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The DeWitt Observer

Family Monthly News Update
June 19, 2020


Dear Families and Caregivers, May this greet you in the best of safety and healthy conditions as we bring the 2019-20 school year to a close.

We appreciate your patience, flexibility, feedback and support as we all shared a common adventure navigating through COVID-19 and most recently national demonstrations and protests to racial injustice and inequality. You have continued to be an extension of our distance learning program as you supported your child's learning at home.

A few last minute notices that I need to share with you before we close the books for the year.

ICSD Distance Learning Survey:  What do you think about your children’s distance learning experience? How could we improve? Answer these questions and more in our Distance Learning Survey! Take it at https://survey.k12insight.com/r/1920DLCaregivers by June 21.

REOPEN ICSD: Initial Planning Information Sessions for Families
Monday, June 22, 12:00 pm    Event Number:  132 824 1699
Thursday, June 25, 10:30 am    Event Number:  132 776 6050
Sessions will take place virtually via Cisco Webex. Register anytime at:
Ithacacityschools.webex.com

Grade 8 Virtual Promotion:  7:00 - 8:00 pm, June 22, 2020
Event Web Address:  https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID:  992 5419 7058
Password:  DE2020

Lost and Found: We have lots of lost and found articles and would like to give families a chance to look through and reclaim them before we bag them for charitable donation. If you would like to come to DeWitt to look for lost items, please follow these procedures. In order to protect you and the safety of others, you must wear a mask and gloves. Use sanitizer as needed.

Procedure: 
  • Please call DeWitt (607) 257-3222 to schedule a time to come in between 9 am and 2 pm.  Tuesday 6/23 through Thursday 6/25
  • Sign in and out at front desk upon arrival and when you leave
  • Wear a mask and gloves 
  • Lost and Found will be in the cafeteria
  • Only take items that belong to your child…….thank you!
 

June 15, 2020


Dear Families and Caregivers of DeWitt, 

This will probably be my last official news home to you in the role and capacity as Principal of DeWitt Middle School. This is not the way I had imagined how my career would end; however, none of us expected or could’ve predicted this chain of national and global events. I am so thankful for each of you and your thoughtful, kind words, support, suggestions and concerns that you have shared in a genuine way. Even though we have been physically and socially distanced these past few months, we have all shared the pain and joy of what the new norm has become and more importantly, our continued focus on the learning and love for our students and each other.

We, as a nation and community have been confronted with two challenging experiences; COVID-19 and the unfolding of racial inequality and injustice, police brutality and domestic terrorism through protests and demonstrations. As a result, we are charged and call to action to actively review and dismantle racist systems, institutions and acts of oppression.  As a school district and community, ICSD has begun to engage in strategic and targeted action through courageous and deliberate conversations, meetings with students, families and staff to investigate school systems that are oppressive and design ways to interrupt and dismantle these systems that have damaging implications on students, especially students of color.  Thank you.

During the next week we will bring the 2019-2020 school year to a close. I am providing you with reminders and updates so we can all enjoy a smooth transition to the summer. On behalf of DeWitt Middle School, please know how much our staff have appreciated your resilience, understanding, flexibility, feedback and hope during these challenging times.

YEARBOOKS:  Grade 6 and 7 will be mailed home this week.
Grade 8 will be delivered in-person in a Grade 8 Care Package this week

REPORT CARDS:  Report cards will be mailed home this year after June 19th which is the last day for staff to submit grades. (see grading scale enclosed)

PROMOTION:  Grade 8 will have a virtual promotion on Monday, June 22, 7:00 - 8:00 pm. All students and families of Grade 8 will receive an invitation on when, where and how to join the event.

REMINDERS:
June 15 10:00-11:40 Grade 6 Virtual Yearbook Signing
  12:00 - 1:00 pm, Grade 8 Teacher-Student Kahoot
June 16 Last day for students
  Grade 7 End of Year Student Celebration
  Budget Vote and School Board Elections
June 17 End of Year Staff Meeting
June 19 Last day for staff
June 21 Father’s Day
June 22 7:00 - 8:00 pm. Grade 8 Virtual Promotion

Reopening Plan for 2020-21:  
We have begun conversations with our ICSD team members this week around our reopening plan, entitled “Reopen ICSD,” and will continue these conversations with families/caregivers and students next week. Please sign up if you have not done so yet; we look forward to engaging with you all. As we look ahead to reopening, we are doing so through a lens of anti-racism, and are organizing our planning into four pillars: culture, physical and environmental health and safety, social-emotional and academic learning, and communication. We understand that the reopening scenarios for which we are planning will be largely dictated by Governor Cuomo and COVID-19, however, we also know that our community must explore these options and the logistics associated with them earlier rather than later. For an overview of Reopen ICSD, please visit our website. We are grateful for your participation and support as we rethink our school district in this new era.

Budget Vote and School Board Election
The upcoming ICSD Budget Vote and School Board Election is being conducted by absentee ballot. Although we are no longer permitted to receive completed ballots returned in person to our Board Building, voters may still mail them. The Governor has extended the deadline for us to receive ballots returned by mail to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16. We very much appreciate your participation in this important budget vote and election. 

Chromebooks: Unless you are moving out of the ICSD school district, keep your chromebooks for the summer and 2020-21 school year.

Textbooks and Library books:  Please return any textbooks and/or library books from DeWitt Middle School to a return bin at Tompkins County Public Library

Middle School Grading Spring 2020
Quarters 3 and 4 will be combined into a single marking period (with the exception of 10-week courses).  Students will receive a Level 1-4 descriptive grade for both the combined marking period AND for their final course grade (with the exception of credit-bearing courses, AIS labs, Reading Classes, Resource Rooms and Grade 7 Capstone Projects in Art, FCS and Technology).  Here is the 1-4 grading scale:
 
Rating Description
Level 4 Student work exceeds grade expectations; demonstrates mastery of the standard(s) being taught
Level 3 Student work meets expectations; demonstrates an ability to successfully complete a majority of the standard(s) being taught
Level 2 Student work does not meet expectations; working towards being able to independently complete a majority of the standard(s) being taught
Level 1 Student unable to demonstrate even a limited understanding of the standard(s) being taught
Excused Student excused from assignment due to extenuating circumstances

The Level 1-4 grading scale is a holistic reporting tool.  The rating selected for each student should describe the students learning based on the preponderance of evidence (assignments/artifacts of learning) available to the teacher.  The rating is intended to provide feedback to the student and their caregivers about the student’s learning in relation to the learning standards/targets that were taught.  Furthermore, the rating will provide valuable information to next year’s educators about students who may need reteaching or other support.

Exceptions for middle school students:
  • Grading procedures for credit-bearing courses (ALG I, Earth Science, LOTE) is TBD -- students  will be given the same options made available to IHS students for these courses by  selecting P/F or numerical grade.
  • All AIS labs, Reading classes, Resource Rooms  students will be given a S+, S, S- or U for their grades in these classes.
  • Grade 7 Capstone Projects.  Grade 7 students taking Art, FCS and Technology will be given a P/F for their grades in these classes.
Lastly,  if you have not had a chance to acknowledge the amazing work of our staff please consider taking a moment to send a note of appreciation or thank you.  The current event that we have all been confronted with has brought out our best selves.  The DeWitt staff has led with a culture of love characterized by resilience, flexibility, and hope while some were serving dual roles as educator and parent within their homes. They shared similar emotions that this abrupt change in the way we educate suddenly without warning imposed on them and all of us. We were in this together so any show of gratitude would go a long way in showing how much we care.
 
With gratitude
 
Be mindful,
Stay encouraged,
Be well,
Be in peace,
Be blessed.
 
mac