From Manuel J. Fernandez

September 10, 2019

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Today marks one week since we officially opened the doors to the all new and improved Cambridge Street Upper School. The excitement about this bright and scholar-centered learning center has not waned amidst the final details being applied to the building and grounds. Not a day goes by that a scholar does not share with me how pleased and proud they are to be at CSUS. They love the building the city leaders and our community have built for us. I hope in time every scholar will hold the same affection for the culture of equity, inclusion and success that TEAM CSUS strives to develop for every scholar.

I am pleased to report that we have worked tirelessly the past week to provide every scholar with a comprehensive overview of the physical environment and the mores, practices and protocols of our unique upper school. Your children are amazing! They are cooperative, generous in spirit and acclimated themselves to what it means to be a scholar at CSUS. They know they are fortunate and have conducted themselves with respect for the building, themselves and others.

For the second time in the history of CSUS, 6th graders enter the school with equal standing. No grade level knows anymore than any other about the school. Like staff we are all learning together. It creates parity regarding what we all know about the school and it influences how we shape the culture of the school.

We have always taken much pride in the level of scholar voice that shapes our school culture. I am particularly interested in how we can use our new expansive space to maximize student voice, personal development, and learning. Toward that end, beginning in October I will invite every scholar in groups of 8-10 to have lunch with me. I would like to afford every scholar the opportunity to share how we can shape the school culture to shape their needs and aspirations.

By now you should all know that we will sponsor a special event for our caregivers and families at a Back to School Night Block Party on September 19th from 5:30- 7:30PM. All attendees should enter the school at the door closet to 826 Cambridge Street entrance which leads directly to the auditorium. TEAM CSUS members will be available outside to provide directions. The event will be different from previous Back to School Nights. We are reducing the time of our presentations because we are adding tours of the school to the night’s agenda. We will begin in the auditorium with brief introductions of TEAM CSUS. We will then convene in grade level groups for another brief introduction of the course of study. Then families will tour building with staff in small groups. After the tour all groups will proceed to the cafeteria to meet and greet our community partners and for food and music in the outdoor court yard. We hope you will be able to join us.

Other important information:

  • The CSUS A-Z Family Reference Guide: Please read this document carefully and use it as a resource throughout the year.

  • Grade 6 Caregivers Chat with Principal Fernandez: Tuesday, September 24th from 6-7:30PM: Multipurpose Room. More details to follow

  • Equity Squad: CSUS will be forming an Equity Squad of caregivers, staff, and scholars to advance the school’s Cultural Proficiency Imitative and to promote our 4th season of Diversity Dialogues. If you are interested in joining the Equity Squad please email Debbie Bonilla. More details to follow.

  • LGBTQ+ Steering Committee: We are convening a committee of caregivers, staff, and scholars to assess CSUS’ status relative to the inclusion and affirmation of the concerns and needs of LGBTQ+ members of the CSUS community and recommend action steps. Grade 7 Social Studies teacher Tracey Gordon will convene the committee. If you are interested please email her. More details to follow.

  • Cell-phone Policy Advisory Group: Assistant Principal Sohn will be forming a small group of caregivers, staff, and scholars to review our cell phone policy and recommend the best policy for our school. If you are interested in serving on this committee, please email her.

  • Parent Caregiver Organization (PCO): Supports family engagement with the Family and Community Liaison, Will Adams and school organizes activities that support the school community, including fundraising, community events, and coordination of volunteers. The PCO will be present at the Block Party and will announce their meeting dates soon.

  • School Site Council: The School Site Council is composed of the principal, caregivers, teachers, and community members and is the main instrument for practicing the participatory site-based management regarding the policies and practices of the school. Each year caregivers are elected by from the school community to serve two year terms. We will have more information available on September 19th. Everyone is welcome to attend School Site Council meetings.

  • Listening Conferences: Each school year we hold Listening Conferences in the fall that include the scholar, caregivers, and at least one advisor. This year’s conferences are scheduled for Sept. 23rd - 27th. These conferences provide a special opportunity for us to learn from the scholar and family about the scholar’s strengths, challenges and goals for the year. It is also a time for the adults to develop and sustain partnerships on behalf of the scholar. One of your child’s advisors will contact you this week to schedule a listening conference.

We encourage you to visit the CSUS website regularly for updates, email any TEAM CSUS member via (Their Name)@cpsd.us, or call 617.349.3050. On behalf of TEAM CSUS, thank you for choosing CSUS! We are humbled that you have entrusted us with your child’s education. We recognize that you have choices. We are pleased that you chose us!

Peace,

Manuel

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