Amesbury Public Schools Update

From the Office of the Superintendent - February 22, 2021

Dear Amesbury Families!

Welcome back! I hope that all of you had an enjoyable week and that you were able to get outside and enjoy some fresh air! On a selfish note, I sincerely hope that we have gotten all of the snow out of our systems - but I suspect not! As an educator, the stretch between February and April breaks was is always challenging. However, this year might be different. As access to the vaccine becomes available to more people, I am optimistic that we are heading in the right direction and moving towards getting our students back into school. In some buildings we have noticed an increase in students wanting to leave remote learning and opt back into hybrid learning. We are thrilled by this! If you are interested in changing the learning model for your child, please contact the principal of that building for next steps. In this newsletter, I have included a link to a survey to gauge each family's comfort level around spacing between desks as well as intentions about returning to in-person. Please make sure to complete the survey so we can use this information to inform our next steps.

As always, if you have any questions, please email me at


Elizabeth McAndrews

Acting Superintendent

Survey - Full In-Person Learning and Family Learning Model Update

As I mentioned above, I am looking to gather updated information regarding updated family preferences for learning models, for those participating in in-person hybrid learning comfort level with distances between desks, and for those participating remotely only, what conditions need to change prior to having those students participate in in-person learning.

I have asked each principal to determine the number of desks that fit into each classroom with a 3', 4', and 5' separation. I would like to know what the actual distance is for each classroom should all students return in person. This last piece is easier at the elementary level as students have one classroom teacher. At AMS, AHS and AIHS, this is more difficult to determine as the students typically move from classroom to classroom throughout the day.

We will use this data to develop our next steps as we look to increase the frequency of in-person learning for all of our students. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. I thank you in advance:

Survey link:

Superintendent Search Update

Thank you to all of you who participated in the Focus Groups shaping the thinking around what you would like the characteristics and skill set of the next Superintendent to include. The content from those conversations resulted in some very specific information about the desired qualities of our next Superintendent.

Some of those qualities include:

* a strong commitment to Amesbury and a willingness to remain as superintendent for an extended stay.

* the ability to articulate a vision and plan for the district and the skill and experience to implement that plan.

* a collaborative leadership style. Importantly, the leader should have the ability to build a climate of trust and respect with the entire staff and to build a positive climate among the staff.

* superior communications skills.

* experience in successfully and meaningfully implementing technology in teaching and learning

* the ability to craft and manage a budget that allows the district to implement a strategic plan and goals is an important attribute for the next superintendent to possess

* the ability to develop and direct an effective administrative leadership team

* a leadership and communication style that is dynamic, visible, accessible and inclusive. * demonstrated success in strategic planning, implementation and monitoring

* demonstrated skills in budget development, capital planning and implementation

* proven leadership in the application of educational technology

The Application Deadline for this position is Thursday, April 1, 2021

Semi- finalists will be selected between April 6 - April 14, 2021

School Committee visits the finalists' districts during the week of April 26, 2021

Finalists interviews and visit Amesbury during the week of May 3, 2021

This evening, the School Committee will vote on the proposed membership of the Screening Committee:

Big picture

AMS Principal Search Update

On February 11th, the Middle School Principal selection committee met to review applications. The committee narrowed down the pool and selected 8 candidates to invite for an interview. Interviews will be held on Tuesday, February 23rd and Thursday, February 25th. From there, the committee will move between 2 and 4 candidates forward in the process.

During the weeks of March 8th and 15th, the finalists will visit Amesbury Middle School, participate in Community and Teacher Forums, and will have a final interview with the Acting Superintendent. By the last week in March, we will have named a new Middle School Principal. Please plan on attending the Community Forum - date TBD.

Transportation Update

On Thursday, February 11, 2021 DESE issued an update with regards to bus capacities.

"As of February 2021, physical distancing guidelines and resulting bus capacities have been updated per the below. Districts may adopt these updated standards on when the required mitigation measures outlined in the rest of this guidance document (wearing masks, opening windows, seat assignments, etc. are followed.

In all cases, maximum distance between students should be maintained during boarding and transportation.

* Elementary Schools: Capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for students on buses are lifted.

* Middle and High Schools: Capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for students on buses are lifted, except for middle and high schools in districts with high community prevalence. For middle and high schools in districts with high community prevalence, capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements on buses are amended to allow 2 students per bus bench."

This change will allow us to transport more students on both buses and vans. It will also apply to our athletic buses as well. Our survey includes a question regarding busing as well.

For the document in its entirety: