As we begin each school year, I always look back to the usual reminders and pieces of information that I share during the previous summer. Right now, it seems that very little of that usual information is pertinent. Each system and operational decision within our school is being rethought in order to meet the demands of the current pandemic in order to be able to best serve our students. Some decisions come easily, some are more complicated and take time to work out.
As I interview new staff, my trusty bank of questions that I have relied on for years are now outdated and impractical. As we organize schedules, we are looking to utilize our outdoor space as much as possible for learning and social activities. Lunches will be outside as weather permits. Students will enter and exit the building in new ways. Some of these decisions are exciting. Others feel heavy. Teachers have been back since last week and are sharing their insights and ideas as we make these decisions together.
We have divided students who will be attending the hybrid model into cohorts which will attend in-person for two days each week and learn remotely for the other three days. A separate email will be sent to officially notify you of this assignment. There are several factors that went into these groupings, one of the most important pieces of information was your requests as families. I apologize in advance, I was unable to grant every request, and please know that this weighs heavily on me. I did consider each request and attempted to create groupings that work under all of our parameters. We are currently able to limit our cohort/class sizes to about 12 in the hybrid model, which gives us plenty of space and distance in classrooms while these half groups attend.
We have some new important staff members that have joined our team this summer. Katie Parker finished up her duties as school secretary at Cutler in mid-August. Katie spent over 15 years at Cutler in many capacities and her presence will be greatly missed. In the front office you will now be greeted by Sandy Williams. Sandy comes to us most recently from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School. She has successfully jumped into a whirlwind of information, and is looking forward to meeting students soon. Gretchen Ahearn retired at the end of last school year, and Kristin Larson is joining us in third grade. Kristin brings several years of teaching experience to the classroom and can't wait to start meeting students soon. We also are in the process of hiring another second grade teacher which will complete our team.
We would like to invite all students to meet their teachers next week. To best ensure safety and social distancing, please try to limit the number of family members visiting and arrive within your scheduled window of time. All visitors will need to wear masks. The visits will take place outside the exterior classroom doors, so students can view their classrooms and learn which door they will be using to enter the building. Students taking part in the fully remote model of learning will also be invited to meet their teachers. Schedules and details for these visits will be shared later this week.
Many students ordered supplies from SchoolKidz which have arrived. For students partaking in the hybrid model, their supplies will be unpacked for them in the classroom and boxes will be sent home during the school visit next week. Students in the fully remote program will be able to take their full boxes home during the school visit.
I look forward to seeing you and your children more than you know.