West Update 8/4/20

West Update 8/4/20
Posted on 08/04/2020
image of colored pencils with back to school banner
Hello West Families! 
I hope you are well. Wow, what a summer... I hope it has been fun and relaxing for you after a roller coaster school year. It has been quite the whirlwind summer for me as I learn about a new school, new school system, and new town during this new normal…:) People (virtual and otherwise) have been great as I have been meeting and communicating with several of the West Community including parents, staff, district personnel and even some students! I have also had some time with the family going up to Winnepesauki for a few days, visiting the Flume and my side job as Dad “ubering” pick ups and drop offs with my 16 year old daughter to volleyball; my 14 year old daughter to gymnastics and my 12 year old son to hockey practice and the skate park of course.
All the while, it has absolutely been a working summer as we continue to prepare to open for the 2020-2021 school year. I have been working diligently with my West colleagues as part of the West Building-based Reopening Group as well as with parents, teachers and administrators across the district as part of the WPS Re-opening Advisory Group. Basically, we have been working on creating a safe and effective school environment based on the parameters set forth by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). After months of great flux and hard work, it is just now beginning to come into focus on what it will all look like next year. Below are some very important items YOU NEED TO KNOW for the upcoming school year.
    ● Update on WPS Reopening Plans: WPS Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brand, will be hosting an online meeting this Thursday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m. to provide parents/guardians with specific updates and information regarding our reopening of schools. Please watch for the link to this meeting coming from his office soon.
    ● Mode of learning information [IMPORTANT INFORMATION NEEDED]: The district will be sending out something in early this week that will ask families to make a commitment for their child as to which mode of learning that you want to pursue for the start of the current school year. As you know by now, there is the intent to start the year with a hybrid model of learning that will see students in school part of the time and participating in remote instruction part of the time. While you will be provided with the opportunity to change your decision periodically throughout the upcoming school year it is essential that we know
definitively the plan of our families for the start of the year. Please watch for this information coming soon.
    ● Class Assignments and Student Supplies. As with most school districts in the Commonwealth and the Nation, much remains in flux on what it will all look like next year. As we continue to gather and finalize information, important decisions will be made in the coming days/weeks. Class assignments and a comprehensive list of necessary student supplies will be posted thereafter. Stay tuned...
    ● Meet the Principal. Again, it has been a wonderful (albeit odd) experience as I prepare to lead a school when I’ve only met in person a small handful of the school community due to closure, social distancing rules and the like. In an effort for me to get to know the West Community and the West Community get to know me, I’m planning a Zoom meeting on August 17th from 7-8 PM. All West parents and students are invited. In this meeting, I will tell you a bit about myself, get to learn about the West and I can hopefully answer any questions you may have. A Zoom link will be forthcoming. As we get closer to the opening, I aim to schedule an “in person” meet and greet (with safety precautions of course). Stay tuned...
    ● Orientations . Once things come more into focus, we aim to devise orientations (virtual or otherwise) for all students but particularly my fellow “new to the West” grade 4 students. Our goal will be to get the kids acclimated to the West and staff and the new safety systems and procedures, etc., therein. Stay tuned.
I remain excited beginning my tenure as principal of West Intermediate School. Having already met (virtual or otherwise) many of you, I am impressed already with the support, pride, sense of Community and willingness to “make it all work” for the kids of the West. As we proceed from here, I will be updating the West Community accordingly via email and on the website. While much remains in flux, I’m confident we will work together to create a safe and effective school experience for the kids of the West!
Take care.
Ed Foster

Summer Principal's Letter to West Parents 8-4-20