April 17, 2020 (12:00 PM)
Next week is school vacation! We highly recommend our students, teachers (and parents-- as much as possible) use this time to distance themselves from technology and recharge. We still encourage adherence to the Governor’s stay-at-home order and following the Maine CDC’s social distancing guidelines during vacation week to remain healthy and reduce transmission. Please note that we will continue to provide breakfast and lunch to youth 18 and under, regardless of income, during school vacation. Please click here for more details.
We appreciate the patience of our families as we coordinated the myriad details related to the last official day of school. With oversight of a regional Center of Technology which serves six other school districts, this is not a decision that can be made in isolation. After consulting with area Superintendents and reviewing the school calendar with the School Committee, the last day of school will be June 5th for students and June 12th for teachers. Teachers will utilize their final week to prepare remediation and "ramp-up" instruction for the fall.
In addition to the final day of school, the School Committee reviewed plans for graduation and grading on Tuesday evening. The links to those plans are included below for your review.
GRADUATION: We have every intention of celebrating and honoring the 13 years of accomplishments of our seniors in a way that ensures their health and safety. While we hope June 5th will remain the ceremony date, we also understand postponements could be a possibility. Therefore, the following back-up plan has been established to help families plan accordingly.
PROM & OTHER MAJOR EVENTS: We know Senior Prom, the final 8th-grade field trip, music competitions, and the spring sports season are among many of the important events each spring, especially for those graduating. Unfortunately, based on the restrictions put in place, it is not possible to hold these events in a fashion that is safe for our students and staff. We acknowledge how disappointing this can be but we also want to be mindful of setting false hope which could compound that disappointment in the coming months.
GRADING: Considering the extended distance learning model, a recommendation surrounding grading procedures for BHS was adopted with the best interests of our students and their families at the helm. As we try our best to “flatten the curve” this pandemic has immersed us all into a steep learning curve which we recognize. The focus of our work K-8 will continue to be on engagement and connections with students/ families.
PERSONAL BELONGINGS & MEDICATIONS: We know that student desks and lockers contain many personal possessions. Indeed, this very day scores of teachers are cleaning classrooms and retrieving instructional materials to help with the last six weeks of instruction. Following school vacation, our Administrative Team will develop a safe protocol to allow parents to access their child(ren)’s personal belongings, including medications, within the buildings. More information will be forthcoming.
OTHER END-OF-YEAR CELEBRATIONS: Our Principals continue to work on creative plans for the multitude of other end-of-year celebrations and activities that occur in May and June. Please read their weekly newsletters throughout the coming weeks for specific updates on those events.
SUMMER SCHOOL: Our extended school year and summer programming have typically served 200 students. Our Director of Instruction has completed a grant application to increase that by a third and we are hopeful to offer enrichment and remediation on a scale we never have previously. Although we are currently relying on guidance from both the Maine DOE and Maine CDC regarding access to buildings and gathering youth, our hope is that we stabilize to some sort of normalcy in the months ahead. More information will be forthcoming.
We look forward to reconnecting with students on Monday, April 27th when distance learning resumes. If you have any questions or concerns in the interim, please call 207-391-6868 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Superintendent of Schools
Thank You for Your Generosity
Thank you to our many generous donors to date! Recently the Biddeford Education Foundation (BEF) established a COVID-19 Relief Fund as one avenue for community members to support food distribution to our youth 18 and under, technology and hotspot access, as well as other immediate family needs that arise during this pandemic. The response from community members has been astounding.
This week we received word from the Class of 2005 of their generous gift of over $1,500! Alum Matt Forcier '05 wrote, “We had funds set aside for future reunions which the Class Officers felt could be better used during this time of need. When we were in high school, so many people stepped up and donated their time and services to us, never asking for anything in return. It was time we gave back a little and hopefully, this helps during this crisis.”
Following this donation, the BEF reported many other generous contributions. In addition, to monetary donations, our local business friends at Volk Packaging Corporation donated hundreds of boxes [1 of 3 trips shown in the picture below]! Six weeks ago, we wouldn’t have guessed that we’d need hundreds of boxes to pack up teaching supplies and retrieve and organize student desks and lockers in the weeks ahead. We are grateful for their support and the support of all donors.