Neary News

April 3, 2020

Neary VBP

If you are looking to print flyers from this newsletter, please visit our VBP on the Neary website under the Families tab for the PDF printable version:


https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B369Z3EyvVrVbTdyVElhZkp1SVk

Upcoming Events

April

6-9 Neary KINDNESS Week

8 Southborough School Committee meeting - 6:30 P.M. (WIll be held virtually)

Please help us to spread Neary Kindness! #CHOOSEKIND

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Notification from: Neary Elementary School


Good afternoon Neary Families,

During our extended school closure, teachers from our schools may choose to use video conferencing. The purpose is to connect with students “real-time” in an online meeting while conducting conversations and sharing educational material when the ability to do it face to face is unavailable. Our teachers will be required to use settings to maintain online privacy and guard against any hacking or interference.

When joining a class conference call students have the ability to join with video and audio, or just audio. The tools that we are using for these calls ensure the privacy of K-12 users and are compliant with the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).


Student Guidelines, as well as Tutorials on how to access these tools, will be located on the District's NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0 website


Next Steps :


1. Please read the attached NSBORO-CONNECT video conferencing Opt-out form.

2. If you do not grant permission for your child to use district-approved video conferencing tools and services you need to download and complete this form and then return the completed form to me at kvalenti@nsboro.k12.ma.us. Thank you.



Also, please check out our VBP and smore for weekly Neary news. Stay well!

With Neary pride,
Kathleen


Notification from: Public Schools of Northborough & Southborough


April 1, 2020


Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):


On April 6, 2020, The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough will be launching NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0. To prepare for the launch, I am asking that families review the information on the NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0 Website. Educators, principals, District leaders and I are available to answer specific questions or provide clarification. Additionally, building principals will communicate school-specific information within the next day or two.


We recognize that our families, students, and faculty are functioning under unprecedented circumstances. The priorities of each family may be different based on their current situation. As such, we want to provide a flexible learning environment that can accommodate each family's needs. We will work closely with families who need modifications to NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0.


If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to your child’s teacher, school principal, or me.


NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0 Website


Respectfully,


Gregory L. Martineau

Superintendent of Schools

A Message from Superintendent Martineau

March 26, 2020


Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):


Given Governor Charlie Baker's announcement that schools across the Commonwealth will remain closed through May 4, 2020, I want to provide families with an update. Prior to learning this new information, the District was already planning for an extended closure and District leaders, association presidents, and educators have been working collaboratively to develop NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0. Throughout this collaboration, there has been a common understanding that NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0 needs to be realistic for all involved: Educators, parents, and students. The District's highest priority remains the same: to stay connected to our students, ensure that they remain engaged in learning, and that families have what they need, from meals to technology.


On Sunday, I will be sharing information about NSBORO-CONNECT 2.0. With the announcement of an extended closure, the District will be moving from optional learning experiences for students, to required assignments and new curriculum . Again, I will share specific information with families on Sunday evening. The District is well positioned to move to a virtual learning environment. With the school committees' and communities' investments in technology over the past couple of years, the District has the tools and resources to make a shift to virtual learning.


Moving in this direction is not easy, but it is the right thing to do to ensure continuity of learning for our students. Our student body is diverse; we have students who have Individualized Educational Programs, English Language Learners, economically disadvantaged students, and students who need acceleration; the diversity is expansive. The District will do its best to accommodate its diverse learners in a virtual environment. What is clear is that it is impossible to replicate what happens in our schools daily. However, I can assure you that educators are willing and ready to do their best under these new conditions.


Faculty, staff, principals, District leaders and I are keenly aware of how the closure of school is impacting families, as many of us are also trying to adjust to this change with our own families. The District will be reaching out to families and providing tutorials and tips for making the most of this new reality. Lastly, I remain optimistic that we'll be able to open our doors and finish the school year strong. If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to your child(s) teacher(s), school principal, school nurse, school counselors, or me.


Respectfully,


Gregory L. Martineau

Superintendent of Schools

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Neary Artists!

Four of our Neary artists' work was included in the 2020 Central Massachusetts Youth Art Month Exhibition. Although the show was canceled, they made a wonderful video showcasing a collection of amazing talent!

Neary students:
Julia Wysocki, 3:40
Bryn Rufo, 11:17
Vimala Meka & Colleen Reed, 13:19
Zachary Hoffnung, 23:17

Thank you, Mrs. Johnson!

2020 Central Massachusetts Youth Art Month at the Worcester Art Museum

From Author Maria Trozzi

Dear Parents, Guardians andChild care-givers,

As I sit in ‘self-imposed isolation’ at my laptop and feel on my skin what many Americans may be feeling during this challenging time, perhaps I can be helpful, drawing from nearly thirty years of experience guiding parents when their families face difficult times.

I have always believed that in a crisis lies opportunities for strengthening families, amplifying children’s coping skills and promoting resilience.

I hope that by sharing with you some strategies that have helped children and families cope with crises, acute and chronic, you may be more fortified to cope with uncertainties ahead and will gain some measure of inner peace and community perspective- both will inform our ways going forward.

First, let’s remember - coping with change is hard for most people. Not being able to plan for next week or even next month is uniquely hard. When we are required to face the unknown, not be in control, it’s normal for all of us, adults and children, to feel out of sync, hard to settle- psychological term is ‘emotional dis-regulation’.

Here’s what I have learned helps us and our families feel more calm, less irritable, as we learn incrementally how to live with the change of feeling isolated and ‘too together’ all at once.

1. Your children are actively paying attention to how you feel, talk and behave.

Even very young children look to you first to know whether they should worry or not. They listen to your words, your tone, watch your actions, react to your moods. They eavesdrop on your communications with others and come to their own (often mistaken) conclusions.

That said, it’s pretty safe to assume that this pandemic is unique to all our experiences. It’s normal that as information is updated hourly, and recommendations change daily, adults may feel that our world is upside down and inside out- our anxiety is normal.

What CAN you do about it?

Talking with another caring adult about your feelings is helpful (out of the children’s earshot); reminding yourself of other times in your life when you have felt anxious and uncertain about the future can be reassuring; creating a plan for your family just for today and tomorrow may be productive and doable- looking further down the road may not be possible and lead you to feel more out of control.

2. Create a routine for the day. Even a schedule, for example, when we will play together, and time to play independently. (Of course, this will depend on your child’s age and capacity to play alone. A timer works well here). Time for family mealtimes, clean up, predictable bedtimes, nap times (for both kids and grown ups), some form of exercise, indoors or if possible, in your backyard.

Other planned time for reading, screen time, family movie time, game time.

If children are old enough, and you have enough bandwith, opportunities to help with meal preparation, clean up.

3. Limit your own access to media coverage.

Information, when delivered calmly and by a trustworthy source, typically helps us feel more in control. It’s necessary to be informed so that we can keep up with the changes and required adjustments. That said, a steady diet of news, 24/7, creates its own layer of stress. Decide when and how often you will get your information from media sources. Choose from a host of other more soothing ‘background electronic wallpapers’ that may even entertain, inspire, educate. It is said that music ‘calms the savage beast within’….. I have my music faves playing on Spotify as I write this.

4. Talk with your children about changes only as they affect your family’s day-to -day living.

Children by nature are egocentric.; for instance, “How will this affect me?” Knowing the new rules of the road for this unique family experience is important. Simple explanations are best. Letting children ask questions as they arise, rather than prompting them, or assuming their feelings, is helpful. Try not to anticipate how their lives may be affected weeks or months from now. It’s about today.

5. Development matters. How your child understands and reacts to new information from you will vary but their age and stage will help guide you to understand their reaction(s):

*Very young children, 3-6 years old, require only the simplest of explanations about what’s happening today as it affects them… Remember that routines are reassuring to everyone, especially toddlers and preschoolers. “Mommy is working at home today,” is enough for many children.

*Early elementary age children may have more questions and concerns about the pandemic than their younger siblings. Let them lead you with their questions; answer simply and clearly, always reminding them that it’s your job to keep the family safe. Although the virus is unlikely to affect your family, you may make decisions to protect others in your community. (great lesson)

Words like ‘contagious, social distancing, quarantines’, may be unfamiliar to them. It’s important to speak in a reassuring way that is clear and simple.; for example, “Staying home from school and work keeps the virus from spreading so we will be doing that. It just makes sense.”

Or, “I need to work from home and you have school work as well. Let’s talk about a plan for the rest of the day.”

*Late elementary/middle school children may worry about their older and extended family members, or threatening financial situations. They may feel it’s ‘unfair’ if their friends are allowed to gather in small groups but you have said no. Remind them that your rules are for their health and the health of others who may be more impacted; each family makes their own decisions for their own family’s well being.

*Adolescents are able to understand the unlikely but possible negative health and financial impact that the Corona virus may have on their family, their community, both local and national.

That said, cancelled school may sound terrific at first but it carries with it cancelled sport seasons, plays and concerts they have rehearsed for months, anticipated school vacation trips. Without school and after school activities, they may feel depressed and anxious, isolated from their friends and routines. We know that adolescents fantasize about their ‘immortality’; be sure to concretize the risks of ‘not physically distancing’ and that they need to trust you to make the rules that will keep them safe from harm. Expect them to express their understandable disappointment, anger, confusion, worry, etc. (More) moodiness is pretty normal.

When you acknowledge their feelings and not attempt to minimize them, they may be able to sit with them, and even surprise you – by problem-solving ways to adapt? Isn’t that what we want for our adolescents?

6. Consider the marathon, not the sprint

Drawing from my experience post-Katrina, Columbine, and 9/11, the first days and weeks of the crisis summon up enormous amounts of energy (albeit it anxious) in all of us. We listen and react to our leaders, both local and national, health care providers, educators and community helpers as they develop emergency plans, roll out procedures and problem-solve.

If history informs, I expect that very shortly, we will collectively feel as though we have hit a ‘wall of exhaustion’ as we sort out how to sustain difficult, if not, seemingly impossible changes in our families’ lives, no matter how long these changes last. We grieve our lives before and yearn for them.

Taking care for ourselves now seems prudent. Today. You know how…. practice healthy sleep hygiene, mindful breathing (five minutes a day is all it takes!), move our bodies, rest our minds, use technology to connect with others, discover ways to laugh, find meaning in sacrifice.

Maria Trozzi, M.Ed

Author,Talking with Children About Loss,Penguin-Putnam

Co-Founder, Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine

Program Director, Joanna’s Place

Psychotherapist/Grief and Resilience Specialist

Responses to: mariatrozzi@hotmail.com

A Message From Dr. Safdar Medina, District Physician, Superintendent, Greg Martineau, Mary Ellen Duggan, District Wellness Coordinator

Notification from: Public Schools of Northborough & Southborough


COVID-19 Social/Physical Distancing:

What it is and what it isn’t

By Dr. Safdar Medina, District Physician

Mary Ellen Duggan, District Wellness Coordinator


Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):


COVID-19 spreads via respiratory droplets from person to person. The virus is more contagious than influenza and lives on surfaces for long periods of time. Reducing the ways people come in close contact with each other is essential to lessen the risk of getting sick.

Social or physical distancing means staying away from others and staying home as much as possible,

it is the only way we can slow this virus down. We need to do it now to protect ourselves, the vulnerable and those that can’t protect themselves.


Social/Physical distancing is:

  • Staying away from other people (besides immediate household members).

  • Going into public places only if essential (food is essential -plan your grocery shopping during non-peak hours).

  • Protecting yourself and others.

  • The right thing to do, RIGHT NOW.


Social/Physical distancing is NOT:

  • Hanging out with friends (in a house, on a field, at a park, anywhere!).

  • Standing in line at a store or coffee shop with other people (please use drive-thru, pick up or delivery).

  • Bringing your kids to the playground.

  • Visiting elderly relatives.


Please continue to monitor your children’s social media use. There is a lot of information available, and not all of it is true. Various social media platforms have had posts that minimize the effects of COVID-19 and encourage kids to get together - THIS IS NOT TRUE.


As we see the number of cases rise locally, in the state, and nationally, our efforts to follow the strictest social/physical distancing guidelines are imperative. We are all responsible for protecting those at higher risk, this includes the elderly, children with disabilities, or any person with a compromised immune system. Social/Physical distancing may feel like an inconvenience, but it is the best way to protect our family, friends, and neighbors. Doing the right thing now will save lives.


Along with social/physical distancing, please continue everyday prevention including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

  • Cough/sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue, dispose of used tissues immediately and wash your hands.

  • Avoid touching your face.

  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick.

  • Stay home if you are sick.

PLEASE, be healthy, and be safe.



Dr. Safdar Medina Mary Ellen Duggan, RN Gregory L. Martineau

District Physician Wellness Coordinator Superintendent of Schools



Important: Town COVID-19 Updates

Town of Northborough COVID-19 Updates

Town of Southborough COVID-19 Updates




What do I do if:


I am ill with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath?

  • Stay home and contact your medical provider immediately.


If my child is ill with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath?

  • Stay home and contact your medical provider immediately.


If someone in my household tests + for COVID-19?

  • The entire household needs to stay home, strict self-quarantine, monitor for symptoms and contact your medical provider.


If someone I was in close contact with tests + for COVID-19?

  • Stay home, strict self quarantine, monitor for symptoms and contact your medical provider.


I don’t know if I have had contact with someone who has COVID-19?

  • If a person tests positive, DPH is notified. If you are considered a close contact, you will be notified by DPH of the need to self- quarantine and monitor or the need to be tested.

Neary News and Information 3-19-20

Good morning Neary Families,

In doing our best to keep routines going, as usual, I will continue to send a Neary News and VBP One Call each Thursday. I will also keep our Smore and VBP sites current. We are all in this together and if you, or any family that you are aware of, are in need of support, please don't hesitate to email me. The Neary staff is continuing to send positive thoughts to all and we are very much looking forward to when we can be together, again!

Smore: https://www.smore.com/0yved-neary-news

VBP: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B369Z3EyvVrVbTdyVElhZkp1SVk

With Neary pride,
Kathleen

A Note From Neary's Principal

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March 17, 2020


Good morning Neary Families,


I hope this message finds your family healthy and safe. As we navigate these unchartered waters, please know that the Neary School staff is here for your children and family. It’s times like these where we need each other and where our motto of #CHOOSEKIND is visible in so many ways. Throughout this closure, if you know of a family or student that needs assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.


I am beyond proud of the work our Neary staff is doing to support our students and families. Over the course of the past several days, Neary staff members have been virtually collaborating and planning with one another in order to prepare for NSBORO-Connect. As we prepare to launch NSBORO-Connect, I wanted to share a few important informational pieces to support families:


NSBORO-Connect will begin on Wednesday, March 18th. Teachers will be in touch with students and families through email and/or google classroom. Students will receive two check-ins per day from their teacher(s) in order to stay connected and ask questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to teachers throughout the closure.


Please know that the learning experiences being provided by teachers are optional. The opportunities are to help students engage in learning and maintain skills. During this closure, no new learning will be introduced and the optional learning experiences will not be graded or assessed.


Neary will be open on Wednesday, March 18th, from 8:00-12:00 a.m. for families to pick up necessary items such as instruments or outdoor garments (i.e. hats, coats). Classrooms will be closed, but we will have staff in the main office to retrieve any necessary items for you. All optional learning experiences will be offered by our teachers through Google classroom or email. Therefore, there will be no need for any items such as books or papers to be retrieved from the classroom. As a reminder, if your child is looking for a new book to read, Neary has a subscription to SORA, an online library, which can be accessed at soraapp.com. Students will need their Google classroom login to access books. If you need assistance with this, please email your child’s teacher.


Families who are in need of a device for optional learning activities during the closure should access the following links:

https://forms.gle/mjVZCu6U2Yu1vqKC9 (English)

https://forms.gle/DmkRS1wsxrYarpwF8 (Arabic)

https://forms.gle/3SXK4ZEgbUEo2ZL8A (Simplified Chinese)

https://forms.gle/vvocLcFbXXKSG5nP9 (Portuguese)

https://forms.gle/mPFCf499VZ9RrgSt9 (Spanish)


Families who would like to access food services should complete the following form:

COVID 19 Food Services Order Form


Many parents have reached out about parent/teacher conferences. At this time these conferences are canceled. Information will be communicated about conferences, as it becomes available.


As a staff, we are looking for ways to connect virtually with families, as well. Also, many authors are creating virtual live presentations. Please check out the attached document that was created by one of our librarians which lists live author events.


Again, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher or me with questions or any support that is needed. Be well, be safe, be kind and remember, we’re all in this together.


With immense Neary pride,

Kathleen Valenti

School Closing Information

Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):

The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough’s highest priority is to support families and students during this extended closure, which is currently from March 16, 2020, to April 6, 2020 (Governor Charlie Baker's New Orders as of 6:23 PM on 3/15/2020) . Needless to say, facing a pandemic is requiring our educational community to rethink how we support our students when school is not in session.


I am pleased to share that the District is launching NSBORO-CONNECT. I want to emphasize that NSBORO-CONNECT does not replicate, or replace day-to-day educational services and interactions among faculty, staff, and students. NSBORO-CONNECT is designed to help students stay connected to their teachers and provide optional learning opportunities to help students maintain their skills and stay engaged in learning. NSBORO-CONNECT will begin for students on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The program will stop the day prior to school reopening. Principals will launch NSBORO-CONNECT with an introductory email.

Lastly, tomorrow morning I will send an additional communication outlining how families can access food services as well as technology resources (devices) during this extended closure.


Respectfully,

Gregory L. Martineau

Superintendent of Schools

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Thank you, in advance, for your March contributions to the Southborough Food Pantry!

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Planning Ahead for MCAS

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Thank you to our Neary SOS for the Amazing Hero artwork now hanging for all to see and admire in the Neary student dining room.

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Check out a bird's eye view of Neary thanks to one of our talented fifth grade students!