August 6, 2020
Dear MHS Families,
Welcome “Back to School”: the 2020-21 school year will prove to be like no other!!
The good things? The MHS faculty has been preparing for the reopening since the day we closed our doors in March. The teachers worked hard in the spring; they learned a lot and had many new experiences which will positively impact the upcoming year. Many teachers exchanged their 30-45 minute lessons for more targeted 10-15 minute mini-lessons, allowing the balance of time for independent and guided practice. In our physical classrooms, whole group instruction took place most of the day, but in the virtual setting, group size became smaller and allowed for greater student participation. Our students, your children, had opportunities to not just respond through written work (as they did while in their classrooms), but during distance learning children could express learning through video and audio submissions.
The good things will just get better. To minimize learning loss, there will be some changes. Daily attendance will be mandatory, and the State has set a minimum amount of time for daily instruction. Teachers will work to ensure the mastery of standards through ongoing assessment and grades will also be given.
And things will keep getting better. As we work through the year, teachers will continue to make thoughtful and appropriate adjustments in how they will spend time with your child: perhaps more flexible small group instruction; differently paced lessons that allow for guided and independent practice; schedules that take into account your child’s increased stamina. Teachers will have time on Fridays to continue to engage in professional development and planning time with their peers.
The need for social emotional support has been heightened by both the pandemic AND the issues raised through the protests that continue to be witnessed by us all. Social emotional learning and classroom community building will be greater components for our instructional day. This includes building a skill set for active listening, trustful friendships, supporting and relying on others, understanding empathy and living through trauma.
Teachers are doing deep work in understanding the issues of racism and the way it impacts education and we will continue to work to ensure equity and access for all our children. Many of our teachers participated in a six-week book club, reading “How to Be An Antiracist”. I was able to facilitate meaningful discussions with our teachers as we were introduced to the difference between ‘not a racist’ and an “anti-racist”. We came to an understanding about our individual history as well as our future journey as we work towards antiracism. Some of our teachers attended a three part training offered by PBS on antiracism. A group of teachers looked at cultural equity in assessment and grading. Throughout the year, we will examine our curriculum and supplemental materials and augment them in order that everyone’s stories are told.
The year ahead brings with it challenges we cannot foresee, but I am confident that we will tackle any issues that arise in a spirit of collaboration and mutual support. There is strength in our community. There is love in our homes. There is hope in our children.
I look forward to ‘seeing’ you all, my learning family,
Laurie Narro, Ed.D
pronouns: she, her, hers
Principal Monterey Hills
Upcoming Events for the 2021-22 School Year
Please join us at 4 o’clock pm on Monday, August 10. This PTA sponsored event is being held virtually this year, but will still provide a time for our children and parents to be introduced. More information will be sent directly to our TK and K families with a zoom link so that you can join in.
5th Grade Leadership Day:
This annual event will take place on Tuesday, August 11 at 9:30 am. All rising 5th graders are asked to virtually join us to discuss leadership and to engage in cooperative activities via zoom break out rooms. More information will be sent directly to parents of our 5th graders with a zoom link.
Tk/K am/pm and 1-5th grade class assignments will be completed by Tuesday, August 11 at 5 pm. Please check the Aeries Portal for your child’s assignment.
Pick up of Materials:
Our front office staff and teachers will be putting together school supplies and curriculum. We are waiting on all the items to be delivered to the campus, before we are able to bag/box the items. Once we get the items packaged we will develop a safe delivery model to our families. A schedule will be sent to you via Blackboard
First day of School:
This summer has been one nail-biter after another! But I am SO looking forward to beginning our school year on August 13th.
We typically have the PTA Welcome Coffee on the first day of school. This year we decided that since many of you will be supporting your children on their first day, we are moving the ‘coffee’ to Friday, Aug. 14 at 9 am. A link will be sent to you via Blackboard Connect.
Back to School/Wish Night:
We are scheduled for our annual Back to School Night on Thursday Aug. 20 beginning at 5:30pm. With class visits beginning at 6 and 7 pm depending on your child’s grade. We will have our PTA, SPEF and myself greet you, then you will have time with your child’s teacher.