Message from Principal Chad Leith: October 30, 2021

Dear Morse School Parents & Caregivers,

I am reaching out with a rare Saturday newsletter to catch you up on some Morse School news, reminders, and information.

I’d like to begin with an update on our Assistant Principal Sam Headley, who is still recovering from her back surgery.  Ms. Headley has decided to extend her leave until after Thanksgiving, so that she can continue improve through physical therapy.  In her absence, I have asked veteran Morse School Kindergarten teacher Kristin Allison to step in as Acting Assistant Principal.  Ms. Alllson is licensed as a school administrator and has held multiple informal leadership and advisory roles at the school and district levels.  While Ms. Allison is serving in this temporary role, her B6 homeroom will be led by Stephanie Williams.  Ms. Williams, who is a staff representative on the Morse School Council and is currently completing her Master’s in Education program at Lesley University, is a seasoned JK/K paraprofessional and is prepared to take the lead.  She will continue to consult daily with Ms. Allison and will be supported in the classroom by retired Morse teacher Julia Bishop.

I am also excited to introduce Nafeesha Moore, who will join our community as a Math Interventionist beginning on November 15th.  Ms. Moore has been an elementary school teacher for over 10 years, most recently at the Match Community Day Charter School, where she also served as Dean of Students.  Ms. Moore holds licensure in both Elementary Education and Moderate Disabilities, and her repertoire includes facilitating student conflict resolution and social/emotional learning.  I'd like to offer my thanks to 4th grade parent Hamdalla Issa Alhassan who served on the hiring committee, along with Morse staff members Liz Vincent, Mary Gallant, and Liz Pizzi.

We are still looking to hire a Literacy Coach and would be grateful to parents and caregivers for reaching out to any qualified candidates within your networks who might be interested in applying.  You can find the job description here.

Continuing Our Work Towards Becoming an Anti-Racist School Community

We are taking several steps this year to advance our work toward living up to the values expressed in our Morse School Statement on Race & Equity.  In collaboration with the CPS Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, we will soon be assembling a team of staff members and parents to conduct an equity self-assessment.  We hope that this process will help us better understand the ways in which our school policies and classroom practices might perpetuate racial inequities, foster white privilege, or devalue and disempower individuals and communities of color.  To ensure that traditionally underrepresented voices are elevated in team discussions and decision-making, it will be our goal to recruit a diverse team of 8-10 staff members and parents with a minimum of 50% of seats being held by individuals of color.  If you are interested in joining, please reach out to me, Math Coach Liz Vincent, or Assistant Principal Sam Headley (who is still working intermittently from home). 

Upcoming Morse Parent & Caregiver Meet-ups

Acting Family Liaison Kasey Clermont and I have planned a series of parent and caregiver meet-ups in early November.  In addition to providing you with an opportunity to connect with other parents, we hope that these events will give you a chance to ask questions and to share your suggestions and concerns.  To make these meet-ups as accessible as possible to all of our families, we will be experimenting with a variety of locations and formats, including a virtual meeting on November 4th (6:30-7:30 PM), an in-person parent coffee in the Morse CitySprouts Garden on November 12th (8-9 AM), and a “Walking Taco” meet-up at Danehy Park on November 13th.  Please see this flyer for more information.  Ms. Clermont will be sending home a November calendar next week with additional information about upcoming events.

Friends of Morse School Election Day Bake Sale

This Tuesday, November 2nd is Election Day and the Friends of Morse School will once again be coordinating an election day bake sale.  For more information on how you can contribute or volunteer, please see this flyer.  As a reminder, funds raised by FMS support our school in a variety of ways, including resources and opportunities to enhance learning for our children.  In the past, FMS has also helped to fund parent workshops aligned with our equity efforts.  We will be looking to identify similar opportunities over the coming months.

Finally, yesterday was “Crazy Hat Day” at the Morse School, which gave us all an opportunity to laugh a bit and celebrate our children’s creativity!  For those of you whose children will participate in Halloween tomorrow evening, I hope that you have a safe and fun outing!

As always, we are grateful for your support and partnership as we continue to work through the challenges of pandemic-era teaching and learning.  My very best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Chad

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