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Virtual End of School                Year News

Principal's Newsletter 6/19/20

Thank you to everyone who helped us maneuver the last three months of virtual school. Thanks to the teachers who transformed our educational system, parents who sacrificed so much to be our educational partners, and students, who were flexible thinkers and had to adjust to our social distancing mandate. It certainly has been a journey!!


Now, many of us can take a breath and recharge. I hope to do the same, at least wearing my principal hat, but in reality major decisions are ahead of us. In the coming weeks we hope to hire a second high school/middle grades math teacher. This has been on our wish list for years! It will allow us to strengthen our current math program and will allow for varied course offerings beyond what we can currently provide. We are actively seeking a candidate and have been conducting a nationwide search, as we are keenly aware that math teachers are in high demand! If you know of anyone who would love to teach in the best school in the world, please let us know!


We also are also sad to see Kathleen Schlenz, our Occupational Therapist, Kathy Martin, Special Education Teacher, and Special Education Director, Mark Hawk say goodbye this year. We applaud their years of service and dedication to our students and wish them the best.


Plans for next year?

I wish I could tell you exactly what September will look like, but I can't. Depending on the spread of the virus and the ever changing mandates, we will continue to ""build the plane, as we fly it."


I hope that you find ease in knowing that our staff have proven to be masters of change and with their unbelievable ability to adapt, we will deliver a plan that is safe and educational. We are currently forming reentry teams to build plans for school in September. We have been asked by the Department of Education to develop three different scenario plans to start off the year. A virtual Plan, A Regular Traditional in school Plan, and a Hybrid Plan that encompasses a little of both. Plans for high school kids and elementary will most likely look very different. Teams of teachers and staff will meet in the coming weeks to develop these plans, as they are due to the Department of Education by July 17! Please voice your ideas for reentry, questions and concerns to me at in the coming weeks as we build plans to get kids back in the building in the safest way possible.


Ending the year.

Teachers were asked to gather student's borrowed books and hotspots. I really need all hotspots back in the building! There is someone in the office everyday, so if you can save me a call and drop them off, that will be great. Students will be allowed to keep their Chromebooks over the summer. Many educational resources are available to students over the summer, for free. We hope you can take advantage of these resources through these Chromebooks and continue learning over the summer.



RIDE Teams up with Nick Jr’s Noggin

We are proud to announce that we have teamed up Nick Jr’s Noggin in order to provide all Rhode Island families with high-quality, digital learning experiences for kids in both English and Spanish. Noggin features preschool learning games, full episodes, books and activities led by kids’ favorite characters. Sign up here for your free 90 days of Noggin.


Special Program!

As we watch the news, and witness the social unrest in our country, we at the Block Island School would be remiss in not acknowledging institutional racism and the marginalization of groups in our country. At our school, we welcome and embrace differences, foster inclusion and promote tolerance for all groups.


Recently, we decided this important topic would best be reinforced in person, so we gathered our first group back on school grounds in order to address these important topics. We partnered with Kelly Vest, a parent of 6th graders at the Block Island School, who has been a pioneer in the field of cross-cultural and interfaith programming over the last 25 years, is a certified facilitator for A World of Difference Institute®, and author of No Place For Hate® campaign, a program used in schools across the country.


Kelly facilitated this student workshop and introduced the middle grade students to the basic concepts surrounding racism and the idea of perspective. The focus was to help students acquire a general understanding of current events, to answer questions students had about the protests, to provide students with tools to recognize racism, and guidance on how to react when one witnesses intolerance.


Old School Drive-in!

Shannon Cotter and Josh Maldonado pulled off a REAL drive in on the school grounds for just the 6th grade as a fun activity to end the year. Take a a peak, the movie was Homeward Bound.

Summer Reading and Math

What? More school?? Parents, you may have noticed we are pretty relentless when it comes to learning. Success of our students is proof that we take this learning stuff pretty seriously! We want both parents and students to take a break, but we also recognize that virtual learning fostered a fair amount of inconsistencies in learning for many of our younger students. We know this mode of learning had both pluses and minuses. So, we will continue this summer with our Summer Support Program for invited students only from July 13- August 21.


Additionally, we will continue to require summer Reading and Math work for all students. Summer work will be posted on teacher's Google Sites, which can be accessed on our website. Many teachers will be mailing materials to families over the summer, as well.


Please do not hesitate to call the school during the summer if you have difficulty accessing materials.


Also a note about the statewide calendar, School Calendar 2020-21


We are awaiting clarification from the Department of Education about districts being allowed to begin school after Labor Day, a concern coastal communities have voiced, as many of our students work in the tourism industry. Particular to BIS, is a teacher housing shortage with an earlier start. More to come, as we get clarification from RIDE.


Thank You for Everything and Have a Safe and Fun Summer!!