27 September 2020

Latest Butler Family Newsletter

Dear Families,

This last full week of remote learning has been quite joyful.  While we have definitely had lots of tech glitches, we've also had lots of victories.  I've popped into some virtual classrooms to see engaged and happy learners.  One particularly exciting thing we've been able to do is continue to have fourth graders lead our whole school in our Pledge and the Mindful Moment.  Each morning, two fourth grade leaders join me in a meet, which we then livestream to all classrooms.  It's a really nice way to start each day as a whole school community, and I'm so proud of our fourth grade leaders!

Check out two of our wonderful teachers, Sam Sacco and Jennifer Filippi, with their teaching setups:

MsSaccoRoom109     MsFilippiinRoom202

                                               

 

 

 

Remote Learning Tips

Here are some tips to help remote learning go smoothly at home:

  • Please encourage students to plug in their iPads/Chromebooks each day until fully charged so they can access daily meetings without worrying about the battery percentage. 
  • If you have not already, it’s a good idea to set up a designated work space for your child where they can keep all of their learning tools and work. 

This Week's Schedule

As I shared earlier this week, the School Committee voted to transition to the hybrid model beginning during the week of October 5th. In this model students will come to school either 8:40 - 11:45 Monday/Tuesday and every other Wednesday, OR every other Wednesday and Thursday/Friday. We are working on the cohorts now, which we’ll send out as soon as all schools are completed because this is a district-wide process across all levels.

In order to get ready for this transition, Wednesday, Sept 30th will be an asynchronous learning day (there will be work for the children, but no live teaching) so that teachers can prepare their classrooms for a safe return.  They will also use the afternoon of Friday, October 2nd, so that will be a half day of school for students, with instruction ending at 11:45.

Preparing for the Hybrid Phase

As we get ready, there are things you can do to get ready too. Have your child practice wearing a mask. Remember it needs to go up over the nose too. Remind them of need for the physical distancing and practice good handwashing. Two rounds of “Happy Birthday to You” is the right amount of time for thorough washing.

Information will be coming soon about start date, cohort assignments, logistics, and transportation (if you indicated an interest in busing). We are excited to have your student in school again and appreciate your patience as we work out the multitude of details that will help us start safely and make plans to support the learning of our children.

We are busily preparing student "In-School Kits" for each child, with many of the same materials as their "At Home Kits." These in-school kits will allow our children to safely access materials that only they handle, thus reducing the risk of sharing materials.

InSchoolKits

Assessments

Over the next couple of weeks, our district will administer beginning of the year reading assessments. These assessments will help us better inform and differentiate our instruction moving forward.  Please know there will be many teachers supporting each classroom to collect these assessments, and your child may be asked to join a separate Google Meets breakout room during the reading workshop or phonics block to complete this testing.  

As always, if your child needs assistance navigating the transition from our classroom to the breakout space, we welcome your support to do so.  However, once your child is settled in that new space, please be careful not to assist or coach your child through the tasks.  The ultimate goal is to gather current information to better inform our next steps for instruction, and we truly want to see what each child can do on their own.

Privacy & Confidentiality

BELMONT PUBLIC SCHOOLS FAMILY AND STUDENT GUIDELINES:

APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY USE

DURING VIRTUAL/REMOTE LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Belmont Public Schools is dedicated to providing engaging and effective remote learning opportunities for our students.  As part of our remote learning opportunities, BPS is offering many learning activities, classroom presentations and student meetings via a virtual platform. Prior to engaging in these virtual learning activities, presentations and student meetings, the District seeks to clarify guidelines for appropriate technology use during virtual/remote learning activities.  These are as follow:

  1. The District strictly prohibits screenshots, pictures, audio/video recording and distribution of any virtual educational experience in order to protect student privacy, proactively prevent potential cyberbullying, prevent the distribution of copyrighted materials and comply with Massachusetts law. Please note that in Massachusetts, it is illegal to record another person through any medium without his or her knowledge.
  2. Students, and where appropriate parents/guardians, agree to engage in virtual educational experiences in a quiet, private area to the extent practicable given the circumstances, in order to minimize background noise and distractions and to protect the integrity of student engagement as well as student confidentiality.
  3. Parents/guardians and other household members who normally are not privy to day-to-day classroom and group service discussions agree to respect and keep confidential any personal or private information (e.g. disability status) inadvertently discovered about other students due to proximity of virtual education.

As a reminder, the District’s Acceptable Use Policy applies to virtual learning, including school-issued devices and networks. See: http://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/uploads/StudentAUP.pdf

Thank you, sincerely, for your wonderful partnership.  The Butler Community is so fortunate to have incredible parent and family partners.  Your patience, kindness, and support during these challenging times are deeply appreciated, particularly knowing the strain you yourselves are under.  I am truly grateful for each of you.

With sincere wishes for good health and peace,

Danielle-Betancourt

Danielle

Danielle Betancourt, Principal