Greer Gazette: August 28, 2023

Greer Gazette: August 28, 2023
Posted on 08/28/2023

Greetings CPS Community…

We are very excitedly counting down the days until we begin a new school year next week!

Last week was very exciting with our new teachers and many of our educational leaders participating in professional development as we prepare to welcome our staff and students. (See more in The Bright Spot). We will celebrate our successes and face challenges that may arise this school year together!

A gentle reminder that our Back-to-School webpage has a checklist of things that families should do before the first day of school. This includes our annual Back-to-School forms on the CPS Family Portal, which are due on the first day of school. If you have any questions about the return to class, please feel free to contact your child’s school.

I realize that this can be a bittersweet time for many families and students. Please know that we are committed to working with you to ensure a smooth transition back to school. Enjoy the final week of summer…we look forward to seeing your child next week!

Make it Great!

Dr. Victoria L. Greer

Tips for Helping Your Child Manage Back-to-School Transitions

Kids playing with NumbersThe return to school could be a big change in the daily lives of students and families after weeks of a more unstructured daily summer routine. The transition will require some adjustment for all and more significant adjustment for some.
Here are some strategies for families from our Director of Social Emotional Learning, Kim Huffer, to support a healthy return to school:

  1. Communicate: Talk openly and factually about the return to school. Answer questions about school and engage with students about their ideas for going back to school. Consider using books, school videos, social stories, or visual resources to help children better predict and understand what school will look like.
  2. Develop routines: Routines support students and can help ease the transition back to school. Consider morning, evening, and goodbye routines. This may include bedtime routines, as well as ensuring that students have a healthy breakfast and/or arrive at school in time to eat breakfast.
  3. Adjust sleep schedules: Make gradual adjustments in sleep-wake routines to help students prepare. If your student has been spending a lot of time on screens, consider reducing the amount of time, as well as the time of day/night when use occurs.
  4. Support emotions: Change can be difficult for everyone. Name and acknowledge your child’s emotions and needs (e.g., “I know how much you like to play at home, and it is hard to wait until after school to do that”). When your child is calmer, provide support and encouragement to move forward (e.g., “Let’s plan what you’ll do after school!”).

Back to school can be an exciting time for everyone to learn, grow, and develop new skills and interests. We encourage families to model optimism and the learning and growth that can happen. For more information and support, please review these resources by experts in the field:

We can’t wait to see you and your child!

Don’t Miss Our Second Community Fair!

Community Fair
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Pierre, Office of Mayor Siddiqui

Thank you to those of you who attended our first 2023 Community Fair outside the King Open School this past Saturday. Dozens of families came out to meet community partners, learn about community services, and access free supplies and clothing. Dr. Greer enjoyed meeting many of you and handing out CPS swag at her “Ask Dr. Greer” table.

Community Fair
If you couldn’t attend this weekend, our second Community Fair is on Saturday, September 9th. Don’t forget…everyone in attendance can enjoy a complimentary Zinneken's waffle!

  • Saturday, September 9 | 10AM - 12PM
    • Peabody School (70 Rindge Avenue)
Please Test Before the First Day of School

Last week, we mailed every student and staff member a COVID rapid test to be taken before returning to school next week.

  • If negative and do not have symptoms, we will see you at school.
  • If positive or negative but have symptoms, please stay home and notify the school as you would for any other excused absence.

Track Your Child’s School Bus in Real Time
Families who are eligible for school bus transportation should have been notified through ParentSquare with where your child’s bus stop is located and the route.

If your child plans to take the school bus this school year, please download our Bus Tracker App, which allows families to track the location of their child's school bus by GPS.

To register: 

  • Have your child’s Student ID number. (It is included in your annual forms packet and can be requested from the school.) 
  • Click New Account and follow the instructions. 
  • Locate the bus tracker at or if you are using a mobile device, create a shortcut on your home screen to make logging in easier. 
  • See the User Guide for more instructions and troubleshooting.

Congratulations & Welcomes

Haggerty School Interim Assistant Principal

Nadia Jeudy

Please join us in welcoming Nadia Jeudy to the Haggerty School as Interim Assistant Principal. Ms. Jeudy has experience as both an Interim Principal and Assistant Principal. In recent years, she has supported leadership at the Peabody and Rindge Avenue Upper Schools and has also served as the Peabody School’s School Adjustment Counselor. Prior to arriving in Cambridge in 2003, Ms. Jeudy was a social worker in Early Intervention and worked in schools in Boston.

In a letter to the school community, Principal Nancy Campbell wrote, “Nadia’s commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive school culture aligns perfectly with our values here at Haggerty.”

King Open School Assistant Principal

May Petrov

Congratulations to May Petrov, who has been named the new Assistant Principal at the King Open School. Ms. Petrov, a CPS alumni, has been a paraprofessional, lead teacher in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program, and most recently, an Inclusion Specialist at King Open. She also served as lead facilitator of the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) team, coordinator of SEL-related professional development, co-facilitator of the Student Support Team, and co-facilitator of the COVID Response Team.

Principal Darrell Williams shared the news with the school community, writing in part, “May is both prepared and poised for this extremely important role.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School Assistant Principal

Hannah W

We are delighted to share that Hannah Wirtshafter is the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School Assistant Principal. Ms. Wirtshafter joined CPS in 2019, most recently working as a Special Educator and Inclusion Specialist at the Morse School. She has spent the last 15 years of her career working with JK-8th grade students across Brookline, Lynn, and in Pennsylvania.

Principal Gerald Yung welcomed her to MLK, writing, “We believe that Ms. Wirtshafter's expertise and exceptional relationship-building skills will contribute to fostering an environment of excellence, growth, and inclusivity that we strive for at the King School.”

Director of Early Childhood

K. Feeney

Please join us in giving Karen Feeney, our new Executive Director of Early Childhood, a warm welcome to CPS!

Ms. Feeney comes to Cambridge from Watertown Public Schools where she was the Director of Early Childhood. She has also spent five years as an elementary school principal and 11 years as a classroom teacher. Ms. Feeney holds a Master’s Degree in education, elementary principal licensure, and a license in special education. She says she is looking forward to using her experiences to help bring Universal Preschool to CPS beginning next fall. Welcome, Ms. Feeney!

Updated COVID-19 Policies & Procedures

Throughout the pandemic, we prioritized safe, in-person learning and made significant investments in a comprehensive plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We worked closely with the Cambridge Public Health Department and our school leaders to monitor the public health situation, gather input from scientific, medical, and educator experts (Health, Safety, and Facilities Working Group), and update our policies and procedures as necessary. 

Below is a summary of our current policies and procedures, which align with the end of the COVID-19 Federal Emergency on May 11, 2023. Please note that we are poised to again respond quickly if conditions change. 

  • Dashboard: The COVID-19 Dashboard is no longer collecting community metrics. 
  • Isolation Guidance: Students and staff members who test positive must isolate at home for 5 days. They can return on day 5 if asymptomatic and fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications. A mask must be worn on days 6-10. 
  • Testing Plan: Our four-part plan focuses on targeted at-home testing after school breaks. 
  • Vaccination: Students are no longer required to be fully vaccinated to participate in school-sponsored before and after school activities. 
  • Masking: With the exception of the Nurse’s Office, masks continue to be optional in all school buildings. 
  • Ventilation: Every school has maximized air circulation through a combination of central systems, HEPA filters, windows, and fans. Regular air quality testing is also conducted and outdoor learning is periodically utilized.

Register for the New Health Portal Today

The School Health Department invites families to join our district’s electronic medical record system known as the SNAP Health Portal. This web-based system provides an easy, secure, and green way to update and review your child’s health and wellness information and medical documents throughout the year.

  • Submit all health forms electronically
  • Share immunization records, doctor’s orders, allergies/medical conditions, and other important health information as needed
  • Receive notification when your child’s medications are in need of a refill
  • Questions? Contact Mackenzie at [email protected].

Changes to Cambridge Public Access TV Channels

Please note that recent changes with Comcast have impacted the channels on Cambridge Educational Access TV (CEATV) where you can watch CPS content. Information regarding CEATV is still available on our website

  • Content previously shown on Channel 98 can now be found on Channel 6This includes original work from students and faculty, professionally produced educational programs, school events, including sports, and programming acquired from other educational access facilities. 
  • Content previously shown on Channel 99 can now be found on Channel 26This includes school news and information including school committee meetings, and programs from other educational, nonprofit, and government sources.

Job and Housing Opportunities for Families

Join the CPS Team!

Cambridge Public Schools is seeking to hire talented education professionals for positions including Administrators, Teachers, Instructional Aides, and Substitutes for the 2023 - 2024 school year! We look forward to recruiting and hiring excellent educators to join our school communities for the upcoming school year.

Volunteer in Our School Cafeterias
RecycleThe City of Cambridge is looking for volunteers to help our students recycle and compost properly after breakfast and lunch.

Cambridge Preschool Program Coming in SY24-25

The Cambridge Preschool Program (CPP), also known as Universal Preschool, is a publicly-funded program and a joint partnership between the City of Cambridge, the Department of Human Service Programs, and Cambridge Public Schools.

  • It will provide free preschool to the families of all 4-year-olds and some 3-year-olds.
  • CPP will replace our current Junior Kindergarten-Kindergarten Lottery for the 2024-2025 School Year.
  • A child is eligible if they live in Cambridge and are:
    • 4 years old by August 31, 2024 for 4-year-old programs; or
    • 3 years old by August 31, 2024 for 3-year-old programs (please note there will be limited seats for 3-year-olds and there may be additional eligibility requirements)
  • The single, centralized online application will open in winter 2023/2024.
    • A paper application will be available.
Learn more:

Educators Engage in Professional Learning Ahead of the Return to School


Last week, the Executive Leadership Team, Curriculum Coordinators, Department Heads, Principals, Assistant Principals, and other school and district leaders participated in professional development at the Harvard Faculty Club. Educators were introduced to new tools and strategies and engaged in inspiring discussions and activities.

Keynote speaker Michael Bonner inspired and empowered leaders to build genuine relationships and establish a positive school culture, vision, and team development.

The week-long retreat gave staff a renewed focus and motivation to make this school year the best one yet!

Graham & Parks Educator Leads ‘Teacher Talk’


Please join us in congratulating Graham & Parks teacher, Karen Engels, on a successful presentation at this year’s “Teacher Talks: Celebrating Educators’ Passion to Teach” event.

Ms. Engels, a Massachusetts Teacher of the Year semi-finalist in 2022 who has taught in CPS since 2010, spoke about the evolution of the fourth grade curriculum at Graham & Parks, “Our Changing Nation”, a year-long story of the scientific and social revolutions of the 19th century. She spoke about the power of interdisciplinary learning in elementary classrooms to provide students with engaging, relevant, and meaningful opportunities to read and write about content that matters.

Ms. Engels is also a proud CPS parent. Way to go, Ms. Engels! (pictured below second from right)

Key Resources

Mark Your Calendar

Tuesday, September 5 | First Day of School (Grades 1-12) 
Thursday, September 7 | First Day of School (Junior Kindergarten & Kindergarten)
Wednesday, September 20 | Early Release (Grades JK-8)
Monday, September 25 | Yom Kippur (No School & CPS Offices Closed)
Monday, October 9 | Indigenous Peoples Day (No School & CPS Offices Closed)
Wednesday, October 25 | Early Release (Grades JK-8)

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