• Welcome to the Galaxy Team -Fall 2020 

    Dear Galaxy Families,

    Welcome back to EMS...we hope, we hope, we hope.

    We Galaxy Team teachers were very impressed with student perseverance last spring. Thank you, students. And thank you, families. 

    At the end of 7th grade, many Galaxy students wanted to continue to work and connect over the summer, so we ran a voluntary summer book group, in which we read Suzanne Collins’ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel to her very popular Hunger Games series.

    Our group included all Galaxy Team teachers and more than ten students, a great turn-out for summer!

    We met virtually throughout July and early August, having good fun and great conversations. If your student was unable to participate and is interested in the book, we now have several copies and many “experts” whom we are sure would be willing to share as we begin our 8th grade year together.

    Speaking of 8th grade, school is currently slotted to begin on September 8th, and we know EWSD will keep you apprised of any changes or modifications to that start date, but we wanted to inform you of at least a couple more “breaks” with EMS tradition as we begin our already “dynamic” school-year:

    • there will be no ice-cream social to kick-off our return, and
    • there will be no locker use by students until further notice.
    • Students will be allowed to carry backpacks with them throughout the day. 

    Since students are carrying their backpacks with them for the entirety of their time at EMS, we teachers are trying to keep our materials list “light.”

    We recommend that students consider doing the same when gearing up each day. Pack only the necessities. Those bags can get heavy over the course of a day.

    Supply List

    Our suggested supply list includes the following items:

    1. A 1”-2” three-ring binder.
    2. Pens and pencils (just enough for the day) inside a binder “pouch.”
    3. Lined paper (10 sheets or so at a time).
    4. Four subject-area dividers.
    5. A pocket calculator (optional).

    Most of the items listed were things students used last year on Galaxy Team.

    Please re-use what you have, absolutely.

    If any student has a problem with acquiring any of the above materials, do not hesitate to e-mail us and we will help.

    What's Ahead

    So, with those items taken care of, what will fall 2020 look like for Galaxy Team students? We now give you our “take” on this year’s auspicious commencement.

    This fall Galaxy Team begins a bit “smaller”, by roughly 10, as a number of students have selected at-home learning.

    We have also lost our special educator (and one of our paraeducators).

    We welcome long-time EMS teacher Karen Day to fill the role of special educator on Galaxy Team.

    During in-person learning,

    • Galaxy students will begin the day with a virtual algebra class or a homeroom. Algebra will be run virtually each day by the high school, so if your student is enrolled in algebra, look for more information from EHS.
    • We do not yet know the time at which school begins.
    • After homeroom or algebra, Galaxy students will have three, 60-minute core classes in groups of roughly 11 or 12 students.
    • Students will remain in a single Galaxy classroom while on team and teachers will rotate rooms so as to limit group movement within the building.
    • Students will then enjoy a 30 minute lunch break after that time, followed by
    • Two, 40-minute sessions off-team: one in physical education and the other in foreign language.

    The day then ends with a final content session on team before students head home.

    We await administrative decisions about which students will be assigned to various days before creating our class groups.

    Learning Model

    During our instruction at EMS, Galaxy teachers have opted to start with an “asynchronous” learning model.

    This means that for each day we teach, we will record specific sections of our lessons.

    We have agreed to include an introduction to the lesson, a clarifying Q&A section midway through class, and finish with closing remarks for each class.

    We believe that we can then post these recordings to our EMS YouTube channel by mid-day.

    In conjunction with daily Google Classroom updates, explanations, and posted tutorials and videos, our hope is that students at home on any given day will be able to “follow” along with our core curriculum.

    We have chosen not to livestream for several reasons - bandwidth, privacy policies, and in consideration of variance in student/family schedules at home. 

    We know this is a “fluid” and often stressful situation. We appreciate your support and we welcome your questions.

    Please know that we are also encountering changes in policy and guidance and staffing almost daily. Bear with us. We are excited to work with students again above all else and will work hard to create a successful and positive start to the fall at EMS.


    Laura Pratt (lpratt@ewsd.org)

    Julie Edwards (jedwards@ewsd.org)

    David Mendenhall (dmendenhall@ewsd.org)


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