BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

October 30, 2020

Superintendent's Office


Dear Families and Staff,


Let it snow, let it...what?! It cannot be time for me to begin thinking about the dreaded question that sends fear into the hearts of all Superintendents: “Should I or shouldn’t I call a snow day?” Mother Nature has reminded us that it is never too soon to start thinking about these things in New England. And so, here is how we will handle snow days in 2020 (and 2021).


The good news is that the MA Commissioner of Education has allowed all school districts in the Commonwealth to count remote learning days as school days in the event of a “snow day” for only this school year. That means that no additional days will be added at the end of the school year. (The exception would be a severe storm in which power lines prohibit access to any communication. In this case, snow days would need to be made up). Principals will be in touch with further details next week.


As always, I will notify families and staff via School Messenger as soon as possible, in the event we are planning a "remote learning day." I will also do my best to notify everyone involved the day before, so that all parties may begin to plan accordingly. I would like to think that we had at least a few more weeks to think through all of this, but that’s the way this year seems to be rolling!


Our Continuing Focus on Reopening Schools Full Time


This brings me to my next important topic, which is our eye on reopening schools full time. As I have said many times, we are constantly working toward the goal of bringing our students back to school in a full-time, face-to-face model. This week, I am sending you an article from the CDC entitled, “The Importance of Reopening Schools this Fall,” and why I believe this is so important for the well-being of our students. Though the medical issues are still being discussed and debated, the detrimental impact, socially, emotionally, and academically, is undeniable. As educators, we understand, too well, the negative impact for students who do not have direct contact with their teachers on a regular basis.


With the numbers of reported cases in each of our towns increasing, we must continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC, the Department of Health, and DESE. This week was the perfect example of decision-making around strategically closing the middle/high school while keeping the elementary schools open. These decisions must be made on a school-by-school basis and in consultation with the medical experts.


This also means that, while our towns may move into red, our guidelines tell us that we must remain there for at least three weeks before moving to a fully remote model. We will also be monitoring our district to determine if the high case numbers are appearing in our schools rather than the community at large. If we do not have cases in our schools, we will give careful consideration to weighing the risks and analyzing the data before we close them.


Again, we will continue to look at the data, read research-based reports and articles related to the reopening of schools, and consult with the Department of Public Health, the Board of Health, DESE, and our school nurses to inform our decision-making.


Thank you, and enjoy a safe weekend.


Respectfully,




Jeffrey Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Department of Teaching and Learning


Greetings,


On Wednesday, November 4th, all staff in the Berlin-Boylston Regional School District will participate in the second scheduled Professional Development Day of this school year. This is a reminder that there will be NO SCHOOL for students on that day, including synchronous and asynchronous instruction and class meetings.


This year, in particular, and even prior to going out last spring as a result of the pandemic, members of the teaching staff have been asking for additional workshops that address issues related to mental health and the social and emotional well-being of students. Our new partnership with MA Partnership for Youth has afforded us the opportunity to bring experts in the field to our staff and, in our new learning environment, we are able to do so through virtual presentations.


Our first two presentations this year come from experts in the field of addressing anxiety in the classroom. David Gotthelf, Ph.D., NCSP, is a licensed psychologist provider as well as a licensed school psychologist and special education administrator. His areas of interest and expertise developed during this time include assessment and treatment of executive functioning, management of anxiety, and high functioning ASD. Dr. Gotthelf will be speaking on Anxiety and School Performance.


Sheila Gauch is the Principal of Dearborn Academy, chairperson of her local Special Education Parents Advisory Council, and founder of Mass Coalition for PANS/PANDAS Legislation. Dr. Gauch will be speaking on the Neuroscience of Anxiety.


Below is a link to an article shared by Sheilah Gauch as well as a recent article published through Educational Leadership that I have sent along to staff and wanted to share with parents as well. The first article relates specifically to the anxiety that caregivers may be facing at home. Although the second article pertains to teachers, there are takeaways that may be of value to parents as well, as well as additional resources listed at the bottom of the article.


https://medium.com/@sgauch/caregiving-in-a-pandemic-when-the-professional-and-personal-collide-dearborn-academy-a0851721f0a7


http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/summer20/vol77/num10/Maintaining-Connections,-Reducing-Anxiety-While-School-Is-Closed.aspx


I will be planning virtual presentations for parents later in the school year. Please watch for those opportunities in this section of the newsletter as well as through your building principals and parent-teacher organizations.




Carol Costello, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

ccostello@bbrsd.org

Business Office


Remote Meal Pickup Update


Remote meal pickup will be offered at Boylston Elementary School on Monday, November 2nd from 1pm-2pm (for students in Cohort B) and on Wednesday, November 3rd from 1pm-2pm (for students in Cohort A). This is a temporary change for this week.


Please fill out the order form prior to picking up here.


Pick up directions:

Please drive up to the front/main entrance of the school. Please stay in your vehicle and wait for the food service staff to come to your vehicle. Please email Jenny Wright, kitchen manager with any questions coordinating pickup at jwright@bbrsd.org.


If pickup at Boylston Elementary creates a hardship for your household, please reach out to Lauren Staples, Food Service Director lstaples@bbrsd.org for assistance.


All remote meals are free to all students in the district.


Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School


Our survey on your child's educational experience this year closes on Sunday. I'd love to hear from everyone!


This whole new way of learning has been an adjustment for us all. One of the hardest parts is figuring out how to do those specials events we have always done. Fortunately, this week, we found a way. Thanks in no small part to Mrs. Sullivan (the librarian) and Mrs. Avery, we were able to host a virtual author’s visit! Author Nancy Krulik zoomed in with our 3rd grade to read aloud and talk to them about the writing process. This is the type of thing we would do with ease but took more logistical thought this time around. It was great to have the remote kids and in-person kids all sharing the same experience!



Other things did not go as planned. Unfortunately, we were unable to have our reverse parade Halloween celebration. With the amount of rain and the need for electric cords, it just didn't seem like a safe idea. We did however get some great pumpkins and I was able to collect some pictures of kids in their costumes! I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween this weekend!



A reminder that next Thursday is Parent-Teacher Conferences. Cohort A and remote Bridge students will have ½ days worth of assignments. Cohort B will have an early dismissal. We will start the dismissal process at 11:25 with the plan/hope of being done by 11:45. We will be doing these via Zoom so you should have received signup from your child's teacher. Each conference should run for about 15 minutes. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let your child's teacher know ahead of time. This will ensure they have the information you need ahead of time.



The Week Ahead: Specials Week 2

  • Monday (11/2)

    • School Council

  • Tuesday (11/3)

    • Bobcat Pride Day!

  • Wednesday (11/4)

    • No School - PD Day

  • Thursday (11/5)

    • Early Dismissal for Parent-Teacher Conferences

    • Dismissal will begin at 11:25

  • Friday (11/6)

    • Bobcat Pride Day!




Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

Berlin Memorial School

School Feedback Survey

For those who may not have had time to complete is, our school survey remains open. We are trying, now that we are into the end of October, to get a sense of how things are going while we are in this hybrid model. The survey, which you can find here, must be completed by Sunday, November 1st at 12:00pm. Thank you!


Halloween Parade

Our Halloween Parades (both of them) were a great success! The rain predicted for Thursday held off, and the kids were able to show off their costumes for family and friends. We were all very pleased to take this chance to have a little fun! Thanks to everyone who was able to turn out and fill the role of the audience!


Parent-Teacher Conferences

Another COVID first – Zoom Parent-Teacher conferences. Conference Day this year is Thursday, November 5th. You should have received a Signup Genius form from your child’s teacher to schedule conferences. You should schedule your conference as soon as possible. Each conference will run about 15 minutes in length. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let your child’s teacher know ahead of time.


Book Fair, 2020!

Our Book Fair is coming up! The Fair runs from Monday, November 2 through Friday, November 6. There is any number of ways you can participate in this favorite event – you can find a flyer with answers to all your questions here. In addition, LINK has shared a “teacher wish list” for those of you who are interested. You can find that list here.


A note from the Nurse…

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

Despite the cold and rainy weather, our Flu Clinic was a great success. We vaccinated approximately 115 community members.

Just a friendly reminder to please continue to refer to the Daily Screen Symptom Checklist and use the COVID & Kids for what to do if your child is feeling unwell and/or is exhibiting any COVID-19 like symptoms. The Berlin-Boylston school district has returned to school protocols that must be followed prior to your child returning to school after being out sick. If you have any questions, please give me a call.

Enjoy the festive weekend, but please be sure to Wear Your Mask, Wash Your Hands, and Watch Your Distance.

Stay well and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Ana Amaral, BSN, RN, NCSN

AAmaral@bbrsd.org



John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

Tahanto Regional Middle High School


SCHOOL FEEDBACK SURVEY

It has now been slightly over a month since our students returned to school (hybrid and remote). In an ongoing effort to learn and adapt our procedures and educational experience during this challenging time, we are soliciting feedback, as a school, from our parents. There are questions on this survey that may or may not pertain to your current experience, however, we ask that you please answer as many questions as possible. Please fill out one survey per student. Surveys must be completed by Sunday, November 1st at 12:00 pm. We look forward to learning from you. Thank you!

Tahanto School Feedback Survey


After School Extra Help & Late Bus

We are writing to share the news that Tahanto will be introducing an after school bus starting on November 3, 2020. The hope is that it will provide a convenient option for students who might otherwise not be able to stay after school, to receive extra help from their teachers.

When will the bus run?

The bus will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with pickup at Tahanto at 3:15 pm. Travel time is estimated to be 30 - 35 minutes.

Where will the stops be located?

The bus will transport students to the following “cluster” stops in Berlin and Boylston:

  • Boylston Public Library (695 Main Street, Boylston)

  • Calliope Theatre (150 Main Street, Boylston)

  • Berlin General Store (19 Central Street, Berlin)

  • US Post Office (260 Pleasant Street, Berlin)

On Tuesdays – the bus will go to the Berlin stops first, and then the Boylston stops

On Thursdays – the bus will go to the Boylston stops first, and then the Berlin stops

**Please check your teacher's websites and Google Classrooms for specific days that your child's teachers will be available after school. If extra help is needed on a Monday or Wednesday, personal transportation must be provided.



State Mandated Flu Vaccination

All students in grades Pre-K to Grade 12, enrolled in the Berlin/Boylston Public Schools, are required to receive the flu vaccine by December 31, 2020

Please click here for important information



Did you fill out the required school forms?

Attention Parents and Students. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to read our Handbook and sign off that you have done so. The Consent forms as well as the Health Screening forms should be signed off as soon as possible. If you have not returned the Extra-Curricular form, that also needs to be returned as soon as possible. We thank you for your attention to this.



Free School Lunch

School lunch in the cafeteria is free to all students until 12/31/2020, or until federal funding is depleted. Snack and extra meals are not included. Click here for more information.



Halloween Announcement for Boylston Residents

As promised the Boylston Police Union, Fire Association, and Lions Club will be holding an alternative trick or treating experience for the Boylston kids (grade 8 and under)

During trick or treating hours (3 pm-6 pm on Halloween), we will have a drive-through trick or treating 4 locations at Tahanto, Fire Department, Police Department at Hillside, and Boylston Elementary School.


Families can pull up one car at a time and the kids can hop out and grab a bag of candy. All the bags will be pre-filled ahead of time and only the bags for each car will be on the table at any time.


There are a few rules we all need to follow:

1. Drive through only, no foot traffic and no loitering

2. Distancing must be observed

3. Masks must be worn at all times

We are really excited to see all the costumes and happy we can make sure the kids can still have a fun and healthy trick or treating experience this year.


School Pictures

This year school pictures will only be taken for incoming Grade 6 students, both remote and hybrid, new students to the district, and any senior needing a photograph for the yearbook due to COVID protocols and restrictions we have in place.

Grynn and Barrett will be at Tahanto on 11/17 and on 11/19 and will follow the schedule below.

11/17/20-Cohort A (Last name A-Leb)

8:30-9:00 Full Remote students in Grade 6

8:30-9:00 Full Remote students new to the district

9:00-9:15 Any Senior needing a senior photo

9:15-10:15 Grade 6 Cohort A In-person


11/19/20-Cohort B (Last name Lee-Z)

8:30-9:00 Full Remote students in Grade 6

8:30-9:00 Full Remote students new to the district

9:00-9:15 Any Senior needing a senior photo

9:15-10:15 Grade 6 Cohort B In-person

More information to come as we get closer to the date!



PTO ANNUAL WREATH SALE

Click STAAGS PTO Wreath Sale Order Information to order your holiday decor now!



Counselors Corner

IMPORTANT!! AP Exam Registration Information

Please click HERE for important information regarding Spring 2021 AP Exam Registration

Please click HERE to view the latest information from the School Counseling Department

Parents of high school students, please make sure that your email address is up to date in Naviance. This will allow you to receive up to date information from Mrs. Rodman.


Powerschool

Are you or your child having trouble logging onto your PowerSchool? Parents, do you need an account set-up? We encourage parents and students to have their own accounts. With that said, please reach out to Mrs. Esposito with any account-related concerns at besposito@bbrsd.org.


As a friendly reminder, we DO NOT send home report cards. All grades can be viewed on PowerSchool. If you have multiple children in grades 6-12, parents can view each of their child’s information from one account.


Have you logged into PowerSchool but are unable to see grades? At the very top of the screen, above the student’s name there is a tab for Grades and Attendance, select the tab for them to appear. (This is different from the tab on the left-hand menu bar). Anything in blue, you can click on and it will provide detailed information like classwork, grades for an assignment, and days absent from the class. Your child’s teacher email information is also provided, should you need to reach them with any questions or concerns.



Attendance Information/Clarification

We know that attendance procedures during our hybrid model of learning can be confusing so we are hoping that this email helps to clarify attendance requirements for the 2020-2021 school year. Regardless of what mode we are in, hybrid, fully remote, or all in, attendance is treated the same way.


According to The Massachusetts Department of Education, “Schools and districts must take daily attendance whether a student is in person or remote.” Consequently, “Parents/caregivers are responsible for ensuring their child attends school every day, whether for in-person or remote learning. Schools and districts must continue to investigate extended absences and make and document reasonable efforts to locate the student and determine the reason for nonattendance.”


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.


I have attached a document that explains our attendance policy in detail from our 2020-2021 Student Handbook.


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.



Live streaming-Notice to Parents

Teachers may choose to live stream their instruction to students who are learning remotely. This means live video and audio coverage of a class would occur. Teachers have been instructed that the video is directed at them or their instructional tools. However, student voices and/or images may be heard and/or seen on the live stream during class instruction.

Teachers who choose to live stream will post a sign on their classroom door alerting students that audio recording will occur.


A disclaimer will be added to the Google Meet and/or Zoom when a class is being live-streamed.


Upcoming Events


Week of 11/2/20-11/6/20 EVEN WEEK (High School Only) *

Wednesday 11/4/20 is a Professional Day for staff and therefore there will be no classes for students.


Cohort A (Last name A-LeB) you are at Tahanto in person on Monday, Tuesday and remote Wednesday-Friday


Cohort B (Last name Lee-Z) you are remote Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and at Tahanto in person on Thursday & Friday



Please remember that whether you are in person or remote your classes will follow the same schedule. The school day runs from 7:35 a.m. until 2:15 p.m.



School Nurse Information


Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist


State Mandated Flu Vaccination

Please click here for important information


A reminder: All students in Grades 7 and 10 are required, by the state, to have an up to date physical on file in the Health Office. Please send one in with your child, or you can email or fax the physical as well.


A big thank you to all parents/guardians and students, for the constant vigilance that you all have shown in following the safety rules and guidelines. Parents are keeping their children home when ill, and are informing myself or the administration, of any concerning situations. Students seem to be settling in and becoming more comfortable, but still abiding by all guidelines. I have had many questions from parents and students and I welcome any you may have as we navigate through this time together.


If your student is not feeling well, and you are not sure what to do, please call so that we can talk about his/her illness and make a plan.


A student who is not feeling well enough to attend school but is able to participate remotely should email all of his/her teachers to let them know. The teacher will then adjust the attendance and will mark them remotely present. As long as they are marked present in classes remotely, they will not be marked absent for the day.


For important information to help you along the way, the nurses now have a District Health Services site. You can find it by going to the district page, clicking on the administration tab, and choosing the health services option. You can also find it here.


I hope your week is easier and is a good one for you.

Take good care,


Janet Sequeira

Email: jsequeira@bbrsd.org

Health office fax: 508-869-6202

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j2cxMfhYMtVxI_Qgn-KVtzAU9Rpf8Vn-CNynaTSq8ws/edit?usp=sharing



Athletics



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


Look to the athletic website for scores and updates. https://tahantoregional.rschoolteams.com/


Matt Porcaro

Athletic Director

Tahanto Regional

mporcaro@bbrsd.org





Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally-Ann Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org