Coolidge Corner School Principal's Blog

  • 3/29 Closure Update

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 3/29/2020 5:00:00 PM

    Hello Coolidge Corner School Families and Friends, 

    It is hard to believe that just 17 days ago we closed our school building and were thrown into a vast space of uncertainty and challenged to drastically shift the way we interact, teach, and support students and families against the background of a global health crisis.  So much has happened in that window of time, and I am proud of the growth mindset and dedication each of our educators has shown through this difficult time. We have been constantly learning and growing as professionals as we adapt to interacting through digital platforms while maintaining our fierce commitment to educational equity.  We are trying new things, getting lots of feedback, and adjusting our approaches each day. The health and safety of all our students, families, and staff remains at the forefront of our work. We know the stress this closure and pandemic puts on families, we feel it too and want more than ever to help everyone in our community meet and overcome this challenging time.  

    Below are a few updates including:

    • Commissioner Riley’s Recommendations and Next Steps for CCS and PSB
    • Family/Teacher Conferences and Progress Reports/Report Cards
    • New Bedtime Stories Time and Link
    • Family Virtual Open House
    • Food Pantry Resources and Meals at CCS  for Families 
    • Accessing Online Books 

    Commissioner Riley’s Recommendations 

    As you may be aware, Commissioner Riley shared with districts updated guidelines and suggestions for distance learning during school closure amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  In his message to districts he recommends the amount of time we should plan to provide learning for each day, tries to define remote learning, and addresses giving feedback on student work and grading. From here, the Office of Teaching and Learning and the Office of Student Services will work together to create more specific guidelines for our next phase of remote learning. There will be much needed input and guidance from educators, the School Committee, and the BEU as this is developed . 

    At Coolidge Corner School, while we await further guidance, we are continuing to refine our approaches to engaging students in distance learning environments,  providing feedback to students in meaningful ways, and supporting students' social emotional needs. We are working on building up to the recommendation of providing 3 hours of activities and work for students.  Teams of educators have been spending countless hours collaborating virtually on making this transition. We stand ready for additional guidance on how, when, and what new content will be introduced and taught during the closure, and I am confident that our team of teachers will move swiftly once the information is shared with us. 

    I am hopeful that after the School Committee subcommittee meets this week that I will have additional information to share with you about what to expect and our approach to distance learning during the closure.  You should also be hearing more information about the commissioner’s recommendations and what it means for the Public Schools of Brookline from Superintendent Lummis early this week. 

    Many of you have shared concerns, feedback, and excellent questions regarding many aspects of this transition.  Please keep sharing these questions and feedback and I will keep searching for answers and bringing forward your concerns to our leadership team.  

     

    Family/Teacher Conferences and Progress Reports/Report Cards

    At this time we are suspending family/teacher conferences as well as progress reports and report cards.  Until further guidance and agreement from the School Committee and the Brookline Educators’ Union we will not be grading student work or using completed work to assess progress towards the standards set forth by the state and district.  Please remember, this situation is incredibly fluid and we are getting new guidance and recommendations frequently.  The approach we have to grading and conferences is what we are following currently and could shift.  

     

    New Bedtime Stories Time and Link

    We will continue our bedtime stories next week to help maintain connection and community through our closure.  To accomodate feedback and hopefully increase our participation we are shifting the time to 7:30pm each night. 

    CCS Bedtime Stories Week 3 (7:30pm)

    https://zoom.us/j/920038497?pwd=UlozbUFpUlhtVS9CSEl6ZmxQajUrUT09

    Meeting ID: 920 038 497

    Password: 640172

     

    Family Virtual Open House 

    I will be continuing our weekly “Open House” forum throughout the closure to share information and gather feedback and questions in an effort to keep all lines of communication open and clear.  I will be hosting two sessions to try and accommodate everyone’s schedules. The first session will be Monday nights at 8:00pm after Bedtime Stories (new time: 7:30p). The second session will be Tuesday mornings at 7:00am.   Both sessions will have the same information if I have new information to share so you should not feel like you need to attend both unless you want to connect with more people.  

    Family Virtual Open House (Evening Edition)

    https://zoom.us/j/994871101?pwd=NTMvSk84eFFUVGdELzhIYmxYSmJFdz09

    Meeting ID: 994 871 101

    Password: 355841

     

    Family Virtual Open House (Morning Edition) 

    https://zoom.us/j/819229655?pwd=TTlPUTlUSVp4ZzVzbXRNa3d0bXZRdz09

    Meeting ID: 819 229 655

    Password: 745698

     

     

    Food Pantry Resources and Meals at CCS

    The Brookline Food Pantry plans to stay open through this crisis (as long as they have volunteers and funding). They have three locations now:

     

    15 St. Paul Street

    Wednesday 3-6pm

    Thursday 11-2pm

     

    55A Egmont Street

    Thursday 3-7pm

    Saturday 10-1pm

     

    226 High Street

    Tuesday 3-7pm

    They are also experimenting with providing home delivery to individuals and families who are unable to leave their homes or do not have someone who can shop for them at our pantry locations. The home delivery would involve a "knock and leave" procedure and there will be no interactions between individuals. 

    The pantry continues to be for people who are in financial distress and are food insecure. Although they have temporarily suspended the requirement for documentation, they are verbally asking families to answer a few basic questions such as the number of individuals in the home and whether they receive SNAP benefits, assistance with housing, Medicaid/Medicare and/or other social services. All information is confidential and is not shared with governmental agencies.

    Additionally families can access meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 12:00 - 1:30p at CCS.  

     

    Accessing Online Library Books

    This letter shares some online resources , including e-books and audiobooks, that you can use at home with your child(ren). 

     

    Remember we are stronger when we are able to work together, show and model kindness and empathy, and offer one another help when we can.  I hope to continue to see many of you at our nightly bedtime stories and our virtual open house sessions this week.  

    Jen

    Comments (-1)
  • 3/22 Closure Update

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 3/22/2020 4:00:00 PM

    Hello Coolidge Corner School Families and Friends, 

    I hope each of you are finding a new rhythm and routine at home and are safe and healthy.  It has been so wonderful to see so many of you for our nightly Zoom read alouds. This week opportunities to find connection and engagement with each other and our staff will continue to expand.  As more and more resources and opportunities become available to you, remember to take slow and manageable steps. It’s ok if you can’t get to everything every day. We are all adjusting, educators, families, and students, to our new ways of being as an educational community.  Let us remember to be patient and kind with one another and keep our focus on maintaining community and health during this pandemic at the center of our work together.  

    On Friday (3/20) Superintendent Lummis sent an email out to all families which included a joint statement between the Brookline School Committee and Brookline Educators Union. These parties came to an agreement late last week on how our public schools will function during the COVID-19 closure. 

    Over the past week, communication and many resources have been shared by the Office of Teaching and Learning.  Additionally, principals have identified many activities and online sites to help peak students’ interest to engage in learning experiences.  We realize that for many of these communications and resources were not as robust as students and families have come to expect from the Public Schools of Brookline. Please understand that transforming an educational environment from school to online is not as simple as holding the Zoom/Google Hangout/Skype chats we all have become experts in this week. The Public Schools of Brookline have long maintained that the essential part of the school experience is the interaction and response that happens inside a classroom between and among classmates and educators.

    Below you will find some additional information about what to expect this coming week as we launch our school-home learning opportunities that will help structure continued student learning, engagement, relationship building between staff, students, and families .  There is A LOT of information in this email so be sure to take some to read, reread, and digest it all at a pace that is manageable for you.  

     

    Online Learning: 3/23-4/6 and Perhaps Beyond 

    As we enter this unprecedented second full week of closure, we begin the intermediate phase of our work by following guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education  (DESE) that remote learning is not intended to replicate the work we normally do with students when school is in session. This means we are not introducing new curricula or grading assessments. Rather, our focus will be on providing enrichment opportunities that allow students to remain engaged in learning, continue to be connected to school faculty and staff, and deepen their exposure to previously taught material. In summary, this interim period of remote learning is not school. Our purpose is to provide opportunities for students to engage in activities that set them up to return to school with their skills sharp. These resources should also help students and families structure their time and tend to learning, study, and practice throughout the weeks to come.  As we continue to build out these opportunities and experiences we will use these three goals as our north star: preserve and continue to strengthen relationships between staff, families, and students, keep students engaged and learning while focused on educational equity during a time that is challenging for all, maintain flexibility for families and teachers (who are also home with their families) to adjust learning plans if needed.  

     

    Next Steps

    Our amazing Educational Technology Specialist, Tyler Vuylsteke, has already reached out to our whole staff to provide guidance and support as we make this transition.  Our goals this week are to establish a reconnection between staff and students, establish norms and ways of being in our new online learning communities, and find comfort and flow with our learning management platforms such as Google Classroom, Canvas, and Seesaw.  

    These first several days our educators will fine tune how to best maintain meaningful connections with our students during this extended absence from our regular routines.  In this uncertain time I am certain that things will be messy and bumpy as we completely shift the way we operate, connect, and function as a school community. This will not be virtual school nor will it be a replication of the traditional in-person school day.  We are creating something completely new and doing so mostly from scratch while at the same time working to take care of each other and our own families. We strive to fail forward, and continue to learn and keep a growth mindset as we navigate this together. As we all adjust to our temporary new reality, we appreciate your patience and understanding. 

    You should be receiving information from your child’s teacher early this week.  The CCS staff are already collaborating with each other to identify how to connect with your children and provide review and enrichment opportunities for your children.  They miss seeing your children and are excited to reconnect very soon.  

     

    Zoom Open House

    I want to remind everyone that tomorrow, Monday 3/23, I will be hosting a virtual Open House for families at the conclusion of our nightly read aloud time.  This is an opportunity for us adults in the community to connect, share how things have been going, ask questions, and orient ourselves to our temporary ways of operating.  I will be reviewing much of the information that is shared above. Bring your questions, success stories, and challenges and together we will work through the content. Part question and answer, part support group, this time is designed to help support you in adjusting and supporting your child(ren) at home.  

    Join Zoom Meeting

    https://zoom.us/j/793753115?pwd=NFliZ3BmZXdjcjNMNU9mRm1Fcm8vZz09

    Meeting ID: 793 753 115

    Password: 251640

     

    Zoom Bedtime Stories Week 2

    Thanks to the generosity of our PTO we are able to host up to 1000 participants now for our nightly bedtime stories! Our previous capacity was 100 and I heard the feedback that many families couldn’t get in each night.  This week we will be checking out some stories by Jon Scieszka who writes some really humorous fractured fairy tales. We could all use some laughs right now! 

    Join our CCS Bedtime Stories Zoom Meeting each night at 8:00p

    https://zoom.us/j/870241132?pwd=VFpzSUhTcFFZbDgxZC9ONXUrMWdKZz09

    Meeting ID: 870 241 132

    Password: 216950

     

    Wednesday Morning Announcements and Virtual Hive

    Don’t forget to join us Wednesday morning at 8:30a for our weekly announcements where I will share our ‘bees of the week’ and we can take a peek at our virtual hive together.  Remember to share ways your students are working hard, being kind, and helping others during the closure so I can keep filling our hive! 

    Join our Weekly Wednesday Announcements at 8:30a every Wednesday! 

    https://zoom.us/j/418991619?pwd=NnR4c25ld1p5NmlmUlk2NXAvUEx2dz09

    Meeting ID: 418 991 619

    Password: 590819

     

    Trivia Tuesdays at Two for Middle Schoolers!

    Join Mrs. Buller every Tuesday at 2:00pm for Trivia Tuesday for our Grades 6-8 students.  Part general content, part pop culture, and part how well do you know the CCS staff, these questions are designed to get us thinking, learning, and laughing together.  

    Join Zoom Meeting

    https://zoom.us/j/617966966?pwd=c3FkTnlFY2QzaWpIMlRteG0xN2RxZz09 

    Meeting ID: 617 966 966

    Password: 728995

     

    Creating and Maintaining a Schedule at Home

    As I mentioned in my email to families on Wednesday 3/18, this is an unsettling time for our kids and the best thing we can do right now is help them regain some control and stability in their lives.  Giving kids a menu of choices to build their own daily schedule while schools are closed provides a sense of control and autonomy, two things they are lacking and need in these uncertain times. It can also help build time management and independence skills. Budgeting about half an hour for sustained independent tasks regardless of the content is enough for most kids, some can sustain longer and others will need shorter bursts of time and redirection. Try different lengths of time and practice flexibility and kindness with each other.  I am sharing some sample scheduling ideas to help you with introducing and structuring your child(ren)’s day with controlled choices.  Hopefully this will not only help support your child(ren) regain their sense of control in a time where that is slipping away from all of us, but also save you from some power struggles with your child(ren).  

     

    CCS School Closure FAQ Page

    I will be working over the next coming days on compiling questions and answers from the last week from families, as well as incorporating new ones that arise this week and from our Open House on Monday, into an FAQ page with links on our school website.  This will take time to build out so please be patient and keep an eye out for communication alerting you to it’s launch. 

     

    CCS Resource Warehouse

    We are working on creating a landing page on our website to house all the digital resources and communications that have and will continue to be shared with the community during the closure.  Please keep an eye on your email for notification of activation of this site.  

     

    District Resources to Support Families

    Meals

    For families who need support with accessing meals during the school closure we are distributing packed breakfasts, lunches, and dinners from 12:00 - 1:30p Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Stedman Street entrance to CCS.  For more information on how to access or order meals, please visit the Food Services page of the district website.

    Chromebooks

    For families who need support with accessing technology an additional round of chromebook distribution is in the works.  To request a chromebook for your child please fill out the online PSB Request Form.  After you submit the form you should later receive a confirmation email with the date, time, and location of your pick up.  Please do not come to the school without the confirmation email as a chromebook will not be ready for you. Staff need to sanitize, catalogue, and prepare each device before distribution which takes time.  If you have any questions, please reach out to me directly.  

     

    Please continue to use the communication structures and supports that were in place prior to our closure for any questions or concerns that may arise.  If you are unable to reach your classroom/homeroom teacher, please reach out to your grade level vice principal and/or guidance counselor for support. 

    Steven Simolaris: K-2 Vice Principal steven_simolaris@psbma.org

    Jordana Spitz: K-2 Guidance Counselor jordana_spitz@psbma.org 

    Erin Burke: Grades 3-5 Vice Principal erin_burke@psbma.org 

    Mary Murphy: Grades 3-5 Guidance Counselor mary_murphy2@psbma.org 

    Saeed Ola: Grades 6-8 Vice Principal saeed_ola@psbma.org 

    Jennifer Maylone: Grades 6-8 Guidance Counselor jennifer_maylone@psbma.org 

     

    As we head into week 2 of our closure I want to remind you to move at your own pace.  These are novel times for us all. Self care is paramount right now so we adults can take care of each other and our children as we face this evolving health crisis.  Walk away and regain balance when things start to feel overwhelming. Lean on your support network and us here at school when things get rough. I hope to see and connect with many of you Monday night, I’ve definitely missed you all! 

    Jen

    Comments (-1)
  • 3/19 Closure Update

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 3/19/2020 6:00:00 PM

    Hello Coolidge Corner School Families and Friends, 

     

    It has been so wonderful to see so many of you on Zoom during our nightly read alouds as well as the virtual weekly Wonderful Wednesday morning announcement.  I’ve heard that some people have been unable to get into the Zoom meetings because we are hitting our capacity of 100 attendees. I have reached out to Zoom to see if they could lift the cap for us without incurring the rather costly fee to expand the attendee capacity.  I will let you know once we have a solution.  

     

    This past week has been a whirlwind of activity, news, and adjustments.  We have all had to practice and show a tremendous amount of patience, empathy, and flexibility.  In my house we are still trying to find a rhythm while we get used to our temporary new normal.  

     

    The district leadership continues to work with the teacher's union on identifying, creating, and communicating around continuing learning during the closure. Currently on the district website are resources that are organized by grade level band (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) that I encourage you to check out.  Additionally PSB PreK-8 principals have curated a list of additional resources until a more formalized agreement has been reached.  As soon as additional information becomes available I will share it with you. 

    I want to offer my support and guidance, not only as an educational leader in our community, but as a fellow parent trying to still work and care for my family at home all at the same time.  This is an unsettling time for our kids and the best thing we can do right now is help them regain some control and stability in their lives. Giving kids a menu of choices to build their own daily schedule while schools are closed provides a sense of control and autonomy, two things they are lacking and need in these uncertain times.  It can also help build time management and independence skills. Budgeting about half an hour for sustained independent tasks regardless of the content is enough for most kids, some can sustain longer and others will need shorter bursts of time and redirection. Try different lengths of time and practice flexibility and kindness with each other.  I am sharing some sample scheduling ideas to help you with introducing and structuring your child(ren)’s day with controlled choices.  Hopefully this will not only help support your child(ren) regain their sense of control in a time where that is slipping away from all of us, but also save you from some power struggles with your child(ren).  

     

    Zoom Open House

    Monday 3/23 I will be hosting a virtual Open House for families at the conclusion of our nightly read aloud time.  This is an opportunity for us adults in the community to connect, share how things have been going, ask questions, and orient ourselves to our temporary ways of operating.  Bring your questions, success stories, and challenges and together we will work through the content. Part question and answer, part support group, this time is designed to help support you in adjusting and supporting your child(ren) at home.  

     

    Join Zoom Meeting

    https://zoom.us/j/793753115?pwd=NFliZ3BmZXdjcjNMNU9mRm1Fcm8vZz09

    Meeting ID: 793 753 115

    Password: see email

     

    District Resources to Support Families

    Meals

    For families who need support with accessing meals during the school closure we are distributing packed breakfasts, lunches, and dinners from 12:00 - 1:30p Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Stedman Street entrance to CCS.  For more information on how to access or order meals, please visit the Food Services page of the district website.

    Chromebooks

    For families who need support with accessing technology we will be distributing chromebooks tomorrow (Friday, March 20th) from 12:00 - 1:30p.  To request a chromebook for your child please fill out the online PSB Request Form

     

    Together we will get through this pandemic.  Congratulate yourself for adjusting and pivoting so quickly this past week to accommodate our school closure and social distancing.  This week has been all about finding what daily schedules and routines work in your household. Do not feel as though you need to rush into rigorous academic content with your child(ren) right now.  You might have it all figured out or you might need more time to fine tune what will work for your family. Be patient with yourself. This is all still new and fresh to us as well as our children and continues to change daily.  Take care of the social emotional needs first and then start to layer in some academic expectations when your child shows you they are ready.

    I hope to see many of you tonight during our read aloud of Two Bad Ants and at our Open House on Monday!

    Jen 

    Comments (-1)
  • Day 2 School Closure Update

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 3/16/2020 5:00:00 PM

    Hello Coolidge Corner Families and Friends,

     

    I hope everyone is home safe and has access to the items and services that help you feel prepared and calm during these uncertain times.  My number one priority right now is ensuring that all of the students and our families are safe, healthy, and can access things that ensure basic needs are met, especially now that our closure has been extended per Governor Baker.  If you are experiencing hardships, challenges, or obstacles in securing things to meet basic needs please reach out directly to me and I will work with local corresponding agencies and services to help support you and your family. Our goals during this difficult time should be to focus on empathy and compassion and show love to each other when possible while adhering to the very important health and safety guidelines around social distancing.

     

    Virtual Hive 

    As you may know, every day at the Coolidge Corner School our staff recognizes students who are following our core values of Work Hard, Be Kind, and Help Others.  We show this recognition by handing out “bees” and working together to fill our hive on the second floor full of examples of working hard, being kind, and helping others.  Each Wednesday I share a morning announcement and read aloud a few of the bees students received throughout the week to help promote and encourage more instances of positive prosocial behavior.  Once our hive is filled we have a whole school celebration- Bee Day! 

    In an effort to try to bring normalcy, stability, and togetherness during this strange time we find ourselves in I have created a virtual hive.  Every day you can share examples of your child working hard, being kind, and/or helping others and I will put a small bee in our virtual hive for every share.  You can share these examples by emailing me and/or tweeting using #WorkHardBeKindHelpOthers. On Wednesday mornings at 8:30a.m I will host a Zoom meeting to share some of the examples from Twitter and email just like I would do if we were in school.  You can also view the virtual hive each day with your child(ren) to see it fill as the days go on and encourage them to help add to the hive. 

    I hope that this, in addition to our nightly bedtime story routine will help keep us connected and working towards a common goal.  If we fill the hive we will have a special Bee Day celebration in recognition of all the good work our CCS bees did during the closure.  

     

    Wednesday Morning Announcements Zoom Invite 

    Topic: Wednesday Morning Announcements

            Mar 18, 2020 08:30 AM

            Mar 25, 2020 08:30 AM

            Apr 1, 2020 08:30 AM

            Apr 8, 2020 08:30 AM

            Apr 15, 2020 08:30 AM

    Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

     

    Join Zoom Meeting

    https://zoom.us/j/418991619?pwd=NnR4c25ld1p5NmlmUlk2NXAvUEx2dz09

     

    Meeting ID: 418 991 619

    Password: 590819



    Building in Controlled Choice 

    As you work on creating routines and schedules for your child(ren) I want to share the importance of building in controlled choices for your child(ren)’s day.  Right now our children are experiencing a loss of control and autonomy as their world shrinks and adults take more and more control of their movements and access to ensure everyone’s safety.  When children lose their sense of control we can see an increase in unexpected and difficult behaviors as a result of their rising anxiety and uncomfortable feelings.

    To help manage this time, and help your child(ren) regain control and autonomy, you could consider offering controlled choice within their day.  You might make up a menu of options of activities they could engage in, designate which ones must be in the schedule and which are optional. Then let your child(ren) choose and arrange the activities in a schedule that works for them and you.  By allowing them to determine which preselected activities happen and when gives them back some control and autonomy, something they are lacking right now and need in order to feel safe and secure. Check out some of the examples and modifications on the CCS PTO twitter (@coolidgecnrpto) 

     

    Design for Change 

    One of our CCS families heads up Design for Change and wanted to share this resource with everyone to help empower our students to be agents of change at this time.  

     

    Design for Change is a global movement activating young people to take action on social causes that are important to them, their schools and their communities. Students go through a simple design thinking process: Feel, Imagine, Do, Share to understand and address the UN Global Goals, generating empathy, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration skills along the way. 

    Check out how students in New York, are using Feel, Imagine, Do, Share to Stop the Spread of infectious diseases! #SUDS4Society 

     

    Looking for ways to engage your students/children during school closures? Check out our free Social Cause Podcasts with accompanying activities that can easily be done at home with parents and caretakers! 

    Now is the time for empathy, let students show you how! 



    As you read in Superintendent Lummis’ update last night, the Office of Teaching and Learning is working with Brookline Educators Union (BEU) on expectations and resources for learning during the emergency closure.  I will continue to work with our School Support Team (guidance counselors, social worker, school psychologists, educational team facilitators, vice principals, and nurses) on identifying needs for families and students and connecting the resources out in the community to those in need of additional support during this time.  Additionally I am including some resources for talking to your child(ren) about COVID-19 and managing any anxiety that might be rising at this time of social distancing. The Brookline Center encourages you to be in touch with them at (617) 277-8107 if you or someone you care for is having difficulty coping with the coronavirus crisis or is otherwise experiencing poor mental health during this time. 

    Talking to Children about COVID-19 (National Association of School Psychologists)

    Managing Reactions to the Coronavirus (Riverside Trauma Center)

    Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19 (The National Child Trauma Stress Network)

     

    Though we may not be able to stop in and check on neighbors and each other because of the social distancing guidelines that we must allow follow to help flatten the curve, we can reach out with a phone call, a text message, a video call, or email to let each other know we are thinking of one another and are still a strong and connected community.  My daughter has currently taken to writing hand written notes to relatives, friends, and neighbors as a way to keep up her writing practice and connect with others. We will all find our own ways to stay connected. We have endured much together as a community and each challenge we have previously faced has allowed us to share strengths and get creative in maintaining our bond.  This is yet another challenge for us to face together and I am sure we will learn, grow, and persevere as we have done so brilliantly before.

     

    I hope to see some of you in a few hours for our first bedtime story tonight on Zoom! 

    Jen

    Comments (-1)
  • Day 1 School Closure Update

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 3/13/2020 3:00:00 PM

    Hello Coolidge Corner School Families and Friends,

    I hope that everyone is home safe and has access to the care and supplies they will need over the next two weeks.  I don’t have too much new information to share with you this evening, but wanted you to know a little bit about what has been happening and give you a few options for connection over our closure.  

     

    Today our building was closed to families and students.  Staff members were allowed back in the building to pick up items, supplies, pets, and plants and make arrangements for our time away.  Our custodians continued to focus on cleaning our building. I held a virtual meeting with several staff members to start conversations about ways we can help support families and students during the closure who rely on services provided by the school.  The most common phrase that I heard from staff in the building today was “How can I help?”.

     

    What to do over the next two weeks

    The Office of Teaching and Learning is hard at work on developing guidelines on how to continue learning and connect with students during the closure.  As more information becomes available I will be sure to share it with families. In the interim below are a few CCS specific suggestions.

     

    Story Pirates

    Hopefully, we will still have the Story Pirates visiting our school in May.  If you’ve not listened to a Story Pirates podcast, I highly recommend it, especially now that your children are home for a while.  The Story Pirates take student writing and turn it into a hilarious live performance with professional actors and/or an amazing podcast.  They came to our school last year and brought the house down in both performances! Our students loved seeing their own or classmates' tales come to life on stage.  Something you could do over these next few days could be checking out the podcast and then prompting your child to start writing their own story to submit to the Story Pirates.  You don’t have to wait for our performance to submit a story, you can submit them right online and see if gets chosen for the podcast! 

     

    Zoom Bedtime Stories with Mrs. Buller

    In an effort to help keep us connected with each other as a community I am inviting students and their families to join me each weeknight next week for a virtual “bedtime story” through Zoom.  You can download the app to your phone or computer and use the link to join us each night at 8:00p.m. I will be reading a different picture book each night. If you connect with video, you will have a chance not only to see and hear the story but a chance to see some of your class and school friends that you might typically be seeing if school was open.  

    I hope this opportunity will help reduce feelings of social isolation and provide a unique opportunity for us to still be together virtually as a community.  Below is the Zoom invite.

     

    Zoom Invite: 

    Jen Buller is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

     

    Topic: Bedtime Stories with Mrs. Buller

            Mar 16, 2020 08:00 PM

            Mar 17, 2020 08:00 PM

            Mar 18, 2020 08:00 PM

            Mar 19, 2020 08:00 PM

            Mar 20, 2020 08:00 PM

     

    Join Zoom Meeting

    https://zoom.us/j/293242314?pwd=Q3ZZVURVMWF6U3NpdHUrcUJTc1hCUT09

     

    Meeting ID: 293 242 314

    Password: 916699

     

    #HiveReads Challenge

    During our regularly scheduled school breaks we always challenge our students to continue reading for at least 30 minutes a day.  We extend the same challenge during this school closure. We welcome everyone to snap photo(s) of their child(ren) reading and share it with us on Twitter using #HiveReads or send it via email to 345BeesRead@gmail.com After we return from the closure we will post all of the pictures on the electronic message board in the main lobby. 



    I understand and empathize that school closures pose significant challenges for students and families and we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students, families, and communities.   It is important to continue to stay up to date with the latest recommendations from the health department and other local, state, and federal level authorities such as the importance of social distancing at this time.  This situation is incredibly fluid and will continue to evolve over time. You can expect regular communication via email from myself and the district as new guidelines, resources, and information becomes available. As an educator and mom, I can share that routines are comforting and incredibly helpful in supporting your child(ren) right now.  Think about making a schedule for each of the days next week and posting and referring back to it throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be filled with academic tasks and rigorous work, but something as simple as mapping out the day for your child(ren) with whatever it may be filled with will help provide structure and security in an uncertain and possibly anxious time for our kids.  

     

    Please continue to reach out with any questions and I will do my best to respond as quickly as possible. 

    Jen 

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  • COVID-19 Update 3/12

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 3/12/2020 8:00:00 PM

    Hello Coolidge Corner Families and Friends,

     

    We find ourselves in an unprecedented time in our country and community where rapidly changing information results in adjusted plans and precautions.  As a caring and compassionate community we are thinking of ways to get organized, figure out who will need care and how to help, get connected, and be prepared.  We are thankful that we do not have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in our CCS community yet know our responsibility as members of the larger Brookline community and fabric of humanity across the globe.  

     

    I am reaching out tonight to share guidance in response to Superintendent Lummis’ latest announcement and what it means for our community and school.   



    School Cancellation

    As you have read from Superintendent Lummis’ email the Public Schools of Brookline has cancelled school through at least March 27th. 

     

    We are working in close communication with the Office of Teaching and Learning on developing guidelines and supports for continuing learning and connection during periods of school closure.  Additionally we are working with community partners, such as Brookline Thrives, to ensure all our families and students have what they need in terms of food, safety, and care.  

     

    We will be reaching out in the coming days with more information about available resources and structures to support our students and families. 



    Illness

    If you have questions about your child(ren)’s or your own health and exposure, you should be in contact with your physician/pediatrician and local health department for guidance.  

    Brookline Department of Public Health

    Boston Department of Public Health

     

    If you do not have a family physician or pediatrician and are experiencing illness or symptoms, you can access care and guidance at some local walk in clinics or call ahead to the Urgent Care Center at Children’s Hospital.  

     

    Cleaning

    Our custodians have been doing a tremendous job working on cleaning common spaces and frequent touch points around the school.  During this time of closure, our entire building will receive a special deep cleaning.  

     

    Please keep reminding your children about proper hand washing.  Our nurses have been providing hand washing instruction, step by step flyers for classrooms, and recently collaborated with Mr. Michael and Beevo to create and share a fun instructional video for all staff and students to go over safe hygiene practices.  Feel free to watch the video with your child(ren) at home to keep practicing ways to mitigate and reduce the spread of illness.  




    Information and guidance around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and changing.  Please keep a close eye on your email for up to date guidance and direction.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out via email and myself or one of the vice principals will get back to you as soon as possible.  

     

    I will be in touch over the coming days and hope that everyone in our beautiful tapestry of a community stays healthy, strong, and supported.  If you have any questions or need support, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our Hive is here to support one another in all times and I know that in this time of need and uncertainty we will see the best qualities of our community stitch together and provide safety, stability, and support we all need at this moment.  

     

    Jen 

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  • What's Buzzing at the Hive #12

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 3/8/2020 7:00:00 PM

    Hello Coolidge Corner School Families and Friends,

    We hope that everyone managed to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather and longer light today, more signs that Spring is settling in!  With the time change, it isn’t uncommon for students to get thrown off their routines. It will take a few days for us all to adjust, especially as it goes back to being a little darker as we wake up and get ready for school for the next short stretch of time.  

     

    I want to thank Steve Simolaris, Erin Burke, and Saeed Ola for taking the time out of their schedules this past Friday morning to lead the PTO Coffee and Conversation on transitions and developmental milestones for our students K-8.  We will share their presentation in the coming weeks for families that were unable to attend. 

     

    I also want to thank our PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) Team for organizing and supporting a super fun Bee Day on Friday!  Students were treated to some epic dance parties in the cafeteria including some huge conga lines as part of the celebration for filling our Hive with examples of working hard, being kind, and helping others.  

     

    Below you can find some updates and information about COVID-19, supporting our transition to the Florida Ruffin Ridley School, after school playground expectations, parking in the front loop, and afternoon tea connections. 

     

    COVID-19 Update

    Our school  continues to have ongoing coordination with the Brookline Health Department and the Department of Public Health. These departments are the primary point of contact for any communicable disease outbreaks. We will continue to take our lead from their direction and guidance.  

    School closures have not been recommended and we encourage all healthy students to attend school. 

     

    The local health department is following people of concern and for whom self-quarantine has been recommended, which is different than that of self-monitor. The Health Department is not involved with people who are self-monitoring.  Per the recommendations of the Health Department, people should stay away from those who are advised to self-quarantine. In the case that there was exposure to a person under self-quarantine it doesn't mean one would be advised to stay home. Exposure to someone who tested positive would result in a  recommendation to stay home. Exposure means within 6 feet of that person and typically for a somewhat extended period of time.  

     

    Our staff is committed to helping reduce exposure and spread of illness at our school.  In light of the recent updates and directives from Dr. Jett and Superintendent Lummis, our staff is working on supporting frequent handwashing, especially before eating, for all our students.  Our nurses have shared an instructional hand washing video with all teachers and asked that they show it to their students. Our custodial staff has increased and intensified their cleaning routines and regimens.  

     

    Please make sure you are reading the latest updates from the superintendent.  

    Who can I turn to if I have questions? 

    • Reach out to Jana Young (jana_young@psbma.org) or Heather McMullan (heather_mcmullan@psbam.org)  if you have questions about self-monitoring or health and safety. 
    • Check in with me if you have questions about school operations. I will work with district staff to get answers to questions I cannot answer. 
    • Contact Brookline’s Department of Public Health if you have questions regarding a specific situation related to COVID-19 that is unrelated to school (617) 730-2300. 
    • Please read the most recent press release from the Brookline Department of Public Health to keep up-to-date on the latest community information and guidance, including tips for home preparation.
    • COVID-19 information from the Centers for Disease Control is available here.



    Florida Ruffin Ridley display at Coolidge Corner Library

    There is a wonderful display about Florida Ruffin Ridley at the Coolidge Corner Library.  It is located near check out desk and will be on display for the month of March. I encourage everyone to stop by and check it out to get more familiar with Mrs. Ridley as we get closer to our official transition to the Florida Ruffin Ridley School on September 1st. 

     

    Florida Ruffin Ridley Curriculum Development

    In preparation for our transition to the Florida Ruffin Ridley School a working group has formed to identify tasks, opportunities, challenges, and next steps as we create the road map to the historic September 1st official Renaming Day.  

     

    To support our students and staff in understanding our history and future, Gabe McCormick, the K-8 Social Studies Coordinator, is working  in collaboration with interested teachers on developing lessons and curriculum. Students will engage in some of these lessons and activities prior to us breaking for the summer and some of the work will happen when we return under our new name.  

     

    I will continue to update the community through email as more plans are worked out and organized.  

     

    After school playground expected behaviors

    As the weather warms we are so excited to see more and more families connecting and playing on the back play fields and playgrounds.  I wanted to share a few reminders about our outdoor play spaces.  

     

    Everyone’s Play Space

    The play structures, fields, and courts (unless permitted through the town) are for everyone to enjoy after school hours.  This includes Coolidge Corner School community members, students and staff participating in after school programming, and other community members and their children.  We are confident that our community members will exhibit our core values of Work Hard, Be Kind, Help Others as they engage with others on the playground. Even after school hours we expect all students and families to show kindness and respect to one another, engage in safe actions and use safe words, and share the spaces.  

     

    Supervision

    All K-2 students are expected to be supervised by an adult on the playground and play fields after school hours.  Our grades 3-8 students are expected to engage in responsible play that follows our school wide expectations. Unsupervised students who exhibit unexpected and unkind behaviors on the playground may be asked to leave and only return with adult supervision. 

     

    As a reminder there is no nurse available after school hours and administrators may or may not be available to intervene and support as situations arise on the playground.  

     

    How you can help build our community after school 

    Just as we expect our students to be upstanders in our community (standing up and intervening or reporting when they witness unsafe or unkind behavior), so too do we expect the adults in the community to do the same.  If you notice students who are engaged in unsafe or unkind behavior after school you can intervene by reminding them of the expectations and reaching out to their family (if you know them). If you are uncomfortable reaching out to their family you can ask for their name and connect with myself or any of the vice principals who will follow up with the student and their family.  

     

    We know that by reinforcing positive, kind, empathetic behavior and intervening and supporting when students make mistakes in judgment and choices in after school unstructured situations, that together we can work towards and build a positive community.  

     

    Parking in the Loop

    This is a friendly reminder that there is NO parking in the front loop unless you are picking up a sick child, picking up for an early dismissal, or dropping off a student after 8:15a.m.  

     

    When excess vehicles are parked in the loop it makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to access our building.  We had this situation two weeks ago when an ambulance needed to reach the building but was unable due to the number of cars parked in the loop without permission.  

     

    We will begin ticketing and towing vehicles that are parked in the loop without permission outside of the reasons listed above.  The police department will be paying especially close attention to the times around arrival and dismissal when most unauthorized vehicles have been found in the loop. 

     

    Afternoon Tea at Tatte

    Thursday afternoons I welcome everyone, students and families, to drop by and connect over a cup of tea and snack from 4:30 - 6:30p.m. at Tatte on Harvard Street.  Most Thursday afternoons I will be at the cafe working offsite and welcome the opportunity to informally connect with all our CCS families and friends. This is a great opportunity for us all to continue to build relationships, share feedback, and strengthen our community.  



    This week not only will we all be feeling the effects of the time change, but we have a full moon on the horizon and a Friday the 13th to close out the week.  We are all going to need some extra rest and patience as we gear up for another wonderful week at the Hive! :)

     

    Jen

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