Message from Chad Leith: January 23, 2023

Dear Morse School Parents and Caregivers,

Many Morse School families celebrated the Lunar New Year over the weekend and I want to begin this newsletter by wishing all members of our community a peaceful and happy 2023. With news of the tragic shooting in Monterey Park, California, and with so many other complex challenges facing our community and our world, I am entering the New Year with a renewed sense of commitment to providing our children with the tools they need to become successful, independent, and culturally-proficient global citizens. This is a shared responsibility, and I am grateful for your partnership as we work together to make the Morse School a place where all students feel a sense of belonging and where each day brings new learning and growth.

Winter Concert This Friday Morning - Doors Open to Families at 8:45AM!
This Friday (1/27) we look forward to bringing our community together for our first JK-5 Winter Concert since 2020! The concert will take place in three shifts (JK/K at 9AM, Gr. 1 & 2 at 9:30AM, and Gr. 3-5 at 10AM). You are invited to attend any portion of the concert. Doors open for family members at 8:45AM (please have your child come at their regular arrival time!). Please see this flier for more information!

A New Student Council & A New School Counselor
Student Council2023 has begun with some new initiatives and some new faces at the Morse School. Our Student Council has begun meeting to ensure that our students have a voice in school-based decision making (Council members are pictured here with Faculty Advisor Dan Offley).

Nathan ClarkWe have also welcomed Nathan Clark (pictured here) as our new School Adjustment Counselor. Mr. Clark has over 20 years of experience as an educator and social worker, including three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. He holds a BA in Clinical Psychology from Covenant College, a Master's in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Mississippi, and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Maryland. Mr. Clark takes over for our previous Adjustment Counselor, Kasey Clermont, who has transitioned into a new role as the CPS Title I Social Worker.

Announcing Our Winter 2023 Coady Award Winners!
The James Coady Award for Extraordinary Effort is given each semester to one child from each of our 3rd, 4th, and 5th homerooms. A student chosen for the Coady Award may only receive this recognition once in their elementary school career. The selection of the award is not necessarily based on the highest academic record. It may be a student who has made considerable progress in academics, or a student who has overcome a particular challenge. Coady Award winners are children who show perseverance and contribute consistently and positively to our school community. The award, which has been a Morse School tradition for almost 30 years, is named in honor of former Morse School Principal James Coady.

We announced this semester’s recipients on our weekly Friday morning Live Stream, and it gives me great pleasure to honor and celebrate them here as well:

3rd Grade
Emanuel Sisay
Leem Hemet
Arilyn Lopez

4th Grade
Meklit Ephrem
Janiyah Daniels-Vinson
Amaia Lopez

5th Grade
Iris Batchelor
Cam Dacosta

Mid-Year Progress Monitoring
We are in the process of administering mid-year assessments to gauge our students’ progress towards end-of-year learning targets. The information we gather will help our teachers, specialists, and interventionists to make adjustments to ensure that all students are gaining the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in school. These assessments will also inform our 1st semester report cards, which will be sent home in February.

Attendance Policy Reminder
Finally a reminder that consistent attendance is essential to each student’s social, emotional, and academic growth and success. Teachers depend on regular attendance to build a sense of community in their classrooms and plan lessons that incorporate small group work. We have seen a higher-than-average number of student absences this year, and want to ask for your support in making your child’s attendance a priority. The expectation is that all students will have, at a minimum, at least ninety-five percent (95%) attendance rate. We are legally required to maintain accurate records of each child’s attendance and to report chronic absences or tardiness to the CPS Office of Safety & Security. Please see our Student & Family Handbook for more on this and other important school policies and expectations.

My best wishes for a great start to your week and I look forward to seeing many of you this Friday for our Winter Concert!


Principal Chad Leith
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