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I am sharing the latest MCS Crosswords newsletter released today with you so that you can stay informed with what is happening at the Marion Cross School.
Winter Break, School Closed - Monday, February 15 - Friday, February 19
Norwich School Board Meeting (via zoom) - Wednesday, February 3rd
Parent/Teacher Conferences (via zoom) - Friday, March 5th
MCS In-service Day - Monday, March 8th
Tentative Last Day of School - June 23rd
Message From The Principal
Dear MCS Community,
Since returning from the December break, some teachers and families have begun to wonder more about student progress. It seems that we have settled into the realities of the many COVID precautions and protocols and now have more energy to think about student growth. That is great! I am going to do a quick review for you of the three major types of plans we have in place to support students at MCS.
Sometimes students struggle because of a documented disability. Any type of disability has the potential to be a barrier for a student accessing their education. A student with a documented disability, which has an adverse effect on learning, and who is in need of specialized instruction qualifies for an Individualized Education Plan or IEP. To be eligible, the student will be performing in the bottom 15th percentile of their grade level peers nationwide. Students who have IEP plans have a team that includes parents, teachers, special educators, and administrators who meet yearly, at a minimum, and plan an individualized instructional plan. An IEP has a focus on specialized instruction or instruction that looks different than the regular classroom instruction.
Sometimes a student has a disability that impacts a major life skill such as concentrating or learning, but that disability does not require specialized instruction. For students for whom this is the case, we look at 504 plans. Mr. Bagnato is our 504 plan coordinator at MCS. These plans include accommodations that allow students with documented disabilities to access a public school education. Students with 504 plans have a team, usually consisting of parents, teachers, and Mr. Baganato who meets yearly to review accommodations, make certain that the plan is working, and discuss continued eligibility.
There are times when a student does not have a disability, but is struggling to be successful in school. This might be a struggle with behavior, academics, or social emotional growth. For students in this category, we have an Educational Support Team or EST plan. The primary purpose of the EST is to assist classroom teachers and staff in developing a plan that will support a child in the educational program. The secondary purpose of EST is to document strategies that are working for students so that teachers in following years can benefit and have a jump start in understanding what works. The team is made up of school staff members. EST is a process for teachers to work collaboratively to increase learning for all students. Each week teams of MCS educators will meet to talk about student progress. We address these questions as a team:
What are the strengths of this student?
What is one academic or social area where this child could improve?
What strategies have been tried?
What strategies will we put in place?
How and when will we measure progress?
EST plans are reviewed on average every 6 weeks to measure progress and consider continuation or changes necessary. To qualify for an EST plan, a child need only to be identified by staff as needing support.
As you think about your own child and wonder if they might benefit from one of the plans mentioned above, feel free to reach out to your classroom teacher, Mr. Bagnato, Katie, or myself for more information.
In other news, you will notice fencing being put up near the ice rink on the Norwich Green. Last week we spotted brown spots pushing up under the ice. The SAU Office and Buildings and Grounds have been contacted. There will be testing to determine the type of substance. For the time being, we will fence off the location and check daily for any new occurrences. Please be sure to stay outside the fenced area if you visit the Norwich Green.
Message From Student Services
This week students at Marion Cross School completed their winter Track My Progress test. This assessment is used to get a snapshot of how a student, a class, or an entire grade is doing in either math or reading. The students completed their fall test in September. More about this test and student performance will be shared at the school board meeting next Wednesday.
In case you are unaware, we are a PBIS school and track behavioral data. We do this in order to make informed decision making. For example if a student is acting out and we think it is to get adult attention, we might create an intervention in which that adult attention is given as soon as the student has expected behaviors.
This year we have seen about a 500% decrease in referral forms. I think this may be because the adults are even more focused on building a supportive classroom community. I also think that while all of our COVID-procedures may make us move less within the building, the students have a clearer understanding of what they can and can’t do. If you have any thoughts about other reasons please let me know.
School News and Information
2K earned a class celebration for following Who’s Wise Words. After filling their pellet jar, they enjoyed sledding in the meadow, followed by cookies and cocoa.
We understand that the current COVID-19 situation leads to anxiety, questions and worry when one hears rumors regarding cases. We notify students and staff when they are considered close contacts to a person who has tested positive. Although one may learn of cases first-hand or through others, we would like to remind you that it is imperative that you maintain strict confidentiality regarding these cases. Information of this nature may not be shared with others. It is important that we remain respectful of the privacy of all members of our community.
Cookies from Girl Scout Troop 13123! Order now and get cookies in February. $5 per box. Choices:
Lemon-Up, Tagalongs, Trefoils, GS S'mores, Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints, Toffee-Tastic (GF) Any questions email Dodi at email@example.com or 802-249-2274.
Health Office Information
If your child is ill, please contact Pam Hausler, School Nurse, to discuss Vermont guidelines related to return to school. 802-649-1703 x 5114 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not hesitate to contact the health office with any questions or concerns. Communication is essential during these times.
We have had many questions related to get-togethers with others outside of their household. During the holidays, Governor Scott had changed these guidelines and allowed get-togethers with one other trusted household. As of January 2, these guidelines have changed back and you may not gather with anyone you don’t live with inside your home.
If you are around people that you don’t live with, the VT Department of Health suggests the following for safety:
Six-Foot Spaces - Are people staying at least 6 feet away from each other?
Masks on Faces – Are people wearing face masks?
Uncrowded Places – Is there enough space to spread out? Is it outside?
Helpful link from the VT Dept. of Health:
For other travel questions, please refer to:
Please communicate with the health office with any questions.
We appreciate that you are doing the daily health screenings with your children prior to coming to school and keeping them home when they are not feeling well.
If your child has been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID 19 then they may not attend school. According to the CDC, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset or 48 hours before a positive test result until the time the patient with COVID 19 is isolated (these guidelines may change but this is the current information). Anyone who has been in close contact will be asked to quarantine. The school will work closely with the VT department of health and the SAU to assure accurate contact tracing for the time the child or staff member was in school. The school may not be involved if the child or staff member was not in school 48 hours prior to the positive test result.
Please understand that all steps are being taken to maintain a healthy school environment. We understand the need to have our students in school and if your child does not feel well at school then parents will be asked to pick up their child ASAP. We appreciate your cooperation.
With these cold temperatures, please make sure that your child has everything they need to be outside. They should have snow pants, a hat, gloves, and a winter jacket, and if possible a neck warmer. Classes go outside and it is important that your child feels comfortable while they are learning and playing outside.
Please remember to send your child with an extra pair of socks as well.
PTO Bulletin Board
Marion Cross School PTO