BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

March 12, 2021

Superintendent's Office

I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all the parents and concerned community members that joined us at our March 9 School Committee meeting and we would like to commend our School Committee for making a very hard decision regarding our return to full-time in-person instruction.


As you may know, the BBRSD School Committee voted to have our elementary students return to a 5-day-a-week live instruction beginning April 5, 2021, and our middle/high school students will return on April 12. Please read our Re-Entry 2.0 Plan in its entirety here.


School principals will be sending out return-to-school questionnaires today. Please return these questionnaires no later than March 19, 2021, so we may fully prepare our return.


To see my PowerPoint presentation and read my closing remarks from that meeting in full, please click on the links above.


Jeff Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Town of Boylston News

The Town of Boylston Master Plan Committee, which includes Berlin-Boylston Regional School Committee Chairman James Spencer, has asked me to share the Master Plan Committee Survey with Boylston residents. The data they receive from this survey will be important to the town's future, as well as the Berlin-Boylston Regional School District.


Town of Boylston Master Plan Update Survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BoylstonMPSurvey

Department of Teaching and Learning


Please join us for this informative webinar sponsored by the Berlin-Boylston Regional School District and the Massachusetts Partnership for Youths.


Wednesday, March 17; 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Understanding Teen Depression (for parents, caregivers, and staff of pre-teen and teen youths)


Our teens need caring and educated adults like you! Join us on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 6:30 pm for the virtual workshop, Understanding Teen Depression. During this 90-minute event, licensed mental health clinician, Ari Cohen, will discuss how to recognize depression in teens, when and where to get help, communication techniques, and available community resources. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.


This event is intended for parents, guardians, school professionals, and any caring adult interested in learning more about teen mental health.


This event is facilitated by Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA), a national nonprofit based in Waltham, Massachusetts. FFDA’s mission is to help families recognize and cope with depression and bipolar disorder to get people well and prevent suicides. To learn more about their work, visit www.familyaware.org.


Zoom Registration:

You must register in advance for this meeting:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAuceyopzwiGdYEWVlbcVGTMnSPTx5RONwk


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Here are some quick links to materials that may be of interest: (from the FFDA)

· Managing Stress in the Workplace

· Resources for Coping with Stress: Fact Sheet and recorded webinars

· Overview of our Teen Depression Programs




Carol Costello,

Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

ccostello@bbrsd.org

Business Office

If you or someone you know is looking for part-time work with a great schedule, please consider joining the BBRSD Cafeteria Team as a Food Service Associate. Job information and details can be found here:

https://www.schoolspring.com/job.cfm?jid=3460870


We encourage parents to continue utilizing our free meals program! Lunch is free to all students, regardless of financial circumstances, through June 30, 2021. Please order your remote meals here. If you have questions about lunch please contact Lauren Staples, Director of Food Services at lstaples@bbrsd.org or 508-869-2333.


Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Technology Department

Once again Dell Technologies is offering our staff and families discounts on their products.


Dell's Semi-Annual Sale will launch on Thursday, 3.4 at 6:00 AM ET and run through 3.18 at 7:00 AM ET. Apply code SAVE17 at checkout for 17% off during this sale (exclusions apply).

Dell's Member Purchase Program now includes a new discount percentage on Dell and Alienware electronics & accessories! Members can save 10% on top tech accessories, including select monitors. Take advantage of this great offer to complete your tech setup.


As a reminder, these offers are available online at www.Dell.com/mpp/BBRSD

The District does not benefit from any sales from this site nor do we recommend one vendor over another, rather this is just offered as information that may potentially provide you with a better price for a Dell purchase.


Paul Mara, Director

pmara@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School

It was surprising to me to realize that Saturday marks one year since we first closed our doors due to the pandemic. What a stressful year it has been. For everyone. Nothing has been normal or routine since that day. I see the impact it is taking on staff. I know its impact on kids. And I hear the impact it is having on parents. It will be nice to take another step back towards what was once normal. Full return for five days represents a big step in that direction.


You should have received an email from the Superintendent of schools on Wednesday sharing our full return plan for April 5th. I have created an "abridged" version or a cheat sheet for everyone in the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) school of thought. The real short version is we are going to get children back five days a week starting on April 5th. We are all very excited about this! Families will have the option to go fully remote and live stream into the classroom. The remote Bridge program will be discontinued.


To continue to plan and make the decisions necessary for a full return, I have included this short survey here. We are looking for families to make a commitment to a model by midnight on 3/19.


In order to help you with your decision process, I have provided some additional information below and will host another Town Hall style webinar on Tuesday 3/16 at 6:30 to answer questions. It is the webinar format so you'll be stuck watching and listening to me but I will take questions through the Q&A format. I have planned for one hour but will stay until I get through all the questions or fall asleep trying. My intention is to record it for families who are unable to attend and share it the next morning. After that time, you can reach out to me with student-specific questions or if I can help in any way.


The big questions I have received that are not necessarily spelled out in the document linked above are:


Q: What are you going to do about lunches?

A: We will maintain the same lunch schedule, however, we are adding a second location for meals. One grade level will continue to use the gym as a gym-ateria, while the other grade will move to desks arranged 6 feet apart in the cafeteria. Students will always be assigned a space at least 6 feet apart when masks are taken off. The kitchen staff will consult with teachers to assign students tables near their friends. Assigned seats have the added benefit of expediting food delivery. If a seat isn't working out for your child we will revisit it.


Q: The drop-off and pick-up lines are already too long, what are you going to do when we have twice as many kids?

A: Great question! We are taking a two-pronged approach to this.

  • One, we have appropriated staff to supervise students in the cafeteria before and after school. We have room for 60 students so this has the potential of reducing the cars at drop-off by one-half. More details are below.

  • Second, we will be moving the car line further behind the school and will drop-off and pick-up in batches on the playground. This will allow time for multiple cars to stop and everyone to unload/load up at the same time. More details to follow...I have to save something for the next communication, this one is already getting long. I will also create a video with a simulated drive before we implement the change.


Before I move on, but while we are talking about arrival and dismissal, I did want to remind everyone of something I typically do in the fall. The most important thing to all of us at this time is that we get kids where they need to be safely and calmly. I know how frustrating it can be to sit in traffic for 20 minutes or to watch a student struggle to slowly get in or out of a car. Please be patient with one another, allow a car to take a left from Sewall into the school, be patient with the car in front of you and wait rather than drive around them on the playground. We are all here for the same reason and we will all get where we need to go. It is more important that we are modeling compassion and patience for our children.


Before and After School Supervision: Based on current arrival and dismissal times, the addition of twice as many students poses a problem for our system. In an effort to avoid congestion on Sewall Rd during arrival and dismissal, we are offering 1 hour of supervision before and 1 hour of supervision after school each day. This service is free of charge to families and will run from 7:15-8:15 and 3:00-4:00.

  • Before and After School Supervision is different than our traditional Before and After School programs. There will be no "programming" and students will be encouraged to come with something to do (book to read, arts and crafts project, electronic gaming, etc.) while being supervised.

  • Students will be supervised in the Gym with each student having their own table 6 feet from their neighbor. Our capacity is 60 students.

  • My request is for those families who choose to access these services, that they make the commitment to participate 5 days per week.

  • If we have over 60 students register, we will hold a lottery for seats and look for opportunities to expand the supervision if necessary. Families that do not get their requested after-school supervision will be given priority for the before-school supervision.

  • Please complete this form for each student you would like to attend.


Your child may come home or already come home noting that their classroom has more desks. We have started the gradual process of setting up one room at a time for a full return. Doing this now allows students and staff to become acclimated to the new space before filling it with students. It has the added benefit of allowing teachers to develop new routines and places for materials. Please note, that we are taking out much of the adult furniture to maximize the social distance between student desks. I feel confident saying we are providing a minimum of 5 feet in classrooms if all students return.


The week ahead:


  • Tuesday (3/16)

  • Wednesday (3/17)

    • No School PD Day

  • Thursday (3/18)

    • Cohort B Wear green for St. Patrick's Day!



Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

BES Office: 508-869-2200

Berlin Memorial School

BMS Re-entry (at last!)

Saturday will be the anniversary of the day I walked around our school telling staff to pack up supplies to work from home for “a couple of weeks”. We still laugh about that – those were simpler days.


As you know, we will be returning to full-time in-school learning starting Monday, April 5th. You can find the full “Reentry 2.0 plan” here. I’ve also created an abbreviated, BMS-focused document which you can find here.


As we plan for a full return, we will need to confirm the reentry plans for each BMS student. Our Return To School survey can be found here. It is a very short form, which asks simply for each child’s name, grade, teacher, and how the child will get to and from school. Do not worry if your transportation plans are different on different days – we are trying to confirm the numbers of students on each bus. If your child will use the bus on any day, make that your choice. We will continue to use School Dismissal Manager to manage daily plans.

It is essential that all forms are completed and submitted by Friday, March 19th. Worry not, I will send you several more “nagging” emails about this!


In order to help you better understand the changes we are making to facilitate this transfer, I will be hosting a BMS Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, March 16 at 6:30 PM. You can find the Zoom link that that event here. During this meeting, we will review plans for spacing in classrooms, lunch and recess plans, bus plans, and more! I hope to see you there.


Dates to Remember


  • Sunday, March 14 – Daylight Savings Time begins

  • Wednesday, March 17 – Professional Development Day (No school for kids)

  • Monday, March 22 – First Day of Spring Cook-out – Cohort A

  • Thursday, March 25 - First Day of Spring Cook-out – Cohort B

  • Friday, March 26th - Report Cards home - Cohort B

  • Monday, March 29th - Report Cards home - Cohort A

  • Friday, April 2 – Early Release Day – Dismissal at 11:45.

  • Monday, April 5 – Everybody back to school!


John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

BMS Office: 978-838-2417

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School

Re-Entry Survey

Tahanto Full Re-Entry Information

Please read the important letter below regarding Full Re-Entry beginning April 12th and complete the enclosed questionnaire re: re-entry decisions made by your family. We will need one questionnaire per child currently attending Tahanto. Deadline to submit your responses to the questionnaire is Friday March 19th.


Tahanto Re-Entry Questionnaire




TAHANTO SCHEDULE 3/15-3/19

Tahanto Full Re-Entry Information


Clothing Drive

The high school student council will be holding a clothing drive until Tuesday, March 30th. Please bring in any items you may have and put them in the boxes near the front office. We will also be in competition with West Boylston for this event! The school which brings in the most items will be awarded the FIRST EVER “Tahanto V.S. West Boylston Clothing Drive Championship” trophy (and bragging rights of course).

Let’s show the Lions that the STAGS are superior!


Monday, March, 15th at 6:30 pm, the Berlin-Boylston SEPAC will hold a General Meeting. To join, send a message to info.bbrsd.sepac@gmail.com for more details. For more information: http://www.sepac-berlin-boylston.org


Free Teen Depression Webinar

Join us on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 6:30 pm for the virtual workshop Understanding Teen Depression. During this 90-minute event, Arielle Cohen, a licensed mental health clinician, will discuss how to recognize depression in teens, when and where to get help, communication techniques, and available community resources. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.

This event is intended for parents, guardians, school professionals, and any caring adult interested in learning more about teen mental health.

This event is facilitated by Families for Depression Awareness (FFDA), a national nonprofit based in Waltham, Massachusetts. FFDA’s mission is to help families recognize and cope with depression and bipolar disorder to get people well and prevent suicides. To learn more about our work, visit www.familyaware.org.

Zoom Registration

When: Mar 17, 2021 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAuceyopzwiGdYEWVlbcVGTMnSPTx5RONwk


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


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


Senior Class Information

Class dues for Seniors are due NOW! Your dues are needed to cover expenses for yearbooks, prom, class gift, etc. Please contact Mrs. Hutchinson if you do not know if you owe money.

Science in Action

Engaging students in STEM. Biology students discover the mechanism for determining blood type (using artificial blood, of course!!...safety first!)

Celebrate a Senior

Help the Senior Class of Tahanto Class of 2021 celebrate this Spring in style! We are hoping to bring some joy to the 84 graduating seniors by sponsoring a gift bag for each student.

You can help us reach this goal by contributing something through the links below OR by sending a check to Tahanto PTO 1001 Main Street, Boylston, MA 01505 OR by using Paypal OR Venmo:

PayPal https://tinyurl.com/y2ru98k4

Venmo TahantoPTO


YARNSTORM

In collaboration with Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Tahanto Art presents Community, Connectedness, and The Legend of the Red String, an installation on view during the Yarnstorm Exhibition! Come view our school tree, which is adorned with student-created Origami, in this yarn-bombing exhibition which runs from January 16th - March 31st, 2021. Please read our statement about this important work below:


Drawing on the Japanese Legend of the Red String and themes of community, connectedness, and collaboration, the students at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School have created a site-specific art installation for Tower Hill Botanic Garden's exhibition, Yarnstorm. The Legend of the red string states that every person's pinky finger is tied to an invisible red string that will lead him or her to another person with whom they will make history. Although the string may get tangled, contracted, or stretched, as surely often happens, it will never break. While community activities, and even art exhibitions, have been looking differently since the start of 2020, it is important to remind ourselves that we are all still connected to one another. Students created works of origami that symbolized their experiences throughout quarantine, and although our strings might all be slightly stretched right now, our community is intact and continuing to create light.


For more information regarding this exhibition, please visit: https://www.towerhillbg.org/yarnstorm/

To reserve tickets online (in accordance with social distancing guidelines), please visit:

https://www.towerhillbg.org/admissions-confirmation/



Mindmatters Club Is Back!

The Mindmatters Team is finally here! Our team goal is to provide ways to educate students and staff on issues and information relating to mental health. The core focus is promoting mental wellness and shattering the stigma often attached to mental health issues.

If any students in grades 9-12 would like to join this team, please email Ms. Gardner at dgardner@bbrsd.org. You will then be sent an email for a future google meet which will be held Wednesdays OR after school when you are home. I look forward to hearing from you!


Travel Policy Revised

Revised: School Committee Policy on Travel during COVIDDear Parents/Caregivers,

In case you are not aware, the Berlin Boylston Regional School District is now following Governor Baker’s Travel Order for all Massachusetts residents/visitors. If you are traveling across state lines be sure to know the guidelines before you go as they often change. You can find them on the state government website by clicking on the Travel Order.

At this time, if you plan to travel during April break, in order to return to school/work, you must do one of the following:

  • Quarantine for a full 10 days, or

  • Produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. If not obtained before entry to Massachusetts, a test may be obtained after arrival. However, all such arriving travelers must immediately begin the 10-day quarantine until a negative test result has been received.

  • Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household is not required as long as the adult provides their negative PCR test results within 72 hours upon arrival or return to MA

If you are traveling or if your student becomes ill over school break and/or your student or someone else within the household tests positive for COVID19, please be sure to notify me at jsequeira@bbrsd..org prior to returning to in-person learning. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me



Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist



Immunization Requirements

The Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health along with the MA Immunization Information Systems, will once again be surveying the complete immunization status of all grade 7 students. Please ask your child's doctor to fax (508-869-6202) your child's immunization record as soon as possible.

This year, the State will also be surveying the immunization status of grade 11 students. Please ask your child's doctor to fax that to me at 508-869-6202 which is a confidential/dedicated fax line.

Please click here for important information



Questions? Contact Janet Sequeira, School Nurse at (508)869-2333 ext. 2303



Athletics

SPRING ATHLETIC SEASON STARTS MONDAY, APRIL 26.

Spring sports are set to start the day after April vacation.

More information will be shared in the coming weeks as it is made available.

Spring sign ups should start the last week in March.


Please make sure that student-athletes have Covid related supplies (masks, sanitizer, plenty of water) in their gym bags.


https://tahantoregional.rschoolteams.com/


Matt Porcaro

Athletic Director

Tahanto Regional

mporcaro@bbrsd.org



Important Clarification for Attendance

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.


This is a clarification for all parents/students. If you are scheduled to be in person for learning, you may not choose to learn remotely unless you are not feeling well in which case a parent would call the school nurse.


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 the nurse excuses the student's absence for the day and allows the student to study remotely, students in a different cohort should contact their teachers to let them know they are planning on studying remotely as they may not have access to the Google Meet links/materials needed to work remotely.


FREE SCHOOL LUNCH

School lunch in the cafeteria is free to all students until 6/30/2021. Snack and extra meals are not included. Click here for more information.

Tahanto Regional High School

1001 Main Street

Boylston, MA 01505

(508) 869-2333



Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org


Tahanto Office: 508-869-2333

Big picture

School Committee News

Moses Reed Tyler Scholarship Application


The 2021 Moses Reed Tyler Scholarship Application for eligible Berlin residents is now available. Please note the early deadline of March 31, 2021.

Click here to download the application