Dear Monument Valley Families,

Greetings and salutations!  It has been a few days since I last sent you an update, and I have a lot to share.  Thank you for your patience as we try to figure out how to do this remote learning and community shelter in place.  I hope you and your family are doing well, and that you have the support and resources you need to weather this unusual time we are experiencing.  If you are in need of anything–food, housing, emotional support, parenting tips, etc.–please reach out.  We have resources here in the district and can connect you to help if we cannot.

The Governor on Massachusetts this week extended the school closing through the start of May, expecting schools to re-open on Monday, May 4.  We had expected an extension, and we may even get one past the 5/4 date, and will share that information as soon as we get it.  In preparation, we will have more Enrichment work for your children to do for next week, called Marching Work Extension.  The Marching Work Extension will be posted to your child’s Team website by this Monday, 3/30.  See below for instructions on how to access the sites, and for added enrichment activities for families to do with their children.

Next week I will be sharing the framework for how your children will do remote school on a distance learning platform, starting on April 6.  The next phase will be coordinated learning activities designed by your child’s teaching team, focused on the learning standards and units of instruction we normally do.  The teachers are doing an amazing job at grappling with the “New Normal” and are designing ways to launch learning remotely.  But we did not expect to do this type of learning this year, so it will take some time to ramp up.  At this point you should have had contact with your child’s Advisor, and possibly other staff from the school.  We want to know if you have the technology–device and internet–to connect to a remote learning experience.  Many of you have already responded to your child’s advisor, so we know if you need a ChromeBook.  Please be in contact with your child’s Advisor or with me if you have not had a chance to let us know if you need a device at home for your child.  We will be distributing those devices at the school through the car loop next Wednesday and Thursday between 11 am and 1 pm.  You will need to fill out an agreement for us to lend you a device for home use–we will have that posted online for you to access so you can come by and pick up the ChromeBook for a loan.

Please feel free to reach out to me with questions, ideas or concerns.  We will have the lunch-breakfast distribution and bags of perishable and non-perishable food next Friday like we did today.  Just email meals@bhrsd.org to reserve your bags for pickup, or let us know you need them delivered if you cannot make it to one of the four sites.  And reach out to me if you have any questions about food security for your family.

Please see below or our website for access to enrichment activities.  Many families and students are asking if the work is “for credit” or “required” for students.  In light of how fast schools closed and leaving little time for teachers to organize meaningful activities for students, we put together a set of activities, called Marching Work and Marching Work Extension, and added that to the team websites that already have the Blizzard Bag assignments (or your children already have the actual Blizzard Bags at home).  This work is not required, nor will we collect for credit.  For these past weeks and next week, the work is available for families to direct students in meaningful enrichment activities to keep the students current in skills and content.  Teachers are available to answer questions.  On our website for the school are also other enrichment links if your child completes the work.
I will be sending updates regularly next week, several times, so you can get the information you need for your children’s education.

Be well,

Ben

Updates and Important Information

Website updates

District Website:

  • School Closing information from the Superintendent
  • FAQ about school closings
  • COVID-19 updates

Monument Valley Website:

  • Messages from me and the school
  • Link to student Enrichment pages from Teams and helpful links

Student emails and staying in touch

  • A reminder that students should be logging into their bhrsdonline.org email account to check email.  That is where they will see messages from teachers and staff.

Reminder about Food Support available daily and at the end of the week

The District will be providing lunch, along with breakfast for the following morning, to students in our district community beginning tomorrow.  These meals will be available to all students who would benefit from the service. Food will be distributed daily from 11:30am-12:30 pm at Monument Valley Regional Middle School, where you will drive up to the front circle to pick up.  If you need this resource and cannot make it to Monument Valley for pick up, we will have other pick up locations – in front of the West Stockbridge Town Hall, behind the Stockbridge Town Hall, in front of the Housie Dome and behind the Great Barrington Fire Department.  Please stay in your car and the meals will be brought to you.

We also will be distributing boxes of food to families who think they will need resources in the next week.  We plan on doing this weekly.  Email meals@bhrsd.org  if you are interested in receiving a box, or share this information with a family who needs a box.  At this time we can only distribute boxes of food to families with children in our district.  There are resources in towns for food support as well, such as the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington, for families or individuals who do not have children in our district.

Reminder about Enrichment activities available to students

Each teacher has developed about eight activities for kids to do to keep them busy.  The Grade Team and Exploratory webpage on our school’s site also has good links for resources that can be helpful to you: more enrichment resources, several links on how to talk to your kids about the Coronavirus, and a link to the BMC Information Kiosk online.  While students are home in the next few weeks they can access enrichment resources for learning on each of our school websites.  The work for Monument Valley is at this link:

Grade Level Teams and Exploratory Links

On the webpage you will find a link to get to your child’s class websites. The websites for each Grade Team and for Exploratory classes have two sections. One is for the “Marching Work” and the other is for “Blizzard Bags” on each site, and students can complete all of these over the next several weeks. Each school is providing enrichment activities for students to do so they can stay current on important skills and content.  The activities are aligned to our current curriculum. The work is not for any particular credit, but like a summer reading assignment, the activity will keep students fresh and ready to return to school.  Feel free to supplement with ideas and activities you think are relevant and will be interesting to your child. We have also provided helpful links to other learning resources that might interest students.