Message from Chad Leith: May 11, 2021

Dear Morse School Families & Caregivers,

This is an unusual week, with an early release day tomorrow (12:25PM dismissal) and a Thursday holiday (No School in observance of the Eid al-Fitr holiday). Below, I am sharing some additional information and reminders for the coming days and weeks:

ducksMake Way for the Ducklings!
A mother duck has chosen the Morse School Playground to lay her eggs! Two of our Morse School students (pictured here) created a sign so that those visiting the playground are aware of the nest and the importance of keeping a respectful distance. We are excited to see nature unfolding on our school grounds and are eagerly waiting to see whether our mother duck will choose to raise her ducklings here once they have hatched!

Familia Umoja Meeting Tomorrow Evening
On behalf of parent organizers Alba Alexander, Jennifer Betancourt, and Kim Bostic-Williams, I wish to extend a warm invitation to our parents and caregivers of color to participate in tomorrow evening’s (6:30-7:45PM) meeting of the Morse Parents & Caregivers of Color Affinity Group (Familia Umoja). The group is intended as a safe and joyful space for the purpose of building community, as we honor each other’s identities and lived experiences, sharing information, and empowering each other to advocate for our children to be heard, seen and thrive at the Morse School. Tomorrow night, the group will be joined by Khari Milner, Co-Director of the Cambridge Agenda for Children. Please see this flyer for more information and the Zoom link.

Countdown to the The 2021 Morse Marathon!
This year’s Morse Marathon will take place on Thursday, May 20th from 9AM-12PM at Magazine Beach Park (located on the other side of the Memorial Drive footbridge). Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about this special school-wide event:

What safety protocols will be in place for this year’s Morse Marathon?
We have made several changes to this year’s Marathon in order to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students. All student and staff participants will follow mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines throughout the event. Additionally, rather than participate in the marathon as an entire school community, we have spaced the marathon out into three shifts, so that we never exceed state limits for outdoor gatherings. We regret that this year we will not be able to allow parents or family members to join their children in running the marathon route. Here is a full overview of the COVID safety protocols we will have in place on May 20th.

How long is the Morse Marathon? Is it really a “Marathon?”
A “real” marathon is 26-miles (42 kilometers) long. The Morse Marathon is much shorter than that! The course is a loop path around Magazine Beach Park. We estimate that a “lap” equals approximately one quarter mile (or 0.4 kilometers). Four laps equals a mile; 2.5 laps equals one kilometer. Individual students are encouraged to complete as many laps as they wish, and are welcome to jog or walk around the Marathon course. We are hoping to hit a schoolwide minimum of 1,891 laps, in honor of our school’s 1891 founding!

Will remote learners be able to participate?
Yes! There are two ways that remote learners can participate:

– Option #1 - In-Person Option - We are eager to see our remote learners in person and hope that most (if not all) of our remote learners will be able to join us in-person! Remote learners who choose to participate in the event will join in from 10:00-11:00am. Parents of remote learners should drop their children off at the Magazine Beach parking lot (between the water treatment station and the baseball field). A Morse staff member will escort your child to the warm up area. Children will be dismissed to their parents at the parking lot once we have completed the Marathon route. If you need transportation for your child, please contact our Family Liaison Denise Sullivan.

– Option 2# - Remote Option - Our P.E. teacher Mr. Fousek will share a special asynchronous video with activities that our remote learners can complete indoors or outside to contribute to our goal of 1,891 laps!

Is the Morse Marathon a “race?”
No. The Morse Marathon is a fun run, but it is not a “race” and all children can work to meet their personal walking or running goals. Our P.E. teacher Phil Fousek will go over rules around speed and respectful participation in the event before we get started. After we have announced the final lap, students will cross the “finish line” and return to the warm-up area, where they will be invited to participate in socially-distanced line dancing!

Sponsor Your Student Runner!
The Morse Marathon is not only an event to promote fitness and community, it is also a fundraising event for our school. Money raised through events like this one directly benefits your children, by helping to pay for field trips, learning materials, and enrichment activities. You can donate by completing a pledge sheet for your student runner, or by making an online contribution through the Friends of Morse website.

Spring 2021 MCAS Assessment Begins on May 27th
The Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) is a standardized test used by all public schools in Massachusetts. It is designed to help measure students’ progress towards meeting grade level standards in English language arts, mathematics, and science. Although last year’s MCAS was cancelled, the State has reinstated a modified version of the test for Spring 2021 for students in grades 3-5. The results will provide us with an additional tool for taking stock of student learning and growth over the course of the pandemic. For more information, please see this Spring 2021 MCAS Overview & Testing Schedule.

Please see the School Calendar on our Morse School website for additional important upcoming dates and events.

Finally, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to those Morse School students and families who are preparing to celebrate Eid al-Fitr this week. Eid Mubarak!

Principal Chad Leith

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