March 17, 2020

Dear MPCSD Parents, 

We hope the dust has settled for you a bit as the impacts of the “new normal” under Shelter in Place restrictions come into more focus. 

Your MPCSD team is busy working, albeit mostly from home, to continue providing a high quality education through Distance Learning. We know this is not easy on parents or students; we know it will be messy at times. There is an abundance of grace on the part of our teachers and staff as we all work together to “figure this out.” 

I know you stand with me in awe of the work our teachers have been able to turn around in such a short period of time. I imagine after a few days of Distance Learning, we will all be even more appreciative of the true skill, patience, and creativity it takes to be a public school teacher! I know my wife and I are and it is only Day 2. 

Here are some important updates regarding services during the Shelter in Place.

School Sites CLOSED; District Office OPEN with Limited Hours
For the health and safety of students, staff, parents, and the community, until further notice, all MPCSD will be closed while the Shelter in Place remains an order. For essential services such as student enrollment/disenrollment, human resources, business/payroll, facility maintenance, safety, or materials drop-off/pick-up, the MPCSD District Office located at 181 Encinal Avenue in Atherton will be open from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Monday - Friday. The District Office will be closed to the public during our regularly scheduled Spring Break March 30 - April 3. 

March 27 is Still a Professional Development Day for Staff; No School for Students
As a reminder, March 27, 2020 has been scheduled as a NO student day as our staff will be engaged in Professional Development. We will continue with our plan for the staff, albeit virtually. This means that teachers will not be required to post Distance Learning assignments and schedules on Friday, March 27. Might this be a perfect day to go on a hike as a family for a change of scenery and some good connection time without the stress of keeping up with assignments from home? And remember Spring Break is March 30 through April 3; there will be no posted assignments then either.

Managing Expectations for Distance Learning
We know that many of you are juggling your own jobs from home, as well as the added responsibility of keeping your students focused and engaged with Distance Learning. No one recognizes the challenges you are facing better than our teachers. Don’t worry if the teacher’s suggested schedule for your child is not working as designed. Grace abounds during Distance Learning. The goal is to keep your child engaged and progressing in their learning as best you can. Give yourself grace, too. You’ve likely seen many suggestions on social media or in emails from your child’s teacher. I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, but here are the best suggestions for a reasonably successful Distance Learning experience:
  1. Clear a space in the home that that child uses daily for Distance Learning. Make it clean and organized with all the materials they might need. Encourage your student to decorate it and “make it their own.” 
  2. Create a daily schedule. For younger students, having the same schedule that repeats daily might help them manage their curiosity and attention. Often, younger students appreciate knowing what to expect. With older students, empower them to own their daily schedule each day. They can logon, find out what is expected of them and then create a new schedule daily. 
  3. Remain flexible and respond to your individual child’s needs. Distance Learning provides a great avenue for flexibility and customization. Late sleeper? Let them sleep in and start/end later. Active kid? Schedule lots of breaks and extended “PE” time outside. Raising an extrovert? Schedule virtual play dates and homework sessions over your favorite web conferencing software. 
  4. Provide your child ownership, no matter what age.  From preschool to eighth grade, our students can manage a great deal of responsibility. You may be surprised what your child is capable of if you release the reins a bit and see what they’re willing to own. 
As always, we remain available. Feel free to email your child’s teacher(s) or for assistance with making this virtual learning experience worthwhile. 

Report Your Child “PRESENT”  
If you haven’t already, please report your child’s attendance via our School Messenger (Safe Arrival) App or via your school’s website. Please follow these step-by-step directions for the app:
  • Download the SchoolMessenger (Safe Arrival) App on your phone.
  • On the App, select “Attendance” under the dropdown main menu.
  • Select the purple “+” button and then your child’s name. 
  • Using the drop down menu select “Multiple Day.” This is important if you don’t want to have to log on each day.
  • Using the next drop down menu select “Attending School through Distance Learning.” If you choose this option, your child will be marked “present.” 
  • On the next screen select the first day of absence you are reporting
  • Just below “First Day,” select March 26, 2020 as the last day of absence. Spring Break is scheduled to begin Friday, March 27; you don’t need to select Friday as the last day. For reporting post-Spring Break, please wait until April 6 when further directions will be sent.
  • In the upper right hand corner, press “Send.”
Please note, if you mark your child “present” s/he is expected to complete the assigned work. 

If you are having trouble with the app, try logging out and logging back in. If that doesn’t work, try removing the app and then reloading it. 

Thanks and have a great rest of your week. 

Erik Burmeister, Superintendent |
Governing Board
Stacey Jones , President
Sherwin Chen, Vice President
David Ackerman
Mark Box
Scott Saywell