Arcadia This Week 8/25/2021

Hello, Arcadia families, students, and friends!

This message is a long one, but stick with me--lots of important information!


We have a number of plans in place to protect students as they return to school this year. Read those plans here: COVID-19 Plan 2021-2022

We would be grateful if students would all take a COVID-19 test before arriving at school on Sept. 7th! Order at-home COVID tests free from the State:

While we recognize that families prefer not to do testing through the school, there are a number of ways to access tests for free, and we would greatly appreciate it if students did test regularly to help us monitor cases and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Arcadia. 

Once again: The higher our vaccination rate at Arcadia, the safer ALL students will be, and the more “normal” our school days will be. The vast majority of Arcadia staff members have chosen to be vaccinated to protect our community. We would invite all eligible students and their family members to join us! 

We do have some students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine (our eleven-year-old sixth graders, for example), and everyone else being vaccinated keeps them safer at school. 

Here, again, is the Vaccination Opportunities document, maintained by Northfield Public Schools, if you are looking for more information about where to get vaccinated, and how to sign up for an appointment.

Hot Lunch

The last survey tipped the scale--we have enough people interested to offer hot lunch! 

Hot lunches will start on September 20th, so the first nine days of the school year, students will still need to bring food. We have microwaves available. Students, you will have to wipe down the microwave after each use (specifically, the buttons that others’ will touch).

Hot lunches will be catered by Maria Estrada, from Kahlo Restaurant. We are revamping the menu and the portion sizes! We are going to start out ordering for two weeks at a time so that she is able to make adjustments to the menu more quickly based on our feedback. I will send out a separate email for ordering when the first menu is ready to go!

Electronics Policy

After a year and a half of endless screen time, we are excited to have school in person! The staff have had a number of conversations about cell phones and the impact they have, both on the community and on individual students’ learning. Research suggests that cell phones have a negative impact on cognitive function--and, therefore, the ability to learn new things. They also make work take longer as they pull focus away from the task at hand. Certainly not ideal in a school setting, and definitely not okay in class!

To respond to these concerns, we intend to enforce our existing “Phone Use” policy, but we’d like to approach it in a very specific way to differentiate between middle and high school students, and make the guidelines more specific.

Read more in the Electronics Policy 2021-2022 document!

Sign Up for Goal Setting Conferences

If you’ve not yet done it, don’t forget to sign up for a Goal Setting Conference! These very important meetings will help your child be well-prepared for the school year, and give the advisors information that helps them better support your child throughout the year. 

Advisors sent out messages the week of August 16th-20th that included their sign-up link, supply lists, and other information. If you didn’t receive a message from your child’s advisor, please let me know right away! Some did have to find the message in their junk mail, and we also discovered that JMC’s communication module only sent the message to email addresses listed in a specific field, so in some families, the message only went to one of two parents. We are happy to resend that information if it’s missing for you!

JMC: Student Information System

JMC is the program that we use to keep track of all student information. You will have a username and password that will allow you to log into the parent portal to check your child’s grades and attendance. 

There is also an app available called JMC Family. If you download the app, our school code is 0523. However, you will need your username and password to log into the app.

I will be near the front door during Goal Setting Conferences to help you figure out how to log into JMC!

Opening Expedition

As noted in a previous message, we are doing something different with our first nine days of school! Acknowledging that students have just experienced a year and a half of disrupted learning and isolation, we are spending more time on our school-wide social contract process, in the context of an experiential civics class. Though it will be active, and perhaps look different than a typical class, it is an academic class, and students will earn credit for it. The goal is to teach skills for better academic discussion and communication, to reconnect with one another socially in a structured way, and to focus on our school’s mission--especially the “engaged citizenship” part of our mission--through studying civics. Students can expect a mix of activities and academic work. They will start and end each day in advisory, just like a typical school day.

Return Textbooks and Chromebooks

We are still missing some textbooks and Chromebooks! If you have either of these at home, please bring them with you to Goal Setting Conferences so that we have them available to the community at the start of the school year. Thank you!

Welcome to Our New Nurse

Our new school nurse, Gail Setterstrom, brings many years of experience and lots of knowledge to the position! We are so glad she’s here! We will be working on collecting necessary medical information, including vaccination records, so I wanted to introduce her so you know who she is, in the event she needs to contact you for more information.

First Day of School/Arcadia School Calendar

Our first day of school is September 7th! Our calendar was set prior to the change Northfield Public Schools made, and we kept our calendar as-is. Here is a link to our 2021-2022 Arcadia Charter School Calendar.

See you at Goal Setting Conferences!

Here are more articles from a range of sources:

Washington Examiner: Rise in COVID-19 infections threatens unvaccinated and some hospitals

NPR: US COVID Deaths Are Rising Again. Experts Call It ‘A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’

Fox News: ‘Pandemic of the unvaccinated’ burdens busy US hospitals