Message from Chad Leith: September 14, 2020

Dear Morse School Parents and Caregivers,

ChadOn behalf of Ms. Headley and the entire Morse School staff, I want to welcome you to the 2020-2021 school year! We have been working throughout the summer to prepare for a successful school opening and can’t wait to “see” your children on Wednesday! 

Establishing strong relationships and attending to each child’s social and emotional development will be a key component of our approach this year, beginning with family listening conferences that began last week. Hopefully, the conversation that you have had (or will soon have) with your child’s homeroom teacher will be the first step towards building a partnership that will support your child’s learning over the weeks and months ahead. Despite the challenges we are sure to encounter, the teachers and staff members of the Morse School will continue to ground our work in collaboration, a focus on meeting the needs of all learners, and a commitment to taking the personal and collective steps necessary to provide an equitable and just educational experience for all of our students. 

While many children will return for in-person schooling beginning on October 13th, all of our students will begin the year as remote learners. Below, I share answers to some questions that you may have about how we will launch the 2020-2021 school year:

What will the opening of school look like this year?
On September 16th, 17th, and 18th, we will begin our school year with a special, half-day schedule. Our special half days will begin at 8:25AM and end at 11:30AM. During these first three days, your child’s teacher will focus on establishing a supportive classroom community, fostering positive relationships between students, and helping students to become familiar with virtual learning routines and technology. All students will begin the year as remote learners and we want to help them get off to a great start!

Beginning on the week of September 21st, we will shift into our regular remote classroom schedules. The daily schedule will be from 8:25AM - 2:30PM. Your child’s teacher will share a weekly schedule with you this Friday. Here is a link to a district schedule for our first five weeks of learning, including our first four weeks of fully remote learning for all learners.

What do I do on September 16th?
We will begin our first day of school with a whole-school community meeting, which will be live streamed beginning at 8:25AM (Here is theMorse Live Stream! link). Following our school-wide meeting, your child will log onto his or her classroom meeting by following the link sent to parents in a separate email. If you have not received a message from your child’s teacher with an online meeting link, please reach out to me directly (cleith@cpsd.us) so we can make sure that we have your correct email address in our system.

Will attendance be taken?
Yes! Students are expected to be present for the full school day and engaged in their learning activities. Students’ daily schedules will include a mix of live learning activities facilitated by a teacher, asynchronous (pre-recorded) lessons, and independent learning activities. Students will be expected to participate in all activities, including their special subjects such as Art, Music, and Physical Education. Students should log onto their classroom links by 8:25AM each day.

What do I do if my child is sick?
If your child is sick and unable to participate in his or her remote learning activities, please contact your child’s teacher and/or our School Clerk Elaine Delaney (617.349.6575 or edelaney@cpsd.us) to report your child’s absence. 

What about breakfast and lunch?
Starting Today, Cambridge Food & Nutrition Services is supplying breakfast & lunch to feed Cambridge students every weekday from 12NOON - 1PM! Meals will be FREE for all Cambridge students. Click here to learn more about the CPS Remote Learning Distribution Meals Program.

For additional questions, please review the comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions page on the Cambridge Public Schools website, or reach out directly to a Morse School staff member.

Reminder: Morse Working Group on Race & Equity this Thursday from 6 - 7:30PM
Even as many of us are focused on a successful launch to the school year, we are mindful that structural racism continues to impact the lives of Morse School children, families, and staff members. In the spirit of holding ourselves accountable for engaging in the difficult work of becoming an anti-racist school, I invite all staff members, parents, and caregivers to participate in this year’s first meeting of the Morse School Working Group on Race & Equity. Co-facilitated by 4th grade parent Jennifer Betancourt and Morse School Math Coach Liz Vincent, the working group is aimed at understanding and addressing racism within our school and community. Please join us this Thursday September 17th from 6 - 7:30PM. (Zoom link here).

We are very excited about the year ahead and looking forward to welcoming you back on Wednesday morning at 8:25am!

Sincerely,

Principal Chad Leith
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