We are excited to announce that our students in both Grade 5 and Grade 6 will return to school five days per week starting on Monday, April 26th. Thank you so much for your patience while we have been working through all of the logistics with scheduling, staffing, transportation and lunch. Regardless of your role - parent, student, teacher, teaching assistant, nurse, bus driver, secretary, aide, Resource Officer, anyone reading this - this year has been a grind with a lot of ups and downs along the way. We are grateful for the support, flexibility and effort on the part of everyone to be at this point.
I want to give a special THANK YOU to our WGMS Custodial Crew who has worked incredibly hard at moving desks, chairs, tables, cabinets, textbooks, boxes, and working to set up barriers in the cafeteria, all while doing their typical workload of cleaning and disinfecting the building. There are a lot of unsung heroes that have helped to get us to this point in time, but our custodians have been absolutely incredible. They show up and get it done each and every day! Thank you.
As we bring both groups of students back we are making necessary changes to the schedule to balance out classes and ensure that students continue to have the same opportunities that they had previously. School for 5th and 6th graders has felt and looked like school for quite some time and we intend to keep it that way! Our school counselors will be reaching out to families in situations where a teacher or schedule change is necessary.
Our cafeteria is just about ready for students to eat lunch in. Half of each class of students will eat in the cafeteria while the other half continue to eat in the classroom. We will rotate this on a weekly basis so that all students have the opportunity to eat in the cafeteria. Splitting each class in half for lunch will allow us to adhere to distancing guidelines. In classrooms students will continue to eat six feet apart without barriers and in the cafeteria our students will be eating three feet apart with barriers between them. We cannot physically get all students in the cafeteria for lunch at the same time with the three foot distance requirement.
The Transportation Department is finalizing bus routes. With almost double the number of buses and the large number of families transporting students to and from school, there is going to be a significant increase in traffic both in the morning and afternoon. As a result, we are anticipating some potential minor adjustments to our dismissal time and procedures for both arrival and dismissal. Stay tuned for another update as soon as we have that information locked in place. Transportation will share specific busing information with all families that requested school transportation.
New York State Assessments
The New York State Assessments in ELA and Mathematics for grades 5 and 6 will be given in one session and consist of only multiple choice questions. The assessments are computer-based and will be administered in your child’s regular homeroom class. Any student who is not taking the assessment should still attend school and will be able to read during the administration of the assessment. Fully remote students will not be taking the assessments unless parents choose to send their students into the building on the day of the assessments. Please mark your calendars for the assessment dates:
April 20th (Tuesday) ELA MON/TUE Group A
April 23rd (Friday) ELA THU/FRI Group B
May 5th (Wednesday) Math All Students
Fine Arts Update
The Fine Arts Department, including our music ensemble teachers, are discussing how best to provide a performance experience for students and their families. We recently learned that New York State has a new Executive Order regarding small and medium scale performing arts venues. We may now host up to 100 attendees indoors and up to 200 attendees outdoors, which may allow our family members of our student performers to attend live performances. We will update you once we know what we can safely accomplish at WGMS. Our school musical has the green light to take place this year which is awesome! We are proud to present Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. on June 10th, 11th and 12th. We will send ticketing information and procedures once we have worked out the details.
As we transition to five days of instruction with all of our students there are going to be some challenges. Our 5th and 6th graders haven't been in school for more than 3 days per week in over a year. Stamina is going to be an issue for some students, as will being in a classroom with double the number of students that they have been used to. These changes are going to be very hard for some of our students. But this amazing staff at WGMS will continue to give everything that they have to take care of our kids and help them with this transition. We appreciate your support and our students and staff will continue to need it during this final stretch of the school year. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to me. Take care and stay healthy!