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Update for the Week of September 20th
Update for the Week of September 20th
Paul Barrette
Sunday, September 20, 2020

Hello OCRS families,

Thank you for helping us have a successful first week of school! We know that the opening of school was different from years past and that those differences were challenging for students and their families. However, the patience, flexibility, and cooperation from OCRS families was a huge contributor to a safe and successful first week of school. We will continue to monitor the procedures and protocols we have in place and make adjustments as needed.

We also know that this first week was very different for our students and families participating in the Virtual Learning Option. Like introducing and establishing the routines in their in-person classrooms, teachers spent time this week getting their Google Classrooms up and running, testing out access to additional online learning resources, troubleshooting technology, and reaching out to students and their families to work schedules to regularly touch base. Teaching students that are in-person along with students that are at home is new for teachers and it is going to take some time for all of us to get comfortable with this new approach. Together, we will make this work!

Revised Smithfield Public Schools Calendar and "Flex Days"

A revised version of the 2020-2021 Smithfield Public Schools Calendar has been posted on the OCRS website and can be found at https://5il.co/c5fm. The main change is that September 21st and April 12th have been removed as "Flex Days" and are now regular school days for both in-person and Virtual Learning Option students.

The R.I. Department of Education has designated specific days across the school calendar this year as "Flex Days" where students do not attend school in-person, but work online at home on learning that was assigned by their teacher. Teachers and staff do report to work on "Flex Days" for planning and professional development purposes, but do not work directly with students on these days.

October 19th, November 16th, December 14th, January 25th, March 15th, and May 17th are still designated on the district calendar as "Flex Days". On these days, students will not be attending school in-person. Please make sure to mark your family calendar. You can also subscribe to the OCRS Public Events Calendar to be able to view any changes as they are made, https://calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0?cid=c21pdGhmaWVsZC1wcy5vcmdfbWdzZGU0dDkya2JkOGxjc2d0Mjk3dTlzajhAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQ

Welcome Ms. Moretti to OCRS

Meghan Moretti, a graduate of Rhode Island College, has been hired as the elementary music teacher for both OCRS and Winsor. Along with Mr. Barrette, Mrs. Mariotti and Ms. Miller, the other art teacher for the Smithfield elementary schools participated as part of the interview committee and did an excellent job finding us a terrific art teacher! Due to the changes in the elementary special subject schedule (art, library, music & P.E.), Ms. Moretti will be seeing all OCRS students twice a week during the first trimester. We are excited to welcome her to OCRS!

Different Special Subject Schedules this Year

In an effort to reduce the amount of students that special subject area teachers are seeing throughout the year, all four elementary schools have adjusted the yearly schedules for art, library, music, and physical education/health to look a little different this year. During each trimester, OCRS students will have P.E. twice a week and a rotation of art, library, music as follows:

  • Trimester 1, art twice a week, library once a week, and no music
  • Trimester 2, music twice a week, art once a week, and no library
  • Trimester 3, library twice a week, music once a week, and no art

Morning Arrival and Afternoon Dismissal Routine

Again, thank you everyone for your patience as we worked out the issues in the morning arrival and afternoon dismissal routines last week. The COVID-19 screening protocols, bus transportation restrictions, and ongoing school construction has made for a VERY busy start and end to the day! We believe that we now have the best possible traffic pattern in place for cars and buses and that helped to greatly improve things in the second half of the week. Here are some other things to remember to help make things go as smoothly as possible.

  1. All students attending school in-person MUST have a daily health screening ticket to give to a staff member at the door. All in-person students were given a packet of tickets on Friday for this week, so please make sure to send your child with a completed ticket. I have linked to blank tickets for anyone that may need them. Having these filled out and ready to go will make arrival go more quickly for everyone.
  2. Doors do not open for arrival until 8:10 a.m. We know that this is 15 minutes later than last year and those 15 minutes can be really difficult for some families' work schedules. However, in order to provide safe supervision that meets the COVID-19 guidelines, we cannot allow students to enter school before 8:10 a.m. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
  3. Only walkers (not car drop-off/pick-up) can be dropped off and picked up at Door 10. We have a staff member available to receive students and release students that are walkers at Door 10. Mrs. Deus has worked extremely hard to put together lists of students that are walkers and those that are being picked up by car. If your child is NOT a walker, please do not park somewhere near the school and walk to Door 10 drop them off or pick them up. This makes it very difficult to accurately track the location of students during arrival and dismissal.
  4. If you are a parent/family member walking a student to school, please wear a mask while waiting with or for your child. For the health and safety of all members of the OCRS community, we ask anyone waiting to drop-off or pick-up a student that is a walker to wear a mask. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Resource for Supporting Math Problem Solving at Home

Dr. Monaco, our assistant superintendent, wanted to share a link for families on how to support mathematical problem solving practices at home. This link is particularly helpful for families that are supporting students who are participating in the Virtual Learning Option in grades 4 through 8. Take a few moments to check it out at https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/northeast/OurWork/Resource/2.

 

Thank you again for your continued Patience, Flexibility, and Empathy throughout these first few weeks of school. Those three important words are going to continue to guide us throughout this school year and we will all need to continue to make adjustments as the year progresses. As long as we approach those adjustments with the best interests of our students as our priority, I am confident that this will be a safe and successful year. Together we're already off to a pretty good start!

Sincerely,
Mr. Barrette


2nd grade stretching out (and physically distancing) during silent reading

"No contact" physically distanced outdoor games