Welcome Back from Darrell Williams

Welcome Back from Darrell Williams
Posted on 08/27/2019
Continuous Learning Through a Culturally Responsive Lens is the Work!

Dear Families,

We are excited to welcome King Open families to our new school facility. This energy efficient, student-centered facility has an array of color assortments on each floor augmented by natural lighting. It is truly an amazing facility. Because there is so much to see and appreciate in our new school, we anticipate that many of our caregivers will want to explore the building on Tuesday, September 3rd, as well as throughout the week. Parents will be allowed to walk their child/ren to their classroom. Staff will be stationed throughout the building to greet families and provide direction. Please do not linger in the building. We will be prioritizing acclimating students to the space. To accommodate your curiosity, building tours for King Open families only are scheduled for Saturday, September 7th from 9 - 1:00 p.m. Please fill out this form with your time preference and number of adults/kids. Or, just let me know your preferred time between 9-12:30.

The first day of school is Tuesday, September 3rd, with Kindergarteners starting on Thursday, September 5th. If you desire to walk your child into the building on the 1st day of school or any day after, please find parking elsewhere as parking in front of the school is reserved for bus drop off. A Welcome Back Coffee for Families is scheduled for Friday, September 6th from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. The gathering will be held in the Music Room. Available staff and parents will be present to greet families. If you have any questions regarding student assignments, please go directly to the main office for assistance, Door 1. Otherwise, students are to report to the cafeteria for breakfast as well as to reconnect with familiar peers and/or establish new peer connections, Door 4. Please review the attached document regarding Building Access and Morning Activities. This document provides important information about arrival/departure, morning activities and overall school safety. King Open is an 8:55 a.m. school. Students can arrive no earlier than 8:00 a.m., and wait in the cafeteria. Staff will be available to supervise students at this time. Walking and Bus students who arrive prior to 8:40 a.m. must use the Morning Entrance, Door 4, to access the cafeteria, and may not report to classrooms. Please refer to the Campus Overview document included in this mailing for a visual of the exact entry location. We will discuss this document and more at the Welcome Back to School Night scheduled for Thursday, October 3rd, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Please see the the King Open Calendar of Events for the dates and times of other activities.

At KO, we believe that continuous learning is the work! This belief informs how we attend to students’ social emotional and academic needs. While the Massachusetts State Standards inform our teaching practice, we understand that learning extends beyond the classroom. For example, family experiences are an intricate part of the KO curriculum. These experiences broaden perspectives and deepen community connections. Each grade level has a yearlong project that incorporates the histories and interests of our families as well as allow for exploration and individual creativity. KO is also a Responsive Classroom school that has embraced Mindfulness practices. In short, we focus on the development of the whole child.

This year we will continue to deepen our understanding of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and its seamless connection to Social Emotional Learning and academic engagement for all students. Sonia Nieto’s definition of Social Justice in Education will continue to inform our work. Zaretta Hammond’s book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain will also inform our work this school year. Our professional development will be grounded in the inextricable link between special and regular education teachers and geared toward developing a common language and co-planning models that extend and refine the co-planning and collaboration practices already in place. This work will be augmented by trauma informed professional development through our partnership with Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention. The totality of our professional development falls under the umbrella of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and underscores our absolute and definitive purpose - to educate and empower students!

Family involvement is a very important aspect of our school community. Neusa DaCosta is the KO Family Liaison. She is always available to support families and respond to questions about our school. Neusa can be reached by phone or email (617.349.6540). For your information, I’ve also included a copy of the Welcome Back Coffee invite, Becoming a Classroom Parent Connector, Homework Policy and the KO Events Calendar. As always, feel free to also reach out to your child’s classroom teacher or office staff if you have questions.

The Friends of King Open is our parent/caregiver organization focused on family outreach, community events, and fundraising. Our fundraising efforts are used throughout the school year to support various activities. Please visit https://friendsofkingopen.com/news/ to see our meeting schedule.

We encourage you to embrace the spirit of King Open. Friends of King Open (FOKO) has sweatshirts, sweatpants, t-shirts, and winter hats for purchase. We want to make it even easier to show King Open pride. FOKO has created an online store where you can find t-shirts, mugs, keychains, and other school spirit items. They make great gifts, or just treat yourself! If you have questions, please contact Jodi Sperber

Please join us for Principal Chats. Principal Williams hosts monthly drop-in coffee to offer parents/caregivers a chance to explore a range of topics that impact our community. There is no formal agenda for these meetings, just drop in to pose a question or listen to the discussion. All JK-5 parents/caregivers are welcome and encouraged to attend! All sessions are held from 8:30-9:30AM in the Music Room.

The acronym R.O.A.R. is the pillar of our building-based expectations. Your child’s teacher will revisit these expectations in class during the first six weeks of school and model to students what these expectations look like in practice. (see attached)

On behalf of the King Open Staff, I want to again express my sincere appreciation for selecting King Open as the extended learning environment for your child(ren). We value your trust. As always, the successful start of the school year is only the beginning. It is our collective responsibility to communicate with each other so that decisions and practices are grounded in equity and fairness.

Looking forward to our work together,

Darrell Williams
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