focus on the successes because they warrant celebration.

The partnership between families and schools has never been more intimate.   The efforts to keep children connected with valued adults and their peers happened because of creative and sometimes extraordinary approaches.  The moments we treasure as traditions still remained through the dedication and efforts of many to reinvent them.  We realized that our work in the emotional wellbeing of students and racial acceptance of all created a strong foundation for opening dialogue as to the conversations that I believe will result in true change.  This community led outreach to those who treat the ill and offered gestures to recognize essential workers.  We provided food to those in need solely as a result of volunteers and the financial generosity of others.  And ..perhaps we realized what was most important in those crazy, hectic, overscheduled lives we all used to lead.

There are many challenges yet to come.  I will continue to provide regular updates both about events in the community and the planning for school in the fall.

In the meantime, let’s all take a few minutes to be grateful for one another and all that we have instead of what we lost.  I expect we will be richer for it in the long run.  Thank you all so much.

Best,

Laurie

 

June 16th Update

June 16, 2020

Dear Families:

What a great day of parades at the preschool and elementary schools!  The bright sunshine helped us all to remember that there are brighter days ahead.  I extend a heartfelt thanks to the parents and students who came out for all 6 events (parades from PreK-12) and to the many staff who came to wave, applaud, ring cowbells, play tubas, and smile big (under the masks!).   We are all richer for the experience!

While we await guidance shortly from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, we’ll clarify some of what the media reported last week.  The reported cap of 10 children in a room was based on the summer special education guidance, not a document regarding the fall as reported by the press.  We plan to share the official document with you as soon as it is available to the public.  Our Task Force work then focuses on implementation and any decisions left in local control.    If it is of interest to you, California released their guidebook which you can read here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1x3pMDdDBNS8btuMCFoTOqvfVAdH2faRb/view?usp=sharing

At the end of the year, I like to reflect on the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan goals we set for the year as to the appropriateness of the priorities and if they still hold since the plan is for five years.  You might be interested to do the same.  The plan is posted here and anchors all of our work:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ckpy2kKUposyMuH4hfBJD3EeK8IgMkHh2uQzk-SUPcU/edit?usp=sharing  In fact, the objectives in the plan seem more timely and appropriate than ever.

Thank you to the Concord Education Fund who presented a check for $81,000 tonight to the Joint School Committees.  This will fund teacher-generated projects as well as building-based work.  We will be sure to provide a complete list.  We are so grateful for CEF’s support!

Best,

Laurie

 

 

Updates and Reminders

June 15, 2020

Dear Families:

What a beautiful day for the Grade 8 parade at CCHS!  It is hard to believe that another one is on tap for all of the fifth graders tomorrow.  How fortunate it is that the weather cooperated for all of the events that could only be held outdoors!

The last day of school for students is Thursday, June 18.  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education changed their approach a few times so an April email listed the date as June 19.  We are only making up the 3 snow days in December and March 13 so we needed only 184 of the 185 days in the original calendar.

I do want to add a reminder about what is allowed in Phase 2 of the Governor’s Reopening Plan, especially in regard to the use of the outdoor recreation spaces.  Phase 2 does not allow for contact sports even in a pick-up game environment.  The entirety of the Phase 2 guidelines are listed here:  https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-parks-open-space-and-outdoor-education-programs-phase-ii/download

Enjoy the beautiful evening.

Best,

Laurie

 

Counting Down

June 14, 2020

Dear Families:

In what seems like it took an eternity and yet was a blink, we look to the last four days of the school year.   The days are filled with celebrations, closure, and are business we couldn’t quite finish the way we would have wanted given the lack of in-person time together.  It goes without saying that the end of the year is very bittersweet this year.  I will join the others in sharing thoughts and reflections while providing logistical information about summer happenings and of course, fall planning.

This week will be our last Friday afternoon Virtual Coffee.  We will hold others on an intermittent basis this summer to share plans as they evolve.  I’ll wean back the daily emails to what I know will still be frequent and regular updates.

Tonight, I share some highlights of this week’s events and resources from Challenge Success.

Parents of High School Students:  Please join Dr. Nadja Reilly, a faculty member from William James College, in a live webinar on “How Parents Can Support High School Students During Key Transitions” this Wednesday evening, June 17, 2020 at 7 PM.  The Zoom information is found below.

Carlisle Town Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 20 at 10 a.m. outside at the Carlisle Public School.

The Joint School Committees will meet on Tuesday at 5 pm.  The agenda is posted here:  https://www.concordps.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CCSC-Joint-Agenda-6.16.20-V2.pdf

Challenge Success posted Summer Activity Ideas at: https://www.challengesuccess.org/blog/summer-activity-ideas-covid-19/

Challenge Success also posted a thought starter for a conversation with your child about the remote learning experience and the impact of the pandemic.  As I listened, it seemed to be a very important conversation to both hear about the emotions of this year and help to prepare for the unpredictability of the fall.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiytAqkkoQA&feature=youtu.be

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful June weekend!

Best,

Laurie

“How Parents Can Support High School Students During Key Transitions” this Wednesday evening, June 17, 2020 at 7 PM

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://concordps.zoom.us/j/93041711794?pwd=OCtBbWNJTGNvbmcxTkV5R092K3FMUT09

Meeting ID: 930 4171 1794
Password: 639707
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Meeting ID: 930 4171 1794
Find your local number: https://concordps.zoom.us/u/adeYvUXq2

Learn about these and other resources — and how you can support this nonprofit local organization that is able to offer its services through grants and individual donations — by visiting:
www.centerforparentsandteachers.org

 

 

Food Drive June 22 and Summer Food Distribution Hours

June 13, 2020

Dear Families:

With great thanks to the food service department, we are pleased to continue our provisions at CCHS serving the community through the grocery pick-up and delivery services as we have provided during the school closure.

In order to do this, we need your help. We will be holding a one day food drive for non-perishable items on Monday, June 22 between 10am- 4pm at the CCHS loading dock. Please use this grocery items checklist to inform the type of items we can add to our bags in the coming weeks. We will continue to accept financial donations through our PayPal page and utilize those funds to purchase items through our vendors and local producers.

Our hours and days of operation will shift slightly for the summer. Beginning the week of June 22, we will only be open for distribution on Tuesdays/Thursdays between 9.00am-11:00am. We will absolutely communicate any changes to these hours well in advance should we face issues with sourcing and staffing the service.

We are hopeful that through these efforts we can continue to provide crucial services to all members of our community who find themselves in need. There will be ongoing communication regarding the viability of this effort, and if needed additional fundraising activities to continue as deep into the summer months as possible. Though we are excited to take this into the coming months, due to any number of circumstances, it is possible we may need to end sooner than the beginning of the next school year.

We are so grateful for the support to date in allowing us to provide for those in need.

Best,

Laurie

 

Information and Updates

June 12, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight, I have updates and information about events and items of interest.  We see the last week of school upon us and will have a great deal of information to come over the next week and beyond.  Tonight’s items are on the lighter side.

The CCHS Voice just published its last edition of the year:

https://www.cchsvoice.org/2020/06/

The Boston Pops Play Pomp and Circumstance for the Class of 2020!  Every high school in Massachusetts is listed here including CCHS!

https://youtu.be/AOdd1VvonaE

CCHS Theater Performance and Production student will perform the 1943 suspense radio play “Sorry, Wrong Number” recorded live with quarantine-friendly homemade sound effects!  Airing on WIQH 88.3 this Saturday at 3 pm, Sunday at 8 pm, and Tuesday at 8 pm.  Hope you can tune in!  Also streaming on http://www.wiqh.org

Upcoming at the Virtual Concord Free Public Library

Interview Workshop with Geoff Edgars

June 23 at 11 am

More Information and Registration Details :  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NNsyMfj7KnRm6p6CMTsO0c2vBVEK7TAT/view?usp=sharing

 

Teens and Tweens
Virtual Cooking Workshop

Every Wednesday in July at 4 pm

More Information and Registration Details:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xCGQWqx_kbF5ueTQs1nZuBQUiGQISVdR/view?usp=sharing

Have a great start to the weekend!
Best,

Laurie

 

Updates, Recordings and Resources

June 11, 2020

Dear Families:

We find ourselves facing the last week of school and its many celebrations happening in unique formats while we discuss the very important topics of racism, wellness, and planning for the unknowns of the fall.  We are so grateful for the engagement and support.

If you were not able to attend this week’s webinars about talking with children about race, I hope you will watch the recordings which are posted here:  https://www.concordps.org/superintendent/cultural-competency-anti-racism/.  The nights were both very powerful and have had a lasting impact on those of us in attendance.  At the bottom of this email, I’ve included the resources shared during those nights.

Another article of interest was shared with me about a METCO alumni and the related challenges:  https://medium.com/@rnagarajah2/reflections-from-a-token-black-friend-2f1ea522d42d

The District COVID-19 Task Force met yesterday.  The recording of the meeting is posted here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vTZaX-7axgJCuavf-D5YM946cu6e9qjjXhRcg7QGRwQ/edit?usp=sharing

The Virtual Coffee will be held tomorrow at 3 pm.

I am off to the second awards ceremony of the week only to be followed by 4 car parades next week for all grade 5 and 8 students!

Have a good night.

Best,

Laurie

 

How to Speak to Children About Racism Resources:

http://www.raceconscious.org/2016/06/100-race-conscious-things-to-say-to-your-child-to-advance-racial-justice/

https://www.pbs.org/education/blog/a-call-to-action-for-white-educators-who-seek-to-be-anti-racist?fbclid=IwAR2v6JzHsWo5JnELavtxplcUnrPzHyicoJ8mmw2f_3y6D7njk4mgFiuK4Fg

https://www.educolor.org/resources/

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k3MU1eo_aikM6H6pLte9LmEctRQRRrJUAVWNW8RrVe4/edit?userstoinvite=genetg%40gmail.com&ts=5edeb04a&actionButton=1

conscious.org/2016/06/100-race-conscious-things-to-say-to-your-child-to-advance-racial-justice/

https://www.embracerace.org/

Something Happened in Our Town (book)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=DzVkf2UpyqM

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness (book)  https://anastasiahigginbotham.com/not-my-idea/

 

 

 

A Letter from the Joint School Committees

June 10, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight, I share a letter to the community from the Concord School Committee and the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee that was first shared at last night’s Joint School Committee meeting.

Best,

Laurie

 

Concord/Concord-Carlisle School Committees

Concord, Massachusetts

 

June 9, 2020

Statement to the Community

The killing of George Perry Floyd Jr. is the most recent in a long line of crimes and injustices that are made possible by persistent bias and discrimination that is embedded in American culture. Mr. Floyd’s death has elicited a widespread call to action to put new energy and commitment toward achieving our goal of racial equality and an end to hate.

Systemic racism and institutionalized prejudice have taken root in our culture, and our schools, over the past four hundred years. “Enough is enough” is the appeal that these School Committees and school leaders hear as a new call to action. It is our call to action.

Does hope for a better future die today at the knee of systemic racism? We reject that.

Does love for others die as we witness, in horror, eight minutes of cruelty? We reject that.

Does our personal dignity die when we discover that our hands casually remain in our pockets while we witness injustice? We reject that. Furthermore, we promise that you will not find our hands in our pockets. We have work to do in the Concord and Concord-Carlisle Schools and we are committed to that work.

Cultural awareness is one part — we need to provide our children with positive growth opportunities and first-hand experiences that teach responsibility for the safety and dignity of others. We expect the schools to develop more cross-community programs that leverage Concord and Carlisle’s privileged position and benefit communities beyond our own.  Toward this end we ask the support of the entire community. We commit to listening and learning and acting for change, so that the children and families we support are empowered to love, learn, and transform American society and realize our dream of equality for all.

We understand that the killings of George Floyd and countless other men, women and children of color over the course of our nation’s history is made possible because people have accepted it. White people have learned this acceptance. Implicit bias is real and powerful and among us. We have learned that it is easier to “go along to get along.” But we’ve been grievously wrong all along. The truth is that it’s time to change. We will do the necessary work of listening and learning and acting for change, so that the children and families of Concord, Carlisle and Boston that we support are empowered to love, learn, and transform American society and realize the dream of equality for all. Racism has no place here.

We rededicate ourselves to the cause of racial justice and respect for all human beings.

______________________________                                          ______________________________

Heather Bout, Chairperson                                            Wallace Johnston, Chairperson

Concord School Committee                                           Concord-Carlisle School Committee

 

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