Message from Principal Chad Leith: December 7, 2021

Dear Morse School parents and caregivers,

News last week of the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, was a heartbreaking reminder that COVID-19 is not the only potential threat to our children’s safety. Throughout the school year, we conduct multiple safety drills to prepare the members of our community to respond safely and appropriately in the event of an emergency. We have already conducted our first fire drill of the school year, in which we teach our children how to quickly evacuate the building and convene in safe areas away from the school building.  Between now and the winter break, we will conduct a lockdown drill, in which children and teachers practice remaining inside their locked classrooms in response to the presence of an armed intruder.  After the break, we will  also conduct a shelter in place drill, in which children and teachers are taught to remain inside the school building due to a security threat in the vicinity (such as an extreme weather event or a nearby police action).  As with fire drills, lockdown and shelter in place safety drills are unannounced and brief. We take care to minimize anxiety and to explain to students that practicing together is an important way to stay safe. We encourage you to take a few moments to talk to your child about the importance of preparing for emergency situations as well. Thank you!

An Updated “Morse Code!”

The “Morse Code” provides straightforward, common language that helps students understand the individual actions that all members of our community should take to contribute towards a safe and positive environment for teaching and learning.  At yesterday afternoon’s staff meeting, we voted to adopt a new core value: “Be Inclusive.”  This value replaces “Be Respectful,” and is aligned to the goals expressed in our school’s Statement on Race & Equity.  It will help us teach students about our shared responsibility to make the Morse School a welcoming place that values all voices, perspectives, languages, cultures, learning styles, and ways of being.  Over the coming weeks, each element of the Morse Code - Be Inclusive, Be Kind, Be Responsible, Be an Active Learner - will be taught, modeled, recognized, and reinforced in all classrooms from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5.  Framing and reinforcing expectations with common language supports our overall approach to nurturing positive social and emotional development and helping our students develop self awareness, social awareness, self management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. 

A Reminder about Toys, Collectibles, Candy, Gum & Soda

Please be reminded that students should not have candy, soda, or gum in school.  We adhere to the CPS Wellness Policy, and the Morse School promotes healthy food and beverages.  We realize it can be nice to have a sweet treat but students should refrain from bringing candy with their snack or lunch.  Toys, collectables (stuffed animals, Beanie Boos, action figures), trading cards, Pokémon cards, fidget spinners, slime, etc. are also not allowed in school unless they have been brought with teacher permission. We do not want these items to get in the way of the learning. If your child must bring a toy for after school use or other reasons, please make it clear that the item is to stay in their backpack until they have been dismissed.  For further information on this and other school policies, please refer to the Morse Student & Family Handbook 2021-2022.

Friends of Morse School Monthly Meeting - Tonight 8:30-9:30 PM

The Friends of the Morse School (FMS) will be holding its monthly regular body meeting tonight from 8:30-9:30 PM (Please see this link for more information and a zoom link).  Chris Edelman has stepped down from his position as FMS President and among tonight’s agenda items will be to vote on the new board leadership. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Chris for the incredible time and effort he dedicated to the group and to our school during his tenure as the leader of FMS.  I look forward to our continued partnership with FMS as we work together to make the Morse School a great place to learn and grow.

JK/K Virtual Info Sessions

During the month of December, Acting Family Liaison Kasey Clermont will be hosting multiple virtual information sessions for prospective Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten families.  If you know of any families who are looking for a great “home” for their 4- and 5-year-old children, please encourage them to reach out to Kasey to register for a session.  For an overview of all Morse School happenings in December, please take a look at Kasey’s December Calendar.

Putnam Ave. Upper School (PAUS) Virtual Meeting - Tomorrow 6-7:30 PM 

Morse school students who remain in the Cambridge Public Schools go on to attend the Putnam Ave. Upper School.  All Morse School families are warmly invited to attend a virtual zoom event tomorrow evening from 6-7:30 PM to learn about life in middle school at Putnam Ave., highlighted through the voices and experiences of our Putnam Ave. families in a panel discussion that will include current and former Morse families. This is a family-focused evening and students are encouraged to attend.  Please see this flyer for more information about the session and how to register.

As always, I am grateful to our Morse School families for your support and partnership.  If you ever have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or another member of the Morse School team.  My very best wishes for a wonderful week!

Sincerely,

Principal Chad Leith

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