From The Principal ...
Dear Parents, Students and Community Members:
I am thrilled that we will be welcoming our students back to school in a few short days. Although we will not be able to get all students back every day, getting them back for a couple days a week is a step in the right direction and will allow us to better deliver instruction and support.
While the beginning of the school year brings excitement and enthusiasm, it can also create anxiety and stress to come back from vacation to routines and academic expectations. This is especially true this year as our students have not been in attendance on school grounds since March 13. The first few days and weeks will definitely be an adjustment period. Students will be given time and support to adapt to being back in school. Please know that we will do all that we can so that your child has a successful return to school.
After reviewing our classroom capacity, our number of certified teachers in each content area, and the needs of our families for transportation, it was clear that we couldn’t get all of our students back in the building at once. We made the decision to divide each grade level in half and split them into a Monday/Tuesday (Raider) group and a Thursday/Friday (Nation) group to accommodate for this.
In an effort to limit traffic in the hallways and to better allow for social distancing, we will be incorporating a block schedule. This means that classes will run every other day and will be 85 minutes long (equivalent to two class periods).
To provide for the most effective instructional model, students will have a schedule for when they are in person at school and a separate schedule for when they are at home attending school remotely. We want students to have the full attention of their teachers so that when students are in school the teacher is not teaching to both students in the classroom and those attending class remotely, and vice versa. We learned this past spring and during summer school that remote learning takes additional support and time to effectively manage the technology, behavior, and academic needs that surface.
Providing a Safe Environment
Throughout the summer we have been diligently working with our Reopening Task Force to plan for the safe return of our students and staff members. Following NYS Department of Health guidance along with updates from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Education Department, we feel confident in returning our middle school students to a hybrid schedule to start the 2020-2021 school year. Staff and students will be trained on preventative practices in regard to social distancing, recognizing signs and symptoms, respiratory hygiene, and the use of cleaning and disinfecting products and face coverings. The health and safety of our students and staff have been at the forefront of our planning.
Middle school is a critical time in the academic and emotional development of our students. We strive to create partnerships with parents. I am looking forward to a very positive and productive year working together. As parents, please support your child at home and at school by reinforcing our academic, behavioral, and attendance expectations, and by providing a structured environment at home for your child to participate in classes remotely and complete their classwork. Parents, please take time before the school year begins to talk with your child about the upcoming transition and to set goals for a successful experience. Reflect with your child on past school experiences and develop a plan for future success so that you can help ensure a positive experience for your child this fall. It is imperative that you talk to your child about the health and safety expectations that will be in place to ensure for a safe and healthy learning environment at school.
Thank you for your partnership and support. I look forward to working with you this fall. Best wishes for a successful 2020-2021 school year!
Scott D. Exford
Middle School Principal
From the Counselor’s Desk…
Just like the winter winds and the pounding snowfall, the academic school year starts whether we feel ready for it or not! As with each year, we are all feeling excited and nervous about what the new school year will bring. This year has a few extra challenges.
The daily routine of school is as important as the actual learning that takes place. The traditional routine and structure has been disrupted and is not likely to look the same as it once did anytime soon. More than ever, it will be up to us as parents and caretakers to establish and maintain not only a daily routine, but also an encouraging outlook. A growth mindset (conceived by psychologist Carol Dweck and colleagues) is simply the “belief that our basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work.” This can also be true of our attitudes and outlook. Finding the positives in any circumstance may come naturally for some, but for others it takes practice.
The students that I have talked with throughout the summer aren’t as concerned about the pandemic itself as they are about being able to see or interact with their classmates and friends, if they will be able to get help from their teachers in person, whether or not they will eat lunch in the cafeteria, or have a gym class. Although we may not be able to reassure them of any of these specific worries, we can absolutely assure them that we, parents and teachers, are going to keep doing whatever we can to keep them learning and growing. Their job is to show up each day, at school or remotely, with an “I’ll give it my best try!” attitude. I know there will be days that feel more discouraging than others, but if we ALL practice finding a positive in each day they will be few and far between.
Welcome back students and families of Lowville Middle School. I look forward to working with you!
Please contact me any time (315) 376-9010 or firstname.lastname@example.org should you have anything you’d like to discuss.
~ Ms. Becky Tiffany~
Middle School Counselor