BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

May 7, 2021

Superintendent's Office

Greetings,


Teacher Appreciation Week
It goes without saying that this year, Teacher Appreciation Week has taken on a whole new meaning and should, I believe, be extended through the entire year rather than a single week. When I think back to the experience of March 2020, when teachers were asked to pack up their belongings and take with them what they felt they would need to teach students for “a few weeks” (we thought), and to do this remotely (what does that even look like?), I question our state of mind at the time to even begin to comprehend what we were asking of them.


Month after month, we added “one more thing” onto the plates of teachers already overloaded with responsibilities and the burden of finding new ways to communicate and teach their students, confer with parents, and meet the obligations of their principals, schools and the District. It was bigger than daunting. It was extraordinary. And so was their response, as they stepped up at every turn and did what they needed to do to make this crazy, stressful school year work for their students. While other fields have their own heroes, we have ours - they are called teachers.


Fast forward to this spring and the collective sigh of relief as we have re-entered our schools and re-engaged, not entirely with the normalcy we once knew, but by far better than when we left. And all we can say, the most we can say, is “Thank You.” We are grateful beyond what we can even express, for your professionalism, for your compassion, for you.



Another Mention About MCAS & “Opting Out”

In previous correspondence, I provided information from the Massachusetts Department of Education that stated: “Students educated with Massachusetts public funds are required by federal laws and the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Law, state law M. G. L. Chapter 69, section 1I, to participate in statewide testing.” I want to follow up this week with a few additional comments related to parents choosing to have their child(children) opt-out of this year’s MCAS.


We expect that all of our students will participate in (physically take) the MCAS for their grade level/content area in grades 3-8 and 10, as well as any content area tests that are required of them. In her correspondence with families, our Tahanto Principal, Ms. Tucceri made it clear that students must take the MCAS in order to graduate and that if they chose not to do so this year, they would need to do so next fall when the exams are rescheduled.


Despite the expectation of both DESE and our District, principals have received correspondence from some parents informing them that their child(children) would not be taking the assessment. We are faced then, with yet another challenge in juggling between our expectations as a public school in MA and how we can meet the needs of our students whose families have made this decision for them. We do not want to put any of our students, by any means, in the middle of this tension. We also cannot, during the designated testing time, provide instruction for those students who are in the schools and in the classrooms where testing is taking place. As a result, any student not taking the MCAS will be provided with an assignment by the teacher during what is now a modified and reduced testing period orchestrated by the DESE.


On a hopeful note, I would reach out to parents who have made this decision or are on the fence about making this decision, and strongly encourage you to have your child (children) participate in the MCAS. Unlike regular testing years, the DESE will not be using the results toward district accountability. So, why take it? It is really an opportunity to gather some diagnostic data on each of our students that can be used for instruction and, if necessary, remediation in the coming school year. It informs our decision-making about gaps that have taken place as a result of the pandemic, and how we can improve what we are doing.


Participating this year in the MCAS also affords students the opportunity to “practice” the experience of test-taking that this year, in particular, is not much different than how they would normally take any assessment given in the classroom. The testing block is shorter and the number of tests is as well. The ability to practice at a low-stakes level may provide our students a chance to become familiar with the process so that when MCAS returns again fully next year, they feel more comfortable, confident, and hopefully, less stressed.


In the end, it is ultimately always a choice that families will make to opt out even when that option is not offered. I can only ask you to reconsider your decision as we move through this annual assessment period in an alternative way.


We appreciate the trust you place in us as educators and will continue to do our best to support you and your family.


Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms!


Respectfully,

Jeff Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

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Business Office

School Lunch Hero Day is May 7th this year. I would like to say a very BIG THANK YOU to our dedicated Food Service Teams in our schools!

They have done a fantastic job running the kitchens, coming up with remote meal options and making them available to families, and complying with all the new requirements to safely serve meals during the pandemic, such as individual packaging of meals, and cleaning and disinfecting spaces after each meal.


Remote Meals!

Free remote meals will continue to be available to students in the full remote learning model that are enrolled in the district. Each child continuing to learn remotely is eligible for 5 breakfast and 5 lunches per week. Students choosing to return to the full in-person learning model will be offered free breakfast and free lunch each day they learn onsite, and will not be eligible for remote meals. Pickup windows for fully remote students will be reduced to one day pick up on Tuesday 4/13 from 11:00 am-1:00 pm.

Please fill out the form below (1 form per child) to specify your weekly order and pickup details. If you are unable to pick up during the available pickup windows please email: lstaples@bbrsd.org to arrange alternate plans. Pickup windows were created to reduce wait times, and improve traffic flow.

Pickup is at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School. Take the entrance nearest the softball/field hockey field, and idle at the cone near the dumpsters. Stay in your car, and the order will be brought to your vehicle.


Weekly remote meal ordering form link:

https://www.bbrsd.org/Page/1583

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Lauren Staples, Food Service Director 508-869-2333 ext. 2346 or lstaples@bbrsd.org.



Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School

I wanted to take a moment and thank you all for making us feel so appreciated during teacher appreciation week. From a beautiful sign in the front to flowers, donuts, and kind notes of encouragement. It all meant a lot! I also want you to know is it a two-way street. We genuinely appreciate the support from parents and the community at large. It is a great town to teach in and we value the relationships we have here. Thank you!


As the year picks up steam we are working on recreating many of our typical end-of-year traditions so please keep your eyes out. 5th-grade recognition planning is in full swing and we are working to design some sort of field day with the COVID guidelines in place. More information to follow on all of these and more.


I have been asked to share information about Fall Youth Football. Please see below:

Registration is now open for the 2021 Fall Youth Football and Cheer Season! If you have any questions please email us at lionsfootballinfo@gmail.com You can also check out our Facebook page- Boylston/West Boylston/Berlin Lions Youth Football and Cheer!

http://bwbbyouthfootball.sportssignup.com/site?fbclid=IwAR3a9YFIhtAqf05RmPN1y59da666wSNA7_Rxq37j0lhIUoA8CeARvv1CXZI


The Week Ahead:



Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

BES Office: 508-869-2200

Berlin Memorial School

Greetings, all…


We start MCAS testing next week, and there has been a slight change in our schedule as we’ve flipped grades four and five. Here is the updated schedule for the week:

  • Grade Three – Tuesday, May 11

  • Grade Five – Wednesday, May 12

  • Grade Four – Thursday, May 13

  • Make-up tests – all grades – Friday, May 14


We will start testing around 9:15, and I anticipate that everyone will be done by 10:45. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we comply with this mandate from our good friends at the Department of Education.


A note from Nurse Ana

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As we enter the final stretch of the school year, we ask for your continued support and monitoring of COVID symptoms for your family to ensure the health of our school community. It is important that families continue to follow all the health and safety protocols that have been used throughout the year. We know that our adherence to these protocols has helped support the health of our students and staff.


Please continue to conduct a daily check of your child for any type of COVID symptoms each morning. This may be challenging this time of year with spring and the allergies that accompany the change in seasons. However, there has been an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with COVID with what appears to be mild allergy symptoms such as a runny nose and slight cough.


If you notice this in your child we ask that you do not send your child to school and contact your school nurse. Below is the full list of symptoms for which caregivers should monitor their children:


❏ Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as diagnosed allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

❏ Cough (not due to other known cause, such as a diagnosed chronic cough)

❏ Sore throat

❏ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

❏ New loss of taste or smell

❏ Headache when in combination with other symptoms

❏ Muscle aches or body aches

❏ Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

❏ Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms

❏ Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills


If your child exhibits any of these symptoms please do not send them to school and contact your school nurse (Aamaral@bbrsd.org or 978-838-2214).


As an FYI, FDA recalls some scented hand sanitizers, the article can be found here.


Stay well and as always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.


Ana


Dates to remember...

  • Sunday, May 9th - Mothers Day

  • Wednesday, May 12th - 5th to 6th virtual transition meeting for Tahanto at 6:30

  • Wednesday, May 26th - Fun Run!

  • Monday, May 31st - Memorial Day - No School



John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

BMS Office: 978-838-2417

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School




This week was Teacher’s Appreciation Week and a huge thank you to all of the teachers/staff for their dedication, tireless efforts, and making a difference in our student’s lives day in and day out! The STAAGS PTO put on an amazing lunch for the teachers on May 7th with a pizza truck, salads, water, and cookies. Thank you to the STAAGS PTO for always supporting our teachers.


Next week is school nurse appreciation week and this year more than ever we cannot thank Nurse Sequeira enough for helping to keep our students, family, faculty, and staff safe! You are our Florence Nightingale!


May 10th-May 14th is Mental Health Awareness Week at Tahanto

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and next week the Student Council, HOPE Club, and French Club will be running activities during the week to promote mental health awareness school-wide.


Monday-Mindfulness Monday

Tuesday-Treat Yourself Tuesday

Wednesday-Workout Wednesday

Thursday-Let Kindness Bloom

Friday-Wear Green!!


MCAS Schedule and Requirements

Tahanto’s MCAS dates are listed below for students in grades 6-8 and 9/10. The Department of Education is allowing students that are fully remote in grades 6-8 to take their MCAS exams either online or come in person on the scheduled testing days. More information will be forthcoming.

Students in grades 9 who are enrolled in a full year Biology course and all 10th graders must take the MCAS ELA and Math on the dates listed below. All MCAS for students in grades 9/10 MUST be taken in person; regardless of your current learning mode.

All MCAS tests will begin promptly at 7:45 a.m. on the scheduled date.

May 18th & May 19th: Grade 10 ELA

May 20th Grade 6 & 7 ELA

May 21st Grade 8 ELA

May 24th Grade 8 Math

May 25th Grade 6 & 7 Math

May 26th & May 27th Grade 10 Math

May 28th Grade 8 STE

June 1st & 2nd Grade 9 Biology


Scheduling for the 2021-2022 School Year

Believe it or not, we are in full scheduling mode for next year. Please see below for information regarding scheduling meetings and deadlines.

Current Grades 8-11:

All courses have been inputted and schedules will be run over the next 2 weeks

Current Grades 6-7:

Scheduling meetings with students will take place during Block 8 next week

Current Grade 5:

Scheduling meetings for parents and students of incoming 6th-grade students will take place on Wednesday, May 12th at 6:30 pm. This meeting will be held virtually for both parents and students.

Meeting Link: Incoming Grade 6 Scheduling Night

Class of 2021 Important Information and Updates


Celebrate a Senior

A HUGE THANKS goes out to the Berlin/Boylston community for their help in creating an awesome Senior Gift Bag! So many businesses, families, and individuals contributed to the success of this endeavor.

A deep appreciation goes out to all of you for helping the Class of 2021 to feel special after an especially tough year.


Junior/Senior Prom

Tahanto’s prom will be held on Friday, May 14th at Fruitlands in Harvard. This is a reminder that students MUST be in attendance until 12:35 on May 14th. All dismissal notes must be handed into the main office by 8:00 am. Any student not in attendance will not be allowed to attend prom. No phone dismissals will be allowed.

Please note that on the day of the prom ALL attendees will be required to fill out a COVID-19 Safety Checklist Google Form.


All attendees are expected to follow all mask and safety protocols and procedures. Failure to do so will result in the attendee being asked to leave.



Counseling Office News and Resources

Middle School

Counseling Newsletter

High School News

Counseling Corner

Resources

Ms. Ford’s virtual office - A great place to find coping strategies



Important Clarification for Attendance

Beginning April 12th students who have chosen to learn in person are expected to attend school 5 days per week. In-person learners will not have access to live streaming if they are absent from school (unless COVID-related). Students who are live-streaming must follow the schedule and attend the entire class with their cameras on.

If a student stays home due to not feeling well, a parent may write a parental excusal which should be brought into the Main Office upon the student's return to school. If a live streaming student misses a class due to illness a parent must email an excusal note to Mrs. Boudreau at sboudreau@bbrsd.org.


School districts must take attendance for every student, every period regardless of the mode of learning. If your child is absent from school whether your child is remote or in person, please follow the same procedures:


  1. Call (508)869-2333 x 2303 to report your child absent. If your child is absent due to a medical appt. (doctor or dentist) please bring a note to the main office from the doctor’s office the next day your child is at Tahanto.


  1. If your child is going to be late to school for either remote learning or in-person please still call the above number and make us aware of this. Remote attendance will be taken within the first 10 minutes of class.


  1. Each student has 3 parental excusals that can be used during each semester for absences that are not subject to a doctor’s visit. To use parental excusal please write a note and have your child bring the note to the main office on the next day your child is in person at Tahanto.


If we do not receive a call notifying us of the absence, the secretaries in the main office will be contacting parents/guardians.


If you need further clarification or need to ask a question specific to your child’s attendance, please do not hesitate to contact Sue Boudreau at (508)869-2333 or send an email to sboudreau@bbrsd.org.


Athletics

Spring athletics are in full swing. It is so wonderful seeing all of our athletes outside and back on our fields. This week’s scores are below!

Varsity Girls Lacrosse defeated Monty Tech 13-9

Varsity Baseball defeated Narragansett 12-2

Varsity Softball lost to Narragansett 6-2

JV Softball lost to Narragansett 22-10

Boys Track lost to Ayer 83-53

Girls Track lost to Ayer 80-55


School Lunch

School lunch in the cafeteria is free to all students until 6/30/2022. Snack and extra meals are not included. Click here for more information.



Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org


Tahanto Office: 508-869-2333