Update from Maisha Rounds: September 11, 2020

Update from Maisha Rounds: September 11, 2020
Posted on 09/11/2020

Dear FMA Families,

Welcome back to a wonderful new school year! I want to begin with some exciting summer celebrations of our FMA staff. Congratulations to...

  • Christina Pressley-Clarke (kindergarten teacher) on her wedding in July! Ms. Pressley-Clarke shared, "I’m beyond grateful, feel loved, and feel beyond blessed to be part of this community."
  • Laura McCabe (JK/K ASD teacher) on her recent wedding August 1st! She and her husband had a small, relaxed, and casual backyard wedding where they celebrated with some family and close friends. Laura shared, "We were so fortunate to have a beautiful day and while it wasn't what we planned, it was even better!"
  • Cindy Chao (3rd grade teacher) and her spouse on the birth of their beautiful new baby boy, Jaxon! He was born on August 6th. Mom, dad, big brother, James, and baby Jaxon are doing well. Congratulations to the Chao family!
  • Tonya Katz (2nd grade teacher) and her family on the birth of her new little bundle of joy!
    Courtney Tuttle (JK teacher) and her family on the birth of her new bundle of joy!

As the first day of school approaches, I have created a video to share some important information with you and hopefully answer many of your questions about starting the school year remotely. Please take a few minutes to watch this Back-to-School Video Message from Ms. Rounds.

School Hours
Remote Hours: 8AM - 4PM | MTRF (formal instruction ends at 3PM)
8AM - 12Noon | Wednesdays

In Person hours: 7:45AM - 3:45PM | MTRF
8AM - 2PM | Wednesdays

First Week of School 9/14-9/16
The first day of school is Sept. 16th. All students will begin remotely. In person learning begins Oct. 13th. More details will be shared about in-person learning at a later date. Our remote learning day will begin at 8AM and ends at 12PM on Wednesday, September 16th, Thursday, Sept. 17th, & Friday, September 18th. Remote lunch pick-up will be available at school every day from 12-1PM.

Beginning the week of Sept. 21st, our remote learning day will begin at 8AM. and end by 4PM. Formal instruction will end at 3PM. with choice activities and independent reading from 3-4PM. Students will NOT be on computers for the entire school day. Students are expected to participate in live virtual morning meetings every day from 8-8:30AM. Attendance will be taken so please make every effort to login on time. Email your child's teacher if you experience any login issues.

From 8:30AM -12NOON, students will have core instruction (Reading, Writing, Phonics, Math) as a whole class and in small groups. They will also have specials classes (Art, Music, PE, Library, & Spanish). Students who receive related services may also have ESL, counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech as indicated on their IEP, 504 plan, or ESL plan. After a lunch/recess break from 12-1PM, students will have more core instruction (Science and Social Studies) as a whole class & in small groups. Some classes will have their specials and related services in the afternoons.

We have a special treat during the last hour of the school day from 3-4PM! From 3-3:30PM, students will have Choice Time where they are encouraged to unplug from technology - go outside and do something fun, go for a walk, hike, bike riding, or build, create, and try something new. From 3:30- 4 p.m., students should Drop Everything And Read (or DEAR - D.E.A.R). For our youngest scholars, this includes being read to and looking at picture books. If you need books, please let your child’s teacher know during family conferences.

Beginning the week of Sept. 28th, additional Choice classes will be offered by FMA staff and community partners, Harvard City Step and Lesley University’s STEAM initiative. We are very fortunate to be able to offer fun enrichment activities for our scholars remotely!

Family Conferences
Family Conferences are taking place from Sept. 8th-Sept. 18th. You can expect your child’s teacher to contact you to schedule a time to meet. This first round of conferences will be a listening conference to get to know more about you, your child, and what they need to be successful this year. You may ask questions and let your child’s teacher know if you need any materials to start the new school year.

Chromebooks
If you requested a Chromebook for your child because you do not have one to start the school year, please reach out to our Family Liaison, Daniel Skeritt. When Chromebooks are ready, you will be contacted to pick up your child’s Chromebook at FMA the week of Sept. 14th-18th from 11AM - 2PM.

Materials Pick Up
Dates and times have been scheduled for families to pick up materials from school between Sept. 10th - Sept. 15th. Clean, gently used uniforms are also available for free for families who may need them.
Teachers have also been working very hard to prepare packets of learning materials for our scholars. These packets are available to be picked up from FMA on Monday, Sept. 14th and Tuesday, Sept. 15th.

Uniforms
As a mandatory uniform school, uniforms are required when students attend school. This year, masks will also be required in person. For students attending remotely, uniform shirts are required during live virtual classes.

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. We are also distributing gently used uniforms at FMA to support our families September 10th, 11th from 8AM - 12NOON and Sept 14th and 15th from 11AM - 2PM. Tables will be set up in the playground for quick safe, socially distanced parent pick up.

Opportunities to Help
There are many opportunities for families to engage with our school this year! The PTO, Equity Task Force, and Courageous Conversations groups are just a few. More information will be shared with families in the coming weeks and you will have the opportunity to sign up to serve on FMA committees of your choosing.

We are looking forward to an exciting school year together! I realize there may be a lot of apprehension about the uncertainty that lies ahead, but I want to reassure you that we can and will get through this together, and we will be a stronger school community for it!

Remote Learning Platforms
PreK-Grade 2 will be using the online learning platform, SeeSaw, to access assignments during remote learning. Grades 3-5 will be using Google Classroom. Family training videos can be found below:

  • SeeSaw
  • Google Classroom

Student Enrollment
While exploring options for returning to school this year, some questions have been received about the implications for CPS enrollment. Please refer to the chart below from the Family Resource Center.

What does it mean to be enrolled in CPS in SY20-21?

FAMILY'S CHOICES  CPS ENROLLMENT STATUS
SY20-21
CPS ENROLLMENT STATUS
SY21-22 
CPS
In-person/Remote
Yes: A CPS student
Yes: A CPS student
GRANTED A SABBATICAL
(that was formally approved) -
That met the guidelines
Yes: A CPS student
Yes: A CPS student
HOMESCHOOL
withdrawn from CPS
& current school
Re-Register at the SRC
PRESCHOOL/DAYCARE
withdrawn from CPS
& current school
Re-Register at the SRC
INDEPENDENT / CHARTER
SCHOOL
withdrawn from CPS
& current school
Re-Register at the SRC 
FORMED A POD
NOT CHOOSING REMOTE
withdrawn from CPS
& current school
Re-Register at the SRC
ENROLLED IN SCHOOL
IN ANOTHER STATE
withdrawn from CPS
& current school
Re-Register at the SRC

I'm looking forward to partnering with FMA families to make magic happen this year!

Sincerely,

Maisha Rounds, Proud Principal

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