Memorial Messenger 9-17-20

A Message from Mrs. Hennessey

It’s been a great first two weeks of school here at Memorial! Thank you to our families for your partnership and support this fall. The Memorial School staff is so impressed with the renewed enthusiasm our students have for learning! We are also very proud of students’ resilience and flexibility. 

As we get into the routines of learning – both in-person and remotely – we welcome your feedback and suggestions. Although we carefully planned for each aspect of our return to school, we know that situations and schedules impact families in unique ways. Please let us know what is going well and areas that deserve attention. We greatly appreciate your on-going communication. 

Let’s learn and grow together this year! Please visit our website or follow our Twitter feed for updates. Please feel free to contact me directly at ahennessey@sad15.org or by phone at 926-4322.

Memorial Messenger

We will send home this newsletter on a monthly basis to keep you up-to-date on the goings-on at Memorial School. Please look for the newsletter in your child’s Tote on the second Thursday of each month. We will also send it to you via SchoolMessenger. Archived editions of the Messenger are stored on our website at https://msad15.org/memorial-school/.

Counselor’s Corner

Greetings Families,

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Katie Banks, and I am  the Memorial School Counselor. This year, at least for this fall, my services and supports will be virtual. Classrooms will have weekly social emotional learning lessons. The theme for this month is “Skills for Learning”. Children are learning what it looks like and sounds like to be a listener and about our “listening rules” (eyes watching, ears listening, voice quiet, body still, and hearts & minds open). Some other skills we will discuss this month include: focusing attention/ignoring distractions, using positive self-talk, and how to assertively ask for help in a calm and respectful manner. Students will have a follow-up activity, as well as a “joke of the week”, on Seesaw each Wednesday. 

In addition to in class lessons, I am available to meet via Zoom for consultations with parents/guardians and for brief 1:1 sessions with children. If there is anything I can do to support you and your child(ren), please do not hesitate to contact me at kbanks@sad15.org. 

Warm Hugs, Katie Banks

Arrival & Dismissal at Memorial

Please read on for information about changes to our Memorial School Drop-Off and Pick-Up routines (effective 9/14). Thank you to families for their patience last week as we gathered information about traffic volume and bus timing.

To allow for adequate physical distancing and because visitors are not permitted to enter Memorial during the school day, we will have a drive-in drop-off and pick-up routine for parents wishing to drive their child(ren) to or from school.

Arrival: The parent drop-off will occur after buses vacate the Memorial loop. Parents should plan to drive into the Memorial Bus Loop (closest to the building) between 8:20 am and 8:30 am. (This is an updated, earlier timeline.) Please be sure to drive 5mph once entering the Memorial School lot to ensure student and staff safety. Once in the loop, parents should pull up toward the main entrance. A staff member will approach your vehicle. When the staff member approaches, students should get out of the car and proceed to the sidewalk in front of the school and into the building. We ask that parents stay in the vehicle to ensure proper physical distancing and keep the process moving along for the families waiting to unload.

Dismissal: Parents should plan to drive into the Memorial Campus between 1:15 and 1:25. (This is an updated, earlier timeline.) Please be sure to drive 5mph once entering the Memorial School lot to ensure student and staff safety. Once in the lot, parents should drive around the school building by entering the one-way alley that goes between the playground and the building (K wing). Please proceed at 5mph and use extra caution when you turn left at the end of the playground. Please drive behind the school and then take another left onto the tar (and drive toward the gymnasium).

At the first gym door, please roll down your window and a staff member will approach your vehicle. Once the staff member approaches, please inform her of which child you are picking up. Please be prepared to show a picture ID to our staff. We will only release students to parents/guardians unless we have been contacted in advance to set up an alternate arrangement. You can call 926-4322 to let us know of alternate pick-up arrangements, or you can email Miss Lisa at lhaughey@sad15.org. Please call or email prior to 11 am with any changes to your dismissal plan. Once we have identified which child(ren) you will pick up, we ask that you pull up to the second gym door, and we will bring the children to the car, and the kids can climb in.

Like in the morning, we ask that parents stay in the car to ensure proper physical distancing and to keep the process moving along for the families waiting. After your child is loaded, please proceed with caution toward Intervale Road and the front parking lot. Please stop your car at the corner of the building to check for bus traffic, and then proceed toward Intervale Road when buses are not in the lane and their lights are not flashing. We will have staff members stationed at the corner to assist in this process.

Flex Day Wednesday Expectations

Here’s what to expect on Flex Day Wednesdays:

  • Students should plan to join their classroom teacher’s 9:00 am Morning Meeting in Zoom. This will be an opportunity for kids from both the red and blue cohort to meet with their teacher – and each other! We are excited about these Wednesday joint virtual gatherings! You can find the 9 am Zoom link on your child’s classroom’s page in Seesaw.
  • Teachers will be hosting Remote Office Hours from 9:30-10:30 am tomorrow morning. You can check your child’s Seesaw account or other parent communication for details on how to virtually meet-up with your child’s teacher if you have questions or would like to check-in.
  • Classroom teachers will also be providing (or have provided) digital or paper-and-pencil practice work for students to complete tomorrow. Those assignments may be posted in Seesaw. This may include reading, math, phonics, or writing (among other very interesting subjects!). Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) with any questions about those expectations.
  • Students who receive services from Special Education and/or Response-to-Intervention may receive small group or individual remote sessions with program staff on Wednesdays. We are working on the regular schedule for these interventions and program staff will reach out with more information (if applicable).

Upcoming Evacuation Drills

We will be practicing drills this fall at Memorial School including evacuation drills. We will begin our drill practice with classroom drills, and move on to announced school drills (without alarm & with alarm). We will be practicing physical distancing at all times during our drills. If you or your child have any questions about these drills, please feel free to contact Mrs. Hennessey directly at 926-4322 or ahennessey@sad15.org.

Attendance  Information

Attendance, even at the early elementary level, is so important for many reasons. Missing just two days of school every month equals twenty days or one month of lost instruction over the course of a year. Missing school can cause students to fall behind in math and/or reading. Attending school every day does make a difference!

Being present for school, both in person and virtually, allows your child the opportunity to build connections with their peers and with teachers/staff within the building. This connection could be made with a caring adult outside of their classroom teacher – such as their bus driver, art teacher, custodian, principal, school counselor, etc. Also, when students are present for school (in person or remotely), they are able to learn and practice the school/classroom routines. This provides a sense of predictability that feels safe and supportive to children.

Of course, if your child is sick, it is important for them to stay home (this is more important than ever this year). It is those other times we are talking about where your child may not want to go because they are feeling anxious, having difficulty separating from their parent or caregiver, would rather sleep in, etc.

How is my child marked present each day?

If your child attends in person, they will be marked present if they are in school – just like in past years. For students who are fully remote and on remote days for hybrid students, children are marked “present” by doing at least one of the following options.

  • Attending a synchronous class meeting (specials class, morning meeting, or a live session with another staff member) would ‘count’ as attendance on a given day. We encourage your child to attend all scheduled synchronous sessions. 
  • A child/family can also submit evidence of work completed via Seesaw to ‘count’ as attendance.

What do I do if my child will be absent (due to illness or pre-planned)?

Each child who attends in person should be screened on each day with the Covid-19 Screener before boarding the bus or arriving at school. Please follow the flowchart, and please keep your child home if he/she demonstrates one symptom from the “Most Common Symptoms List” or two or more symptoms from the “Less Common Symptoms List”. (Link to Covid-19 Screener: https://msad15.org/covid-19-pre-screening-tool-for-school-attendance/) If you have any questions about symptoms or the checklist, please call Memorial and speak to our nurses’ office staff. We are happy to help! With any absence, please call the school at 926-4322 or email Miss Lisa (lhaughey@sad15.org) to let us know.

If you are going on a planned trip, please inform Mrs. Hennessey (ahennessey@sad15.org) of your plans in advance if possible. It is especially important this year for us to touch base about any plans that involve traveling outside of the State of Maine.

Who do I contact if my child is having difficulty attending school?

We know that each year, some children and families need extra support to help with the transition to school. This year has a whole new set of expectations and changes. This may leave your child, even one who has never had difficulty transitioning to school, feeling more worried or stressed. If you or your child need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our School Counselor, Katie Banks at kbanks@sad15.org. Thank you for partnering with us! We are here to help if you need any assistance!

Remote Specials Times

Here is the updated schedule for remote specials. Kindergarten and first grade specials times remain the same. We did move up second grade specials by 15 minutes in order to avoid the distraction of the afternoon in-school announcements. We plan to use this schedule moving forward!

Kindergarten Grade 1 Grade 2
Specials’ Time 9:30-10:30 am 10:30-11:30 am 12:15-1:15 pm

Shared Food Expectations

Please be aware that shared food cannot be distributed in classrooms this year. Students are only permitted to eat food that is prepared for them by the cafeteria for breakfast or lunch (in individual serving containers) or is brought from home for that particular student to enjoy. We cannot share communal food (such as birthday cupcakes) or use communal food in curriculum-related ways. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding.  

Zoom Links 

Starting this week, all remote class Zoom links will be found in Seesaw. You can access these from the Seesaw Class App on the district-issued iPads. This one-stop-shop for Zoom links will help us create a routine for accessing remote classes. If you have an issue with a Zoom link, feel free to email the teacher and/or call Memorial (926-4322) for assistance. Thank you for your continued support of learning at home!  

Please Dress in Layers

This fall, we will experience outdoor learning and play at every opportunity. We encourage you to dress your child in layers so that she/he can be most comfortable while we are outdoors. We also plan to leave windows open later into the fall season to increase classroom ventilation, so students may benefit from having a sweatshirt or sweater to wear during the day. 

School Lunches are Free this Fall!

There is very exciting news to share regarding your child’s school meals! The USDA has extended waivers that allow school districts to continue operating under the summer meals program – which means free meals for all children 18 years of age and younger (through 12/31/20)! 

HOW DO I GET MY FREE MEALS?

FREE breakfast and lunch are available to ALL students learning IN SCHOOL on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday through December 31, 2020. Breakfast and lunch times and choices vary at each school. For more information, please see your child’s school schedule and menu under “Food & Nutrition” at www.msad15.org. Should your child choose “milk only”, there will continue to be a charge of $.50 (PreK-8). Money should be applied online through My School Bucks, mailed to Nutrition Services, 14 Shaker Road, Gray, ME 04039, or given to a teacher in a clearly marked envelope which will be delivered to the Kitchen Manager.

FREE MEALS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE TO ALL REMOTE LEARNING STUDENTS (THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020). 

Breakfast and Lunch meals will be offered daily, Monday through Friday, to all remote learning students! Pre-order your meals the day prior by calling or emailing Miss Julia at the number or email provided below. Again, menus are posted under “Food & Nutrition” on the school website at www.msad15.org. You can pick up meals for your child(ren), both lunch and breakfast each day between 10-11 am. Pick up areas will be at the back kitchen entrance at Memorial (by the large Field Day field). (Look for the signs.) This is a NO CONTACT PICKUP! When you arrive, call the Kitchen Manager, indicate the number of children you need meals for, and your meals will be brought out on a cart. Once the food service worker steps away from the cart, you can exit your vehicle to pick up the food. 

Memorial Kitchen Manager contact information: Julia Hutchinson, Kitchen Manager, 926-4307 /jhutchinson@sad15.org

Also, please don’t forget to COMPLETE YOUR FREE/REDUCED MEAL APPLICATION FOR SY21–Although meals are free through December 31, 2020, it is still very important that your family submit an SY21 Free and Reduced Price Meal Benefit Application. After December 31, 2020, all meals will be charged accordingly, depending on your child’s eligibility status at that time. Once free or reduced eligibility is determined, it is good for the entire school year, as well as the first 30 days of the following year. However, if an application is not submitted in the first 30 days, eligibility will automatically change to “full price”. If you have not yet received an application with your “back to school” packet, paper applications can be printed from the Food & Nutrition Services page on the MSAD 15 website or picked up at your child’s school. You can also apply using the following online application: http://sad15.schoollunchapp.com/

Updated Guidance on Neck Gaiters & Exhalation Masks

We are moving neck gaiters & exhalation masks from the “strongly discouraged” category to the “not allowed” category for health reasons. We will not fully implement this requirement until October 1, 2020. We have issued two masks that meet regulations to each student in the school district. If your child is in need of additional masks due to this change, please contact Mrs. Hennessey at ahennessey@sad15.org or 926-4322.  

Daily Health Checks

Please remember parents must conduct daily health assessments of each child before boarding the school bus or entering a school building. By sending your child to school, you are indicating that you have conducted a health assessment that determines it is safe to send your child to school. The health assessment can be found at: https://msad15.org/covid-19-pre-screening-tool-for-school-attendance/

Hybrid Schedule for Students on the District Plan

When in a hybrid (yellow) model, students on the district plan will attend two days a week at school and three days a week remotely. The red cohort will attend school in the building on Mondays and Thursdays. The blue cohort will attend school in the building on Tuesday/Friday. On the days when students are not learning in the building, they will receive instruction in PE, Art, Music, and Library/Technology. They will also have practice work to complete for their classroom teachers including reading, skills practice in the apps on their iPads, and paper-and-pencil practice. 

Hybrid In-Person School Day Schedule

8:00 – 8:20   Bus Arrival

8:20 – 8:30    Parent Drop-Off Arrival

8:30 – 1:15   Student Academic Day

1:15 – 1:30   Dismissal

Students In The Red Cohort In A Hybrid Model:

Monday: In-Person Learning At Memorial School

Tuesday: Virtual Learning From Home

Wednesday – Flex Day: Virtual Learning At Home

Thursday: In-Person Learning At Memorial School

Friday: Virtual Learning At Home

 

Students In The Blue Cohort In A Hybrid Model:

Monday: Virtual Learning From Home

Tuesday: In-Person Learning At Memorial School

Wednesday – Flex Day: Virtual Learning At Home

Thursday: Virtual Learning From Home

Friday: In-Person Learning At Memorial School

Schedule for Fully Remote Learners

Expectations for fully remote learners will mirror those of students who are in person. Students are expected to attend all virtual classes and meetings. If a remote learner is ill or has an appointment and will miss a live lesson, please notify the Memorial School Office at 926-4322. Students will receive instruction from their classroom teacher based on their cohort assignment – Red or Blue. Red cohort students will attend virtually with their classroom teacher on Monday/Thursday. Blue cohort students will attend virtually with their classroom teacher on Tuesday/Friday.. The schedule is as follows:

Remote Student Schedule:
8:30-9:00am Daily Recorded Lessons Posted to Seesaw
9:00 – 9:30 Synchronous Morning Meeting
9:30 – 10:00 Teacher will host Virtual Office Hours
10:00 – 11:30 Virtual Small Group Literacy Instruction will occur during this timeframe
11:30 – 12:00 Lunch
12:00 – 1:30 Virtual Small Group Math Instruction will occur during this timeframe

Remote students will have “Specials” (PE, Music, Art, Computer, Library) classes on days they are not assigned to work with their classroom teacher. Remote students will also have academic work to complete, such as reading, work in the apps, and other assignments posted by their classroom teachers on these days.