Updates from Maisha Rounds: December 11, 2020

Updates from Maisha Rounds: December 11, 2020
Posted on 12/11/2020

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin

Happy final Friday of school in 2020, FMA!

Thank you for giving your all to actively engage our scholars every day. Please take some time for yourself this weekend and keep your chin up!

  • Word of the Week: Empathy - understanding and sharing the feelings of another (please share the word of the week with your scholars!)
  • SEL Skill of the Month - Problem-Solving (1. Say the problem; 2. Think of solutions; 3. Explore consequences; 4. Pick the best solution.)

Upcoming Dates
12/24-1/1 - Winter Break
1/4 - SCHOOL RESUMES; Community Meeting 8:00AM led by 5th grade
1/8 - Leadership Team Meeting at 8:30AM
1/25 - Courageous Conversations from 6-8PM

Important Links/Deliverables

Celebrations and Shout Outs

  • Hats off to December's Problem of the Day" winners who will be recognized at the next Community Meeting in January: Mithila D., Jovon E., & Sarah L.!
  • "Shout out to Jackie Solomon! She has been rocking it in room 310 since she has taken over the classroom. I jumped right in on November 30, and it’s been smooth sailing thanks to her! Also while you're at it, Ms. Rounds, give a shout out to yourself from me! You have been absolutely amazing as our school principal!" - Kelly Forgit
  • Kudos to Elon Fyfield ("Mr. F") "He has been such a tremendous value to the kids!" - 3rd grade parent
  • "I think the kids truly enjoy working with him (Mr. F). I know the days are so long for them and sometimes it's hard for them to stay online after 3 but anytime they need help with something he helps them and the way he teaches the kids we truly admire it. He is really good with the kids." -Another 3rd grade parent
  • Hats off to Kelly Forgit for the quick pivot to from remote to in-person learning and back to remote learning on the turn of a dime!
  • Congrats to Ms. Rounds for successfully renewing her National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist! Interested in growing to the next level in your professional practice? Check out the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and contact Ms. Rounds if you're interested in taking this next step in your professional journey.
  • Congrats to all FMA scholars - Million Minute Marathon Update: 20,441... WOWEEE!!! Keep on reading and recording your minutes in THIS reading log every day.

Student Attendance
Student engagement keeps rising and chronic absenteeism keeps falling! This week, FMA's chronic absenteeism rate is 4.2%, down from 4.3% last week. Check out the chart below to see how we compare. Keep showing up and showing out!

*ACTION ITEM* Spanish Questionnaire
How do you feel about increasing Spanish learning opportunities at FMA? Please complete this Spanish Questionnaire by noon on 12/23/20.

Courageous Conversations Updates
During my Entry Interviews with our school community earlier this year, equity emerged as a central theme and will be a priority focus for FMA this year. Based on feedback from staff, students, and families, there is common agreement about the pressing need for a mechanism to share equity-related experiences in a productive way to inform professional and personal learning and improve the overall student experience.

At our most recent Courageous Conversations discussion (Monday 12/16/20; next meeting January 25th, 6-8 p.m.) we discussed ways to respond to the pandemic and hybrid learning’s potential impact of equity and inclusion at the FMA. At a broader level, we know that minority families are being disproportionately impacted by the crisis and suspect that that impact may be felt at the FMA. Furthermore, the uniqueness of our teaching and learning context (online, hybrid, social distancing etc) could contribute to instances of inequity in the FMA community. At the most recent Courageous Conversations discussion we discussed launching Equity for Advocacy (E4A) in response to these concerns.

To be launched in January 2021, the Equity for Advocacy initiative (E4A) would be a support mechanism for all members of the FMA community to share their equity-related experiences. The process would involve a team of Equity Advocates hearing about incidents and working with those affected to resolve and learn from them at interpersonal and school community levels. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to inform schoolwide learning opportunities centered around our commitment to anti-racism and culturally responsive teaching and learning.

During Phase 1 of implementation (Jan.-June 2021), we will start small, with 4 Equity Advocates, (Daniel Skeritt, Ndia Olivier, Cherie Coulson, Uche Amaechi), non-administrative members of the FMA community. In Phase 2, we aim to expand our team of Equity Advocates to include FMA staff, community partners, and parent volunteers who will be trained in Restorative Justice.

If you or your scholars experience an equity issue at FMA, you may call the school at 617.349.6588 and leave an anonymous message or complete the E4A Google Form anonymously or with your contact info if you desire follow up. Again, the purpose is to be supportive and instructive, as a way to share your experiences which will help us determine how best to plan private and public learning at FMA. More info will be shared in January via our regular email communications, through the PTO and at the next Courageous Conversations meeting. The slide deck with meeting notes can be found HERE. Feel free to reach out to Uche Amaechi, ELT Coordinator and Courageous Conversations Facilitator, at [email protected] with any questions.

Friendly Reminders - Communication
Communication is essential in any relationship. As I shared earlier this year, my expectation is to maintain open lines of communications between the school and home. Please reach out to your child's teachers with questions, comments, concerns, and commendations. Where appropriate, co-create a plan with your child's teacher if extra support is needed for your scholar. Allow time to implement the plan to see if there is any improvement. If issues remain unresolved, you may reach out to school administration. We're here to help!

This year, we must aim to collectively work to strengthen our school's reputation in the community. This is only achievable if every individual in our school community commits to esteeming and affirming FMA - its staff, students, families, and leadership. If issues arise, please share them with your child's teacher as soon as soon as possible to collaboratively propose solutions so that we can learn, grow, and move forward together as a school.

Virtual Field Trip
Dear families of K0-Grade 2 students, using a Chromebook, laptop, tablet, or phone, we hope that you and your family will be able to enjoy Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure together! There are all kinds of fun and free activities to accompany the show, including Beanstalk Yoga, A Cast Album, and a Jacktivity Pack for download!

Contact your child’s teacher for the link and password to the show.
Access to the content begins on December 21 and ends on January 4. If you try to view before December 21st you will see a “This Page Cannot Be Found” message – don’t be alarmed, it will be live on December 21. Two notes about viewing – we recommend the latest versions of Chrome or Firefox. Microsoft Edge can work as well but anything on Internet Explorer may look funky or be inaccessible. This can be viewed on mobile devices as well.

If anyone has any issues accessing the link, they can contact [email protected] and someone will respond as soon as possible during business hours Monday-Friday 12pm to 5pm. They will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Finally, it has been a tremendously difficult year in so many ways and we hope that a little bit of music, dancing, and theatre will help shine a little extra light as we move forward into a new year. From all of us at PSP and the A.R.T., we hope you have a safe, rejuvenating, and happy holiday season!

Joan on behalf of the PSP team and our A.R.T. colleagues

Joan Matsalia, M.Ed.
Associate Director | Public School Partnerships
Public Affairs and Communications | Harvard University
114 Mount Auburn Street | Cambridge, MA 02138
Office: 617.496-9351 | Cell: 617.620.8871
[email protected] | www.community.harvard.edu

Winter Break Meal Kits
CPS Nutrition will be distributing Winter Break Meal Kits to cover 4 days worth of breakfast and lunches! This one-day event will be held on Wednesday, December 23rd from 11:30 am to 1 pm at select sites. Grocery bags filled with ready to eat food, build your own meals, milk, and bread will be offered. Meal Kits will be first come, first served at these specific select sites. No identification or registration is required.

Please note*: Daily individual breakfast and lunches can still be picked up at all usual sites on Wednesday if families do not plan on participating in the Winter Break Meal Kit distribution program.

Select sites:

  1. Cambridge Rindge & Latin School - 459 Broadway (Door 9 on Cambridge Street to the left of the loading dock)
  2. Fletcher Maynard Academy - 225 Windsor St (Windsor Street sidewalk entrance)
  3. King School/Putnam Ave Upper School - 102 Putnam Ave (Magee Street entrance)
  4. Fresh Pond Apartments - 362-364 Rindge Ave (364 Rindge Community Room rear door entrance)

A school meals update e-newsletter will be sent out today informing families of this event. Information can also be found in the News section of the CPS homepage, with translations. Included is an infographic for your use, and a folder with the translated versions. If you have other direct means of communicating with families (specific school newsletters, listservs, phone, texts, or virtual meetings) please share this bit of news with them!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Thank you!

Shennie, CPS Food & Nutrition Services

Maisha Rounds, Proud Principal

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

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