From Principal Leith: June 12, 2020

Dear Morse School Parents and Caregivers,

With less than a week left before we say goodbye to students and families on June 17th, we are excited to share our plans for bringing positive closure to this unusual school year. We invite your child to participate in the many live activities that we have planned for Monday (6/15) and Tuesday (6/16). Please note that unless you hear otherwise from your child’s teacher, the activities below will replace your child’s regular live meeting schedule for Monday and Tuesday. To find a schedule of activities along with information about how to join, please click here and scroll down to your child’s grade level. We hope that all Morse School students will be able to enjoy at least a few of these fun virtual events!

The activities we have planned for next week are also meant to provide time for our homeroom teachers to meet individually with parents and caregivers to discuss each child’s learning and growth. Your child’s teacher will also share with you the Summary of Student Growth form that all CPS elementary schools are using this spring in lieu of traditional report cards.

2020-2021 Class Assignments
Although the Commissioner of Education has offered some very preliminary guidelines for the reopening of schools, we still have very limited information about what things will look like in the fall. I will continue to send updates throughout the summer. However, the current uncertainty about how staff and students will be configured in September has delayed our regular process for determining class placements for individual students. While we will continue to strive for balanced student groupings that promote each child’s best learning, we will likely need to make adjustments throughout the summer as more concrete plans for school reopening take shape. I regret that we will be unable to share final class lists until late August.

Race & Equity Working Group Recap
We were thrilled to see our highest turnout ever at yesterday’s end-of-year Morse Race & Equity Working Group meeting. Over twenty members of our community joined the conversation, with robust representation from both staff members and parents. Many thanks to Liz Vincent and Jennifer Betancourt, who facilitated a thoughtful conversation that centered around how to speak to our children about race and racism. We also discussed our draft race and equity mission statement and gathered feedback that will inform revisions to an updated second draft. There was consensus among meeting participants that the time has come for our community to move from commitment to action, and at the end of the meeting we reviewed a preliminary overview of the activities and initiatives that we have planned for 2020-2021 (please click here for overview). More detailed information will be posted to our school website over the summer.

On a related note, many of us were excited to learn that Ibram X. Kendi will be coming to Boston University in the fall. Dr. Kendi is the author of How to Be an Anti-Racist, which several Morse Staff members have read this year (here is a two minute video that offers an overview of the book in the author’s words). Dr. Kendi will also soon be publishing a book called AntiRacist Baby, which “introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism.” I share this information here because many of us have grappled recently with questions about how to engage our children in conversations about race and racism. For those who are interested, there will be an opportunity next Thursday to hear from Dr Kendi about his new book. Click here for more information and to register

As always, I am grateful for your partnership and support. None of us could have anticipated that we’d be saying goodbye to one another under these circumstances, and I am grateful to our staff members, parents, and caregivers for coming together to ensure that our students finish the school year with a strong and positive sense of community.

Sincerely,

Principal Chad Leith
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