March 28, 2020
Dear P.A.W.S. Families,
We are certainly in unprecedented times. I think it would be fair to say that the past two weeks have been challenging and yet have also provided us with many opportunities for growth!
What We Have Been Doing
The teachers at PAWS and staff and administrators across the district have been hustling to create a remote learning infrastructure along with support services to help serve the children and families across the district. During our 4 “snow days,” we learned how to Zoom and GoogleMeet, and we started to research and create content that would enrich and enhance our students’ learning. We learned to upload videos and content to have it ready for you to use and enjoy with your children.
Next, we started to share and connect with families each day with the daily messages sent both via email and posted on the Wellesley Remote Learning Website. We have communicated and collaborated with IT support, district and state administration, colleagues in Wellesley and in other districts across the Commonwealth and the country, and with each other to learn about new and innovative ways to conduct remote learning. For me it has meant spending at least 12 to 15 hours or more a day in front of my computer, researching, collaborating with other early childhood leaders across the state, supporting the PAWS staff and our families, and working with district leadership. It is a new reality, but I know it is temporary. I commend the PAWS team and every family for all you are doing, balancing and achieving given the world we are living in right now.
Parent Survey- How can we help you?
Thank you for your patience and partnership as we all adjust to this new, albeit temporary normal. If you have ideas that you think would be helpful to you or to others, please share your thoughts with me in this PAWS Family Feedback Form Google survey. We care deeply about all of our children and families at PAWS and we are continuing to work to serve the needs of our community. I invite your partnership in bringing the best to the children. Please use the Google form as a place to share what is working for you, what is not working for you, and what you see as your needs right now and in the days ahead.
Thank you for your participation and support!
Throughout all of this effort and work, we have heard from so many of you with kind words of care and encouragement. We are grateful to you for sharing photos and videos of your children enjoying time at home! We love seeing them trying out the different lessons, challenges and activities that our teachers have provided and some that you have invented! Seeing our students happy, engaged, and learning during this unusual time brings us joy. We are working to bring you even more content to help, support, promote, and deepen student learning while school is closed.
Federal and State Updates
Some of you may be aware that we receive state and federal updates, sometimes daily. Each new update informs, shapes, directs, and influences our direction and decisions. By now you have likely heard the news of Governor Baker’s directive that Massachusetts schools remain closed until May 4. We continue to receive news that provides us with ongoing opportunities, and the need for us to meet remotely and assess the news, discuss the intent of the update, make new decisions, regroup our thinking, pivot our direction as needed, redesign plans, change and build new goals and objectives, and refine or redo our work. This week schools received new guidance from MA Commissioner of Education, Jeff Riley, that will further inform our plans. He commented that, “This could be an amazing opportunity to think differently about how we educate our kids, and think about real world applications… This could be something new that could give us additional information about how kids learn best.” We need you to know, we are taking it all in, working hard, and it is a process.
Creative and Innovative PAWS Teachers – Live Lesson Coming Next Week!
I have been grateful and impressed with the level of care, dedication, and support I have seen from every staff member at PAWS. We all miss our students and would like nothing better than to be in school, in our classrooms teaching, but school is closed and we are working hard to support our own children and families, while also ensuring our PAWS families are supported in this ever changing landscape. We are drawing on our creativity and we are developing lessons with the items and materials we have in our homes, and with what we took with us when we were last in the building. We are thinking of new ways to interact with our students and will be inviting our preschoolers to live meetings next week! Look for more news to come about that!
We Are Here For You – Do What You Can
The number one priority is the mental and physical health and wellbeing of each person – this includes our children, parents, teachers, and staff. Every family is experiencing different situations and stress. If you or your child is not feeling well or up to accessing the lessons or work that the teachers offer, please know we understand! Just do what you can. We know that all of our families have different needs, and all of our children learn in different ways. The PAWS teachers and therapists are here to partner with you and to support you in the specific areas where you and your child may need guidance while you are at home. Please reach out to me or to your child’s teacher or therapist directly and we will create a plan to work with you and offer support to you.
Remote Learning Resources
Remember to check the WPS Remote Learning Website each day as well as your email and teacher’s SeeSaw account. Please let your teacher know if you would like to be added to the classroom SeeSaw group if you are not already a part of it. It is a great space to connect with the teacher and the other children in the class!
Keep a Growth Mindset
It is times like these where we can model for our children how we respond to stress and change. We are all growing strong brains as we persevere, try new ways of problem solving and doing things, and becoming flexible in our thinking and behavior. We are working full-time, and in partnership with the entire Wellesley school community, to design and develop a more robust plan for the children. Thank you for the support and care you have shown to the teachers at PAWS so far, many of whom are parents, just like you, trying to juggle it all.
My message to you is to be kind to yourselves and to each other, take some moments to get some fresh air every day, practice your dots and squeezes when you need them, take a deep breath, and know that this too, shall pass. We are in this together and we are here for you. Please reach out.
Be well, safe and healthy,
News from Nurse Ann
Dear PAWS Families,
I am writing to check in and say hello to all of you. I miss seeing you and your children at PAWS. I hope you are all doing well practicing all those healthy routines. Your children were working hard at covering their coughs and washing their hands so please continue to encourage those skills. I commend you for all of your efforts as you juggle this new way of living. Please remember it is temporary and we will get through it, I can’t wait to greet you at PAWS once again.
I follow the teacher links and your responses and noticed that outside activities have increased. With this in mind we have to remember some of our normal conditions still hold true. Ticks are out and as you play outside or go on hikes with your children please remember to check for ticks both on you, your children and your pets. I have attached a Tick Newsletter that the Wellesley School Nurses put together for your information and assistance.