Family Engagement at King Open

Family Engagement at King Open
Posted on 09/28/2015
Dear Families,

Family engagement is an extremely important part of our school community and we want to acclimate you to the ways that we will keep you informed as well as the many ways that you can be involved. We recognize that attending to the needs of your family will at times impede your ability to be as involved as you would like. However, there are many ways you can partner with the school to promote a healthy learning environment as well as to advance the learning of your child(dren).

Parent Involvement - Volunteer Opportunities/People Contacts
I want to provide you with a list of current KO committees. I’ve attached more details about these committees. This information is also available on the school website. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please email the appropriate contact.

OLÁ Committee - Contacts: Carin Nuernberg, Vanessa Sevilhano, Annette Dufer Ghelfi:
Classroom Parent Representatives – Contact: Belinda Watt
Outreach Committee – Contacts: Neusa DaCosta
Events Committee – Contacts: Lisa d’Almeida
Social Action Committee – Contacts: Nora Hass
Literacy and Library Committee - Contact: Jen Mason Stott
Friends of King Open – Contacts: Jaime d’Almeida (President)
Weekend Backpack Program – Contacts: Neusa DaCosta, [email protected]: Parent Organizer: Bianca Baader

Parent Involvement – Meeting with Your Child’s Teacher
King Open teachers want to meet with families. Teachers will be reaching out to families to schedule conferences. Please be sure to schedule your child’s conference when your child’s teacher reaches out to you. If you would like to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher before a conference is scheduled, simply reach out to the teacher directly. KO teachers see parents as co-partners in advancing student learning.

Parent Involvement – Attending Meetings
The King Open has monthly opportunities for families to have face-to-face contact with the principal, school staff and other families. Principal Chats are held monthly from 8:30 – 9:30AM on either Thursday or Friday. Principal Chats do not have set agendas. A list of topics is generated from the parents/guardians/caregivers present. School Council meetings are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each Month from 6:30 – 8PM. Childcare is available during these meetings. Please contact Neusa DaCosta (Family Liaison) if you need childcare. The 1st school council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 21st. School Council meetings have a set agenda. Please email Nora Hass (Parent and Council Co-chair) if there are topics you would like us to consider for these meetings. Family Library Friday will take place every Friday from 8:20 - 9:20AM in the KO Library. This is the first year of this new tradition. Jen Mason Stott (School Librarian) is working with families and staff to plan the weekly agenda. Join Librarian Jen for informal story time, games, and puppet play - or just read and relax with your child. We will also welcome occasional visitors, including School Committee and community members.

Parent Involvement – Attending Celebratory and Curriculum Events
There are many social and curriculum related events that families can attend throughout the year. Many of these events are already posted on the KO website and others are currently being planned. We know that families can’t attend every event but please be on the look out for flyers and invitations.

Parent Involvement - Staying Informed
Another way parents can be involved is by taking advantage of the ways that we make information available to families. The King Open website is filled with a wealth of information for both students and families. You may access the website to learn about the date and times of curriculum and non-curriculum events. You may also sign up to receive push notifications or gain access to school and district notifications via your smartphone. Simply go to your Apple App Store or Google Play and search Cambridge Public Schools to download the app. You may also go to the district website and use the links to download the app to your iPhone or Android. Important school announcements and notifications are also placed on the school website. The Parent Newsletter is sent out approximately every 5 – 6 weeks. This newsletter usually has a more in-depth description of curricular and celebratory events complete with pictures that capture special moments in our school. Most notifications are sent home backpack express. In the event of emergencies that require more immediate notification, parents will receive an automated call, email or text. The notification will include the most up to date information possible with instructions for families.

Parent Involvement – Joining the General and Announcement Listservs
I’ve attached a flyer for joining the KO Listservs. Please follow the steps listed on this document in order to join. If you need assistance, please reach out to one of our parent contacts or family liaison.

Parent Involvement – R.O.A.R/School Expectations/School Safety/Anti-bullying
ROAR is the acronym for the four general expectations that inform the extended list of expectations available on the school website. The attached document describes what this acronym means. All families can be involved by being familiar with what ROAR means, school expectations, building safety and the anti-bullying information posted on the school website. Teachers and administrators teach and model ways that students can interact while respecting differences. Building and classroom expectations are taught and respectfully enforced to promote a safe and healthy learning climate. By being familiar with this information, you can talk to your child about how important it is to respect these expectations throughout the school day and while on fieldtrips. When the message that students receive from the school and home about how to maintain a safe and respectful school climate are the same, students will be more productive in school. If you need or would like a hard copy of any of this information, please contact Brenda (Clerk), Neusa (Family Liaison) or Elizabeth (School Operations Manager). We would also like you to know that, at the King Open School, it is an expectation that students be “Active Learners”. We teach them that their brains grow through effort. This is what makes us “smart”. Also, practice makes us better. We hope you will support these messages at home. This is by far one of the most powerful ways that parents can be involved.

In closing, we hope you found this information helpful. If you need any assistance getting in touch with any contact person regarding volunteer opportunities at KO or you simply want to speak to someone in person regarding parent involvement, please feel free to reach out to Neusa DaCosta. You may email her directly or call her at 617.349.6540 x138 or stop by her office located in the KO main lobby.

Once again, thank you for choosing King Open as the place to extend your child’s learning!


Darrell Williams
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