Monday, December 14, 2020

News to Use - December 14, 2020

Upcoming Important Dates:

Report cards posted to Aspen Family Portal                            December 18
Early Release Dismissal @ 11:15AM                                             December 23                

No School: Winter Recess                                                                Dec. 24-Jan. 1

School Resumes                                                                                     January 4
No School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day                                      January 18

There are a few possible scenarios that can occur if we have inclement weather this year that is severe enough to interrupt or cause the cancellation of in-person school days:

Possible Scenarios:

  • Full Cancellation - No power in communities results in “No School Day” and will need to be made up at the end of the year. 

  • Weather-related Remote Learning Days -

    • Remote Day Cohort (regularly scheduled learning day at home)- Students will continue as usual with the asynchronous Google Classroom/paper assignments. Students will still have their synchronous Morning Meetings and academic check-in with teaching assistants.
    • In-Person Cohort - The scheduled in-person cohort will learn remotely, following a schedule created by each classroom teacher.
    • APL Students - APL students will have a typical day.

  • Delayed Opening - 2-Hour Delayed Opening if weather conditions are expected to be safe for travel within a two-hour window of regularly scheduled school travel times. (Rare)

  • Early Dismissal  - If inclement weather is predicted to impact the safe travel home from school, the District may call for an early dismissal. (Rare) 

Cancellations will be posted on Twitter, local news, and you should receive a call and written cancellation via Blackboard Connect.  It is important that you keep your family information correct in Aspen.  If your information is not correct, you may not receive a notification from the superintendent.

Please log into the Aspen Parent Portal to make any necessary changes.  Our District will be rolling out the text messaging feature for BlackBoard Connect as well.

Link Aspen Parent Portal:

Help with Log-in:

Report Cards
Students in grades 1-5 will have their first-trimester report card released into the Aspen family portal on Friday, December 18. Please take time now to practice logging into the Aspen portal. If you need assistance, you may reach out to 

We value report cards as one of our important ways to communicate progress with families.  The students' performance connected to a specific learning standard is evaluated on an academic performance indicator scale, ranging from N (student is not yet demonstrating progress toward the standard), B (student is beginning to progress toward standard), P (student is progressing toward consistent and independent proficiency of the standard) and M (student consistently and independently demonstrates mastery of the standard)

Each child will receive evaluative marks from their classroom teacher in social skills and academics.  You may see X's in standards or subjects that have not been focused on this term, as those areas will be a focus in the second and third terms with marks shared then. Teachers will continue to comment on students' progress in social areas as well as the academic areas in the core class comments text box each term.  In addition, specialist teachers will provide marks and comments in each of their respective disciplines. As has been our practice in years past, Kindergarten students will receive their first report cards at the mid-year on February 5.

Winter gear
While the winter weather has us mostly eating lunch inside now, we still will go out for recess daily and will eat outside as the weather allows. It's the one time of day that kids really can move and play without as many restrictions as they face inside. Thank you for making sure your child has appropriate boots, coats, mittens, and hats to be comfortable while we are outside multiple times each day.

School Pictures
If you still wish to place a picture order, click on the following link; O'Connor Studios, enter your unique access code and place your order.  Online ordering will be left open until Friday, December 18th.

If you did not receive a unique identifier code for your child, please email Sandy Williams at

HW Health Office Flu Update
December 2020

Massachusetts requires the flu vaccine for all students (hybrid and remote)

The influenza vaccine is important because:
  • It reduces the risk of getting sick with influenza, reduces the severity of disease (including the risk of hospitalization), and prevents the spread of influenza to others.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the influenza vaccine is especially critical to reduce the overall impact of respiratory illness on the population, protect vulnerable populations from severe illness, and decrease the overall burden on the healthcare system.
If your child(ren) have not received their flu vaccine yet, please call their pediatrician today to schedule their vaccine. Once received, please submit the documentation to your school nurse in whatever way is most convenient. It can also be faxed to (978) 468-0450 or attached to a message in our health portal.
Frequently Asked Questions:

Which students need to receive the influenza vaccine?
  • Students in Kindergarten-Grade 12 are required to receive influenza vaccine for the current influenza season for school attendance.
When do students need to receive the influenza vaccine?
  • Students must receive the influenza vaccine for the current season by December 31, 2020.
Are there any exemptions to receiving the influenza vaccine?
  • Medical and religious exemptions are allowable in the state of Massachusetts.
What type of influenza vaccine can students receive?
  • Any age-appropriate licensed influenza vaccine for the current season fulfills the requirement. This includes injectable and nasal spray vaccine types.
If my school will be providing instruction remotely, will students still need to meet immunization requirements?
  • The school immunization requirements, including the requirement for the seasonal influenza vaccine, apply to all Massachusetts students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 12, regardless of whether the district is providing instruction in-person, or using a hybrid or remote learning model.
Source: FAQ Influenza Vaccine Requirement for School Attendance at

COVID-19 Testing Dates

The Towns of Hamilton and Wenham will be conducting free drive through COVID -19 testing in the MRMS parking lot on the following dates from 8:30am-4:30pm. 
Wednesday 12/16
Saturday 12/19
Sunday 12/20
Wednesday 12/23
Monday 12/28
Full details as well as forms are on the Town of Hamilton Website:
Testing is for residents for Hamilton and Wenham as well as school staff. You will need a school ID and to complete the form available online. 


Community Supports 💙

During these times of uncertainty, we understand that many families may be experiencing hardship. We have been fortunate this year to be able to offer some of our families gift cards for holiday needs.  Please reach out if you are in need of assistance.  In addition, here are some local resources that you may find helpful.

Acord serves clients in Essex, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Topsfield, and Wenham. They offer weekly food distributions, holiday meal programs, school vacation lunch bags, nutrition education and outreach, and emergency meal assistance. They also partner with local farms to provide fresh produce to their clients every week. They can be reached at 978-468-7424 or

The Hamilton Foundation was created to help meet unexpected, urgent, and short-term needs of Hamilton residents due to job loss, death, divorce, or catastrophic illness. It also maintains a directory of over 60 regional social service agencies and refers people to those programs when appropriate. 
Please call 978-233-1816 and leave a message and someone will return your call.
WISSH assists Wenham residents in need of temporary financial or social service assistance. Their mission is to identify the social service needs of Wenham residents and to coordinate and implement appropriate immediate unmet financial assistance to those in need.  You may call WISSH at a confidentially maintained phone number, 978-468-5520 Ext. 9.  
Beverly Bootstraps provides critical resources to families and individuals so that they may achieve self-sufficiency. They offer emergency and long-term assistance including access to food, housing stability, adult and youth education, counseling and advocacy.  The best way to contact them is to fill out this form and a case manager will reach out to you.  You may also call them at 978-927-1561 and a message will be relayed to a case manager for you.  

Community Service Projects 💙

A group of our fifth graders is still hard at work with their first community service project.  They are hoping you can help by donating some of Acord's most needed items.  Students may bring items in or if you would like to drop something off, there is a donation bin in the gallery.  They are collecting through Thursday, December 18th.  Thank you so much for your donations!
Here is a list of Acord's most needed items:
  • Breakfast items: Jam/jelly, cereal (hot & cold), pancake mix, syrup
  • Canned goods:  Chili, hearty soups, canned meats (white tuna, chicken, salmon, ham), baked beans, beef stew, Chef Boyardee
  • Dry goods:  Coffee, tea, cocoa, baking mixes, macaroni & cheese, couscous, quinoa, and other grains
  • Snack items:  granola bars, raisins, pudding, peanut butter crackers, other crackers
  • Condiments:  Mayonnaise, salad dressing, mustard, ketchup, and other condiments
  • Personal care items:  Soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products
  • Baby items:  Diapers, formula, baby food
I maintain connections with all of the above organizations.  If you need any help accessing them or if there are other supports that I might assist you with, please do not hesitate to reach out.  I am happy to help out in any way that I can.


Ann Creilson
Cutler School Adjustment Counselor

FoC “News To Use”: Week of December 14th


Teacher/Staff Holiday Breakfast:  Each year, the FoC’s Hospitality Committee is delighted to organize/arrange a Holiday Cookie Swap for our teachers and staff.  We can hardly believe it’s that time of year again! With restrictions and limiting protocols in place, we decided to host a Holiday Breakfast this year instead.  

On Wednesday, December 16th, the hospitality committee will be delivering an assortment of breakfast pastries/baked goods from Honeycomb Bakery, along with coffee and hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts! 

This is an event that the teachers look forward to every year and, although a bit different this year, we are so glad we are able to make it happen! 


Classroom/Cohort Liaisons:  By now, you have likely received a message from your child’s classroom/cohort liaison(s) (room parent). Throughout the year, the liaison will be emailing communications to parents from teachers and the FoC, soliciting volunteers when requested, and supporting the needs of the class for special projects and activities, as well as arranging teacher/classroom gifts.  If you haven’t done so already, please respond to this representative at your earliest convenience with your name, your child’s name, and your email address. Thank you for your assistance!  

Directory:  We are happy to offer an update regarding this year’s HWRSD Elementary School Directory – we have been told that we can expect the directory to be distributed after the holiday break. We will keep you updated as information becomes available. 

As always, the FoC thanks you for your support!  Have a great week! 

#HWgivesback - Coats for Kids Drive

Two years ago, students at the high school launched a a charitable giving campaign, #HWgivesback, to promote awareness of challenges impacting members of our Hamilton and Wenham and surrounding communities and raise money to support these causes. Our goal is to collaborate with community leaders, public safety officials, business owners and families to work together to make a difference. Our goal for this year is to provide opportunities for all students to hear about the idea of  #HWgivesback and connect it to the many charitable causes they are currently supporting.


Over the next month we are joining forces with Anton’s Cleaners to help make their annual Coats for Kids drive the most successful year yet! We would love to have the elementary school students join us in this effort. We will begin collecting new and lightly used coats in all sizes (children to adult) on Monday, December 7th, and conclude January 8th. Coats will be collected in the box located in the Gallery.

Hamilton-Wenham Generals Girls Basketball Team Fundraiser

For a $20 Donation

You can participate in Our HW Community Photo Scavenger Hunt!

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Email Lisa Fibbe - and she will send you a secure link for payment.

  2. Once you go to our secure links and pay, We will send you the instructions and the checklist.

  3. Enjoy celebrating the Holiday season by finding and photographing yourself or family with the clues from the checklist.

  4. Add our Twitter Page @HWHolidayHunt and Like our Facebook Page@HW Holiday Hunt: Girls Basketball Fundraiser

  5. Once complete: You can post your Photos to our Facebook or Twitter pages for all participants to enjoy. Be sure to use #HWgirlsbasketball #HWHolidayHunt

  6. Be sure to stop at 2 Donkeys Toy Shop during Store Hours and show your Holiday Mascot Gerry to pick up a small treat.

  7. And of course.......Have a blast making some fun family memories!!


Please join Early Childhood Partners CFCE for a series of FREE drop-in parent workshops to connect local families during these unprecedented times. Each week we will focus on self-care strategies, share parenting challenges & opportunities and discuss ways to better support our children. These workshops will be facilitated by Maryellen Collamore, MSW, LICSW, a local child & family clinician who specializes in parenting and childhood mental health.







Please register at to receive the ZOOM link. Feel free to join us for one or all of the workshops!

Early Childhood Partners CFCE offers FREE storytimes, playgroups, workshops, community events, advocacy, connections, and support for families and children aged 0-8.

To learn more and to register, please go to our website or call 978-468-5489.

Funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care awarded to Hamilton-Wenham RSD. All educational and non-academic programs, activities and employment opportunities at Hamilton-Wenham RSD are offered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, homelessness, age and/or disability, and any other class or characteristic protected by law.


All Early Childhood Partners programs are FREE
and available on our Website, Facebook Page, & ZOOM! @EarlyChildhoodPartnersCFCE

MONDAYS “FIRST FRIENDS” Interactive Story Time @ 10am on ZOOM. Themed circle time, songs, stories, group activities, and so much more! This program is best for parents/caregivers & children ages 2-8!

TUESDAYS “STORYTIME YOGA” is a pre-recorded mindfulness & movement storytime for children ages 2-6yo & a parent/caregiver. Participate in basic yoga stretches & breathing exercises inspired by a book.

“THE PROCESS ART WORKSHOP” is designed for children ages 3-8yo & their parents/caregivers. Participants will enjoy links to online read-aloud stories & activities that practice process art methods. Available for those who pre-register: FREE PROCESS ART TAKE & MAKE BAGS!

WEDNESDAYS “PRE-K HOORAY” is a virtual storytime focused on literacy, arts, music, movement, & science! Designed for children ages 2-6yo & their parents/caregivers. Includes SPECIAL EVENTS & GIVEAWAYS!

“WIND-DOWN WEDNESDAYS” Parenting Workshops @ 7:30pm on ZOOM. Focus on self-care strategies, share parenting challenges & opportunities, and discuss ways to better support our children.

THURSDAYS “LITTLE LEARNERS” Interactive Story Time @ 10am on ZOOM. Families with children ages 0-5 will enjoy stories, songs, & fingerplays. An opportunity to virtually meet and connect with other parents!

“WENDY’S STORY ART“ is designed for children ages 0-5yo & their parents/caregivers. Participants will develop literacy & fine motor skills through links to online read-aloud stories and play-based art experiences. Available for those who pre-register: FREE STORY ART TAKE & MAKE BAGS!

FRIDAYS “STORIES AND SONGS” Interactive Story Time @ 10am on ZOOM. Join us for a fun early literacy music & movement story time for the whole family. Play, move, sing, read, and have fun together!

“SCIENCE FRIDAYS” is STEAM fun! Parents/caregivers and children ages 2-6yo will listen to online read-aloud stories and explore links to science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities! Includes SPECIAL ACTIVITIES AND GIVEAWAYS!

"M IS FOR MUSEUM" & ”POPPETS PLAYDATES” is a pre-recorded story time with the Wenham Museum. Join us for a virtual version of our popular monthly preschool and toddler programs.
Available for those who pre-register: FREE TAKE & MAKE ACTIVITY BAGS!

SATURDAYS "SEASIDE SATURDAYS" weekly virtual field trips PLUS a monthly pre-recorded collaboration with the Manchester Historical Museum & MBTS Public Library. Fun for the whole family!