Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of November 23, 2020

Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of November 23, 2020

Dear Caregivers,

It was really nice to see so many of you at the Town Hall last week! Please continue to communicate with us at school if you have questions or concerns. 

• From Mistelle Hannah, Food Service Director:

The USDA has extended Free Meals for Kids until 6/30/2021. The NPS Food Service Department is committed to providing all students with free nutritious and nourishing food that will support them both in school and at home.

All in-person learners will be offered a healthy breakfast and lunch every school day at no cost in a safe environment.

Beginning Wednesday 12/2, seven days’ worth of grab and go meals can be picked up at the following locations and times:

·       Hampshire Heights 11-12pm

·       Florence Heights 11-12pm

·       Meadowbrook Apartments 11-12pm

·       236 Pleasant Street 11-12pm

·       Northampton High School round-about from 4-5pm

All meal pick-up services and in-school meal services are provided in a contact-less and safe manner. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the food service office at (413) 587-1487

Just a few reminders:

Timelines (as long as all goes O.K. with the virus in our area):

• The K/1 students will not start in person services until November 30.

• 2/3 in person students will begin on December 14.

• 4/5 in person students will begin on January 4.

K/1 teachers will have only asynchronous learning on November 23 and 24 in order to prepare classroom spaces. At each grade level increase, teachers will get two days to prepare classroom spaces.


• This week’s photos show the yummy cooking project that Grow Food Northampton did with our third graders on Friday. They provided the food in individual bags and the lesson on line. One photo shows one of our young chefs creating the recipe here at school while accessing the Zoom cooking lesson. Wonderful! Other photos show one of our rugged outdoor learners, some of our kindergarten students rolling down the hill as part of “Forest Friday” and a couple of explorers in our woods. We are very lucky to have such fabulous and fun school grounds.

Here is information on two topics from the Massachusetts Department of Education:

  1. Holiday Reminders

The Department recognizes that the upcoming Thanksgiving and winter holidays may pose a challenge to districts in their efforts to limit students’ and staff’s exposure to COVID-19. The Department encourages district and school leaders to remind staff and students about the best practices that the Department of Public Health has outlined:

  • Limit gathering size: Indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people.
  • Individuals should stay within their household: For a lower-risk celebration, people should limit in-person holiday gatherings to only people they live with or limit the gathering to a small group of individuals with whom they are regularly in contact.
  • Avoid travel: Anyone considering travel should review and abide by Massachusetts travel orders, and people who want to travel to another state that is not a lower-risk state should be aware of the quarantine requirements involved with such travel.

The holidays will necessarily look different this year, and DESE appreciates all that educators, students, and families are doing to limit their risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

  1. LearnLaunch Workshops:

LearnLaunch is offering the last session of its Support Parents workshops and is offering Student Data Privacy and Security and Crisis Communication. Each of these workshops is sponsored by DESE, facilitated by a national expert, and gives time for participants to collaborate to solve pressing problems. Registration is open online.

  • Crisis Communication is a 90-minute workshop that will help school and district leaders practice scenario building as a way to ensure stakeholders are aligned and informed during complicated and difficult moments in schools or districts. The workshops will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, November 16 and at noon on Monday, November 23Register here and explore the Communicate Clearly Building Block tool here.
  • Student Data Privacy and Security is a 90-minute workshop written for technology and information education leaders to equip them with the information they need to maintain student data privacy at all times. The workshops will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18 and at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 19Register here and explore the Select Aligned Tools Building Blocks tool here.
  • Support Parents is a 90-minute workshop in which participants will use specific templates and tools to leverage increased parent engagement in remote/hybrid learning environments in order to create more positive, personal connections that will last past digital learning. The last session will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 20Register here and explore the Support Parents Building Block tool here.

• I have attached a short survey request with link (for interested caregivers). The survey is for a Doctoral Student at UMass who used to work at JFK. 


• 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):

Important Upcoming Dates

• Wednesday (1/2 day) & Thursday and Friday (no school), November 25-27: Thanksgiving Holiday

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

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