Back to School Newsletter

August 2020

A Note to our Families

Milford High School has been a busy place as we have prepared for the safe and successful start to the new school year!


When our school board gave us the green light in early August to move forward and design a school year based on a hybrid and remote model, the custodians, food service, secretarial staff, IT team, and administrators kicked it into high gear to put all the logistical pieces into place.


This past week, the teachers joined us to add in the academic pieces.


We are excited to welcome back our remote and in-person students as we work together to make this school year one of engagement, exploration, and growth.


I hope you find this newsletter useful as your student plans to return to MHS. In many ways, we are building a "new school". We've had little time to put it together, and we are all working hard to cover all the important details. While your patience is valued by all, we'd also like to make sure that we answer your questions. Be sure to reach out to us if we haven't covered everything in the letter. We'll answer if we can, or let you know we are still figuring it out.


Thank you for your continued kindness and support,

Principal Davis

The First Day(s) of School

September 9th - Freshmen Orientation

September 10th - First day of school for "A" day students.

September 11th - First day of school for "B" day students.


Last week, you should have received an email from Principal Davis with your student's A day or B day designation. Please contact your student's school counselor or the student services dept. if you have not received that information.


Please follow the link below to obtain a calendar for the school year, which lays out all of the A and B days.

FRESHMEN ORIENTATION!

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th 7:30 am - 2:00 pm


For our hybrid students, we will run a freshman orientation. The purpose of the orientation is for students to learn their way around the building and learn the new protocols around safety and sanitation.


Freshman Orientation will take place in two sessions:

A Day Students 7:30-10:00

B Day Students 11:30-2:00


Before freshmen come: Students and their parents should self-assess for symptoms of Covid-19 before coming to the orientation. If symptomatic, a student should not attend school, and the parent should notify the main office of their child's absence.


What to expect upon arrival: When students arrive, they will be asked to pause at one of our temperature takers. Masks are required at all times while on school property (other than when eating or taking a designated mask break); we will provide one to students who do not have one.


Our remote students are an important part of our high school, and we will set a date in the near future for an orientation to high school that will let them know in detail all the ways they can stay connected!

STUDENT SCHEDULES

Student schedules will be available through the PowerSchool portal by late afternoon, Thursday, September 3rd.


Parents were notified last week of their student's "A" or "B" day assignment.


Due to the importance of balancing classes and the limitation of classroom capacity, we will not be able to entertain schedule change requests except in the most exceptional circumstances (i.e. accidental reschedule of a class, a class cancelled due to low enrollment).


Please know that we have spent DAYS hand scheduling students in order to balance classes and follow physical distancing protocols. Our decision to not change student schedules or days except in the most extreme situations is based on our inability to manage schedule change requests due to the time intensive nature of the task and the domino effect that each change creates.

PHASE TWO RETURN TO SCHOOL: September 10th - September 25th

In phase #2, students begin the school experience on-campus, hybrid, or fully remote. This two-and-a-half-week time period will focus on

  • providing teachers, students, and families an opportunity to meet one another
  • developing relationships and rapport
  • checking-in on technological resources needed
  • focusing on social-emotional-mental health
  • meeting basic needs
  • teaching safety measures and health protocols
  • and sharing routines and expectations for new classes


During this time, we will be launching the SEL program, Choose Love, to address the social-emotional-mental health needs of both our faculty/staff and student body as we transition into a new way of doing school. We will follow this program over a 6 week period.


During this time we will also kick off our academic year, making sure to get a strong start in covering the curriculum.

Remote & Hybrid Models

Our remote and hybrid students are important members of our MHS community. Because on-campus time will be limited, we will seek to find ways for students to stay involved.


Our REMOTE STUDENTS will be learning in a variety of ways:

~homeschooling or an alternative online school

~VLACs

~taking a synchronous or asynchronous class taught by an MHS teacher

~a combination of the above


Our HYBRID STUDENTS will attend in-person classes two days per week. The other two days they will be working from home.


A day students will attend in person on Mondays and Thursdays.

A day students will learn remotely on Tuesdays and Fridays.


B day students will attend in person on Tuesdays and Fridays.

B day students will learn remotely on Mondays and Thursdays.


WIN "What I Need" Wednesdays are a remote day; teachers are available to offer extra help, in person or remotely from 8:00 am -11:00 am. WIN days offer the opportunity for:

-students to receive extra help

-students to serve an academic or discipline detention

-teachers, parents, and students to meet

-school counselors to meet with students


While students are welcome to meet with their teachers in person, there is no district transportation on WIN Wednesdays.


Our remote model will look very different from what students experienced in the spring. In the spring, we were responding to an emergency situation. Now, we are planning for this new teaching and learning model. Expectations will be high for students to be productive on their in-home days. Teachers will be providing engaging remote lessons, and students should expect a full school day's worth of work.


If students are attending in the hybrid model, they should not be working shifts on their remote days. Teachers may ask them to join their in person class or ask them to participate in group assignments with other remote day students.


If a student comes for their in-person day, and it is evident that he/she did not do the remote work, teachers will enter an "NP" - not prepared into that prior day's attendance. This is a signal to parents that their student has not followed through on the academic expectations for the remote day. A second "NP" will result in students being assigned an academic detention on a Wednesday. Please keep an eye on your student's attendance to make sure he/she is arriving prepared for the in-person days.


*please check the calendar linked above for slight adjustments to the calendar necessitated by holidays, etc. For example, see the week of Oct. 12th and Nov. 2nd.

MEET OUR NEW TEACHERS!

CANVAS

Canvas is our new Learning Management System (LMS) that will replace Google Classroom. Teachers and administrators and paras will be training this week and setting up their online classrooms. Once we've all learned how to use it, we will be offering parent workshops. This new LMS will facilitate the home school communication and hopefully provide an easy-to-navigate platform for parents who want to stay up-to-date on their student's school work.

CHROMEBOOKS

Students in our hybrid model will be assigned a Chromebook during the first

days of school.


If remote students do not have a device available for their work at home, please fill out this form to request a Chromebook.


The district is working on getting the paperwork together for families; insurance will be available at a nominal cost. You will be updated as we receive additional guidance and information.


We understand that some students may not have access to a Chromebook at home for the first remote day on Sept. 10 or 11. Please fill out THIS FORM if we need to assign your student a Chromebook earlier due to him/her not having access to a computer/laptop at home. They will likely be handed out on Wednesday, Sept. 9th.

IT DEPARTMENT

Our IT department has worked tirelessly behind the scenes preparing for this upcoming school year. We are grateful that they had the foresight to order Chrome books last spring so we could receive them at the beginning of this school year. They have set up our online registration and prepared Canvas to be rolled out in time for the return of students. Thank you, Jerry, Kevin, Janet, and Cody!

SCHOOL BREAKFASTS & LUNCHES

The food service department will be providing "take home" breakfast packages once per week for families that request them. Students can thus start their day with a healthy breakfast at home. More details to follow.


Lunch will be served in the cafeteria. Students will eat at desks 6 feet apart both in the cafeteria and half of the gymnasium. Students must use their ID to buy lunches; no cash will be taken at the registers. A drop box will be provided in the cafeteria for deposits into student lunch accounts.

BUS TRANSPORTATION

When parents indicated their remote or hybrid choice, they were also asked if they intended to have their student use bus transportation. For all those who indicated that their student would ride the bus, the bus company was notified, and bus routes are being created now. If you have had a change in transportation needs, you must notify the MHS main office immediately. Cathy McCarthy will be able to help you.

SPORTS & EXTRA CURRICULARS

The opportunity to participate in sports and other extra curricular activities is an essential part of a vibrant school program.


Many of our club advisors still plan to meet with their clubs. Clubs will be able to come together via Zoom or Hangouts, or they can meet outside after school. Once the school year gets going, we will be sharing more information with our students regarding these activities.


Many of the MHS sports teams have had the opportunity to participate in group conditioning this summer.



Athletics: Beginning September 8th, the Milford School District will allow NHIAA approved sports to be played. In order to offer our varsity athletes a competitive season while balancing team and school safety, a small league of southern schools has created a joint plan. The Southern Cluster of schools includes: Campbell, Hollis-Brookline, Milford, Pelham, Sanborn, and Souhegan.


Varsity level competitions will occur with a revised local game schedule utilizing strategies to reduce potential risks to participants and communities. The recommendations and directives of the NHIAA, CDC, and the NH DHHS were carefully followed throughout the development of this regional plan.


Sub-Varsity level teams will be allowed to practice, train, and compete intra-squad through October 1st. At that time, the Southern Cluster of schools will consider adding inter-scholastic sub-Varsity competitions into the plan.


Coaches will reach out to their athletes to coordinate their return to play. Many teams have been already conditioning; other teams will begin now that they have been cleared to move forward and prepare for a season.

Grading, Reporting, & Deadlines in the Hybrid~Remote Model

We believe that student accountability must be kept high, and we also understand that attending school in a hybrid~remote model will present some challenges. Teachers and administration believe that the lack of structure and deadlines was a detriment to student progress in the spring. The guidelines listed below help us to strike a balance between accountability and grace.

KEEPING STUDENTS & ADULTS SAFE: Safety Protocols

The district task force teams, following recommendations by the CDC and NH DHHS, have laid out safety protocols for a safe return to school. While the MSD reopening plan and the MHS Student Handbook Covid Addendum lay out safety protocols in greater detail (see links below), here is a highlight of how we plan to keep everyone safe:



  • Masks are to be worn while on the school premises. Masks may be removed when eating and during a designated mask break.
  • Families will be asked to assess their student(s) daily for symptoms of Covid-19. If a student is symptomatic, then the parent is asked to call in the absence and the reason for the absence. Unsure of symptoms? CHECK HERE.
  • Temperatures will be taken daily upon student and staff arrival.
  • Classrooms are set up to maximize physical distancing. Desks are placed a minimum of 6 feet apart.
  • Group work will be allowed for shorter periods of time; students are then allowed to be 3 feet apart.
  • Wiping down individual desks at the end of each class period will be a team effort by students and teachers.
  • Transition times will be closely monitored and structured to ensure safe traveling between classes.
  • Bathrooms will be cleaned every two hours and throughout the day, custodians will constantly be wiping down door knobs, entrance doors and push plates, and flat surfaces.

A Look at our Physically Distanced Classrooms

Suspected Covid-19 Protocol

If a student becomes ill at home, he or she should stay home and seek medical attention. If a student becomes ill at school, please see the link below for a flow chart to illustrate how the school will respond.


FLOW CHART

DAILY ARRIVALS and DISMISSALS

Arrivals

Students will be entering the building at different times.

  • Bus students will be dropped off and enter the building first, between 7:00 AM and 7:25. Bus students will enter through the side of the building (Door #6). Upon entering the building, students will have their temperature taken and proceed to the cafeteria or gym, where they will sit at socially distant desks. At 7:23 bus students will be dismissed to their A Block classrooms.

  • Walkers/drivers and parent drop offs will enter the building at 7:25, have their temperature taken and proceed to their A Block classrooms.

  • Senior drivers who park in the senior lot will enter the building through ATC Entrance (Door # 13)

  • Drivers who park on West Street, walkers and parent drop offs will enter the building through the front entrance (Door # 1)

DISMISSALS

Dismissal protocols are being developed and will be updated soon.

MIlford High School

Important Numbers

Student Services: 673-4523

School Nurse: 673-6102

Main Office: 673-4201