BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update
November 12, 2021
New Pupil Personnel Director Chosen
BBRSD is happy to announce that Mrs. Jannel Fitzpatrick (pictured below) has been appointed as the new Pupil Personnel Director for the district. Mrs. Fitzpatrick currently serves as our Special Education Coordinator for the Middle/High School and we could not be more pleased to have her join the Central Office team in January 2022.
Mrs. Karen Molnar, our current Pupil Personnel Director will be retiring in January 2022 after more than 30 years as an educator. We will miss Mrs. Molnar and her contributions to BBRSD but wish her all the happiness and fulfillment she deserves in her retirement.
Jeff Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Professional Development Offers Support to Staff and Students
The past year has taken its toll on students and staff, and, in response, the District has been offering workshops to staff in areas of mental health, wellness and social-emotional support both last year and this year. In September 2020, we began our partnership with MA Partnerships for Youth (https://massachusettspartnershipsforyouth.com). The organization provided several after-school workshops for the staff as well as Professional Development Day workshops and a virtual webinar for parents. Staff have also had options to independently select workshops that specifically speak to them, their roles, needs and interests. Our thanks go out to the Berlin Police Department, and Chief Thomas Galvin in particular, who initially recommended the organization to us as part of our partnership in the District Crisis Team. The Department also utilizes MPY for webinars related to mental health issues.
Prior to the start of school, Tahanto teachers participated in the MPY-sponsored workshop, "Setting Boundaries for a Sustainable Work-Life Balance in Times of Uncertainty". During the November Professional Development Day, elementary staff members participated in a webinar from MPY entitled "Caring for Ourselves is Caring for Our Students.” They also received additional training through an afternoon workshop entitled, "Digging into the Caring School Community at This Most Needed Time.” This workshop offered another layer of classroom response to our social-emotional learning curriculum. In addition, our elementary school psychologists and the adjustment counselor are working together to train new staff in our social-emotional learning curriculum so that they may join and serve as an additional support person in the classrooms.
As a part of the October Professional Development Day, all of the middle school teachers, special educators and support staff participated in a full day workshop with Sarah Ward, an internationally recognized expert on executive functioning. Ms. Ward presented a workshop entitled "Executive Functioning and the Middle School Student.” The purpose of the workshop was to provide skills and strategies to middle-school teaching staff so that they can better understand, identify and respond to the struggles of middle school students in their classrooms.
Our principals in each of the buildings are mindful about the well-being of their students and staff at each of the buildings and have been utilizing the school psychologists, adjustment counselors and guidance counselors to work with students, families and at times, staff, on a case by case basis. We are also fortunate to belong to the MA Interlocal Insurance Association (MIIA- www.emiia.org). Our membership affords staff numerous and varied free opportunities to participate in wellness and mindfulness-related programs from their homes.
Finally, I am reminded of the most recent workshop that took place at Tahanto during our November Professional Development Day. Several students in the high school health class had previously presented to their classmates a variety of relaxation tools and techniques such as meditation, muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and music therapy that they researched and learned as part of a class assignment. They were asked to create videos of their presentations on these techniques which were then shared with the Tahanto staff. It is a wonderful example of the power of student efficacy in recognizing and taking action to make a difference in the lives of their classmates and teachers.
Carol Costello, Assistant Superintendent
Budget Process Underway
The FY23 Budget Planning process is underway. District administrators and building principals are engaging in a review of their needs and will be preparing budget submissions near the end of the month. Data will be reviewed, assessed, and ultimately compiled into a Preliminary Budget Presentation at the December 14, 2021, School Committee meeting.
The preliminary presentation is an expenditure budget only, it does not factor in state aid or the minimum local contributions for each town that are used to calculate town assessments. That information is typically available in late January and incorporated into the Open Budget Hearing that will be held at Tahanto in February.
Further updates will be provided as the budget process moves forward.
Pupil Personnel Director Search
Following up on Superintendent Zanghi's communication above, I wanted to thank and recognize our Search Committee members for volunteering their free time for a couple of evenings to interview and evaluate candidates for this critical position.
Tahanto: Diane Tucceri (Principal) and, Kristina Cassidy (Speech-Language Pathologist)
Boylston Elementary: Ace Thompson (Principal) and Sherry Trainque (Elementary SPED Coordinator)
Berlin Memorial: Linda Checola (School Psychologist), and Sherry Trainque (BMS and BES)
SEPAC Representative: Jessica Meltzer
Central Office: Michelle Mancini (Administrative Assistant to Pupil Services Director), Carol Costello (Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning), Karen Molnar (Director of Pupil Services).
As you can see from above, we had broad representation across the schools and central office, in different roles across the district that interact with the Pupil Services Director position and these varied perspectives were valuable in our consideration of candidates.
Thanks again to participants for their time, feedback, and input throughout the process; it was essential, valued, and greatly appreciated.
Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations
Pupil Personnel Office
Test and Stay Program Update
We had a bumpy start with the test and stay program in September, and challenges getting the promised support from the state, but I am happy to say that we have been up and running with the program since October 18th in all three buildings. As of November 10th, we have done a total of 578 tests (Each child tests for about five days, depending on circumstances) and have had only 5 positives throughout the district. This means that over 100 students have been tested and were able to stay in school already this year.
Under last year’s rules, those same students would have been quarantined for 10 days. The amount of learning time that would have been lost for those students makes this program important, in spite of the difficult start to the year.
If you have not yet sent in permission for your child to participate in the test and stay if needed, you can go to this link to either give or deny permission to participate in the program: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma#consent
Preschool Information Virtual Meeting
Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 @ 6:30 p.m.
To join the meeting go to https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85169487744
The Berlin-Boylston Early Childhood Team will hold an informational meeting for parents of 2, 3, and 4-year-olds who are interested in our Preschool Programs.
The presentation will highlight the two early childhood programs in the district: · Berlin Memorial Integrated Preschool · Tahanto/Boylston Integrated Preschool
The presenters will be preschool teachers from each program. In addition, a Special Education Coordinator will present information on the referral process for special education screenings and evaluations.
A question and answer period will follow the presentations.
For additional information please see our website at www.bbrsd.org
Boylston Elementary School
At parent conferences last week, I was hearing of many parents with questions about students’ MCAS scores. I've attached my presentation about this topic to the school committee here. MCAS scores across the state were lower than in the past. I caution everyone from reading too much into the results. Remember that this test can't be compared to previous MCAS versions as it was modified for last year. Also, it was administered shortly after we returned to the building in full. At that time, students and staff were more focused on making students comfortable and establishing routines. This is where the focus belonged at the time.
Despite some lower performance on standards assessed by MCAS, our AIMSweb data shows that students were able to develop skills for learning at an appropriate pace. Please do not stress over students being given a lower designation than you may have anticipated. We have shared with staff, the standards that will require additional attention when the topics are revisited this year. If you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
We are a little behind on our annual Gift of Giving Tree this year. Our Adjustment Counselor, Gloria Pierce, has taken over the responsibility. She has been reaching out to families here in Boylston that may be in need. If you haven't heard from her but think you should please reach out to her. Rather than a tree with specific gifts as we have done in the past, we are again collecting gift cards to assorted grocery stores, stores, and of course online shopping platforms. If you are interested in donating please send in the cards, in an envelope with Mrs. Pierce's name on it.
The BEF has asked me to share the following:
"The BEF Gobble Wobble 5K is fast approaching! Pre-register here.
All runners, walkers, wobblers, and gobblers are welcome! Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Boylston Food Pantry.
When: Saturday, November 20th at 8:30 AM
Where: Boylston Town Common
Age/Grade Categories: K-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12 & adult
**Race Day Registration: $30 for all registrants**"
I'm told that if you sign up by the end of the day, you can enter to name our turkey friend here! Just send an email to the BEF with the name recommendation. I like "Turkey McTurkface" but the kids just roll their eyes at me when I suggest it.
Ace Thompson, Principal
BES Office: 508-869-2200
Berlin Memorial School
Just a few notes for you as we readjust to the time change!
Veterans Day Program
We held our annual Veterans Day program on Wednesday, November 10th. While we weren’t able to welcome members of the community to join us, we were - with the assistance of our friends at Berlin Cable Access - able to live stream the event!
Our fourth and fifth-grade students did an outstanding job, and I am pleased that you will be able to watch the performance by clicking here. A special thanks to Audrey Thompson, our Music/Chorus teacher, and Jackie Bruss, our Instrumental teacher, for all their hard work in putting this event together.
November Turkey Trot
We are planning our annual Turkey Trot for the last day before Thanksgiving break. In an outdoor event, we are freed from having to worry about masking and distancing needs and can focus on just having fun.
We will keep you posted on the details of this event - it’s something the kids really look forward to!
A quick note to say thank you to all the parents who participated in conferences this year. Our teachers work hard to prepare for this evening, and the result is a productive conversation about students and learning. Please know that we are always available should questions arise at other times during the school year.
We continue to participate in the “Test & Stay” program here at BMS. I send out an email every time we have a member of our school community test positive so that everyone feels they know what is going on. Sadly, that has meant several emails over the past week, which I’m sure has been a little annoying. When they stop it will give new meaning to the phrase, “No news is good news.”
Have a great week!
John Campbell, Principal
BMS Office: 978-838-2417
Tahanto Regional Middle/High School
TERM 1 GRADES AVAILABLE IN POWERSCHOOL!
Term 1 grades are now posted to PowerSchool. If you have any issues with login, please contact Amanda MacDonald in the counseling office.
This is a great time to sit down with your child/ren and discuss how they thought Term 1 went in regards to grades, effort, friendships, homework completions, etc. Reflection is a great way to think about what we have done, create a plan for those things we would like to change, and move forward in the direction of self-improvement.
Remember that teachers are available after school once a week to help your child in their subject area. If your child is having trouble keeping track of things, homework completion or study habits please contact either Mr. Picariello or Mrs. Rodman in the counseling office for assistance.
November 18th: NJHS 8th Grade Induction Ceremony
November 24th: Early Release
November 25th-26th: No School
Beginning Monday, November 15 - Monday, November 22, High School Student Council will be hosting our annual Thanksgiving Food Drive to support both local Tahanto families with thanksgiving meal baskets, and additional items donated to both Berlin and Boylston Food Pantries. As we are all aware, COVID has not only impacted us emotionally and educationally, but it has also impacted many families on a financial level. Therefore, donations at holidays really can help a family struggling financially have a Thanksgiving that is memorable. As you prepare and plan your own family's grocery trips this coming week, please consider supporting other local families with grocery store gift cards or a food item. Thank you in advance for all of your ongoing supports for our students and families in our local community. Donations can be left at Tahanto in the shopping carts found in the cafeteria.
The food pantries have shared that they are specifically looking for:
Coffee (10 oz cans)
Canned whole hams (not ground)
Cream of mushroom, chicken, etc.
Welcome back, Nurse Sequeira! A huge thank you to Janet Sequeira for coming in to be our substitute nurse during this transitional period. Stay tuned for our welcome email regarding our new school nurse!
Cold season is upon us...we are accepting tissue donations in the nurses’ office! Donations are greatly appreciated and can be placed in the bin outside the nurses’ office.
Just a reminder that if your child is not feeling well, please keep them home and notify the nurse
BBRSD COVID-19 Test and Stay Program
Below please find two very important forms regarding BBRSD's COVID-19 Test and Stay program. Please note that for your child to participate in the Test and Stay program a student consent form MUST be filled out and signed by a parent/guardian. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
1. Letter regarding Test and Stay COVID-19 Program
2. Student Consent Form
School districts must take attendance for every student, every period. If your child is absent from school please follow the procedures below:
Call (508)869-2333 and Press option 1 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.
If your child is going to be late for school please still call the above number and make us aware of this.
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 your child is being dismissed from school, a written dismissal note must be handed in to the main office by 8:00 a.m. Telephone dismissals will not be accepted.
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 Kathleen Angiulo at (508)869-2333 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Winter Sports Registration is now open.
Click on 2021-2022 Winter Athletic Registration and follow the directions.
Tahanto Regional High School
1001 Main Street
Boylston, MA 01505
Diane Tucceri, Principal
Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal
508-869-2333 ext. 2100 Tahanto Office