Message from Chad Leith: May 15, 2020

Dear Morse School parents, caregivers, and families,

I hope that this week's newsletter finds you and your family well as you continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued school closure. "Quarantine fatigue" (a term recently shared with Morse staff by our School Counselor Fergie Wheeler) has taken an emotional toll on all members of our community - from children who may be demonstrating more challenging behaviors at home to adults who may find themselves becoming frustrated and overwhelmed in new and unexpected ways. We are all figuring out how to manage "big feelings" that cannot be easily addressed. To help us name what we are feeling and remind ourselves that we are not alone, Ms. Wheeler and Morse School art teacher Aimee Kerr have collaborated to bring the Keys to Coping Project to the Morse School. The Keys to Coping Project is aimed at giving all members of our school community an outlet to use art and creativity to express what's going on and how we're dealing with it. Here is a link to the slides that will be shared with students next week on their regularly-scheduled art days. We invite and encourage any and all to participate in creating something for the Morse School Keys to Coping Project. We'll be creating a virtual installation of the work and hope that many students, families, and staff members participate in the project!

Virtual Display of Student Learning
ArtWithout the benefit of our hallway bulletin boards, it may be hard to see the wonderful thinking that our students are doing in their virtual classrooms and meet-ups. Here is a sample of some of the great work that students have been completing. Pictured here, clockwise from top left: A junior kindergartener tracks weekly weather patterns; a kindergartener represents a number of objects with arrays and written numerals; A 1st grader shares her nonfiction All About Book; a 2nd grader offers predictions for a virtual science project on decomposing plants; a 3rd grader shares an opinion essay on the importance of recycling; a 4th grader shares her poem in slideshow format; and a 5th grader uses models to solve a math problem involving fractions. Over the remaining five weeks of school, our teachers will continue providing students with opportunities to demonstrate their student learning and growth. Please help us by continuing to encourage your children to participate in their distance learning activities and submitting and sharing their work.

Expectations for Online Behavior
As a reminder, to ensure online safety and family privacy and to maximize positive engagement, we ask that you please help your children observe the following norms:

  • Students should be fully dressed.
  • Students should be sitting upright and ready for learning.
  • Please be mindful of background noise or distracting background images or movement.
  • Students should not use google meet links or google docs on their CPS devices to have chats or video meets with other students unless a teacher is present.
  • And, of course, we expect that our Morse School students are kind, respectful, responsible, active learners when they are participating in their online classes!

2020-2021 Class Lists
Over the coming weeks, our teachers and teams will be working together virtually to develop class lists for the coming school year. The Morse School is a small school with only two general education classrooms at each grade level. Our goal is to create balanced classrooms that will foster each child’s positive social and academic growth, while also providing each child with a sense of belonging at the Morse School. Our placement decisions will be informed by the individual strengths and needs of each child, as well as our observations of the classroom dynamics that permit each child to do her or his best learning If there is compelling information that you believe should be considered along with other placement factors, please send me an email by June 1st.. Otherwise, please know that we will approach this process with a great deal of care and will make decisions with each child’s best interest in mind. As a reminder, if you are not planning to return to the Morse School next year, please complete this online Intent to Transfer Form by next Friday, May 22nd.

Virtual Extracurricular Events for the Week of May 18th
We have been delighted to see so many of our Morse School students coming out to participate in our virtual extracurricular and community events! (Ms. Pennell had over 50 students at this week’s live JK-2 read aloud!) Here is a link to next week’s events, including a friendly game of Kahoot for parents and caregivers to enjoy on Wednesday evening. Please join us!

My very best wishes for a wonderful weekend. Please be sure to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather!


Principal Chad Leith

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