Welcome to the Runkle School Learning Hub!
Family Updates from Donna
April 11, 2021
April 4, 2021
March 28, 2021
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. We have been very busy at Runkle preparing for the return of more students to in person instruction this week. The patience and support of our Runkle families through emails and the PTO has been so appreciated. Our teachers were touched by the huge sign that greeted them on Friday morning. The brunch was amazing and safely presented for our Covid times. Thank you Runkle PTO!
March 21, 2021
March 14, 2021
March 7, 2021
February 28, 2021
Dear Runkle Community,
Tomorrow we enter the month of March! There are some great happenings coming our way.
Our FIRST GRADERS return to school fully in person tomorrow. We could not be happier to welcome them back. We have a FULL WEEK of school. Wednesday, March 3rd, is the only early dismissal day at noon. I will join the Negotiation Team this week to discuss the current MOA with the BEU and a plan to move towards bringing more students back to school. I hope you were able to participate in one of the zoom meetings with our Superintendent finalist, Dr. Linus Guillory. I attended the staff and principal forums and felt quite hopeful about Brookline’s future after hearing Dr. Guillory speak and respond to questions. The School Committee will vote on Dr. Guillory’s appointment on March 4th.
I have shared some inspirational pictures above. Shataijah Rainey-Harper, Grade 6, shared a reading about Wilma Rudolph on METCO’s Black History ZOOM this past Wednesday evening. It was an incredible hour of students sharing poetry and history with an audience of over 85 staff, students and families. Thank you to our own Vina Harvey, METCO Liaison, for moderating the event with such grace and kindness. I wanted to share some great bulletin boards created by Jen Schultz and Meghan Walsh. I also thought you might enjoy the creative lunch space on our “spider web” that some third graders actually “enjoy”!
We did not have any positive cases of Covid this past week at Runkle. We begin a pool testing program for teachers on Tuesday which will move to include some students later this month (all voluntary). We have many staff members (BCBAs, OTs, SLPs, School Psychologists, Safety Trained staff, some teachers) who are currently receiving their second vaccine. We are moving in the right direction to a better school experience for everyone. I know this is not easy, but we have to stay on the path to get there. I could not be more appreciative of Runkle’s students, staff and families who continue to support each other through all of this. WE ARE RUNKLE!
Have a wonderful week,
February 21, 2021
Dear Runkle Community,
I hope you were all able to relax and recharge this week. It was not the same “break” that I have relished in the past. I worked most days and tried to spend time with my high school senior. Aidan has been a great sounding board for me. He is struggling to find joy in remote learning and really missing the connections with friends outside of his bubble of five. Planning for college is bittersweet. I cannot imagine a Finnegan household without any of my boys, but we move forward.
We look forward to welcoming our students back to school on Monday, February 22nd. Eight students will be returning to Runkle from the RLA. Monday is an Early Release Day at 12:30 for Professional Development and Planning. Many Runkle teachers will be attending a Literacy/Technology Training presented by our Literacy Coach, Alyssa Rubenstein, and Educational Technology Specialist, Jenny Murphy. We will focus on a shared understanding of Assessment Conferences for literacy, comprehension and record keeping. Runkle is fortunate to have colleagues actively planning for continued professional development in areas that teachers have requested support.
This week, teachers, families and administrators will have the opportunity to meet the finalist for the BPS Superintendent position, Dr. Linus Guillory . Zoom meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, February 24th and Friday, February 26th. Dr. Guillory’s full schedule of meetings can be found here. There will NO SCHOOL SITE COUNCIL MEETING this week to allow for teachers and families to attend these forums.
Our first graders will be returning to In Person learning on March 1st! They will follow the same schedule as our current K students; 5 days per week with a noon dismissal on Wednesdays. Both the first grade team and I couldn’t be more excited to have first graders back in school full time! There will be a Public Hearing held on Tuesday, February 23rd to discuss the plan to return more students to In Person Learning. Dr. Marini shared a proposal to bring students back at Thursday evening’s School Committee Meeting. There is a tentative plan to bring grades 2-5 back by March 29th. There are many steps that must be taken before this plan is secured. I promise to share information as soon as I have it.
I understand the excitement and anxiety that moving towards yet another model of instruction can elicit in students, teachers, families and ME. I appreciate the patience and professional manner in which everyone at Runkle has approached these challenges. I won’t always have the answers, but I will listen and work hard to find them. I had a great boss once who always told me, “It’s nice to be important Donna; it’s more important to be nice...”
February 7, 2021
January 31, 2021
January 24, 2021
January 17, 2021
January 8, 2021
January 3, 2021 - Happy New Year!
December 23, 2020 - Winter Wishes
December 13, 2020
December 5, 2020
November 24, 2020
November 15, 2020
November 2, 2020
Dear Runkle Families and Caregivers,
November is a special time to be thankful for all we have been given. Let me begin by thanking each one of you for your support and tireless work in so many areas of school life here at Runkle. We appreciate all of the supportive emails and comments from parents and students. We have successfully navigated Hybrid instruction for grades 1-8 for one whole week. We have had lunch in classrooms, under tents, in rain, in snow, and most recently with very small groups in the cafeteria. We take small steps towards feeling “normal” everyday. However, we are maintaining the “6 foot rule” for social distancing at Runkle. It is more difficult at recess, but students have been great about keeping masks on and washing hands. Most important to all of us is that students seem really happy to be in school, and our teachers are doing everything in their power to make this successful for everyone.
Brookline Public Schools has moved from Kindergarten and First to Return back to school fully, some fully remote, then all hybrid in less than two months. Then we changed the schedules! ALL WEDNESDAYS ARE FULLY REMOTE AND END AT 12 NOON (GRADES 1-8) STARTING NOVEMBER 4TH. We need the noon dismissal in order to give teachers lunch, a prep and collaboration time that they lose with Fridays ending at 2:30 pm.
This will be a difficult week for many of us. Tomorrow’s election will be undoubtedly exciting, but stressful as well. Uncertainty is not our friend right now. I loved the quote that I saw last week, “I am less concerned with who you vote for, but more concerned with how you treat others who vote DIFFERENTLY than you…” Teachers have been provided with resources about how to speak to our students about this election. Our children will watch us and model us. I choose to be calm and collected, breathe and remain kind. I want to return to Runkle ready to welcome and support all of our faculty and students when they arrive back to school.
The Town of Brookline sent home new calendars today (attached). They have adjusted the Early Release Days for conferences to be more equitable to both cohorts. Next week includes a Wednesday (11/11) holiday for Veteran’s Day. I have also attached COVID guidelines for Families that I will add to our website, Runkle.org. Jenny Murphy is updating the Runkle Learning Hub on that website as well. I have made a promise to send video messages to our students starting this week. Keep an eye out for those!
This week will bring better weather. As you know, education is teamwork and the team that wins is the team that works together. Thank you for being a strong Runkle team member working hard for our school community. Stay safe and be well.
October 25, 2020
Dear Runkle Families and Caregivers,
We had a successful Week 1 of Hybrid Learning! We loved seeing our first and second graders in school, but we understand how challenging this transition has been. The plan for next week is:
Cohort A in school on Monday and Tuesday
Cohort B in school half day Wednesday, full days Thursday and Friday
Our teachers are doing their best to instruct the students in person as well as those at home. Some will experiment with streaming live from the classroom if they can make it work. Others will send asynchronous work on remote days. I have seen incredible examples of the content that teachers are sharing with families for remote days using slides, websites and standard platforms. We will continue to fine tune this work.
Superintendent Marini messaged to all families on Friday, October 23, 2020 that starting on November 3rd we will be fully remote on Wednesdays. I understand yet another change is problematic for so many families. We all seem to be restructuring our schedules every other day. Fully Remote Wednesdays are most likely a good thing for us. This will allow for students to be together as a class with their teachers as they have been for remote learning. It provides an opportunity for deep cleaning as well. Runkle will still have a number of children in the building including Kindergarten, RISE and some First to Return students.
Drop Off/Dismissal Reminders
Kindergarten drop off and dismissal is at the classroom doors on the playground
Grades 1 and 3 drop off and dismissal is at the Chesham St. Door by the Peace Garden
Grade 7 and 8 will enter and leave from the front doors on Druce St. Students should line up by their Homeroom sign on either side of the front doors (6 feet apart). Grades 7 and 8 will enter in the right side doors.
Vans will continue to drop off at Druce St. entrance
Grades 2 and 6 will enter and leave from Clinton St. playground doors
Grades 4 and 5 will enter and leave from Door #2 between kindergarten and large playground
Chromebooks do need to be in school for all grades unless told otherwise by classroom teachers. Students should have headphones with a microphone. Airpods and wireless headphones do not work with chromebooks right now. The bluetooth was shut off to allow better connectivity with ZOOM.
Thank you to all of the parents who have volunteered to help with lunch and recess coverage. We plan to eat outside as much as possible. We added a tent to the basketball court and plan to put tables and chairs under it. I have attached some guidelines for volunteers regarding safety, recess rules and confidentiality. I appreciate your patience with this new routine. We have never used parent volunteers in the manner before, especially with so many safety precautions and responsibilities. It’s another example of how Runkle can work together as a community to get through this period of time. Do not feel obligated to volunteer. Your emails of encouragement and praise for your teachers is equally appreciated.
No School Dates
Election Day! Tuesday November 3, School Closed for Students. Professional Day for Teachers. VOTE!
Veteran’s Day Wednesday November 11, School Closed for ALL.
I look forward to seeing you all this week,
October 14, 2020
Hello Runkle Families and Friends,
I would like to thank you all for your patience and kindness during the first few weeks of this incredibly strange school year! We continue to receive emails praising our teachers for their “herculean” efforts in creating a “robust” remote learning experience for our students. Parents and students have been happy to see teachers and peers throughout the school day. Now we are excited to welcome back our students into hybrid learning starting on Tuesday, October 20th for Grades 1 and 2. Grades 3-8 are scheduled to return to hybrid learning on Monday, October 26th.
Below and attached to this email are some important pieces of information to help you and your child(ren) get prepared for the start of hybrid learning on Tuesday October 20th. Please take the time to carefully read this letter and the attached document.
Cohorts were emailed to parents last Thursday. At this time cohorts are finalized and we are unable to take any requests for changes to cohorts. When creating our cohorts for hybrid learning we prioritized keeping siblings together across grades 1-8, ensuring students access to special education and EL services, and maintaining small balanced cohorts. Cohorts were created in collaboration with building administrators, guidance counselors, special education teachers, and EL teachers. We also paid careful attention to any bullying investigations and other historical information about social conflicts amongst peer groups. Given the many competing priorities and constraints we are confident that the cohorts we created represent groups that will allow all students to be supported fully when they are here in person in the building.
Cohort A will be in the building on Mondays and Tuesdays from 8:00a.m. - 2:30p.m. and every other Wednesday from 8:00 - 12:00noon. The first Wednesday for Cohort A is October 21st. On Wednesdays no lunch will be provided but students are welcome to pick up “grab and go” meals as they head home. Cohort B will be in the building on Thursdays and Fridays from 8:00a.m. to 2:30p.m. and every other Wednesday from 8:00 - 12 noon. The first Wednesday for Cohort B is October 28th. (See attached schedule for cohorts).
Returning to the Building
We are excited to welcome your child(ren) back to the building during the week of Tuesday October 20th.
It is quite possible that your younger child(ren) will experience some strong feelings on the first few days back in the school building. It has been a long six months since they have been away from home and participating in their daily school routine inside of the building. Your child(ren) may have a hard time separating from their adult dropping them off to school. On the first few days we will have plenty of staff at our entrances to support the separation, but please know that caregivers and family members will not be able to accompany children into the building. You may even consider having a couple practices prior to your first day back where you walk through the routine and practice saying goodbye if you know that your child has a hard time with transitions. We will be sending more information about entering and exiting the building over the weekend.
Our entire building will be transitioning to our hybrid learning plan and schedule on Tuesday October 20th. This means that all students K-8 will follow their hybrid schedules and plans regardless of their actual start date for in-person learning. This means that our Kindergarten students will transition to early release days on Wednesdays (12:00 dismissal) and participate in full days on Fridays (2:30pm dismissal) Additionally our Grades 3-8 students will be participating in their hybrid schedules even though they are still fully remote for one more week of school (Oct. 20-23).
First to Return
We have worked with our team of special education teachers, team facilitators, guidance counselors, principal colleagues across the district, and central administration to identify students who will continue in the First to Return program. This information was shared earlier today. None of these decisions were easy. We had to significantly decrease the number of First to Return students in order to adequately staff and plan for the hybrid model.
In order for our hybrid plan to be implemented safely we are asking our community members to volunteer if you are able to help cover lunch blocks in school. All volunteers must have a completed CORI on file (they can be dropped off at our main office to be processed) and will be required to follow all of our health and safety protocols and procedures such as wearing a mask, and adhering to social distancing guidelines when in the building. I will be coordinating with Runkle’s PTO to organize volunteers before the weekend. Please keep an eye out for an invite to volunteer.
What If My Family Does Not Want to Return to a Hybrid Model?
I have been asked this question by so many families. I know that families will receive an email from the school district in the coming weeks asking if they wish to change models. This will be the last chance that families will have to choose the Remote Learning Academy (RLA). The enrollment in RLA begins in November (9th or 16th). I believe that once this decision is made in November, families will not be able to switch back. Students will be marked “absent” if they do not come to Runkle for their in-person days in hybrid, but they are welcome to participate in any remote work provided on SeeSaw, Google Classroom or CANVAS. They can join class meetings in the morning or any check-ins with their teachers throughout the day.
What Will Remote Days Look Like?
Families have also sent email questions and suggestions about teachers streaming live from their classrooms to the students at home. We are not set up for this format of remote teaching at Runkle. Some teachers may try this, but it is not something that the district is requiring. Students will follow their same schedule on remote days. The content work will be asynchronous. Specialists, World Language teachers, special educators and guidance counselors may schedule times for synchronous meetings with students during remote days as well. Students will log into their homerooms each morning for attendance/class meetings on remote days. Teachers may schedule check-ins at the end of the day if possible, allowing students to see their other classmates.
We are ready to welcome your child(ren) back to our building. Runkle is not the same without the voices of our students in the hallways and classrooms. We are looking forward to meeting each child where they are and carving a supported path together as we step into this new chapter of our school year during a pandemic. This transition to hybrid will no doubt be challenging and we will come up against many roadblocks for which we may not have been able to anticipate and plan. When these moments happen I know that Runkle will RISE UP. We will be strong, pull together, and work collaboratively as a community operating from positions of kindness, respect, and empathy.
I look forward to seeing you all soon!
October 3, 2020
Dear Runkle Community,
I will keep my message short. I understand how precious everyone’s time is, but I will share what I know today to prepare for the week ahead.
We continue to receive updates about the Hybrid Opening for all grade levels. The last communication from the Central Office asked principals to create schedules for an October 20th Hybrid start for Grades 1 and 2. The plan is to start Grades 3-8 in a Hybrid model the following week, October 26th.
Students will be in the building 2.5 days per week and completely remote 2 days per week.
Wednesdays will be a half day in-person and end at 12 or 12:30 pm. No lunches on Wednesdays.
Week 1 - Cohort A in-person Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (½ day)
Week 2 - Cohort B in-person Wednesday (½ day), Thursday and Friday
We recognize how important in-person learning is for your family, but I want to acknowledge how hard our teachers have been working to provide robust, remote learning opportunities for grades 1-8 these past weeks. I have been so proud of their dedication to making this work.
In preparation for our hybrid opening we are crafting model schedules, solidifying class cohorts, considering the tech we can leverage to support learning in-person and remotely, making sure all school areas meet safety measures, and much much more. Obviously, siblings will be placed in the same cohorts. I plan to share the A and B Cohorts with families by Wednesday of this week. None of this work is easy. Please understand that we are trying to meet the needs of so many students and families. We will do our best to make this work for everyone involved.
School starts at 8am. I have asked teachers to post attendance by 8:15 am each morning. If you have to walk a Pre-K or K student to school with another child, please let us know and we will make adjustments. Your student will not be marked tardy for this type of accommodation. If your student will be out sick or needs to be dismissed half way through the day (doctor, dentist, early dismissal) please let the teacher know when they are leaving and when they may return and contact the Main Office by email or phone call. Our absent line remains the same 617-879-4249.
Canvas for Parents
As you may know, Canvas is the learning management system (LMS) used by all Brookline middle and high school students. It can be a valuable resource for parents as well. To support students in remote learning, parents can now access the Canvas parent app for iOS and Android. This page is a brief overview (and video!) of what parents can do with the Canvas app and also includes instructions on how to link the parent app to your student's accounts. You’ll be able to monitor your student's work submissions, see feedback from teachers, and view grades. For more detailed information, checkthis page.
Chromebook Troubleshooting Steps
Restart the Chromebook and log back-in. Note: It is best practice to restart your chromebook and log-in before the start of each school day. If the problem persists, move to the next step.
Update the Chromebooks Operating System (Check for updates yourself). If the problem persists, move on to the next step.
Is your Internet slow? Do a speed test on your internet. Try the speedtest with one computer and then add other computers to see what your speed is and if your internet can handle the load. If the problem persists, move to the next step.
Reach out to the student help desk for further assistance (armed with the speed test results). If the problem persists, move on to the next step.
If you have not heard back from the help desk by the next day, we will swap out your chromebook.
Write a short description of the problem and add the label Runkle (ie. In Zoom my audio is very choppy - Runkle) on a sticky note and attach it to the chromebook.
Call the school at 617-879-4650 to make arrangements to come to school and pick up a new chromebook.
Come in at the arranged time to leave your old chromebook and pick up a new one.
Zoom - Students, Protect Yourself and Your Classmates
We want to protect our students and staff while using zoom. In order to do this, all students must:
Log-in with your brooklinek12.org accounts!
Don’t Share The Zoom Link
You May Not Rename Yourself
You May Not Share Your Screen
You May Not Private Chat
You May Not Annotate
Talk About Zoom Bombing With Your Guardian(s)
More details about the above actions can be found here:
Room Parents: Seeking Volunteers!
Thanks to the parents and caregivers who have volunteered as room parents for the 2020-21 school year! We are building a cadre of incredible parents and caregivers, and we need MORE of you! Please consider stepping forth in this critical role. It's understatement to say that "it takes a village," especially in a year like this one. Interested volunteers should send their name, their child's name, and their classroom or grade to Devon Powell at email@example.com
Tuesday, October 6th: Runkle Picture Day
Thursday October 8th: Grade 2 Plus Activity at 1:45 pm on Field and Basketball Court
Thursday October 8th: Grade 1 Open House via ZOOM, 6-6:30 pm
Monday, October 12th: School Closed: Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Have a wonderful week,
September 28, 2020
Dear Runkle Families and Caregivers,
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I appreciated the summer-like weather. I hope that those of you celebrating Yom Kippur had an easy fast.
I want to share some news you can use:
We have hired a new Grade 7 and 8 Social Studies teacher. His name is Alec Turner. Alec comes to Runkle from Boston Prep Charter School. He received both his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Masters in Education from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. At Boston Prep, Alec built the new sixth grade history curriculum in the course’s first year. We are very excited to welcome Alec to Runkle. Mr. Turner starts tomorrow.
We are now looking for a new Grade 7 and 8 Health Teacher to replace Ms. Goldring and Ms. Galton. Ms. Goldring is currently working part time and Ms. Galton is working at the RLA. Both have provided asynchronous work for our students while we are in the process of hiring a new teacher.
SUBSTITUTES. BPS is not sending substitute teachers into our buildings when staff are out. This means that teachers will post asynchronous work for their classes if they are out sick or out for any reason. We will work diligently to let families know when this happens, but we do not always have notice before the morning. The town is looking into hiring building substitutes who would only work in one building. I will keep you posted about this as well.
If you have a middle school student at home, please remind them to log into their Homeroom tomorrow morning BEFORE going to Conservatory so we can take attendance.
We did adjust the middle school schedule to include 15 minute screen/mask breaks in the morning and afternoon. Last week made it clear that moving straight through all the classes was too much for students. Here is a link to the schedules/times https://sites.google.com/psbma.org/runklelearninghub/schedules. Students have links on CANVAS.
As of today, we are planning to bring back grades 1 and 2 in a Hybrid format in October. The date could be October 13th or the 20th. Grades 3-5 will enter soon after and then grades 6-8. The School Committee is working with the Central Office on specifics. We are working on the schedule for two cohorts, 2 days in person, 2 days remote, 1 full day of synchronous/asynchronous learning and cleaning of the building. This could change, but I want you to know what I know.
Thank you for your patience and kindness during this challenging start to our school year. Our teachers and staff are working so hard to make this all work. It’s been wonderful to see our Runkle students online and in person, but we want them all back:)
September 23, 2020
Good Afternoon Runkle Families and Caregivers,
I wanted to provide you with a couple of midweek updates:
Today we had our first Fire Drill. Our students and staff in the building did a great job. There was a short interruption in remote instruction for some students. We do have staff who teach from their classrooms. They were required to leave the building as well.
WE CANNOT HAVE REMOTE PLUS STUDENTS ON RUNKLE'S PLAYGROUND DURING SCHOOL HOURS. I feel bad telling our students to leave, but I cannot mix cohorts of students at this time. They are welcome to be here after school or at Dean Park during school hours.
Teachers will be asked to attend Special Education Team Meetings for their students throughout the school year. In the Remote Plus model, teachers will assign asynchronous work for their classes offline if they need to attend a meeting. We provide coverage for teachers when they are teaching in person.
We are working on the start of a Hybrid Model of instruction for our next group of students. We are hopeful that this will happen by mid October. It would most likely be Grade 1, possibly Grade 2. I do not have details, but we are in the planning process. More desks arrived today.
I will keep you posted with new information as I receive it.
Have a wonderful afternoon,
September 20, 2020
Dear Runkle Families and Caregivers,
I hope everyone was able to enjoy this incredible September weekend. I am sharing my view as I write this letter. I am away with four friends. Our sons all graduated from Brookline High School in 2020. This was the weekend we planned to celebrate their new beginnings. They were all supposed to be off at college enjoying their freshman year. It’s been bittersweet, as only my son is truly away at UVM. All are learning remotely; two at a hotel in Boston and two at home. This was my first full weekend away in a very long time, but I knew I needed to go. Now it’s time to get back to work supporting my Runkle family.
We made it through our first week of school at Runkle! It was heartwarming to see our Pre-K and Kindergarten students entering the building on Wednesday. They wore their masks, sat 6 feet apart (outside for snack and lunch), played and learned. Many told me, “I love school,” and it was clear that they were happy to be together and with their teachers. Our teachers were also delighted to see your children in person and online.
Our “new normal” is not without challenges. It has not been easy on students, teachers or parents. I appreciate the emails about how great the first 2 days of middle school went, but there were others who experienced frozen screens, no microphones, slow processing and more. Teachers were exhausted after 3 days on ZOOM and worried about their students’ stamina and mental health. They could not reach out to them when they looked sad on a ZOOM call. They wanted to give a hug or a high five and felt awful when a student just signed off.
This continues to be a process of learning for us all. There were glitches in the 6-8 schedule, but we were able to fix them by Friday afternoon. This meant teacher changes and disappointed students. Parents are having doubts and questions about the choices they made for the Remote Learning Academy, Remote Plus, First to Return and/or Home Schooling. I want to be able to reassure each and every one of you, but I share many of your questions and concerns.
We will never stop trying to make this better. We will never stop trying to reach every student. We want EVERY student to succeed no matter the obstacles. We value ALL of our students and their families. We will work towards diminishing the inequities that impede ALL students from getting what they need. Please remain the positive and supportive stakeholders that I know you can be. We are counting on this from our students, families, teachers and ME.
August 27, 2020
Dear Runkle Families and Staff,
I hope you are all enjoying the final weeks of the summer. I know that many of you are just looking forward to having a routine that includes school, work, friends and family. I am working hard to finalize class placements and schedules for the fall. The information that families and staff have provided through surveys is still coming in. I desparately want to communicate class placements, schedules and Runkle Safety Measures to both families and staff. I also want to connect you to the teachers who will be working with your children in both an in-person and remote capacity. I was under the assumption that I could just "email" placements with the stroke of a key on my computer. It's more complicated than I anticipated and I am making changes everyday to balance classes due to new families and some withdrawals. I am scheduled to send placements on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 2nd. I am hoping to send supply lists and other communications with these emails as well.
I apologize for not being able to respond with certainty to every email and phone call that I receive. I have to ask for your continued patience. Enrollment remains fluid and we are still figuring out how to staff all the models of teaching and learning that we are providing in the best way possible. Any announcements that I make could be inevitably undone in a few days based on the information we receive. I would like to address some common questions.
Will I have a chance to meet the teachers?
YES! The parent-teacher relationship is foundational in ensuring that each child thrives in the classroom. We will be collaboratively planning for these opportunities to get to know each other when staff returns next week. I am hopeful that we can see small groups of students outdoors to hand out materials, devices, etc.
Are parents allowed in the building?
No. At this point, safety protocols do not allow us to welcome parents into the building. In our planning we are looking at specific drop off and pick up spots for Kindergarten, but outside of the building itself. We will move towards planning for other grades as the fall progresses. We will secure places where caregivers can say goodbye in the morning and hello at the end of the day.
Are classrooms safe?
The Public Schools of Brookline have a team of people who do nothing but ensure our classrooms will be safe for learning. Every year, we pride ourselves on creating clean, beautiful and well equipped spaces for children to learn. As we reopen schools, we are working tirelessly to make sure that every learning space is not only student-centered, but all meets all safety standards.
Will students receive individual devices?
Staff will be working next week to secure a pick up plan for chromebooks. We have enough devices for all of our Runkle students. I am not sure if that means that every student will receive one OR if it is need based (yet). I believe the thoughts are that all students should be working on the same device to lessen confusion and complexity while working on specific platforms.
What if someone in the community has COVID?
Our school nurse, Janet Campbell, is the best! She, along with other Public Schools of Brookline health professionals and members of the Brookline DPH, will be one of the first voices you hear from should someone in the community test positive for COVID. We have a separate room in the nurse's office for students who present with symptoms while waiting for pick up. Janet and I will be putting more specific information together for families about Runkle procedures and protocols.
Fran McGreal, our custodian, has been busy cleaning, ushering air quality control personnel around the building, compiling PPE and cleaning supplies all while measuring classrooms and seating options with me. Our new Administrative Assistant, Tracey LeGendre, and Interim VP, Elizabeth Castellana have already started working to help me with all of these tasks. I am grateful for their support.
Today, Ms. Castellana, Lauren Vulcano, K-4 Guidance Counselor, and I met with our PTO Presidents, Devon Powell and Kreta Shah, to start thinking about the new school year. We are looking forward to planning parent meetings with teachers and specialists over ZOOM to introduce and provide training in learning platforms and schedules during the next few weeks. The PTO is anxious to provide teachers and families with as much support as possible in this new start to the school year. Be sure to look out for the first PTO Newsletter on September 13th.
What are Some Things I Might Need to Start the Year?
First, check out “The Big Life Journal” https://drive.google.com/file/d/10czcegGplbl3-WpRsqf1IVDc60cBeluc/view. This resource is full of ideas on how to get this year, as unexpected as it is, started on the right foot.
And these articles might be of interest, too:
Updates will continue to come in the next days and weeks, so please stay tuned.
We are nervous and excited to start the year: just like you. I truly believe that together we can make great things happen.
John D. Runkle School