Message from Chad Leith: June 10, 2022

Dear Morse School parents and guardians,

Pride Day
I want to begin by wishing the members of our community Happy LGBTQ+ Pride Month and share that for the first time ever, the Rainbow Flag is flying in front of the Morse School. As we shared with our students during a recent schoolwide Live Stream broadcast, the flag has played an important role in movements to protest inequality and unfair laws, and serves as a lasting symbol of inclusivity - which is one of our school’s most important core values. We are proud to communicate that all children, families, and staff members are welcome at the Morse School.

As a reminder, the Cambridge Public Schools will celebrate the first Community Pride Day in the district’s history in recognition of Pride Month. The event will take place this afternoon from 3:30-6:30PM at CRLS. Please click here for more information.

Our school year is wrapping up with many exciting activities, celebrations, and transitions. In this week’s newsletter, I share some of the highlights and hope that you will be able to join us for one of our upcoming events!

Announcing Our 2022 Coady Award Winners!
The James Coady Award for Extraordinary Effort is typically given each semester to one child from each of our 3rd, 4th, and 5th homerooms, and serves to recognize students who have served as a model for our school’s core values. A student chosen for the Coady Award may only receive this recognition once in their elementary school career. The selection of the award is not necessarily based on the highest academic record. It may be a student who has made considerable progress in academics, or a student who has overcome a particular challenge in either school or in their personal lives. Coady Award winners are children who show leadership and perseverance. They are considerate and kind to others, they are good role models for fellow students, and they contribute consistently and positively to our school community. The award, which has been a Morse School tradition for almost 30 years, is named in honor of former Morse School Principal James Coady.

This year, due to the challenges we have experienced during the pandemic (including the cancellation of our Coady Award celebrations in 2020 and 2021), we have taken the unusual step of selecting two children per 3rd-5th grade homeroom. We announced this year’s recipients on our Wednesday morning Live Stream, and It gives me great pleasure to honor and celebrate them here as well:

3rd Grade
Caldon Bartzmann
Arini Larasati
Camille Foriel
Artemisia Adams

4th Grade
Moses Laferriere
Eden Abay
Adil Mekonnen
Keiana Williams
Selah Dancy-Ford

5th Grade
Zeana Perry
Harley Bang
Shravan Raghavan
Apple Sussman
Fayaaz Raja
Additional Celebrations of Student Learning

5th Grade Countdown
We have an exciting addition to our 5th Grade Countdown Calendar! 5th grade families are warmly invited to join us for a special Showcase of Student Learning next Friday, June 17th from 8:15-9AM. As a reminder, our Staff vs. 5th Graders kickball game is scheduled to take place next Wednesday from 3-4PM at Lindstrom Field (right next door to our school). You can other 5th grade end-of-year activities by following this link.

2022-2023 Staffing Updates
In addition to preparing for a strong and positive end to the current school year, we are also looking ahead to September and I’d like to share about a few staffing updates.

Many staff members will be taking on new professional roles next year within our school building. These include Peggy Jeram, who will be shifting from 5th grade to 3rd grade, where she will partner with Liz Pizzi. Allison Kohlmeier will shift from 4th grade to 5th grade, where she will partner with Elsa Roderick, and Mary Gallant will shift from her one-year math interventionist role back into a 4th grade classroom position, and partner with Dan Offley in the E-wing. Ayelet Grunes will move from the classroom into the role of math interventionist, partnering with Nafeesha Moore to support our student’s math thinking and development. I am also excited to share that special educator Marissa Costello will be returning from her maternity leave. Hannah Wirtshafter will be moving full-time into the role of inclusion specialist.

It is with mixed emotions that I share that some members of our community will be moving on from the Morse School. Special Start paraprofessional Mary Ruggiero will be taking her well-earned retirement (Congratulations Ms. Ruggiero!), while Special Start teacher Elizabeth VanCamp will be relocating with her family to her home state of Ohio. 1st grade paraprofessional Camila Duhau will be leaving us to attend graduate school, while Kindergarten paraprofessional Meriam Nouri and 4th grade paraprofessional Luis Branco will both be moving on to pursue other professional adventures. Please join me in thanking each of these educators for their service to our school and wishing them the best in their future endeavors.

We are prioritizing the hire of a great teaching candidate to step into the 1st grade position that will be left open by Ms. Grunes’ shift into the math interventionist role. If you are the parent of a rising Kindergartner and interested in participating on the hiring committee, please let me know. For any lead teacher position, we make every effort to assemble a racially diverse hiring team that includes both educators and parents.

I will share more updates about hiring, staffing, COVID protocols, and plans for the 2022-2023 school year at next week’s School Council meeting (Thursday, June 16th from 6-7:30PM) All Morse School parents and caregivers are warmly invited to attend. Please follow this link to register. You will receive an email with the Zoom link on the day of the meeting.

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend.


Principal Chad Leith
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