Welcome from the MLK School: September 2, 2021

Welcome from the MLK School: September 2, 2021
Posted on 09/02/2021

Dear MLK Caregivers,

I hope that you had a wonderful summer reconnecting with loved ones. For those families new to our school, welcome to our community! The MLK is a diverse and caring community that takes pride in meeting the needs of each student and fostering positive relationships with caregivers. We are continuing our preparations for the year and look forward to seeing very soon.

A few notes:

  • You will receive an introductory letter from your child’s teacher this week. If you haven’t received an email by Tuesday, September 7, please contact our Family Liaison Marguerite Hicks-Gyewu
  • Students will only need to bring the bare minimum for classroom supplies (your child’s teacher will share specific requests). Students should bring a water bottle (water fountains are turned off, but we do have water bottle stations) and may want to bring a towel to sit on for outdoor lunch.

I had the privilege yesterday of welcoming all educators back into their classrooms. In addition to reviewing safety procedures, I shared our school’s hope and dream of closing achievement gaps as a collaborative team. Two areas that are significant in our learning this year will be Culturally Responsive Teaching and Zones of Regulation (emotional control). We will have opportunities for you to connect on these important topics throughout the year. 

COVID-19 Safety Procedures 
We are fortunate to work in a newer school building that meets district and state ventilation requirements. However, we will continue to maximize ventilation by keeping windows open, utilizing box fans, opening classroom doors, and using air scrubbers when possible.

Masks are required for all students and teachers when inside the building. While masks are optional when outside, it is recommended that students keep their masks on.

Caregivers and guardians are not allowed inside the school building unless by appointment only. All conferences and our Open House will be broadcast on either Zoom or Google Meets.

The cafeteria will not be used at this time. Breakfast and lunch will be outside (weather permitting) or in classrooms.

On August 3, 2021, the Cambridge School Committee approved an update to the CPS COVID-19 Safety and Facilities Manual.

Key protocols:

  • Masks are required indoors for all staff and students for the first semester. This policy will be revisited no later than January.
  • Masks must also be worn at all times on school buses.
  • Proof of full vaccination are required for those participating in CPS-related travel, interns, student teachers, volunteers, and chaperones.
  • 3 feet of physical distancing is required only when masks are off or for higher respiration activities.
  • Limited visits for non-staff. Appointments required.
  • Indoor meetings are limited to rooms with at least 4 air exchange rates.
  • Large community gatherings may take place outdoors and with food.
  • Walking field trips and field trips requiring a bus ride of 1 hour or less are permitted.
  • Meals must take place outdoors (weather permitting) or indoors with 3 feet distance between students facing in one direction.
  • The Infection Control Team (ICT) will continue to meet.
  • Pool testing for students and educators on a weekly basis.

What are the restrictions on distancing?
Distancing is not required outside or for typical indoor activities. A minimum of 3 feet of distance is required for:

  • Snacks and meals 
  • Child nap/rest time
  • Physical activity including PE
  • Singing (masks on)
  • Playing a wind instrument (instrument masks required)

What will morning arrival look like?
Students should wait outside for entry into the building until 7:55AM (during inclement weather the doors will open at 7:45AM). Breakfast is “grab and go” outside the yellow stairwell. Students will proceed directly to their classrooms.

  • Grades JK-2 should wait in the main courtyard on Putnam Avenue.
  • Grades 3-5 should wait outside the entrance on Magee Street. 

What will afternoon dismissal look like?
Bus students will dismiss first and be called down to Magee Street as their buses arrive. Please do not park your car along Magee Street in the afternoon as this space is reserved for buses. 

For student pick-up, grades JK-2 will dismiss in our main courtyard on Putnam Ave (same area as the morning) and grades 3-5 will dismiss in the rear of the school (near the playground).

New Educators/New Roles

  • Angela Castillo will be our new 5th grade teacher. Ms. Castillo previously taught 5th grade at our school last spring.
  • Ellie Murphy will be the Extended Term Substitute during Ms. Sarah Healy's maternity leave (November). Ms. Murphy previously worked in the Worcester Public School District.
  • Sarah Xiang will be the Extended Term Substitute for our Chinese teacher Ms. Tiara Liu's maternity leave (November) Ms. Xiang will return to her role as a Kindergarten paraprofessional when Ms. Liu returns. 
  • Amisi Nazaire-Hicks will cover Ms. Xiang’s position as our Chinese Immersion instructional aide in Ms. Alexandria's Grant classroom.
  • Christian Lorenzen is our new literacy and math interventionist. He will also teach Ms. CC Holm's grade 3 class from 8AM-10AM.
  • Susie Lature is our new building substitute. Ms. Lauture worked as an instructional aide last year in our 5th grade.
  • Julie Schineller is our new math interventionist. Ms. Schineller previously taught grade 3 at our school.
  • Lucy Alekseyev is our new Grade 3 Teacher. Ms. Alekseyev previously taught at the Peabody School.
  • Szu-Ming Li is our new Mandarin Coach. She will also teach Grade 5 during the ELT block (2-4PM).
  • Wilnie Louis is our new social worker. Ms. Louis has previous work experience in the Somerville Public School District. 
  • Shannon Manning is our new PE teacher. 
  • Christine Arruda is our new Kindergarten instructional aide for Ms. Orr’s classroom.
  • Charlotte Ochs is our new Health teacher.

Chinese Immersion Teachers
Li Wang will teach Grade 3 and co-teach Grade 5.
Maria Wang will teach Grade 4 and co-teach Grade 5.

Ni Hao Teachers
Guei-Bau Lin, Tiara Liu, and Lijia Chen will teach Ni Hao classes.

Special thanks to our custodial staff for their hard work in preparing our building for the upcoming school year.

You made it to the end of this email! Thank you for reviewing this information. We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you back to school. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Yours truly,
Gerald Yung, M.Ed
MLK Principal

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