Good Afternoon Community:
Hope this email finds you well and you are enjoying the sunshine. Tomorrow, the temperature is expected to reach 60 degrees. It will be a perfect day to open the windows to allow some fresh air in the classrooms!
We continue to stay abreast with the latest information about the Coronavirus. The Department of Education and DPH are in daily contact with school officials, and we continue to be vigilant about cleaning and reminding everyone about good handwashing. If there are any changes to our daily protocols, I will communicate those recommendations with the community.
At Conwell it is an important part of our mission that our school community be welcoming and accepting to all children, and this includes accepting how each student experiences their own gender identity. It is also state and federal law that all public schools affirm students’ gender identity and expression and that public schools provide education about gender and diversity. We have received questions from some families about how we are supporting students around the topic of gender. So, I wanted to provide a summary of our recent efforts. In February, the faculty at Conwell participated in a workshop facilitated by James Shultis, an education consultant, who specializes in helping public schools use best practices to support LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) students’ identities in a way that is welcoming, age-appropriate, and adheres to state and federal law. At the elementary level, this simply means talking with students about how they understand the concepts of “family”, “respect”, “diversity” and “acceptance”. These discussions support our children in the greater community and world and builds empathy and kindness.
As a staff we have also reviewed the 2016 MA State Legislation that supports affirmative school communities around gender identity and expression, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines that includes the Massachusetts Student Anti-discrimination Law and Regulations; to ensure that our practices follow state law and policy.
Below are some additional resources that Mr. Shultis shared with all of us. Let’s all keep talking about this important topic and others to continue to build a respective and responsive school community. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Family Acceptance Project (resources for families & good stats): https://familyproject.sfsu.edu/
- GLSEN (National organization
for inclusive K-12 schools): http://www.glsen.org
- GLSEN’s “Ready, Set, Respect” resource for elementary school educators can be found here: https://www.glsen.org/activity/ready-set-respect-elementary-toolkit
- Parent Story (Ann & Luke): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8CaTJl0OXQ
A few friendly reminders, opportunities, needs and updates:
- Drop off and Pick-Up Procedures REMINDER:
- If you need to get out of your car for pick-up or drop-off, please park in one of the two parking lots.
- We have noticed many cars pulling out and around other cars to leave for dismissal. Please wait for the car in front of you to leave. If you need a refresher on the procedure, please see the parent drop off / pick up procedures posted on our school website.
- Please remember to turn your car off during drop off or pick-up. Attached is the Massachusetts law regarding idling cars on school grounds. https://www.mass.gov/regulations/540-CMR-27-regulation-of-motor-vehicle-idling-on-school-grounds
- In the office, we took your concerns about safety during dismissal time very seriously, and work very hard to ensure these procedures are practiced daily for the safety of your children. Thank you so much for being mindful of these guidelines.
Dates to be mindful of:
- March 9: PTO Meeting
- March 14: Preschool Open House from 9:30- 11:30 at R.H. Conwell Elementary School.
- March 19 @ 6:30: School Committee Meeting
- March 20: ½ day for students~ teacher PD
- March 23-28: BOOK FAIR COMES TO CONWELL!
- March 26: Tea with the Principal @ 3:15 in the library
- March 27: Report Cards Go Home
- Last day of school~
- Preschool: June 9, 2020
- K – 6: June 16, 2020.
Gretchen Morse-Dobosz, Superintendent/Principal