Hello Ella P. Burr Community,
Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! I am looking forward to another great year, with lots of fun and learning. Things will look a little different this year as we work at keeping everyone healthy and safe. Social distancing has reduced classroom numbers so we have added several classrooms to accommodate everyone’s safely. The goal when considering the opening school was to adhere to the Maine CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe.
We have several new staff members joining the veteran staff who have worked with your children over these past several years. New staff members include Laura Barrows, 4-year-old teacher, Sue Blood, Kindergarten Ed Tech, Bobbie Whittier, Health Aide/Secretary, Cara Sinclair, custodian, and John Fiske, custodian. Teachers in new positions include Lea Harper, Kindergarten, Nicole Murchison, first-grade, Kim Olsen, first-grade, Cassie Sherman, second-grade, and Ellen Stevens, third-grade. This is an exciting time and we look forward to meeting you and your child(ren) as we begin a new school year.
In order for each student to be successful, it is important you be in regular contact with his/her teachers. A large part of being successful is students attending on a daily basis. Please remember the students may be dropped off no earlier than 7:15 am and our school day begins at 7:30 am and anyone who comes in later than 7:30 am will be marked tardy. Walkers will be dismissed at 1:50 pm and busses will leave the school beginning at 2 pm. In order to meet proper distancing requirements, fewer students can ride the bus. If you would like to request a regular alternative drop-off or pick-up location for your child(ren), please complete the “Request for Alternative Bus Transportation” form as soon as possible and return it to the school secretary. This form can be found under the “Parents and Students” section of the website.
Parents dropping students off are reminded to park next to the building and may walk their child(ren) to the front door. There will be a staff member there to greet them. If you need to communicate with the office, there is a new window inside the front door for you to speak with Traci. We are limiting access to the building in order to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
One of the larger changes to start the school year is how students will enter the building. When they are dropped off by the bus they will enter the building according to which wing their classroom is. The upper doorway students from Mrs. Barrows, Mrs. Tash, Mrs. Sutherland, Mrs. Harper, Mrs. Peters, Miss Crockett, Mrs. Larlee, Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. Hanington, Mrs. Whittier, Mrs. Olsen, Miss Croce, and Mrs. Cuccinello will enter. Students in Ms. Murchison, Mrs. McCarthy, Ms. Sherman, Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Hallett, Mrs. Himes, Mrs. Gardner, Mrs. Thornton, Mrs. Manzo, Ms. Tolman, and Mrs. Brawn will enter through the lower entrance. Students who are dropped off by their parents will enter the lower, office entrance. As students enter the building they will be asked to be wearing a face covering and will sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer (provided). At the end of the day, all walkers/parent pick-ups will exit via the lower wing.
Classrooms have been reconfigured to safely distance students, teachers have been hard at work preparing for the new challenges presented by the pandemic. Students are expected to wear a face-covering throughout the day but will be provided mask breaks. There will be opportunities for outdoor learning, which includes two large tents as outdoor classrooms. PE, health, art, music, guidance, and keyboarding will be taught in the classroom to limit student movement around the building. To meet CDC guidelines, when students are outside for recess and class, they will still need to mask. Breakfast and lunch will also be brought to the classroom.
As I write this letter we are in the green zone where everyone can return to school with the precautions set by the CDC. Conditions may change and we could go to a hybrid model (yellow zone) where half of the students attend on Monday and Tuesday and the other half on Wednesday and Thursday. When they are at home there will be remote learning (which teachers have been working on this summer). This will look very different than what it looked like in the Spring. Most of the teaching and learning will take place with computer and Zoom, following a set schedule, attendance will be taken, lessons taught, assignments given, feedback given, and it will be graded.
It’s going to be a fantastic school year and we look forward to watching your child(ren) grow as learners and individuals. Please check our school website
(https://www.rsu67.org/o/ella-burr-school ) for regular updates and for more information. I encourage you to download the RSU 67 app for instant access. Together we can do it!
Peter J. Loiselle