What's Up @ G&P: February 2022
Published on Feb 9, 2022 15:49

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February 2022

Need this newsletter translated? Please contact the Bilingual/World Languages Department at 617.349.6468. Questions about the G&P newsletter? Please contact Lauren Morse.

Dear G&P Families, 

We are officially more than halfway through this school year! As we watch your students grow and learn in their classrooms, play in the snow outside on the playground, and share big smiles even from under their masks, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to do this work. We are proud of the work that students, staff and families have done together so far this year. We look forward to many more days of learning and fun!

This month’s newsletter is full of important information about what is happening at G&P this month including spotlights on Lunar New Year, Black History Month, Rosa Parks’ Birthday, Friendship Day, and Hat Day! We also hope you enjoy seeing pictures from around the hallways of G&P!

We want to welcome Ariana Starling, the new Health teacher, and Jim Edgehill, the new Physical Education (P.E.) teacher, to the Graham & Parks community.

Progress reports went home in backpacks on Monday, February 7th. These reports give you additional information from your child’s teachers about their progress so far this year. We encourage you to reach out to your children’s teacher with any questions you may have.

February break is coming up and there will be no school from Monday, February 21st - Friday, February 25th. We wish everyone a happy and healthy break.


Claudie & Jen

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Snow Boot and Snow Pant Donations Needed!

We are in need of some like-new snow boots and snow pants for students. We especially need snow boots in size 3, 4, and 5 as well as snow pants in size 10, 12, and 14. If you have any to donate, please either send them in with your child or bring them to the Main Entrance and ring the bell. Please only donate items in good condition - no stains, rips, or very old/used items please.

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Important Date Highlights

G&P Steering Committee Meeting - Thursday, February 10, 7-8PM
Please join us for our monthly meeting with families, administrators and teachers tomorrow night on Zoom! We will review the updated COVID Protocols including the new At-Home COVID testing plan as well as discuss ideas for family engagement and building community this spring. All are welcome! The Zoom link will be sent out on Thursday prior to the meeting.

Friendship Day - Monday, February 14
Here at G&P, while some classes may have small celebrations on American holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Valentines Day, we generally keep the school day focused on learning. As a school, we do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, we instead refer to it as Friendship Day. Classrooms may choose to do an exchange of cards for Friendship Day. However, there should be no food exchanged in the classroom.

Hat Day! - Friday, February 18
As a whole school, we are looking forward to a Hat Day on Friday, February 18th. We invite all students (and staff!) to wear a hat to school.

rosa parks visitRosa Parks' Birthday - Friday, February 4th!
Friday, February 4th was Rosa Parks’ birthday. Our school is named for two activists - Rosa Parks and Saundra Graham. For more information and a little history on our school, visit our school website. Here are a few pictures of when Rosa Parks visited our school (thanks to K112 teacher Mimi Rosa for sharing these!).  

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happy lunar new yearHappy Lunar New Year!

By Nicholas Yeh, G&P Instructional Technology Specialist

The Lunar New Year is celebrated in many different countries in Asia particularly in China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam! It is a time of family, of celebration, and of hoping for great things in the year to come!

I am excited to share this read-aloud I did last year of Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon, by Virginia Loh-Hagan. It is a folktale about the traditions of the Lunar New Year told in a story about a young girl who battles an ancient monster. Click here to view >>

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G&P Equity Update

The G&P Equity Team met in January to discuss our school wide celebration of Black History Month. Here at G&P, we learn about Black History year round and we are excited to highlight a few of the many things happening around G&P this February to celebrate!

Each day during the month of February, there will be a new person displayed in the lobby for students to learn about their life and work!

Karen Engels, 4th grade teacher and a member of the Equity Team is working with 4th and 5th graders to plan and lead an upcoming all school virtual morning meeting during which students will read the book, ABC's of Black History. Click here for a read aloud of this book that you and your child can listen to at home.

The G&P Equity Team will welcome two new family representatives: Lois Rho and Amber Bifolck-Fisher. Beginning in February, every school in the district will launch a School-Based Equity Self-Assessment. The G&P Equity Team helps us center equity and become a better school for all of our students and families. To work towards more equitable schools, we need to look at how we are doing and we need multiple voices at the table. We are grateful to Lois and Amber for volunteering and look forward to working with them! To find out more about the Equity Self-Assessment, here is a description of the plan for the rest of this school year.

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photos around school
A Walk Around G&P!

Since families aren’t able to walk around Graham & Parks School due to the pandemic, we thought it would be nice to share some of the beautiful and impressive displays in the halls with families! G&P teachers do a wonderful job of showcasing student work, sharing exciting projects and inspiring messages for the school community to enjoy as we move through the building.

Reminders around the building to be yourself, be kind, and be adventurous! (photos above)

celebrateDebra Gadsen-Holiday’s display outside her Reading Intervention Office

I always create a display of books around themes or favorite authors. This year, in Celebration of Black History month, I wanted to showcase books of Black stories. Stories about families. Stories about children playing games. Stories about grandparents and cousins. Stories about loving the skin you're in! The Richness of our culture is so much more than just the struggles of the Middle Passage, Enslavement and the Civil Rights Movement. I chose books that celebrate black present and future and how "OUR" history and "OUR" stories continue to grow over time. My hope is that it will be a window, mirror or perhaps a door for the members of this community.

choice timeJK/K Class with Jackie and Wilda, Rm 114

These paintings were created independently by JK and K students during Choice Time. During Choice Time, various stations are set up around the classroom for children to choose from. These paintings were created at the art station where a paint palette, paper, and paintbrushes were available for children to use freely.

light shadows display1st Grade, Frances and Stefanie, Room 105

First Graders studied Light and Shadow for a few weeks this fall and winter. Part of our exploration included thinking about light sources, both artificial and natural. In these pictures students showed a scene at day and at night. They showed how the world looks different during different times of the day and they included light sources they might see at different times of day.

classroom displayOutside Ms. Kellie and Ms. Valarie’s 2nd Grade SEI, Room 207

G&P second graders have been learning about the oceans of planet Earth. First, students researched the size, location and unique features of each ocean. Then, students worked together in teams to create posters that represented each of the oceans, highlighting some of the animals found there!

govt display5th Grade, Ms. Rose and Mr. Haynes, Room 206

Room 206 has been studying the three branches of government and how they interact. For this project, we split into three groups. Each group was in charge of researching one level of government: Federal (the USA), State (Massachusetts) or Local (Cambridge). We researched to find information about all the people, places, rules and systems that make our governments work.

ty notesThank you notes to our amazing G&P School Nurses!

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Book Joy by G&P Librarians, Ann Niederkorn and Jen Mason Stott

Here are some books that the G&P Librarians highlighted recently!

book coverA Walk in the Words by Hudson Talbott

Today's book is a hopeful, empowering story for "struggling" readers. Hudson Talbott is the author-illustrator of A Walk in the Words. He describes how, as a young child, he loved stories but came to dread reading, because he was slower than his peers. Pictures excited him and sparked his imagination, but the pages of chapter books became a "wall of words" that was also a "wall of shame." Through imaginative illustrations and first-person storytelling, he describes how he overcame that shame by learning some strategies AND accepting the fact that he didn't have to read as fast as everyone else to still enjoy reading.

book coversBooks by Steve Jenkins

We honor illustrator/author Steve Jenkins, who passed away in January at the age of 69. Jenkins’ illustrations of animals raised the bar for collage - they are as detailed and fine as a photograph. His books go beyond expository descriptions of individual animals, to clever comparisons between species (What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?) and animal behavior (Never Smile at a Monkey).

“Kids are naturally curious, fascinated with the physical world, and excited about learning new things. If we can only get their attention and give them a few tools for making sense of the world, they’ll take it from there. Nonfiction books are one of the most helpful tools we can give kids. I believe that a cross-curriculum approach to science education incorporating a variety of nonfiction literature is one of the best ways to help children understand what science is and how it works. ” -Steve Jenkins, "The Importance of Being Wrong," 2011

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G&P Families: We Need You!
From the Friends of Graham & Parks

The Friends of Graham and Parks is recruiting for a Financial Officer and a Fundraising Chair. The Financial Officer would oversee expenditures and prepare yearly tax forms as well as other accounting responsibilities. The Fundraising Chair would oversee the Annual Appeal drive and other fundraising efforts. These are volunteer positions that may take an average of around 1-2 hours a week and they are absolutely critical to the long-term sustainability and health of this entirely parent-run, volunteer nonprofit to support the school. We urgently need to fill these positions—and seek more volunteers—as long-term members of Friends graduate from the school. Without these roles—and future volunteers—the future of Friends is uncertain, and with it, the critical support it lends to teachers and staff in ensuring that all students have access to learning opportunities.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions or you’d like to get involved!

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G&P Families Invited:
Workshop on Social Identity

Exploring Social Identity with True to Life Conversations and North Cambridge Courageous Conversations
Thursday, February 10 | 7-8:30PM | via Zoom

Please register today — whether you attended the first social identity workshop or not, you will get a lot out of this Part 2 workshop, where we will further explore our identities, consider how identities impact our sense of community and identify action steps. 

Thanks to our collaboration: True to Life Conversations (led by staff and caregivers from Graham & Parks, Haggerty, Tobin, VLUS) and North Cambridge Courageous Conversations (led by caregivers from Baldwin, Peabody RAUC) we will offer small group discussions, with racial and school staff affinity groups available.

Part 2 Agenda:
1. Welcome and get-to-know each other activity
2. Introduction to social identity wheel
3. Small group discussion
4. Share reflections with the whole group anonymously using Menti 

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VLUS Triad White Caregivers Working Toward Anti-Racism 

Hello G&P, Haggerty, Tobin, and VLUS Families,

Please join a monthly affinity group for VLUS Triad White Caregivers Working Toward Anti-Racism. The affinity group will read and discuss various texts throughout the year in order to address our own unconscious biases and to take an active role in fighting white supremacy in our schools, communities, and ourselves. There will be reading (or listening) to complete before each session, and families are strongly encouraged to make a commitment to attend as many sessions as possible. 

Next Meeting: Thursday, March 3rd, 6:45-8PM
How can we take action when doing anti-racist work in spite of real or perceived risks?
Reading: Bettina Love Talking About Co-Conspirators

Register in advance for this meeting >> 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Help Us Support You, to Support Your Child 

CPS caregivers, please tell us how we can best support you! The Family Engagement Office is putting together a variety of parent workshops, classes, and events to help caregivers support their children. Please complete the survey to let us know the types of programming you'd like to see. Translations available.

Take the survey >>

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February Break Activities 

The Agenda for Children Literacy Initiative and the Center for Families have two upcoming activities for Cambridge families with young children and appreciate your help in sharing them with your families. Please let us know if you have any questions.

February At-Home Activity Calendar for families with children birth to 4 Winter can feel long so get new ideas daily to do with your children birth to 4 years old in the February 2022 At-Home Activity Calendar! Designed for children birth to 4 years but all are welcome to try the activities. Calendar >>  

February Vacation Week Fun!
Check out the virtual activities for Cambridge families with children birth to 8 years old during February Vacation week! Registration required for each event. Flyer >>

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snack of the week

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G&P Important Dates and Reminders


Thursday, February 10 | 7PM:
G&P Steering Committee Meeting

Friday, February 18:
G&P Hat Day! Full Day of School

Friday, February 18:
At-Home Testing Opt-In Consent Due
Sign up here >>
See more details >>

Monday, Feb. 21-Friday, Feb. 25:
February Break

Sunday, February 27:
All students and staff should take At-Home COVID Test and inform the school if positive. See more details >>

Monday, February 28:
All students return to school

Please Note: Last Day of School is Thursday, June 29, 2022, due to the snow day last Friday.

School & District Calendars
G&P calendar >>

District calendar (pdf) >> 

District calendar >>


Clothing Donation Bin Benefits Our School
Have you noticed the big green clothing donation bin near the corner of Linnaean and Walker St? Friends of Graham & Parks is partnering with Clothes Bin® to collect and recycle old clothing, shoes, and textiles. Our school gets a contribution for every pound of recycled items!
YOU CAN RECYCLE: Clothing, footwear, undergarments, accessories, handbags, towels, blankets, other linens. Items in good condition will be reused and unusable items will be recycled. Just place the items in the green recycling bin near the Blue Bikes on Linnaean St. Thank you!

In Our District & Community

find it cambridge logo
Visit Find It Cambridge for lots of great resources! You can also call/text 617.686.2998 or email Andrew for help.

gym class
See a curated list of programs, events, and resources within our district & community! 
See list >>

Cambridge Vaccine & Booster Clinics
The city of Cambridge is now offering free COVID-19 vaccine and booster clinics
for eligible people who live or work in Cambridge on the G3 Level of the CambridgeSide mall parking garage on:
February 10 | 11AM-3PM
February 14 | 4-8PM
February 17 | 11AM-3PM
Learn more here >>

HeartPlay Spanish-Speaking Grief Group for Children & Teens
Saturdays, 10AM-12PM | Zoom
Bereavement program for children, teens and young adults of all abilities.
English flyer >>
Información en español >>

Advocating for Your Child Workshop
Multiple Dates
Parent/caregiver workshop on how to advocate for your child’s advanced learning needs and help your child self-advocate.
More details >>
Flyer available in Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, English, and Haitian-Creole.

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Graham & Parks School
44 Linnaean St., Cambridge, MA 02138
grahamandparks.cpsd.us  •  617.349.6577
CPS Mobile App >>
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