September 2018

Happy fall! Although we had an unusually rainy first month of school, we are off to a wonderful and smooth start to the year.

With Halloween approaching, I would like to let our new families know that we do not allow costumes at Thoreau. Instead, we spend the Friday before Halloween, enjoying the annual Monster Madness play performed by our own 5th grade students!

Safety Drills:

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.

Three 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:

  • 9/28              PTG Meeting, 9:00 AM
  • 10/1              Picture Day
  • 10/8              Columbus Day: No School
  • 10/12           Book Fair Family Night
  • 10/17           PTG Meeting, 7:00 PM
  • 10/17-19    Book Fair

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: http://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. We respectfully request that parents who bring their pets to school during arrival or dismissal time keep them a safe distance from other students and clear of our entrance. 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 complete the online Health Form for your Thoreau student(s) in the parent portal. This form needs to be completed every school year and​ when a medical or health change occurs. This information helps us keep your student safe during the school day. It is also where you give permission, or not, to your school nurse to administer school available medications. The information you share may be shared with “need to know” staff (ex. cafeteria workers regarding food allergies, or noon aides regarding bee allergies). You can access this form through the Aspen Parent Portal, The URL is: https://ma-concord.myfollett.com/aspen/logon.do. Parent portal accounts have been created for each Thoreau parent/guardian. If you already have a portal account for an older child, the younger child was added to your account. If you do not remember your account credentials, or have trouble logging into Aspen, please email parentportal@concordps.org for assistance. Once you have logged into the parent portal, click on the Student Health Information link in the Announcements section. Click on the magnifying glass to select your student. Please complete the form, put your name at the bottom, and click on the ​Finish​ button at the bottom R corner of the page. Again, this form is the electronic permission for administering over the counter medication to your student during school hours. Thank you for completing this form as soon as possible. If you have any questions feel free to contact me via email at mmosher@concordps.org.