August 19, 2020
It is hard to believe that the summer is coming to an end and we are getting ready to return to school for the 2020-2021 school year. It had been our hope, and I am sure your hope too, that the new school year would bring with it some return to “normalcy”. As we continue to plan for the safe return of students and staff, it is clear that we are again heading into a year of uncertainty and “new normals”. With each day, we get more information that helps us better refine what a student’s school day, whether in the hybrid or remote model, will look like. While it still feels like there are more questions than answers, we are committed to communicating the information that we do have to families in a timely manner. Going forward, you can expect to receive weekly updates from the middle school. For families joining us for the first time, as parents of 6th graders or incoming 7th or 8th graders, clicking the “subscribe” icon on our school website will send an email to your inbox each time we share a new update.
The beginning of the school year always brings a wide range of emotions, from excitement to anxiety. The intensity of these feelings can feel like a tide, coming in and out and changing throughout the day. The current public health crisis is creating even more worry and concern for our students, families, faculty, and staff. As we continue to prepare for school, it is important to note that school will look very different than it has in the past. We will be communicating with students about the new and necessary routines that we have to put into place to keep members of our community safe. These routines will include hand washing/sanitizing, wearing a mask, limiting transitions throughout the day, and maintaining physical distance from other individuals.
One theme that has emerged since the beginning of the pandemic is that “we are all in this together”. In order to effectively transition students back to school, we will need the help and support of our families. In the weeks leading up to September 10, 2020, the official first day of school for students, we will be sharing important information on how families can partner with us in keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe in our schools. The faculty, staff, and administration throughout the Burlington Public Schools are working tirelessly to plan for a safe return of students to school. All our efforts will be for not, if individuals and families do not follow the safety guidelines, including maintaining physical distance, limiting large gatherings, and mask wearing, that have been communicated by the state. We are asking for your assistance in promoting these safety measures at home and in the community.
We truly value our relationship with families and we welcome an ongoing partnership between home and school. Out of an abundance of caution, we will be adjusting a number of our regular practices and events. We will be limiting the number of visitors to the building during the school day and year. You can anticipate meetings and events to be virtual whenever possible. This is not our preference, but something that we need to do in order to limit possible exposure.
100% Remote Learning Update
We want to thank families for completing the survey to indicate which model (Hybrid or Remote) that your child will participate in. This information allowed us to further refine our 100% Remote model. This document provides an example of a student schedule for students in grade 6 if they were 100% Remote or if they are participating in the Hybrid model. We believe that we will be able to provide students who are participating in the 100% Remote model the same amount of synchronous instruction as students who are participating in the Hybrid model. This is a DRAFT and is subject to change.
The district will be sending out an email to confirm the model that your child is currently enrolled in.
Virtual Coffee Hour Recording and FAQs
Here is a link to the recording of our Virtual Coffee Hour from Wednesday Evening (8/12). The meeting was approximately 1 hour. Password for the recording is: 3yY3JhKP
We have prepared a FAQ document based on the questions and comments that we received during the Virtual Coffee Hour. This will be a living document and as new questions come in we will add them to the document.
Cohort Assignment Update - Urgent Deadline
We understand that the current circumstances are creating childcare and transportation issues for many families. If your child is enrolled in the Hybrid Model and because of childcare needs you need them to attend their in-person days with a child from another family, please complete this form before Sunday, August 23 at 5:00 pm. Please note that both families will have to make the request and that you are only requesting sstudents be placed in the same cohort (Cohort A, in-person on Monday/Tuesday or Cohort B, in-person Thursday/Friday) in order to facilitate childcare needs. We will not be able to honor requests for students to be placed in the same home-base (class), same team, or with preferred peers.
Please complete this form even if you have previously emailed your request.
Translated versions of the survey can be found here:
We will be working on finalizing team, cohort, and home-base assignments and once complete, we will be sending this information home to families.
The District has not yet published a calendar for the entire school year. We do want to provide you with the dates that we have confirmed so that you are able to begin to plan.
The first day of school will be Thursday, September 10. The current circumstances have prevented us from providing our incoming grade 6 students with our typical transition experiences. In order to support our 6th grade students transition to the middle school, we will be offering a “soft opening” (please see below).
Thursday, September 10th:
Grade 6 students assigned to Hybrid Cohort A will be physically in-person
Grade 6 students assigned to Hybrid Cohort B will be distance learning from home (following a distance learning schedule)
Grade 7 & 8 students will be distance learning from home (following an in-person schedule)
Friday, September 11th:
Grade 6 students assigned to Hybrid Cohort A will be distance learning from home (following a distance learning schedule)
Grade 6 students assigned to Hybrid Cohort B will be physically in-person
Grade 7 & 8 students will be distance learning from home (following an in-person schedule)
Monday, September 14th:
All students will follow their assigned schedule
Back to School Nights
As we enter into the school year, it will be necessary to reimagine some of our typical family outreach events. This year, we are planning on hosting three separate Virtual Back to School Nights for families. More information will be shared as we get closer to these dates.
Grade 6, Thursday, September 24
Grade 7, Tuesday, September 29
Grade 8, Thursday, October 1
Grade 6 WEB Orientation
We are excited for hosting our first annual VIRTUAL WEB Orientation Day and we would like to thank the Burlington Education Foundation for their generous support in bringing WEB to Marshall Simonds Middle School. WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) is a program with the sole purpose of helping incoming students feel more comfortable as they transition to middle school. The WEB Program usually consists of an in-person activity based orientation day that welcomes incoming 6th grade students to the middle school, while providing them with important information about the school. This year, we are switching this important event to a virtual orientation. Incoming 6th grade students will be assigned an 8th grade WEB Leader who will continue to support the 6th grade students throughout the year. This WEB Leader is a responsible older student who was selected from a large pool of applicants, has met the qualifications of being a good role model and a positive leader in our school, and has participated in training.
This year’s VIRTUAL WEB Orientation Day will take place through Google Meet on Tuesday, September 8th from 1:00 - 2:30pm. While it is not a required event, we feel that having our Grade 6 students have an opportunity to connect with leaders in our community and with other incoming Grade 6 students is a vital piece for a successful middle school transition. As we get closer to September 8th, we will follow up with Grade 6 families regarding the Google Meet details.
Social Emotional Health
Middle school can be a challenging time in a child’s development during the best of circumstances. At Marshall Simonds Middle School, we are committed to supporting the whole child’s growth and development, including their social and emotional health. We wanted to take a moment and introduce our school counselors and share other programs and supports that we are putting in place to support our students and their families
Guidance counselors play an important role in supporting students in middle school. MSMS students will have the same guidance counselor for all three years. We believe that this structure will benefit students and families by providing a consistent point of contact over the course of a student’s middle school career. Below is a listing of the guidance counselor assignments for the 2020-2021 school year.
Grade 6 (class of 2027) Mrs. Trish Gibbons email@example.com
Grade 7 (class of 2026) Ms. Dianna Wyllie firstname.lastname@example.org
Grade 8 (class of 2025) Mr. Bobby Conceison email@example.com
This year, we are implementing advisory for all students. This was an important aspect of teaching the whole child that we had planned on implementing in the coming years. Our re-entry team unanimously decided to expedite the process to help meet the social and emotional needs of students, given the trauma we are all experiencing right now. It is a continuation of the Responsive Classroom model that is used in our elementary schools; advisory is concurrently being implemented at the high school this year as well.
In advisory, every student has a staff member who is a “point person” as well as a small group of other students they get to know very well. Advisories will meet a few times a week and provide the time, space, and community to explicitly learn about our core values (perseverance, respect, integrity, diversity, empathy), executive functioning and organizational skills, and coping skills like mindfulness and conflict resolution.
Burlington Public Schools recognizes that returning to school this fall will be exciting for many students, while other students will be experiencing feelings of anxiety and fear. Certainly, the spread of COVID-19 has had serious implications on all of our lives and we know students are feeling these changes deeply. If you have any specific concerns related to your student(s), please reach out to your student’s school counselor directly.
In addition, Burlington Public Schools has partnered with William James College to offer a free and confidential mental health referral service and helpline, INTERFACE. INTERFACE referral service and helpline is available to all Burlington Public Schools students and residents.
For more information on this service please visit https://www.burlingtonpublicschools.org/parents/interface-referral-service.
Burlington Public Schools remains dedicated to the social-emotional well-being of all students and residents.
Summer Learning Resources- Reminders
Marshall Simonds Middle School wants you to have a wonderful summer filled with sun, fun, and reading! Research shows that participating in summer reading boosts academic achievement and prevents a summer slump. We are hopeful that all members of our community will continue to read for pleasure this summer.
Here is a message from Mrs. Floyd, our Library Media Specialist
Please click this link to access information regarding Summer Reading for 2020. Accessing books and literacy opportunities over the summer is crucial for our students and this site will provide you with the information and resources to do this easily. Continue to encourage your child to read throughout the summer. Pre-teens/teens begin to discover more about themselves, their interests, and the world we live in through what they read. Create opportunities to share what you are reading or read together. Start virtual book clubs or read a book with a friend or group of peers. Feel free to share pictures or titles with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please tag any social media posts with #MSMSreads. I look forward to working with your children.
Here are a couple of additional resources that may be helpful for you to assist your child in finding a “just right” book for them!
Summer Math Enrichment
Our math department has put together some resources to support students’ continued math practice over the summer.
News from our Nurses
Incoming 7th grade Physical Exams
Thank you to everyone that has already turned in a copy of their child’s most recent physical exam with immunizations to the school nurses. A more detailed reminder email had been sent from the school nurses on 6/1/2020 to the parents who have not yet turned in this documentation. Please continue to send these documents to the school nurses throughout the summer as your child's appointment is completed.
Burlington Public Schools is requesting an updated physical, with your child’s Tdap and Meningococcal immunizations (Men B not accepted) which are required for students entering 7th grade. This document is required of all Massachusetts children to attend public school per the Department of Public Health immunization requirements and must be dated between January 1, 2019 and September 1, 2020.
We are mandated to adhere to state guidelines so that we provide a safe school environment for all students. If your child’s appointment dated between January 1, 2019 and September 1, 2020 has already happened please forward this required document to your school nurses at your earliest convenience prior to September 1, 2020 via email to: Leigh McGillivray at email@example.com or Olive Schulze at firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to: 781-270-1696, or mail to: MSMS Nurse's Office. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.