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    Family Update: October 21, 2020
    Posted on 10/22/2020
    This is the image for the news article titled Family Update: October 21, 2020October 21, 2020

    Dear Magnolia Elementary Families,

    Greetings amazing MES families!
    I want to start this message by acknowledging the hard work you and your students are doing to engage in remote learning this fall. Our teachers and staff are starting to feel that we are settling into some predictable learning routines and are SO grateful for the effort that our students and our adult family members have made to get us to this point. Thank you! Please make sure you convey this gratitude to your students as well.

    I have been trying to keep my weekly family updates brief, but in this message want to offer you some information about the core staff work we are doing at MES. This information can be found in the Continuous School Improvement Plan section below. In addition, I want to ask you for support as Halloween approaches. I have provided some information about why our school policy is to not celebrate Halloween at MES and encourage you to help us hold this boundary with your students at home.

    This week, you will be receiving a pulse survey directly from SPS asking for your feedback about our current Remote Learning. We want to hear from all of our families! Please make time to respond to this quick survey.

    Thank you again for your ongoing support!
    With gratitude and appreciation,
    Katie

    Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP)
    This week, all SPS schools were asked to finalize their school’s Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP), ensuring that they include remote learning strategies that focus intentionally on Family Engagement, Social and Emotional Learning and Academics. As adult family members sharing your student’s side of the screen, you have had direct access to the academic strategies your student’s teacher is using every day. I want to also provide you with information about the Family Engagement and SEL strategies we are implementing this fall.

    Family Engagement
    As a staff, we believe that parents and adult family members are our students’ first and life-long teachers. They are experts in their children, and therefore are our best partners to co-create educational justice for their students. We will do whatever it takes to work as a team with our adult family members to develop every single one of our students to high levels of academic proficiency and strong character. Our staff’s priority family engagement goal is to partner with students, families and communities who are furthest from educational justice by conducting inclusive and authentic engagement that provides the opportunities for voice and leadership in our school. To accomplish this goal, we have created an Educational Justice Advisory Team to identify and create:

    • structures that will allow us to authentically engage with our families, especially those furthest from educational justice
    • ways to gather and use feedback about this engagement.

    Our Educational Justice Advisory Team has met two times and is working to figure out how this work of centering our Family Engagement on Educational Justice will look at MES. I am grateful for the energy and experiences that the family members and staff members who have volunteered to be on this team bring to this work. We are interested in increasing the number of members of color on this team. If you are a family member of color and are interested in joining us, please let me know. If membership on this team is not the way you want to participate in our MES family engagement, we intend to offer other ways that our family members of color can lead and participate. We have added an Educational Justice section to our school website where we will be sharing information about the work of this group as well as other resources for families.

    Social and Emotional Learning - Students
    In our classrooms, we are using the following resources to guide our student SEL work: Sound Discipline Pacing Guide for Community Building and Positive Discipline Class Meetings (used during in-person learning), Sound Discipline’s Virtual Pacing Guide Booster and the ATN’s Racial Justice and Abolitionist SEL Guide. Our classroom teachers are using these resources to implement culturally responsive, equity focused and trauma informed practices that provide meaningful opportunities for student voice and leadership: classroom agreements, daily class meetings, routines and rituals supported by student held class jobs, brain breaks, self-regulation strategies and support.

    Social and Emotional Learning - Staff
    The professional development goal in our CSIP states our intention to develop a collective understanding of educational equity/justice and strive to implement anti-biased instructional practices. During this remote learning fall, our staff has decided to engage in a collective learning journey centered on an Anti-Bias Education Workshop. This opportunity will allow us to deepen our collective commitment to our mission and vision while also allowing each of us to strengthen our own understanding of our racial identities and biases and how they impact our work at MES.

    Halloween
    Last year, we decided as a new staff that we will not celebrate Halloween at school. Our staff is committed to providing a welcoming school environment that is inclusive and fosters a sense of belonging for all of our students. Our community is made up of families that have diverse perspectives and we want to ensure that our school-wide practices are responsive to all of these perspectives. We have MES students who have stayed home on past Halloweens because they do not celebrate and their schools did. We made the staff decision to not celebrate Halloween at school so that our school day on 10/31 would be inclusive for all of our students. We made this decision with the intent is that the celebrations we have at school will be centered on the learning we are doing together in our classrooms and as a school community, and that the diverse holiday traditions our families celebrate will be done outside of school day in family settings.

    This year, even though Halloween falls on a Saturday and we are in a remote learning setting, we would like to ask for your support in helping your student minimize disruptions (like wearing masks and costumes) that distract from the remote instruction our teachers are working so hard to deliver. Teachers will be talking to students about these expectations and we appreciate your support in continuing to help monitor distractions on your side of the screen.