Message from Principal Chad Leith: March 4, 2022

Dear members of the Morse School Community,

Although our children have enjoyed a successful week back from the February break, we know that many members of our community are feeling the weight of the events currently taking place in Ukraine. While removed geographically from Cambridge, many Morse School families and staff members have direct connections to Ukraine and Russia, where thousands have taken to the streets to protest the actions of their government. We work hard at the Morse School to teach our students the values of fairness, empathy, and speaking out against injustice. We know that the attack on Ukraine may be confusing and frightening to children who are following current events. Our School Counselor Fergie Wheeler and the district Social Studies Lead Teacher Adrienne Stang have provided a range of helpful resources for Cambridge educators, so that we are equipped to support our students and answer their questions about the invasion. If you are looking for guidance on how to navigate conversations you may be having at home, here are some helpful resources from Save the Children and Common Sense Media.

Changes in COVID-19 Protocols
With lower rates of COVID infections and higher rates of vaccinated individuals in our schools, the district has implemented changes to the way we monitor and respond to positive cases (please see more information here). We are also taking a new approach to communicating information about positive cases. Moving forward, school leaders will no longer send schoolwide messages about positive cases. Instead, we will send messages to parents and caregivers in individual classrooms about positive cases identified in those classrooms. Information about individual school cases will also be added to the CPS COVID-19 Data Dashboard. As Superintendent Greer has shared with the community (see her March 2nd video message here), additional changes to our COVID protocols are currently under consideration and I will be sure to let you know about any changes that affect the Morse School community.

Black History Month "Book Cover Door" Project
Black History Month "Book Cover Door" Project
During the month of February, Morse School teachers and students celebrated Black History Month with a school-wide door-decorating activity. Although both the Morse School and the Cambridge Public Schools are working to ensure that African, African American and Afro-Caribbean stories, contributions, and voices are systematically integrated into our curriculum throughout the year, we still believe that Black History Month offers an opportunity to lift up Black history and experiences. With the participation of students across all grade levels, the doors of our classrooms and offices have been transformed to highlight contributions and experiences of the many Black scientists, artists, inventors, performers, athletes, educators, explorers, authors, and leaders (past and present) who have helped shape our world. We hope to have additional photos of our “book cover doors” added to our website next week!

Read across AmericaRead Across America Week 2022
The Morse School celebrated Read Across America Week (February 28-March 4th) with a variety of activities to get our students excited about reading, including a book swap (see photo), a school-wide read aloud, and individual classroom mystery readers! Click here to learn more about our Morse School commemoration!

1st Semester Awards Ceremony
Next Wednesday, March 9th Ms. Headley and I will host a virtual live stream 1st semester awards ceremony for students in Grades 3-5. Awards will acknowledge both academic achievement (including individual student awards for overall excellence in reading, math, and other core subjects) and also celebrate students who have demonstrated core values such as kindness, active learning, and taking steps to make the Morse School a more inclusive place for all).

Save the Date!
We have planned several upcoming events for parents, caregivers, and children:

  • Friday 3/18 - Family Gym & Game Night! - We welcome Morse School parents, caregivers, and students to reconnect with other families in person for our first indoor community event since the emergency school closure in March 2020. The event will take place in our gym, Main Lobby, and cafeteria from 6-8PM. Morse students and families are invited to participate in small-sided soccer games, basketball, line dancing, a Just Dance competition, and climbing and tumbling in our indoor playground. To ensure a safe and fun event for all, children must be supervised by their parents/caregivers at all times. We will share more details about the event as we learn more about possible district changes to COVID protocols.

  • Tuesday 3/22 - Morning Parent Coffee - Family Liaison Kasey Clermont and I will be hosting a parent coffee on Tuesday 3/22 from 8:10-9AM in the Main Lobby. Please come have a cup of coffee, connect with other Morse School families, and share your questions, concerns, and suggestions. We look forward to seeing many of you there!

  • Thursday 3/24 - Parent Workshop on Restorative Practices - Restorative justice is a practice of peacemaking and reconciliation that originates from indiginous communities. Whenever possible, when a student's behavior has caused harm to another student or staff member, we will utilize restorative conferences and or circles in order to support reflection, accountability, repair, and learning. Come learn more about our disciplinary model at this virtual parent workshop on Thursday 3/24 from 6-7PM.

Please see Ms. Clermont’s March 2022 Morse Calendar for more upcoming dates and events.

As always, I am grateful for your partnership and support and I wish you and your family all the best for a wonderful and restful weekend.

Sincerely,
Chad

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