Message from Principal Williams: August 20, 2020

Message from Principal Williams: August 20, 2020
Posted on 08/20/2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

The new school year is quickly approaching with many unanswered questions and a great deal of uncertainty. King Open staff are working together to think through and process information from the state and district in order to operationalize in-person and remote learning in the upcoming weeks. The purpose of this communication is to share some preliminary information regarding placement, staffing, technology and operational changes to expect in order to set the stage for the upcoming school year. Additional details will be shared in future communications as decisions are finalized and smaller details are fleshed out.

As a reminder, the first day of school is Wednesday, September 16th. All students will start school remotely. In person learning for eligible families will begin on Tuesday, October 13th. As indicated in the Superintendent's communication to families, this delayed start for in-person (at school) learning will provide more time to address the complex staffing and scheduling decisions for in-person learning, necessary planning and training, as well as the contingencies outlined in the re-opening plan. Safety is the priority and we are centering the safety of students, families and faculty as we operationalize school during the current pandemic.

For the immediate, please complete the Fall 2020 Enrollment Form by Saturday, August 22nd with your choices for the upcoming school year. As a reminder, All CPS students will automatically be enrolled in remote (at-home) learning. Some families are eligible to choose in-person (at school) learning four days per week. We need enrollment information to finalize reopening plans. The following students are eligible for in-person (at school):

  • All students in substantially separate special education programs or sheltered English immersion programs (preschool through grade 12)
  • All students in CPS preschool programs (Children’s House, Special Start, Scholar College), Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten, or Grade 1. 
  • Some students in Grade 2 and 3. There is limited capacity, prioritized for students with disabilities, English Language learners, former English language learners, and students experiencing homelessness.

Things to know:

  1. Class Placement: was completed prior to the close of the 19/20school year. Placement lists will need to be modified based on enrollment selection (in-person or remote). Once families have made an enrollment choice for their child(ren), we will be able to revise class lists and get placement information out to families as soon as possible. Placement lists for grades 4 and 5 will be shared the week of August 24th. Please be thoughtful about your enrollment selection. Once you make a selection you can request a change up until September 30th. Requests will be considered on a case by case basis. Requests may not be approved. Families will have another opportunity to request a change in enrollment in December.
  2. Classroom Teachers: KO has a wide range of highly effective educators some of which have underlying medical conditions or other issues that might result in a change in work status. For in-person learning, this means that your child may be assigned to a CPS educator who is newly hired. This also means that your child may not be assigned to the teacher you originally expected. We will let you know who your child’s teacher is as soon as possible so that initial connections can be made.
  3. Parent Access: To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, parents will not be given the traditional access to the building. We are saddened by this significant but necessary change in our community. Parents will be able to escort their child to a designated entry door where each student will be welcomed by caring staff. Doors will open at 8:40AM for student entry.
  4. Morning Activities: There will be no morning activities available for students this school year.
  5. Entry Prior to 8:40AM: Unless students are arriving on a school bus, students will not be able to access the building prior to 8:40AM.
  6. School Day: For both in-person and remote, the school day will start officially at 8:55AM and will end at 2:55PM. Early dismissal will be at 12:55PM.
  7. Student Attendance/Engagement: All students (in-person and remote) are expected to participate and engage in learning activities for in-person and remote learning. Addressing students' social emotional learning needs and connecting with families will be the primary focus during the initial weeks of school.
  8. After School: While we acknowledge the importance of after school programming, there will be no after school programming during the 20/21 school year. This is a major shift in our community. Caregivers will need to make alternative arrangements after school if selecting the in-person learning option and in need of after school care.
  9. Friends of King Open (FOKO): Some members of the Friends of King Open (FOKO) are considering ways to coordinate shared child care and support among families for time when students are normally cared for at school, and we will be in touch again as we figure out possibilities. If you have any suggestions, please send them to Caroline Lowenthal.
  10. Breakfast/Lunch: Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Safety protocols will be in place for proper delivery and distribution.
  11. Buses: Buses will not be occupied at full capacity. Students will be assigned 1 to a seat. More detail will be provided in the upcoming weeks.
  12. Technology: Here are the primary technology platforms we will be using during the 20/21 school year. We are sharing this information in advance just in case you would like to learn more about these resources.
Educational Technology

Software/Tool Grade Level Support CPS PD Links
Google Meet
JK - 5
Google Meet Updates Google Meet Slides
Seesaw JK - 2 About Seesaw Seesaw Slides
Google Classroom 3 - 5 GC Updates GC Part 1 Slides
GC Part 2Slides
Pear Deck JK - 5 About Pear Deck Pear Deck Slides

Staffing Updates

Kindergarten Teacher
After 43 years of being a pre-k/K teacher, Kim Sneed-Johnson has retired. Ying Tao, previously the 1/2 Olá Teacher, was selected for the position of KO pre-k/K Teacher.

From Librarian Jen Mason Stott (jmasonstott@cpsd.us)
To my dear King Open community,
In August 2020, I will move to the Graham & Parks School, to job-share with the librarian there. I greet this new challenge with excitement in my heart and a lump in my throat. King Open has been my school for 13 years. I estimate that I've read and learned with 1700 children! It has been an honor and a true joy to care for your library (in three different KO buildings!)

I am pleased to hand the reins to a wonderful colleague, Emily Litman. She will bring the same energy and commitment that drew me to King Open 13 years ago: the desire to build a library program that reflects and nourishes all of our beautiful children. The KO library website is here for all your summer reading needs! I'm sending you hugs and wishing you many great reading adventures this summer. Stay in touch!

Grade 1 teacher Susan Forrest will transition to a new position effective the 2020/2021 school year. Susan will assume the role of Part-time Math/Literacy Interventionist K – 2.

Tatiana Medina-Barreto will assume the role of Grade 1 teacher. Tatiana has a warm personality and is committed to social justice and equity. Tatiana has a Bachelor degree in Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College and a Master degree of Effective Teaching from Charles E. Sposato Graduate School of Education. Tatiana has experience working with a range of students. We welcome Tatiana to this community.

Nicole M. Larriu will assume this role of Grades 1/2 Ola Teacher.. Nicole also has a warm personality and is committed to social justice and equity. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts & Science in English Literature with a minor in Women's & Gender Studies from Umass Dartmouth as well as a Master degree in Early Childhood Education from Cambridge College. Nicole has experience working with students in grades pre-k – 2 and grades 3 – 5. We welcome Nicole to this community.

Jaclyn Gordon has joined the grade 3 teaching team. Jean Capizzi will not be returning to King Open next school year. We wish Jean the very best! Jaclyn has a Bachelor of Science in Education as well as a Master of Education in Specialist Teacher of Reading. Jaclyn also comes to our community with a range of experiences working with above and at-risk students. We welcome Jaclyn to this community.

We are happy to share that Social Worker/Counselor Kelly Chandler has now been assigned to the KO community full-time. Congratulations Kelly.

Emily Litman has joined our community as the next KO Librarian. Emily has a warm personality, is committed to the philosophical underpinnings of social justice and spoke candidly about race and equity as well as privilege and disadvantage during our initial meeting. Emily has a Bachelor of Arts in History from Brandeis University and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Simmons University. We welcome Emily to this community.

Renata Moreira has joined the KO community. Catarine Verdi (Olá paraprofessional working with Larissa Turra) will not be returning this year. Renata has a warm and gentle personality with a creative spirit. Renata has a Bachelor of Law and a Master in Corporate Law. Renata is a KO parent. We welcome Renata to the educational team.

I apologize for the longevity of this communication but hope you find the information helpful. I look forward to getting the new school year underway. There will undoubtedly be challenges and the need for modifications in the days and weeks ahead; but as always, anything can be accomplished if we work together!

Wishing you continued safety and good health,


Darrell Williams, Principal
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