Welcome back message from Principal Powell

Two Montessori students doing schoolwork at a table.

The following message is from Montessori Magnet School Principal John Powell:

Dear Families:

I am writing to share additional updates around the reopening of school.

As I’m sure you know, the City School District of Albany has been devastated over the last two weeks with the news that the state will be withholding at least 20% of its school funding for districts statewide due to the economic impact of COVID-19. For our school district, that will mean a loss of $20 million or more from our budget for the 2020-21 school year. Due to the uncertainty caused by this massive loss in revenue, we are only able at this time to provide you with schedule information for the first two weeks of the school year. We will provide you with information about the rest of September as soon as it is available. 

In spite of these difficult circumstances, all of us at Montessori Magnet School are looking forward to welcoming all of our students when the new year begins Wednesday.

As you may be aware, families will be able to access their child’s classroom teacher assignment as of Tuesday. I want to share that this is likely to be as of the close of business Tuesday. Additionally, student’s Gmail accounts are locked until the same time, so no need to try to get in any earlier. Teachers will be emailing out Google Classroom invites Tuesday; you will see these invitations once your Gmail accounts are reopened. On your teacher’s Google Classroom page will be a link to a Google Meet session. You will use this Google Meet invitation to take part in Meet sessions with the teacher that begin on Thursday.

You may say, “But I thought there was orientation and time with the teacher on Wednesday?” There will be orientation, but it will be with me on a Google Meet. I will begin my session at 9 a.m. The session will be recorded and shared out for later viewing.

Click here to join Wednesday at 9 a.m.

September 9: What will happen on our first day is twofold; the sharing of an elementary video focused on the experience of returning to school in-person AND my informational session. During my session I will aim to paint a picture of the return to the Montessori Magnet School building and give you a sense of where things stand (what is set and what is still developing in preparation for later in September). There will be no teacher/student connection on this first day.

September 10: On our second day you and your child will connect with your child’s teacher through a Google Meet. Teachers will host a Meet in the morning and one in the afternoon. Think of this sort of like an Open House, but one that students also attend. The teacher will share with you, from their own classroom perspective, the academic work of the school year, talk about fun things they look forward to doing with students in their class, and detail what will be different given all things COVID-19.
Teachers will conduct two identical sessions AM and PM. Please plan to attend only one. Look for an invitation to the Google Meet sessions in your child’s Gmail and Google Classroom on Tuesday evening.  

8-8:30 a.m. – PK-Grade 2 (Session One)
9-9:30 a.m. – Grades 3-5 (Session One)

1-1:30 p.m. – PK-Grade 2 (Session Two)
2-2:30 p.m. – Grades 3-5 (Session Two)

September 11: On Friday, teachers will spend time virtually with their new students. They will engage in lite “get to know each other” conversation and activity.  

8-8:30 a.m. – PK-Grade 2
9-9:30 a.m. – Grades 3-5

What if you have additional, or more individual, questions for the teacher? The schedule for teachers on September 10-11 is being kept purposely lite so that they can be responsive to your needs. They will be widely available to exchange emails, place calls, and respond to requests from families for a “touch base.”

What if I don’t have a computer to access the sessions? The district is closed until Tuesday. The district is awaiting delivery of a new supply of Chromebooks that will allow all students to have their own device. We anticipate that this will occur later this month. In the meantime, our district is focused on deploying the Chromebooks we currently have to make sure that every family has the ability to connect to our virtual sessions. If you are an MMS family that has no access to a computer at home and is hoping to acquire one (prior to the larger distribution planned later this month) CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE A SHORT SURVEY LOGGING YOUR REQUEST.

Here is our schedule for virtual instruction during the week of Sept. 14-18:

  • Monday, September 14 through Thursday, September 17:
    • 8-9 a.m. -- PK-Grade 2
    • 9-10 a.m. -- Grades 3-5
  • Friday, September 18:
    • No school for students (PD day for district employees)

Now more than ever, a successful 2020-21 school year for all of our students will require that we are “All in for Albany!” and working together to succeed with the new guidelines and procedures necessary due to COVID-19. Please watch for additional updates and information. We are working hard to get that information to you as soon as possible under these trying circumstances.

If you have questions about the start of the new school year or any of the new procedures we will follow, please contact me at (518) 475-6675.