Updates from Maisha Rounds: November 7, 2020

Updates from Maisha Rounds: November 7, 2020
Posted on 11/07/2020

"Just keep swimming!" - Dory, "Finding Nemo"

Dear FMA, 

You're doing a fantastic job! Words can't fully express how thankful I am for each of you. Stay encouraged and know that we got this!

  • Word of the Week: Thankfulness - showing appreciation for something or someone (Share the word of the week with your scholars!)
  • SEL Skill of the Month - Self-Regulation: How to calm down (When they feel big emotions, encourage scholars to (1) Stop, (2) Name their feelings, (3) calm down by breathing, counting, or using positive self talk)

Upcoming Dates 
11/11 - No School-Veterans Day
11/16 - Courageous Conversations 6-8 p.m.
11/18 - Early Release Day; Family Conferences
11/20 - Q1 Ends
11/21 - FMA Virtual Yoga! (11 a.m.)
11/23 - Q2 Begins
11/25 - Early Release Day (12 p.m.)
11/26 - 11/27 - No School - Thanksgiving Break

Important Links/Deliverables

Celebrations and Shout-Outs!

  • Shout out to Ms. Martin's 4th graders for leading Community Meeting on Monday, Nov. 2nd!
  • Hats off to the scholars who correctly answered the Question of the Day from Community Meeting on Monday: 
  • Shout out to Jeff Jardin for being such an amazing teamplayer, from outfitting our building with snazzy, socially distanced color-coded arrows and footprints to covering classrooms and assisting with testing. Thank you for your flexibility, dedication, and service to the staff and students of FMA!
  • Shout out to our instructional coaches, Kelly Rowan and Trish Duggan, for spearheading fall assessments as we aim for 100% student participation!
  • Hats off to all of our amazing interventionists Kyla Braggs, Julie D'Angelis, Banke Oluwole, and Fred Park, for supporting curriculum and assessment as well as covering kindergarten and 3rd grade!
  • Congratulations to Ms. Herron-Smith's 4th graders for celebrating their first class party of the year! They earned this celebration for showing up every day, completing their classwork, attending class on time, killing their addition strategies, and giving their best! To celebrate, students dressed up as Disney characters, played Kahoot, and ate special snacks!
  • Awesome sauce to the Kindergarten team for a cohesive, collaborative approach to support our kindergarten scholars with the launch of hybrid learning!

Question of the Week
Week of Nov. 9: There are 275 students enrolled at FMA. How many minutes will we read in 1 week if every scholar reads (or is read to) for at least 30 minutes every day? 

Million Minute Marathon
Can FMA read one million (1,000,000) minutes by the end of the school year? Let’s try!!! So far, students have submitted a total of 105 minutes read. Every day, encourage your scholars to record the number of minutes they read (or are read to) using THIS READING LOG. Scholars may read books, magazines, ebooks/ibooks, newspapers, flash cards, street signs, closed captions on TV, any and all print counts! As an added challenge, try reading things that are at or ABOVE your reading level! 

*Check out the CPS Family Home-Based Early Childhood Program!

Dinner of Thanks Updates
Let’s Eat (and be thankful as well)
We are looking for any and all recipes that make your tummy feel yummy and full! Traditional, simple, cultural or just something you created as a family!!!! Let us represent FMA and submit your recipes by 11/20/20 please.

Thank you so much,
Dinner of Thanks Committee 

Student Attendance
FMA's average chronic absenteeism rate from September to November was 5.02%. The CPS average = 4.37%. Our chronic absenteeism rate is greater than the district's average. Our goal is to decrease chronic absenteeism by 3 percentage-points from 5.02% to 2.02%. Families can help by making sure students attend every class on time every day. Plan family vacations around scheduled school breaks. Contact your child's teacher about unplanned absences. Research shows: 

  • Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. 
  • By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school. 
  • By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.

Let us know how we can best support you and your children so that they can show up for school on time every day. You can expect the following communication about your child's attendance: 

  • 2 absences = Teacher phone call
  • 3 absences = Parent/Teacher conference; FMA Attendance Letter emailed home administratively
  • 4 absences = Principal’s Absence Letter mailed home
  • 5 absences = Phone call from an administrator
  • 6 absences = PBIS Team Referral
  • 7 absences = Attendance Plan co-created with the family, teacher, and PBIS Team
  • 8 absences = Home Visit
  • 9 absences = Family Meeting with the Principal, School Social Worker, & Attendance Officer
  • 10 absences or more = Referral to the Department of Child and Family Services

Family Conferences 
Family Conferences will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 18th. Please RSVP to the invitation from your scholar's teacher.

Staffing Updates
We are pleased to announce that Ms. Efhrate Sinthia will be joining the 1st grade team as a paraprofessional to work alongside Ms. Vil and Ms. Barbara Hayes-Harrison. Ms. Sinthia holds a B.S. degree in Math from Eden Mahila College in Dhaka, Bangladesh with several years of teaching experience. Presently, she is studying at UMass Boston and will begin supporting 1st grade this month. FMA welcomes Ms. Sinthia to the team!

Due to needs in the JK/K ASD class, Ms. Alana Brown will remain with the ASD program at this time. 

ILT Updates
The Instructional Leadership Team met this week to review tools for peer observations. Meeting notes can be found HERE. The team decided to use the Culturally Responsive Teaching tool (CRT), a companion to the Zaretta Hammond text, to support our work. After informal observations, the CRT will ground follow-up conversations to improve instructional practice and students' experiences. At the next ILT meeting on Nov. 25th, the ILT will discuss scheduling instructional rounds to calibrate how feedback is given for a unified approach schoolwide. 

Leadership Team Updates
This morning, the Leadership Team discussed Entry Plan updates and PTO updates. Questions about Chromebook requests and materials pick-up were answered, and families plan to work with Deborah and Daniel to organize family-run materials pick-ups on specified Saturdays. Kevin Keegan will be available to answer follow-up questions about Chromebooks on Monday, Nov. 9th at 8:30 a.m. 

PBIS Team Updates
The PBIS team met Monday to discuss supporting students experiencing SEL or behavioral challenges. As hybrid learning continues, teachers will follow this process if attendance, behavioral, or SEL concerns arise: 

Dinner of Thanks Updates
Let’s Eat (and be thankful as well:-)
We are looking for any and all recipes that make your tummy feel yummy and full! Traditional, simple, cultural or just something you created as a family!!!! Let us represent FMA and submit your recipes by 11/20/20 please. Please check out the Dinner of Thanks Cookbook Flyer!

Thank you so much,
Dinner of Thanks Committee 

Delayed Materials
Please see the information below from Jean Sullivan concerning delays in shipments of instructional materials across all schools and departments. The purchasing staff has been working hard to find alternative sources, but the situation is difficult.

Many of you have been experiencing this and know the situation first hand. But, I wanted to make sure that you are all aware of this as questions and concerns come your way from teachers and parents. Like the delays we have experienced in our Chromebooks orders, this is a national & international issue, not a CPS specific problem.

Chromebook Requests
Does your scholar have a working Chromebook? If not, families should submit all Chromebook requests by email to our Family Liaison, Daniel Skeritt, at [email protected]. If your child's Chromebook is broken, please notify both your child's teacher and Mr. Daniel Skeritt. To inquire about the status of your Chromebook request, contact Mr. Skeritt. When your device is ready for pick-up, Mr. Skeritt will contact you.

Covid-19 Updates
Thank you for your vigilance in monitoring your scholars' symptoms during cold and flu season and keeping them at home when appropriate. FMA has been very fortunate to have no confirmed Covid cases to date thanks in large part to all of the safety precautions taken beforehand and ongoing during in-person learning. You may also be wondering what to do in the event of a close contact with a positive Covid case. Nurse Shubert has also shared this helpful decision tree to navigate what to do in the event of a positive or a close contact. What Should I Do?

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Supports for Students
FMA is committed to ensuring robust Social Emotional Learning for students. Our PBIS Team is providing an additional layer of support for those who need it. We are using the tiered approaches below to support students...

Tier 1: SEL Screener, Responsive Classroom, Mindfulness
Tier 2: Lunch Bunch/Lunch Groups with Mr. F., Ms. Coulson, Ms. Olivier, Sisters with a Dream, Qualls Academy; PBIS Team Referral
Tier 3: PBIS Team Referral; 1:1 intervention and support (with school counselor Cherie Coulson, social worker Ndia Olivier, Equity Advocate, or school psychologist Ann Dostert whose intern, Harry Lo, is also able to support)

Qualls with Mr. F
Qualls Academy virtual study hall takes place from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Wednesdays once a week for boys. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there will also be a social hour and games for ALL students from 12-1 p.m in grades 3-5. 

Additional Responsibilities for OSS Staff (Reminder) 
We are aware that staffing is extremely limited in the building. While in previous years OSS staff were delegated duties outside of OSS, this year we will try to minimize doing this. 

Reporting Periods
Family conferences will take the place of progress reports this year. Please RSVP to your child's teacher to schedule a conference in November. Our reporting periods are as follows:

Semester 1: September 16 - January 29 Semester 2: February 1 - June 23
Quarter 1: 
September 16 -November 18
Quarter 2: 
November 19 - January 29
Quarter 3: 
February 1 - April 6
Quarter 4: 
April 7- June 23 
 Conference  Report Card  Conference  Report Card

*Weekly Check-Ins
We will begin weekly check-ins for fully remote students this month. It will be all hands on deck. The goal is for every remote student to be matched with a staff member. We will revisit this process for in-person students at a later date. You can expect to receive outreach from an FMA staff member weekly to make sure your scholar is successful this year.

Good news! All schools now have access to Newsela to support our equity work and Social Studies curriculum! Some key features and highlights of this platform are:

  • news articles on current events with new articles added daily
  • articles that can be differentiated on several topics
  • ability to create text sets
  • resources for antiracist teaching and instruction
  • content connections to other subject areas and EL Modules
  • resources for supporting emergent readers

..and much more!

Holiday Travel
The holidays are coming up and staff/students are making plans and some tough decisions to opt out of normal traditions to see friends and family. The Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week will continue in person as scheduled. CPS is discouraging travel outside of the state if possible to minimize the potential for spread. Due to travel advisories, be mindful that it may be necessary for a 2-week quarantine period after traveling to high risk areas.

Preparing for a Possible Pivot to Fully Remote
With rising metrics statewide and within the City of Cambridge, we should prepare for a possible shift to fully remote learning. With that in mind, in-person students may need to travel back and forth to school with Chromebooks daily. However, if families are concerned about their scholars transporting Chromebooks every day for health reasons (back pain, too heavy, etc.), please reach out to your child's teacher so an alternate plan can be made. Chromebooks will need to be sent home at a minimum of twice weekly on Tuesdays before each remote Wednesday and on Fridays before the weekends so that students will have their computers in the event of an emergency closure.


Maisha Rounds, Proud Principal
Fletcher-Maynard Academy
225 Windsor St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617.349.6588
Fax: 617.349.6595
Website: https://fma.cpsd.us/

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