A welcome back message /letter from the principal of Marion Cross School
Looking forward to the 2022-2023 school year
Family Welcome Letter 2022
Good Morning Norwich,
I am posting this on behalf of Shawn Gonyaw, principal of the Marion Cross school. It is a very informative letter which will be helpful as Norwich families get ready to send their children back to school.
Coordinator of Student Services
Family Welcome Letter 2022
Dear MCS Families,
I hope that this letter finds each of you well and enjoying all that summer has to offer…while also keeping cool! This summer has been a busy one for me with a nice balance between professional development, home projects, and school-related activities. Summer is an odd sort of time for a school principal. The building is rather lonely without staff and students, but the quiet affords opportunities to work on tasks that require more of a sustained focus. I am looking forward to a school year where we can return to some of the traditions that make MCS an amazing place for kids to learn.
This summer, I attended three professional development opportunities. Each will help me to better lead MCS. Earlier in the summer, I went to an in-person PBIS conference with a group of 8 MCS staff members. PBIS, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, is the philosophy that we use to promote positive student behaviors. The team focussed on strategies that we can use to support children who struggle with behaviors and academics. We left the conference with a sense of accomplishment and excited to implement new ideas. I spent time learning about teacher coaching through a hybrid model that was partially self-paced and partially online. The focus of this learning was on how to successfully work with teachers to strengthen student learning. Finally, this past week, I spent a week working with staff from the National Endowment for the Arts through a fellowship entitled, Disability and Identity. We explored the history of disability in the United States and considered the role of intersectionality (the connected nature of disability, race, class, etc.). These three experiences have left me excited and full of ideas to share with our staff and community.
To date, the guidance around COVID-19 is simple. In a nutshell, we will continue to ask students and staff to stay home when not feeling well. This is not only a great way to keep us safer in the context of covid, but also a way to keep us safer in general. Please do your part this year by making certain to keep your child(ren) home when ill. If ever you have a question, please feel free to contact Nurse Jane.
I believe that effective communication is essential. Communication is a two way street between home and school. You can expect to hear from me or Mr. Bagnato if your child engages in a choice that lands them in the office. This might be a positive choice that we will share so that we can all be proud…or a poor choice where we all need to understand how we are moving forward. Communication with you is never meant for you to “fix” school matters, but rather as a way for all of us to be on the same page to support your children. It is also appreciated if you contact me and other school personnel if something changes in your child’s life. Oftentimes, a bit of knowledge early in the day can help us to give a child what is needed to be successful. Hands down, the best way to reach me is through email. I check my school email first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and most evenings. An email will always get you a much faster response than any other form of communication.
Did you hear that the State of Vermont has mandated that all Vermont schools provide free breakfast and lunch to all students? When my children were younger, this would have been truly exciting news to my family! Beginning this year, MCS will partner with The Abbey Group and Dothan Brook School to provide breakfast and lunch. Both will be free of charge to all students. Because of our failing septic system, we are not yet able to fully cook meals in the MCS kitchen. Food will be prepped at the Dothan Brook campus and finished in the MCS kitchen. That means that the days of brown bag lunches have come to an end and will make way for trays with warm food. We will need to make changes to how things have always been done at MCS to accommodate our new food program. With these changes, there will be growing pains, so please bear with us as we perfect hot lunch. This link will bring you to the tentative breakfast and lunch menus for August and September, https://hartford.abbeygroup.info/menus.aspx.
This year we have several new staff members joining our school. Our school, like most others across the country, is going through a huge change in staff this school year. Luckily for us, Marion Cross School is a desirable place to work and attracted the following talented people!
Sarah Burkhart - Pre-K
Katie Fritschie - Kindergarten
Heidi Freeman - Kindergarten
Sarah Rinehimer - Grade 1
Jacob Gill - Grade 3
Devin Burkhart - Grade 5 Math
Elizabeth Dowe - Grade 5 ELA
Liz Borger - Special Education
Tracy Martel - Special Education
Melanie Farwell - Physical Education
Amy Vanderkooi - Environmental Educator
Here are a few tidbits to remember:
The school day begins at 8:05 a.m.
On the first day of school you are welcome to walk your child to his/her line.
Dismissal is at 3:10 p.m. except for Wednesday which is at 2:10 p.m. Most families park in town and walk to school to pick up children. We ask that you take some time prior to the first day of school to find a meeting place for pick up to occur. Children in pre-k need to be picked up at the pre-k playground. Children in grades K-2 will be walked out to the pick up person. Those in grades 3-6 will be walked outside by their teachers and dismissed.
Students who are dropped off should plan to arrive at school between 7:45 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Families dropping off students are asked to use the traffic circle on Church Street for drop off. Please refrain from passing vehicles in the traffic circle – please wait for the vehicle in front of you to drop off and pull out prior to departing. Please stay in your vehicle. If you would like to get out to send your student off, please consider using a parking spot along the Green.
has many important documents such as the school calendar, handbook, lunch menu, and more.
Open House is scheduled for Tuesday, August 30th from 2:30-3:00 pm. This is a great time to take a quick tour of the school, maybe a little trek in the Town Forest, and enjoy seeing friends on the playground.
Annual Back-To-School Registration forms can be found on PowerSchool. If you are new to the school, you will have received an email from Jessica Liddy with your login information. Please contact her if you need assistance. If you are a returning family, please use your current login information. Thank you to those that have already completed for 112 students!
If you are interested in volunteering at the Marion Cross School please check with your child(ren)’s teacher or check in at the office for volunteer opportunities. Prior to volunteering I ask that you visit with me to talk about confidentiality and sign our confidentiality agreement. I have always found volunteers to be a vital part of the school community and look forward to welcoming many wonderful volunteers to our school.
The first student day of school, Wednesday, August 31st, is fast approaching. I look forward to seeing 329 MCS students bright and early on August 31st!
22 Church Street, Norwich, VT 05055
Thanks for reading My Newsletter "about Norwich"! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.