Dear YES Families,
Happy New Year! We hope that you have had an enjoyable, restful, and healthy holiday vacation. We look forward to our first day back in school together on Monday, January 3.
Even with the holiday break, it has been a very busy week at YES! Construction work has been occurring throughout the week and students will see some changes shortly after they return to school. We will be helping them to learn the changes but we have also included a summary below if you would like to share this with them beforehand.
CONSTRUCTION NEWS FOR JANUARY 2022
- While the work on the cafeteria and gym is being finished up, students will be eating in classrooms all of next week.
- The painting of the gym floor is taking place and that work will continue through next week. PE classes will be held outside for the week of January 3.
- On January 10, we are scheduled to have access to the entire gym and the cafeteria. At that time PE and lunch will be held in those respective spaces.
- An additional classroom next to the art room will be finished when we return.
- Clipper Care before and after school programs will be in the cafeteria when it is finished. Until then they will use the art room and the room next to it. Drop off and pick up will shift to the main entrance.
COVID UPDATES & VACCINATION INFORMATION/CONFIRMATION
You may have noted that the CDC and Maine DOE have revised/updated their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for schools over the holiday break. For those families who choose to have their child vaccinated, it continues to be a way for close contacts to be exempt from quarantining in both school and community settings.
If your child received their COVID-19 vaccine series at a location other than YES, it would be helpful if we had this information for when we need to contact trace individuals. This is completely voluntary. If you are willing, please take a picture of your child’s vaccine card and send it to our school nurse, Alison Thomson, at email@example.com. This will save significant time and help to minimize the impact any Covid exposure may have on your child.
WINTER WEATHER REMINDER
We are well into winter weather at this time of the school year, despite the rainy weekend we are having! Much colder temperatures are in the forecast for this coming week. Please make sure that your students are coming to school with the proper winter gear. At a minimum, winter jackets, hats, gloves, and boots are necessary each day this time of year. As the snow piles up, students will need snow pants to play in the snowy areas of the playground as well. Here are some reminders of our playground winter procedures:
- We will NOT go outside if the temperature on our website is 5 degrees or below. There are a number of sites to check for temperature, but for consistency, we will use the one on our YES website. Wind chill plays into this but fluctuates within seconds. The effect of a consistent wind chill combined with a temperature of 5 or below, may cause us to stay inside.
- Students need to have a winter jacket on and their legs covered (no shorts) if the temperature is below 40 degrees.
- Students who want to play on the snowbanks on the playground must wear boots and snow pants.
- Students who want to play in the wood chip area when it is covered with snow must wear boots.
- Students who want to roll, crawl around, etc. in the wood chip area, must wear boots and snow pants. Put a simpler way, if students are going to get wet in the snow, they need boots and snow pants!
Thank you for your help in reinforcing these expectations at home with your children so we can keep them healthy this winter.
CONFERENCES, REPORT CARDS & MAP ASSESSMENTS: JANUARY- MARCH
From mid-January to March is the winter parent-teacher conference window. During this time classroom teachers will be setting up mid-year parent-teacher conferences. If your parent-teacher conference is before the February vacation, your child's teacher will be sharing copies of their report card with you. If your conference is after the break the report card will be sent home to you the week of February 14.
Yarmouth Elementary School reports out on learning standards twice a year, once at mid-year and again at the end of the school year. Report cards are an "invitation to a conversation" and this will be a nice opportunity to celebrate your child's growth while also hearing about their next steps to keep growing as a learner.
We also have the upcoming winter administration of the NWEA MPG/MAP reading and math assessments. The schedule is as follows:
Grade 2 Reading and Math: 1/19 and 1/20. Grades 3 & 4 Reading and Math: 1/25 and 1/26.
As you know, this assessment helps to inform our instructional practices in supporting learning growth. Once testing is completed these results will be mailed home to you.
SCHOOL SAFETY DRILL: JANUARY 11
The state of Maine requires that each school hold a minimum of two lockdown drills each year. The purpose of a school lockdown drill is to protect the children and adults in the building from a potential emergency. Our staff is trained annually in these protocols. As with fire drills and other safety protocols, the hope is to acclimate students and teachers to a procedure that they will be able to follow quickly, effectively, and safely.
With elementary-age children, we are thoughtful in our approach to these drills so as to not cause undue anxiety. Our first drill of the year will be a shelter in place on January 11. We work closely with the Yarmouth Police Department and they will be on-site to assist us in this practice.
THE STUDENT & FAMILY DIRECTORY IS ALMOST HERE!
We need your help to verify the information we have imported is correct. Once all the information is verified, we will print paper copies of the directory (at a cost of $10) or you can access the online directory for free. Please verify that your contact information is correct by Monday, January 3. To access and verify/update your information, go to: https://yarmouthschools.membershiptoolkit.com.
We created a video to walk you through the verification process, here is a link to the video…https://youtu.be/ZGZG7L-KwEQ
To order a printed copy of the directory complete this google form: Order form for Printed Directory. Orders for printed copies of the directory are due Monday, January 3. Checks can be sent in with your child or mailed to the PTO.
SOCIAL MEDIA 101 FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS, JANUARY 25, 2022
Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 6pm EST via Zoom- Led by Kristi Bush, National Education Consultant
At what age should I give my kid a phone? How can I keep my kids and teens safe online? Which apps and games pose the most danger to my teen’s safety? The Yarmouth PTO is offering a free Zoom presentation by Kristi Bush on navigating the current social media landscape. Kristi will also discuss how to set up monitoring systems and what online resources are available for support. Additionally, texting and sexting codes, predator activity, sex offender status, how to order drugs online, how your child is using hashtags, inappropriate picture distribution, and cyber-bullying laws will be discussed. You will be given numerous tips and tools to help navigate the social media landscape. There will be time for Q&A at the end. Please note that children are not allowed for this presentation due to the sensitive nature of the topic.
To join the presentation please enter your email here. You will receive the Zoom link via email as well as handouts after the presentation. We are looking forward to learning with you! To find out more about Kristi Bush visit her website at https://www.knbcommunications.com.
PAJAMA DAY: FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2022
Mother nature took our December 22nd “PJ Day'' from us, so it has been rescheduled for Friday, January 14. Students always look forward to these special days so we will hold it on the Friday before our upcoming long weekend in January.
UPDATE ON MRS. HIGGISON
We have heard from many of you asking how to best support Mrs. Higgison, our YES art teacher. For those of you not aware, on Monday, December 27, a fire broke out at Mrs. Higgison’s house. She and her husband were away from the house at the time and were thankfully unharmed. Sadly, her house is a total loss.
Thankfully, insurance and other resources will cover the rebuild of her house along with the immediate needs of housing and clothing. It has been uplifting to learn of the community response that has occurred to make sure that Mrs. Higgison and her husband have what they need. All things considered, she is doing quite well.
Mrs. Higgison will be with us in school tomorrow but will need to miss some time next week and in the coming days to continue working through this process. On Monday morning we will hold announcements and make students aware of why she is going to be missing some school and that she and her family are okay.
So many of you have reached out asking how to help. Mrs. Higgison has expressed her gratitude and appreciation for all of this outreach. As thankful as she is to have the insurance/resources in place to support her short and long-term needs, Mrs. Higgison lost all of her personal art supplies. Our Yarmouth school community is working together to support her in this area.
If you want to help, gift cards to Walmart or Micheal’s are places where she replenishes art needs. Gift cards to local eateries in the Brunswick area where she lives are also wonderful ways to help support and ease the challenge her family is facing at this time. Of course, a simple gesture of sharing a note or card of condolence is always a wonderful way to support. Any cards/communication can be sent to Mrs. Higgison here at school: Yarmouth Elementary School, C/0 Chake Higgison, 121 McCartney Street, Yarmouth, Maine 04096.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY: MONDAY, JANUARY 17, 2022: NO SCHOOL
On the third Monday of every January, we observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This is a day for the nation to reflect upon the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a minister, civil rights activist, and nonviolent leader. Dr. King was considered the most influential leader in the Civil Rights movement, which aimed to end systematic racial segregation and discrimination.
Dr. King (often referred to as MLK) played a key role in creating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He received many awards and honors – most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Despite his early passing, Dr. King had an enormous, lasting influence on the Civil Rights movement and continues to be remembered as one of the most influential nonviolent leaders in world history. We will have no school on Monday, January 17 to honor the work of Dr. King.
Dr. King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Hope is a powerful thing. It inspires us to do the impossible and helps us carry on during difficult times. And hope can come in many different shapes and forms. As we begin 2022, our hope is for a positive start to the new year and the continued good health of our YES community. Thank you all for your continued collaboration and support.
Ryan Gleason, YES Principal & Molly Kilpatrick, YES Assistant Principal