Updates from Maisha Rounds: January 8, 2021

Updates from Maisha Rounds: January 8, 2021
Posted on 01/08/2021

Happy New Year, FMA!

Welcome back to a brand new year full of new possibilities! Together, we can make magic happen this year.

  • Word of the Week: Compassion - sympathy and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others (please share the word of the week with your scholars!)
  • SEL Skill of the Month - Empathy - feeling or understanding what someone else is feeling (Look for opportunities to show empathy this month!)

Upcoming Dates

  • 1/14 - PTO Meeting 8:00 a.m.
  • 1/18 - Cambridge Math Festival 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • 1/25 - Courageous Conversations 6-8 p.m.
  • 1/29 - Evidence due in TeachPoint
  • 2/1 - Community Meeting 8:00 a.m. led by 3rd grade
  • 2/5 - Leadership Team Meeting 8:30 a.m.

Important Links/Deliverables

Cluster Meeting Notes/Rolling Agendas

Celebrations and Shout Outs

  • "We want to shout out Mr. Aaron. He is always going above and beyond for all of the kids. He is in constant communication with us about kids and even checks in with us on Sundays, just to make sure the lessons are just right for the 5th graders. We love you Mr. Aaron! Keep up the great work." - Mike and Kelly
  • "We also want to shout out the 5th graders. They show up to class every morning and afternoon ready to learn. Their enthusiasm gives us the energy to plan engaging lessons, and teach for these long hours. They make us laugh on a regular basis. We are grateful to have such a great class. They work hard and it pays off. They rock all of the assignments given to them, increasing their skills every week. From your very blessed teachers!" - Mr. V and Ms. Powell
  • "Everything has worked really well with remote learning for us. Ms. Basu is an excellent teacher! She keeps the kids engaged, learning and having fun." - JK Parent
  • "Our teaching team is amazing - Navarro, Chen and Park - so, so good with the kids, have built a real community and are working well with them." - 2nd Grade Parent
  • "Remote learning has gone really well for us this year. Ms. O'Donnell is an excellent teacher! She keeps our 1st graders engaged, learning and having fun. She is always there to answer questions, listen to concerns and lend support to families as well." - 1st Grade Parent
  • "Teachers are responsive and adaptable." - FMA Parent
  • “Shout out to Ms. Powell and Mr. V who continuously show high expectations for our 5th graders!” - Terry West
  • “I wanted to get a shout out to Marissa this week for bringing an excellent structure and culture to ASD cluster!” - Melinda Canty
  • Hats off to FMA for IMPRESSIVE academic gains during the first semester! CLICK HERE to see our school’s most recent data, which has been shared with Superintendent Kenny Salim, Dr. Michelle Madera, and members of the School Committee!

Chronic Absenteeism
Our chronic absenteeism rate increased slightly this week back up to 4.2%. Do your best to arrive on time every day!

Chronic Absenteeism

Community Meeting Recording
Here are the slide deck and recording of Monday’s Community Meeting. Please watch if you were unable to login Monday.

FMA Leadership Team Updates
The Leadership Team held its first meeting of 2021 on Jan. 8th. It was a shorter meeting where FMA’s School Improvement Plan, early academic wins, and Hybrid Learning Family Survey results  (click "Responses" at the top of the page) were shared for everyone to review over the next few weeks. Members will provide feedback at the next Leadership Team meeting. Here's the link to the meeting notes.

Equity for Advocacy (E4A)
Equity for Advocacy is an additional layer of support to open lines of communication around equity issues at FMA. E4A aims to repair harm, rebuild relationships, and restore reputations. If you or your scholars experience an equity issue (including race, ethnicity, culture, background, language, economic status, religion, gender, or identity), please share it with an Equity Advocate using THIS FORM or by calling the school at 617.349.6588. More details about E4A can be found HERE.

Enrollment Changes
The window for families to make changes to their enrollment preference will open from Jan. 9th - 15th. Please review THIS DOCUMENT created by our phenomenal teachers to give you a clearer picture of what to expect with learning in person during the 2nd semester.

Learning In Person
This week, Superintendent Salim confirmed that we will resume in-person learning this Monday, January 11th. Please note that only students who were already learning in-person between October and December 2020 should return to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 11th. All other students will continue with remote learning at this time.
We ask that families returning to in-person schooling please take a few moments to review health and safety protocols with your children by watching this 1-minute kid-friendly video. Also, if your family will be returning from out-of-state travel, remember to adhere to the Governor's COVID-19 Travel Order. If you have questions about whether your child should quarantine and/or be tested, please reach out to our School Nurse Mackenzie Shubert ([email protected]) or call the Main Office (617-349-6588).

In his email, Dr. Salim also shared preliminary plans for safely and gradually expanding opportunities for in-person learning, following the criteria that the Superintendent shared with the School Committee on Tuesday (please click here to view the criteria). Although we are all eager for the day that we can welcome all interested FMA families back to in-person schooling, we will continue to prioritize access for our youngest and most vulnerable learners. Unfortunately, this means that the number of available seats will continue to be limited, at least for the time being.
Please know that a remote option will continue to be available to all students to engage in positive learning experiences at home. I also ask that you please take time to complete the CPS parent survey when it becomes available tomorrow. Even if we are unable to offer your child an in-person seat at this time, it is helpful to know who may be interested in shifting to in-person learning so that we can plan for the future. As always, we are grateful for your collaboration and for the generosity and flexibility you have shown during this very challenging school year.

Expansion of In-Person Learning (Grades 4/5)
CPS plans to expand in-person learning to grades 4-12 tentatively Feb. 8th. Enrollment preference surveys will be distributed to all families by email in the coming weeks. Please indicate whether your scholar will opt into remote or in-person learning. Families, please review this brief summary and this presentation if you want to know more about what to expect during the next phase of hybrid learning for both remote and in-person experiences.

Key changes to note:

  • Decreased social distance from 6 ft. to 3 ft.
  • 4th/5th teachers in person may possibly stream classes to remote learners at home (TBD).
  • Scholars may not necessarily remain with their current teacher due to re-rostering as a result of changes in enrollment preferences and staffing.
  • Classroom windows will need to be kept open in cold weather for ventilation. Students are encouraged to dress in layers with their school uniform on top. They may bring blankets and wear coats in class as needed.

District & DESE Updates
Please review Tuesday's School Committee Presentation which includes the most current thinking around CPS reopening plans.

DESE also sent out this announcement earlier this week with some important assessment updates, highlighted below. Thank you.

Shortened MCAS testing time for Grades 3-8: The Department will significantly reduce testing time for students in grades 3-8 through a session sampling approach, in which each student will take only a portion of each MCAS assessment in each subject. This modified MCAS administration will preserve the validity and reliability of the test at the school, district, and state levels. When combined with other data points, this approach will provide meaningful diagnostic data at the individual student level.

Accountability relief: I will not name or recommend to the Board any new underperforming or chronically underperforming districts or schools in the upcoming school year. The Department will also consider any available flexibilities provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Extending ACCESS testing window: ACCESS testing for English language proficiency is key to strengthening education programs for English learners. As previously announced, the Department is extending the testing window for ACCESS, which normally concludes in February, until May 20, 2021.

FMA / CMC Math Circles
The Cambridge Math Circle (CMC) is working together to produce the Cambridge Math Festival. CMC is planning to hold this event on January 18th and will provide more info at our monthly PTO meeting on Thursday, January 10th at 8 a.m.. The Cambridge Math Festival is Monday, January 18th, 2021, from 10 am - 12 pm on Zoom.

Sincerely,
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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