Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of October 5, 2020
It is certainly feeling more like fall. I am glad that we have had so much beautiful weather while we are weathering so many other challenges this fall.
I hope all of you are doing alright. Thank you for all your continued hard work and communication with the remote learning. Please let me know if I can help in any way if you are struggling. I feel like the technology issues were slightly better last week, but I realize that they are still a problem for many of you. I am so sorry that we have to continue this way of schooling. I so miss all of the fun and connection we all benefit from when school is functioning like normal.
• This week’s photos show some Forest Friday adventures with small groups of kindergarten students. What a thrill to have some in-person play outdoors. Also, there is a student is enjoying the birds in the courtyard. The courtyard has been a great space for students who are at school for any in-person learning. Also, there is a video from Iron Man, just for Ryan Road!
• Aimsweb Assessments: Last week, I sent this attached letter about our efforts to complete Aimsweb Assessments as part of our “Response to Intervention” planning. Here is some further information. We have begun some of these assessments. Mr. Yagodzinski, in grade 5, attempted to complete them remotely, and there were a number of technological problems. So, we are going to do the rest of the whole class assessments (only grades 2-5) in person under a tent. Your child’s teacher will be in touch about the schedule, and we will have some make-up days at the end of the testing if you were not able to get your child here for scheduled day for their class. When you bring your child to school, please make sure they are wearing a mask and bring their own headphones (let us know if you need an additional pair of headphones). We will have students use hand sanitizer before the assessments and again before they return to you. Your child will probably have a bit of time to play outdoors (socially distanced) in between the assessments and/or at the end.
On the scheduled day of your child’s assessment, there will be no class Zooming or synchronous teaching. Teachers will communicate with you about the plan.
Other one-to-one assessments (very quick) are being completed in Zoom break-out rooms by one of our Title 1 teachers, special education teachers, or trained ESPs.
Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions or concerns.RtI-Caregiver-Letter
• Disctrict Technology Update/Information:
1. Regarding Chromebook problems and/or repair, the plan going forward is listed here:
There are two options for caregivers:
- Create a ticket for someone on IT to get back to you. The portal is at http://nps-support.northamptonit.info/support/tickets
- Schedule a drop off for replacement. You can schedule a time to come to James House (the IT office at 42 Gothic Street in Northampton). The appointments can get scheduled here, https://calendly.com/npschromebookrepair/chromebook-repair
2. In response to caregiver concerns on increased access to chromebooks at home without the same level filtering as on campus, the district is extending the use of a program called Securly to the elementary chromebooks. While a similar program Go Guardian was used at NHS/JFK last year, we are expanding it to include the elementary students now that they are bringing chromebooks home as well. This program can provide additional filtering to sites in the same way that our school network filters appropriate/not appropriate sites while on campus. It also monitors flagged activity however, this is only reviewed if a student is suspected of being in violation of the district’s Acceptable Use Policy.
This program also enables teachers who use Google Classroom to see the students screens, if they are using chromebooks, and push out websites and help redirect focus by closing ones that the students might be exploring while in class. For more information about this please visit the district website under Tech: Chromebook program: Account Monitoring. This program is set to only work if students are using chromebooks.
• REAL (Racial Equity & Learning) is a NEF–funded project that brings together Northampton public school teachers, staff, students & caregivers to fulfill the project’s mission: support & strengthen our school community by developing an intentionally anti-racist culture. Check out our website at https://realnorthampton.com and follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/REALNoho) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/real_noho).
REAL will be hosting an open meeting via zoom on Tuesday, October 27, from 8:00 to 9:30pm. This will be an opportunity for new members to learn more about REAL and for current members to (re)connect in a less structured/more social environment than our current subcommittee meetings.
In late summer, REAL launched an equitable reopening subcommittee—now named the NPS Community Resource Network—which meets regularly to discuss ways to re-envision community building and help support the diverse needs of NPS families during and beyond 2020 remote learning, particularly those students and families impacted by systemic oppression. While REAL generally focuses on race equity, the NPS Community Resource Network aims to support equity across the board, including with regard to class and ability.
We know the needs and challenges are immense right now for so many—and we are committed to working collectively with the district, in solidarity with NPS youth and families, to understand and help respond to families’ needs in ways that are sensitive and thoughtful.
If you would like to learn more about REAL and/or the NPS Community Resource Network, please contact one of the REAL co-leaders:
Jenny Bender at email@example.com
Kristen Elde at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Keisch at email@example.com
Important Upcoming Dates:
Friday, October 9: No School—Professional Development Day
Monday, October 12: No School—Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Tuesday, November 3: No School—Election Day
Wednesday, November 11: No School—Veterans Day
I attached the most up-to-date District Calendar.2020.2021.-Calendar.-Revised.9.14.2020
I realize that Open House is listed for October 8. This is usually such a fun night! We will not be holding Open House, but teachers will be in touch about some sort of Academic Information Sessions for caregivers.
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, Principal