** All ‘school activities’ have been postponed or cancelled during our ‘remote learning’ hiatus from school. As more dates are known, we will be updating them.
Topic/Question for the Dinner Table
To help encourage conversations and dialogue about the ways our beliefs and an awareness of our beliefs will help inform our learning, our topic/question for the week is: How can your beliefs help to guide and improve your learning? Leaning On (And Learning From) Our Beliefs (Week of 4/27/20) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Messages/Flipgrids for all Blake Students and Families
Please know we are thinking of you, missing you, and wishing you and your families the very best. Check out our Flipgrid 'messages' from the staff to all of the students - take a look and enjoy…
Message to Blake Students/Families - 4/24/20
(This week's prompt: Hey Blakers - In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this week (April 22, 2020), please share how nature has been and is a part of your life - as a child and as an adult - thanks!)
Message to Blake Students/Families - 4/17/20
(This week's prompt: Hey Blakers - Tell us about a teacher you had who had a positive influence on you and you are grateful for - and, why. We look forward to hearing your stories!)
Message to Blake Students/Families - 4/10/20
Message to Blake Students/Families - 4/3/20
Message to Blake Students/Families - 3/27/20
Message to Blake Students/Families - 3/23/20
** As noted in the e-mails to students, please take some time to remind them of the importance of respecting 'digital spaces' and not resharing/reposting videos without permission.
Boston Public Library info for families
Dear #medfieldps community,
Did you know that every Massachusetts resident is eligible to sign up for a Boston Public Library ecard? You can do this by signing up here-- it only takes seconds to complete!
The benefits are many-- especially during this time without access to the physical library! With the BPL ecard you can access OverDrive (ebooks/ audio books... this can also be synced with your Libby and Sora accounts!), Hoopla (Movies, TV shows, music, eBooks, and comics for online streaming or download to mobile devices, with no waiting lists), Kanopy (Kanopy includes acclaimed movies and documentaries on-demand from award-winning filmmakers), and more! These subscriptions are always available-- before and after the current COVID-19 crises. The BPL website highlights even more of its offerings-- it is incredible and worth checking out.
Don't forget about the Medfield Public Library or the #medfieldps Libraries either... we continue to work together to provide the community with resources that can help during this unprecedented time.
Every student has access to Sora through a Medfieldps Google account (or Clever account for preK-1), and we hope that this is helpful in giving students access to even more ebooks and audiobooks! If you have questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to reach out!
Kerry Cowell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Celtics Writing and Art Contest
The Boston Celtics and the Arbella Insurance Foundation are challenging K-12 students in Massachusetts to submit an essay of 400 words or less or a work of art about PRIDE (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Decisions, Education). All entrants will receive a free downloadable poster, and the top 50 submissions will win a basketball signed by members of the Celtics. Submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 4. More information is available online.
Resource for All Families
I want to share a link to the district's resource page/website during our Emergency Remote Learning Period - MPS Resource Page - Remote Learning Period. This site is utilized by staff and houses resources for families as well. I encourage you to check it out!
Webcast Hosted by The New York Times
How I Deal: Teens Talk Coronavirus
Webcast - 4 p.m. on 4/29/20
In our recent event Teens in Lockdown, we discussed how young people are managing anxiety, stress and boredom while sheltering in place. Now we’ve invited Lisa Damour, psychologist and columnist for Well, to lead a special Q&A with a group of teenagers. Join us with your teenager. Bring your questions. Share your stories. And find the answers you need.
Special guest Lisa Damour, psychologist and columnist for Well. Hosted by Tara Parker-Pope, founding editor of Well, The New York Times.
Weekly Update - Items/Reminders for Families (4/24/20)
- As shared on Tuesday following Governor Baker's announcement cancelling school for the remainder of the school year, I/we will continue our practice of updating the Blake community regarding our work with students during this period of emergency remote learning. Please know that our commitment to providing a safe and productive education for all or our students is steadfast and very real.
- As Dr. Marsden shared at the School Committee meeting last night, we are waiting for information to come from MA DESE regarding the state's identified 'essential standards' for each grade level - we initially thought they would be released today, but it sounds like they will be coming next week. This information will help serve as a guide for 'Phase 4' of emergency remote learning (marking 'phases' as the varying determinations of school closure by Governor Baker).
- Once the emergency remote learning period began back in March, our teachers in conjunction with department chairs, colleagues, and administration began to articulate our planned curricula for the remainder of the school year (what material would have been covered had we never been in a remote learning reality), exit skills for each grade level, and the priority/power standards that are areas of focus for each grade level and content area. This work has been a significant area of focus at Blake (school-wide goal for last year and this year), so we feel comfortable with our current approach. These priority/power standards have been the compass points and guides for the assignments/projects/endeavors for students. Once we receive the guidelines from MA DESE, we will make any necessary adjustments to the plans we currently have in place for the remainder of this school year.
- With all this in mind, please know that we are fully cognizant of the varying circumstances for students and families and will be 'meeting students where they are at' when we return to face-to-face school through diagnostics and adjustments to the curricula (knowing that some of our 'entry points' for grade levels will now shift). We are also working closely with our 'job-alike' districts - sharing and collaborating with our practices as we are all collectively 'in this boat' together. Access and equity for all will continue to be driving factors for our decisions and programming.
- The weekly Zoom times for classes/students will stay constant as we move forward. If there are any changes, students and families will be notified in advance.
- Should you or your students have any questions/concerns about the assignments/expectations at any time, please reach out to the teachers directly or the respective guidance counselor. We are here to support all of our students.
Blake Student Council
Blake’s Student Council will be meeting this Wednesday from 2:30-3:00. The Zoom code will be shared in the Student Council Google Classroom the day of the meeting. We are looking forward to seeing those who can attend!
Message from Blake GSA - Day of Silence (4/24)
Thanks to all who participated in the Day of Silence last Friday! The Blake GSA will continue to host virtual meetings on Wednesdays, from 2:30 - 3:00 PM through zoom! The Meeting ID and Password will be sent out one hour before the meeting. All are welcome!
ADL will begin to offer online check-ins every other Tuesday from 2:30-3. ADL Peer Leaders will be emailed link information on those Tuesday mornings. They can also continue to check their Google Classroom for some "food for thought" each week. Mrs. Gelormini and Ms. Thress want to make sure that we stay in touch around the work related to ADL.
Extracurricular Art with Mr. K 2:30 4/28
New Extracurricular Offering: Virtual Open Studio with Mr. K! All (students and staff) are welcome to join in a virtual open studio/art making session. We hope to inspire each other to make and create. Send an email to us and we will send an invite 1 hour before our meet-up. I hope to see everyone there!
Yoga with Mr. Nickerson - 4/29 at 11:45 a.m.
Message from Mr. Nickerson...
This Wednesday, April 22, I will be running a live 20 minute yoga workout through zoom. I am hoping that students and staff will join me (and hopefully Mrs. Nickerson), as we try to provide a workout that will challenge you and help you destress. The workout will begin at 12:00 noon. I am asking everyone to log into zoom starting at 11:45. I will be adding people from the waiting room between 11:45 and 12:00. At 12:00, the class will start and I will not be able to add other members to the class (so please be on time). Mr. Vaughn will send the Zoom meeting and password information to all students on Wednesday morning. Hope to see everyone there. If you have any questions, e-mail Mr. Nickerson (email@example.com).
Want to try Improv Comedy?
Zoomprov! is Blake's online Improv Comedy Club meeting Mondays from 2:30-3. A sign-up form will go out each Monday, and students will be emailed zoom link information on that Wednesday. Our first meeting was a brilliant success! No experience (at all, really) required. Please contact Kara Gelormini firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Plans for Report Cards (Term 2 and Term 3)
Term 2 - Students and families will be receiving report cards for Term 2, with the end-of-term date of March 12 (the original end-of-term date for Term 2 was March 20). These reports are currently being finalized by teachers and compiled by office staff, and will be delivered via e-mail to students and families when they are complete. We will keep you apprised of the status of delivery - our hope is that they will be sent by 5/1/20.
Term 3 - All teachers will be using a Pass/No Grade system for our final term, and teachers will not be completing interim reports. Cluster/academic teachers will be completing narratives for students as well. Teachers will continue providing feedback throughout the term for all students.
** Should you or your students have any questions/concerns about the assignments/expectations at any time, please reach out to the teachers directly or the respective guidance counselor. We are here to support all students.
Message to 8th Grade Families about Trip to D.C.
We have made the decision to cancel this year's 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City. Although we had been leaning this way, we wanted to take time to make a thoughtful decision and to gather all information from WorldStrides. We know how much students, families, and staff were looking forward to this experience, but we also know this is the right and responsible decision for everyone's well-being. For many students and families, this decision will bring forth feelings of loss and disappointment and we will do our best to support our students as best we can during this 'remote period of learning'. I want to thank all families for your patience and understanding during this process.
We have been working with WorldStrides to minimize the financial impact for families and are pleased with their responsiveness and the adjustments they have made from their standard cancellation policies. Here is the information...
- All families who purchased the Full Refund Program (FRP - insurance for the trip) will receive a refund in the amount of $950
- For those families who did not purchase the Full Refund Program (FRP), they will receive a refund, with an adjustment of a deduction of $115 that accounts for unrecoverable costs (see FAQ response below from WorldStrides)
- No action is required from families to begin the refund process.
- Due to the high volume of refunds being processed, WorldStrides has asked for your understanding on timing. Families can expect to receive refunds in 6-8 weeks from your scheduled departure date.
Our students and families mean a great deal to us and we are all currently thinking of ways to 'celebrate' and recognize our 8th graders to provide opportunities for closure and connections as we navigate this time period together. As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Why can’t we provide full cash refunds?
We have spent the last several weeks working really hard with all of our vendors to recover as much money as possible. Many vendors are only allowing us to use any type of refund for a school deciding to postpone their trip to later in the year. Bus companies, restaurants and ticket locations have been hit hard by this situation and they just can’t give us cash back. This would include deposits for your buses, Etixs for African American museum, the 9/11 museum, etc. The retained amount of $115 will cover just a SMALL portion of the costs we have incurred. Keep in mind, most student travel happens between March and June so we have spent the last 12 months planning these experiences. There were a lot of internal costs associated with that work and those are funds we can’t ever recover.
Links to Posts/Podcasts Shared During Emergency Remote Learning Period
Emergency Remote Teaching vs Online Learning
This Is the Time
Teaching Without Compulsory School
Brené Brown on vulnerability and courage - 60 Minutes
David Kessler and Brené on Grief and Finding Meaning
Is ‘social distancing’ the wrong term? Expert prefers ‘physical distancing,’ and the WHO agrees),
I Refuse to Run a Coronavirus Home School
Online Learning Should Return to a Supporting Role
Dr. Marc Brackett and Brené on "Permission to Feel" (56:41)
Teens in Lockdown Recording (44:53)
Video Conferencing Info for Blake Students/Families
Teachers will be communicating the timing for video conferencing sessions to students/families - please know that these sessions are one option for connections and are not required for students/families. We are aware that this is a 'work in process' and we will be patient, flexible and adaptable for students as we walk this path together. We appreciate your patience and understanding as well.In order for video conference sessions to take place, please help your students follow these steps on their iPads…
- All students/families need to download the Zoom Cloud and Hangouts Meet apps in the app store.
- If you are not able to download the app in the app store, please click on these directions: Directions for Connecting Remotely to the MDM (Mobile Device Management System). Diane Horvath, our Technology Integration Specialist), has created a screencast that 'walks' you through the steps: Screencast for Downloading Zoom and Google Meets.
- If you have any questions or need assistance with this process, please reach out to Tania Manuel (email@example.com) or Diane Horvath (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- We have established guidelines/reminders for our staff and students for 'digital learning' and video conferencing - please take some time to review these guidelines with your students: Blake's Netiquette Guidelines, March 2020.
Blake At-Home Learning Considerations and Guidelines, March 2020 **
In an effort to help provide some structure/parameters/guidelines for students and families who are looking for it, we have created a potential template for students and families during our ‘time period of remote learning’. Please know that this is ‘one template’ that can be adapted/adjusted to meet the needs of your children and your family. We encourage you to take a look, talk it through with your children, and make it your own…
Blake At-Home Learning Considerations and Guidelines, March 2020
** For Parents/Guardians: Please give yourself permission to try things out, make mistakes, adjust, and move forward. There is no one right path for parenting, teaching, and learning. We care deeply for all of your children and our commitment is to 'meet them where they are at' and help them (and you as families) to grow and move forward.
Resources from Guidance
During the extended school closure, Guidance Counselor are available to our students and families through a variety of means, email, phone, virtual meetings. The Guidance Counselors will send out a daily check-in email each morning, and be available for students by phone and/or virtual meetings. Should you or your student require additional emotional support, please refer to either of the following:
Riverside Community Care (800) 529-5077
You can find additional resources and information on the following pages:
Resources from Office of Social and Emotional Learning
We would like to let you know about some resources and tools in relation to SEL in our district. The Office of Social and Emotional Learning has content related to COVID-19 coping strategies, tips and tools for families to utilize. We have broken the material into Elementary and Secondary levels, and have a section for Educators as well. We also want to let you know that we have partnered with many other districts in the state to form a collaborative, comprehensive and ever evolving website that has lots of great information that may help with mental health and wellbeing in this tumultuous time. We hope these resources can be a tool to support health and wellness in our community. The websites are listed below:
Medfield Office of SEL
Mental Health and Well-being Partner Website
Blake ‘EdChats’ - Adapting and Learning
We are trying out some ‘edchats’ with Blake teachers/staff as a way to connect and share what we are thinking and talking about as a community of learners. Each chat will have a particular focus and we will take some time to talk through a few questions. Check out our chats…
Adapting and Learning - EdChat # 2 (Learning)
(Maura Batts, Tom Woods, Seth Hellerstein, Marjorie Heim, Michael Gow)
Adapting and Learning - EdChat # 1(Learning)
(Jason Heim, Orla Berry, Brian Gavaghan, Susan Bycoff, Marissa Gumas, and Diane Horvath)
Forms for All Incoming 6th-8th Grade Parents/Guardians
All incoming 6th-8th grade parents/guardians must complete these course selection form…
2020-2021 Blake Middle School Music Selection
2020-2021 Blake Middle School World Language Selection
For Incoming 6th Grade Parents/Guardians
For your reference, I have copied the link to the presentation and handout along with the Program of Studies 3/4/20…
Blake Incoming 6th PIN March 2020 Presentation for Blog
Blake Parent/Guardian Resources 2020-2021
Blake Program of Studies 2020-2021
Incoming 7th/8th Grade Parents/Guardians
For your reference, I have copied the links that were created for the Incoming 7th/8th Parent/Guardian Information Night…
Blake Incoming 7th/8th PIN March 2020 Presentation for Blog
Blake Parent/Guardian Resources 2020-2021
Blake Program of Studies 2020-2021
Blake is Social - Submit Ideas!
Blake is Social is looking for posts. We would love to see what people are doing at home. Working on your next soccer or gymnastics move? How about some great photography or art? Writing a poem? Or acting out a scene? We would love material. Please send it to Mrs. McClelland : email@example.com
Nature’s Classroom Info for Current Sixth Grade Families
As shared via e-mail earlier last week, no decisions regarding the trip for 7th grade students to Nature's Classroom this fall (October, 2020) have been made. We will not be collecting and paper work or deposits at this time - the original 'due dates' previously communicated to families no longer apply. When a plan has been made, we will reach out to all families with an update. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to let us know.
The Blake Site Council has taken time to review the data collected from last year's survey and an Executive Summary will be distributed to families in the coming weeks. Focus areas on the survey centered on the topics of school culture, academic workloads, stress, and habits. Our intent is to distribute the 2019-2020 survey soon with the hopes of gathering the data in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!
Medfield Makes Masks
Please consider joining Medfield Makes Masks: Community Combining for a Cause to help make a difference! We continue to need your help making masks, face savers, headbands and scrub caps. We have filled the need for masks at the Medfield Police Dept., the Medfield Fire Dept., the Medfield Food Cupboard, many nursing homes and organizations! Two ways to join:
- Join the Medfield Makes Masks : Community Combining for a Cause GROUP facebook page
- E-mail Jonathan Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Life Furniture Bank of MA is now hosting its annual 5k run VIRTUALLY! Anyone can run, walk, bike, swim, or row the 5k however they would like. This event is an important fundraiser for New Life. They expect the requests for furniture after the pandemic ends to be huge since the virus is pushing more people into homelessness. For more details please see the information below or go to their website: https://www.newlifefb.org/virtual5k.
Like many organizations, New Life Furniture Bank of MA is working to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis with determination and resolve. While it is important for New Life to remain strong and resilient, we must also do our part to flatten the curve and keep New Life's volunteers and supporters safe. To this end, the Annual New Life 5k Trail Run, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 9 at Medfield State Hospital, will now be held as the New Life Virtual 5k Challenge.
The New Life Virtual 5k Challenge is an opportunity to make a positive contribution to those who will be hardest hit by the current national crisis. New Life's mission to serve families and individuals, including many single mothers, seniors, and veterans, as they come out of homelessness and rebuild their lives is more relevant now than ever before. In the coming months, we anticipate a surge in demand for the services that we provide to those in need. 100% of all funds raised by the New Life Virtual 5k Challenge will go directly to help New Life meet this increased demand.
Anyone, anywhere can support this important cause by participating in the New Life Virtual 5k Challenge between April 13th and May 10th. Here's how it works:
- Register through our website at https://www.newlifefb.org/virtual5k
- Pick your own date, time and location to walk, run, or complete a 5k. You can run or walk as an individual or family. You can create a virtual team when you register and invite friends, co-workers, teammates, or anyone you wish to join you in completing a 5k from a safe distance. You can even row, bike or swim a 5k. It's up to you – just make it fun!!
- Spread the word! Tell everyone you know to sign up! Share the registration link on your Social Media with the hashtags #NewLifeStillRunning #NewLifeVirtual5k and #HowDoYou5k?
- Complete your 5k. Hit the pavement, a trail or even a treadmill, a bike or a rowing machine and have fun completing your 5k!
- Upload your results to Racewire. Runners and walkers will be able to upload results using a Google Form online survey. This survey will include your name, age, date of the activity, time and a way to link your GPS data (GPS data is not required to post a result). You will receive an email by April 10th with instructions on how to upload your results.
- Post photos, videos, or stories of your New Life Virtual 5k. Share your 5k experience on the New Life Facebook and Instagram pages and on your own Social Media. Use the hashtags above to help us create a Virtual 5k! In addition to awards in traditional categories, we plan to give awards for best costume, largest virtual team, most creative course, oldest/youngest participant, participant from the farthest distance, most creative video, and other fun categories. Have fun and spread the joy!
Please contact us at email@example.com with any questions. Thank you for being part of the New Life Virtual 5k Team!!
Blake PTO Update
We want to remind everyone that the Blake PTO Annual Appeal is still happening! While Blake is currently conducting learning from home, we’re hopeful that it will be business as usual again soon. And when that time comes, the Blake PTO would like to be ready to help fund initiatives and activities for the students! Please visit MedfieldK8PTO.com to contribute to the Annual Appeal. While we are suggesting $50/child, we understand these are uncertain times for many and will gratefully accept any amount you are comfortable contributing.