MACDOWELL SCHOOL NEWSLETTER
Vol. 1 | September 3, 2020
I want to begin by congratulating all of you on the successful completion of the first three weeks of school! We know that you, our families, are the reason that our implementation of virtual learning has been successful. It is with your support and encouragement that so many of our students are engaged in their lessons and classes each day. I want to thank you for your understanding of some of the beginning of the year technical difficulties that we may have experienced, and continue to exercise patience with our staff as they embark on this virtual learning journey. At MacDowell, we have an absolutely fantastic staff, and they have been working day and night to try to provide the best education possible for our students. One of the technical hurdles that we are still trying to figure out is regarding the recording of Google Meet lessons. Initially, we were told by the district that this would be possible, however, this policy was changed at the district level due to parent concerns about student privacy and recording students in their homes. We as a school have been researching other ways to record lessons for our Google classrooms. We have not yet found an appropriate or manageable solution to this problem.
Nearly every aspect of our daily lives has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and virtual education is yet another way we have been asked to modify our daily routines and engage in unfamiliar ways. As a result, our school staff has had to do a lot of planning and work to develop lessons that are engaging and still true to our Montessori curriculum and philosophy. At MacDowell, we truly believe that engaging with our students each day is a vital part of our mission. Teachers are providing ongoing synchronous learning opportunities, and working to utilize Montessori Materials and the Montessori philosophy in their daily practice, even in this virtual setting. In order to support our students, we believe fully that students should have access to the materials that they need to be successful. We have made and purchased Montessori materials, purchased novels and other curriculum resources, and provided textbooks for students in order to ensure that they can work with their hands to manipulate materials, turn pages in physical books, and document their work in regular journals just as they would in the classroom. While technology is essential in our virtual learning delivery, we want to make sure that children are engaging with their hands and are able to complete tasks without the need for additional screen time. We will provide pick up opportunities for materials on an ongoing basis as our virtual learning continues. Please monitor our school messenger communications, as we will let you know if there are additional materials or resources that your children need as we move through the school year. In addition, please encourage your children to keep their materials organized in their home workspace.
We recognize that there are other ways that our families have been impacted by this pandemic. We know that families have suffered personal losses as well as family and economic hardships. Please know that our MacDowell support staff is here for you. Our school psychologists, social workers, and school nurse have created Google classrooms where families can access the curriculum to support the mental health of our students during this crisis, community resources to pursue if families are struggling with access to food and housing, and information about protecting your family’s health and safety. Please feel free to reach out to our support staff if you or members of your family are in need of their support.
We will be hosting our first virtual school event of the year; we cordially invite all families to participate in our fall open house, which will take place on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 from 5:30-7:00pm. Parents will have the opportunity to learn more about our Montessori classrooms, including expectations for work as virtual learning continues.
MacDowell Montessori School
MACDOWELL VIRTUAL ATTENDANCE 101
- Attendance is taken daily.
- Logging in to the live Google Meet, or completing any work is considered present for the day.
- Submitting work in the evening is acceptable to be marked as present.
- If students will be absent, call the school office otherwise they will be marked unexcused.
- Any issues with technology or other problems that keeps your child from “attending” school for that day MUST be reported to the teacher or the school office in order to be excused.
- After 5 unexcused days a child is considered truant.
- If you are not sure how to log in or submit work, reach out to your teacher through email.
Any questions regarding attendance can be directed to the School Social Worker Rachel Jacobson at (507) 384-9078
The MacDowell Support Staff team is available to help you and your student(s) during this time. Google classrooms have been created specifically for families to use. They are filled with resources, community support, social/emotional activities, and other useful information. Check your email for information on the Google Classroom codes.
Parents/guardians will need to join any of these classrooms through one of their student accounts.
School Office Hours and Staff Contact:
The school office is open from 7:00 am-4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Tel: 414-935-1400.
If you need to email a teacher or staff member, our email addresses can be found on our school website here: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/school/macdowell/staff/
Textbook/materials pick up: Did you miss the pick up for K3-6th grade material packets or the 7-12th grade textbooks? These items can still be picked up from the school between the hours of 8-11 am and 12-3 pm. No appointment is necessary. A mask is required. We will have new packets ready for K3-6th grade families in the coming weeks and will send out another SignUpGenius when that is finalized. Thank you.
Thank you to all of our students and families that registered and participated in the MPS Run Back to School: Virtual Challenge. Macdowell was #1 with the most registered participants and as a result, we earned a $1,000 mini-grant towards our recreation/wellness programs at school. Great job, MacDowell!
Extra special thanks to our fantastic team captain Lauren Simmons for coordinating this event for our school.
Thank you again for your participation and support!
Family Interest Survey: Parents and guardians, please click on the MPS Family Interest Survey below to help our school and our district better understand your needs, your opinions, and how we can improve family and community engagement. This survey is voluntary and should take you less than 10 minutes to complete. The survey is open until October 31, 2020. Click on the survey here: https://tinyurl.com/MPSFI2021
Fall Athletics–Suspended Until Further Notice: To maintain the health and safety of athletes, teams, coaches, and spectators, MPS is suspending all school-based fall sports indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students, families, and staff will receive updates as new decisions are made.
Milwaukee Recreation is offering a variety of safe and socially distanced Youth Sports clinics for 3rd-8th grade students as an alternative to traditional leagues this fall. Registration is open now! Registrations will be processed in the order in-which they are received. Clinics include: soccer, volleyball, flag football, tennis, girls’ basketball, and cross-country fun runs. Unlike the standard school sports registration process, these clinics/lessons will require students to register and pay fees individually to Milwaukee Recreation. In the event financial assistance is needed, families are encouraged to apply for an Everyone Plays! Scholarship. (see below) Spaces for these opportunities will be very limited to keep group sizes to a minimum, so registering early is strongly recommended. Masks/Face Covering are required for all participants, spectators, staff, and instructors during all Youth Sports programming. All clinics are coed unless otherwise noted. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/yxes7rgk
Everyone Plays! scholarship information and application here: https://tinyurl.com/y6fg576p
SEC: September 16th, 5:00-5:30 pm
Join us for our first School Engagement Council (SEC) meeting of the year! The SEC meets every month and is open to anyone who wants to attend. Some of the topics we discuss include our school improvement strategies, staffing needs, the school budget, and student achievement.
Our virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 16th from 5:00-5:30 PM.
Click on the meeting link here: https://meet.google.com/owq-ebzg-cxg
PTO: September 16th, 5:30-6:30 pm
Join us for our PTO meeting of the year! Our PTO is a volunteer organization made up of parents, teachers and staff. We work to improve the educational experience for our MacDowell students by organizing community events and fundraising for items that are not otherwise in our school budget.
Our virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 16th at 5:30PM.
The meeting link is here: https://meet.google.com/ocb-eqpr-fbq
If you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions but cannot attend a PTO meeting, we want to hear from you! Email us: email@example.com
You can also join our PTO Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1210806135671324
Thursday, September 24th from 5:30-7 pm.
Links for the teacher’s virtual Open House Meets will be posted in the near future.
IMPORTANT!! Opt in to Receive District Text Messages.
MPS is now using School Messenger to send text messages to families with the latest updates, safety alerts, school closings, and more. Families should send a text message to 67587 to connect to the new system. In the message, send Y or YES to ensure that you continue to receive important texts MacDowell and the district.
FAMILY TUTORIALS: The district has prepared a number of video tutorials to assist families with online learning. Visit the MPS School Reopening website and click on Family Tutorials to learn about Google Classroom, Seesaw, and more! https://mymps.org/?page_id=962
CHROMEBOOK SUPPORT: If your student’s Chromebook is not working properly, do not try to repair it yourself. Email the MPS Technology Support Center at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately. Please include a phone number, school name, student name and ID number, and description of the problem in the email so we can contact you.
Do you still need a Parent Portal Account? For assistance with setting up a new Parent Portal account, parents/guardians may call (414) 475-8159 or email email@example.com