Weekly Update from Chad Leith: September 6, 2019

Dear Members of the Morse School Community,

kids working togetherIt has been a wonderful first week of school at the Morse School! Our teachers, specialists, and paraprofessionals have already begun to engage our students in meaningful learning activities and to teach and reinforce the routines and expectations that support our Morse Code:

  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Kind
  • Be An Active Learner
morse studentsAt the Morse School, we teach and reinforce these core values in order to promote safe and respectful classroom communities and, to support our children’s positive social and academic development, and to foster a sense of belonging. The Morse Code is one of the things that makes our school such a special place to grow and learn! You can take an active role in this process by taking some time with your child this weekend to go over the policies and guidelines described in the Morse School Student & Parent Handbook.

Ways to Get Involved
I’m a parent too, and I know that all of our parents and caregivers work hard to support their own children’s learning and positive engagement with school. However, we as a school community also benefit greatly from our parent volunteers. If you are looking for additional ways to contribute towards making the Morse School a great place to learn and teach, I invite you to consider participating in one of these important school-based organizations:
  • Friends of Morse - As many of you know, the Friends of Morse functions as our school’s parent/teacher organization, meets monthly to plan community events and devise strategies for raising funds to enhance classroom instruction. The group’s first meeting of the year will next Thursday, September 12th from 6:30-8:00pm in the Morse School Library. Please join us for an informal opportunity to connect with other parents, share ideas, and to learn about upcoming community events. It will take place I look forward to seeing many of you there!
  • Morse School Council - The Morse School Council is a legally-required representative group of parents and teachers who play an important role in shaping the policies and programs of the school. By law, school councils must include an equal number of teachers and parents. Parent members are to be selected by the parents of students attending the school, in elections held by the local recognized parent-teacher organization. The Morse School Council currently includes four parent members and four teacher members. We will be looking to expand membership this year by adding up to four additional parent and teacher members, who will serve staggered two-year terms. Voting to approve candidates will take place at our September 25th Open House & Curriculum Night. If you are interested in serving as a parent representative on the Morse School Council, please consider attending the Friends of Morse meeting on Thursday, where I will explain the process in greater detail.
  • Race & Equity Working Group - Last year, a group of teachers and parents began meeting to discuss issues of equity, launching a process that we hope will ultimately engage all members of our school community in conversations about the way that race and culture impact the daily experiences of children and adults, and how we can work together to address the lingering effects of systemic racism in our school. These steps align with the Cambridge Public Schools Vision for Equity and Access, and are similar to conversations that are taking place in other CPS schools. We are in the process of scheduling our first meeting of the 2019-2020 school year; if you are interested in participating or contributing your thoughts and suggestions, please send me an e-mail (cleith@cpsd.us) so that I can be sure to include you in group mailings.
New Staff Members
In my August 20th newsletter, I introduced several new staff members. Here are a few more educators who have joined the Morse School community:
  • Eva Ostrovsky-Kaminsky has joined us as our new part-time music teacher. She will be teaching our 3rd and 4th grade music lessons, an co-leading our new 5th grade chorus with Ms. Graeber. Born and raised in Russia in a family of musicians, Ms. Ostrovsky-Kaminsky received her first lessons in love and understanding music in her family from her family with her father. In 1990, she immigrated with her family to Israel, where she received her first degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Tel Aviv. Ms. Ostrovsky-Kaminsky immigrated to the United States in 1997 and completed her Master’s degree and Doctoral coursework at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Our new Special Start classroom (E2) will be supported by Colleen Cadger. This will be Ms. Cadger’s 17th year working as a Special Start paraprofessional. Ms. Cadger, who earned her Bachelor’s degree from Lesley University, has served sub-separate preschool classrooms and as well as intensive inclusive preschool classrooms.
  • Also joining us in E2 is Patricia Camilleri. Prior to joining Special Start in 2018, Ms. Camilleri completed a Boston Public Schools fellowship as a first grade teacher. She has also worked as a coordinator at an after school program for 14 years. Ms. Camilleri holds an M.Ed in Elementary Education and has earned teacher licensure in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and Students with and without Disabilities (PreK-2).
  • Lauren Bean is our new part-time P.E. teacher. Ms. Bean has been teaching in Cambridge for four years Ms. Bean, who grew up in California, earned her Bachelor’s degree at Utah State University and her Master’s from Springfield College. In addition to co-teaching our 1st and 2nd grade Physical Education classes with Mr. Fousek, Ms. Bean serves as a boys & girls volleyball coach at CRLS.
Finally, a friendly reminder to please be sure to turn in an updated Health History Form for your child. This form is very important to us in the event of an emergency. It can be accessed online here

It has been wonderful to welcome back our returning students and to meet those joining the Morse School community for the first time! We want your child to have a positive and successful school year, so if your child’s first days have left you with any questions, concerns or suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, to me, or to any other member of our team.

Thank you and best wishes for a wonderful weekend,

Chad Leith
Principal
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