Dear Parents and Guardians,

Fantastic News for MES!  I just received an email from the VPA (Vermont Principals Association) saying:

“Your application was chosen as one of 81 from 251 total applications in this year’s VPA/Vermont Community Foundation, BARR Foundation Mini Grant offerings. Congratulations!  Your school will be receiving: $5,000”

I had applied for this grant specifically in the area of mental health supports, and this will allow us to purchase books, toys, games, and equipment for our counseling services, sensory tools and equipment for our OT/PT Sensory rooms and our Planning Room, individual sensory and regulation tools for classroom kits, and so much more. These purchases will benefit our students for a very long time.  Many thanks to the VPA!

Classroom Updates:
All students in K-4th grade are in the process of taking mid-year assessments in several areas of math and literacy. While we still need to gather data and analyze the results with our teacher teams and Literacy and Math coaches, the initial results are showing that our students are incredibly resilient and catching up quickly with their academic gains. The teachers, as well, are showing their resiliency.  With all the changes and adaptations to their teaching this year, they continue to hold very high expectations for their learners and are seeing tremendous results.

Like many educators all across the nation, we were concerned when we saw the results of our early fall assessments that outlined some loss and regression in student learning due to our school closures last March.  We all know there is no substitute for in-person instruction and the face-to-face relationships that teachers build with students, especially our youngest.  Students also learn a great deal from their peers in the classroom setting. Teachers and staff were grateful for the transitional start to the school year because it gave us the needed time to make adjustments for all the health and safety regulations. But now, we are back on track in our new normal, forging ahead, with great plans for academic instruction for the remainder of the year.

COVID-19 Updates:
I am sure many of you have heard the news about more positive cases in our local schools.  If you have any concerns about your child’s close contact with siblings or friends who may have been exposed at other schools or whether to keep your child home, please call our Director of Nursing Services, Jordan Myerson, at 585-4087.  He is always available to talk to parents and answer your questions.  We need to express our deep gratitude to our MES families for following all the health and safety guidelines, canceling those birthday parties, sleepovers, and non-essential gatherings, supporting your teachers and children on remote Wednesdays, and your dedication to helping us keep school open, safe, and a genuinely happy place to be.

Sleep:
Many of our teachers are reporting that some students appear tired, a few of them saying they stay up late playing on their iPads.  Research shows that young children need on average 9-12 hours of sleep per night depending on their age.  There is also evidence that the “blue light” from electronics, iPads, and cellphones can interfere with sleep patterns or make it hard to fall asleep.  It is recommended that all electronics are shut off one hour before bedtime.  All iPads and laptops need to come to school fully charged, so we suggest plugging them in an hour before bedtime, somewhere other than the child’s bedroom, so they don’t have access to them.  Suggest to your child that they read a book or draw before bed, as this is a great way to quiet the mind.  Let your child’s teacher know if you need books or drawing materials to help with this at home.  We are happy to supply what you may need.

Community Resources:
Please take a minute to look at this website.  United Way of Lamoille County Resource Page. There are resources there for tax assistance, housing, food support, legal issues, COVID-19 vaccinations and contact tracing, positive parenting supports, and the Economic Stimulus Equity Fund to give direct stimulus payments to people who were left out of the federal program because of their immigration status.  Our Lamoille County community resources are strong, and there’s something there for everyone.

Have fun in the snow!

Kate Torrey, MES Principal

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