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July 20, 2022

Waters Families,

Waters' original plan for ecology for the coming school year was to continue with the same programming that was provided to students last year and continue to build on the incredible achievements and inspiration that Mr. Leki has brought to Waters in the past. With the first day of school being only a month away, we are at the point when we have to commit to the plan for next school year.

Unfortunately, after many lengthy discussions with Mr. Leki, community members and Waters parents over the past months, we have not been able to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement for the coming school year. Notably, the communications sent on behalf of the "Waters School Community Gardens" throughout July, both in content and disposition, were a major barrier in coming to an arrangement and setting a solid foundation for moving forward together.  

Below is an outline of Waters plan for ecology and the garden for the coming school year. We hope to add more components in the future as well: 

  • ESSENTIALS CLASS - Although we had planned to offer more of both, Waters will continue its commitment to both ecology and technology for all our students Kindergarten through 8th grade, by offering Environmental Science for half the year and Technology for the other half.

    The study of Environmental Science builds off of ecology to work toward finding solutions to environmental problems. Starting with the beginning of this school year, every student will take Environmental Science on a weekly basis during the 1st and 4th quarters, the part of the school year when the school garden is most active. Creating an Environmental Science Essentials class will more than double the amount of on-campus instruction in this area from the previous school year and be during seasons when students can have the deepest level of engagement in their garden.  

    Technology will be offered to all students during the 2nd and 3rd quarters, coinciding with the winter months. These courses will both be taught by Ms. Rovito, who brings over ten years of experience teaching and developing courses to Waters.     
  • AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM - There will be an after school program for students 4-8th Grade starting as soon as possible in the first quarter to learn about and tend to the garden. The program will be led by Ms. Smallwood, a fourth grade teacher with many years of experience teaching middle school and who also holds a certification in HS Biology.  
  • MIGHTY ACORNS (Grades 3rd-5th) - We are in contact with the Field Museum and will immediately begin exploring possibilities with them for adapting and continuing the Mighty Acorns program at Waters for the coming school year, including field trips.
  • FIELD TRIPS FOR 2ND, 6TH, 7TH & 8TH GRADES - These field trips to the river, lake, etc. will also continue to the greatest extent possible. We will share more details as they become available.
  • GARDEN: RAISED BEDS - Half of the garden is comprised of raised beds. Community members currently occupy 70% of the raised beds and will be able to continue taking care of the beds allotted to them. The remaining beds that are allotted to Waters classes can continue to be cared for by the community until the students are back on campus, as outlined in the signage posted in the garden:

"The flowers and vegetables in the garden are cared for by community members. In exchange for being allowed these small plots, our gardeners care for all of the Waters School Gardens..."
  • GARDEN: NATIVE AREAS - The native areas will continue to be protected by fencing. However, it takes much more than fencing to protect and preserve these areas and we will share more specific information about upkeep as it becomes available. 

This is a major transition for Waters and we appreciate your patience and participation as we work to broaden our offerings with a student-centered approach. If you are interested in helping out with any of these efforts, please don't hesitate to contact either me or Ms. Martin. 

Kind regards,
Mr. R.

Kindergarten Family Meet & Greet - Wednesday, August 10 @5:00 PM

Kindergarten Kickoff - Wednesday, August 16 @1:45 PM

Classroom Visits & Back to School Bash (WatersToday) - Friday, August 19
Class Visits: 2:45-3:15 PM 
Bash: 4:00-6:00 PM 

First Day of School for Students - Monday, August 22

Curriculum Night - Wednesday, September 7, 5:30-7:30 PM


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