Principal's Corner with
Scofield Magnet Middle School
June 15, 2020
We made it! Welcome to all our incoming 6th grade families, who I have included in this email communication. This has been a roller coaster of a school year. Despite many challenges, our students (your children) performed very well. Considering the circumstances that we faced on March 12th, I think we did as best we could. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly challenges that we need to overcome as a learning institution. Your feedback is always welcome. The following constitutes our final newsletter of the 2019-20 school year:
- Congratulations to our departing 8th graders. We wish you well. Always remember that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Stay in touch. Link to view moving up ceremony (previously shared on June 12 with 8th grade families): http://www.viewpure.com/y_Fa6RKMCr4. 8th Grade Video Montage created by Scofield music teacher, Mrs. Theresa Moriarty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFmuc0TqS5Q&feature=youtu.be
- Locker bag retrieval/item drop off schedule for the remainder of the week:
- 8th Grade-Tuesday
- 7th Grade-Wednesday and Thursday
- Friday- Appointment only
- All times are 8:30-12:30
- Attached is our summer reading assignment. This assignment uses district grading criteria and will be applied to all classes in the fall. Scofield 2020 summer reading .docx
- Report Cards: Parents can access their child’s final grades via the parent portal. Grades will be available on June 17th. Please see the attached link for how to access your child’s grades: https://www.stamfordpublicschools.org/toquam-magnet-elementary-school/news/sign-powerschool-access-see-your-childs-report-card
- Contact Information: Please be sure to update the office if you get a new cell phone number, change your email address etc. The office number is 203-977-2750.
- Yearbooks: I am sorry to report that the yearbook publisher has not been able to confirm shipping. Many schools are in the exact same position as we are. I am working with the publisher to possibly have yearbooks shipped to student homes.
- Task Force For Reopening Schools: Please use the following link to read about the committees established to reopen school in the fall. I am serving on the technology committee and will be focusing on providing teachers with professional development in various platforms of distance education.
- 6th Grade Orientation: Scofield school counselors hosted a series of informational sessions with the different elementary schools over the last few weeks. Stay tuned for additional information on orientation. In the meantime, please use the following link for our slide show presentation. https://www.stamfordpublicschools.org/scofield-middle-school/about-us/pages/orientation-presentation. Please feel free to reach out to the school with any questions. We are “here” all summer in one capacity or another.
- 7th and 8th Grade Algebra: Decisions on math placement will be done in the fall. Normally 6th and 7th grade students take the “Orleans Hanna” Algebra readiness assessment. We will figure it out and get students placed into the appropriate math level. Algebra may not start right away in the fall. I understand how important this is to some people. Please be patient.
- 8th Grade Geometry (for 7th grade students currently in Algebra): For 2020-2021 school year this course will be taught by Virtual High School (VHS). This will be the case whether we return to “normal” school or not. Scofield has had a long partnership with VHS and over the years our students have had a high degree of success in the course. The course is aligned with national standards and meets criteria for high school credit.
- Prior newsletters: Please check out the “Principal’s Corner” on our website to access all of my prior newsletters. https://sites.google.com/view/scofieldprincipalscorner
- Until we hear differently, office hours will continue to be Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30-12:30. Please use the appointment form to visit. https://www.stamfordpublicschools.org/scofield-middle-school/news/all-visitors-must-schedule-appointment-online
Scofield Magnet Middle School
June 9, 2020
Good Afternoon Parents,
This is the last full week of school. We made it! I know we have all endured something quite unique in every sense of the word these last few months. As a father of four working from home, I have shared your struggles with "distance learning." I really do hope we are back in school come September. It's important for parents to know that the Superintendent has convened various committees to develop plans for some type of in-person return in the fall. Although the state department of education has given some general guidelines and possible ideas for a return, no firm decisions have been made. I am personally serving on the technology "one to one" computer committee. This week's updates include the following:
Moving Up Ceremony: Per guidelines issued by the health department and Superintendent, this year’s ceremony has been pre-recorded. We are working on the finishing touches at this very moment. Unfortunately, we are not professional videographers and we are doing the best we can. The ceremony and a related year-end 8th grade video created by Mrs. Moriarty will be posted on the school website and sent out via email on Friday morning. We are working with the other middle schools to coordinate a possible uniform time. The ceremony is about 40-45 minutes long. Thanks for your patience.
Item Retrieval/Drop Off: This process begins for 6th grade on Wednesday, June 10 and June 11 from 8:30-12:30. 8th Grade is on June 15 and 16. 7th Grade will be on June 17 and 18. June 19 is by appointment. All times are 8:30-12:30. If you have more than one child, you may come on any of their designated grade level days. Please enter the main lot and circle around the bus loop, which is divided by the long center island. Students should be sitting on the passenger side. Give name and advisory teacher to the staff member on the curb. A staff member will collect items from you (library books, chrome books, instruments, textbooks etc.). Another staff member will retrieve the locker bag from the gym. We will also give you a pack of books courtesy of Scholastic. No one is permitted to exit their vehicle.
Summer Reading: Will be posted to the school website on Monday, June 15
Yearbooks: Our publisher gave us a shipping date of May 29. However, the books have not arrived and the publisher will not give us tracking information This is unfortunately a symptom of the pandemic. Many schools are dealing with the same issue.
Stay tuned for additional details.
Dear Scofield Magnet Middle School Parents,
We are all experiencing a variety of emotions by the most recent events in Minneapolis and cities across the country. These feelings can be fear, mistrust, angst, and anger.
Events that we are seeing in the news or on social media can test our human spirit. It’s important that in times like this that we support one another and come together as a community. Our physical distance should not impact our ability to connect. In the spirit of togetherness, if you need support or someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any other staff member. I am blessed to have my own network of fellow Principals that I have been in contact with to debrief what we are all seeing. After having a lengthy discussion with my colleagues today that was ripe with many emotions, I thought it was important that you hear directly from me.
Additionally, I am sure that everyone would agree that images we have observed in the news media and social media are deeply disturbing. As if the images of George Floyd are not troubling enough, a dying retired police officer and a woman being hit over the head with a 2 x 4 are horrible to view, regardless of your age. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to be mindful of what your children are viewing. If you know they have observed various images, please talk with them. As a father of four children, I can tell you for sure that if you don’t, someone else will and it may not meet your parental expectations.
Finally, I will leave you a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt. “Courage is not having the strength to go on, it’s going on when you don’t have strength.” Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Scofield Magnet Middle School
May 29, 2020
8th Grade Moving Up (Previously shared with 8th grade parents): There will be a virtual ceremony on June 12th. The following is a portion of the letter sent to all eighth grade families:
Based on the conversations the district administration has had with our public health and safety departments, and the number of COVID-19 cases in Stamford, a virtual Moving Up Ceremony for this year is our safest and most equitable option for all middle schools in Stamford, including Rogers..
As you know, this year has been different from any year before and we had to find a workable solution for all middle schools that is in line with the guidelines from the Governor’s Executive Orders, Connecticut State Department of Education and our own public health and safety officials.
Graduation Signs: Many thanks to our PTP co-Presidents, Nella Gonzalez and Sherry West for coordinating and designing signs for our departing eighth graders. In this crazy time we are living in it’s important to acknowledge the milestone of the transition from middle school to high school. The generous contributions to the PTP treasury made this all possible.
Eighth Grade Exhibition: Congrats to all of our eighth graders for completing the culminating Scofield project. Although we made some adjustments along the way, you did it and you should be proud! I know your teachers and parents are proud of you. This project serves as a defining attribute of a Scofield student and sets you apart from your peers. Year after year we hear from Scofield alumni who reach out to us as college students or young professionals who used their Exhibition project as a starting point for a college major or even a career. Congratulations on a job well done!
Item retrieval and collection: The district committee convened to coordinate efforts to streamline the process of locker clean out, chrome book collection, instrument collection, yearbook distribution and return of other school property will be finalized early next week. Please be patient.
Chess Club: NECA is offering a FREE 30 minute chess class/lesson on Tuesday June 2nd 2020 at 6:30 pm through Zoom. It is really easy to set up and those interested can send an email request to email@example.com. It’s available for children and their parents. Space is limited so first come, first serve.
Summer Reading: The summer reading assignment will be sent out on June 15th. The details will also be posted to the school website.
Parent/Guardian Communications Survey: The Stamford Public Schools and our community partners would like to hear from Parents/Guardians about how they and their children are doing while schools are closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is an overwhelming time for all of us and we appreciate learning through you about how families are managing. Please complete the following survey by June 5th.
As we wrap up the school year, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Scofield Magnet Middle School
Student Quote of the Week: This came from a weekly educational journal that I subscribe to. “Life without school is much more boring than I thought it would be. Without the summerlike feeling of no work and being able to see friends, it’s actually very depressing.” Una, age 14, Beacon, NY
8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony: All of the middle school principals met with the Superintendent and Associates to discuss plans to recognize our departing 8th graders. We must adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order regarding public gatherings. That means the chances of any type of drive-by scenario in the parking lot are next to zero. Right now the process to recognize high school seniors is the priority of the district. Plans for the high schools should be solidified in the coming days. Once that planning is complete, the middle schools will finalize our plans. Please contact me if you have an idea for some type of way to recognize our 8th graders.
8th Grade Exhibition: Reminder that pre-recorded presentations are due on Friday, May 22nd. Students should check for additional information with their advisory teacher on. 8th grade students will have a decreased workload for the week to prepare. This would still be the case if we were in school.
Medication Pick Up: Friday 5/22 & 5/29 9AM-2-PM. State regulations prohibit any medication from being stored in the nurse's office during the summer. Any medication not picked up will be discarded per state regulations. Please know that this is a "drive by" pick up. The designated area for pick up will be the front parking lot. Parents and students will not be permitted to exit their vehicles or enter the school. The nurse will be at the designated area with all medications for pick up. Parents will drive in the main lot and loop around to the front entrance sidewalk. Please wear a mask when speaking to the nurse or an administrator. Give your child’s name when you drive up and the medication will be placed in your car. Unfortunately we can’t combine this with locker item pick up.
Locker Clean Out: Please be patient. Unfortunately I am not on my own to move forward with the plan I submitted. I know everyone is eager to pick up their stuff.
Viewing Grades in PowerSchool: With the recent grading changes for 4Q, there have been some bumps in the road in terms of getting PowerSchool synced up. Here is a tip sheet for how to view 4Q grades with the new participation grading scale.
SPEF Tutoring: The Stamford Public Education Foundation, in collaboration with the Ferguson Library, has launched Home Work Helpers, which is free, online, interactive academic help for students in all grade levels. Students can receive help in all subject areas, Monday-Friday. If you are interested, please complete this form. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdWqji9UdLyXCl9ko_17et2DXMYxoDE1POp5556ZnKGITeUXA/viewform (English)
Stamford Public Schools Grab-and-Go Meals-updated- click here for more info including location changes.
- Monday (two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner meal per child 18 or younger)
- Wednesday (two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner meal per child 18 or younger)
- Friday (three breakfasts and three lunches per child 18 or younger)
Grab and Go Meal Site Addition: Effective 5/12/2020 are now serving grab and go meals from 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Latham Wilder (South End Community Center). Back parking lot. 137 Henry Street. Stamford, CT 06902
Live teaching sessions: Parents should not be recording or photographing live teaching sessions in any manner at all. Recording teachers without their consent may be considered a privacy violation.
Please take a look at this article about parents of middle school children: https://time.com/5831750/coronavirus-middle-school/?fbclid=IwAR2IuvX5N-I8a8sKu1k_lXGgHKyuuGdETpHMGaDdt4yGPNf8byRNlO-cuXk
Article on Decreasing Screen Time: “How to Decrease Screen Time for Students” by Angela Duckworth in Education Week, April 24, 2020, https://bit.ly/2Y51kYa. Duckworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
May 7, 2020
I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to you all with a heavy heart. I never thought we would be in this position. I wrote to you in a previous communication that I did some pandemic school closure planning back in 2009 when I was a high school assistant principal in Newtown. However, I never envisioned being in this position.
Yesterday I had a virtual meeting with the entire staff. We shared stories about successes and challenges of distance learning, some of which included plenty of laughs and also a fair amount of tears. Amidst this whole debacle it is important to find some silver lining. My family and I have enjoyed nights playing Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and some silly game my second grader made up called the “Three Marker Challenge.” I am happy to share the details. We are also having dinner together and I am continuing to train for an Ironman in the hopes that the late fall races will not be canceled. Either way, I’ll still be in good shape!
Many parents have already asked me questions about locker clean out, the moving up ceremony, yearbook distribution, returning chromebooks, library books etc. I drafted a plan that divides locker pick-up by day of the week and grade level. A committee has been formed by central office to approve various plans and/or establish some uniformity around the district. I will communicate the specific details with you all once the plan has been approved and we get the green light to move forward. If it is possible, perhaps we can also include yearbook distribution and chrome book return with locker pick-up. I feel silly saying this, but please be patient.
A special thanks to the PTP for the gifts during Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers did not expect anything and your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Scofield Parent Update
May 4, 2020
I hope this message finds you well. Last week all parents should have received two different communications from Central Office house regarding accessing your child's third quarter grades and middle school grading practices for the fourth quarter. I am told that many parents did not receive the quarter four grading practices and that the directions to access third quarter grades were incorrect. Attached to this email are the grading guidelines for the fourth quarter. MS Grading Guidelines Parent Message.pdf
The following is the corrected version for accessing your child's third quarter grades:
Access to your child's 3rd marking period grades is via the PowerSchool Parent Portal (https://sis.stamfordpublicschools.org/public/home.html). In order to view your child's report card you will need to log on to your Parent Portal account and click on Grades and Attendance. If you do not have a PowerSchool Parent Portal account or need user name/password support, please submit a request by going to http://220.127.116.11/ParentPortal/Tickets/New. When completing the ticket, please be sure to provide your child's name, grade and school. A representative from the Stamford Public Schools will contact you with your credentials.
Thank you to the parents who let me know. I have informed Central Office of the errors. Please contact me with any questions. "May the 4th Be With You."
Scofield Parent Update
May 01, 2020
Thank you for your continued patience and support throughout this period of distance learning. As you know, Exhibition presentations are a milestone of the Scofield experience. Based on numerous conversations with Scofield parents and students alike, we agree that completely removing the Exhibition presentation would not be in the best interest of our students. While our current situation makes it unlikely that we will see the traditional full 15-20 minute live presentations from each student, the eighth grade teachers would like to offer a modified presentation format suitable to our distance learning needs.
Each student will be asked to record a 5-minute presentation of their Exhibition Google Slides, which will be shared with their advisory teacher via Google Drive, by Friday, May 22nd. The recording should show the student’s slides along with the student’s voice as they present their research.
Gold and Purple Team teachers are strongly recommending that students use the Google Chrome extension “Screencastify” in order to do this. Screencastify allows users to record 5-minute videos of their computer screen along with their voice recording, which are then automatically saved to the user’s Google Drive. More information on how to use Screencastify will be shared with students in technology class.
If for any reason a student cannot use Screencastify, the team will accept any other homemade video of the student presenting (using phone camera, tablet camera, etc.), although presentations should still be limited to five minutes. Live presentation sessions via Google Meet can also be made available upon request.
In order to support our students as they prepare for presentations, both the Gold and Purple teams will lighten coursework and provide additional office hours during the week of May 18th - May 22nd. These office hours can be used to seek technical help if issues arise in recording videos, or can be used to practice presentation skills.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we continue this school year. Your child’s advisory teachers remain the best source for questions related to Exhibition. This plan is subject to change in the event that we return to school. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Scofield Parent Update
April 26, 2020
8th Grade Exhibition: Many parents have asked about the status of the 8th grade capstone project. Students should continue working on their presentation slides and the final draft of the research paper.
Scofield in the news: https://www.ctinsider.com/local/stamfordadvocate/article/Stamford-teen-puts-new-sewing-skills-to-use-15218748.php?src=sthpcp&_ga=2.170000804.542783265.1587585814-1081673627.1534275749#photo-19327405
Distance Learning Pictures: Send a photo of your student working from home by Tuesday, April 28th to MLonegan@stamfordct.gov. We’ve added a page to the yearbook and will incorporate as many as we can.
Live Teaching Sessions: Teachers are increasing live delivery of instruction. I have personally participated in live sessions and have also viewed teacher narrated presentations. It is important for all parents to know that the expectations for student behavior were outlined in the letter that Dr. Lucero sent parents last week. It is a violation of Stamford Board of Education policy 5131 to disrupt classes in any manner, including on-line learning. Students who interrupt classes are subject to having their access privileges suspended by the city Information Technology Department. Please feel to contact the Scofield administration with any questions.
Exploratory Technology Classes: Under normal circumstances students rotate through the three different Technology classes three times per year. Students will remain in their current placement for the remainder of the year. We will revisit if we return to school.
Student Attendance: Please be sure to let teachers know if your child is not going to be completing school work due to illness or other absence.
Early Dismissal Day: Wednesday, April 29th: Teachers will have professional development and will only be available to students until 12:20pm.
Ramadan: For Scofield families of the Islamic Faith, we wish you well during the Holy month.
Access to Student Lockers: Unless an item is of critical academic importance or substantial monetary value, we are continuing to deny access to lockers for articles of clothing or other personal items.
Appointments for items requested: Please use the following link to set up an appointment. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfU1uu4cUFjwpPD3RsipxIQK2W1iB1h8IPadi2AQfOnxAPTCA/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1.
Teacher Appreciation: Traditionally, Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first week of May. In the past, some students have shown their appreciation with home made cards or other items. This year, as we all work from home, we wanted to present an opportunity for students to show their appreciation virtually. Mrs. Norton has created a Padlet, which is a virtual pinboard, to which students can post a brief video message to a teacher, teachers, team or any staff member who they appreciate during this difficult time. Please discuss this with your child and have him/her use the link under the Students tab of the website to add their messages by Friday, May 1st. Directions are posted on the Padlet and all submissions will be reviewed before they are available to be viewed. Thank you in advance for your support!
Scofield Parent Update
April 20, 2020
Dear Scofield families,
I hope this message finds you well. Once again, thank you for all of the positive feedback and encouraging messages. Stay tuned for another video of the staff sending support to your children!
Scofield is well on its way to implementing Phase 2 of the District Distance Learning Plan. Scofield's framework and some additional information are attached at the conclusion of this letter. Most of this information has already been shared with you in several of my previous communications. Our goal is to continue to offer quality instruction and support for all students through Distance Learning.
At Scofield and across the district we will sustain and increase our offerings of blended live, recorded, and posted lessons, including as much opportunity as reasonable for teachers and students to interact and stay connected in real time. Your ongoing feedback is vital to the Home-School partnership in fostering this improvement. We want to be sure that we are gathering the input of all stakeholders in the Scofield community as we learn and grow together throughout this process.
Finally, please see the attached letter from Dr. Lucero in English and in Spanish.
Please be safe, stay well and enjoy your weekend and feel free to contact me with any questions.
Scofield Parent Update
April 13, 2020
Welcome back to distance learning at Scofield Magnet. I hope this message finds you well. By now you all should know that the Governor of CT, Ned Lamont has mandated that schools across the state remain closed until May 20th. I recommend visiting the Governor’s website for the most up-to-date information at https://portal.ct.gov/governor.
To the best extent possible, I hope your children were able to find some time last week to relax. I also hope that you are doing everything you can to ease any stress and tension. Puzzles, board games and exercise can be great temporary releases from the world around us. For some added inspiration, check out this video of all Stamford Public Schools Principals: https://www.stamfordpublicschools.org/district/public-affairs/pages/welcome-back
As you may know, the third quarter ended on Friday, April 3rd. Teachers will be entering grades into PowerSchool until April 17th. Students should submit assignments to teachers as soon as possible. Teachers have been asked to grade work that occurred before our schools closed, as well as during our distance learning, recognizing that students need feedback on the work they are completing.
However, when grading, teachers will also take into account individual student circumstances that have created obstacles to participating and submitting work during this uncertain time. Amy Beldotti, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction stated that, “ Teachers need to demonstrate understanding and flexibility. Think about the circumstances we are all in. We are not looking to unduly punish kids.” Any questions should be directed to individual teachers.
The following is a great video on how parents can support their children at home:
Finally, if you haven’t seen this video of Scofield teachers encouraging your children, perk yourself up by watching it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ7l8dW8qLs
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Scofield Parent Update
April 3, 2020
I am glad so many people enjoyed the video shared on teacher Google Classroom pages. As we move into Spring Break, I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with a few reminders:
Please have your children open the link below. I trust it will warm your hearts:
Let’s hope for a break in the weather next week. To the best extent possible, encourage your children to take advantage of a decrease in screen time. There are plenty of open spaces throughout the state to enjoy fresh air while maintaining social distancing. I will definitely be taking advantage of the time to get ready for my next Ironman. As of right now, it hasn’t been canceled. We return to classes on Monday, April 13.
Thank you for your continued feedback and communication during this unprecedented time. Teachers and school counselors have put forth consistent efforts in contacting you and your children when necessary if they are absent from academic chats, advisory conversations and assignments. Their intention is not to stress you or add to any anxiety that this situation may be causing. Our job is to do our very best to keep kids moving forward.
The third quarter ended today, Friday, April 3rd. Teachers will be entering grades into PowerSchool from now until April 17th. Please make sure that students complete and submit all assignments to teachers as soon as possible. Teachers have been asked to grade work that occurred before our schools closed, as well as during our distance learning, recognizing that students need feedback on the work they are completing. However, when grading, teachers will also take into account individual student circumstances that have created obstacles to participating and submitting work during this uncertain time. Amy Beldotti, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction stated to teachers, “ Teachers need to demonstrate understanding and flexibility. Think about the circumstances we are all in. We are not looking to unduly punish kids.” Any questions should be directed to individual teachers.
Please remind students to demonstrate appropriate behaviors and language use when participating in live sessions with their teachers. Although there have been isolated cases, teachers have reported to me student use of profanity and/or disruptive behaviors. It’s difficult enough to manage behaviors of 11-13 year olds and the virtual world has further complicated this. Similarly, live sessions are for students only. Parent participation is not appropriate. Teachers will not engage in live chat discussions during their teaching or Q and A sessions. Please contact the teacher directly if you have specific questions or concerns. If you are not satisfied, the school leadership team is more than willing to assist you.
A generous benefactor has purchased bags of new books for every Stamford Public School student K-8. The process of dissemination will be determined after vacation.
Regards and Happy Easter,
Scofield Parent Update
March 27, 2020
Good Afternoon Parents,
They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. I am not so sure that is the case.
I appreciate all of your support over the last few weeks and all of your suggestions. This has been a trying time in many ways. I wanted to update you on a few important points moving forward:
- Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, educational staff members, parents, students and all other visitors will only be allowed in school buildings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. This is by directive of the Superintendent.
- All visitors (students, family or community members) must first make an appointment to enter any Stamford Public Schools building. Once you arrive, ring the main door buzzer. Your items will be placed on a table in the main lobby for pick-up. Drop-ins will not be permitted to enter the building. You can schedule an appointment by clicking the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfU1uu4cUFjwpPD3RsipxIQK2W1iB1h8IPadi2AQfOnxAPTCA/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1
- Several parents have asked about obtaining the contents of student lockers. At this point, unless the items are of an academic nature (book, notebook calculator etc.) or of significant value (cell phone, jewelry etc.), office staff will not be retrieving items from student lockers.
- I encourage every parent to read this article about the differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning. https://thebestschools.org/magazine/synchronous-vs-asynchronous-education/
- Online learning does not simply replicate the traditional classroom. Moving forward, each team will be adopting or has already adopted a weekly routine that follows an every other day model of instruction that adds a work/catch up day and teacher “office hours.” All middle school principals have received overwhelming feedback from parents, students and teachers that the seven period day is unsustainable for the long term. Students are spending several hours in front of their computers and teachers are working long into the night. Please contact the school if your child needs a computer.
- From one parent to another, let your kids sleep. We all know the importance of regular routines and schedules. However, getting kids up at 6:00 AM anticipating the daily assignments to appear on the screen isn’t healthy. My advice is to let them get up on their own, eat a good breakfast, get out of their pajamas, take a shower and start work. I would recommend a mid-morning break for something physical or other stimulating activity. Return to work before lunch and get back at it in the afternoon. Of course, one would be foolish not to take advantage of the warm weather. I would encourage you to take a look at the following studies on school start times and sleep.
- A few parents have stated that there isn’t enough work and have expressed concerns about preparation for the next grade, algebra/geometry readiness and personal achievement goals. The entire nation is in the same boat here. The teachers are doing the best they can under the circumstances. Teachers are home without childcare for their own kids and are serving two roles during the work day, as are most of you. Husbands and wives of teachers have also lost their jobs and are struggling with major financial challenges. Read a book, play Trivial Pursuit, visit https://code.org/ or challenge your math skills at https://www.khanacademy.org/ to increase rigor Amy Beldotti, Associate Superintendent for curriculum and instruction is in the process of developing various extension opportunities for students. Her and I spoke about this issue just the other night. I would kindly ask that you be patient and encourage your child to do the very best he or she can with the work we are providing.
Have a Great Weekend.
Scofield Parent Update-
One week down! We can do this! I started off my weekly staff newsletter with the following quote:
“Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath.”
These words can be applied to so many different circumstances. Last week I held two virtual staff meetings and it’s clear that Scofield teachers truly are committed to their work. The most important thing to me was checking up on their own well-being. Remember, teachers are parents too and are equally as stressed about what we are all experiencing. Given our team structure, the teachers interact and work side-by-side daily, so this separation has been tough for them. I am also concerned about your children. An 8th grade girl came by the school last week to get her math binder and before leaving she said, “Mr. Clayton, I miss my friends.” If social media is good for anything, staying connected in times like this is very important. Please tell your children that I miss all of them and can’t wait until they’re back walking the halls.
The most important item discussed during our staff meetings was whether or not our current “virtual” teaching methodology is working. During our discussion I shared all of the feedback that parents have expressed. Some of you have told me that there is too much work and others have stated that there isn’t enough. In the Army we called what we are doing “building the plane mid-flight” or “in-flight missile repair.” In either case, the job is difficult, especially with little time to prepare.
Over the next few days you can expect teachers to adopt a “schedule” that breaks up classes into different days of the week with a work/catch-up day combined with grade level team teacher “office hours” incorporated into the week. I think these changes will provide for a better focus for students as well as decrease screen time. There is no reason students need to be in front of a computer 6-7 hours per day, which is what some of you have shared.
Once again, our situation remains fluid. Additional changes may occur. I appreciate your patience and positive messages. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions
Scofield Parent Update
March 19, 2020
Good Evening Parents,
Thank you for being patient as we all work through this difficult time. As I have said before, this is new territory for all of us and it is truly unprecedented. About 10 years ago I participated in school closure planning for the H1N1 pandemic. There is nothing easy about any of this. I have four children at home in three different levels of school experiencing the same challenges that you are. The last thing I want to do is increase anxiety or make your lives more difficult. I appreciate all of the support over the last week. Your compliments have really kept me motivated. I wholeheartedly agree that we do have some challenges ahead.
A FEW IMPORTANT UPDATES
Please check that your children are submitting assignments. Students need to login and complete assignments in EACH of their classes, including exploratory courses. The State Department of Education has made a clear determination that these days are official school days. Teachers are assigning and grading student work. However, I have spoken to a few parents about work load and varying levels of expectations. We are only one week into this whole thing and teachers will be flexible. I am in regular contact with the staff and will be hosting two virtual meetings with them on Friday.
A few considerations are presently being discussed and are as follows:
- Adopting a schedule that follows an every-other-day format;
- Adding a “work day” or “catch-up” day mid-week or Friday;
- Establishing a longer term deadline for assignments.
Please contact the school if your child needs a computer for assignments. We have laptops to loan out during the shutdown.
Breakfast and lunch continue to be available at all schools between 10:00 AM-12:00 PM. I will let you know if locations change. At this time, it is suggested that you pick up food at the school closest to your home. So far not many people have been coming to Scofield.
Pick up for families who participate in “Filling in the Blanks” will be at Cloonan Middle School.
Access to the building by students is subject to change on a day to day basis. Ms. Gardner and I are happy to assist in obtaining materials from lockers. We just can’t have students in the halls for many reasons. For example, power was turned off in a hallway for some much needed electrical work and floors were being washed. While it may sound silly, I can’t just allow people to walk through darkened or wet hallways. Office hours during the shutdown are 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. It would be helpful if you called in advance.
Given some of the challenges of distance learning, we will be modifying the 8th grade Exhibition. I will be sending a letter to 8th grade families about modifications soon.
All visitors must sign in when entering the building.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Scofield Parent Update
March 16, 2020
Hopefully everyone has had a chance to read Dr. Lucero’s most recent communication. A few important items:
- Governor Lamont has closed all CT schools until March 31. Dr. Lucero extended the closure to April 3. Distance learning will be in place until April 3. Spring break is on as scheduled from April 6-10. The anticipated return date is April 13. Obviously, this is subject to change.
- Students were told to bring all items home last week. If there is a crucial item that your child needs, please call the school and arrange a time to come in. Office hours while schools are closed are 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Access to the building will be limited.
- Food is available Monday-Friday between 10-12 at any Stamford Public School. Best to visit the closest school to your home. Central Office will be monitoring total food pick-up at each location. Not many people have been coming to Scofield for pick-up, so this is subject to change. Stay tuned.
- It is very important that parents be sure that students are completing the assignments posted on teacher websites and/or Google Classroom. I know this is going to be a challenge. Teachers, counselors and administrators will be contacting families of students not submitting assignments. Please call with any questions.
- If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), questions should be directed to Dr. Butler, Mrs. Papadakos or Mrs. Moses. Section 504 Accommodation questions should be directed to Mrs. Fox or Mrs. Benenson.
- These last few days have been stressful for everyone. If you are in crisis or worried about someone who might be, you can always call 211 for assistance. This is a confidential hotline staffed 24/7. These next few weeks are going to be tough. Having had a fair amount of training in crisis and disaster management, I strongly recommend keeping to regular routines as best as you can. Please do your best to have age appropriate conversations about the outbreak and please maintain social distancing. If kids see that you’re scared, they’ll be scared. Finally, please be mindful of what you read on social media and what you share.
Please contact me with any questions.
Scofield Parent Update
March 14, 2020
Good Morning Parents,
I have some additional updates regarding the emergency school closure.
- All Scofield teachers have active and robust websites and/or Google classroom pages. I truly believe we are leading the way on this. Every Scofield student has a Google account. Teachers are working to add parents. Parent access will provide weekly notification on assignments. Parents do not have access to the live stream. Access everything in the link below:
- Breakfast and lunch can be picked up at any Stamford Public School Monday-Friday between 10-12. Although we would love to see you, there is no need to drive all the way to Scofield.
- We are awaiting guidance from the CT State Department of Education on Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meetings. At this point, meetings are on for Monday. All principals have been given access to a service called “Go To Meeting.” I have personally used this service for many different meetings and have found it effective. Parents will be sent an email with a phone number to call and a meeting access code.
- Custodians have been directed to continue with routine cleaning operations along with the cleaning protocols that have been recommended for frequently touched surfaces and hard surfaces. They are as follows:
- Classroom desks and chairs;
- Lunchroom tables and chairs;
- Door handles and push plates;
- Kitchen and bathroom faucets;
- Light switches;
- Handles on equipment (e.g., athletic equipment);
- Buttons on vending machines and elevators;
- Shared telephones;
- Shared desktops;
- Shared computer keyboards and mice.
- There will be no distance learning or for Seventh Grade Art. Ms. Robertson continues to be on leave. Mrs. Beutler has returned to her regular assignment as a technology teacher and we have been utilizing our building substitute. I will be interviewing a potential replacement art teacher in the coming days.
- Clarification on the 180-Day Waiver. The district received guidance on next steps for the possible forgiveness of the days lost to the emergency closure. Contrary to what has been reported, the days may need to be made up in June. As a member of my own town Board of Education, I will be contacting members of the CT General Assembly to advocate for this waiver. I would encourage you all to do the same. If we don’t get the waiver, the teachers union has already indicated its right to bargain (get paid) for this additional work while school is closed.
I want to thank you for your understanding, patience and partnership as we make the best out of a challenging situation. I will be sending additional updates if anything changes or new information is available. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Scofield Parent Update
March 12, 2020
By now everyone should be aware that Stamford Public Schools will be closed for the next two weeks. The anticipated return date is Monday, March 30th. Spring break from April 6-10 is still on as scheduled.
Scofield teachers have been diligently working on their websites, various Google classroom pages and other e-learning platforms for over a week. Some have been using these programs for many years. Information will be posted on Scofield’s website in the coming days on how parents can access Google classroom. Our children (including my four) are “digital natives. As adults, we are “digital immigrants.” Our children have grown up in a world learning to navigate this technology. This is truly our chance to show them the internet is more than “Tik-Tok” or “Minecraft.” Because our Superintendent, Dr. Lucero believes that our teachers have robust education plans for our students, she has applied for a waiver of the state law mandating the 180-day school year. An integral part of the waiver is ensuring that all of our students have access to a computer and continue to receive a quality education, including those students with disabilities. Earlier today I watched a press conference when the governor announced that he was personally using his emergency powers as the Chief Executive to grant the 180-day waiver for school districts. Read about it here: https://www.wfsb.com/news/state-waives--day-school-requirement-as-districts-shut-down/article_08315942-63a9-11ea-8a8d-fbf599c94a44.html
Dr. Lucero’s expectations during the shutdown are that all teachers remain in regular contact with students and parents during the hours of the regular school day. Teachers have been directed to post assignments, provide feedback and share instructional resources. Teachers are still required to update grades and respond to emails within 24 hours. Many teachers are examining the possibility of using “Google Hangout” to do live sessions. Other platforms such as Skype and YouTube are also being considered. Dr. Lucero has directed all building administrators to monitor this process. Staff members will be in the building tomorrow until 12:30 continuing to prepare. Most will stay longer than what is required. Some will likely use the building next week and beyond to deliver instruction.
Additionally, we used the results of last week’s survey to distribute more than 25 laptop “Chromebooks” to Scofield students who do not have access to a device at home. We are lucky that we have these resources. My Media Specialist along with the Media Paraeducator worked really hard to see that all devices were updated and ready to go. During my conference call this morning with the other Principals in the district, it was shared that the city is working to provide “hot spots” around the city for those who do not have access to the internet. To the best of my knowledge, public libraries will remain open during the school shutdown.
Furthermore, our food service provider, Chartwells will be providing free grab and go meals that can be picked up for anyone in the City of Stamford age 18 and under, at any school building, beginning March 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Also, our nurse will be available at Scofield on Friday for any parent/guardian who needs to pick up their child's medication that will be needed during the time school is closed. We ask if the medication is not essential, i.e. a second supply, it will remain in school with the nurse for when school resumes. If any parent needs to pick up medication after Friday, March 13, please contact Patricia Caldwell, School Nurse Supervisor at 203-609-5399.
Finally, my Assistant Principal and I, along with my support staff will be at Scofield during the shut down. We are ready to answer any questions you may have. I ask that everyone remain patient if and when we run into bumps over the first few days. This is new territory for all of us. I did have some experience with distance learning when I was in the Army. Back then we called them “Correspondence Courses.” I believe Scofield teachers are the most prepared to ensure that your children continue to receive a quality education during this highly extraordinary time. “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.