Friday, February 26, 2021

NewsNotes 2/26/2021

 Dear HM Families,



ESSENTIAL INFO: In the interest of making things more accessible, I’ve highlighted key info here:


  • Virtual Science Night - Enjoy a night of VIRTUAL science fun tonight! Friday, 7 p.m., February 26, 2021.  Here is the link to the show: https://youtu.be/4uF6KqrKMrI


  • March Schedule Change - Due to the Special City Election on Tuesday, March 16th, we need to switch the in-person day for Cohort A. Cohort A will attend in person on Wednesday, March 17th, instead of Tuesday. All students will follow the Wednesday remote schedule on Tuesday, March 16th.  


  • Kindness Week - March 1st - March 5th.  Students are encouraged to carry out acts of kindness at school, online, and at home!  Post your pictures and deeds on our padlet: https://padlet.com/schofieldlib/HMKindness



DETAILED UPDATES:  If you would like more detail about what’s been happening at school, feel free to read the rest of the updates below:


Kindergarten Planning for Fall 2021 - We are starting to plan for Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year!  If your child will be turning 5 years old prior to September 1, 2021, please complete the NPS school survey (instructions noted below):

 

To assist us with planning educational programs for the coming school year, we ask you to complete a short on-line survey, or "census form," to let us know your plans for your child’s school registration in the fall of 2021. Please note that your student must turn 5 years old prior to September 1, 2021 to be eligible for Kindergarten in the 2021-22 school year.


Here is the form: 

https://forms.gle/q6ZeaqyPwz14xkad8


Please complete the form by Friday, March 5, 2021. Thank you so much for your assistance.



YOUTH ARTS MONTH -  This is a call for students in grades K-5 to contribute an image of their artwork to a Youth Arts Month Elementary Virtual Art Exhibit. 


During this unprecedented school year, one aspect of every child’s Newton Public Schools’ education that has been missing is the opportunity to access the rich resources for creativity that is provided in each visual art classroom across our district. The elementary visual art teachers have responded to this crisis with innovative and engaging strategies to provide art-making experiences through our remote learning platforms. 


As a result, students across the district are finding ways to create in and outside their homes an array of beautifully imaginative artwork. As your Fine Arts Coordinator, one aspect of my job that I greatly miss is the opportunity to coordinate the seasonal student art exhibits and receptions at the NPS Education Center and I look forward to the day we can return to gather for these events once again. 


Many students are now accustomed to taking photos of their artwork and uploading them to their teacher’s chosen platform. 


To participate in the Youth Arts Month Elementary Virtual Art Exhibit, please follow these steps. 


  1. Images must be JPEG format.

  2. Limit 3 images per student.

  3. Provide the student’s full name, only first names will be displayed Submissions will be accepted March 1 - 26. 


The Art Exhibit video will be introduced in early March on the district website and updated each week through the end of the month. Use this link to submit artwork: 


https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSclXnRF9fY_9y2vFgM5R-ZtxY9zcdWHF-Ou4wOSVavoZ7aCgQ/viewform


I look forward to receiving your contributions to this Youth Arts Month Virtual Art Exhibit. Sincerely, Richard P. King Fine Arts Coordinator K-8 kingr@newton.k12.ma.us



SEPAC Presentation -  Please join Newton SEPAC for a presentation on:


Basic Rights under Special Education Laws


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Where: Zoom (link below)


Presented by:


Leslie Lockhart, Mass Advocates for Children


Please join us on Tuesday, March 2, at 7:30 pm, for a presentation and discussion about student and family basic rights under special education laws and regulations. 


Whether you're new to the world of special education or a seasoned (scarred?) special education parent, there are always new and helpful insights from each Basic Rights presentation!


We're excited to have Leslie Lockhart as our presenter. Leslie is the Mass Advocates for Children’s Helpline Coordinator. She was also a founding member and driving force of the original Newton SEPAC. 


Zoom meeting information:


Topic: Newton SEPAC - March 2nd Presentation

Time: Mar 2, 2021 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting

https://middlesex-mass-edu.zoom.us/j/98538291113?pwd=eW0yMzRPd3lSR0RZbHNtSmw2ZFVKdz09


Meeting ID: 985 3829 1113

Passcode: 457897

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,98538291113#,,,,*457897# US (Chicago)

+16465588656,,98538291113#,,,,*457897# US (New York)




 


Newton Theater Company Presents a Medal for Willie - Saturday, February 27th at 8pm 

 

RSVP HERE 

Join us for a virtual production of William Branch’s A Medal for Willie, a powerful play which examines the intersection of segregation and racism during a time when both were permitted to flourish. Set in a small town during the Jim Crow era with eerily contemporary parallels, A Medal for Willie serves as a reminder that bias and supremacy must always be challenged and that change can occur in even the smallest pockets of our society.


The play will be followed by an audience Q&A, with a panel of the cast, directors, and members of Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ). 


After the show, please stay for a talkback conversation facilitated by FORJ. We will explore the themes of bias, prejudice, and structural racism embedded within the play and confront its modern-day relevance. Theater offers a compelling and interesting vehicle for us to delve into challenging conversations with honesty and bravery. It is our hope that this talkback conversation is engaging, thought-provoking, and furthers our understanding of how we can interrupt the corrosive effects of racism.  

 

This production is made possible by a generous grant from the Harmony Foundation, and is being produced in partnership with Overdue: Confronting Race and Racism in Newton. We are grateful to both of these organizations for their support. 



February 25th School Committee Meeting Recap - Below is a link to the recording from our meeting with School Committee members and Superintendent David Fleishman.


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bMh2f4rhUotOF9J_rrSFyCNA9O_dVrq0/view?usp=sharing


If you don't have time to watch the whole thing... below are a few themes that came up:

  • Several parents expressed concerns about the future of the HM facility and any plans to renovate.  SC members expressed a willingness to have a smaller meeting to talk with parents interested in continuing the conversation about the facility.  Parents also expressed concern about HM's place in the city's CIP (Capital Improvement Plan).

 

  • We talked a lot about the recent news from DESE regarding upcoming changes to our learning model.  The state of MA will soon require all K-5 students to be in person 5 days per week starting in early April.  Below are some additional thoughts that came up on this topic:

    • We are working on a plan to combine cohorts for late March/early April. All students would attend school 5 days per week (we still don't know the parameters: end of day, will we serve lunch?, etc.)

    • Teachers and administrators are working together to plan the next version of what school will look like.

    • We will continue to have a DLA program.  We aren't sure if or how much movement between the DLA and In-Person models will be possible.

    • Specials (Library, Art, Music, PE) will still be remote. Teacher schedules are intertwined with DLA which limits changes to any special program we might offer.

    • We talked about the impact on combining cohorts: Families acknowledged significant stress/anxiety at home and hope this change will be positive for students struggling with remote learning.  It may also be hard for students who have thrived with small group learning.

    • I am in regular contact with DAD about the changes and we will work together to keep families in mind about after-care needs.

    • MCAS will take place this year, although the test is shorter.  We are trying to minimize anxiety around taking this test.

    • A few parents wondered about creating more partnerships with nearby colleges to help support students.

    • We have two situations (Sandison Grade 2/3 split and Thorne Grade 1 DLA/Hybrid) that will require additional thinking and creativity with regard to this schedule change.  Mark will schedule meetings with those families prior to any changes taking place.

If I missed anything, I will be writing to all of you again as we have further developments on our changing model.  I know that the district will be communicating changes as well.


Thanks and have a good weekend!


Mark Nardelli


Friday, February 12, 2021

NewsNotes 2/12/2021

 Dear HM Families,

ESSENTIAL INFO: In the interest of making things more accessible, I’ve highlighted key info here:


Virtual Science Night - Enjoy a night of VIRTUAL science fun on Friday, 7 p.m., February 26, 2021.


Schedule Change - Due to the Special City Election on Tuesday, March 16th, we need to switch the in-person day for Cohort A. Cohort A will attend in person on Wednesday, March 17th, instead of Tuesday. They will follow their Wednesday remote schedule on Tuesday, March 16th.


Horace Mann Annual PTO Meeting with Superintendent David Fleishman and the Newton School Committee


On Thursday, February 25th at 9:00 AM, Principal Mark Nardelli, Superintendent David Fleishman, and members of the Newton School Committee will offer a chance to hear about school district news as well as recent updates about Horace Mann. If you are interested in attending, here is the Zoom link:

Zoom Link: https://newton-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/j/2454370913?pwd=NVhVUzR6WVNCVkw3MVovTTNKSm1idz09


Meeting ID: 245 437 0913

Passcode: Hawks



DETAILED UPDATES:  If you would like more detail about what’s been happening at school, feel free to read the rest of the updates below:


Happy Lunar New Year! - The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20. This year, Lunar New Year is on February 12, and in terms of the Chinese zodiac animal, it's the Year of the Ox.  China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and many Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year as national holidays. This list includes many families from our own community here at Horace Mann.  


If you are interested in learning more, below are a few links/resources:

https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a34892893/what-is-lunar-new-year-festival/

https://chalkacademy.com/chinese-new-year-crafts-activities-kids/


Grade Level Learning Times in Grades 3-5 - Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve gotten feedback from both students and parents about the guided learning times in our upper grades.  Based on this feedback, we’ve made the following clarifications and adjustments:


Students are expected to have cameras on during these sessions.


Many students need this time to complete their assignments. Adults will create breakout rooms so that students working on similar assignments can work on items together. 


Adults will also be taking time to check in with individual students and to help groups of students with any work related questions.


For students who have completed their work, the supervising adults will also offer interactive games on related subjects.  For example, in 3rd grade math today, we worked on area and perimeter using some online games.


Elementary Forum - Supporting Your Child in the 2020-21 School Year

If you missed the recent forum on how to support your child during this school year, the video has been made available for viewing. Click this link to view a video recording of the panel presentation.


The Work and Challenges of Being Anti-Racist: A Virtual Event with Dr. Edward Fergus and NPS Leaders


On Wednesday, Feb. 24th at 7:00pm, join the Newton Public Schools in a discussion led by Dr. Edward Fergus, author of Solving Disproportionality and Achieving Equity: A Leader's Guide to Using Data to Change Hearts and Minds to discuss these challenges and how to overcome barriers in implementing change in the practice of equity. Joined by a panel of NPS leaders, we will share some of the opportunities and obstacles that face us as we strive to be a more equitable and just district for all. Advance registration is required.

Register here


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

NewsNotes 2/1/2020

Thanks to everyone who participated in our January Hawk Hunt!  Thanks to the Zimmer family for the inspiration;  we had a lot of fun setting it up,  and it was great to see so many smiles!  If you'd like to see some of the posts, you can check out this Padlet:  

https://padlet.com/schofieldlib/HMHawkHunt


ESSENTIAL INFO: In the interest of making things more accessible, I’ve highlighted key info here:


Progress Reports - Will be available ONLINE on February 10th.  You will receive an email with directions for accessing the report.  


Virtual Science Night - Enjoy a night of VIRTUAL science fun on Friday, 7 p.m., February 26, 2021.


To participate, please submit a short video of your work by Friday, February 12.



DETAILED UPDATES:  If you would like more detail about what’s been happening at school, feel free to read the rest of the updates below:


Reporting on Student Progress - Student Progress Reports will be released online on February 10th. The 2021 Progress Report is intended to communicate expectations for each grade level on both the academic and social aspects of school.  Progress report standards haven’t been modified for this year, however, our experience with the children this far indicates that progress may look different for each child as they have been impacted by Covid-19 and the current learning models in varied ways.  Below are a few things to think about as you anticipate your child’s progress report:


Teachers will assess progress towards learning goals primarily based on data and observations on work done in school as well as remote learning.  


If a child is making solid progress towards benchmarks on a standard, the teacher will indicate that using a score of “3”.


If your child receives a “2,” we are monitoring their progress and providing support towards their growth.


A score of “N/A” will be used to indicate standards that have either not yet been a focus of instruction or areas where we do not have sufficient data to report for an individual child due to attendance limitations.   


We intend that this progress report will be a useful tool for the conversations you will have with your child’s teacher as we transition into the second half of this school year.  If you are concerned about your child’s scores, your first step is to contact your child’s teacher.  




Black History Month - Each February, Black History Month celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens our understanding of our Nation's history.  

At Horace Mann, we feel that it is important to review and adjust our curriculum on a regular basis to incorporate multiple perspectives into the various concepts that we teach.  This means looking at historical events using primary sources, highlighting accomplishments by individuals of color, among other things. At our February staff meeting, we will be providing teachers with time to review resources and explore additional curriculum activities that go beyond the month of February.


For more information about the origin of Black History Month, click here: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month


Another part of our efforts to create an inclusive school is to create opportunities for families to engage in dialogue about a variety of topics. 

Below are two events that you may be interested in.  One took place last week. The other is sponsored by FORJ and is a pilot for our school, beginning with 3rd grade families.  If all goes well, we will expand the idea to other grades.


Talking to Kids About Race and Racism: A Conversation with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

Last week, Dr. Beverly Tatum took part in a dialogue focused on talking to children about race and racism.  For those of you who were unable to attend the session last week,  a recording is now available on YouTube. Please feel free to check it out and/orshare it with others.


Below are also some helpful resources Dr. Tatum referenced in her conversation:


Multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators - Social Justice Books


Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? | Beverly Daniel Tatum | TEDxStanford - YouTube


Back to School 2020: Building Community for Connection and Learning | Facing History and Ourselves


Teaching Tolerance | Diversity, Equity and Justice Resources for Teachers


Biased by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD | PenguinRandomHouse.com


Parenting 4 Social Justice | Green Writers Press (publication date March 23, 2021)


3rd Grade Family Event - On Thursday, February 11th from 7:00-8:30 PM, FORJ will be hosting an evening Zoom event for all our 3rd grade students and families.  


For this event, we will show a video titled That’s a Family to introduce the idea that there are many different ways that families live and love.  In this video, children talk about their families and the kinds of things they like to do together (cooking, bowling, gardening).  There are sections on mixed families (in terms of ethnicity, religion, language and race), divorce, lesbian and gay parents, single parents, grandparents and guardians.   We will also watch a short segment about a Horace Mann family.

I’ve provided a link to the trailer, if you would like a preview of the material:  


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD695hbkT8Y


This program aligns with our school-wide goals, which:


Promote greater understanding of and respect for differences.

  • Serve as a tool for education about family diversity.
  • Reflect a more accurate and balanced picture of what families look like than is often presented in classroom curricula and in the media.
  • Use the metaphor of “windows and mirrors” as a way of thinking about how families are similar to or different from their own.
  • Ensure that every student—regardless of what kind of family to which he or she belongs—is safe, respected and able to receive an education free from prejudice.


This event is intended for 3rd grade caregivers and children and there will be time for discussion and conversation in small groups.  

Zoom Meeting Link: 


https://newton-k12-ma-us.zoom.us/j/2454370913?pwd=NVhVUzR6WVNCVkw3MVovTTNKSm1idz09

Meeting ID: 245 437 0913

Passcode: Hawks



Lunar New Year - The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20. This year, Lunar New Year is on February 12, and in terms of the Chinese zodiac animal, it's the Year of the Ox.  China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and many Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year as national holidays. This list includes many families from our own community here at Horace Mann.  


If you are interested in learning more, below are a few links/resources:

https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a34892893/what-is-lunar-new-year-festival/

https://chalkacademy.com/chinese-new-year-crafts-activities-kids/


Facility Ventilation Action Plan Update - Throughout the fall the city has been conducting assessments to verify that airflow exchange in classrooms meets identified standards.  The following web page provides information about this process for the district as a whole:


https://www.newton.k12.ma.us/Page/3804


Here is also a link to the results of the Horace Mann Ventilation Dashboard.  

Friday, January 8, 2021

NewsNotes 1/8/2021

Dear HM Families,


Happy New Year! I hope you all emerged from the break healthy as we embark on a new path to start 2021. The Nardelli family did very little during the break, although we did manage to see extended family by hosting outdoor campfires and enjoying some hot chocolate while exchanging gifts.


Thankfully, our first week of longer days for K-2 students has gone smoothly and we are glad to have the children in the building for more time. A lot of planning went into the changes and the hard work paid off. A huge thank you to all of the staff who have been so patient and flexible this week.



ESSENTIAL INFO: In the interest of making things more accessible, I’ve highlighted key info here:


SCHEDULE CHANGES FOR K-2 -


The morning Zoom time, which has been optional up to this point, will now be required for all students. We are now calling these Guided Learning Times.


Some teachers will be adding Zoom time on Wednesdays.


We will be adding a 2:00pm Zoom time (either a special or a guided learning time) for the REMOTE COHORT to take the place of the end of day meeting with the teacher.



SCHEDULE CHANGES for Grades 3-5 -




The morning Zoom time, which has been optional up to this point, will now be required for all students. We are now calling these Guided Learning Times.


Some teachers will be adding Zoom time on Wednesdays.


We will be adding a 2:30pm Zoom time starting the week of January 19th for the group that was IN-PERSON that day. I am talking to DAD about how to manage this for children who stay (see below).



DETAILED UPDATES: If you would like more detail about what’s been happening at school, feel free to read the rest of the updates below:


Student and Family Support: A number of families have reached out to me, both prior to the break and since our return, about concerns for their child. What I have heard from you is that we have children who are not sleeping well, are having meltdowns at home, are anxious, and are unmotivated and uninspired by the work. I share this with all of you because I want you to know that if you thought you were alone, you are not..we are all going through some version of this. My own daughter Alora has had a lot of trouble sleeping over the past three weeks and I have no doubt it is a product of the times. Please reach out to me if you have a question or concern; I’m happy to set up a time to talk.




Schedule Changes - Jeff Riley, the MA Commissioner of Education recently released new guidelines for learning that all Massachusetts schools are expected to adopt during the month of January. Below is a detailed explanation of the changes...


Key Points:

All schools must average 35 hours (over two week) of live access to adults (either remotely or in person). This equates to 2100 minutes. This mandate does NOT include Kindergarten...the state does not have a time mandate for K.


Live access includes classroom lessons, small group interventions, music lessons, morning meetings, facilitated work times, and more.

Steps and Findings:


As a district, we began an audit of our live time in both the hybrid and DLA models. At each of the 16 elementary schools , we looked at our in-person schedules, remote schedules, specialist time, grade level check-ins, Wednesdays, etc.


For HM, I looked at every schedule in our school and talked to teachers about what is happening throughout the week. Here’s what I found:


In all but 4 classrooms, we greatly exceeded the live access time requirements for Wednesdays. Many of our teachers are doing 180-210 minutes of live time, where the mandate is only 150 minutes.


Our optional check-ins do not count towards the state mandated requirement of 35 hours.


We need to add additional time in a few areas to meet the state requirements.


Solutions:


In Grades K-2

The additional in-school hours help us to meet the mandates.

We will be changing our optional morning check-in to a required guided learning time.


We will be adding a new afternoon special once for each remote cohort at 2:00pm.


We will be adding a new guided learning time for each remote cohort at 2:00pm (on the other day).

Most classrooms will continue their Wednesday schedules as currently planned. Two classrooms will need to add some time to their Wednesday schedule. The teachers will make more time available on Zoom to support students while they are working. This is similar to what happens in the classroom when children are working independently.



In Grades 3-5

We will be changing our optional morning check-in to a required guided learning time.


We will be adding a new guided learning time for each in-person cohort at 2:30pm. I will be talking to DAD about the idea of doing some “in-person” support during the afternoons instead of doing the Zooms.


Most classrooms will continue their Wednesday schedules as currently planned. Two classrooms will need to add some time to their Wednesday schedule. The teachers will make more time available on Zoom to support students while they are working. This is similar to what happens in the classroom when children are working independently.


Split Classrooms: Grade 2/3 and Grade 1 Hybrid/DLA - I worked with Ms. Thorne and Ms. Sandison to tally their current minutes and we needed to make only a few adjustments to their schedules to meet the time requirements. In our Grade 2/3- we had already added two math sessions during the week with our math coach.




Guided Learning Times - They will be led by a dedicated and thoughtful group of paraprofessionals, some of whom have teaching experience, and some who are learning on the job.


We have a list of ideas about what this time will look like:

Students may complete work while logged into Zoom. They can work independently and/or get help from an adult when needed.

An adult may work on common grade level skills like phonics or current events like Scholastic News.

An adult may read a story and talk about the book.

We may try to set up some peer reading buddies, where older children are reading to a younger child and vice versa.

We may review how the day went or offer kids a time to be social.

It may take us a couple of weeks to determine what is best for these time slots. If you have feedback or ideas, please email me at nardellimv@newton.k12.ma.us


Implications:


The new requirements that came from the state were not something that we asked for, nor were we consulted about the impact.


The mandate does not take into account what is developmentally appropriate for children. The guidelines do not differ by age or grade level, and we all know it is much harder for younger children to have more screen time.

As a parent, you know your child best. You will need to ultimately be the one who decides when a particular activity, assignment, or Zoom is too much.


Thanks again for your support and encouragement. Take care and be safe.



Mark Nardelli

Principal

Friday, December 11, 2020

NewsNotes 12/11/2020



Dear HM Families,



I hope you are all well. It has been a bit of a crazy month in the Nardelli household. My wife Christine spent the month in Florida taking care of her mom. Sadly, her father became ill with Covid-19 in early November and passed away after a very short battle with the disease. I stayed home to juggle the demands of the kids and work and thankfully I had plenty of support from neighbors and family. My wife returned home shortly after Thanksgiving and we've just now started to return to a more normal schedule.


I've also been touching base with teachers during this conference period to see how families are doing. I know that there is a wide range of experience out there. Some are doing well, relatively speaking, while others are struggling with day to day needs, managing work and parenting, and trying to stay safe. If there is some way our school can support you, please feel free to reach out.

Also, I know the holidays are here and this week, many families will be celebrating Hanukkah. Happy Hanukkah to those of you celebrating this week and next. Here are some resources for those of you interested in learning more:


https://pjlibrary.org/beyond-books/pjblog/november-2020/hanukkah-2020-with-kids



ESSENTIAL INFO: In the interest of making things more accessible, I’ve highlighted key info here:





WINTER BREAK SCHEDULE - NO SCHOOL from Thursday, December 24th - Sunday, January 3rd



SCHEDULE CHANGES FOR K-2 - In person schedules for students in K-2 will be changing starting January 4th. Students in K-2 will attend school until 2:00 pm on their “In-Person Days”. See below for a more detailed explanation...







DETAILED UPDATES: If you would like more detail about what’s been happening at school, feel free to read the rest of the updates below:







K-2 Schedule Change - Below are some bullet points about the upcoming schedule change. I will communicate a more detailed update PRIOR to the December break for students in our High Needs category and our Educator Program.




COHORT/IN-PERSON DAYS


  • K-2 students will stay until 2:00pm beginning January 4th. Grade 3-5 students will continue to be dismissed at 12:30pm.
  • We will have buses that run at 12:30, 2:00pm, and 3:00pm. Crossing guards will also be present at those times.
  • Students will have a 30-minute lunch and recess. Students will eat in classrooms. They can bring lunch from home. We will also have a hot and cold lunch option at no cost to families.
  • In addition to lunch/recess, students will have one additional hour of instructional time in person with their classroom teacher.
  • Students in a High Need category will also stay until 2:00pm (on Cohort days and Non-Cohort days).
  • Students in the Metco Program and the Educator Program will be with their cohort until 2:00pm and then in the Metco/Educator Program spaces until 3:00pm.
  • Students attending DAD will attend school on Cohort days until 2:00pm and then go to DAD.




NON COHORT/REMOTE DAYS


  • The overall schedule/flow of the day will not change for remote days, although some details will change.
  • The following changes will take place from 2-3:00pm (K-2 only)
  • Most K-2 classroom teachers will no longer be available to connect with at home students during this hour. Teachers will be with children straight through the day from 8:20-2:00pm, with a 30-minute lunch break. 2:00-3:00pm will be prep time for teachers.
  • We are working to find a time for the classroom teacher to have one check-in with at-home students for 15-20 minutes, either in the morning or a bit later in the day. We aren't yet sure that this will be doable.
  • Students will have roughly 30 minutes of independent work time each afternoon. There will also be one live Zoom for all K-2 students during this hour (at either 2:00 or 2:30):
  • An added specialist time (with Art, Library, or PE)
  • OR
  • An assigned check-in with another HM staff member.

  • We also have a grade 2/3 split class and a grade 1 hybrid/DLA class. Both Ms. Sandison and Ms. Thorne WILL be available for the 2:00pm hour; 3rd graders and DLA students will not notice any change to their remote experience.


A comment from the Superintendent regarding the longer day: “We have also been asked about hybrid students in grades 3-5. Please know that we made the K-2 hybrid shift because our youngest students have been experiencing the most significant challenges with distance learning. However, we recognize that many 3-5 families would like more in-person time, which was indicated in our recent survey. While we are able to staff the additional in-person time for K-2 with available staff, and our schools have been able to identify spaces for students to eat and have small group instruction, we are challenged by staffing and space constraints to expand this extended in-person time for all our students.”




FORJ/Staff Partnership - A group of parents and staff have come together to discuss plans for expanding our offerings to families around issues related to diversity and inclusion. Through stories and activities, we hope to pilot at least one evening activity session for parents, staff and students to attend together via Zoom. We have a second planning meeting next week and we hope to have more information to share in the new year.



Hawk Hunt - Be on the lookout for hidden hawks in and around our school and community, starting in January. More details to follow!



FORJ SAVE the DATE!

UPCOMING FORJ CITY-WIDE MEETING



WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 16th, 7-8:30

December 2020 FORJ Meeting - Restoration and Reflection

Join us for our December city-wide FORJ meeting on Wednesday, December 16th from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Amy Behrens will lead us through an uplifting meditation, guide us through reflection on our racial justice work of 2020, and provide time for us to connect with each other. Walk away restored and ready to take action in 2021.

Amy Behrens is a co-founder of FORJ who served as the FORJ coordinator from 2015 to 2018 and is now an advisor to the Board. She is a parent coach, educator and group facilitator. RSVP HERE




FORJ DISTRICT HIGHLIGHT

Horace Mann's Elementary School's Food and Culture Night

This month we wanted to highlight Horace Mann’s Food and Culture Night which ran digitally in November. Parents organized a compilation of videos from families that highlighted a particular dish and/or culture. Along with the video, the committee put together a recipe book with the event’s dishes.

Here is the evening's program:


Garba/Dandiya dance


Egg noodles and ricotta gnocchetti


Sushi rolls


Kashur kahwa (traditional saffron drink)


Alfajores de maicena


Kids’ strawberry shortcake


Pan fried dumplings


Sheero


Okonomiyaki


Italian sausages


Empanadas


Indian rice flakes with peas


Taino dance


How to use rice paper


Brigadeiro

Interested in running a food and culture night and have questions? Contact Kate Carpenter Bernier at katecarpenter1@yahoo.com




You can watch the video here:

HORACE MANN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL'S FOOD and CULTURE NIGHT 2020

and read the cookbook here:




HORACE MANN COOKBOOK




School District Attendance Policy - I am sharing the following document regarding Newton’s attendance policy. This includes attendance on Zooms during remote days, and more. Please review the information here:




https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oqKIpqdALH6msPBTLdVALXXW7VSs5YSoEAfxA20_Ixc/edit




Travel Considerations and School Attendance - Again, with holidays coming up, please be aware of travel guidelines, particularly if you decide to leave the state of Massachusetts. You can find more information here regarding those guidelines:



https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order


Embedded within you will find a link to a FORM that must be completed if you are traveling out of state and returning to school (see the site for exemptions).



Thank you and have a safe holiday season.




Mark Nardelli

Principal

Friday, November 13, 2020

NewsNotes 11/13/2020


Dear HM Families,


Happy Diwali to those of you celebrating this important holiday over the weekend and into next week! If you’d like to learn more about this traditional Hindu holiday, please click here:



https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/diwali/




ESSENTIAL INFO: In the interest of making things more accessible, I’ve highlighted key info here:




Thanksgiving Break Schedule



Wednesday, November 25th - NOON DISMISSAL for REMOTE and IN-PERSON Students




Thursday and Friday November 26th and 27th - NO SCHOOL


DETAILED UPDATES: If you would like more detail about what’s been happening at school, feel free to read the rest of the updates below:




Learning Model Change Requests - We have received a small number of requests to change learning models. I will be reaching out to families who made the requests next week to provide final decisions and details about the requests.




Election Follow Up - The following is the message I sent to our staff following the election results…




"This weekend brought some historic news with regard to our country and the election. In a few months we will welcome a new President. AND...I felt it was essential to recognize and acknowledge the fact that we have elected the first woman (and the first woman of color) to the office of Vice President in our country's history.


Speaking personally as we move forward, I am hoping we can tone down the animosity that has dominated our society over the past several years in favor of more civil discourse. At Horace Mann, we have always tried to foster a message of kindness, compassion, and open mindedness while celebrating the amazing diversity of our community. I hope that spirit can be renewed once again.


In addition, it is important to acknowledge that many staff and families have been under significant stress as we awaited the outcome of this election, and even now, there will be emotions in our school community. Please think about our values and use them to guide conversations with students and help them to also make space for everyone. I am again sharing the link that I shared last week, if you need some guidance on how to approach this with your class"


https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/teaching-the-2020-election-what-will-you-do-on-wednesday





School District Attendance Policy - I am sharing the following document regarding Newton’s attendance policy. This includes attendance on Zooms during remote days, and more. Please review the information here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oqKIpqdALH6msPBTLdVALXXW7VSs5YSoEAfxA20_Ixc/edit




Travel Considerations and School Attendance - Also, with holidays coming up, please be aware of travel guidelines, particularly if you decide to leave the state of Massachusetts. You can find more information here regarding those guidelines:


https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order

Embedded within you will find a link to a FORM that must be completed if you are traveling out of state and returning to school (see the site for exemptions).




Parent/Teacher Conferences - The district has designated several times for conferences later this month. Your child’s teacher will reach out to you with more specifics, but these are the times that have been set aside contractually.






Wed, Dec 2: 1:15-3:15

Mon, Dec 7: 2:00-3:15

Wed, Dec 9: 1:15-3:15

Thurs, Dec. 10: 2:00-3:15






High School/Elementary Math Tutoring Partnership - A former HM student named Andrew Jensen asked me to share some information about a free math tutoring program.



“The goal of the Infinity Squad is to build relationships with local high school students and help foster a love of math. They will work together on math games, puzzles and curriculum. Initially all programming will be held virtually. We will pair your student with a high school student and you can schedule the once/week 30 minute virtual meetings when they are most convenient for both of you.”


TO REGISTER FOR THIS FREE PROGRAM CLICK HERE:


https://forms.gle/SzhdPzr32VK81n3JA



Enjoy your weekend!




Mark Nardelli