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From The Principal’s Pen ~ August 2020

From the Principal’s Pen

Submitted by: Jennifer McGee, Principal of the Atwood Primary School


Greetings to the amazing families of the Atwood Primary Superheroes!  As I sit down to type this “Welcome Back to School” Principal’s Pen, I am blinking back tears.  Tears of joy.  Why?  Because, perhaps in the past, I have done this bit of writing as part of my daily routine, without giving it too much thought…it was a task to check off from the “to do” list.


But, today…today, I “GET” to write this Principal’s Pen, and I am so grateful that the little Atwood school is going to be “open for business” this fall.  The halls and classrooms felt very empty last spring and looking at the empty swings on the playground…ugh.  So…


It is MY PLEASURE to write this Principal’s Pen to welcome you, back if you are returning, or to (if it’s your first time) Atwood Primary School.


In the past, we have sent letters from your child’s teacher to you in the summertime; however, this year, we are waiting on that.  We first need to know who will be here, in person, and who will be with us, however, remotely.  Once we know our numbers for the classrooms, we will begin the process of assigning students to teachers.  I appreciate your incredible patience during these unprecedented times.


Although, some things will certainly be different this school year…wearing masks, sanitizing, distancing…most things will be the same. Our commitment is, and has always been, “insist your schools are happy places.”


We will work with your children to teach them how to “do school”.  We always do this anyhow; however, this year we will also be teaching them how to “do school safely during a pandemic”.  We will be showing them how to wash their hands, how to keep their materials to themselves, when and where to wear masks, and when they need to sanitize.


It would be a GIANT step up if children were practicing the following things at home, so we limit the number of hands that are touching your children’s things:

  • Practice wearing masks for extended periods of time
  • Teach your children to open: their water bottles, Tupperware, ziplock bags, and twist off snacks
  • Also practice harder to open items like: milk cartons, juice boxes, lunchables, yogurt tubes and twist off drinks
  • Work with your children to learn: to unbutton and button pants, fasten their shoes, blow their noses, toss their tissues, wash their hands properly (singing Happy Birthday or the Alphabet song), zip their jackets


It is going to be more important THAN EVER to bring children outside to play to give them a break from wearing those masks.  In order to make sure we can all do so every day, please be weather watchers at home.  If it is going to be a rainy day, it would help us if all children had raincoats and hoods, AND a change of clothes in their bags!  Also, watch for brisk days, and as it gets colder, pack extra warm clothes!  We really want all of our children to be as prepared and comfortable as possible for getting outdoors in the fresh air.  Because we are not using drinking fountains, we will be asking families to send re-fillable water bottles so children stay hydrated all day long…ESPECIALLY for those really hot days!


We fully realize that this year has been financially hard on our families. If you are having difficulty providing what you feel your child needs for this school year, please call our office and we will help you in any way we can.  Our office phone number is 465-3411.  Do not hesitate to call.


If you are new to the Atwood School, I want you to know, the Atwood staff…we think of our school as family.  We jokingly call each other “sch-amily”.  You are all part of that schamily now.  The wellbeing and safety of your children are the PRIORITY…their emotional and physical wellbeing matter most!  We are preparing our school year with your children’s safety at the core of everything we will be doing.   We will have to leave some of our favorite activities behind, for now, like our parades and our town meetings and our community celebrations; however, their individual classrooms will be their homes, their nests.   They will be joyful little hubs of activity…and when we are told we can return to “normal”, we will do so!


Please read through all of the materials in this mailing, and as quickly as possible, PUT THAT COMPLETED SURVEY IN THE MAIL. This is an essential piece of information we need to plan!  We are putting new safety measures in place, which are outlined in this mailing. These are for the safety of all, and although they may not be convenient, for now, in order for us to open, they are necessary.   As always, we appreciate your compliance and your patience as we all adjust to these new protocols!


Last spring, although incredibly challenging, we learned a lot!  We learned that life can be beautiful when we slow down.  We learned that simplicity:  game nights, family time, shutting out the world, can be healing.  We learned that our planet becomes healthier when we stop for a while.  We learned to treasure those elements of our lives that we take for granted.


Through our Zoom Meetings, we got to peek into your homes, and you got to peek into ours, and I think that brought us all closer together…even though we were all farther apart.  By seeing each other, in that new way, and by experiencing this pandemic…all of us…all in different ways…I do think we are coming out of this valuing one another more.  We value our parents more, and perhaps you value the educators who work with your children more.  This can’t help but be anything but a positive outcome.


I am delighted to “get to” share this school year with you.  It’s going to be a great journey.  We will see you on August 31.


Educationally Yours,

Jenny McGee, Principal

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