October 2017

Fall is finally here!  We have enjoyed a fabulous first month of school and have been very busy settling back into routines and getting to know our new students.

This month, we will begin the first of many of our emergency preparedness drills.  In collaboration with our School Resource Officer, Detective Scott Camilleri, our students and staff will begin practicing the following components of our district emergency plan:  Bus Evacuations, a Whole School Evacuation, a Fire Drill and a Lockdown Drill.

Our Bus Evacuation drill involves the students practicing how to exit the bus in the event of an emergency in the most efficient and safe way.  Historically, the students seem to do well with this exercise and members of the Concord Public Schools Transportation Department and Concord Police Department will be on hand to help us practice.  Bus Evacuations take place 1-2 times a year.

Another drill we will complete is our Lockdown drill.  Lockdown drills are unannounced and can occur any number of times throughout the year.  These drills involve the staff locking their classroom doors, turning off the lights, and moving to a location in the room that is out of sight.  We inform the students in a manner developmentally appropriate for each grade level that we practice being out of sight to keep everyone safe.

Whole School Evacuation drills may be announced or unannounced, can occur any number of times throughout the year, and involve relocating the entire staff and student body from Thoreau to an alternate site.  In the event of an evacuation drill, the Concord Police Department closes the streets along our evacuation route and we practice our relocation protocol.  The whole process takes, roughly, 30 minutes from start to finish.

Two weeks ago we held one of our monthly Fire drills, which we completed in record time!

Another part of our safety plan you may have heard about is what we refer to as Shelter in Place.  We utilize shelter in place mode (restricting students to a particular area of the building) when a medical or environmental issue arises and we need a clear path for responders and/or to protect the confidentiality of the individual having a medical issue.  Instruction continues during a shelter in place.

While it is rare we ever have to utilize these protocols, we want to be sure we are “prepared and not scared”.

Upcoming Events:
October 3rd              Parent/Community Forum with  Superintendent Dr. Laurie Hunter, Library, 7:00 PM
October 13th           Book Fair Family Night
October 15th           Grounds for Learning Garden Cleanup, 2:00 PM
October 17th           PTG Meeting, Library, Library 7:00 PM
October 27th           Coffee with the Principal, Cafeteria, 9:30 AM

Absence Reporting:
Please report all absences/illnesses to the school office before the start of the school day via our new attendance form posted on our school website:https://thoreau.concordps.org/report-attendance-form/

Aspen Parent Portal:
Parent portal accounts have been created for each Thoreau parent/guardian. Credential letters were sent out last spring to parents of current Thoreau students and late August to parents of students new Willard and the district. If a parent already had a portal account for an older child, the younger child was added to their account. If you do not remember your account credentials, please email parentportal@concordps.org for assistance. Once you have logged in, follow the instructions on the home page for completing the on-line student health information form.  Aspen URL: https://ma-concord.myfollett.com/aspen/logon.do

Visitor Sign In:
After being buzzed in, all visitors are reminded to sign in at the Main Office and receive a visitor’s pass.

Forgotten Lunches, Instruments, Homework, Books, Sneakers, Etc.:
In an effort to keep interruptions to learning to a minimum, we seek your support in reducing the number of students who need to leave class to call home to request that items be brought to school.  Please help students learn to be responsible (especially in our upper grades) by reminding them to check to be sure they leave home with any necessary items.  If it is absolutely necessary to drop something off, please leave it in the main office.

Changes to Dismissal Plans:
Please send in a note to your child’s teacher if you need to change his/her dismissal plans for that day. If possible, all play dates should be arranged prior to your child’s arrival at school. If you need to change your child’s dismissal plan unexpectedly, please notify the office by 2:30 PM.  Thank you for your assistance with this matter.

Dismissal/Arrival Parking:
During arrival, please reserve the van accessible spaces for vehicles with handicapped placards. During dismissal, please be sure not to block the crosswalk or fire lanes.  Because the back parking lot is reserved for faculty, parents are encouraged to park along both sides of West Street and on the right side of Pleasant Street or Chase Road.  If it’s not raining or snowing, parents picking up their students should meet them behind the building near the basketball court.  In the case of inclement weather, pick up is in the cafeteria.  Thank you!

Free/Reduced Lunch:
If you are eligible for this free or reduced lunch, please obtain the form from the District Website and submit it as soon as possible. Please note that parents have to re-apply for this support each year.

From the Health Office:
Please be sure to report any injuries (especially if requiring a brace, splint, cast or crutches) or any concussions need to be reported to the Health Office by either calling 978-202-1258 or sending Nurse Jensen an email atmjensen@concordps.org.  Nurse Jensen will work with your child’s teacher and PE teacher to ensure their safety while at school.  Please submit a doctor’s note for any activity change or other accommodations required.    Thank you!