Dear Hillside Community,
Collaborations, discussions, and planning have been in the works since summer 2020. Mr. Adamo and I set-out to establish a schoolwide committee that would be dedicated to evolving Hillside into a school community that would intentionally teach and develop actionable work to build our capacity for understanding and respecting race and ethnic relations. Our social justice work seeks to establish and foster an anti-racist, anti-sexist, all-inclusive space of anti-bigotry of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. In conjunction with the Montclair Public Schools, we will be kicking off BLACK HISTORY MONTH with the nationally recognized Black Lives Matters Week of Action.
BL BLM 101 Lesson for Our Families: This is not for political debate, facts for consumption, because it all comes down to the emphasis on tone. Do not mistake the movement for BLACK LIVES matter, rather the understanding that Black Lives MATTER…almost as if there’s a silent “too” at the end. Mark of our work with our students is to stress where the emphasis is, which will help students understand the movement is not about elevating Black lives above all others. Instead it is about helping them understand that throughout history, laws, policies, constructs and actions have made it feel as though Black lives are not as important as others.
A collective group (BLM) is calling attention to that so change can be brought about. Historical context is evidenced through a timeline of history that illustrates the years *Black people were enslaved (1619-1863), the Reconstruction Period (1864-1877), and Black Codes/Jim Crow/Segregation (1866-mid 1960’s). The violence imposed on Black people during the Civil Rights Movement, the disproportionate way Black people are dying at the hands of some police (Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd,…), even the present day difference of the way it looked days before a BLM protests in the summer vs the way it looked during the Insurrection at the Capitol. BLM vs Insurrection Visual. These are all things that would make it feel as though Black Lives do not matter at all or not as much as other lives.
Tone and language is CRITICAL throughout all of our lessons. For example, often the enslaved are referred to as slaves, however that is not WHO they were. They were mothers, fathers, someone’s children. They were doctors, teachers, priests, councilors, etc., just as we in our community are. They were stolen from their homeland and enslaved. Helping children view through that lens, not only helps them understand the reality of what happened but also fosters empathy.
Here is a highlight of the learning objectives for the week to come:
- Theme: Knowledge is Power
- Visual Component: Wear black to show solidarity as we kick off Black Lives Matter Week of Action and develop better understanding of the movement and why it exists.
- Lesson’s Essential Question: What is the BLM Movement and why does it exist?
- Theme: Passion Fuels Purpose
- Visual Component: Look for a BLM photo that “speaks” to you and use it as your background to show support for social justice and racial equity at Hillside Elementary. BLM Background Ideas
- Lesson’s Essential Questions: What is so important to you that, if harmed or misrepresented—or you see someone else being harmed or misrepresented—you would HAVE to say or do something about it?
- Theme: What Does an Activist Look Like?
- Visual Component: Wear “skin tone” colors (i.e. almond, peach, caramel, cinnamon, cream, cocoa, peanut butter, etc.) to show we are all working together, regardless of race, to expand social justice and racial equity.
- Lesson’s Essential Question: What is an activist and how do they turn their passion into action?
- Theme: Let’s Get Loud
- Visual Component: Wear your “loudest” (i.e. bright, neon, jewel tone, tie-dye, etc.) colors as we highlight our SUPERPOWER that can help us bring about changes to social justice and racial equity.
- Lesson’s Essential Question: How can you use your “superpower” to turn your passion into purpose?
- Theme: Each One, Teach Once
- Visual Component: Wear Hillside gear/colors (blue&white) to show the Hillside community is united in doing the work to expand social justice and racial equity at Hillside Elementary and beyond.
- Lesson’s Essential Question: How can you activate your passion?
Here’s a song for the kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f150G-a5N-A
Updated Mask Policy (Hillside Hybrid Plan – For Families has been updated)
- All students and staff members are required to properly wear a mask (over the nose, mouth and chin) at all times. The MPS will distribute 2 cloth 3- ply masks to each student and staff member. One face shield will be provided to each staff member to wear with his/her/they mask. Face shields alone (without a mask) may only be worn by students or staff members with permission from the Medical Team, as deemed necessary, on a case-by-case basis (ABA, hearing impaired students, speech therapists etc.). Students and staff may wear their own 2-ply or above cloth masks, surgical masks or KN95 masks from home.
- Bandannas, gaiters, scarves, fleece, neoprene and masks with valves are not permitted.
- The school will not supply daily surgical masks to staff or students. They will be available for emergencies only.
- The K-2 student population may remove masks for snack-time. Snack-time should occur outside with 6 ft. distancing as weather permits. During inclement weather, a large snack room will be designated by the principal. Distancing of 10 ft. will be required for indoor snacks. All students must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after snacks. Adherence to our Food Regulation will be enforced.
- Students may lift their masks (from the chin) for quick sips of water (from a personal water bottle) if physical distancing is maintained. Water fountain spouts will be unavailable for use. Students may refill their water bottles at designated stations in each building. Edible reinforcers (ABA population) must be delivered and consumed in a similar manner as sips of water.
- Medical notes submitted for a determination are considered only if provided by: Physicians (MD or DO), APNs and PAs if the diagnosis is consistent with the healthcare provider’s area of expertise. Requests must be submitted for a determination prior to re-entry. A signed consent form (obtained from the school nurse) allowing our school physician or nurse to speak with the prescribing healthcare provider is required.
Facilities Update from Buildings and Grounds:
Upon entering the building, classrooms will be ready through mechanical ventilation, air purification, open windows and reduced class sizes. As per the most recent Ventilation Assessment Chart from Buildings and Grounds, the following rooms have been identified to have air purifiers and will have windows open six inches: 21, 23, 25, 125, 129, 130, 204, 225, and 229. We will continue to update the community as repairs are made to the ventilation systems.
The calendars in Genesis for Feb-June have not been updated yet for any of the schools. As long as the current rotation group (Mounties/Bulldogs/All Days/Virtual) for your child is indicated, then parents should disregard the calendar for now.
If a parent who selected remote now wishes to switch to hybrid in-person, then they must notify myself and Mrs. Mazur by February 26, 2021. Your child can then participate in hybrid instruction at the start of Cycle 3.
2/1/21-2/5/21 A Week
Spanish Teacher Update
Our recommended candidate for Spanish teacher at Hillside is on the school board report for approval. When she is approved, she will be able to begin teaching Monday, March 1st. Unfortunately, all Spanish classes will be cancelled until that date. We are incredibly disappointed that we cannot offer spanish instruction sooner to our students. In an attempt to provide students with synchronous or asynchronous spanish instruction, we have explored a myriad of options. These options have not come to fruition. We greatly appreciate your understanding and patience during this frustrating time.
Nishuane/Hillside Trivia Night #2 – Saturday 1/30 @ 5pm
Join us Saturday, January 30 at 5:00 pm and continue the family fun playing trivia! The trivia questions will be geared to our student population (K-5) but we will include some older sibling/parent-focused questions so everyone can have some fun.
The trivia would cover important historical events, people and places but also questions for the students that will focus on recent history (say, last 20 years).
Please RSVP for Trivia Night by completing the short form on CheddarUp. We are requesting donations (suggested donation is $5 but any donation value is appreciated), but donations are not required to participate – you can go directly to the RSVP form. https://my.cheddarup.com/c/family-trivia-night-january2020
Hillside Talent Show
Virtual Talent Show Movie Time – 2/19 at 6:30pm
To purchase an ad for the Talent Show Movie or to dedicate a message (with pictures!) to your child and/or friends, please see attached flyer. Your support is greatly appreciated!
For information or questions about the Talent Show, please contact:
Virtual Hillside Explorers classes start on Monday, 2/1
If you registered your child(ren) for Explorers, you should have received an email confirmation with your class schedule and other pertinent information, as well as the zoom link for your class. We look forward to a great session starting next Monday!
If you have any questions about Explorers, please email us at email@example.com
The next SEPAC Parent/Caregiver Support Call will take place on Tuesday, February 2nd from 7:00-8:00 PM. This call is intended for parents and caregivers of students with special needs to exchange information and best practices.
Join the Zoom Meeting at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83053120300?pwd=MTRXRkgyT3N2TkVLcUhvOElWUE41dz09
Meeting ID: 830 5312 0300 Passcode: 309281
Volunteer to share your experience about special education in Montclair!
As previously announced, SEPAC has been forming focus groups to participate in a Zoom call with the consultant hired by the District to conduct an audit of the special education system in Montclair. Several groups are already filled and scheduled to meet with the consultant this week. We are looking for parents/caregivers to participate in additional sessions next week. Each call will last 90 minutes and, although assigned a particular program or topic, other broader issues may be discussed on each call. Please reach out to SEPAC at MontclairSEPAC@gmail.com by noon on Friday, if you are able to participate in either of the following scheduled groups:
1) Resource Room/Paras/In-Class Support/Co-Taught Classrooms: Monday, Feb. 1st 2:30-4:00pm
2) Self-Contained Classrooms: Monday, Feb. 1st 4:00-5:30pm
Let your compliments or concerns about our special education system be heard!
PTA Membership: https://hillsidepta.new.memberhub.store/store?category=Memberships.
Hillside Spirit Wear and Gear: https://hillsidepta.new.memberhub.store/store
PTA website: montclairpta.org/hillside/
PTA Facebook group: https://m.facebook.com/groups/2527911263932164/
PTA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Message from Ms. Scott:
If your children and/or you are having challenges managing stress and/or sadness, here are a few Healthy Coping Strategies and resources to help.
COPE Center is offering free workshops via Zoom to help parents/caregivers find ways to manage stress. The first workshop was Sunday, January 10th. Additional information can be found on this flyer.
The Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris is offering two support groups facilitated by registered Art Therapists where children and teens can chat, create and de-stress. All of the services are free. Additionally, they offer emotional support groups and individual sessions for adults as well. If you or anyone you know is emotionally struggling during this pandemic, please feel free to reach out to them. MHA Information
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of the Children’s System of Care continues to offer free or low-cost access to behavioral health support 24/7/365. Please see their flyer here. NJDCF Information
If you feel your child is experiencing a social-emotional challenge and would benefit from counseling services, please do not hesitate to reach out. Need to See Ms. Scott Form. It is important that we continue to teach our children how to advocate for themselves and seek help when they need it. Therefore, a form is also available for students to complete in my Google classroom. Here is the link in case you would like to share it with your child(ren). STUDENT- Need to See Ms. Scott Form ~Ms. Scott
Notes from Nurse Boyle:
Hello Hillside Families and Friends,
Please note the change on our district homepage website to the COVID related guidance . We will no longer be excluding siblings of students with Covid-like symptoms. We will be excluding siblings if they have a brother or sister who is Covid positive. If you have questions or concerns please contact me via email or phone, 973-509-4200 ext 4192.
Reminder for parents and students returning to hybrid learning please practice wearing your face masks at home for a few hours. We will be doing this during our hybrid learning. Reminder bandannas, gaiters, scarves, fleece, neoprene and masks with valves are not permitted. If your child is returning to hybrid learning and takes medication during the school day I need the medication form filled out by the physician prior to return. If you are traveling outside of NJ anyplace other than New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut you should quarantine for 10 days. If you have questions about travel please contact me. I am happy to assist with concerns.
I want to share this quick YouTube video with you explaining the COVID-19 virus to children. Please review it and share it with your child. COVID-19 explanation for children Take care and stay healthy! ~Nurse Boyle
Monday, 2/1: Black History Month Begins
Mon., 2/1 – Fri., 2/5: Black Lives Matters Week of Action
Monday, 2/1: Virtual Explorers Begins
Samanthaa Lennon Anglin, Ed.D.
Hillside Elementary School ~ Gifted and Talented Magnet
54 Orange Rd., Montclair, NJ
Phone: (973) 509-4200
Fax: (973) 509-1448
Follow us on Twitter: @Hillside_MPS