School Bus
2020-2021 Back to School KTS E-Newsletter
Directors Note

Staying connected has never felt more essential, and as we move past the 6-month mark since the start of the pandemic, the theme for the 2020-2021 school year is, appropriately, “Staying Connected in the Cloud.” While we continue to prioritize health and safety of our entire community, we are so proud of our community for connecting and adapting so that our students will continue to receive high quality instruction and make academic, social, and emotional progress and growth. We will continue to provide training and assistance to staff and students as we all navigate online programs and platforms together, including supplemental aids and supports to help students access the curriculum through our virtual platform, Zoom for Education.

The return to in-person instruction is being phased in. Some of our youngest students have already begun the blended learning plan, with limited time in school in addition to virtual instruction. We will evaluate the ability to return additional students to and increase the time for students in the school building based on COVID-19 metrics and guidance issued by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Maryland Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), industrial hygienist consultation and recommendations, and other pertinent resources for schools that are reopening during the recovery period from the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

When in-school instruction is phased-in, families may choose this option or remain fully virtual. If parents choose an in-school option, when available, they must follow all established health and safety guidelines. Keeping our KTS community healthy will be a collective effort.

We are looking forward to a year of continued connection, innovation, and community success.
Dr. Pat Ritter, Executive Director, TLC
Rhona Schwartz, Director,
High School Program
Nicole Abera, PhD,  
Director, Lower and Middle School Programs
What's Cookin' in Culinary Class with Mrs. Willcox

Students utilized their creativity skills and made artistic and unique vision boards, visually representing their goals for the year. Students also created virtual lockers, which showcased individual interests. The new craze is Bitmoji. Bitmoji is an avatar you can set up on an app. Mrs. Willcox shared her Bitmoji locker to introduce herself to the students, inserting links into the pictures with information on websites on different culinary information.
Our Little Learners are Always Learning!
The K-2 class started off the school year in full force with a "Welcome to the Jungle" theme. Students marched through the jungle listening to different noises in physical education with Ms. Wendy, created an array of art projects with a Jungle theme with Mr. Herzet, and carried this theme into their academic periods. Every Thursday, they participate in "Science Thursday," where they create new inventions and explore different science topics. This week, our students created a water bottle balloon car!

In addition, our youngest learners have been working hard to create their own materials to be used throughout the year; for example, "Feed the Monster Boxes" to support math and sight word recognition. Despite virtual learning challenges, these students have overcome many obstacles and are creating new experiences every day in their own homes.

Need a break? Our K-2 students utilize animal movement cards throughout their zoom sessions to help support their sensory needs.
Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness at KTS
Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness have many benefits for students of all ages. These include: using your breath to create calm, assists with self-regulation, decreases stress and anxiety, promotes strength and flexibility, and increases self-esteem, attention, memory, focus, and self-awareness. All of these help students within the classroom setting.

At KTHS, Sharnet Chavis, Dean of Students / Sr. Social Worker and Registered Yoga Teacher, has brought this highly-used practice for adults to the high school program. Our students have learned different types of breathing techniques, seated yoga poses, practiced meditations and made their own guided meditations, and practiced being present and mindful using mindful exercises and mindful visual walks. Students have reported being more calm, relaxed, and focused after engaging in one of the exercises.

This upcoming semester, Ms. Chavis along with FIRECRACKER, the high school mascot, will be leading morning meditations during homeroom on Wednesdays to help our students get ready for their day. In addition, a meditation class will be offered to consumers of the TLC Outpatient services.
Ms. Tai's Corner
In English and Reading classes, Ms. Tai has been guiding the students in creating their own poems in the style of the poem by George Ella Lyon. We then took some of the poems from the students and made them into "word clouds."

Friday Mandala Club led by Carol Thedford and Becky Tai is in full action! Check out the mandalas made by students below.

KTS Student Election
On November 3rd, The Katherine Thomas School will be holding a school-wide election. Students will be given the opportunity to virtually vote for one of the candidates on the presidential ballot this year (Biden/Kamala or Trump/Pence) through Google Forms. The results will be announced at the end of the day on the 3rd.

In the week leading up to the election, teachers will discuss the importance of voting, voting history, and the positive impact voting can have on our community in their classes. Without projecting our own political views, students will learn that voting is an important process in our country, through which leaders are selected to make laws and solve problems. We believe that it is important for students to understand how to think critically about the information/news that they are exposed to daily, and to be able to have productive and respectful discussions surrounding politics.
Global Diversity Awareness Month

This October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, paying tribute to the diverse minds and beliefs held by all cultures around the world. We live in a multicultural society and embracing the values of various cultures only strengthens our understanding and appreciation of the world.

KTS middle school students will read Separate is not Equal about Felicitas Mendez and her landmark case fighting segregation in California schools. They will also read about Sonia Sotomayor and her book Just Ask about differently-abled children. Students will study Dia de los Muertos.

Global Diversity Awareness Month represents the perfect opportunity to learn more about new cultures and explore some of the diversity that makes the world such a wonderful place.
Welcome Back to School!
The Katherine Thomas School |301.738.9691 | Email KTS |
School Bus