Principal's Messages 2021-2022

  • October 10, 2021

     

    Dear Runkle Community, 

    I hope everyone is enjoying a long weekend with family and friends.  We had a busy week at Runkle.  On Wednesday afternoon our COED Volleyball team were victorious in their first home game against Driscoll.  We have to limit our spectators to Runkle students and one parent of a team member.  Here is our Volleyball Schedule for the season.

    On Thursday our new Superintendent, Dr. Linus Guillory, visited every classroom and office space at Runkle.  He was able to speak to teachers, students and staff.  Dr. Guillory told me that he “thoroughly enjoyed” his time at Runkle and “loved our vibe.”  He was even able to play some piano for Ms. Chen’s second grade classroom while they were at music.  We look forward to Dr. Guillory’s monthly visits to our school.  This week the entire Senior Staff from Town Hall will hold their meeting in Runkle’s library on Tuesday morning from 10-12.  They will then walk around our building to see our students learning in person.  We are happy to share our hard work with these important visitors.  I am very proud of the commitment and talent of Runkle teachers.  It has been a pleasure to share their work with senior staff.

    Our Open Houses are completed.  K-5 teachers met with parents in person.  Grades 6-8 held meetings via zoom this past week.  We all loved having parents back in the building to see their children’s classrooms.  We understand how valuable it is to see your students’ work and learning environments in person.  We will strive to create more opportunities like this as the year progresses. 

    I am very close to finding staff for our Homework Centers.  I apologize for the delay.  We plan on having HWC on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:30.  I would like it to start the week of the 18th.  I will send a sign up link once staff is confirmed.

    Picture Day is THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14TH! The weather looks very promising.  Everything will be done outdoors.  Thank you to Linda DelVecchio, Elizabeth Castellana and our Parent Volunteers for making this happen.

    Have a wonderful weekend,

    Donna

     


    October 1, 2021

    Dear Runkle Community,

    It’s October!!! To be honest, September has felt like a very long year. Runkle continues to make inroads towards our new normal. Teachers have stepped up to join our Culture and Climate Committee, Child Study Team and coaching positions. This week our School Site Council met in person (with a zoom option) in our library. I am very excited to work with this supportive group of parents, teachers and community members. SSC Members are listed on Runkle’s Website. We plan to post all meeting agendas and notes on the website as well.

    On Thursday we welcomed METCO parents for a Cofee Meet and Greet. Parents who have not yet seen our building were able to tour the school. Thank you to Vina Harvey, Joanne Silva-Njoku and Donna Scott for their help to plan and support this event.

    Intramural Sports: We had 47 students in 7th and 8th grade try out for our Co-Ed Volleyball team on Wednesday. Fourteen students were selected. Congratulations to all who participated and those who made Runkle’s Team. We also had over 40 students in grades 5-8 meet to run Cross Country (XC) on Thursday afternoon. It is not too late to join Cross Country with Coaches, Isaiah Lawrence and Dan Hack. They practice every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30-3:30 pm.

    There are so many great things happening everyday at Runkle. Our SSC discussed ways to increase communication with families about some of these happenings. Students in grades K-5 address Social Emotional Learning (SEL) during their morning meetings and time with guidance counselors and teachers on a daily basis. It was clear that our middle school parents may not really know what occurs in Advisory. Students in grades 6-8 meet weekly with the same team of adults. We sit in a circle and use practices such as greetings, whip shares (quick questions), games and deep dives into current issues that may arise each week. Students become more comfortable with this group as the year progresses. They often become more connected to the adults in their group as well. This in turn provides additional “safe adults” in the building for students. We provide outlined plans for teachers, but groups often try activities and then share out with teachers. Feel free to ask your students what they think about Advisory. We ask them all the time!

    Pronouns: Please read the linked letter that describes Pronoun Use at Runkle. Some teachers make this part of their daily practice. We want to provide you with context if your child asks questions at home.

    Middle School Parents: Today middle school teachers discussed an uptick in students playing games on their chromebooks. We cannot block the games students fnd. Taking chromebooks away from students is not a long term solution. They need them to access learning in classes, especially math and science. We are working on solutions. Ms. Murphy will meet with each grade level to remind them about chromebook expectations. We will also discuss this during Advisory. I often have to remind students to put their chromebooks, ipads and phones away during lunch and recess. We would appreciate your support with this if the topic arises at home.

     

    Important Dates this week:

    • Grade 3 Open House, Tuesday, October 5th at 7:50 am, Classroom/Library

     

    • WALK, BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY, Wednesday, October 6th
      • We will be surveying each class to reward participation on October 6th...maybe some extra recess!
    • Middle School Open House, Wednesday October 6th
      • Grade 6 will be from 5-5:45 pm
      • Grade 7 will be from 6-6:45 pm
      • Grade 8 will be from 5-5:45 pm
      • PARENTS WILL RECEIVE A SLIDE DECK WITH ZOOM LINKS BY TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5TH. 
    • Dr. Guillory’s Visit, Thursday, October 7th, 8:30-11:30 am

     

    • Grade 2 Open House, Thursday, October 7th at 5:45 pm in the Library

    Upcoming Dates:

    • PICTURE DAY, Thursday, October 14th
    • Halloween Fair, Friday, October 22nd….details coming soon!

     


    September 25, 2021

     

    Dear Runkle Community,

    We made it through our first full week of school…5 busy days! Kindergarten and First Grade hosted Open Houses on Friday morning. It was great to see parents visiting their children’s classrooms in person. Thank you all for sending one adult per student. The parents in Ms. Munchbach’s class were so happy to learn about First Grade while sitting at their children’s desks (picture attached).

    Runkle’s PTO hosted a Back to School Picnic on Thursday night that brought new and veteran families to our playground and field. There were lawn games, an ice cream truck and even some sunshine. These events are appreciated by everyone.

    Runkle School is a proud METCO partner school. If you are a member of our METCO program, we hope you’ll join us for a Parent Coffee here at the school in our Peace Garden. We will have conversation, time to get to know one another, and a tour of the school. We hope you will join us! METCO Parent Coffee Invite

    Important Dates this week:
    ● 5ALM Open House, Tuesday, September 28th at 7:45 am, Classroom/Library
    ● Grade 4 Open House, Tuesday, September 28th at 5:30 pm, Library
    ● 5K and 5G Open House, Wednesday, September 29th at 7:45 am Classroom/Library
    ● Runkle School Site Council Meeting, Wednesday, September 29th at 4:15-6:00 pm in the Runkle Library, SSC Agenda
    ● METCO Parent Coffee, Thursday, September 30th at 8:30 am

    Upcoming Dates:
    ● WALK, BIKE TO SCHOOL DAY, Wednesday, October 6th
    ● Middle School Open House, Wednesday October 6th time TBD
    ● Dr. Guillory’s Visit, Thursday, October 7th, 8:30-11:30 am
    ● Grade 2 Open House, Thursday, October 7th at 5:45 pm in the Library
    ● PICTURE DAY, Thursday, October 14th

    Be Well,
    Donna

     


    September 17, 2021

    Dear Runkle Community,

    We are leaning into  a sense of this “new normal” at Runkle.  Our students are happy to see friends and spend full days of learning and engagement with their teachers.  Our teachers are planning and collaborating with our specialists to provide for every type of learner.  Pam Wells Rockhead, Math Specialist, is working with our Grade 1 team (Ms. Munchbach, Ms. Madden and Ms. Coughlin). in the picture above.  Our middle school advisory groups met this week.  Allowing students the opportunity to share feelings about being in school, restrictions and expectations was moving to say the least.  I am paired with an 8th grade advisory and couldn’t be more excited to spend time with these students each week.

    As mentioned last week, we are bringing back intramural sports, middle school activities and more.  It takes time to hire staff to supervise these activities.  Once we are able to secure staff, we will  bring back Homework Center for our upper grade students, volleyball and cross country.

    Open Houses in grades K-5 will be in person this year.  I want to reiterate my request to have one parent attend these events to mitigate crowding in the building.  We will hold our middle school (6-8) Open House virtually (live) on October 6th.  

    Parents have been extremely cooperative with remaining outside of the building.  We need to continue with this practice.  There is a “Sign Out:” book on the table to the left of the front glass doors that you can fill out when dismissing a student.  Students can sign themselves “IN” at the table in the lobby when they are late.

    Next week will mark our first FULL WEEK of school with no holidays.  Everyone should be well rested and ready to start on Monday.  Thank you for all of your support and patience this month. 

    Be Well,

    Donna

     


     September 10, 2021

     

    Dear Runkle Community,

    I wish I could say that we have successfully navigated the first two weeks of school, but it’s only been 6 days!  It does feel like two full weeks.  Everyone, teachers and students alike, have been working hard and getting to know each other and lots of new routines.  As I have shared with staff,  our goal is to make our students feel seen, heard and loved this year.  We are taking the necessary time to meet students where they are and to get to know their strengths, areas of needs, passions and concerns.  

    We are also committed to bringing back as many Runkle traditions as possible.  The first and easiest tradition started on Day 1...Runkle Birthday Announcements and Ribbons!  I may have been more excited than the students as the picture above proves.  I tend to find those students who may be too busy to come to the office for their ribbon:)  I received a notice this week that Intramural Sports (volleyball, basketball, track and indoor soccer) will return for middle school students this year!  Stay tuned for more information.  Co-Ed Volleyball will be the first sport this fall.

    I understand that our return to full, in-person school is not without concerns.  I appreciate your emails and suggestions.  We ARE trying to get students outdoors to eat as much as possible. If small groups eat in the cafeteria, the windows are open and the students are well spaced.  Our large middle school chorus meets outdoors when weather permits.  We have seating charts for classrooms and the cafeteria in order to trace close contacts if necessary.  I will not be sending a weekly update for Covid numbers at Runkle this year  as the town wants families to use the tracker www.brookline.k12.ma.us/covid-dashboard.

    On September 9, 2021, the Brookline School Committee voted to require all PSB staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they receive approval for a documented medical or religious exemption. Exempted employees must provide continuing proof of negative COVID-19 test results. Non-exempt staff will have until November 1 to submit proof of vaccination. 

    The staff COVID-19 vaccination policy is available here

    Open Houses:  Runkle Open Houses  This is a link to Runkle’s Scheduled Open Houses.  As of today, we plan to hold these Open Houses IN PERSON.  We would like to request that families send one adult to represent your student in order to reduce the number of adults in the spaces.  We want parents to have the opportunity to be in the building. We have some families who have NEVER seen the inside of the Runkle School.  Thank you for considering this request.

    I would really like to thank everyone who has made our school opening a smooth one: 

    • Thank you Runkle PTO (who are meeting this Tuesday at 8:05am in the Peace Garden)
    • Thank you PTO for the teacher stipend checks that were handed out on DAY 1! Teachers spend an inordinate amount of their own money to make their classrooms functional and welcoming.  These checks are greatly appreciated.
    • Thank you PTO for the beautiful lunch you provided us on Day 2:)
    • Thank you Fran McGreal, Mojave Nedjadi, and Tyler for all you did to make Runkle shiny and clean after a busy summer!
    • Thank you to Tracey Legendre, our amazing secretary, who never stops working and making my days easier!
    • Thank you to Elizabeth Castellana, our VP, who learned to schedule this building under great distress.  Nobody is perfect, nor is any schedule.  We continue to learn together, just like our students.
    • THANK YOU RUNKLE TEACHERS AND STAFF.  WE ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE YOU.  YOUR HARD WORK DOES NOT GO UNNOTICED!

     

    REMINDER;  THERE IS NO SCHOOL ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH IN OBSERVANCE OF YOM KIPPUR.

    Have a wonderful weekend,

    Donna