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.
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
Meeting ID: 793 753 115
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
Meeting ID: 870 241 132
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!
Meeting ID: 418 991 619
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
Meeting ID: 617 966 966
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
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.
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 email@example.com
Jordana Spitz: K-2 Guidance Counselor firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Burke: Grades 3-5 Vice Principal email@example.com
Mary Murphy: Grades 3-5 Guidance Counselor firstname.lastname@example.org
Saeed Ola: Grades 6-8 Vice Principal email@example.com
Jennifer Maylone: Grades 6-8 Guidance Counselor firstname.lastname@example.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!