BBRSD Central Office Update

September 2, 2022

WELCOME BACK TO THE 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR!

BBRSD Central Office will have a newsletter every other Friday throughout the school year!

Superintendent's Office

COVID Updates from DESE

On August 15, 2022, DESE updated its COVID guidelines. In short, There is no statewide requirement for masking in schools, apart from in school health offices and the Commonwealth is not recommending universal mask requirements. As always, any individual who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, should be supported in that choice.


Effective August 15, 2022, all students and staff in childcare, a school in grades K-12, or participating in out-of-school time (OST) and recreational camp settings should follow the updated isolation and exposure guidance issued by DPH, in alignment with recently issued guidance from CDC. No asymptomatic person should be excluded from school as a result of exposure, regardless of vaccination status or exposure setting.


Please see the information in full, below.

Updated DESE COVID Guidelines

MA DPH Vaccination Information


Vaccine Information

Throughout this August and September, DPH is offering free family-friendly vaccine clinics to prepare teachers, staff, students, and family members for going back to school. No ID, health insurance, or appointment is needed at these clinics, and fliers to promote them to families are available in multiple languages and can be found here. Information about these vaccination clinics and others across the state is available online at VaxFinder.


Welcome to Mrs. Ayles!

Dawn-Marie Ayles will be our interim principal at Boylston Elementary this year. She is a graduate of Fitchburg State and Lesley College. She has been a classroom teacher, team leader, mentor coordinator, and Assistant Principal in Central Mass Public School districts before being hired as the BES interim principal. Please reach out to her and make her feel welcome. Her email address is dmayles@bbrsd.org.


Tahanto Administration Changes

Please join me in congratulating Sally-Ann Stukuls who has been appointed Interim Principal and Kara Ford who has been appointed Interim Assistant Principal at Tahanto for this school year. They are familiar faces at Tahanto who will be taking on new roles this year. Let's wish them a successful school year.


Welcome to Mr. Ayala

BBRSD would also like to welcome our new district-wide Facilities Manager, Mr. Daniel Ayala. Mr. Ayala comes to BBRSD from Leicester Public Schools where he also served as Facilities Manager. We look forward to having him on the BBRSD team!


Retirement

On August 9, 2022, I announced to the BBRSD School Committee that I intend on retiring from my position as Superintendent of Schools effective June 30, 2023. Please see my retirement letter here.


Job Openings

We are still looking to fill a few openings here at BBRSD. Please check our job openings page for more information.




Jeffrey T. Zanghi

Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Department of Teaching and Learning

Welcome back to the start of the 2022-2023 school year! I hope that your family has enjoyed the summer vacation time and look forward to seeing our students and staff back in the classrooms.


In the past several years, and prior to opening day for students, our staff members have convened for both opening day presentations and professional development. In this first newsletter of the year, I want to share with you some of the important work that is taking place in our schools and among our staff.


On opening day for all staff, the Berlin and Boylston police chiefs and resource officers spoke to the assembled audience about school safety. The officers shared the purpose of holding drills and training and creating a mindset of purposeful planning and preparation as part of real-life safety education.


The District Leadership Team, in collaboration with the larger Crisis Team members from both the police and fire departments in Berlin and Boylston, developed and shared with staff a set of common safety guidelines and expectations beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. Those guidelines and expectations are listed below and may help to explain the changes noted by parents and community members as they enter the school buildings. These were reviewed with staff in their respective school buildings. We would ask that all members of the school community avail themselves of this common language, understanding that the safety of our students, staff, and school community is our top priority.


Berlin-Boylston Regional School District

Common Safety Practices & Expectations

2022-2023

Below is a list of common safety practices that we would ask all staff to comply with moving forward into the school year These practices were developed and/or revised during our summer crisis team meeting in partnership with the Berlin and Boylston Police and Fire Departments for the safety and security of students and staff in our school community. Please note that the majority of these practices and expectations are already in place:


  • Please keep all exterior building doors closed at all times, including those times when anticipated deliveries are expected to be made to service entries. This means that propped door openings will no longer be tolerated at any time.


  • Building visitors should sign both IN and OUT of the building so that everyone within the building is accounted for at all times. This includes all district staff, including administration, when visiting a building for any reason.


  • Parents/Guardians who are picking up their children should wait for/sign them out in the vestibule of the building. (Note: Additional physical changes will be made to the entrance at Tahanto to accommodate this arrangement).


  • The term “threat” will replace the word “intruder” and will be used at each of the buildings to announce any immediate action that must take place.


  • Keys to lock classroom doors should be beside each door in a location that teachers, substitutes, paraprofessionals, and any staff member serving in that room should be able to locate immediately if necessary. (elementary level)


  • During an emergency when a “threat” has been determined and A.L.I.C.E. has been activated, the fire alarm will be ignored.


  • All staff (including building assistants, custodians, and food service personnel), is expected to successfully complete and show evidence of online A.L.I.C.E. training.


  • A plan to move vulnerable students and staff will be developed each year as needed to address specific concerns in the buildings.


  • Drills: Fire and Threat drills will occur one time per month during the 2022-2023 school year and will highlight a variety of potential scenarios that staff in each building will practice. (This includes drills related to situations that are weather-related and during power loss.) This schedule will be developed by the building principal and discussed at the first staff meeting of the year in September. Police personnel will be in attendance at that meeting.



Professional Development Day, August 26, 2022 - Equity in Our Schools

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School administrators and staff led the way this day in building upon the professional development work done by our leadership team these past two years to better understand and define the meaning of equity and equitable access to education in our schools.


At the close of the 2021-2022 school year, and with the addition of teacher leader representatives from each of our three schools, the team developed and presented to the Berlin-Boylston School Committee, our Equity Statement (see below).


During their workshop on equity developed and presented by Interim Principal Sally Stukuls and Interim Assistant Principal, Kara Ford, staff members explored ways to enhance equity in the school. They looked at potential biases that may occur unintentionally in the classroom and school building and identified the presence of diversity in its many forms. The administrators provided time for shared dialogues and reflection in their introduction to this ongoing work that will occur at all levels of PreK-12 in our district.


Equity Statement

Definition - “Ensuring all students have access to the tools, resources, and support that they need to succeed.”


Commitments

We will do so by:

  • creating, supporting, and maintaining a physically and psychologically safe and welcoming environment for learning

  • recognizing that experimentation and failure may facilitate learning

  • teaching students to understand that learning has personal responsibility and fostering the development of these tools

  • understanding the unique challenges and barriers faced by individual students or by populations of students

  • ensuring the provision of personalized resources for all students

  • recognizing that some supports can help all students and can be implemented across the district

  • respecting other perspectives, values, and cultures that may be different than our own

  • striving to understand others’ points of view and ways of looking at the world through a different lens


Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the important work being done in our schools to educate our students and staff and to maintain their well-being in our district.


Carol Costello, Assistant Superintendent

ccostello@bbrsd.org

Business Office

School Bus Transportation

I am happy to report that our bus routes are fully staffed. Please be patient with the drivers as they continue to become familiar with the routes. Berlin Bus 3 and Boylston Bus 4 currently have substitute drivers, and we are hopeful permanent drivers will be in place soon.

I have received many questions in regard to bus stop locations. Please continue to reach out with any questions that you have, I am here to help!


Our Transportation Provider, NRT is working on a bus-tracking app that should be released later this year. When more information is received you will be notified.


If anyone is interested in driving a School Bus for our Transportation Provider NRT, please contact them at (978) 562-5186.


Food Services

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has extended free school meals for all students for the 2022-2023 school year! This means that lunch and breakfast will continue to be served at no cost to all students. The food and nutrition department at The Berlin Boylston Regional School District is very grateful for the opportunity to provide nourishing and healthy meals to all students.


Please note that even though meals will be free for all, it is very important for families to still complete the household Application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals for the 2022-2023 school year.


Filling out this application helps with some of our grant funding for our school district, and if you qualify we may reduce or waive fees based on your eligibility.


You can view and complete the application here.


Completed applications can be emailed to our Food Service Director, Lauren Staples at lstaples@bbrd.org or mailed to 1001 Main St. Boylston, MA 01505.



Nancy Konisky, Director of Finance and Operations

nkonisky@bbrsd.org

Pupil Personnel Department

New Pupil Personnel Services Staff

Please join me in welcoming wonderful Pupil Personnel Services staff to the Berlin-Boylston school community.


Boylston Elementary School:

Hillary Threkeld, School Nurse and Nurse Leader

Roshan Valpor, Special Education Teacher

Eileen MacQueen, Special Education Teacher

Robin Milaszewski, School Psychologist


Berlin Memorial School:

Sheena Sawyer, Pre-School teacher (Sheena is a long-term substitute for Angela Miller)

Barbara Hogan, School Nurse


Tahanto Regional Middle/High School:

Sheila Coomey, Special Education Teacher

Gina Bilotta, School Adjustment Counselor

Katherine Schmidt, School Adjustment Counselor/School Counselor

Tricia Symmes, Preschool Teacher (Tricia will be joining us beginning September 15th)


SEPAC

The Berlin-Boylston Special Education Parent Advisory Council is a group of parents who are available to support other parents of students with disabilities. For more information: SEPAC


SEPAC Meet and Greet:

SEPAC is hosting a Meet and Greet on September 20th at Tahanto. Please see the attached announcement for more details and RSVP to info.bbrsd.sepac@gmail.com to be included in the count for pizza.


Team Meetings

We understand virtual team meetings are more convenient for some families to attend. We will continue to offer parents the choice of how to meet. Special Education Coordinators will be in touch when it is time to schedule your child’s Team meeting to discuss whether you would like to meet virtually or in person.


Vaccine Clinics

In September, DPH is offering free family-friendly vaccine clinics to prepare teachers, staff, students, and family members for returning to school. No ID, health insurance, or appointment is needed at these clinics, and fliers to promote them to families are available in multiple languages and can be found here. Information about these vaccination clinics and others across the state is available online at VaxFinder.


COVID-19 testing

Symptomatic testing for COVID-19 will continue to be available this school year for staff and students this Fall. All staff and students are encouraged to participate. These new consent forms are required to participate this year. DESE discontinued all state-sponsored COVID-19 testing programs last Spring. Schools must have new consent forms on file for the 2022-2023 school year to provide symptomatic testing at school.

Families and staff interested in participating can provide consent here:

Student Consent Form

Staff Consent Form


Hiring

The district has a few positions remaining. Berlin-Boylston is a great place to work!

Paraprofessional

Paraprofessionals work with an individual or small groups of students to provide instructional and behavioral support to students under the supervision of teachers. If you or someone you know may be interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact me at jfitzpatrick@bbrsd.org.


School Nurse

The district has an opening at Tahanto for a School Nurse. If you are a licensed RN, or you know of a licensed RN who may be interested, please contact me at jfitzpatrick@bbrsd.org for more information.


Substitute Nurses

The district is looking for substitute school nurses in all three schools to cover when a nurse is absent and occasional help in the health clinics while the nurses are doing routine screenings or testing. If you are a licensed RN, or you know of a licensed RN who may be interested, please contact me at jfitzpatrick@bbrsd.org for more information.



Jannel Fitzpatrick

Director of Pupil Personnel

jfitzpatrick@bbrsd.org

Big picture

Technology Department


For those of you with children at Tahanto, you know we are piloting a Chromebook insurance program through the company School Device Coverage. Information about the plan can be found here. The company also has an FAQ page which can be found here.


In a future newsletter, I will be sending a link to a short survey asking for people that did sign up about your experience with the company. I will also have a link to a second survey for those that chose not to participate in the plan, trying to get an idea as to why you made that choice. This is the District’s first attempt at running such a program so we want to gather feedback where we can so we can make an informed decision about using this program in future years.


If you have questions about the insurance program that you cannot find answers to on their website, please feel free to reach out to me and I will forward these to the vendor and try to get you an answer.



Paul Mara, Technology Coordinator

pmara@bbrsd.org

The Berlin-Boylston Regional Public Schools do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, disability, veteran status, genetic information, homelessness or any other class protected by state or federal law.