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Littlebrook News

March 27, 2020

Dear Littlebrook Parents/Guardians,

Today, was one of the best days I have ever experienced as an educator! The Teacher Parade could not have been more successful, and we all appreciated seeing you with your families along our parade route. I want to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to Mrs. Laura Carlone, one of our second grade teachers, for bringing this idea to Littlebrook! The parade would not have happened if it wasn’t for her reaching out to all of us. Every email that has been sent to us has been heartwarming and welcomed. We miss all of you and hope to see you all again very soon.

My sincerest thank you to the entire Littlebrook Community for your patience and understanding as we continue in our extended school closure. The teachers have been working so hard to find the appropriate avenues to reach the children. Although the use of video lessons is optional, we do have teachers who are trying Zoom meetings and the Google Meet platform for the first time. There is currently no requirement for teachers to present “Live Lessons” via video for the students. It will take some time for us to work out the kinks and move our proficiency in these and other online platforms forward. I, too, am learning to use these platforms for the first time. Again, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding!

As of today, the schools will be closed until at least April 17th. Our building has been cleaned and disinfected with classrooms now getting a second cleaning. This week, a great deal of schoolwork for the students was put out on tables for parents to pick up. Most items have been picked up and we want to thank you for doing so. I will not be in the building this week, as I will now be working from home until the building is reopened.

I know you may have many questions, and I am always happy to assist you. Please understand, information is fluid and rapidly changing. If you need assistance or have questions, please email me.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of fond memories and laughter with your family and friends.

Sincerely,

Mr. Luis F. Ramirez,
Principal

LuisRamirez@princetonk12.org

March 20, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I want to begin by applauding all of you for how you are adjusting to home learning! It certainly has its challenges, but the rewards far exceed them. This is a time to enjoy with your families and count your blessings. Our children respond as we do to adversity, and your calm and guidance are teaching them lifelong skills. Please take some time for yourselves to just relax.

Some things to consider as we move forward -

The building will only be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 AM - 12 PM. This will give the teachers time to gather items and prepare any copies they may need to distribute. Beginning Tuesday, we will put any work the teachers have prepared outside of the front of the school (under the awning) on tables for your pick-up (weather permitting). If you need something specific from the classroom, please let me know ahead of time and I will gather it for your child(ren). I will be present in the building on those mornings. This is the current plan and is subject to change.

If you find it is taking extra time for your child(ren) to complete the work sent home, please consider setting a stop time of 3 - 4 hours or whatever you feel is appropriate. We do not want the children to be overwhelmed with what has been sent home. We also appreciate the time you need to spend working from home and don't want to hinder any of your work contributions during this uncertain period.

Mrs. Walters and the Character Education Committee will be conducting a "Virtual Spirit Week" next week. Please see the description below.

Please join us as Littlebrook celebrates our first Virtual Spirit Week!

When?  March 23-27

What?  Each day, Littlebrook students, parents, teachers, and staff will be invited to participate in fun themed activities at home:

Date

 

Theme

 

Activity

 

Monday, March 23

 

 

 

Make It Monday

 

 

 

Get creative by building with LEGO, drawing, knitting, or enjoying an arts and crafts project

 

Tuesday, March 24

 

 

Play Outside Day

 

 

Ride a bike, take a walk, and just enjoy some fresh air and sunshine

 

Wednesday, March 25

 

Got Books?

 

Read or listen to a favorite book

 

Thursday, March 26

 

We Love Our Pets

 

Hug your pet or favorite stuffed animal

 

Friday, March 27

 

 

Littlebrook Stays Connected

 

Wear your Littlebrook shirt proudly

 

 

How?  A parent or guardian will take photos of their child/children/family engaging in the day's activity and email them to Jenny Walters, school counselor, who will create daily slideshows that will be made available through Konstella.

Why?  To boost our spirits, have tons of fun, and remind us that we are a strong, resilient, and caring school community!

 

Please send all photos to JenniferWalters@princetonk12.org

Finally, every day brings us new information on several fronts about the Covid-19 virus and we must somehow disseminate it and, more importantly, devise a plan for how we will respond and continue to keep ourselves and our families healthy. I want to send along my best wishes to all of you and your loved ones. I firmly believe that from times of crises, a gift results. We have been given the gift of family time. Please take some time to enjoy one another.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend full of fond memories and laughter with your family and friends

 

March 20, 2020

Dear Littlebrook School Staff,

You are my heroes! I am so proud of all of you and in awe of what I have witnessed from you not only this week but since my arrival at Littlebrook. I am blessed to know and work with each of you. Please go forward and enjoy your weekend.

Sincerely,

Mr. Luis F. Ramirez,
Principal

LuisRamirez@princetonk12.org

 

March 13, 2020 

Dear Families  

Our staff members have been quite busy over the past few days to prepare for our school closure due to the COVID-19 situation, leading to a "remote learning" approach for the next two weeks.  I want to begin by thanking all of those teachers, office staff, instructional staff, technology support staff, and all of you for the hard work, flexibility, collaboration, and ingenuity it will take to make this work. Littlebrook is an extremely special place with the most dedicated staff with whom I have ever been associated. I have been incredibly impressed with how everyone has come together to ensure we optimize our students' learning from home over the next couple of weeks. 

I am going to try to package all of the "essentials" into this email, though I am sure that I will be back in touch with subsequent messages in the days ahead: 

*  First, this school closure affects all afternoon and evening activities as well.  This decision stems from a concern for the health and welfare of our staff, students, and families as well as the need to play our broader community role in the need for social distancing.   

* Second, we certainly acknowledge the limitations that come with a remote learning approach -- particularly the loss of daily, human interaction -- but our teachers and other staff members are working diligently to provide meaningful, engaging learning experiences for all of our children in a way that meets their individual needs as much as possible.  What you will be experiencing will be a blend of state mandates, district-wide decisions and directives, and building-based collaboration. 

* With our shift to remote learning, here are some things you can expect. Please know that we may certainly need to spend a few days ironing out logistics and tweaking some of our protocols: 

1) For those of you whose children have been absent late this week and who have not brought home the books and materials that they may need for remote learning, please check with your child’s teacher to gain access to that information.  They may be able to send some or all of what is needed electronically, or they may have hard copies of those documents left in a folder for you to pick-up in our APR on the designated grade level tables after 1:15PM today. 

2) Initially, we are planning for instruction for grades 3-5 to be centered through teacher websites which you can access via PowerSchool Learning.  We have worked diligently to ensure that all families with children in those grades have access to appropriate technology at home, but if your family does not have a computer of your own and you have not received a loaner from the school, please let us know immediately so that we can be sure to provide one.   

3)  Our Pre-K through 2nd grade teachers have been sending home packets of work and activities for their students so online access should not be required for those students at this time.  Should the closing go beyond two weeks, the District will make an attempt to provide appropriate devices (MacBooks, Chromebooks, or iPads) for our younger learners who may not have those at home.  At that point, if we are confident that 100% of kids in a certain grade level have access to appropriate technology, we may begin moving those grade levels to a full or partial online platform model as well. 

4)  The State and District mandate that we do our best to take daily attendance.  For students in grades 3-5, each teacher will have a Google Form embedded on his/her website for the student to mark attendance each day when logging in.  For students in Pre-K through 2nd grade, teachers will be sending a brief "check-in" email each day that will include a request for parents to send a quick email response just to verify that their child is indeed working on the assigned activities and assignments for the day.   For parents who do not respond, these teachers will need to mark them as absent for the day. 

5)  We have outlined a plan for one or more of our teachers to check in with each child/family multiple times per week through a combination of phone calls and/or email.  Please know that teachers calling from their private cell phones may use a special code so that the number appears to parents as a "No Caller ID."  We certainly welcome and encourage two-way, interactive communication so that we can work with you to ensure that you and your children understand the learning activities, that you do not have any technology issues or other barriers, and that your children are learning and making progress with content and skills. 

6) Our teachers will be working each weekday, and each of them will communicate more with you about the ways in which they will be able to interact with you.  For some, they may indicate a block of time when they will be available for quick responses to email questions, but other teachers may take a different approach to managing the unknowns of remote learning.  Should you have any questions, please reach out to your child's teacher(s), and they will get back to you within a reasonable time frame. 

7)  The general expectation is that students will be engaged in roughly three to four hours of learning activities each day – a time frame which includes all major curricular areas (including specials).  

8) Our specials teacher (including Spanish for grades 2-5) have created a link that should be available through your child’s PowerSchool Learning page.  If you have trouble locating that information and/or have questions about what you find there, please reach out to those teachers. 

9) All of our special education teachers have worked with members of our Child Study Team, with Eric Csolak (our Supervisor of Special Education), and with each other to meet the IEP goals and needs of children as best they can. 

10) For those children who receive any type of “related service” (like speech, OT, ESL), those teachers will also be working to provide appropriate learning activities and experiences for your children. 


11)  Our Main Office will be open each weekday at least from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm unless there is a documented health need that would dictate otherwise, and as the next two weeks unfold, teachers may ask you to drop off student work at school and/or to pick up additional materials.  This would be especially true for our youngest students who are not working with an online model, particularly if our closure continues for an extended period of time.  

12) If we do have an extended closure and move towards online virtual learning for younger students, we will be in touch with those families to arrange to get devices to those kids who might need them – likely through some type of “pick-up” system at the school. 

13) The District is working to use our buses to provide meals for those families who receive free and reduced lunches.  Additionally, if we have families who might be unable to pick-up/drop-off the materials described above, we will try to organize our buses to visit homes of those children as well. 

14) I know that many of you have questions about a range of topics:  make-up parent-teacher conferences, upcoming IEP meetings, standardized testing, report cards, and plans for rescheduling evening activities that have been cancelled.  At this point, we do not have specific information for any of those questions, though I am sure that the answers will unfold in the coming days and weeks, and I will continue to provide timely and detailed updates whenever I have something relevant to share. 

I have stressed to our staff members we are all experiencing these changes for the first time and will learn many things during this extended closure. We will be undoubtedly finding many positive outcomes, but also want to know about the areas in which we can grow, and I hope that you will communicate with us as needed so that we can answer your questions and assist you as best we can.  

I hope you all are safe and healthy always, but especially in the coming weeks.  

Sincerely, 

Mr. Luis F. Ramirez
Principal 

 

 

 

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