MES -3/20/20: Letter from Principal Torrey - At-home Learning

Dear Parents and Guardians,

First of all, I want you to know - from the bottom of our MES wolf pup hearts - that we are heartbroken and miss your children already.  We are with you, and we understand how stressful and upsetting this time may be for your families, parents, grandparents, and children. There are many supports in place at MES for our families, and at the bottom of this letter I have provided MES emails and helpful links to get your family the support you need. 

If they haven’t done so already, your child’s teacher will soon be contacting you by phone to gather basic information on where your child will be during the closure, if they will have internet access, and a good number and time to reach them.  The entire MES Faculty and Staff have made a commitment to ensuring every child gets at least one phone call a day from their teacher or another member of our team. We want the children to stay connected to school, to know we care about them, miss them, and want to hear about how their at-home learning is going. And we want to hear from you, too.  We know this will be hard. We want to help.

Picking Up Learning Materials:             Monday, 3/23, 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-3:00

Parents/guardians or their designee should drive into the drop off circle in front of the school and stay in your car.  (Food distribution is happening in the bus circle, gym entrance, Mon., Wed., Fri., 9:30-11:00, see the link below.)   A staff member will greet you and ask for the child’s name and teacher. If you are taking your child’s IPad home, you will be given a tech agreement to read and sign. Our LSUU Tech Dept. has removed the requirement that parents pay for any IPad damage, so don’t let that worry you. Staff will deliver your child’s materials to your car. 

  •  If you can’t come on Monday, materials will be kept for you in the MES office, which will remain open Mon-Fri. 8:00-4:00. 

  •  If you can’t leave your house, call the office and let us know. We have volunteers who can deliver materials to your home, but it may take a few days to get them to you. 

What to do with the learning materials when you get them home:

First, take a breath….  This is not an educational emergency.  Take it slow and allow your child to explore all the materials.  There’s likely to be a lot of information there, and you don’t have to absorb it all at once.  We don’t want you or your child to be overwhelmed. Our teachers, tutors, paras, coaches, service providers, and support staff have been frantically scrambling to come up with games, engaging learning materials, apps, websites, passcodes, math manipulatives, assignments, books, journals, and reading logs - anything your child will need to engage them in the learning process while away from their teacher. Immediately moving from classroom learning to at-home learning is new for all of us, and the MES team has been tackling the challenge like the super-heros they are!

Please remember that we do not intend for you to “teach” your child anything new.  All at-home learning materials are meant to keep your child practicing skills they have already learned.

Structure and routine relieves anxiety!

The best way for any child in grades K through 4 to learn and stay engaged with schoolwork is to have a regular routine and predictable structure they can count on - every day. A daily structure will also help give them a sense of normalcy in this crazy, crisis-ridden environment. This will ground them and relieve anxiety.  Even though they may want to binge Netflix and play video games all day, (and we recognize those can be a good distraction at times) the sooner you can get them into a regular learning routine, the more likely they will have long-term success with it (because in reality, we don’t know how long this school closure may last). 

First, the where: find a place where your child can have their “desk” and learning environment, a place to set up and charge the IPad and spread out their books and materials.  It can be their own table, a coffee table, or a corner of the kitchen table. This will be very important for them to feel they have a home base or “office” to do their work.

 

Second, the how: as they unpack materials, have them (with you) read any letters from their teacher first.  This will lay out the assignments, expectations, literacy and math options, and offer suggestions for a routine or the amount of time to spend on each activity. 

 

Third, the when: with your child, work out a daily schedule that will work for your family.  I’m offering a sample schedule below which most closely resembles the kind of schedule most kids have in their normal school day.  This is just a generic example to give you an idea of what to include in your child’s routine. Make up your own schedule, have your child decorate it, and put it on the fridge or on their work table.

Sample Schedule

Another way to relieve your child’s anxiety (and yours!) at this time is to get out into nature. Take a “field trip” to break up the monotony and social isolation; hike a mountain, take a family bike ride, go fishing, but please be careful in public playgrounds and parks.  Use wipes on common surfaces. Teach your kids that social distancing means 6 feet away from anyone not in your immediate household.  Avoid playdates and sleepovers. Your child may seem healthy but could be an unknown carrier of the virus and spread it to another vulnerable family.

Please take these suggestions as advice to help keep your child engaged and interested in their learning.  They will get bored and anxious very quickly without a safe routine to count on and keep their young minds busy.  If this at-home learning continues for a while, they will need all our support and yours to persist, persevere, and participate with their learning.  Your teachers will be in constant contact to check on them, talk about their learning, and ask how they are feeling (and to check on you, too). Even though the MES Faculty and Staff are all working from home, we are committed to working every day for you and your child.

Be well, stay safe, and reach out if you need anything at all. 

It takes a village, and we have a good one!  We will get through this together.

Kate     [email protected]

Helpful links and resources:

MES School Office: Kris - 888-3101  [email protected].  

Reaching your teacher: If you want to leave a message for your child’s teacher, starting next week, when you call the main office, you will be forwarded to the teacher’s extension.  Leave your message, and the teacher will immediately receive an email with your voice message embedded in it. Leave a phone number and good time for them to call you back. 

Free Food Schedule  or email Jeff, Food Service Director at [email protected].

Letter from School Counselor, Lindsey Waldman with other emotional support resources

Problems with your child’s IPad or getting into on-line programs?  Put in a tech ticket to receive assistance from the LSUU tech team.  [email protected]

LSUU Nurse Administrator 

Call Jordan (802-585-4087) if you can’t get through to your family doctor or have concerns or questions. You may also email at [email protected].

Keep UP-TO-DATE  on COVID-19

What You Need To Know:

https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

What To Do If You Are Sick:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

How To Protect Yourself:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

Lamoille County Mental Health Hotline for Mental Health and Emergency Crisis Support,  802-888-5026 (M - F, 8 AM - 4:30 PM) or 802-888-8888 (Nights and Weekends)

Local Community Resources

Any faculty or staff member can be reached through email.  Their address would be formatted [email protected]