MCS important dates to remember
A message from the principal to keep you informed!
May 5 - Spring Bike to School Day
May 31 - Memorial Day - School Closed
June 14 - Tentative Last Day of School
Message From The Principal
Can you believe that we have only 30 days remaining to the school year? This year is winding down quickly. With the end of the year approaching, people have begun to think about a wealth of different topics. This week I received a particularly high number of inquiries in my inbox. The Cross Words seems like the best place to share answers with everyone.
When will we know student class placement and teacher assignments?
The topic of greatest interest this week was student placement for the coming school year. Parents know their children best. Many of you have ideas about what type of environment will be most successful. Others have thoughts about student pairings that could be beneficial or problematic. Next week in the Cross Words, I will share with you our teacher lineup for next school year and also share an avenue for any thoughts about classroom placement for next year.
There seems to be more of a backup during drop off since we came back from vacation. How can it get better?
Please remember that drop off is from 7:50-8:10 each morning. This week we have had some late risers! Teachers try to begin their days at 8:15ish and it is super disruptive when children arrive late to class. The quickest drop off time in the car line is between 7:50 and 8:00. I encourage more people to try to get to school on the earlier side, there seems to be an abundance of people who are coming after 8am to drop off.
Will there be a remote option for next school year?
Next school year we do not anticipate having a remote option. There have been some questions about having the option to participate in remote learning. With the current guidance and the trajectory of that guidance, we anticipate that all learning will be in person at MCS.
What can we do to celebrate teacher appreciation week?
Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. If ever there were a year to show some appreciation toward our teachers, this would be it. Appreciation does not need to come with big gifts, but rather can come with notes of appreciation and kind gestures. It would also be great to appreciate all types of teachers - specials teachers, classroom teachers, related service teachers, and support staff. The current guidance does not allow for food to be brought to school, but there are no rules against nice cards, notes, flowers, and kind words.
Are we having a 6th grade celebration? If so, when will it happen?
This school year we have not been able to participate in the usual MCS traditions. However, the SAU COVID Task Force has approved a modified celebration for our 6th graders. The date will be June 10th, with a rain date of June 14th. This event will take place on the Norwich Green and will be limited in the number of attendees. Although it will not be the traditional MCS celebration of the 6th graders, it will be a way to come together to appreciate this amazing group of students as they make their way to RMS.
Will MCS have a May Festival this year?
Several parents have inquired about whether there will be a May Festival this year. The answer is that, unfortunately, we will not be holding the event this year. Over the summer, the MCS COVID Task Force determined that the safest way to reopen the schools was to have each specials teacher embedded with one grade level for one to two weeks at a time. This decision was made to reduce the chance of in-school transmission while still preserving at least some of the usual specials offerings. This schedule model makes all-school performances like the Holiday Concert and the May Festival impossible. The students are not receiving music instruction weekly so they cannot adequately prepare for a performance. Further, our covid protocols do not allow the entire school to gather together. We are all hopeful that we will be able to return events to the schedule next year.
Thank you for sending your questions my way. I appreciate having an open line of communication. Your questions and comments are always welcome.
Enjoy the weekend,
Message From Student Services
With the last several weeks of school comes Vermont State testing! Grades 3-6 will take the Smarter Balanced tests (SBAC) and Grade 5 will also complete the Vermont Science Assessment (VTSA). Most of these assessments will occur during the third week of May. However, the VTSA will happen next week (Wednesday and Thursday).
Last year, Vermont cancelled these assessments so this will be a brand new endeavor for our 3rd and 4th grade students and a distant memory for our 5th and 6th graders. I wanted to take a moment to highlight a few important details about these tests:
All Vermont publicly funded (not home study children) students in grades 3-6 should take the SBAC tests. In addition students in Grade 5 should take the VTSA. These assessments are used in school accountability measures.
The tests are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). They are not part of the report card.
Neither the SBAC nor VTSA tests are timed. Each day there is a test scheduled, students should expect to be testing for 1-2 hours. We make sure to have breaks and snacks throughout testing.
These state-mandated tests are administered on the computer using a secure online assessment system.
You will get more detailed information from your classroom teacher for your individual student’s test.
To learn more about Smarter Balanced visit this site where you will find additional information for parents, as well as practice and training tests that will allow you to try out the test similar to the one your student will be taking.
I am hopeful that we can keep these assessments in perspective. The results of this test in Vermont should not be confused with the high stakes associated with testing in other states. In Vermont, we use these tests as just another data point that needs to be properly evaluated and considered as we strive to make sure that all of our students have rich, broad, high-quality opportunities to learn.
School News and Information
6th Grade Parent Meeting with 7th Grade RMS Teachers
Parents of 6th Grade students from MCS and current RMS 6th Grade Parents are invited to meet the team of 7th grade teachers, school counselors, and RMS Admin for a brief presentation over zoom. This meeting will take place on Thursday, May 20th at 7 PM. The presentation will include what we anticipate the 7th grade program to look like for Fall of 2021, a preview of the schedule, as well as some nuts and bolts about the programming and resources available at the middle school. At the end, there will be the opportunity for Q & A. RMS is working on a similarly-timed program for current MCS 6th grade students to meet the RMS school counselors and ask questions about middle school and their schedules for 7th grade. More information will be available about scheduling optional tours of the middle school by 6th grade cohort. Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact Liz Powers and John LaCrosse in the RMS School Counseling Office. The zoom link for this event is: https://sau70.zoom.us/j/98635388635?pwd=S1l6dUZGSE9wZXpqcjF2eFVhT1VKQT09
Meeting ID: 986 3538 8635
Health Office Information
It is that time of year to share information about lice and what to look for when checking your child at home.
What to look for:
Natural light is the best light to check hair. You may use a bright light if necessary and a magnifier.
You are looking for adult lice and their eggs (called nits). You’re more likely to see nits than adults because nits are firmly attached to the hair and do not move.
As you look through the hair, look closely at the hair behind the ears and around the nape of the neck. These are likely places to find lice and nits.
If the person has adult lice or nits, you will see the following:
Adult lice: These look like one or more light-brown objects that resemble sesame seeds, often moving quickly. You can find these on the scalp or the hair.
Nits (Eggs): These are yellow, brown, or tan objects that look like tiny seeds and appear to be cemented to individual hairs close to the scalp. Sometimes dandruff and hair product are mistaken for nits, nits will not brush off easily.
What if you find lice and/or nits:
Please let the school nurse know.
Do not be afraid. Lice is not an illness or infection.
There are many treatment options available: over the counter treatments, prescription treatment, and natural treatments.
You may consult your physician for help in choosing a treatment. Nurse Pam is available to help with treatment recommendations as well.
Regardless of what treatment you chose to use, combing and manual removal of live lice and nits is the most effective part of any head lice treatment regimen.
There are no over-the-counter or prescription treatments that are 100% effective against head lice and nits.
Following the treatment, your child’s hair should be checked daily for nits for at least a week after the last nit has been seen. This is a very important step because the nits are eggs that can hatch into more lice and then they lay more eggs. This can take a lot of time but it is a necessary step. If you have any questions about what the nits look like, please do not hesitate to contact the health office.
A metal fine -toothed lice comb should be used for combing. Conditioner on hair while combing helps to loosen the nits on the hair. Apply conditioner to hair and comb with lice comb section by section. It is helpful to use hair clips or pins to make sections. The first comb-through could take a couple of hours depending on how much hair your child has.
Some recommendations show that using essential oil overnight on the hair can help kill the nits. If you choose to use oil, it should be applied for 7 days after the last nit is seen.
Wash hair with essential oil shampoo every day and make sure all the overnight oil is removed.
Then rinse the hair again and dry hair so you may check for lice/nits. If you still see nits then manually remove them. Use your fingernails to grab nit and pull off hair shaft.
Clean lice comb in boiling water. Make sure all hair is removed from the comb before boiling.
• Drying bedding and pajamas on high heat for one hour everyday for at least 4 days, can help with treatment.
• If you can, throw all old brushes and combs away as well as hair ties. If that is not possible, remove all hair from the hair supplies and boil them in very hot water or wash in dishwasher. you'll need to check your child's hair daily for lice. Lice are so small they are easy to overlook. If you miss just a few tiny lice or eggs, the lice cycle will start over again. Most of the time, parents believe their child was re-infested, but in fact, all the lice/nits were never eliminated with the first attempt.
Please talk to your children about these steps to help prevent the spread of head lice.
• Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp). Lice do not jump or fly.
• Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes. Store hats and scarves in coat sleeves.
Do not share combs, brushes, or towels.
Classroom checks are discouraged by the Board of Education. They have been found not to be effective in the prevention of the spread of lice and can cause embarrassment to the child affected. Parental checks have been found to be more effective. Please check your child weekly for any signs of lice/nits. As always, please do not hesitate to contact the health office at 802-649-1703 x 5114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VT TRAVEL GUIDELINES
The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. But if you do travel, make sure you understand Vermont’s new policy. Effective April 9, 2021, unvaccinated Vermonters who have traveled outside the state must be tested within 3 days of returning to Vermont. The test you get must be for a current infection- it must be a PCR test and NOT a RAPID test. Quarantining is not necessary waiting for test results. But if you have any symptoms, stay home and away from other people.
If your family decides to gather with others and/or travels outside of Vermont, please remember to practice COVID precautions.
1. Masking is essential.
2. Physical distancing.
3. Stay home and away from others when sick.
Please remember to keep your child home if they show any COVID-19 symptoms which include fever or chill, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and/or diarrhea. If you have any questions, please contact the health office.
Places for COVID-19 testing in the area.
If your child has a PCP at DHMC or you are an employee at DHMC, your child is able to get tested at DHMC even if they are asymptomatic (without COVID symptoms).
Please refer to this link for testing at DHMC:
Vermont continues with state testing sites as well. People have had good experiences at the Upper Valley Ambulance in Fairlee, VT. Please sign up for testing through the following link:
Please remember that Clear Choice does not do PCR testing and they have a very long turnaround time.
The VT guidelines for gatherings: A household with children is considered an “unvaccinated household.” An unvaccinated household may gather with one other unvaccinated household. You can gather with multiple unvaccinated households, as long as you are with only one other household at a time. It is best to have outdoor play.
We need volunteers to help keep the MCS gardens watered and healthy this summer! Here is a link for families to sign up for any week they can help out:
PTO Bulletin Board
Car Wash -- Be sure to come by tomorrow (Saturday) from 1pm-4pm to get a bath for your car! Rain date is Sunday. The MCS 6th grade will be washing cars to raise money for their year-end celebrations! Cars will be washed at the Norwich Congregational Church turnaround (Demo's crosswalk) and at the MCS turnaround (the other side of Demo's crosswalk.) Price is by donation. Thank you!
Pie Day -- Thank you to everyone who generously donated to Pie Day! Each year, every member of the MCS staff gets a pie in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. This year, the "pies" are in the form of King Arthur Flour gift cards in the exact amount of a pie. Staff can of course use them to purchase whatever they would like. Through your generosity, we have reached our goal and will have a pie to give out to each of MCS's nearly 70 staff members.
Bike to School Day -- Our Spring Bike to School Day is this coming Wednesday, May 5th. Details about the route will be coming soon, but it will be similar to the route used this past fall.
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