Updates from Maisha Rounds: March 26, 2021

Updates from Maisha Rounds: March 26, 2021
Posted on 03/26/2021

Dear FMA,

As I have been dropping into remote and in-person classes, it has been remarkable to witness expert teaching and learning and action. Culturally responsive teaching has been on full display in so many creative ways, from the reading of “Young, Proud, and Sung-Jee” in Ms. Tuttle’s JK class and their rich discussion of combating anti-Asian hate in developmentally appropriate ways to 4th graders’ discussion of confronting racism in the aftermath of the Atlanta tragedy.

In addition to championing social justice, many classes have been engaging in scientific observations and experiments. This week, Ms. Vil’s 1st graders observed the first signs of Spring while Ms. Waddell’s and Ms. Cyr’s 3rd grade science classes explored gravity. Ms. Lupica’s kindergarteners investigated worms and noted their observations.

Of course, literacy is always front and center in everything we do. From 5th graders’ literary essays to Ms. Basu’s noodle party celebrating the Lively Letter N. Ms. Tucker’s, Ms. Milano’s, and Ms. Navarro’s 2nd graders have been eagerly preparing to present for the upcoming Community Meeting in April. We’re in for quite a treat!

Keep up the authentic learning!

  • Word of the Week: Engaged - Paying attention and actively participating; Discuss the word of the week with your scholars and encourage them to use it in a sentence!
  • SEL Skill of the Month: Problem-solving - Steps: 1) Say the problem; 2) Think of solutions; 3) Explore consequences; 4) Pick the best solution. Look for opportunities to solve problems this month!

Upcoming Dates

  • 3/30 - Author Visit: Omo Moses
  • 3/31 - Orienteering @ Green Rose Heritage Park
  • 4/2 - NO SCHOOL - Good Friday
  • 4/5 - Community Meeting at 8:15AM led by 2nd grade
  • 4/5 - First day of in-person learning
  • 4/7 - First day of in-person Wednesdays (7:45AM-1:45PM); Hardship Appeal window opens
  • 4/8 - Leadership Team Meeting 8:30AM; Free Friday - no uniforms!
  • 4/8-4/9 - ACCESS testing

Important Links/Deliverables

Celebrations and Shout Outs

  • "All the FMA educators and staff for working so tirelessly to provide quality education to all our scholars in the face of so many challenges and changes." - FMA PTO team
  • "Thank you Ms. Navarro and Mr. Chen for making fun Fridays so engaging and joyful each week!" - Sarah FH and Arif H.
  • "Thank you, Roger, for helping find a spot for FMA's Little Free Library" - Sarah FH
  • "Thank you Kelly Rowan and Ms. Round for sharing with families about the Family Math Night!"
  • Shout out to Elajah in 5th grade who beat Mr. West in a race this week!
  • Million Minute Marathon update: FMA scholars have read 160,759 minutes so far! Keep reading and logging those minutes this Daily Reading Log!
  • Spread the word about FMA by following us on social media:

Expansion Surveys *ACTION ITEM*
We want to hear from YOU about how things are going. Please take a few minutes to complete the following surveys by noon on Wed., March 31:

Student Attendance
FMA’s chronic absenteeism rate dropped to 3.8% this week… WOOT WOOT! We are only eight tenths of a point (LESS THAN 1 point) away from our goal of 3.02%!

Educators’ Corner
Check out the monthly self-care newsletter for FMA staff developed by our school social worker, Ndia Olivier. There’s a new segment called “Educators’ Corner.” Check it out!

Author Visit
The FMA PTO in collaboration with FMA instructional coaches are happy to bring to you author Omo Moses on March 30th from 6-6:45PM Omo Moses founded the Young People's Project to empower young students in mathematics through play. Currently he runs Math Talk, a project that displays mathematics installations in public places to encourage family talk about math. FMA has many of Omo’s math installations around the school and neighborhood. Read this flyer for event details. The Zoom link is in the original email.

Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) Updates
This week, the ILT met to plan next week’s PD integrating Data Driven Instruction with Culturally Responsive Teaching on March 31st from 2-4PM Teachers will spend the first hour analyzing student data by grade level. During the second hour, we will dive deeper into Culturally Responsive Teaching by exploring discretionary spaces, or the choices teachers make in the moment when they are teaching. ILT meeting notes can be found HERE.

Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Updates
Great news! Expanded Learning Time (ELT) grant funding has been approved for the upcoming school year. This means your scholar(s) will get to engage in learning during an extended 8-hour school day.

Expansion Updates
I know many of you have questions about this third phase of expansion. The goal is to keep everything as consistent as possible for staff and students. Please refer to the following resources for more information:

Important changes to note include...

  • FMA is committed to maintaining 6 ft. of social distance as much as possible. However, social distance may need to be reduced to 3 feet in some spaces to accommodate the additional students in person.
  • Wednesdays will no longer be fully remote so...
    • Students’ class schedules should remain the same on Wednesdays. The only change will be that asynchronous core instruction will be replaced with live core instruction and will take place in person (for those who opt for in-person).

Specials classes will continue remotely. Specialists’ schedules will remain the same on Wednesdays, with a possible exception for all-school PE (TBD). If your scholar is scheduled for live specials classes on Wednesdays, this should continue. If your scholar is scheduled for asynchronous specials on Wednesdays, this will also continue. Paraprofessionals will continue supporting students during specials in person.

Related Services
Related services may continue seeing students at their regularly scheduled times on Wednesdays. Push-in services will begin in classrooms on April 5th..

Current enrollment is below:

FMA Projected April Enrollment Overview as of 3/25/21

 Remote  Total
PK 7 8 15
JK 12
K 28
1st 23
24 47
2nd 20 19 39
3rd 25 14
4th 19
5th 15 12 27
Total 149
123 272

Updates of students shifting to in-person learning:
PK/JK: 0
K: 0 (Christina Pressley will teach hybrid in person in room 210 if any K scholars switch)
1st: 4 (New hybrid class will be opened in room 110; Michelle Rosa will teach hybrid)

  • Ms. Rosa will teach remote and in-person scholars from her classroom at FMA.

2nd: 3 (Students will join the existing classes in-person)

3rd: 3 (New hybrid class will be opened in room 314; Caroline Reynolds will support)

  • Remote 3rd graders switching to in-person will continue participating in Ms. Chao’s remote class. They should bring their Chromebooks to school and may leave them at school. Chromebooks should go home on Fridays.
  • Students will learn in room 314 at FMA while Ms. Reynolds supports them in person.
  • These in-person scholars will have recess and PE with 3rd grade peers in person.

4th: 8 (New hybrid class will be opened in room 304; Remote teachers will shift to in-person)

  • Fourth grade will remain departmentalized with Ms. Herron-Smith teaching Math & SS, Ms. Martin teaching ELA & SS; and Ms. Kahng teaching Science
  • April: Ms. Herron-Smith will teach in person Mondays-Wednesdays; Ms. Martin will teach in person Thursdays-Fridays
  • May-June: Ms. Martin and Ms. Herron-Smith will teach in person in rooms 304/305 every day Mondays-Fridays with Ms. Kahng supporting both rooms.

5th: 4 (Current model will continue with minor adjustments to accommodate more students)

School Hours
In Person Learning: 7:45AM - 3:45PM MTRF
8AM - 2PM Wednesdays (IN PERSON)

Remote Learning: 8AM - 4PM MTRF
8AM - 2PM Wednesdays

Schedules & Room Assignments

Uniforms *ACTION ITEM*
For our new families joining the FMA school community, it is important to know that we are a mandatory uniform school. Scholars are expected to dress for success every day by wearing their full uniform in person and wearing uniform shirts during remote learning. Uniforms consist of white, light blue, or navy collared shirts with navy or khaki pants or skirts. Families can purchase uniforms at many stores including: Target, Old Navy, Sears, Children's Place, JCPenney, and Wal-Mart including Collegiate House School Uniforms. We are also distributing gently used uniforms at FMA to support our families. You may order gently used school uniforms using this link.

I’m proud to report we have had nearly 100% uniform participation since the first day of school on Sept. 16th for all remote and in-person scholars. Awesome sauce! As a reward, all students may dress down or wear FMA swag next Friday, April 2nd. On the first Fridays of each month through the end of the school year, we will celebrate all scholars who wore uniforms every day with a dress down day - no school uniforms required!

Hiring Updates
PE interviews took place this week. The PE department has scheduled demo lessons for finalists next week Monday, March 29th with 3rd grade classes in person. The candidates are being advised of Covid safety protocols and must submit a negative Covid test 24-48 hours prior to the demo lesson. The goal is to have someone hired by April 5th. In the meantime, students should continue asynchronous PE through Friday, April 2nd. Paraprofessionals will continue taking students outside during their regularly scheduled PE times. Thanks so much for all of your patience throughout this process!

Transportation Updates
Families should contact CPS Transportation with transportation questions if their scholar is returning in person on April 5th. Friendly reminders are below for bus riders:

  • Face covering must be worn the entire time you are present on the school bus.
  • Windows must remain open the entire duration of your trip.

Student Technology Use *ACTION ITEM*
Families, please review the FMA Technology Expectations with your child. This policy outlines school expectations and holds students accountable for safe, responsible technology use. If students experience difficulty, teachers will provide logical consequences as outlined in this document.

ACCESS Updates
In-person ACCESS testing was completed today. Shout out to Jeff Jardin, our inclusion specialist, for administering ACCESS testing to our scholars in person! Remote scholars are scheduled for ACCESS testing on April 8th-9th from 8:30-11:30AM. Families of remote English Learners scheduled for testing should arrive at Door #3 (Broadway door on the far right) between 8:00-8:15AM to allow students time to eat breakfast at school before testing.

MCAS Updates
MCAS administration will take place in May and June. Remote scholars will test in a separate location on campus at FMA in the ground-level classrooms. Health and safety guidelines will be followed carefully, including social distancing, mandatory masks, and handwashing. Remote scholars will enter the building through a designated entrance separate from the in-person learners and meals (breakfast and lunch) will be served to remote scholars reporting to the building in person. More details will be shared as the time approaches. The FMA MCAS testing dates are below for scholars in-person and remote:

 4th  5th
ELA May 11 May 25
June 3
Math May 18
June 1
May 20
Science N/A
May 27

Academic/SEL Support Updates
Robust academic and SEL supports are readily available to scholars throughout the school day every week led by Mr. Elon Fyfield. Parents/Caregivers in grades 3-5, please encourage your scholars needing extra support to participate:

  • Grades 3/4/5 - Remote Academic Support
    • Wednesdays from 10AM - 12PM
  • Grades 3/4/5 - Remote Lunch/Recess
    • Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Friday from 12PM - 1PM

*Here is a list of the other specific supports offered throughout the week by Mr. Fyfield.

Grade 3 Math Support
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday in FMA312 from 9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Scholars who are struggling in Math in grades 3, 4, & 5 are expected to participate in Math support. Families may reach out directly to Mr. Elon Fylfield at [email protected] to request additional math support to Elon Fyfield. Scholars who have been participating to date have seen tremendous growth!

Grade 3 Writing Support

  • Mondays & Thursdays in FMA312 from 1:30PM - 2:00PM
  • Tuesdays in FMA312 from 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Grade 4 Social Hour

  • Fridays from 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM in Martin304

Grade 3/4/5 Music Therapy

  • Mondays & occasional Fridays from 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Mr. Fyfield is also currently collaborating with a team of doctors that would like to join during one of the above sessions to discuss career paths within the medical field. We would love to build a stronger foundation of student support over the next few weeks before bringing the doctors in for the presentation, which will tentatively be held on a Friday prior to April Break.

Advanced Learning Updates
Please take a few moments to read the March Advanced Learning Newsletter. In this update you will find information about:

  • Advanced Learning Design Challenge
  • Caregiver/Parent Focus Group
  • New resources for educators and students
  • Summer Programs - Coming soon...

Choice Time
Student attendance has dwindled during Choice Time. Please remind your scholars that Choice Time is a required
part of our school day and takes place every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 3:00-3:30 for grades 3-5 as follows:

D.E.A.R. will continue from 3:30-4PM

Choice Time is offline/low-tech for PK-grade 1. There are new choice offerings for grade 2 on Mondays (Yoga & Peace Games) and grade 1 (Yoga) on Tuesdays. These enrichment courses are great opportunities for your scholars to apply their skills in new ways and to explore new activities they haven’t done before. It’s very important that your scholars attend. If scholars experience Zoom fatigue, families should notify their teacher so alternative arrangements can be made.

Elementary Health Updates
During the April expansion, health educators will continue to:

  • Provide instruction remotely to students who are using one-to-one devices, whether in the classroom, a supported learning environment, or away from school buildings.
  • Communicate directly with classroom teachers to refine schedules, ensure the ability to connect with students, address concerns, or coordinate distribution of necessary materials.

As always, please don't hesitate to reach out or provide my contact information to students' caregivers. I look forward to our continued partnerships in ensuring our students are healthy, safe, and supported.
Have a great weekend!

Ariana Starling

News from Girl Scout Troop 70021
Hello, Dear Girl Scout Families! Sending every good wish to you and your Girl Scout. Two pieces of information:

Wednesday, March 31st:
We will not be meeting on the 31st.
Wednesday, April 7th: We will have an exciting meeting, with a wonderful guest—Principal Maisha Rounds!—who will join our Girl Scout meeting to talk about her life and her ideas about how our Girl Scouts can become leaders in their school community. Our girls will have a chance to ask Principal Rounds questions, large and small, and to offer their own ideas for making FMA a considerate and caring community.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Nancy Sommers

Health & Safety Updates
Surveillance Testing
Good news... We're all negative (in a good way) here at FMA! All staff surveillance tests and student pooled tests came back Covid negative. Keep staying healthy and safe by following all Covid safety protocols.

FMA staff are continuing to get vaccinated and many are already fully vaccinated!

Feeling Sick?
Staff and students who are feeling ill for any reason should NOT come to school or otherwise attempt to enter the building for any reason to avoid potentially putting others at risk. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please stay home and get tested:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Out of School Time Activities
DHSP is offering the following programs this spring:

Summer Programs
Cambridge Community Center
Program Director at the Cambridge Community Center, Rachel Kinch has shared information that they will be running Camp COWEMOKI (Full Day Summer Camp).

She mentioned that they are still working on some details of what this will look like however, families can register now. They serve children in grades K-8. There is an enrollment link which is different from the link subscribing to their newsletter. Visit website >>

Community Art Center
The Community Art Center is offering “Art Rocks,” a summer program from July 6-Aug. 23rd from 8AM - 6PM. Details to sign up can be found HERE >>

Check out this link for summer programming offered by the Community Art Center.

Orienteering 3/31/21 *ACTION ITEM*
Fletcher-Maynard students in grades JK through 3 will study orienteering in PE on May 10th-28th. Orienteering is an outdoor navigation sport, in which you use a map to find checkpoints in a park or forest. To complement the in-school instruction, Navigation Games will make the same or similar activities available for families at Greene Rose Park after school next Wednesday, March 31, and the following two Wednesdays. Register here >>

This will be a nice opportunity for students who have done the unit in school to teach their parents and practice their skills. For remote learners, it is an opportunity to get outside and try an activity that their in-person classmates got to do in school.

In order to follow COVID guidelines, you must pre-register your pod/family and receive your own arrival time; it will take about 30 minutes to do the activity. You can register multiple participants at once. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults may also participate. Please look for email instructions prior to the event. Staggered arrival times will be assigned.

Come experience the joy of running around outside, finding things with a map!

All are welcome. The activity is geared toward elementary school kids and their parents. You are also welcome to attend our sessions at Kennedy Longfellow and Greene Rose Park. These are the last weeks of our mini-games!

Navigation Games is grateful to the City of Cambridge for a COVID grant that supports this work, to Dr. Carolyn Turk for her support of our outdoor education during the pandemic, to the Recreation department, to the Mayor’s Office for their support, and to the Curriculum & Achievement School Committee Subcommittee for their inquiries and support of outdoor learning.

Barbara Bryant
President, Navigation Games

Combating Anti-Asian Hate
Let's Talk! 2021 Virtual Professionals Conference
for Educators and Clinicians is NOW OPEN for registration!

The Let's Talk! 2021 Professionals Conference is especially designed for educators, clinicians, and other professionals working to support the emotional wellness of Asian and Asian American students. Topics to be covered include mental health of Asian youth; impacts of anti-Asian racism and COVID-19; unique experiences of Asian international students, Southeast Asian refugees and immigrant youth; school-based strategies for supporting Asian American and Asian international students; and the importance of raising the visibility of Pan-Asian youth.

Let’s Talk! will be supporting much-needed dialogue on anti-Asian discrimination and violent attacks, including the recent shootings in Atlanta, over the course of the conference to help educators and other professionals better support Asian and Asian American students during this time. We hope you will join us.
WHAT: Presentations and in-depth panel discussions featuring diverse mental health experts, educators, and others who work in school/community settings, and the opportunity to connect with other professionals
WHO: Educators, clinicians, and other professionals working to support the emotional wellness of Asian and Asian American students
WHEN: Weekly Thursdays at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST from April 1-April 29, 2021
Early Bird registration extended to March 25th: $40.00
Regular Registration (starting March 26): $50.00
Click HERE to register today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the registration process?
Please note the conference registration is a two-step process. Be sure to check your inbox for your confirmation email after completing Part 1, after which you will need to use the registration link included in that email to register via Zoom (Part 2).

Will the conference be recorded?
Webinar recordings will be available to conference registrants for a limited time with a link and code. Please register for access.

Is the conference eligible for continuing education credits?
Psychology and social worker continuing education credits are available. A participation certificate will be available to all conference attendees. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer physician and nursing credits.

Maisha Rounds, Ed.M
Proud Principal

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