Reflections from Katie: August 12, 2019

Dear Cambridgeport Families,

I hope you have been enjoying the summer break, filled with a wide range of activities and family engagements. Though August still lays before us with her warm days and pink evening skies, we are starting to turn our attention towards the new school year. I am getting excited to greet all of the new families and staff, and begin the process of getting to know you all. I am equally thrilled to welcome back familiar faces and continue our learning journey together.

Over this summer, through my reading and my travels, I have been reflecting a great deal on the idea of belonging. What does it mean to feel a sense of belonging? What does it take to create a community in which a diverse group of people can all feel a sense of belonging? What can each of us commit to in order to help others feel that they belong? Dr. Darnisa Amante, director of the Disruptive Equity Education Project, who has been working with Cambridge administrators over the past two years, describes belonging as a necessary ingredient in moving towards equity in our schools. We have this beautifully diverse school, and in order to achieve equity, we know that we need to invite and listen to the voices of children and families of color. However, if families of color do not feel a sense of belonging at our school, then the proverbial seat at the table is not an effective way to move towards equity. Instead it is just a form of tokenism. I am committed to examining our routines, rituals, habits, and practices, to explore the ways we might create a deeper sense of belonging for all of the individuals in our community, but most specifically for children and families of color.

I truly believe that building a greater sense of belonging for each individual at Cambridgeport is a group endeavor, something that can not be achieved by one person alone. As you think about returning to school in September, I invite you to consider the ways in which you feel a sense of belonging at Cambridgeport. What makes you feel like you are a part of this community? What makes you feel at home at 89 Elm Street? In this reflection, I also encourage you to consider how you might reach out to someone else, someone you may not feel a natural affinity towards, someone you may not think you have anything in common with, and build a bridge that might make both of you feel a greater sense of belonging within the community. Finally, if you have ideas about the ways in which our community rituals and routines can create a greater sense of belonging for each and every child and family, please reach out and share.

Our first opportunity to come together as a whole community is at our annual Back to School Potluck Dinner on the playground on Tuesday, September 10th, from 5:30 - 7PM. This is a great opportunity to share a meal, meet some new friends, and reconnect with old ones. If you are available to lend a hand before or after the potluck, please just show up and we will be more than happy to have the help. One of the ways I have always felt a strong sense of community and belonging at Cambridgeport is when I see and am a part of the many hands that go to work at a school event. Throw yourself in and help set up or break down the potluck because not only do many hands make light work, but these hands, working together, form a special kind of connection.

In addition to all of the new families we will be welcoming into our community, we have a significant number of new staff members. Some of them will be familiar to you from other positions they have held, and some will be brand new faces. Please welcome:

  • Rose Bowdidge,  Special Start, Room 2
  • Annie Kelly,   Special Start Assistant, Room 1
  • Rebecca Campbell,  1st/2nd Grade, Room 101
  • Sarah Heywood,  1st/2nd Grade, Room 103
  • Phil Rizzuto,   2nd Grade, Room 201
  • Tsekai English,   5th Grade, Room 104
  • Owen Lewis,   1st Grade Assistant, Room 103
  • Caroline Kelly,   1st Grade Assistant, Room 101
  • Maggie Rosenbaum,  2nd Grade Assistant, Room 201
  • Riley Curda,   Building Substitute
  • Deepa Bharath,   Math Coach
  • Mary Potter,   Intern with Suzie, Room 105
  • Alicia Allen,   Intern with Maisha, Room 100

Finally, I’d like to offer some friendly reminders:

  • School starts on Tuesday, September 3rd for 1st-5th Grades, and Thursday, September 5th for Special Start, JK, and Kindergarten.

  • School starts each day at 8:10AM (please see enclosed sheet titled Mornings at Cambridgeport).

  • If you would like to walk your child to their classroom (and we do encourage this!), you will need to find a place to park that is not in the bus loading zone in front of the school. If you are sending your child in on their own, you may pull over briefly in the loading zone to unload your child. Please do not leave your car unattended in the bus loading zone.

  • If you have not yet completed your annual forms online, there is still time to do this before school starts. It is incredibly helpful to us if you do these online. You should have gotten a letter via US Mail with your child’s ID number, but if you have not received this, please feel free to email Maria to request the ID number so you can complete the online forms.

  • Please find a calendar of Cambridgeport community events here. There will be additional events added throughout the year. The most current community calendar can be found on our website at cambridgeport.cpsd.us.
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