Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of December 7, 2020

Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of December 7, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

It was really wonderful to have more of our kindergarten and first grade students at school last week.  The week went very well.  I am including the Hybrid Learning information that I sent last week, in case you missed it.

Information as we Transition to Hybrid Learning

Thank you again for all your communication and patience during this process of remote and hybrid decisions and the transition to hybrid. What a challenge this has all been! We are looking forward to having some of your children at school in-person soon and to keep supporting the rest of the fabulous students remotely. 

• All students and staff are required to wear face masks at school. It would be good to send an extra one in your child’s backpack, if you are able. We will have extra student masks available at school whenever needed. Face coverings must cover the nose, mouth, and chin. Bandanas and neck covering do not suffice. 

• Here are the days that classes will be coming in-person.

Beginning the week of November 30

Kindergarten Smiarowski will be here on Monday & Tuesday.

Kindergarten Egitto will be here on Thursday and Friday.

First Grade Ramsden will be here on Monday and Tuesday.

First Grade Pelis will be here on Thursday and Friday.

Beginning the week of December 14:

Second Grade Natale will be here on Monday & Tuesday

Second Grade Pefaur will be here on Thursday & Friday

Third Grade Duffy will be here on Monday & Tuesday

Third Grade Cleary will be here on Thursday & Friday

2/3 teachers will have only asynchronous learning on December 10 & 11 in order to prepare classroom spaces. At each grade level increase, teachers will get two days to prepare classroom spaces. Mrs. Duffy will have these asynchronous day on December 7 and 8.

Beginning the week of January 4:

Fourth Grade Simmons will be here on Monday & Tuesday

Fourth Grade Desmond will be here on Thursday & Friday

Fifth Grade (both classes) will be here on Thursday & Friday

• School will start and end at the regular times (8:50-3:00). In-person students can arrive at school no earlier than 8:45. We will be outside until 9:20 and all students will be offered a free breakfast. There will be designated areas to sit and eat breakfast. In person students will not be marked tardy unless they arrive after 9:20. Remote students will have a morning meeting with their teacher from 8:50-9:20 on the days that the rest of the class is in-person. During this remote morning meeting, students will be reminded about their special for the day and will be provided with asynchronous learning activities for the day.

• We have a plan for inclement weather. Students will be in the library, cafeteria, or gym. Breakfast will still be available. Please bundle your students up for school. We will have some outdoor gear available here for students who need it. Any item that seems like a good fit for a student who needs it, we will keep that item at school (in a personal space) for the rest of the winter.

• We will have cones with a sign for the recess zone for certain grades as they arrive at school in the morning.

• Here are the lunch/recess times for in-person students (just as an FYI). And, please remember that free lunch is available to all students. 

11:10-11:55 Kindergarten

11:45-12:30 First Grade

12:30-1:15 Second Grade

12:00-12:45 Third Grade

11:10-11:55 Fourth Grade

12:10-12:55 Fifth Grade

• Attached is the Health Check List for every morning. It is designed for you to get into the habit of doing every morning at home.


You do not need to submit the form. Thank you for your care and attention to this. We all have to be more careful than we usually are.


There are some additional notes from Nurse Karen here. 


• For Dismissal

Location for Pick Up
Central Front DoorKindergartenParents will need to pick up out front (masked and socially distanced from one another)
Right Corner DoorGrades 4 and 5Parents can pick up (masked and socially distanced from one another)
Back Door (by custodial entrance)Grade 3Parents can pick up (masked and socially distanced from one another)
Left Corner DoorGrades 1 & 2Parents can pick up (masked socially distanced from one another)

Students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before exiting the building.

If any caregivers are waiting for students, they can wait near the designated doors, but everyone must remain socially distanced and masked.

If caregivers are picking up children in more than one location, they should pick up their younger child first. 

Please note: All students arriving after 8:50 AM should come to the front door. If they/you do not feel comfortable ringing the doorbell, please call the front office at 587-1550 and someone will come and let your child into the building.

If you need to pick up your child before dismissal at 3:00, please call the school office at 587-1550 and we will make arrangements.

We appreciate your patience as we try to ensure safety as students arrive and depart school.

• There will be no “snowdays” this year. Any weather that prohibits students from coming to school will switch all students to remote learning for the day.

Thank you, again, for being such wonderful caregivers! We are very lucky to be able to work with you and your children.

Please call or email if you have questions or concerns. Thank you!


 • This week’s photos show some of our kindergarten and first grade students enjoying the outdoors and working in the classrooms.

• Here is a good summary of an article I recently read.

Helping Students with ADHD Cope with Remote Instruction

In this article in Edutopia, journalist Katy Reckdahl says that parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (there are about 6.1 million children with ADHD in the U.S.) are finding that remote learning often produces tears and tantrums. “Without the usual support from teachers or the familiarity of classroom rules and structure,” says Reckdahl, “the struggle to stay organized and keep up with lessons and homework has suddenly become overwhelming… In the physical classroom, teachers can generally see when students with ADHD are confused, fidgety, and in need of a quick refocus prompt – but many of these signals are lost in translation during Zoom instruction. And because learning from home is generally more independent, it requires more focus and organization, two qualities that are often in short supply for students with ADHD.” 

Reckdahl interviewed a number of teachers and gathered the following pointers for supporting these students during Covid-time:

• Accommodate kids’ learning preferences. Extended teacher talk that requires sustained mental effort by students is particularly unfriendly for those with ADHD. Chunking instruction and introducing choice is helpful, as well as introducing physical movement (standing up every few minutes), using white noise in the background, regularly doing individual check-ins, and having students keep their hands busy with objects that don’t make noise (pipe cleaners, rubber bands, a small handball). One student found it helpful to tune in to his classes on a smartphone as he walked around his house and yard.

Support ways to keep track of time and schedules. This might include timers that signal the start and end of classes and times when assignments are due (using a kitchen timer or prompts on the student’s computer or smartphone). The Pomodoro technique is also helpful – working for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break. It’s important to post the schedule in the same place every day, and have log-in ID and password information at students’ fingertips. “If any child starts off class in a panic,” says New Orleans educator Sari Levy, “they won’t do well in class. Nobody should feel that way.”

Start with the big picture. This helps develop executive function (which one professor describes as “goal-directed problem-solving, and goal-directed persistence”), using a mental map to guide behavior. During remote instruction, it’s especially important for students with ADHD to have the big idea, a clear picture of where they’re going, and then a step-by-step progression for getting there – with plenty of scaffolding.

Use effective online strategies. Students with ADHD tend to skim when they read on a screen, which taxes their working memory. The trick is to slow them down, get them reading closely, and then summarize each paragraph. It also helps to number paragraphs and have students jot the main idea – or perhaps create a hashtag – for each one. 

Build in brain and body breaks. All students benefit from these, but they’re especially helpful for students with ADHD. One teacher makes a point of a get-up-and-do-something-different break every half hour – gathering materials, getting a drink, visiting the bathroom, goofing around, chatting with peers or family members. After a break, doing a breathing exercise helps students refocus on learning. 

“5 Ways to Support Kids with ADHD During Remote Instruction” by Katy Reckdahl in Edutopia

November 12, 2020

• If you have a Zoom issue during the day, the best thing to do is to call the office (587-1550) or email my Administrative Assistant, Vanessa Keillor.

I would love to help, but I am often not at my computer, and I usually do not know how to help. Luckily, Vanessa is becoming a genius with this stuff!

Broken Chromebook??

• If you have a problem regarding your child’s chromebook, the plan going forward is listed here:

There are two options for caregivers (and if you need help with any of this, please call the school office (587-1550):

If you are a Florence Savings Bank customer please vote for Ryan Road in the Community Grants program!

Your vote REALLY matters – last year each vote was equivalent to $15 – this can make a real difference for our little school! Last year we were awarded over $1200! 

Important Upcoming Dates

• Friday, December 11: Report Cards sent home for students in grades 2-5

• Friday, December 18: Report Cards sent home for students in grade 1.

• Thursday, December 24-Friday, January 1: Holiday Vacation

January 18: No School–Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 22-28 (Friday-Thursday): Half Days–Parent Conferences (virtual)

Friday, January 29: No School–Teacher Work Day

Stay up to date (under normal circumstances or not!) with all of our school activities on our School Website’s Calendar!

I hope that all families feel welcome, comfortable, and valued at our school. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Sarah Madden