Updates from Maisha Rounds: February 5, 2021

Updates from Maisha Rounds: February 5, 2021
Posted on 02/05/2021

Dear Fletcher Maynard Academy Community,

You have shown grace and resilience through a year like no other. Keep your chin up and know that you have made it to the halfway point. You got this!

  • Word of the Week: Resilience - the ability to bounce back; Discuss 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

  • 2/5 - Report Cards Sent Home
  • 2/10 - Covid-19 Training (All Staff) 12:45-1:30PM
  • 2/10 -Data Driven Instruction PD 2-3PM
  • 2/15 - 2/19 - NO SCHOOL (February Break)
  • 2/22 - Courageous Conversations 6-8PM
  • 2/24 - Paraprofessional Monthly Meeting 11:30AM-12PM
  • 2/26 - Door Decoration Contest ends; Judgings begins at 8AM
  • 3/1 - Community Meeting 8AM led by 3C
  • 3/5 - Leadership Team Meeting 8:30AM

Important Links/Deliverables

Celebrations and Shout Outs

  • "I want to shout out Ms. Darie who works tirelessly to teach our 1st graders in person!” - Barbara Hayes-Harrison, paraprofessional
  • “Shout out to Terry West for the following…
    • Holds kids accountable remotely and in-person.
    • Logs in daily to be sure kids are present.
    • Makes phone calls and house calls to support students.
    • Helped support the Black History Month 5th grade project
    • He goes beyond his work expectations to support kids and colleagues.”
    Much Love Terry! - From The 5th Grade Team
  • Check out FMA’s Facebook page @FMA.cpsd and Twitter feed (@FMAcares) for daily updates!
  • Million Minute Marathon update: FMA scholars have read 92,794 minutes so far! Keep reading and logging those minutes this Daily Reading Log!

Student Attendance
FMA is holding steady at 4.0%, now below the district average. Great work! Let's keep on striving to meet our school wide goal of 3% by showing up on time every day. We can do it!

Entry Plan Updates
Please take a few moments to review Principal Rounds’ final Entry Plan Update reflecting on the successes of Semester 1 and outlining plans for Semester 2.

School Budget SY21-22
What does FMA need next year? Please email ideas for spending FMA’s discretionary funds to [email protected]. Funding is directed toward solving a problem at school. CPS will also be holding public budget meetings beginning this month to discuss the district. See below for upcoming district budget meetings:

Virtual Joint Roundtable Meeting between the City Council and the School Committee on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at 6PM, broadcast from the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway, Cambridge, for the purpose of beginning preliminary discussions on the FY 22 School Department Budget. It is anticipated this meeting will end no later than 8PM.

Dosha E. Beard
Executive Secretary to the School Committee

Leadership Team Updates

The Leadership Team met today to discuss Entry Plan updates, Title 1 updates, and community partnerships. We had a guest, Erika Peter from DHSP, who discussed ways they plan to support FMA in semester 2. We also discussed the school budget for next year and how the school would like to allocate its discretionary funds. Please email me any ideas you have by next Friday, Feb. 12th. Tonya gave PTO updates and Uche provided updates from Courageous Conversations. All in all, it was a great meeting. Looking forward to seeing you there next month. The next meeting is March 5th at 8:30AM.
View meeting notes >>

Staffing Updates
FMA bids a fond farewell to Kristin Gianfalla (“Ms. G”). Kristin is relocating to be closer to loved ones. We are eternally grateful for her dedicated service to the students and families at FMA.

“While I am excited to move to a new state and continue working as a Speech-Language Pathologist, I will miss each and every one of the students, staff, and families with whom I worked during my time at FMA. I have learned so much from working with such talented individuals and caring students and families. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful community!” - Ms. G

FMA welcomes Eva Kahng to the team as the Grade 4 Extended Term Substitute. She previously taught 4th graders in the Gifted and Talented program at a Title 1 elementary school in Maryland. More recently, Ms. Kahng taught 2nd graders at a Title 1 elementary school in New York.

“Hello, I am so excited to be joining the Fletcher-Maynard Academy! I have many years of experience in the educational public schools. I look forward to collaborating with the school community at the Fletcher-Maynard Academy.”

FMA also welcomes Sadiya Diri, a student teacher from Lesley University who will be working in Ms. Pressley-Clark’s kindergarten class.

“My name is Ms. Sadiya, and I will be a student teacher in the kindergarten classroom. This opportunity will be the first step I take before receiving my Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. I am very excited to be here at Fletcher-Maynard Elementary School.”

Lunar New Year
The Lunar New year will be Friday, February 12th. The Lunar New Year is a festival typically celebrated in China and other Asian countries that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later. Approximately 10 days before the beginning of the new lunar year, houses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bad luck that might be lingering inside, a custom called “sweeping of the grounds.”

Traditionally, New Year’s eve and New Year’s day are reserved for family celebrations, including religious ceremonies honouring ancestors. Also on New Year’s day, family members receive red envelopes (lai see) containing small amounts of money. Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this night colorful lanterns light up the houses, and traditional foods such as yuanxiao (sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity), fagao (prosperity cake), and yusheng (raw fish and vegetable salad) are served. The Lunar New Year is celebrated on Friday, February 12, 2021.

What can you do with your scholar?

  • Teach about the cultures that celebrate the New Year
  • Teach the symbolism of the animals and red envelopes
  • Discuss traditions of the Lunar Year including music, art, and dance
  • Share a recipe with students to make dumplings at home (it could be a fun, optional activity for families)
  • Any other creative, culturally responsive ideas you may have

Black History Month
Door Decoration Competition
Show your creativity and decorate your classroom door (in-person) or bedroom door (remote) by Friday, Feb. 26th to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of famous Black/African Americans! Remote participants, take a picture of your door and upload it to the folder in Google Drive by Friday, Feb. 26th at 3:45PM! This date has been changed to allow more time to work on your doors!

Check out our PTO page!
Since there are so many great resources being shared this month, the FMA PTO created a special page for Black History Month resources. Check it out at... sites.google.com/fmapto.org/fmapto/black-history-month

Black History Month Lessons
Hello, my name is Gisel Saillant. I am a 6th grade Social Studies teacher at RAUC and an Equity Fellow with the Cambridge Equity Collaborative. My Fellows project focuses on developing culturally-responsive advisory lessons throughout the year. I'm writing to share Black History Month lessons that I'm developing. I hope they will be a resource for your staff and the larger school community. They include core elements of Advisory, including a greeting, some learning, and an activity or game.

Here is a link to the Black History Month lessons. Week One centers Black Joy. Subsequent weeks have their own weekly theme. These slides are still a work in progress -- so if you use a Google "shortcut" (rather than a copy), you'll be able to see any changes and additions throughout the month. These slides are a resource, so please feel free to use them, adapt them, or remix them to fit your school.

Thank you,

Gisel Saillant (she/her/hers)

Grade 6 Social Studies Teacher RAUC
Educators of Color Coalition Leadership Team
[email protected] I 617-349-4060
6th Grade Remote Learning Website
Office hours: 2:15-3PM Mon-Tue,Thu-Fri

Report Cards
Report cards were delivered to teachers in-person today to be sent home students’ backpacks. Report cards are also being mailed home today to remote learners so families can expect to receive them early next week. Digital copies are also being emailed to all families between today and Monday.

Please keep in mind that this is the first picture of each scholar’s achievement this school year and there is time for continued growth during the spring semester. Your child’s report card reflects his/her progress towards the end of the year academic expectations. Benchmarks are used to describe what your child should be able to do at the end of this school year. These benchmarks are reported during the winter and spring this year to reflect academic growth. This is not a comparison with other students in the class and the letters E, M, A, NI and the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 do not correspond with MCAS or letter grades like A, B, C, or D. See below for the key to explain progress ratings:

E = Exceeding grade level expectations (this rating is reserved for the end of the school year after consistently demonstrating skill mastery and beyond)
M = Meeting - making appropriate progress toward meeting grade level level expectations by the end of the year
A = Approaching - making some progress toward grade level expectations but additional support may be needed
NI = Needs Improvement - not making adequate progress to meet grade level expectations by the end of the year
NA = Net Yet Introduced - This skill has not yet been taught

4 = Demonstrates proficiency
3 = Showing steady growth
2 = Progressing with support
1 = Not yet evident
N = Not yet introduced

All students will also receive ratings for progress in Social and Emotional Growth and Study Skills/Work Habits. These are very important areas for you to review as they provide information about your child’s self-regulation, behavior, work ethic, and classroom cooperation. You will notice grades only in specials classes with skill ratings left blank. This is due to limitations in being able to accurately assess students on screen during hybrid learning. Specials grades reflect student attendance and participation. If you have specific questions about your child’s report card, please contact the teacher directly.

  • Often parents ask me, “What do I do with the information I get from my child’s report card?” I’ve listed a few of my suggestions below:
  • Acknowledge your child for the improvements he/she has made or for the hard work he/she has been putting into learning. It is very important for students to understand that their level of effort in school directly affects their progress towards meeting academic standards.
  • Praise their effort and hard work rather than saying things like, “you are so smart” or “school is so easy for you.” Instead, share comments like, “I can tell you have been working really hard in reading” or “I know you sometimes get frustrated in math class, but I am proud of you for not giving up and asking questions when you need help.” Specific praise is most beneficial to children.
  • If your child is having difficulty in a specific area, talk with the teacher about ways you can support your child at home without it feeling like “extra work.” And, again, focus on their effort in class rather than their “grade.”
  • If your child is excelling, encourage him or her to continue to work hard. The Social and Emotional Growth and Study Skills/Work Habits are just as important (and sometimes more important) as academic content knowledge. Students who work well with others, contribute to their classroom community, produce quality work, and think critically about their own learning will be successful after high school. Those are the traits that colleges and employers are looking for.
  • And remember, while every child has areas in need of improvement, it’s just as important to celebrate his/her successes! So, discuss the report card with your child and feel free to celebrate any small steps forward

MCAS Updates
MCAS preparations are upon us, even as we are still figuring out how to bring back more students for in-person learning and keep everyone in our community safe. DESE has modified the testing window (see below) and reduced the testing sessions for students (1 session per subject). However, as of today there is the expectation that districts provide opportunities for ALL students (in-person and remote) to participate in MCAS. In the coming weeks, we hope to gain more information from DESE and engage in conversations within the district on how to provide these opportunities.

MCAS Testing Window

 Online Test Sessions (1 per subject)  Dates
 ELA  April 5 - May 7
 Math  April 26 - May 28
 STE (Grades 5 and 8)  April 27 - May 28

Hybrid Learning Expansion
Below are FMA Covid-19 Procedures - Updated. Please review as you prepare for the expansion of hybrid learning March 1st. Note the adjusted staggered arrival/dismissal to accommodate 4th and 5th graders. This will start March 1st:

7:40-7:50AM - PK/JK/K arrival and escort to classroom

  • PK/JK - Door #1 (Main entrance)
  • K - Door #2 (Left side of playground)

7:50-7:55AM - Grades 1-3 arrival & escort to classrooms

  • 1st grade - Door #1 (Main entrance)
  • 2nd grade - Door #1
  • 3rd grade - Door #2

7:55-8:00AM - Grades 4/5 arrival and escort to classrooms

  • 4th grade - Door #1 (Main entrance)
  • 5th grade - Door #4 (Broadway)

7:40 - 8AM - Bus riders - Door #5 (Windsor Street)
7:40 - 8AM - All ASD - Door #4 (Broadway)

Learning Models for Grades 4/5
4th grade - The Grade 4 team has been working collaboratively to develop an aligned instructional model. We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Eva Kahng to the team. Ms. Kahng will teach Science to all scholars while Ms. Herron-Smith and Ms. Martin will teach ELA and Social Studies to all scholars. The emerging model is in the process of being finalized. Below is a sample schedule of what the learning day may look like across both remote sections and the in-person classroom in 4th grade. Keep in mind this is a sample and may be subject to change:

8:30-8:45 BREAK BREAK   Whole School PE BREAK BREAK 
9:15-9:30 WHOLE GROUP
10:30-10:45 INDEPENDENT



2:30-3:00 MUSIC
3:30-3:45 DEAR   DEAR   DEAR   DEAR

5th Grade - Ms. Powell and Mr. Ventresca have also ironed out logistics in the 5th grade model. See below for the Grade 5 instructional model.

In-Person Options   PLAN A (This is the one!)
DAYS IN SESSION All students attend all 4 days.
Structure All 11 students will learn in person in room 301.
Instruction Plan/Roles Mr. Ventresca - While teaching ELA and SS, he will be in room 303 alone. Powell will be in room 301 with students.

Ms. Powell - While teaching Math and Science, she will be in room 303 alone. Ventresca will be in room 301 with students.


Advanced Learning Update
Here are a video and slides (English | Amharic | Bengali | Haitian Creole | Spanish) showcasing:

SEL Supports for Students
DHSP will be offering additional academic and SEL support for FMA scholars during the 2nd semester. More information can be found HERE in this flyer. Please reach out to your child’s teacher if you feel they may benefit.

Sisters with a Dream
Sisters with a Dream is up and running after school on Wednesdays from 4-6PM with guest speakers and everything! Contact Amatul Mahmud, Aishah Abdul-Musawwir, or Jill Seabrook for more information.

Girl Scouts Updates
See below from Nancy Sommers. If you have questions about the Girl Scouts at FMA, please contact Nancy Sommers.
Hello, Girl Scout Families. Greetings and good wishes. This message (sorry for its length) is about a free opportunity for an April vacation camp for Girl Scouts and about registration for our Troop.

First, Girl Scout Camp in April:
The Girl Scout camp in Waltham will hold an outdoor, small group April vacation day camp, from April 20th-April 23rd. Our Troop will receive free tuition for the camp, so there are no expenses for the girls. There is a bus service from Cambridge, or the camp is about a 25-minute drive. See attached description of the day camp.
Please let me know if you’re interested in this camp opportunity. We’ll make it happen. Next, we have a few things to do before we can launch our first meeting. See important details below.

  1. I need to register each girl with the Girl Scout organization. Attached you’ll find the Girl Scouts registration form to complete. If you could enter the information and return the form to me, I’ll take care of the registration. Please return the form by Friday.
  2. Our Zoom meetings will be on Wednesdays from 3-4PM. Stay tuned for information about our first meeting.
  3. We would like girls to wear their Daisy vests to meetings. Please let me know if you haven’t received your vest.
  4. Please let me know if your Girl Scout hasn’t received her gift/art bag. We want the girls to use the art supplies to create a project for our first meeting.
  5. Many of you have asked about our cookie sales. Kristen has generously volunteered to be our Girl Scout cookie coordinator. She’ll let us know details about cookie sales later in the month. Thank you, Kristen!

With every good wish,
Nancy Sommers

Healthy Heart & Me
Greetings! You will find the flyer for our upcoming Adopt-A-School event: Healthy Heart & Me linked HERE. Please let me know if you need more information from me. Thank you and we will connect soon! Stay safe.

Chinelle Andrews
Second Anti-Basileus
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. - Chi Eta Zeta Chapter
Cambridge, MA

One Zeta…Unified…Mobilized…ZetariZed!!!

Public Speaking for Students!
Debate & Public Speaking for Your Child - School-Year and Summer! Lumos is offering online speech and debate programs for students grades 4-10 through Zoom. Your child will meet new friends, develop critical thinking skills, and practice their public speaking in a fun, low-pressure learning environment!

  • Public Speaking Confidence
  • 4:1 Student Teacher Ratio
  • Fun and Engaging Activities!
  • School Year & Summer Programs

For first time families, we recommend a one-day online Intro-To-Debate Workshop. This is a high energy, fun workshop, and it’s a great way for your child to try out public speaking and see if they like it! Online workshops will run 10:00am - 2:00pm on Saturdays February 27 and March 6.

Use promo code COMMUNITY to get a special price of $55. And there's a special opportunity to bring a friend for FREE (friend must register using a special promo code you give them)!

Register for an Online Trial Workshop here.

SEL Supports for Seniors
“Letters Against Isolation”
FMA grandparent Nancy Sommers recently heard about an interesting project, “Letters Against Isolation,” that might be something that the FMA students could do for community outreach and literacy development. The project involves children writing letters to isolated seniors to ease the loneliness and isolation enforced by the pandemic. If you’re interested, please feel free to sign up for your scholar or class to participate. Check out project description here.

“D.E.A.R. with a Dear”
My elderly parents have been quarantining alone in South Carolina for a year. For the first time in their lives, they haven’t been able to see any of their children or grandchildren for such an extended period of time. To ease their sense of isolation, my children have been Facetiming them every day to read for at least 30 minutes. This has really helped them feel a sense of connection and community.

There are so many senior citizens right here in Cambridge similarly living in isolation. Wouldn’t it be great to adopt a grandparent to Drop Everything and Read with each day? In the months to come, we will begin forging community partnerships with local senior residential facilities to bridge this gap and build a sense of community. We will be looking for classes to sign up to D.E.A.R. with a grandparent or senior citizen in Cambridge to read to virtually during D.E.A.R time. If your scholar or class is interested, Sign up here >>. More information will be shared at a later date.

Stay Informed! - School Committee Updates
The next Regular Meeting of the School Committee will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6PM, held in and broadcast from the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Cambridge, for the purpose of discussing any and all business that may properly come before the Committee.

Individuals must sign up in advance to provide public comments for the March 2, 2021 Regular Meeting: The sign-up window is Thursday, February 25, 2021 through Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 12NOON (by phone) and 5:30PM (online).

Meetings will be live-streamed at www.cpsd.us and broadcast on Cambridge Educational Access TV (CEATV) Channel 98/99, as usual.
Dosha E. Beard
Executive Secretary to the School Committee

Maisha Rounds, Ed.M
Proud Principal

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