OCTOBER 18, 2020
Coronavirus FAQ: What’s The Deal With The ’15 Minute Rule’?
The conventional wisdom is that it takes 15 minutes of close contact to a contagious person to put you at risk. But even a short exposure could prove problematic.
Welcome back, everyone!
I hope your break was all you wished for and you are returning to school tomorrow feeling refreshed and well-rested. What beautiful fall-ish weather we were gifted with this past week…such a delightful time of year to have a break from school!
This week’s article is from NPR’s Coronavirus FAQs…”What’s the Deal with the 15-Minute Rule?” I thought the information was interesting and timely as we move into the fall illness season.
Here are my updates for the week:
Positive Coping Strategies for COVID-19
Many thanks to Kim Davis for facilitating our Town Hall Meeting on October 6th on Positive Coping Strategies for COVID-19. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, please review the recording at your convenience.
Stages of Reopening Plan
In an email last week I mentioned that it is likely WRM will move back to Stage 3 of our Stages of Reopening Plan due to an ongoing increase in the prevalence rate in Dallas, as well as DCHHS’s moving the county back to the “Red – Stay Home, Stay Safe” risk level. If the two-week prevalence rate continues to remain above 0.50, we will move students in blue on our Roster by Classroom back to home learning. This could happen as early as Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
We do have some students transitioning to home learning for the next two weeks based on their activities during the break last week. If you are impacted in any way, you were tagged in the tracking sheet with your assigned action items.
School Photos, October 26th – 29th?
May need to reschedule school photos (again!) due to the possibility of moving back to Stage 3 of our Phases of Reopening Plan. Please tentatively prepare for this schedule and prepare for the possibility we will need to cancel or rethink this plan. I will keep you posted.
Monday, October 26th – Primary
Tuesday, October 27th – Lower Elementary
Wednesday, October 28th – Upper Elementary
Thursday, October 29th – Middle School
Progress Reports Timeline – Updated
Last day to update student records
Narratives due to Director – a peer to have reviewed narratives before submission in order to:
Make any corrections to capitalization, punctuation, organization, grammar
Give input into content
Review together and finalize before submitting to Director
Revision: Submit conference times and locations to Communications Coordinator
See the rest of the timeline here.
Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins Galore!
Thank you to Emily Gutierrez and her family for the donation of many beautiful pumpkins. Her father works for Stephanie Walker of Outdoor Aesthetics and they provided the pumpkins after they finished using them as outdoor decorations for a local automobile dealership.
We would love to send a thank you note from the children. Is there a classroom that is willing to take on this activity?
That’s all I have for this week. I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow!
OCTOBER 7, 2020
OCTOBER 4, 2020
I am happy to report that the individual impacted by this diagnosis had mild symptoms and has fully recovered. We are all very grateful for that!
After completing all of the contact tracing steps, I have decided to quarantine three of our on-campus cohorts: Primary D, LE C, and UE C. All siblings connected to those cohorts will be in remote learning for all or part of this week as well, with the exception of Primary siblings.
It is critically important that you not engage in any communication with parents about this topic that is not directly related to their student’s classroom engagement. WRM is in an on-going implementation of our Emergency Preparedness Plan and all direct communication regarding that plan needs to go through me. If a parent reaches out to you to try and engage, please direct them to me. The pattern language to use would be “I am not at liberty to discuss this with you. I need to refer this question/comment to Ms. Laufersky.” Thank you for your support and cooperation.
This situation is an important reminder of the importance of keeping individuals 6 ft apart even while wearing masks. While we all know that masks are an important protective measure in preventing the spread of COVID-19, when it comes to contact tracing they are not a factor in determining who needs to be quarantined.
The WRM Board of Trustees and I will be meeting tomorrow evening to discuss our school’s Social Contract and the upcoming travel season. Once that meeting is complete, I will be scheduling a mandatory faculty/staff meeting to update you. That meeting will be on either Wednesday or Thursday evening, so please pencil it in. The agenda items will include:
• Home Learning Protocols when cohort or individual student quarantines are implemented
• Early-Fall Break guidelines for travel, including abiding by WRM’s Social Contract
• The upcoming holiday season and its potential impact on COVID-19 exposure on campus
The quote for this week was part of my daily reflection this weekend and what an important time to consider this question? Being a part of this community enriches my life in many significant ways. The team we have at WRM provides support, comfort, acceptance, acknowledgment, and confidence to my life day in and day out. I still pull in the driveway each morning feeling fortunate to work at our sweet school. Thank you all for the part you play in our community, for all of the energy and effort you put into keeping our school happy and healthy, and for just being you! I am truly grateful.
That’s all I have for this week. For those who have moved to remote learning, and those who spend their days as remote educators, I wish you a beautiful, health-filled week. Faculty and staff who remain on-campus, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!
SEPTEMBER 27, 2020
Happy Sunday everyone~
I hope your weekend was all you wished for and you are looking forward to returning to school in the morning.
This week’s inspiration is an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Trevor Noah. In it, Dr. Fauci discusses the progression of COVID-19 and what communities can expect this fall and winter with regard to illness transmission. I hope you find it as informative as I did.
If you have not already done so, please consider getting a flu vaccine this fall. Public health officials remind us that mitigating the impact of flu season will assist the medical community in combating COVID-19 this fall and winter.
Here are my updates for the week:
Please join me in celebrating our upcoming birthdays.
Happy belated birthday, Eduardo! – 9/21
• Angelo – 10/2
• Ashley V – 10/2
• Anassiri – 10/5
• Holly – 10/8
• Mary 10/14
Reporting Student Symptoms Form
When a student is not feeling well, please complete this form and send them to the front office. It is helpful if you send a book or some other simple activity from their kit they can do while undergoing observation. Please open this form and save a Shortcut to your Drive folder.
I strongly urge you both personally and professionally to spend time outdoors as much as possible. We are having a wonderfully temperate fall and the natural air circulation of the outdoors is one of the best ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All rooms with windows now have screens so opening them up for proper circulation is a significant benefit while indoors.
Evacuation Drill – Tuesday, September 29th at 2:15 p.m.
Progress Report Timeline
It is that time of year when we start our preparations for Progress Reports. Please review this timeline in preparation for this important communication tool for our school.
That’s all I have for this week. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2020
Happy Sunday everyone~
Wow, we are entering our 6th week of the typical school year! It seems the time has flown right by. Each and every day I notice extraordinary things happening throughout our school. What joy it is to see so many of our students working outdoors (and what a blessing the more comfortable temperatures have been!). I love today’s quote because it reminds me to take a step back, breathe, and enjoy all the gifts our 4.5 acre campus has to offer. Thanks to you all for working together to make outdoor access a reality for all the students at our sweet school.
Here are my updates for the week:
Faculty/Staff Children: 8:00 – 8:25 a.m.
Faculty/staff children must remain with an adult when at school between 8:00 – 8:25 a.m. If you have a student who is not in your cohort, please be sure to send them to their classroom at 8:00 a.m. While we are in advanced mitigation measures, it is not okay for faculty/staff children to be left in a classroom, or allowed in the hallways, kitchen area, or outdoor spaces without an adult. For this reason, it is critically important for faculty members to arrive at school and fully prepared in their classroom by 8:00 a.m. so they can host staff children at that time.
The laminator has been repaired. Please be sure to follow these tips for using the laminator created by Regina.
Severe Weather Drill Tuesday, September 22
We have our first Severe Weather Drill of the year on Tuesday of this week. Due to our mitigation measures we will conduct this drill in stages. There will be signs in the hallway to notify you of your cohort’s location. Here is the schedule:
10:00 a.m. – Primary A and LE A
10:05 a.m. – Primary B and LE B
10:10 a.m. – Primary C and LE C
10:15 a.m. – Primary D and LE D
10:20 a.m. – UE A
10:30 a.m. – UE B
10:40 a.m. – UE C
10:50 a.m. – Middle School
The next Evacuation Drill is scheduled for Tuesday, September 29 at 2:15 p.m. Please be sure to have your drill locations in place, including 6-ft distancing between children.
Materials Pick-Up for Home Learners
We will continue to schedule materials pick-up days every three weeks. Please have materials/follow up work ready to the front desk by end of day on Wednesday prior to scheduled days.
Here are the scheduled days for the rest of the fall semester.
Friday, September 25th
Friday, October 23rd
Friday, November 13th
Town Hall Meetings – Belated Thanks!
Thank you to Regina for her Upper Elementary breakout during The Prepared Environment at Home. My apologies for missing this in last week’s acknowledgements.
Outdoor Spaces Sign-Up
There has been some confusion about the Discovery Garden area on the Outdoor Spaces Sign-Up sheet. I have reviewed the issues and think I understand where the confusion lies.
From 11-11:30 a.m. each day, one of the Primary cohorts will be in the entire Discovery Garden (Garden, Arbor, and Butterfly Garden areas). This is now adequately reflected on the document.
It is possible for a cohort to use the Butterfly Garden area when another cohort is in their Gardening class. However, the Arbor, the picnic tables in front of the Arbor, and the picnic tables in front of the chicken coop would not be available at that time. If there is any disruption between the two groups, the group who is holding their Gardening class takes precedence for use of the space.
Please be sure to use the bottle of alcohol in the Arbor to spray down the Arbor benches and picnic tables of all areas your cohort uses. Because this is such a widely used area, including every cohort of the school at some point throughout the week, it is necessary to follow our most stringent mitigation measures. Also, all students and adults should wash their hands thoroughly after each visit to the Discovery Garden.
That’s all I have for this week. Many thanks to you all for the significant efforts you put in every day. I appreciate you!
SEPTEMBER 13, 2020
This week’s inspiration…
MS Socratic Discussion in the woods.
Happy Sunday everyone~
I hope your weekend was filled with enjoying this glorious weather and unwinding after an amazing week at school. There are so many things to celebrate about these past four weeks, including gradually making ourselves ready for the next wave of students to return tomorrow. Many thanks to you all for the part you have played in implementing our mitigation strategies and creating a beautiful experience for all our students, whether on-campus or working remotely.
This week’s inspiration is a photo of some Middle School students engaging in a Socratic Discussion in the woods. This area is one of my favorites on campus as it is heavily shaded and tucked neatly into this quaint part of our property. Do you have innovative ideas you’d like to share? If so, you can share them here.
Here are my updates for the week:
Welcome Coach Teddy!
We are thrilled to welcome Coach Teddy for his official first day of school tomorrow. He will be working with Tricia in the LE C cohort and facilitating the PE and Athletics program at our school. For those who need to be in contact with him, his email address is coachteddy@
Faculty/Staff Resource Page
Thank you, Ms. Melanie, for gathering all of our pertinent information on the Faculty/Staff Resource Page. I encourage you all to bookmark this page and remember to use the password 5580 to log in.
We will be postponing all actual lockdown drills for now given that this form of practice would put students and faculty members in close proximity to one another for an unsafe period of time. We will add these drills back into our schedule when we are able to move to Stage 1 of our Stages of Reopening Plan.
In the meantime, please submit a plan of your lockdown locations for your current classrooms to me by this Friday, September 18th. Almost all of you are in a different classroom than your typical one and this is an important part of the preparatory process for you to think through.
School Photos Update
We have postponed our school photos dates to October 27-30 and will only take individual photos this year. No group photos will be conducted at this time.
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (GWCTD) Price Increase
This week, Philip Luna, owner/operator for GWCTD announced a price increase for faculty/staff lunches. We are truly grateful to Mr. Luna and the GWCTD staff for providing meals to us within the mitigation measures we have set as a school.
Thank You – Town Hall Meetings
We have had a strong start to our Town Hall meetings plan and I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your contributions to this important effort.
Technology/Creating Balance in the Digital Age – Emily, Scott, Rob
Creating a Climate for Student Learning – Angelo, Ashley, Holly
Montessori Principles while Social Distancing – Angelo
The Prepared Environment at Home: Primary – Mary
The Prepared Environment at Home: Elementary – Candy
All sessions – Melanie!
We will be moving away from the weekly approach to Town Hall meetings at this point and implementing monthly topics moving forward. This week’s session on talking with children about COVID-19 will be postponed for the time being and we’ll start in October with a Positive Discipline series led by Emily and Scott Connery.
That’s all I have for this week.
See you tomorrow~
SEPTEMBER 7, 2020
This week’s innovative idea comes from Tricia Bell who created this multiplication bead board for the students in LE with red push pins and cardboard. Thanks for sharing this with us, Tricia!
Do you have an innovative idea or inspiration to share? Use this form to submit your inspirations!
Communicable Disease Response Plan (CDRP) – Stages of Reopening
As you are already aware, WRM will not be moving to Stage 2 of our reopening plan tomorrow. After I sent out my community email on Saturday afternoon, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) did release their COIVD-19 Weekly Summary. The median prevalence rate for the city of Dallas was 0.555. I am committed to sticking with the set benchmark of a median prevalence rate of 0.5 and will wait to bring back our next wave of students until that marker has been hit. The parents of some of our remote learning students have contacted me this weekend to see about changing their children to Essential Worker status, which I have approved. In those cases, I have copied their classroom teachers into my email communication so you will be aware of those students joining your cohort tomorrow. At this point, the earliest we will move to Stage 2 would be Monday, September 14th and that is only if the median prevalence rate for the city of Dallas is 0.5 or lower.
As we welcome additional students to campus, please be sure to review our mitigation norms. This will be a great opportunity to revisit them as a cohort! I highly recommend picking a section of the mitigation plan to review each day during community meetings, similar to the approach I used during the beginning of the year Staff Development Meetings.
Happy belated birthday to Emily Gutierrez (August 25) and Rob (September 2)! And a wish for all our other September birthdays for a celebration of love and joy on your special day.
Lisa – September 8
Lynn – September 10
Candy – September 15
It has been a priority for me to create useful outdoor spaces for our UE A and UE C cohorts, who are working in the upstairs classrooms without direct access to the outdoors. This past week we created designated spaces for them in the Butterfly Garden area and the Arbor area. Please note these areas will be utilized throughout the day as their direct access to the outdoors. The teachers from those classrooms will block out specific times of the day using the Outdoor Spaces Sign Up sheet. If you are using these spaces for your personal or classroom use at other times throughout the day, please be sure to restore the space to a clean, organized, and risk mitigated level so the students and teachers from these cohorts can have equitable access to the outdoors.
I have coordinated the Extended Curriculum Schedule with Outdoor Spaces Sign Up sheet. Please review your classroom’s signups for Ext. Cur. and other uses of outdoor spaces to ensure everything is appropriately covered.
Thank you for your use and care with the outdoor handwashing stations. Please remember, these stations are difficult for younger children to manage so an adult needs to work the foot pump for them. This applies to Primary and the younger students in Lower Elementary. Any student in Upper Elementary who is still developing the gross motor skills to manage this task should be aided in the process as well. The stations are susceptible to breaking at the lower neck if a student uses the sink to brace themselves in order to work the pump.
The entire west side of the building has been outfitted with screens so please feel free to open them to get the air circulating in the classrooms. Remember, this is a key mitigation factor for our school (and a great way to bring the outdoors in!). We will have screens for all windows by the end of this month.
That’s all I have for this week.
See you tomorrow~
AUGUST 30, 2020
The above quote is inspiring to me during these challenging times. I know that in the past six months, I have experienced a sense of being guided towards meeting the impossible with a growth mindset and embracing thoughts of innovative possibilities.
This week’s innovative sharing is a bead frame created by a friend and former colleague in Houston. This was made by purchasing $6 worth of office products and using materials they already had available! When I received this I felt inspired that another school, facing the same challenges we are, is finding their way, just like we are! There is solidarity in this realization…a sense that we aren’t alone in this, which for me brings comfort and a motivation to continue moving forward.
Have any of you been inspired to create items that would benefit your students in these past couple of weeks? If so, you can share them here!
Here are my updates for the week:
Red Zone/Orange Zone Days
As the Texas heat hit a peak this past week, we found ourselves in situations where decisions about outdoor activities were in question. As we most certainly face more high heat this week, I thought I would share the Outdoor Activity Guidance from our Emergency Preparedness Plan.
Please check the notifications at the front door to see what level the Air Quality Alert is at each day during our peak high temperature season. Then use this guide to make decisions about student’s outdoor activities for the day.
Materials Pick-Up Day – Friday, September 4th
We will have a materials/follow up work pick-up scheduled for this Friday, September 4th from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Please have everything needed to go home to our remote learning students to the front desk by the end of the day this Thursday, September 3rd.
Our intention is to schedule pick-up days every three weeks. Here are the scheduled days for the rest of the fall semester.
Friday, September 25th
Friday, October 23rd
Friday, November 13th
Fire/Evacuation Drill Recap
Thank you all for your thorough efforts during our first fire drill this week. The drill went very smoothly and was a helpful first start to our drill practice season*. I thought I’d share our drill requirements from Child Care Licensing so you can be aware of what is ahead of us (from our Emergency Preparedness Plan). Please check your Faculty/Staff Calendar to see the already scheduled dates for the rest of the year.
DFPS Child Care Licensing Drill Requirements
*One note for all to be aware of. Doors to the outside environments also should be closed during fire/evacuation drills. The reason for closing doors is to reduce combustion caused by excess air (oxygen) that enters a room when a door is open. Please integrate this awareness into your ongoing fire/evacuation drill preparations.
Middle School Building/Soccer Field
As we continue our preparations to welcome more WRM students back to campus, we have needed to create an alternative space for the MS student while the building is being finished (expected by end of September). On Friday of this week, we will be setting up a tent on the soccer field that will become the temporary MS building. This was the determining factor in adjusting the Extended Curriculum Schedule and the soccer space being removed from the Outdoor Spaces Sign-Up Sheet for the time being.
Free COVID-19 Testing
North Texas teachers and construction workers can be tested for COVID-19 for free even if they have no symptoms and don’t live in Dallas County.
If they do live in the county, they can take proof of residence to:
Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S. Polk St. in Dallas, Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eastfield College, 3737 Motley Drive in Mesquite, Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The entrance is on La Prada Drive.
Those who are Dallas County residents can go without proof of address or identification to:
Mountain View College, 4849 W. Illinois Ave. in Dallas, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says the county wanted to give teachers peace of mind with school starting in person in some districts. “This will help teachers and those who are going back to work to have access to tests,” he said.
That’s all I have for this week. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!
AUGUST 23, 2020
I hope your weekend was rejuvenating and you are feeling ready for a new week at school. When I reflect on last week, I am filled with gratitude for our sweet community. There are many amazing things happening on campus and in our home learning program and I deeply appreciate all of your efforts to bring this together.
Earlier this evening I sent an email to our parent community about the use of vented masks. The CDC recommends not using these masks because they do not effectively filter out the respiratory particles that transmit COVID-19. Tomorrow morning I will be delivering extra cloth masks to each of your classrooms. If any students arrive at school with a vented mask, please have them remove it, place it in a ziplock bag and place this note in it.
Revised Extended Curriculum Schedule/Outdoor Working Spaces
Please review this revised Extended Curriculum Schedule in preparation for our first week of these important components of our school programming at WRM. We look forward to enriching the days of our students in this way. The revisions may require you to slightly modify your classroom schedule so you will need to review it closely. Please use this sign up for use of the outdoor spaces and be sure to review/implement the Outdoor Spaces Guidelines when you are working with students outdoors.
Parent Education Series – Town Hall Meetings
Our first in the series Town Hall Meetings that were planned as part of our June workgroups starts this Thursday. Thank you, Angelo, Mary, Candy, and Regina, for taking on this important parent education event.
Emergency Preparedness – Evaluation Drill
We have an Evacuation/Fire Drill scheduled for this Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Please make a plan for what location each of your cohorts will utilize for this important practice measure. UE cohorts, your groups will all evacuate out the back deck to the Discovery Garden and will need to coordinate where each group will evacuate to.
Updated WRM School Calendar
With our most recent changes in approach for the Fall Semester, we’ve made some revisions to the annual calendar. Please review the updated calendar here.
New Drop-Off Procedures – We Need Your Help!
With our new drop-off locations in their full implementation stage, we will be making a couple of refinements to our typical morning car line procedures. We appreciate your help in supporting this!
We will be blocking the driveway with designated line up signs starting at 8:05 a.m. If you arrive after 8:05 a.m. please park across the street in the neighborhood.
If parents arrive to drop their student off after car line closes at 8:45 a.m., the protocol is for them to come to the door, ring the bell, and sign their student in. An Admin Team member will take the student’s temperature and ensure the screening form is complete before welcoming them into the building. Please avoid chatting with parents in the parking lot and don’t assist them with the late drop-off process as it may interfere with our morning mitigation procedures.
Thank you for your cooperation in these very important areas!
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?
This week, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner will begin delivering lunches for our families who have reserved them in advance. Please be sure to return the cart assigned to your cohort to the kitchen hallway in the morning. Lunches for all cohorts will be placed on those carts for you to gather for your cohort.
Reporting Student Illnesses
If you have a student who is exhibiting or communicating they have symptoms of COVID-19, please complete this form and send them to the isolation room at the front office. I will evaluate them and determine next steps. Completing the form is a critical part of the process in order to keep track of all reported symptoms in one location for the health department.
That’s all I have for this week. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!
AUGUST 16, 2020
“When our emotions are regulated, kids actually regulate to us.” – Dr Scott Mills
Good evening everyone~
Well, here we are on the eve of a new school year. It seems a bit surreal at the moment! For those of us who started in July, this re-start may feel familiar and comfortable. For those who are delving into this atypical school year for the first, there may be feelings of vulnerability mixed with anticipation. Whatever you are feeling tonight, I hope you will rest easy and awake feeling refreshed and optimistic for the year ahead.
Tonight’s quote comes from the resilience workshop I attended this weekend. It was quite an event…very worthwhile and centering. I loved the reminder that the students will take their lead from us, making it ever so important to compartmentalize (thank you, Angelo!) so we can be grounded and present for them.
AMI has a wonderful article for us all to enjoy this evening…”Returning to the Montessori Classroom.” I was inspired by the thoughts included in this writing and hope you will be too! Here’s a little tidbit from the introduction.
“Across the world, schools and early years childcare providers are facing the challenge of returning to school, in a constantly changing global picture of Coronavirus response. Particularly in the case of young children, the concept of social distancing, keeping the environment as safe as possible while creating a welcoming and joyful atmosphere, feels like a step too far for many schools to cope with. But what is it about Montessori education which makes this transition easier to understand for children?”
Ways to Stay Cool
Tonight’s stormy weather promises to bring some cooler air (whew!) for the next couple of weeks. Even so, we will still be out in Texas summer heat. Here are some quick and easy ways to cool yourself while engaging in the outdoors.
• Peppermint essential oil on the back of your neck is remarkably effective for cooling down
• Take a water bottle filled with cool water with you for a nice little spritz when you need it
• Wet bandanas on the back of the neck work wonders
Be sure to share with others any suggestions you may have for keeping cool outdoors!
It was brought to my attention the insensitivity of the use of the terms “whitelist/blacklist” when talking about our technology supports for students. My apologies for my lack of awareness in this area. While these terms are often used in the technology world as a way to sort control mechanisms, they are clearly inappropriate in our culture today. Thank you to the person who brought this to my attention and for suggesting an easy alternative…the Yes/No List. I am sincerely sorry that my thoughtlessness may have been offensive and I commit to being more aware of my use of words in the future.
Parent Information Sessions
This Wednesday and Thursday evening are the Parent Information Sessions by level. Please be sure to set up your calendar event for 6:30 p.m., include a Google Meet link, and invite the parents from your cohort. Instead of starting in a large group and moving into breakouts, I will be providing a recorded message for you all to share at the start of your session.
Please be sure to invite me to your calendar event!
That’s all I have for this week. I look forward to seeing you bright and early tomorrow. 🙂
With positive anticipation~
AUGUST 14, 2020
AUGUST 13, 2020
AUGUST 12, 2020
AUGUST 11, 2020
AUGUST 10, 2020
AUGUST 9, 2020
I am so excited we will all be together tomorrow for the start of the 2020-2021 school year! Preparations for this school year are definitely going to be different than anything we’ve experienced before and our staff development week will be the foundation to move us forward. I’ve attached an agenda for all of you and some other announcements/updates below. See you soon!
The image above is of a material Rob and Scott created for Primary students to use outdoors. They took some bamboo (thank you, Ginger!) and cut it into the dimensions of the red rods. Now children can build a maze to engage in this quintessential Montessori activity outdoors! This is another example of the ingenuity and innovation that is demonstrated each and every day at school. Thanks to you all for being open to new and creative ideas as we navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our days.
Here are some important links for this week and beyond:
Student Learning Kit Preparations
All classroom materials are due by end of day Thursday, August 13.
Working in Classrooms – Preparing for 100% readiness
Use Building Access Sign Up Sheet – Be sure no two teachers are working in the same classroom at the same time
Long-Sleeved/Legged, Light-Colored Clothing Resources
If you are looking for affordable, resale clothing to round out your school year wardrobe, here are some options for you:
I will be setting up a clothing swap table in the main hallway this week if anyone has items they’d like to share with the team!
That’s all I have for tonight. See you in the morning!
AUGUST 4, 2020
AUGUST 2, 2020
Hello WRM Faculty/Staff members,
We have a potential case of COVID-19 in the July 6th start community and out of an abundance of caution, I am closing campus until lab results come in. Please do not come to the building to work in classrooms or on any projects tomorrow, at the least. I will keep you posted as soon as I know more.
I will send my typical weekly update in the next couple of days.
Sending wishes for health and peace of mind,
JULY 30, 2020
JULY 26, 2020
It’s been an interesting week for sure, filled with setbacks and unexpected changes, and with quick adjustments from the faculty/staff. Thank you to all those who adapted and created an ongoing beautiful experience for our students and families.
Parent Survey Results
I have not yet received all of the survey responses for the adjusted approach this fall but I do have a pretty good sense of how the results will impact our approach. I look forward to sharing this with you at our mandatory Faculty/Staff Meeting this Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Mitigation Plan Highlight for the Week: Handwashing
The chart above shows the specific steps for effective handwashing techniques. This short video from the CDC demystifies common questions about fighting germs and hand hygiene.
The CDC notes it is important to wash hands (ours and the childrens) at these times in the day:
Before, during, and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
Before and after treating a cut or wound
After using the toilet
After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
After handling pet food or pet treats
After touching garbage
There are handwashing stations on every porch so children can wash their hands prior to entering the classroom each morning and at key times throughout the day. Regina came up with this clever approach to creating a place for hand towels on the porch. This is an empty kleenex box with paper towels placed inside. She then used small bungee cords to attach it to the post. Thank you, Regina, for sharing this resourceful approach with everyone!
That’s all I have for now. I look forward to our time together on Thursday.
JULY 22, 2020
JULY 19, 2020
Dear WRM faculty and staff~
The words in tonight’s quote are a balm to my aching soul. It was deeply disappointing to get the news this week that we will not be able to offer on-campus learning until September 8th and I have been reeling the past couple of days with the situation of yet another change to our plans for this year. These words from the wise sage, Mother Teresa, remind me that life is filled with joy and pain, opportunity and setback, hope and discouragement…and we always have an opportunity to decide how we will respond to it. We are being given the chance to practice flexibility and ingenuity once again and I know we will rise to the occasion with the same grace and professionalism we have time and time again over these past four months.
Some faculty and staff members will remain working these next couple of weeks and the rest of us will prepare for starting our school year remotely. Earlier this evening I sent out a new survey to our currently enrolled parents adding a fully-remote option for the entire school year and for the first semester. I anticipate many parents will choose one of these options. Others, however, are in need of their children to be at school and we will continue to create an environment to provide care with a fully-implemented Mitigation Plan as soon as we possibly can. In all of these scenarios, I will once again be asking you to adapt and change to new opportunities.
I will be holding a virtual mandatory faculty/staff meeting on Wednesday, July 22nd at 3:30 p.m. Please join me via Google Meet at meet.google.com/aan-mtbn-gxz. You can submit any questions you may have in advance of the meeting here. We will record this session and share it with anyone who has a conflict during that time.
Today, as in so many other days the past few months, I feel a deep sense of appreciation for all of you. In your own unique and beneficial ways you have given your gifts, talents, and sheer grit to this process and I am truly grateful. Thank you for once again demonstrating what an amazing community we have at White Rock Montessori.
With heartfelt thanks~
JULY 16, 2020
Hello WRM faculty and staff~
Sadly, as you are likely already aware, Dallas County has ordered all schools to refrain from on-campus learning until September 8th at the earliest. I am spending today working on our next adjustment to this current news and am prioritizing the following:
contacting Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to request reconsideration for our school because we already have a fully-functioning mitigation plan in place and it is workingcontacting childcare licensing to see if this applies to our Primary program, which falls under their purview not Dallas County’s
contacting the parents of our Essential Worker Plan to see if they want their children to continue over the next few weeks or if they want to postpone and pick up their program on August 17th
developing a new survey for our parent community to identify any change in plan they want to consider given this situation
scheduling another Town Hall meeting for next week
JULY 12, 2020
Hello July 6th start team~
Congratulations on an amazing first week with children on campus! What a joy it was to have our campus filled with the enthusiastic energy of this cohort of students and faculty/staff. I am filled with appreciation and positive feelings about our official return to school for this small group from our community. I hope you found some time this weekend to relax in the glow of having accomplished an extremely challenging task and are looking forward to the adventures the week ahead will bring!
This week’s article entitled The Beauty of Doing Difficult Things highlights the growth individuals undergo when they persevere through overwhelming situations. It resonated for me as I reflected on the weeks leading up to our opening last Monday and the significant efforts it took to bring this early start together. I hope Dr. Van Tulleken’s reflections hold meaning for you.
Here are my updates for the week:
Personnel Manual 2020
I have completed my revisions to this year’s Personnel Manual. While many are minor adjustments to our standard policies, there are a few updates of which to make a particular note:
Extended Curriculum Plan
This week marks the beginning of Extended Curriculum classes for our July 6th start cohorts. Ext. Cur. Cohort Specialists, please review the Extended Curriculum Plan as you prepare for the week ahead. Ext. Cur. Content Teachers, please pay particular attention to the cycle breakdown at the top of the document because the dates and approach have changed. Classroom cohort teachers, this is a new approach for everyone, so please provide collegial support as we move into this new way of enriching our students’ experience at school.
July 6th start team, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Sol-U-Guard Hand Soap and Disinfectant Spray
A parent in our July 6th cohort community has donated several bottles of Sol-U-Guard hand soap and cleaning disinfectant to our school. This botanical-based product is EPA-registered to disinfect 99.9% of germs. The hand soaps are for you to use on the outside handwashing stations as those soap dispensers are inadequate. The disinfectant spray is meant to be used on the classroom materials because it does not need to be wiped off. You just spray it directly on the materials and allow it to evaporate to complete the disinfection process. Both products are on the counter in each of the classrooms marked as Sol-U-Guard.
That is all I have for updates this week. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!
JULY 5, 2020
Happy Sunday to our July 6th Cohort Team!
I hope you are feeling excited for the return of students to school tomorrow! The campus is ready and your environments look really beautiful. Thank you all for the incredible amount of effort it has taken to bring this all together. “It takes a village” to open a school early during a pandemic. 🙂
I know these past few weeks have been filled with moments of anxiety as we consider how to operate the school in such a unique fashion. Please know how much I appreciate each and every one of you and that I have faith you are fully ready for this new adventure!
Here are some updates for this week:
Masks are a big topic for us as we make this transition to reopening our campus. If you have not yet picked up your two WRM-issued masks, please do so first thing tomorrow morning. They are located in the Activity Room hallway on a table by the laminator.
The above graphic and link below it are from a recent news story on the effectiveness of different types of masks. I encourage you to watch the short video of Dr. Sanjay Gupta during his CNN interview. Thank you to Angelo and Russell for putting together these videos on How to help a student with a mask and how to put on, take off, and launder your mask.
It is important you remember to complete the daily screening upon arrival each day. You can take your temperature at one of the wall-mounted thermometers in the hallway and save the link to your phone for easy access.
I shared this document with the WRM Board of Directors last week and they were astounded by its thoroughness and our readiness as a school. I wanted to send along their well-wishes to you for our first day tomorrow and share their confidence in you (and mine) that this unique first week back will be amazing! I believe in all of you and in the extensive work we have done in preparing for this big day.
We are still restoring the rain garden environment to a usable condition for students after the construction in the spring. It is hoped this will be resolved this week. In the meantime, there will be no composting for the classrooms on the east side of the building (Elementary) until access is resolved. The west side of the building can use the composting tumbler located near the fence on the Primary Playground.
July 6th Cohorts Outdoor Space/Extended Curriculum/Free Play Access
Free Play: Please coordinate rotations between level cohort teachers.
Rob/Lisa – Garden and Primary Playground (11:00)
Emily G/Candy – Woods and Climbing Area/Soccer Field (12:15-12:45)
Regina/Laura – Woods And Climbing Area/Soccer Field (11:30-12:00)
Outdoor Space availability during Work Cycle – Please sign up for when you want to use a specific space. Thank you Emily C for preparing this!
You can use these daily checklists to prepare your mornings and restore your environments each afternoon. Thank you Angelo for putting these together.
Changes to Mitigation Plan
Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) required some changes to our Mitigation Plan last week before they would approve it for our opening this week. They are listed below:
1) All water bottles will need to be brought back and forth and sanitized every night
2) Yoga mats will be sanitized daily
– Teachers will spray with alcohol solution after lunch
– Allow to air dry
– Students will store in their designated space in the classroom after sanitization is complete
3) Primary only
– Bedrolls will be replaced with nap mats and need to be sanitized daily; children can bring a blanket in their backpack and it must go home each day for washing
– Supervision of handwashing required
All handwashing stations have been prepped for the first day with water for rinsing, soap, and ½ paper towel rolls. Thank you Emily C and Scott for making the prep for the first day a little easier on the cohort teachers.
Follow-Up Items from Staff Meeting
There were two questions from our staff meeting last week that I said I would get back to you on…storage of ice packs and yoga mats.
Ice Packs can stay in the classroom freezer and only the classroom teacher can access them to distribute to students. Teachers and students must wash their hands before and after handling them. The teacher must sanitize the ice pack using alcohol spray after each use.
Yoga mat storage – we are working on some prototypes for yoga mat storage. In the meantime, please find creative ways to store them at each student’s designated work area. Candy and Angelo have some resourceful and easy to implement ideas I sense they would be open to sharing with you. We look forward to sharing various other prototypes with you as they are developed.
Afternoon Car Line Plan – July 6th Cohorts
The afternoon car line will run very similarly to our morning procedure. Office staff will be posted at each pick-up location and a member of the Admin Team will use the walkie talkie to call students out when their parent arrives.
1) One person from the Admin Team will be calling cars as they come in and directing them to the appropriate pick-up location.
2) Teachers will send the student out to the area where they were dropped off in the morning.
3) The student will wait on the dot placed there by office staff.
4) Office staff will open the door and invite the student to get in their car.
That’s all I have for this week. My mantra tonight is…we are ready and have everything we need to welcome children back to school!
Sleep well…you got this!
With deep appreciation,
JUNE 26, 2020
JUNE 1, 2020
MAY 28, 2020
MAY 27, 2020
MAY 26, 2020
MAY 22, 2020
MAY 21, 2020
MAY 15, 2020
MAY 14, 2020
MAY 13, 2020
MAY 12, 2020
MAY 11, 2020
MAY 8, 2020
Evaluation & Self-Reflection – You must complete and submit this prior to your evaluation time.
MAY 7, 2020
MAY 6, 2020
MAY 5, 2020
MAY 4, 2020
#CommunityStrong Communication Examples from Courtney
Where to Donate
Shareable Links to #CommunityStrong Video
On YouTube – https://youtu.be/dFlr_B5r89A
On Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/414791252
MAY 1, 2020
APRIL 30, 2020
APRIL 29, 2020
APRIL 28, 2020
APRIL 27, 2020
APRIL 24, 2020
APRIL 23, 2020
APRIL 22, 2020
APRIL 21, 2020
APRIL 20, 2020
APRIL 17, 2020
APRIL 16, 2020
APRIL 15, 2020
APRIL 14, 2020
APRIL 13, 2020
APRIL 12, 2020
Happy Sunday everyone~
I wanted to start this week’s email out with an expression of gratitude for each one of you. On this weekend of celebration for many, I have had the joyful experience of authentic conversation with many friends and loved ones. What a beautiful gift during this time of social distancing! As I have shared my experiences of these past few weeks with those I love, I find myself sharing my appreciation for all of you who have been warriors on this path with me. In the past five years, my experiences at WRM have often been filled with inspiration and hope. This has been magnified exponentially in these past few weeks and for this, I am truly grateful.
Here are my updates for this week:
Week Three – Home Learning Plans
Many thanks to all who have submitted their weeks three and four lesson plans, syllabi, and/or Week-at-a-Glance documents. Having this information in advance is an important part of our Emergency Response Plan. I send wishes for joyous implementation of the work you have created this week!
One on One/Team Meetings Revisions
If you have not yet updated the One on One/Team Meeting Document please do so tonight. It is important you follow the directions at the top of the page.
8th-Grade Graduation Plans
The MS team, along with dedicated parent volunteers, is preparing to move to a virtual 8th-Grade Graduation platform this year. This event is such an important part of our school community and we are excited for these plans to come together.
For your part, we will be facilitating 8th-Grade Journals this year. If you have typically taken part in this ritual in the past, we ask that you write a handwritten note to the students and take a picture of it. Then save it to the individual student’s folder saved here. A parent volunteer will be creating a Shutterfly album/journal for each of the graduates this year.
During this time of crisis, AMS is offering relevant webinars and opportunities to connect. For those of you who were counting on the AMS conference to complete your professional development hours this year, their webinar offerings are a great opportunity to fulfill this requirement.
Trauma and Stress Webinar, Part 1: Understanding the Effects on Children
AMS Connect Live! is a series of networking sessions that keep you connected during this time of isolation. Join us on Zoom for resources, generative conversations, and idea-sharing. This week’s sessions are:
Monday, 3:00 PM: Secondary Teachers*
Tuesday, 3:00 PM: Elementary II Teachers**
Wednesday, 1:00 PM: Heads of Schools Human Resources Advice
Wednesday, 3:00 PM: Elementary I Teachers**
Thursday, 3:00 PM: Early Childhood Teachers
Friday, 3:00 PM: Infant & Toddler Teachers
That’s all I have for this week. I look forward to beginning Week Three with you tomorrow.
APRIL 10, 2020
APRIL 9, 2020
APRIL 8, 2020
APRIL 7, 2020
APRIL 6, 2020
APRIL 5, 2020
Happy Sunday everyone~
Wow! We made it through Week 1 of WRM’s Home Learning Plan. While it was not without its opportunities for learning something new, it was wildly successful in so many ways. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your work in making this transition happen.
Angelo shared this inspiring video with me earlier in the week and I thought it would be a lovely sentiment to start Week 2 off for us. The title of the YouTube video is “We’re Never Lost if We Can Find Each Other.” A statement made partway through resonated so strongly for me (there’s so much peace in people’s faces) that I chose that as a title for tonight’s inspiration. Seeing you throughout the week in our grid view of Google Meet (thank you again Ms. Mary!!!) was a welcome and peaceful experience during times of stress. For me, this was a profound experience…realizing each of you is a part of what kept me grounded throughout the week. Thank you for that. I am truly grateful!
Here are my updates for the week:
Revised School Calendar for Home Learning Plan
Here is a review of the adjusted school calendar, as presented last week, based on our HLP approach:
Week 1: Monday, March 30th – Friday, April 3rd
Week 2: Monday, April 6th – Friday, April 10th
Week 3: Monday, April 13th – Friday, April 17th
Week 4: Monday, April 20th – Friday, April 24th
Week 5: Monday, April 27th – Friday, May 1st
Week 6: Monday, May 4th – Friday, May 8th
Week 7: Monday, May 11th – Friday, May 15th
Last Day of School for Primary and Elementary Students: Friday, May 15th
Monday, May 18th – LE & MS Conferences
Tuesday, May 19th – Primary & UE Conferences
Revised Timeline for Progress Reports
Thank you, Emily Connery, for creating this revised timelines of Progress Report due dates. Please review them and make a note…the first date of responsibilities is Tuesday, April 28.
Times/Needs of Support
We have some faculty members with openings in their schedules they can use to provide support to classrooms who need it. This can be in the form of monitoring work cycle, providing social interaction times, monitoring students while you give lessons, etc. Please complete this form to request areas of support and I will match the appropriate person with your classroom.
Building Visit Sign-Up Sheet
Here is the form to use in order to schedule a time to visit the building this week. You may only sign up for one slot, so please plan ahead and be prepared! While you are there, you will need to remove any classroom materials or books from student cubbies so I can have Maribel’s crew pack the student’s things for pick up on April 17th & 18th. Let me know if you have any questions.
That’s all I have for this week. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. for our staff meeting.
APRIL 3, 2020
APRIL 2, 2020
APRIL 1, 2020
MARCH 31, 2020
MARCH 30, 2020
MARCH 27, 2020
MARCH 26, 2020
8:30 Morning Meeting
MARCH 25, 2020
8:30 a.m. Morning Meeting
Extended Curriculum Meeting
3/25/2020 Extended Curriculum meeting (video coming soon)
3/25/2020 Extended Curriculum meeting (chat transcript)
Ethernet Adapters and Cables for wired internet connection
MARCH 24, 2020
8:30 a.m. Morning Meeting
MARCH 23, 2020
8:30 a.m. Morning Meeting
Primary Level Meeting