Morse Weekly Family Newsletter: February 24, 2020
Published on Feb 24, 2020 13:42

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February 24, 2020

Greetings from Chad Leith

Dear Members of the Morse School Community,

Welcome back! I hope that you and your children enjoyed a wonderful February break and that you are rested and ready for the busy weeks ahead.

Meeting the Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Needs of Our Students
One of the most important responsibilities of a school community is to establish a safe and supportive environment for learning and teaching. Our current approach to fostering students’ positive social and emotional learning (SEL) draws upon two nationally-recognized models, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and the Responsive Classroom. Our teachers and staff members teach and model our core expected behaviors. When a child has engaged in behavior that is unexpected, we apply logical consequences through a progressive discipline approach aimed at reinforcing school rules and preventing future similar behaviors.

To ensure that our SEL model is as consistent and effective as possible, we have begun a process of reviewing our approach. We have recently introduced classroom teachers to a framework developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which will help us to better understand our students’ needs and reflect upon the ways we support them. We have also established a PBIS team made up of teachers, our school counselor Ms. Wheeler, and our social worker Ms. Gordon. This team is working on a plan to ensure that our PBIS model is current and well-understood by all members of our community.

While we have found that our PBIS, Responsive Classroom, and progressive discipline systems are very effective in helping most students develop their core SEL competencies, we also recognize that some children require additional support to self-regulate and manage the negative behaviors that they can demonstrate when they are in distress. To understand and address the complex needs of such learners, we are collaborating closely with district partners such as SEL lead teacher Alice Cohen, who supports schools across the district with their SEL planning and implementation. We have also recently hired a new full-time SEL paraprofessional to work in classrooms where we know children need additional assistance and support.

Building a strong and systematic SEL model at the Morse School is important and ongoing work. To enhance our approach over the long term, I have joined Ms. Cohen and other Cambridge principals in advocating for enhanced SEL resources and protocols, including converting Ms. Gordon’s part-time social work position into a full-time role. Morse School teachers and School Council members are also planning to request additional funding for SEL supports as part of the 2020-2021 budget process. With the work that we have already begun and the continued support of our district partners, I am confident that we will develop an even more robust, consistent, and effective SEL model for the children of the Morse School.

Ongoing Race & Equity Work at the Morse
Systematically addressing the SEL needs of our students connects in important ways to our efforts to understand how instances of oppression in society show up and impact our children. This Thursday (Feb. 27th; 5:30-7:00pm in the Morse Library), our Working Group on Race & Equity will come together again in our ongoing effort to organize the learning and growth that we need to do in order to become a more inclusive, welcoming, and anti-racist school community. All staff members and parents/caregivers are welcome to attend, regardless of your previous level of experience engaging in conversations around race and racism. To learn more about the way we frame our meetings, please see our meeting norms.

Join Us for Morse Family Gym Night this Friday!
family gym nightLooking for a way to reconnect with other families after the winter break? Please consider dropping by this Friday evening (2/28) for our second Morse Family Gym Night! The event will take place in our gym, cafeteria, and auditorium from 6:00-8:00pm. Morse students and families are invited to participate in small-sided soccer games, basketball, line dancing, and climbing and tumbling in our indoor playground. Friends of Morse will be selling pizza, drinks, and snacks. As a reminder, to ensure a safe and fun event for all, children must be supervised by their parents/caregivers at all times. We hope to see you there!

Please Complete the CPS Family Survey!
Finally, a reminder to please take a moment to complete this year’s CPS Family Survey. Your feedback is extremely helpful to us as we plan for ways of building upon our school’s strengths and making changes that will make the Morse School an even better place for your children to learn and grow. The online survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. If you would prefer to take this survey on paper, we also have a pdf version which can be returned to our Family Liaison Ms. Sullivan. The online survey will be available until March 13.

We have a great team of teachers and staff members at the Morse School, and with your support and collaboration, we will continue to make our school a great place for teaching and learning. Thank you and my best wishes for a great start to your week!


Chad Leith

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National School Breakfast Week! 

You are invited to join Cambridge Food & Nutrition Services as we celebrate National School Breakfast Week March 2nd through 6th! Our “Out of This Country” campaign encourages Cambridge families to choose breakfast at school. Parents and adults can join in for $1 at breakfast during this special week only. Find interactive activities in the serving line, and try our new locally made Breakfast Bite on Monday, March 2nd. The week ends with the student favorite Waffle Bar! A World Food Tour will be held at select schools during the week at breakfast time.

For more information on School Breakfast Week and the World Food Tour, visit here >>

Cultural dishes will be featured during lunch each day to celebrate World Language Week. Come celebrate with us!

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Morse Events & Announcements


February 27 | 5:30-7PM
Morse Race & Equity
Working Group

February 28 | 6-8PM
Morse Family Gym Night

March 6
Morse Family Movie Night

March 9 | 6-8PM
5th Grade Ballroom Dance Performance
CRLS, War Memorial Building

March 12 | 6:30-8PM
Friends of Morse Meeting

March 18
Early Release Day

Morse & CPS Calendars
Morse calendar >>
District calendar (pdf) >> 

District calendar >>


In Our District & Community

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Looking for things to do in Cambridge? 
Find It Cambridge >> 

The 2020 US Census is fast approaching and we want to make sure everyone in Cambridge is counted! Learn more about why the 2020 Census is so important, what you need to do, access materials, and more online. Want to help get the word out in Cambridge? Apply to be a part-time Census Outreach Worker to help the City and your community online.

The Mind Matters: 
Families Make a Difference

A 10-session workshop for parents with children ages 3–8 providing educational resources & community support. For more info, please contact Debbie Bonilla at 617.349.6492 or email Debbie
Register >>
View the Flyer >>

Cambridge Sports Night for Girlx*
Thursday, February 27 | 5:30 - 7PM
War Memorial Field House
1640 Cambridge Street

*Open to all those who identify as girls or with girlhood
A fun, free event for families with girlx in grades K-5. All participating will receive one free swim pass to the War Memorial pool. Explore new sports and learn about existing teams, hands-on demonstrations, games, pizza, prizes and more.

Affordable Housing
Open House & Fair

April 25 | 11AM-2PM
Details >>

Affordable Housing
Find out about affordable rental and homeownership in Cambridge.
Details >>
27th Annual Summer Camp Information Fair
Wednesday, March 4 | 6:30-8:30PM
CRLS High School, 459 Broadway
Learn about summer camp options.
Programs for youth grades JK-8.

What's Cooking?
STEAM Vacation Camp

April 20-24
Lesley University
Details >>

Invention Convention

April 25 | 3:30-5:30PM
Fletcher Maynard Academy
Details >>

Dig It! 2020 CitySprouts 
Gala/Silent Auction
April 2
Join CitySprouts for a night of food, fun, and fundraising as we celebrate CitySprouts' 19th year.
Details >> 

CPS Budget Meetings
Presentation of the
2021 Proposed Budget:

Thursday, March 12 | 6PM
Public Hearing on the
2021 Proposed Budget:

Thursday, March 19 | 6PM

Did You Know There Are Free Markets Around the City?
So much fresh produce as well as grocery items are available to you. All you need to do is bring your own bag!
Details >>

Immigration Legal Clinics (FREE!)
3rd Wednesday each month
90 Third Street, Cambridge
Details >>
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Morse School
40 Granite Street, Cambridge, MA 02139  •  617.349.6575
CPS Mobile App >>
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