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Madison Metropolitan School District

Lowell School Newsletter

(most recent update at top)

05/25/21 Update

Dear Families,
As we approach the end of the school year, I want to extend gratitude to all of you. We fully recognize that this year has been far from ideal and that, many times, we were learning with your students as we moved through new instructional methods, schedules, procedures, and technology. I am so proud of our staff and the work they have put into making this year one of learning and connection, even as we all navigated the pandemic and what it meant for our personal circles as well as our professional ones. Thank you for the support and grace you have offered our community.

Additionally, we have all too often witnessed acts of hate and racism in our communities and our nation. This time of the dual pandemics of racism and Covid-19 has impacted and traumatized our students, our staff, and their families. Our work here, in this public school, is to support the development of compassionate critical thinkers, and our staff has worked together to identify what that means for our classrooms and our instruction. During my time at Lowell, this community has come together to increase understanding, hold one another accountable, and develop plans of action that work to improve longstanding systems of oppression and bias. We are committed to continuing this work with you.

In the coming months, we will be writing a plan for Lowell in the year ahead. It will most certainly include a heavy focus on early literacy instruction. This initiative, led by Dr. Jenkins, emphasizes high quality literacy instruction as an equity strategy - ensuring that ALL students learn to read. Our staff is eager to take on this learning, focused on the science of reading, and implement new strategies into their teaching. 

Below you will find some announcements as we wrap up this year. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or to talk something through with me.

  • Staffing Changes:

    • We have a few staff members leaving Lowell this summer. Courtney Woods is taking a new position with the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. Carl Fernandez (physical therapy) and Aggie Gretzinger (special education assistant) are both retiring. Ms. Gretzinger has been working at Lowell since 1997; her kindness and talents have shaped countless students and her flexibility and dedication have made her invaluable to her colleagues. We wish Courtney, Carl, and Aggie all the best in their journeys ahead!

    • We are very happy to announce that Mackenzie Egan will be coming on board as a kindergarten teacher; Ms. Egan spent a year at Lowell before teaching kindergarten at Shorewood for the last two years. In addition, Leasure Ness will be joining the third grade team while Ms. Schnieder takes a leave of absence to spend time with her family. Mrs. L taught with the third grade team this year as both a student teacher and a long-term substitute. Megan Moran will also be joining Mr. Burkel and Ms. James on our Reach team. Welcome to our new teachers!

  • Hat and Hot Dog Day

    • This special event is a cherished tradition at Lowell! We are not able to grill out this year, but on Tuesday, June 8th, hot dogs will be served from food service and students (both Roomies and Zoomies!) are encouraged to wear a hat to school.

  • Classroom Assignments:

    • Families will be notified of teacher assignments via email in mid-August. 

  • End Of Year Calendar

    • Friday, May 28 - No School - Staff-only day

    • Monday, May 31 - No School - Memorial Day

    • Tuesday, June 8 - Hat and Hot Dog Day

    • Wednesday, June 9, 1:15pm - Virtual 5th grade celebration

    • Thursday, June 10 - Last day of school 

On a personal note, I’ll be celebrating my oldest daughter’s graduation from West High School in June. As I look back on her experiences, I treasure her years in elementary school - her friends, her teachers, days at the park, and cuddling up with books together. Thank you for sharing your students with us during this most unusual year. May the memories made this year join with others in the story of their time at Lowell.


04/22/21 Update

Dear Families,

We are so thrilled to have nearly 265 Lowell Lions with us in-person, with an additional 90 Lions who are learning at home. Thank you for your continued flexibility and patience as our teachers again learn new ways to connect, instruct, and support your students. In light of the Derek Chauvin conviction and with an understanding that there is more work to do, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve your children as we work together toward a more equitable and just world.

  • Class Placement: In the coming weeks, our teachers will be making plans about class placement for next year. This is always a complex process and involves a multitude of factors. If you would like to provide some input to this process, please fill out this form by Friday, April 30: Lowell Class Placement. Please note, we are not able to take requests for specific teachers. Classroom assignments will not be finalized or announced until mid-August.

  • Arrival at Lowell (New Arrival and Dismissal Procedures): 

    • Our staff will be outside to greet students at 7:43 each morning. We ask that students are not dropped off prior to that time, both because of a lack of supervision and to avoid mixing cohorts. Our playground gates will be closed until staff open them at 7:43.

    • If you are dropping off in the car lane, please have your student ready to leave your vehicle when you pull up in order to avoid traffic back-up.

  • Dismissal at Lowell (New Arrival and Dismissal Procedures):

    • Thank you for your patience at dismissal! Our official dismissal time is 2:47, but classes arrive on the playground at different times (because of a number of things, including social distancing requirements). It may be 3:00 or so before all students are connected with their adult.

    • If you are driving to Lowell, it is our preference that you stay in your vehicle and go through the car lane on Center Ave. rather than parking and walking up to Ludington - this decreases the number of people gathering and also avoids complications with parking.

    • If you are driving, please wait in the car line along Center for staff to ask who you are picking up so they can call for your student. Your student should not independently run to your vehicle when they see you.

    • Please be cautious when crossing streets and pulling in/out of the car lane.

04/07/21 Update

Dear Families,

Happy spring! I want to thank all of you for your continued support and partnership as we move through this very unusual year. Whether your students have returned to in-person instruction, will be returning in the coming weeks, or remained virtual, we hope that the fourth quarter of the year brings moments of laughter, learning, pride, friendship, and creativity.

  • State Testing: This letter explains the state test, Forward, that we are required to give all students in grades 3-5. Families may opt out of Forward this year. If you would like to opt out please fill out this Lowell decline to test form.

  • Recent Communication: If you are returning to in-person instruction for the first time in April, you should have received a communication from me earlier this week. Please contact Mandy Kuse at 204-6600 if you did not receive it.

  • Fifth Grade Celebration: We are excited to find a way to celebrate our fifth graders before they move on to middle school. We are still waiting for guidance from MMSD on our ability to invite families to participate in an event. Fifth grade teachers will communicate plans as soon as we have them.

  • Parent Teacher Conferences: Next Thursday, April 15th is our conference day. If you have not yet heard from your student’s teacher about scheduling a conference, please reach out to Mandy Kuse at 204-6600 and we’ll help you get connected.

  • Covid Vaccines: As of April 5th, everyone 16 years and older is eligible for the Covid vaccine in Wisconsin. You can find more information on how to receive the vaccine here

  • Standard Response Protocol: In the weeks ahead, in-person students will be watching a video of Ms. Trudell and Ms. Martin explaining what to do if there is an emergency. We will not be practicing a lockdown drill this year. You can learn more about our protocols here

  • Lowell Community Organization: This message is from our parent organization: 

    • Join the LCO Board!The Lowell Community Organization (LCO) would love for you to consider volunteering on the LCO Board for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years! This opportunity is open to all! We value having an array of backgrounds and experiences at Lowell, and eagerly welcome a variety of voices at the table. We welcome your energy and ideas around how we can all work together to support learning and build community at Lowell. Please help us spread the word to all Lowell families! To nominate yourself, or to find out more information, please read here, or contact by Tuesday, April 27th. Thank you for considering, and we also hope you can join us at our April LCO meeting!

  • Important dates:

    • Friday, April 9 - Early Release K-5 at 10:55am; No 4K

    • Tuesday, April 13 - First day for returning 4K-3rd graders

    • Thursday, April 15 - Early Release all grades 4K-5 at 10:55am

    • Thursday, April 15 - Parent-teacher conferences

    • Tuesday, April 20 - First day for returning 4th and 5th graders

In the weeks ahead, our staff will be focusing as much as possible on strengthening their classroom communities and supporting students. At Lowell, we want all students and families to know that they belong and are welcome here. Recent violence toward Asian-Americans and the continued prevalence of racism and hate make our work - fostering the spirits and minds of creative young people - more important than ever. Thank you for allowing us to partner with you as we work to develop critical thinkers and compassionate hearts.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.


Lowell School Office: 608.204.6600

Google voice (voicemail and text): 608.561.8958‬

02/15/21 Update

Dear Lowell Families,

Thank you for your continued flexibility as we work through this together. 

Please join us for some question and answer sessions today and tomorrow about Lowell’s plans for reopening our building for students.

Here are the dates and the zoom links to join these upcoming meetings:

  • Monday, February 15th, 11:30am-12:30pm - Zoom Link

  • Tuesday, February 16th, 6:00pm-7:00pm - Zoom Link

Timeline and Updates: 

  • February 17-24: Parents/guardians MUST select whether they are returning to in person school or remaining in virtual learning.

  • February 25: All MSCR K-2 CARES closes. All 3-5 CARES pauses and moves to new sites to be reopened on March 8.

  • March 8: All of MMSD changes to Mondays for asynchronous learning.

  • March 8: MSCR CARES reopens for grades 3-5 at middle school sites.

  • March 9: Kindergarten begins in-person option.

  • March 9: All of MMSD start and stop times revert to prior year’s schedule. For Lowell, that means school will start at 7:50 and end at 2:47.

  • March 16: 1st and 2nd Grades begins in-person option.

  • March 23: 4-Year Old Kindergarten begins in person option. Your child will be assigned either a Tuesday-Wednesday or a Thursday-Friday full day schedule.

Dates Not Yet To Be Determined:

  • Transportation and schedules will be communicated as soon as they are prepared.

  • Grades 3-5: As MMSD continues to monitor COVID-19 metrics and receive guidance from public health experts, MMSD will determine when grades 3, 4, and 5 can transition safely back to in-person learning. 

Instructional Model: Concurrent instruction for students in person and students remaining virtual means that, to the extent possible, teachers will maintain stability of relationships and academics. Schedules may shift during a school day as we welcome students back in person.  A new schedule will be communicated to you prior to the start of in-person school.

Re-Entry Enrollment Survey: Starting on February 17, families should receive an OFFICIAL communication from MMSD to indicate what your plans are for either sending your child back to in-person learning or remaining virtual. Please be on the lookout for this communication and fill this information out for each of your children. This will help us plan as a school and district. 

In the meantime, feel free to reach out with any further questions. You can call the office (608-204-6600), text or call my Google voice number (608-561-8958‬), or email at

Thank you for your partnership,


02/11/21 Update

Dear Lowell Families,

Greetings! By now, you may know that Dr. Jenkins has announced that MMSD will start a staggered return to in-person instruction. Information about reopening can be found at Additionally, Dr. Jenkins and others from MMSD will be on a Facebook Live event this evening (Thursday, 2/11) at 6:00 pm.

The current schedule for grade levels returning to in-person learning at Lowell is: 

  • Kindergarten: March 9th

  • 1st and 2nd Grades: March 16th

  • 4-Year Old Kindergarten: March 23rd

Families in these grade levels will have the choice to return to in-person learning or remain virtual. As we continue to monitor COVID-19 metrics and receive guidance from public health experts, MMSD will determine when other grade levels can transition safely back to in-person learning.

Please join us for some question and answer sessions next week about Lowell’s plans for reopening our building for students. Additional information will also be shared via email early next week.

Here are the dates and the zoom links to join these upcoming meetings:

  • Monday, February 15th, 11:30am-12:30pm - Zoom Link

  • Tuesday, February 16th, 6:00pm-7:00pm - Zoom Link

Prior to knowing the timeline for MMSD’s reopening, we said a Lowell-specific survey would be sent to you this week. Given the new timeline, we will NOT be sending a survey from Lowell. However, starting on February 17th, families should receive communication from MMSD  to indicate what your plans are for either sending your child back to in-person learning or remaining virtual. Please be on the lookout for this communication and fill this information out for each of your children. This will help us plan as a school and district. 

In the meantime, feel free to reach out with any further questions.

Thank you for your partnership,


02/08/21 Update

Dear Families,

A decision to reopen our schools has not been made. However, we have prepared a short presentation to update you on our planning. You may watch the presentation here, or you can review the slides here. You will receive a link to a Lowell-specific survey in the next day or two. Please reach out with any questions!



01/08/21 Update

Dear Lowell families:

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well. Thank you for all you are doing to support your child and to work as partners with our school staff during this challenging time. I am grateful for all the contributions you have made to your child's learning and engagement as you nurture their continued growth.

This morning, Dr. Jenkins announced that MMSD will start the 3rd quarter of the 2020-2021 school year by remaining in an all-virtual learning environment at all grade levels. 

We know that there are a range of emotions and responses from families, students, staff and the community.  What one stakeholder feels is best is often met with the completely opposite response from another. We understand and appreciate different perspectives and will keep all in mind as we move forward with our planning. 

Principals are meeting with Dr. Jenkins on Monday to further discuss the decision and our plans for possibly re-opening when the district feels it is safe to do so.  If that decision is made in the weeks and months ahead, we are committed to ensuring a safe return to in person school for all involved - ensuring that we are attending to the social emotional, as well as academic, needs of our students.  

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Even if I don’t have the answers at present, it’s always wonderful to hear from you.

In response to recent national events: As a Lowell community of educators - we condemn the horrendous acts of violence witnessed at the US Capitol on January 6th. Over the last 9 months our teachers have navigated through multiple events of racial trauma, a pandemic, and a presidential election with your students. While we attempt to create space for students to be heard and ask questions, we know that you are your child’s first and best teacher. Here are some resources that you may consider using to help you have conversations with your children about these events: 

Report Cards: We are approaching the end of the first semester. This is a time when our teachers share feedback with families about their child’s learning and progress towards grade level expectations. In typical years, you would receive a report card with performance indicators to report your child’s progress. This year, we are shifting our report card format to share a narrative with you and your child to offer feedback that celebrates their learning and growth. The report card narrative will share celebrations of specific learning and growth in the areas of literacy and math.  We believe that during this time of virtual learning it is essential that we take the time to celebrate all that students engage in and the progress they are making!

The report cards will be mailed to all families on February 8th. Upon receiving the report card, please take this as an opportunity to celebrate with your child, wherever they are in their learning journey.  We encourage you to read the narrative that teachers have written with your child and acknowledge the effort and growth they are making as a learner this year.  

Happy new year and much gratitude,


12/18/20 Update

Dear Families,

As we wrap up this calendar year, I want to thank you for the support you’ve given your students and our staff. As unprecedented as this year has been, it is our community that has made it all possible.

Friday, December 18th is our last day of school before winter break. Students will return to online school on Monday, January 4th.

Some short announcements:

  • The district will be making a decision about whether to offer in-person instruction for third quarter on January 8th. If you have not already done so, please complete this survey about your interests; this decision is not final and you will have a chance to make an informed decision as more information becomes available. More information can be found on MMSD’s reopening website
  • Breakfasts and lunches will be available on Tuesdays during winter break. More information can be found here
  • See this document for information about how to care for your chromebook over winter break.
  • We are pleased to welcome Mandy Kuse as our new head secretary! She will be working to transition into the position after the New Year.

While this winter break may look different than others, I hope that all of our Lowell families are able to spend some time together, move away from the computer screens, and find moments of joy and peace. I wish you all health, safety, and comfort.



11/9/20 Update

Materials Distribution on Conference Day!

On Thursday, November 12 there is NO SCHOOL for parent-teacher conferences. Our essential arts teachers will be hosting another materials pick-up event on that day. All kindergarten through 5th grade students will receive art supplies, and some grade levels will receive additional items.  There will also be pre-bagged selections of library books (no requests). If you have library books from last year, you may return them during pickup as well.

We are asking that you write your student's names and grade levels on a piece of paper and have it in your front window.  

12:00-1:30 - PICKUP AT LOWELL - Please plan to drive up to the front doors of Lowell on Maple Ave (note that this is different than our last pickup)


Please wear masks and stay in your vehicle. If you walk to the pickup site, stand in line by the cones that will be placed six feet apart.

Bags that were not picked up will be delivered to families in the week or so following the pickup times.

10/22/20 Update

Dear Families,


I wanted to write with some basic updates. Thank you all for the support you’re providing your children and our staff!


There is no virtual learning on Friday, October 23.  View the full MMSD calendar here


Virtual Learning for Quarter 2: Last week, MMSD announced that all grade levels will continue full virtual instruction for second quarter. We cannot wait until we can safely have students back at Lowell! In the meantime, we will continue to adapt instruction in order to best meet the needs of Lowell students and families.


Zoom with the Principal: I will be hosting an open Zoom for all Lowell families next Monday, October 26th at 6 PM and next Friday, October 30th at 9 AM. Links for these events will be sent via email prior to the event. I’ll be able to share some information about what we’ve learned in Quarter 1, and will work to answer any questions you might have.


Student Service Q and A: We recognize that the current climate of uncertainty, virtual learning, and additional stressors are challenging for many families. Our student services team will be hosting a session with ideas on how to support the wellbeing of your children and families on November 5th at 6 PM. A zoom link will be shared prior to the event.


Accelerate Your Brain: All students now have access to an ‘Accelerate Your Brain’ Seesaw classroom. They find it the same way they find their Essential Arts classroom. In it, you will find daily activities in literacy and math that are meant to extend learning and provide students with a challenge. All activities are totally optional. Check it out!


Food Resources: Did you know that you can receive free breakfasts and lunches for all children in your household? Information on MMSD’s food program, as well as other food resources for your family can be found here: Lowell Food Resources.


Koats for Kids: Koats for Kids is a community-wide effort to provide coats for families in Dane and Jefferson Counties. Since the program’s start in 1986, Koats for Kids has collected, cleaned and distributed 323,761 coats to those in need in Dane County. This year, we’re excited to be able to serve Jefferson County as well.  Check out the Koats for Kids flyer for more information.


I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and well. In the coming weeks, I encourage you to exercise your right to vote - by mail, early and in person, or on election day. Information about how to vote can be found at MMSD has referenda on the ballot this fall.  If passed, the referenda would transform our district, impacting nearly everyone in our school communities. For more information visit


Please reach out with questions or wonderings!


608.561.8958 (call or text)

10/2/20 Update

Dear Families,

Materials Pick-Up: Next Wednesday, October 7th from 10:30 AM-1:00 PM  there will be a distribution of student materials for ALL Lowell students. We have received the math kits that the district ordered, and every student will receive one. Additionally, some grade level teams have additional items they would like your students to have.

Please plan to drive up to Lowell on Center Avenue coming from Ludington Avenue. Staff will be greeting you at the playground entrance on Center. They will ask for your students’ names and grades, and will place the bags in your vehicle. 

Please wear masks and stay in your vehicle. If you choose to walk to Lowell, please wear a mask and stand in line by the cones that will be placed six feet apart.

If you are unable to pick up your bag between 10:30-1:00, staff will arrange to deliver it to your home. If you would rather pick your bag up at a different time at Lowell, please contact Amanda Reller at 204-6613 or email

Please reach out with any questions!

A few additional announcements follow:

  • Playground: Please remember that all school grounds, including the playground, are closed to the public when MSCR childcare is in session, Monday-Friday 7:00-5:00.
  • Broken chromebooks and hotspots: The technology department has asked any families who have multiple devices at home for a single student (e.g., one working chromebook and one broken chromebook, or hot spots that are not being used) please return those devices to the HUB at LaFollette High School as soon as possible so that they can be repaired and redistributed. You can also contact Lowell to arrange a pick-up/drop-off of these devices and we’ll get them to LaFollette for you.

9/18/20 Update

Dear Families,


As we end our second week of the school year, I am grateful for the hard work of our teachers, families, childcare providers, and students. Learning new rhythms and new systems is always challenging, but, together, we are building communities of learners. Thank you for the support you’ve provided your students, the grace and words of encouragement you’ve offered our educators, and the care you’ve poured into our community.


Last spring, our leadership team and our staff collectively worked to rewrite Lowell’s equity statement. While we know there is work ahead, we have, as a whole staff, committed to the statement below. While our steps may not be perfect, we are showing up and ready to learn, grow, and act. Whether we are teaching virtually or in the classrooms, these words will guide our path:


At Lowell, we will listen to and partner with our students, families, and community. Lowell educators will foster a sense of joy and belonging in our school community through increased student engagement and empowered learning, especially for our Black students and our English language learners. In order to do this effectively, we wholeheartedly commit to our own anti-racist learning and actions.


Here are a few announcements!


Free Meals for All MMSD Students: Families can pick up a box with five lunches and five breakfasts for any MMSD student. You can pick up a box at any school site, and more information about schedules and sites can be found here. The Lowell pick-up time is on Thursdays from 12:00-1:45.


Student Materials: We have been trying to arrange a way to send home student materials at a school-wide event. However, some of the math materials that have been ordered by the district have yet to arrive. Grade level teams will be working to determine when and how they can get materials to students. Some teams are sending things home soon, others are waiting until they know more about student skills and small group plans. Your student’s homeroom teacher will be sharing more information in the coming weeks.


Drum Power: For many years, Dr. Yorel Lashley has offered Drum Power to Lowell students, providing an immersive music and social-emotional learning opportunity. This year, we are excited to have him partnering directly with Mr. Burkel. Together, they will be offering four weeks of Drum Power during all 3rd-5th grade Lowell students’ music classes. This offering will require us to make some shifts in students’ music schedule for the four-week period. More information will come directly to families as their students’ Drum Power session approaches.


ESL Teacher: This year, Ms. Ortman has stepped in to teach kindergarten while Ms. Woods is home with her new baby. We are pleased to welcome Jill Vingelen as she fills the .5 ESL teacher vacancy! 


New Community Partner: I am pleased to welcome Capitol City Lodge #2 as Lowell’s new community partner through the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools. We have had great conversations about ways they are willing to support Lowell students in the months ahead!


Fall Data: In the coming weeks, homeroom teachers will be sharing information about brief literacy and math screeners that students will be completing. These include FastBridge and Bridges assessments; students will not be taking standardized tests (like MAP) this fall. The information from the screeners will be used to help us identify student strengths, consider small group scheduling, and make plans for how to best further student learning.


Advanced Learning: Ms. Desens, Lowell’s AL teacher, is currently filling a teaching position at another elementary school. Kari Augustine and Pang Khang have been assigned to support Lowell at this time. Please see this letter for more information from the Advanced Learning department and for Ms. Augustine and Ms. Khang’s contact information.


5th Grade Strings: Our strings teacher, Ms. Wahl, is currently on maternity leave. I am working with the district’s arts department and HR to identify a substitute just as soon as we can! 


Thank You: Many of you donated to a fund that was used to purchase culturally relevant books for our teachers. Our teachers are so grateful for these new texts, and look forward to using them with students as we tell stories and discuss issues of inclusion, race, social justice, and community. Special thanks to Sunny and Sam McDaniel and Michelle Wildgen for spearheading this effort.


As always, please reach out with questions or wonderings. I hope your students are finding joy in their virtual classrooms, feeling excitement to learn in new ways, and settling into family and school routines.




608.561.8958 (call or text)


9/3/20 Update

Dear Families,

We are excited to welcome you and your students to the 20-21 school year! While this is a start like no other, we want to make sure everyone knows that Tuesday, September 8th is the first day of school and your students should join their homeroom’s Morning Meeting at 8:30 AM. To do so:

  1. Open your chromebook and make sure you’re connected to wifi
  2. Enter your username and/or password
  3. You should see a teal screen. Enter your username and password. 
    • If you don’t see the teal screen, hold the power button down for about 10 seconds. The computer will ask you what you want to do - you should sign out. Then turn your computer back on and return to Step #2.
  4. Push “Get Started”
  5. Click on the SeeSaw icon
  6. Click on the Morning Meeting Zoom link

Get more details on all of this here: Lowell Lions Chromebook Guide

I want to acknowledge the unprecedented times these are. We know our students are coming to us with varying levels of trauma and anxiety based on their experiences these last six months. In addition, we are all learning new school systems and routines in this virtual environment. Our teachers will be working with you and your students in these first couple weeks to build community, learn the technology, and navigate the schedules. We will be reaching out individually to families who need support, and encourage you to raise your questions as we all find the balance with Zoom meetings, SeeSaw platforms, off-screen time, wifi connectivity, and student groupings.

Here are some details that might be helpful:

Attendance: Attendance will be taken daily. It will be based on participation in live Zoom meetings, completion of assigned work, and/or communication with a teacher. If you know your student will be absent/unable to participate in online learning on a particular day, please record that by going to or calling the attendance line at 608-204-6602.

Technology Support: You should reach out to your student’s homeroom teacher or Ms. Pipson at or (920) 605-5090.

Free Breakfasts and Lunches Available: MMSD will be offering curbside meal service at 40 school sites starting the week of September 8, 2020, for all children enrolled in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Each site will have pickup one day per week for family convenience. Students will receive a market food box with all of the components for 5 balanced breakfast and lunch meals. Meals will be provided free of charge to all students regardless of free, reduced or paid status eligibility.

  • Students or parents will need to provide the student name and student ID number at the time of pickup.
  • You can use our pre-order form so we can plan ahead and be ready for you. It is encouraged, but not required.
  • You can pick up meals from any school that is convenient for you. You can find the schedule here

Playgrounds: Beginning September 8th, Lowell will be used as a childcare site. Our grounds, including our playgrounds, should only be used for our childcare program from 7:15 am - 5:00 pm.

Materials: During the second or third week of school, we are anticipating that we will organize a way to get some materials to your students. It will likely be a pick-up system and we will be able to make deliveries to families who need it. We are waiting on some supplies to be delivered and want to make sure teachers have a good sense of what students need.

Our staff (meet them here!) is ending our time together this week with this poem by Mickey ScottBey Jones. We are excited to move forward into this new brave space, together! Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns, and I look forward to connecting with your students and your families in the coming year.


608.561.8958 (call or text)


8/19/20 Update

Dear Families,

I want to provide some updates related to our plans for fall. As you know, there are many moving parts and we are working to ensure a high-quality virtual education for all of our students. Here are a few new pieces of information that might be helpful.

We will host two online Q and A sessions for parents on Monday, August 24th at 8:00 am and again at 6:00 pm. We will provide a short overview of virtual learning, and we will do our best to answer questions you might have. If I don’t know the answer, I will work to get one for you. An email will be sent Monday morning with links to the meetings which will be held via Zoom. In the meantime, here are some quick answers to questions I’ve been hearing.

Who will my student’s teacher be?

  • Later this week, you will receive an email letting you know who your student’s homeroom teacher will be. As I stated in my last letter, our teacher teams will be working more closely than ever. You should expect that your student will receive instruction from several different adults. However, this homeroom teacher will be the primary contact for your student and family. The email will also include a link that takes you to pictures of the entire grade-level team.

What will my student’s day look like?

  • Our instructional schedule has not yet been finalized. However, it’s my expectation that students will be invited to participate in a ‘school day’ that runs from 8:30-2:00. Within this time, students will have live large-group lessons, live small-group instruction, independent work, lunch, recess, and recorded instruction. From 2:00-3:30, teachers will be available for office hours - meeting with students, connecting with families, and providing feedback on student work.
  • We understand families will have different scheduling needs. Some families may prefer time in the morning, others in the afternoon. Other families may need to do most of their school in the evenings or on the weekends. Families can choose to move through the day in line with the schedule, or they may choose to access recorded instruction at times that work for them. And I expect for many, it will be a combination of both. We will be working closely with families to identify how to make virtual learning work for them. A priority for our staff will be making sure that expectations are routine and predictable for both you and your student; you will have an individualized schedule specific to your student containing all necessary information.

What will I do if I or my child need help with virtual learning?

  • Teachers will have ample availability to answer your questions, reach out to you to see how things are going, and connect personally with your student. Teachers are expected to connect with families on a weekly basis, and will be available for ongoing support and communication on an individual basis. We also have great student services staff members who will be able to connect with families and students.

How will my student be able to keep track of their schedule?

  • We are making plans on how to best support students as they go on and off the computer throughout the day, and how to simplify that process for families as much as possible. Again, staff will be reaching out to support families in figuring out systems that will work.

When will we hear from our teacher?

  • You should expect to hear from your child’s homeroom teacher next week. We want to make sure that students and families have a chance to get to know one another prior to our first day of school.

What will Wednesdays look like during virtual learning?

  • During virtual learning, Wednesdays will be all recorded content and independent work. This will include our first Wednesday of instruction, September 9th. That day, we will all be working to make sure any student who was not able to log on during our first day has everything they need to be fully engaged members of our classroom communities. Subsequent Wednesdays, staff will be connecting with families, providing feedback on student work, coplanning together, and learning about the best ways to teach students in this virtual environment.

What do I do if I need a chromebook or if I don’t have WiFi?

  • Next week, you will receive clear directions on who to contact if you need any help at all with your technology. We will make sure all students have access to computers and the internet!

Is childcare available for my student?

  • MSCR and the Goodman Center are both providing full-day childcare options this fall. Both programs intend to support students with virtual learning as part of their day. Funding is available for many families.
  • MSCR program information can be found here. Registration forms can be found here: English and Spanish.
  • For information on the Goodman Center’s program, please reach out to Tanya Walker by email or by phone  (608) 204-8034. 
  • You are also welcome to contact me (Ms. Franzone) for help accessing childcare programs: or 608.561.8958 (call or text).

I do thank you for your patience and grace during this time. We know that we are asking families to partner with us in new ways, and that these last several months have not been easy on any of us. Please reach out with questions or concerns, and I hope you are all well. 



608.561.8958 (call or text)


8/11/20 Update

Dear Lowell Families,

I want to start by thanking you for your patience as we, at both the district and school level, iron out details related to instruction this fall. There will be more information coming in the weeks ahead, but I wanted to share what I know so far.

Instructional Design K-5

  • All instruction will be online, through at least October 30th.

  • The first day of school is September 8th (see the revised calendar).

  • Instruction will be more robust than it was during the school closures last spring.

  • The schedule will run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays - with Wednesdays consisting entirely of independent work and recorded instruction.

  • Teachers will be using a platform called SeeSaw (rather than Google Classroom). Other schools used it exclusively last spring and thought it was more user-friendly for both families and teachers. We will also be using Zoom again.

  • There will be more synchronous (live) instruction, including whole-group daily literacy and math blocks of about 15 minutes each. There will also be morning meetings that are live, as well as about 60 minutes of synchronous science and social studies weekly. Kids will also be pulled into small groups for instruction in core content. Essential arts (music, PE, art) will be provided in both live and recorded formats.

  • We will be making asynchronous (recorded) lessons available for families and students for whom the schedule doesn't work, so that if a family needed to access everything (or certain parts), for example, in the evening, they could do so. 

  • Independent work, like Lexia, written responses, and math work, will be part of the day as well.

  • The schedule for all of this is what we are working on now - balancing the realities of families navigating student schedules with using our teaching staff to maximum capacity. Teachers will be on contract from 8:00-3:30 daily and these live lessons would be scheduled within that time. 

  • Kindergarten parents: Our kindergarten teachers are planning an orientation to Lowell on Thursday, August 20th at 6 pm. It will be held virtually via Zoom, and details will be sent directly to you closer to the date. We will also record the event to make it available if you are unable to attend.


  • 4K students will have approximately 60 minutes of synchronous (live) instruction throughout the week (no live instruction on Wednesdays).

  • Students won’t be on the computer for more than 10-20 minutes at a time.

  • Teachers will engage with students and their families with morning meetings, read alouds, math, and literacy activities.

  • There will also be asynchronous (recorded) content that students and families can choose to do anytime. Some of this will be on the computer and some will be off.

  • We are still waiting to hear if 4K students will be able to get Chromebooks. It sounds like if they are offered, they will only be for students who do not already have access to a device in their home.

  • Ms. Douglas will be reaching out to families in the two weeks before school starts.


  • All K-5 students can be given a Chromebook to support virtual learning.

  • If your family does not have access to wifi, there are hotspots available through the district.

  • Lowell staff will be reaching out to families directly in the two weeks prior to the start of school and helping identify technology needs. You are also welcome to contact me (Ms. Franzone): or 608.561.8958‬ (call or text).


  • MSCR and the Goodman Center are both providing full-day childcare options this fall. Both programs intend to support students with virtual learning as part of their day.

  • Both programs will be following strict safety protocols.

  • Funding is available for many families.

  • MSCR program information can be found here. Registration forms can be found here: English and Spanish.

  • For information on the Goodman Center’s program, please reach out to Tanya Walker by email or by phone  (608) 204-8034.

  • You are also welcome to contact me (Ms. Franzone) for help accessing childcare programs: or 608.561.8958‬ (call or text).


  • I encourage you to pay close attention to information sent to you from MMSD in the weeks ahead.

  • I, too, will continue to update you as plans are confirmed.

  • In the next couple weeks, we will be emailing you directly about your child’s teacher for fall. One thing to know is that our teaching teams will be working more closely than ever to support your students. You should expect that your child will be receiving instruction from several adults, through both recorded and live lessons. However, you will have one teacher who is your and your child’s primary contact. Our teachers are dedicated to developing strong and trusting relationships with your student, even in this virtual environment.

More details will be coming, including those specific to students with disabilities, students learning English, and students who are identified as advanced learners. As a parent myself, I do understand the challenges in having routines so disrupted and so much uncertainty. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these new waters.

In the coming weeks and months, I want you to know that your child’s safety and emotional wellbeing are of tremendous importance to us. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions and I will work to get them answered. 


Ellen Franzone 

608.561.8958‬ (call or text)