Winthrop Middle School Shows Gratitude!

Dear 8th Grade Parents,

It is with a heavy heart that we end this school year. Our traditional final assembly will not occur. It is an evening celebrating our best and brightest and high achievers. With the CDC guidelines we, as a staff, had decided it just cannot occur. We will have no final 8th grade trip and I have communicated that with your children in an email previously. This class did not have the chance to raise any money for the trip and under our current situation we cannot go anywhere as a group. This makes us all sad. Tradition is what holds us together in times of stress.

What the 8th grade staff, the High School principal and I have been discussing is a spectacular event to be held in August to celebrate the end of your child's Middle School years and a transition to the High School all at the same time. Hopefully, all of the 8th and 9th grade teachers will attend and we can gather in a group of greater than 50. It is an idea that will need to wait until more guidelines are provided by the CDC, the DOE and our school committee.

I will apologize for not reaching out earlier.

May 29, 2020

Dear Parents & Guardians:

Here it is the final week of school. Never in my life did I think I would say goodbye to the kids in such a fashion. I am proud to say that, as a community, we truly have done an amazing job at this thing called remote learning. It really does take a village to take care of all of our kids. I am, however, glad to see this year end.

The staff will work hard between now and the fall to be ready to teach your children in whatever way we will need to. We will figure out what they lost, what they gained, and how to begin in an entirely different place if we have to. I can say this staff is so hard working and they have proven through this world-wide crisis how professional they are, how determined they are to keep your child learning, and how they plan to learn from what we did well and what we can do better. We will be ready in August for whatever.

Classes will end on Friday, June 5th. At that point, the teachers will close grades for the year. All students will receive a “P” on their report cards for Trimester 3 as a passing grade. The year-long averages will be based on Trimester 1 and Trimester 2. This will show on their report cards. Attendance will be based on the first day of school through March 13th, which was our last in-building day of school. In other words, if your child had been out of school five days prior to March 13th, the report card will show five days absent. All students will be transferred to the next grade level.

Beginning on Wednesday, June 10th, we will be collecting laptops and school materials. We will also be handing out report cards at that time. Here is how it will work:

Ø Wednesday, June 10th – 8th Graders between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm

Ø Thursday, June 11th – 7th Graders between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm

Ø Friday, June 12th – 6th Graders between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm

* Students need to pack up their laptop, the charger, and the duck head in their laptop case. Their names should be inserted in the clear pocket.

* You will park in the long side parking lot to the right of the school as you drive up Rambler Road.

* Your child will bring the laptop and any other school materials they may have (library books, text books, etc.) to the side entrance of the gym.

* The walkway will be marked in 6 foot increments for physical distancing.

* We request that your child wear a face mask if at all possible.

* I will meet the students at the door and allow no more than five students in at a time.

* I will check off what they are returning.

* The students will leave their laptops and materials in a designated section of the bleachers.

* Students will then go to an area that is marked off and labeled with their Advisor’s name.

Ø They will retrieve all items that may have been left in their regular locker and/or their gym locker.

Ø They will also pick up any work that needs to be returned to them, including their art work from the year.

* I’d like to give a shout out to Mrs. Warner who spent hours packing up your children’s things.

* The final stop for the students will be in the lobby to pick up their report card from Mrs. Warner.

* They will then exit the building through the front doors and return to you.

If you are unable to come during the day or time that has been designated for your child’s grade, please call me at 377-2249, ext. 4001, and we will arrange an alternate drop-off/pick-up.

I will not hug your child, I promise, but I will cry. I just know I will as I am so emotional over the loss of so much time this year. The loss of weeks we did not get to spend together. The fact I did not see the boys begin to grow into their feet. The fact the girls are becoming young ladies and I am not seeing this with my own eyes. The loss of time to build relationships.

I am looking forward more than ever to next year. I feel exhausted beyond belief, but in a very different way. We, as a staff and school, will be stronger and better because of this. We must, and we will, learn and grow. I wish you and yours health and well-being over the summer. I hope you get to do what makes you happy. If you need anything, please reach out though email and I will respond when I can. When decisions for school’s reopening are made you will be contacted.


Karen E. Criss

Principal, Winthrop Middle School

May 12, 2020

Weekly email updates are being sent to parents via the primary email listed in the student information system. If you are not receiving these emails, please contact the office to check on your email status.

April 16, 2020

Dear Parents,

The Winthrop Middle School's number one priority is you, your child and your family's physical nad mental health. The ONLY expectation we truly have is you do your best. We would like your child to look at what his/her teachers are offereing for opportunities and try, just try. Expected is not mandatory.

The School Committee passed a vote on April 15, to continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year. As of April 27 student work will be expected and not optional. All grades remain pass/fail. All teachers will post a learning menu on their web page by Sunday, April 26 for the week's learning. That being said, any students who do not do the work will not fail. They may lag their peers somewhat, but we will figure all that our in the fall. Teachers will also have "Office Hours" where they will be available for answering emails. This will be posted on their learning menu.

I will be in the Middle School beginning April 27. My Office Hours will be posted 10 am to 2 pm daily. The building will remain closed to the public, but Mrs. Warner and I will be available by email or phone.

The link below shows an overview of expectations and additional questions answered.

Each Teacher will present lessons in many ways including Zoom, Google classroom, emails and videos. Students should choose a method that suits them. Student should go to each teachers' web page to view the learning menu for the week. This will begin April 27 as directed by the School Committee.

Staff will be unavailable from Thursday, April 16 at 5 pm until Monday, April 27 at 8 am. If you need something you may email them, or me, but the answer may be a while in coming. It seems strange that we will be "on vacation", but the truth of the matter is teachers need time to shift from optional learning to expected learning opportuntities and from reinforcing old skills and introducing new skills.

If you haven't had a chance to read the poem I wrote below please take a quick minute and do. It is how I feel. No teacher was ready for this. No teacher is loving this. We are stumbling and fumbling as we go, but I can honestly say WMS is outstanding! Our teachers have learned so much in the past month. How to teach from a distance. I am proud to be a Rambler.

Tell your kids I miss them, we miss them! With Ms. Knowlton and Mrs. Boyle's help I hope to start posting videos for them soon.


Karen Criss

Please see the Winthrop Middle School Continuity of Learning Plan here:


** Thank you Dr. Seuss for the inspiration

Words by Karen Criss

I do not like this distance learning

It leaves me too much time for yearning.

I do not like it in my home

It makes my mind take off to roam.

I do not like it on my deck

Computer working cricks my neck.

I do not like it in my yard

Remote learning is just too hard.

I miss my kids, my staff, my school

So many people say, “Relax you fool!”

Relax? I say I cannot do

I must, I MUST get back to school!

I have to see their smiling faces

I must walk the halls to their paces.

I want to see the Monday Grumps

And high five slaps and Friday jumps.

I have to see them jump the wall

And touch as high as they can crawl.

I have to ask, “Where is your pass?”

And often say, “Did you pass gas?”

I miss their groups all in a bunch

I even miss them at their lunch.

So many teachers just like me

Crawling, itching, climbing up a tree.

You see this virus, it’s for real

A plague for sure, a real raw deal.

So stay at home and zoom, zoom, zoom

Go to classes, clean your room.

Do the work that’s there for you

You’ll get smarter if you do.

And when the schools are back in session

We may not be the same, we’re learning lessons.

Perhaps more grateful and more kind?

We’ll reconnect and we will find.

How distance makes the heart grow fonder

And how much time we really squander.

All Students have a school email and they should be checking it daily.

If you have a question about your child's work go to the teachers' web page (link above).

April 3, 2020

Dear Families of Winthrop Middle School,

I hope this letter finds you well. Just a short note to fill you in with everything I know to be true as of today.

All teachers have updated their web pages. They are providing resources for your children. Most teachers have emailed your children, Zoomed with your children, and assigned work for your children. Attendance is by choice. All grades are pass/fail. We are still in Trimester 2 as I am fearful that when/if we change PowerSchool all will be lost.

Food is still available for families. Read the district Web Site for updates from Superintendent Brown.

We have issues with students misbehaving in the Zoom and Google Classes. This will not be tolerated. The kids will not be able to attend the classes after ONE warning. At that point they will need to access the resources provided on the web pages but not engage with the other kids thorough a classroom setting. Please remind your children these are classes and all school rules apply. I am adding rules to on-line classes at the end of this letter.

As the Governor has told us to stay at home and possibly take note who is not, I am asking you please do not allow students to gather at your home and have them access the classes together. This puts the teacher and myself in an awkward position. We want to see and hear our students but truly cannot say we are supporting distancing when we see kids gathering together.

I am attempting to put notices here on the web page, but as many of you know technology is not my strength. Being the web master is a true challenge. I will do the best I can.

Please check in to Ms. McHatten and Mrs. Grant’s, our School Counselors’, web pages. They are working and have many resources for you to access. Nurse Jeannie is also available. You can email her for questions and concerns as needed.

I am certain you have a ton of questions:

What about the 8th grade trip?

What about Final Assembly?

How will my kid “catch up” with what they are missing?

When can I empty my kids’ locker?

How do they do this every day?


I do not have answers for you yet. As time goes on, decisions will be made. Some by us, some by others. As these decisions are made I will put them here – on this web page. You can email me any time and I will try and reassure you as best I can.

I can assure you right now, no student will “stay back” due to schools’ closing.

No student will fail any class due to schools’ closing.

In closing, be well and be safe. Follow the CDC guidelines to the best of your ability. I want you all back at school when we reopen.

Yours in Education,

Karen Criss

keep scrolling for important information

Snowy Sunday. I laugh when I think how worried we were about snow days.

I hope you are all well. Most Middle School taechers have reached out to the students with resources, work, projects, challenges, and hellos. You can see everything that is happening from each teachers' web page. I know this is hard for parents. If I can be of any help, please reach out through email.

Instruments will go home this week.

Be well.

Karen Criss

Happy Thursday!

At this point we have handed out 173 laptops to kids. If you didn't get your child's email me and I will make it happen.

All teachers have now updated their teacher web pages and most have reached out to each of their students. Please have your child go to the link on this page, click on their teachers' pages and check out what's going on. There is so much to do while you are home. Some teachers are creating Facebook pages to showcase work or post challenges. Your child can do as much as they want.

I do not want any parents to get worked up about grades or "staying back". All work until we retun will be pass/fail. Work not completed will not be counted as zeros or missing. Your child will not be retained due to the school not being in session.

Please take care of the laptops. There are no spares and no chargers available. If your child's compter breaks it cannot be replaced.

Please visit the district web page for updates from Dr. Brown. She is the spokesperson for our district and will keep the school community informed as decisions are made.

Lunches will be provided again on Monday. A letter will come out today explaining times.

Please take care of yourselves and all who you love.

Hi All,

If you did not receive an update from Dr. Brown, please visit the district web site (under more above) and read her letter.

We will be closed until April 27.

The district will have bag breakfast and lunches available at the Grade School Between 11-2 on Monday and Wednesday this coming week. No questions asked, come get the food for your families if you need it.

Laptops will be ready for pick up at the Middle School on Monday from 11-2. (The High School and Grade School have the same hours). Mr. Stoneton and I will be on the sidewalk out front of the school to help. We will separate the laptops by grade. We will ask only one car stop at a time, and one person come get the laptop and bag. 6th garders may take their laptop home. Some chargers are in rough shape. Unfortuantely we do not have spares. We also do not have spare laptops.

If there is something you MUST have from school, please email me. I will try and accomodate you. No one is allowed in the school at this time. Please make sure it is something you really must have.

The teachers at the Middle School will offer you suggestions and resources on their individual web pages. Please reach out through email if you need something. At this point Winthrop will not participate in what is being called - remote learning. We are not set up for this. We are not trained for this. We are not ready for this. Right now it is imperative we practice the safety guidlines put out by the CDC. Things will change and they will change quickly.

I will see some pof you on Monday.

Winthrop Middle School Students and Families,

I wish we were together. I wish I could walk down the halls and ask where's your pass? It really doesn't matter what I wish, however, our reality is a very different one from last week.

Changes are coming. We are trying to make decisions based on knowledge, but everything is changing so fast we just can't keep up. The decision to close for two weeks stands. Decisions on remote learning and laptops are being discussed daily. We are hoping for more guidance from the Department of Education on expectations.

I will update here as I can and when I know facts. Please be patient. Please be kind. Please be safe.

Much love.

Powerschool Access:

Ms. Knowlton ready for the Rock Wall

Special Olympics during week of the May 13th

Winter Carnival

Dress-Up Days