Message from Chad Leith: March 30, 2020

Dear Morse School Parents, Caregivers, and Families,

I hope that this message finds you and your families healthy and safe. As we enter the third week of our prolonged school closure, we continue to work behind the scenes to ensure that each Morse School family has access to basic necessities and that each Morse School child has a way of accessing the online activities being shared by his/her teachers. 

We have received new guidelines from the Commissioner of Education about how to manage the extended school closure. Over the coming days, Superintendent Salim and his Cabinet will be working to clarify our district’s distance learning model to ensure that it is as equitable, sustainable, and realistic as possible. At the Morse School, this process has involved collaborative problem-solving as we work to address and overcome a range of constraints. These include technical challenges, differing levels of proficiency with online learning, differing family schedules and expectations, and great variation in the abilities of different children to engage independently with distance learning activities.

In an effort to create predictable routines for all members of our community, we have established “virtual school hours” of 8AM to 5PM for our teachers and staff. Teachers will build class schedules within this timeframe that permit them to attend to the academic, social, and emotional needs of their students while also attending to their personal household responsibilities (which, for many, include caring for young children of their own). We ask that you aim to connect with teachers and staff on weekdays within these hours. Later this week, we will share additional information about our approach to distance learning. Thank you for your patience, understanding, flexibility, and support. 

Virtual Parent Meetings on 3/31 and 4/1
As Denise mentioned in the email message that she sent to parents and caregivers on Friday, we will be hosting two parent meetings this week. While we will once again focus each meeting on the needs and concerns of different grade bands, parents, and caregivers are warmly invited to join whichever meeting fits your schedule. Here’s how:

Grades 3-5: Tuesday, March 31st | 5:30 - 6:30PM 
Join Google Meet online by following this link. Or call 832.736.0373 (PIN: 101 679 131#)

Grades JK-2: Wednesday, April 1st | 8 - 9AM
Join Google Meet online by following this link. Or call 413.752.2677 (PIN: 498 626 738#)

Denise, Elaine, Sam, and I look forward to checking in and opening a space to share ideas for making the most of our children’s time while we are away from school. We invite you to send your questions ahead of time by email or text message (617.201.7801).

We’ve Run Out of Library Books. Now What?
We have heard that many students have finished the five books that they checked out from the Morse School Library on March 13th. Ms. Pennell has created a fantastic resource with websites for online reading (which you can access by following this link). I have also begun posting daily read alouds, which you can access here or through the Distance Learning Page on our website. I have been aiming to record videos that are between 15-20 minutes each, so that you can gain a little extra breathing room while your children are listening to the story! 

Please tell your children that we miss them and love hearing from them! If there is anything you need from us, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any other member of the Morse School team.

Chad Leith
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