Prinicpal Bott's Message for the 2017-2018 School Year
August 21, 2017
Dear Mendell Parents and Guardians,
I hope that your summer has been full of adventure, relaxation and laughter with family and friends. I am thrilled that you have chosen the Ellis Mendell Elementary School to educate your child(ren). As articulated in our vision statement, “The Mendell School is dedicated to educating a diverse, inclusive community through rigorous and equitable learning experiences that create lifelong learners who stand tall as a mighty force for good in their neighborhoods.” In simple terms, we are proud to be an inclusive school where ALL students are welcomed, supported and challenged to reach their full potential and develop respect for human differences. In order to realize our vision, the Mendell is committed to providing our students with a well-rounded education. This includes high quality instruction designed to meet each learner’s individual needs, character education, physical health and wellness opportunities and a robust arts and science program. At the Mendell, we realize that none of this would be possible without YOU, our families, and therefore, we are committed to ensuring that you are deeply connected to your child’s learning and our school community. As summer comes to a close, I would like to share some important information that will help you and your family prepare for the magical year of learning ahead!
For families I have not yet met, my name is Julia Bott and I am delighted to be returning to this amazing learning community for my eighth year as your principal. My experiences in education have helped to shape a strong set of core values that guide my vision and decision-making. I uphold high expectations for all, respect for human differences and inclusivity, a commitment to collaborative, data-driven decision-making, and a belief in a well-rounded education. I also embrace partnerships with families and community and look forward to building and deepening relationships with each and every one of you. You are your child’s first and most important teacher, and we cannot do this work without you!
This year the Mendell School will continue to focus on strengthening our school climate and instructional practices to ensure that our full-inclusion model realizes its ultimate goal of excellence for ALL. At the Mendell, inclusion means so much more than how we teach a wide range of learners. It is about fostering a sense of belonging through relationships. It means respecting and celebrating the unique racial, ethnic and linguistic identities of our students and families. It is about creating a safe place for diverse viewpoints and ideas and empowering students to develop the critical consciousness necessary to both recognize inequities and “stand tall” for justice in their own neighborhoods. It is recognizing that inclusion is a process, not a destination and the journey towards building a more inclusive community will require humility and a commitment to lifelong learning. Above all else, at the Mendell we believe inclusion is the means to excellence. In order for ALL students to develop the habits of mind and character necessary to think critically about the world they live in and take agency to transform it, they MUST be challenged and inspired to find the greatness that already lies within them. This year, we will be digging into excellence to ensure that teachers, students and families have a common vision of what high quality thinking, work and character looks like and how we will empower our students to believe and achieve excellence.
In line with our commitment to inclusion and excellence, we will be capitalizing upon the district’s Extended Learning Time initiative by restructuring our school day to embed increased opportunities for ALL students to develop critical thinking and reasoning skills across content areas with real-world relevancy. Specifically, students in grades K1-5 will engage in hands-on, project-based learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through partnerships with Lego/Robotics and ST Math. We believe a focus on STEM education will foster creativity, collaborative problem solving and inspire self-efficacy in science, technology and math learning and career opportunities. Additionally, students will have increased opportunities for social studies, social-emotional learning/wellness and movement through the week and year.
I also wanted to share that due to increased student enrollment in grades K-5 we are renovating our cafeteria to be a classroom for our fifth grade students this year. This means students in grades K-5 will be eating meals in their classrooms during the school day. During outdoor recess, students will continue to have access to the playground and we will build in opportunities for student socialization and play during indoor recess sessions. We are thrilled to be welcoming the largest cohort of K1-5th grade students in our school’s history and are confident that with flexibility, creativity and problem solving, we can continue to provide a high quality education to ALL! More details to follow in our opening days of school.
Finally, I wanted to address some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the start of the school year:
First Day of School: School will resume for students in grades 1-5 on Thursday September 7th. All Kindergarten students (K0-K2) will begin school on Monday, September 11th. September 7th and September 11th are regular school days and students will be dismissed at 4:10 PM. The school hours for ALL students, grades K0-5 are 9:30 AM to 4:10 PM.
Homeroom Assignment: Attached you will find a form stating your child’s grade level, homeroom and teacher assignment for the 2017-2018 school year.
Kindergarten Meet & Greet: If you are an incoming K0, K1 or K2 parent, the K0/K1 and K2 teachers will be holding an in-school Meet and Greet session on Friday, September 8th between the hours of 2:00-3:00 PM. This is an opportunity for you to learn more about school procedures, programs and partnerships before the first day.
Before School: The Before School Program will start Thursday, September 7th and runs every school day from 7:30 to 9:15 AM. The Before School Program is coordinated by Lesley Silvia, with support from our interns and paras and offers enrichment and recreation Monday-Friday. Please note: Before School is not a drop-in program and there are daily and weekly program rates. If you are interested in signing up your child for Before School, complete an application found in the main office. Any child dropped off prior to 9:15 AM must participate in Before School. Please contact Lesley Silvia if you have any questions at email@example.com.
After-school: The Mendell partners with the YMCA to provide After-school programming on-site for students in grades K1-5th grade. The After-school Program will officially begin on Thursday, September 7th for students in grades 1-5 and Monday, September 11th for students in grades K1-K2 who have completed registration/enrollment materials. After-school runs daily from 4:10- 6:00 PM. Slots will be offered on a first come-first serve basis and financial assistance is available. Please contact Allison Singer, After-school Director by phone at 617-512-8851 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Arrival/Attendance: Please be sure that your child arrives on time every day of school (9:30 AM). The pledge and morning announcements will begin at 9:15 AM and instruction will begin promptly at 9:30 AM. Please also be sure that your child attends school every day so that he/she can successfully complete the school year.
School Dress Code: The Mendell School Site Council has established a mandatory school dress code policy for behavioral, safety and financial reasons. Please make sure that your child follows the school dress code every day. Attached you will find important information regarding the school dress code, including what students should wear and where you can purchase uniforms. If you have any specific questions regarding the uniform policy, please contact your child’s classroom teacher.
Policies: A folder containing important materials will be sent home with your child during the first week of school outlining information about this year. It is required that you read the Attendance policy, Promotion Policy, Mendell Compact and the Code of Discipline letter and return them signed along with the emergency/health card to your child’s teacher ASAP. Please also visit the Communication Hub at https://sites.google.com/bostonpublicschools.org/mendellcommunicationhub/home.
Parent Council/School-Site Council: We encourage your participation in our Parent Council (PC), a parent-led group that meets monthly at the Mendell to plan school events, family activities and fundraise. Our School-Site Council (SSC) serves as the decision-making body of the building around hiring, budget and policy. Additionally, on Thursday, September 21st from 4:30-6:30 PM PC will be sponsoring our annual Mendell Family Picnic. This is a fun way to get connected to our community and kick-off the school year! Come with your family and appetite ☺ Additionally, the PC will be holding an Orientation on Tuesday, September 26th from 5:30-7:00 PM. During this event you will have an opportunity to meet our PC and SSC officers who were elected in June 2017 and learn more about how you can get involved.
Open House: Our annual Open House will take place on Thursday, October 5th from 5:00-7:00 PM. This is an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher(s) and other key staff working with your child at the Mendell, learn about the curriculum and expectations for the year and build relationships with the classroom community. We encourage all families to attend!
I believe in this partnership for success and look forward to working with you this school year!!
Julia A Bott