Message from Principal Chad Leith: April 14, 2022

Dear Morse School Parents & Caregivers,

FlowersSpring flowers are once again blooming around our building and we are all very much looking forward to welcoming warmer weather. Before we head out on our Spring Break, I wanted to reach out with some important information and reminders:

Supporting our Morse School Staff Members
In order to provide a predictable and engaging learning experience for our students, we need to ensure predictable and sustainable teaching conditions for our staff. During the height of the pandemic, we all saw the boundaries blurred between work hours and home hours. However, we need to respect our staff members’ personal time. Although many of our teachers pride themselves on being accessible to their Morse School families, they also have families and household responsibilities of their own. I therefore respectfully ask that you refrain from reaching out to staff members on their personal cell phones outside of school hours. If you need to communicate with your Playgroundchild’s teacher outside of school hours, please use email. In most instances, you can expect a response within 24 hours (with the exception of weekends, holidays, and school vacation times). As always, if there is an emergency, please call the main office (617.349.6575) or reach out to me on my CPS cell phone (617.201.7801). Thank you so much for your consideration and support!

COVID-19 Rapid Self-Test Reminder
This week, all Morse School families should have received rapid COVID-19 self-test kits in your children’s backpacks. We ask that you keep this test in a safe place and administer the rapid test to your Morse School children on Sunday, April 24th, before we return from the April break. COVID-19 case numbers are rising in our region, and regular testing is an important part of our approach to keeping all members of our community healthy and safe. Please click here for more information.

Welcoming Artists and Authors to the Morse School
As part of our continuing effort to celebrate and elevate the voices of individuals who represent the diversity of our school community, while also inspiring our students to look for new ways of expressing their own thoughts and feelings, the Morse School will be welcoming the following authors and artists to our school over the months of April and May.

  • On Monday, April 4th, our fourth graders enjoyed a virtual author visit with Julian Randall (courtesy of the Cambridge Public Library). All students in attendance received a copy of his new novel, Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa courtesy of Porter Square Books! Randall is a black and queer Dominican American poet and his debut middle grade fantasy has big name author buzz. There just happen to be 42 copies floating around the Morse School and if this sounds appealing to you I am sure a 4th grader would be happy to loan you their autographed copy - just as soon as they finish reading it! Julian was an engaging speaker and enjoyed answering students questions about life, writing, influences and even a few questions about basketball. To learn more about Julian, check out his website.


  • On Thursday, April 28th Ruth Chan will be visiting the Morse School to talk about her job as an author and illustrator. Before Ruth began illustrating and writing full-time, she spent much of her Canadian childhood tobogganing, her teenage years in Hong Kong and China, another portion of time studying art and education at Wellesley College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a decade working with youth and families in schools. Ruth Chan will be sharing her new books, Thank you, Neighbor! and Have You Seen Gordon with our Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and first grade classes, who are preparing for this exciting author/illustrator visit and are reading her books during their library time with Ms. Pennell. Some of the books our students have enjoyed so far include Where's the PartyThe Best Bad Day, and The Great Indoors. Visit ohtruth.com to learn more about Ruth Chan!


  • Local Cambridge-based artist Bren Bataclan will be an artist-in-residence at the Morse School in May! He will be working with 1st and 4th graders to create a mural within our school, right next to the library. Bren Bataclan is a Filipino-American artist, well known for his Smile Project, in which he creates paintings and “hides them” for anyone to find and keep. His mission is to spread kindness through art. Please see Bren Bataclan’s website for more information about his work. Additionally, local artist Michelle Lougee will be collaborating with 3rd grade artists for an upcoming public art installation at the new Audubon facility at Magazine Beach. Students will be helping Michelle sew recycled plastics onto plastic netting, and creating pennant flags for the building. Michelle is a well known sculptor, recognized for her approach with using plarn (plastic yarn) to crochet into marine life. Her mission is to spread awareness about the damaging effects of single-use plastics.

    Many thanks to Ms. Pennell and Ms. Kerr for helping to make these exciting partnerships happen!

Welcome Temporary Clerk Steven Miller!
As many of you are aware, our amazing School Clerk Elaine Delaney is currently out on medical leave. While she recuperates at home, we have been fortunate enough to hire Steven Miller to staff our front desk. Mr. Miller moved to Cambridge from San Francisco in the fall, and has been a substitute teacher at the Morse and other Cambridge schools. He holds a master’s degree in special education, has two cats, and loves dinosaurs, drawing, and cooking. :)

For more information and reminders, please be sure to check out Family Liaison Kasey Clermont’s “Thursday Take Home,” which should also be landing in your email inbox today! To those Morse School families who observe Passover or Easter, I wish you all the best for a wonderful and meaningful celebration. And to all of our families, students, and staff members, I hope that you enjoy a restful and joyful spring break.

Sincerely,

Chad

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