Dear Dr. Galdston and Members of the Watertown School Committee,
As members of the J.R. Lowell School Parent Teacher Organization and the Cunniff School Parent Teacher Organization many of us have spent years volunteering our time to enrich the educational experience of Watertown Public School children. In March of 2020 we found ourselves in an unprecedented time and the unthinkable happened, all in person learning was suspended.
Now, nearly a full year later, we are sincerely grateful for the many steps the school district has taken to keep our children and teachers safe. The thoughtful approach to return to the classroom, COVID testing for teachers and pooled COVID testing for students has in fact proven to keep our children safe. The hybrid model to many of us seemed to be a solid steppingstone to more in-person classroom hours – a great first step. Now as we approach the one-year anniversary of our school closure, we are still in step one and have no information or understanding of what step two is or when it will take place. Teachers are being vaccinated, COVID numbers are dropping and our children are suffering. They are not meeting the typical benchmarks, they struggle at home in ways that cannot be seen by their teachers on the other end, and they need support across the board from math and science to reading and writing to social and emotional health.
The Lowell and Cunniff Parent Teacher Organizations are committed to enrich, encourage, and empower the students, teachers, and staff of our schools. We have gone to great lengths to provide remote enrichment through zoom clubs, virtual School Spirit Week, virtual International Week and more but we would be remiss if we did not advocate on behalf of our children for more in-person learning. We implore you to increase the in-person hours that are so vital for our children as soon as possible. Our organizations cannot fulfill our missions without a significant increase in in-person hours and as parents we can no longer sit silently while our children are being offered such a limited learning experience.
We respectfully ask that you share plans to increase in-person learning hours for kindergarten to 5th grade. If there are ways our PTOs can help to support these plans, please do not hesitate to let us know.
Jennine Tambio, Lowell PTO Co President
Liz O’Toole, Lowell PTO Co-President
Liz Geraci, Lowell PTO Treasurer
Judy Mitchell, Lowell PTO Treasurer
Lauren Unsworth, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator and Past President
Jamie Schloemer, Lowell PTO Past President and LCVP Coordinator
Julie Candiello, Lowell PTO Events Coordinator
Leslie Brokaw, Lowell PTO Grants Coordinator
Kathleen Hennemuth, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Beth McAndrew, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Erin Coole, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Colleen Mahoney, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Ann Sjostedt, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Emily Woodward, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Meredith Dourian, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Darlene MacIntyre, Lowell PTO Grade Coordinator
Karen Repetny, Lowell PTO member
Donna Tuccinardi, Lowell PTO Past President and High School PTO member
Jackie Airasian, Cunniff PTO Co-President
Natasha Brown, Cunniff PTO Treasurer
Lee Haley, Cunniff PTO Secretary and Past President
Maura Hurley, Cunniff PTO Member
Rebecca Cinci, Cunniff PTO Member