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Mill Falls News
October 162020
IN THIS ISSUE
Important Dates
at a 
Glance

10/16-18   
Material Pick Up
for Remote MFCS Families 

10/5-18 
Virtual Fall Book Fair
Please see the flier enclosed in this newsletter for more details. 

10/16     
Mobile Food Pantry
1-3pm in Concord. contact the NH Food Bank for location details.

10/23
No School: MFCS Staff Professional Development Day

10/24
Picture Day! 
11:30am - 2:30pm
Sign up is required; please see the newsletter for info.
 
10/30
Mobile Food Pantry
1-3pm @ the Comcast parking lot, 676 Island Pond Rd.

11/1
Daylight Savings Time
Turn the clocks back one hour.





CORPORATE SPONSORS

We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contributions from the following corporate partners: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Autumn Is...


We are more than half-way through October and with that comes the ongoing and beautiful color show of leaves, the associated yard work to clean up said leaves, and the occasional skunk spray of our pets (yup, that happened to at least one of us this week!). Ah, New Hampshire in the fall!

In this week's newsletter, we are highlighting those who shared their pumpkin decorations with us in order to be entered in a book raffle as part of our Virtual Fall Book Fair. Please take a peek below at the creativity! And if you haven't yet shopped the Fair, please visit the link below! This is the final weekend of the Fair!

Fall Backward into Daylight Savings Time this year a little later than usual! On November 1st, we will turn our clocks back by one hour. In what can seem like a throw-back to our country's more active agricultural days, it turns out that Daylight Savings Time is still used by about 40% of the world's countries because the countries feel it makes better use of daylight and helps conserve energy. It's always a bit jolting when we make the change and amazing how an hour can through us off our game. Oh the difference an hour can make...

We want to thank our Hybrid Families and Staff for their diligence and commitment to the doing their part to keep our school as healthy as possible. Our daily Wellness Checks and Hybrid Families' participation in keeping a close eye on symptoms and child health has been working very well. We have had to send a few friends home with temps over 100 and/or stuffed noses and low energy. In those cases, families have accessed testing and thus far, thankfully, all tests have come back negative. Please see the information below for more about testing and quarantining. 

While the state overall is seeing an increase in cases, the cities of Manchester and Nashua are especially active. We are keeping an eye on those numbers and are in touch with the Manchester Health Department as well as participating in weekly calls with the NH Department of Health and Human Services. 

As we take in the ever-evolving updates about COVID, please remember to keep you and your family safe by wearing masks when physical distancing of 6' is not possible; do your best to be social outside while we still can; and wear masks when you shop, and when you are indoors with people other than your immediately family. 

As careful as we are at school, it is also the activities outside of school that can impact our school's health. We have to work together to keep our community safe and healthy during these COVID times. Thanks to each of you for taking seriously your role in that.
 
 Fall Book Fair...Virtual of course!


Virtual Fall Book Fair!
October 5th - 18th

This is the FINAL WEEKEND of our annual Fall Book Fair and like so much else these days, this Fair is a little different than usual. 

This virtual online fair features over 6000 products and all orders ship to your home. Free shipping is available on book-only orders over $25. All purchases benefit our school! Please click here to view the flyer. 

Visit our Virtual Fall Book Fair here:

A small group of students sent in photographs of their their pumpkin decorations and were entered in the raffle to win a book from the Book Fair Their names were pulled today! Congratulations to our winners: 

Kinder: Link M. | Lower Elementary: Owen M.  
Upper Elementary: Tilda


 No School Friday, October 23rd: Staff Professional Development Day

Mill Fall Staff Professional Development Day 
Friday, October 23rd

This month, staff will be spending our professional development time focused on two important areas: Suicide Prevention Training led by Connor's Climb - a training area that is now required by a new NH law; and a workshop being led by Eric Mann about Social & Emotional Learning in the Remote Learning Model. 

We hope that our Mill Falls Families can enjoy some extra time together. We look forward to learning a lot about each of these areas, in order to further bolster support of our students and families. 

 Tea with Laura W. our Educational Program Director


Tea with Laura: A new series

Please plan to join us on 
October 30th at 10am for the first in a series of Tea with Laura

Laura has been at Mill Falls since we opened our doors in 2012 as our Educational Program Director (much like a traditional principal). In this role, she oversees our educational programming. She is Montessori Trained Educator as well as a State certified teacher in NH and MA in both Elementary Education and Special Education. Laura also holds a Masters of Education in Literacy Studies.

This series is designed as an informal opportunity for Laura to speak with the adult members of our Mill Falls Families about educational structures and expectations as they relate to our public Montessori program as well as offer guidance to our parents/guardians in support of our students. Please stay tuned for more details about how to sign up for this event!

 Picture Day 2020...COVID-style

Picture Day
October 24, 11am-2:30pm

Amidst a chaotic world, Mill Falls would like to try and give you a piece of normalcy through hosting Picture Day! Like so many things during this time of COVID, we have had to creatively schedule this event. This year's Saturday snapshot day will once again be organized by Ms. Grace. Due to COVID safety protocol, we will only be doing individual portraits which will be taken outdoors; we will not be able to do classroom or sibling shots, or our panoramic this year.

Please Reserve Your Spot: Sign up for a time slot via Sign Up Genius. Click here for the link. 

Things to Note: 

The photography team asks that parents wait for their children in the background and that we work together to avoid any clustering. Ms. Grace will be there to help the photographers. 


How Touch-less Picture Day Will Work:
A unique bar code will be generated for each student by the photography company in advance of the Saturday Picture Day. When a student arrives to be photographed, he/she will simply state his/her name to the photography team, and the rest will be handled electronically. 

Payment: 
We strongly encourage ordering on-line and paying by credit card. Families will use Coffee Pond's website.

However, if you do need to pay by cash or check, please let Grace know so that she can send home paper order forms for you to bring on Picture Day. The due date for order forms is October 24, 2020. 

Questions?
If you have any questions, please reach out to her at 
grace.eaton@millfalls.org.

 Family Tech Support


This year, Ms. Jody is serving as our Family Tech Support person. 
She is available by email and Zoom on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (note, she is not available on Wednesdays). 

She can be reached by email at techsupport@millfalls.org

She can be reached on Zoom (for live chats via the waiting room one at a time) from: 
10am-12pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Meeting ID: 797 9462 3236    PW: 6nEvDQ
If Jody cannot answer your question, she will reach out to our team to get an answer for you. 

Academic questions? These should be sent to your child's classroom teacher(s).

 Material Pickup for Fully Remote Learners

Pickup Days
for Remote Learning

As we do each Friday, today at 8am we set out the crates full of materials for the coming week for our Fully Remote Learners. These plastic covered bins are organized by classroom and within that, by child. The crates will be out all weekend. 
Please note, not every class will have materials to pick up each Friday; Teachers will be in touch with their classroom families so you should know by Wednesday afternoon whether you will need to come in to pick up materials on that Friday. 

 Hybrid Student Morning Arrival & Wellness Check Updates


MORNING WELLNESS CHECK: Families with Hybrid (in-person) Learners, please review the steps below:
  1. Families are asked to complete the Wellness Check Form QUESTIONS ONLY each morning BEFORE arriving at school about travel, new symptoms, contact with confirmed or suspected case of COVID. 
  2. Mill Falls Staff will greet each car, review the form and take each student's temperature before the student exits the vehicle. 
 Health & Wellness Reminders in the Age of COVID

Health & Wellness Reminders:

Students exhibiting symptoms must present a negative Antigen Test AND improvement of symptoms before returning to school. 

If the COVID test is positive, your child will need to isolate at home for at least 10 days, including the final day without fever (and fever reducing medication). We strongly advise family members to also seek testing, as they will be considered 'close contacts' by the Health Department. Remember, while no one can test out of the 14-day close contact quarantine, the testing is to help trace and limit community spread!

If you or anyone is your household is found to be a close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, your or your household member will need to quarantine at home for 14 days after that close contact. Again you and your household members are strongly advised to seek testing. Remember, while no one can test out of close contact quarantine, the testing is to help trace and limit community spread!

If testing is not accessedthen your child will need to stay home for 10 days including the final day without fever (without fever reducing medication). 

If the COVID test is negative
, please keep in mind that your child must still remain at home until there is an improvement of symptoms and no fever or vomiting for 24 hours, as per our usual health and wellness protocol.


Testing note: The NH Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Manchester City Health Department expects those with concerns but NO symptoms to seek a PCR Antigen test that must be sent to a lab for processing. ONLY those with symptoms are instructed to seek a rapid test. At this time, the rapid antigen tests are only considered effective by our state's public health teams when there is a presence of symptoms. 

* * *

To assist in everyone's understanding of the protocol we've designed, we ask that you review the COVID Handbook Insert (esp. pages 6-8) as well as the chart below. Thank you so very much for your ongoing partnership in keeping our school community well!



A reminder that the NH State Epidemiologist strongly urges the following: Persons experiencing symptoms related to COVID, or concerned that they may have been exposed to the virus, are strongly urged to seek Antigen Testing. This assists in our overall ability to keep our school community safe and informed about COVID and viral spread. Thank you!
 COVID & Community Resources


Family Support Hot Line:
Waypoint Family support can help with anything from where to get covid testing or child care. 
Call: 800-640-6486 
M-F 8:30-4:30


* * *

Free COVID Tests
Families who live in the Greater Manchester area may call the Manchester COVID-19 Hotline at to arrange for a free testing appointment. East and West Side locations available. This is NOT an antibody test. The hotline is available Monday - Friday from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Call: 603-668-1547. Testing appointments are required.  

* * *

Mobile Food Pantries
The NH Food Bank will be holding 12 Mobile Food Pantries around the state in the month of October. Please see the dates and locations of some of the sites below. 

ALL Mobile Food Pantries take place from 1-3pm.
  • Concord: Friday, Oct 16th. Please contact the NH Food Bank for location details.
  • Manchester: Friday, Oct 30th @ Comcast, 676 Island Pond Road.
If you or someone you know would like to volunteer at any of these Mobile Food Pantries, please contact Ashley at volunteercoordinator@nhfoodbank.org.
 Laura's Corner



Student & Family Support
Below is some information from Ms. Laura W. about supporting students who are learning from home. 

The Importance of the Prepared Environment:

Fostering Student Independence During Remote Learning

A Deeper Dive into the Importance of Independence

The Power of Accomplishment

* * *

And here are some books that staff have suggested for families with young children in these COVID times. 

A reminder, we do try to talk about the need for keeping space between people these days using the term Physical Distancing, rather than 'social distancing':



 Share Your Images & Stories from Home!
We would once again like to ask our Mill Falls Families to share images and stories from their Remote Learning experience - daily work as well as Big Work Wednesday Projects, which we can share in our newsletter. 


Please send your photographs, brief stories (remember sharing humorous moments will help keep us all healthy!), and quotes to Ms. Meryl at: stories.pictures@millfalls.org.
 
Please be sure to send the photos at small to medium resolution, and send along a description / story about what is going on in the photos. Thank you!
 
 Montessori Moments From Near & Far...

Please enjoy some photographs from this week here at school and some sent in from families working remotely:

Art Class:
This week, Ms. Melissa and her students began their study of Pop Art with a project called "Meet Andy Warhol & His 25 Cats Named Sam". Ms. Melissa shared a video story written by James Warhola, Andy Warhol's nephew. 
Our Kinder and Lower Elementary Students were asked to draw a cat in the style of Warhol, then paint it a bright color. Our Upper Elementary Students did the same project, and watched a great short video from the Tate Museum on Pop Art/artists. Here are few early examples of what our students created:




* * *
Below: Ruby, Augie and Alice's mom shared these pictures which were taken by the kids of each other working. Everyone taste-tested apples along with Alice's Kinder class; and Augie and Alice are shown here doing their rhyming virtual work! 


* * *
Below: Neither rain nor sleet nor wind or hail could keep the Yosemite Room from releasing the first Monarch Butterflies from their collection!


* * *

Big Work Wednesday
Over the years, you may have heard the term, Big Work. But what is this exactly? Well, for starters, it's a work that is driven by student interest. Something that sparks excitement and motivation in learning. And here's the key, once the student has found his/her interest and, with a bit of guidance initially, it's independent! Here are some examples from this week:




Like the Denali Students last week, this week the Acadia Room students got very creative in their follow up work to the Montessori Cosmic Nesting Box / Where am I in the Universe Work. 

In preparation, Ms. Tana shared a live Zoom video lesson, and then asked her students to create their own version of Cosmic Nesting Boxes which by design will also reveal where each student is in relation to the universe. She suggested they could make a slideshow, a poster, a book or work in 3D by creating actual boxes!

These first two photos show Orin's boxes; vertical right is Ben with his work and the bottom is Sam with his project.




* * *
Below: This week Lillian and Tilda partnered up again, this time working on DNA models using candy. They learned that while we all have different DNA, humans actually share 99% of the same DNA, just different patterns for everyone! They each made their own pattern to represent their unique DNA.

* * *
Below: This week, Kaylee took a walking tour around Philadelphia for her Big Work, and then she wrote about her journey. These pictures show Kaylee outside of Independence Hall and the first post office. 


* * *
  
This past Wednesday, Quinn chose on his own Big Work and he is eager to share the results! Quinn loves the LEGO Ninjago characters and stories - a TV series about these Ninjas that are LEGO characters. They characters work as team to battle evil. 

Quinn loves to show stories in visual form and here chose to show a scene from season one of the show. The characters are trying to determine who was the 'Green Ninja'. Energy is the Green Ninja's special power who is said to be the strongest Ninja. But as it turned out, none of them were the Green Ninja in the scene he created. 

Take a moment to view the stop motion animation video Quinns made of Lego Ninjagos battling. There's ice throwing and a spinjitzu battle. Then the team does a dance at the end! Here's the link: https://youtu.be/kYwQ5LDPOL0

* * *
Below: Caroline's visual representation of Saturn and herself as an astronaut exploring...
 

* * *
Below: In Memorium
Upper Elementary Student, Awaab, spent his Big Works Wednesday creating a memorial to Ryan Frew. This poster, shown here, was created for his classmate and friend, one of the two Mill Falls students whose dad passed away last week. Awaab feels that 'In these hard times, it is especially hard to lose someone right now. So I felt like my classmate, my friend, needed a little positivity. He never asked for it, but I feel like he needed it, especially after loosing someone so important." 

As part of this work, Awaab researched and wrote about the Jr. Monarchs, the Hockey Team Ryan coached, and also wrote some biographical information about his friend's dad. Today, Awaab's father dropped off the poster so that it could get to his friend, along with the cards that many other classmates shared.