Amesbury Public Schools Update

From the Office of the Superintendent - November 5, 2021

Dear Amesbury Public School Families,

I hope that everyone is doing well and enjoying the brisk, fall weather. At our middle and high schools, we are approaching the end of the first quarter! Truly difficult to imagine. Thanksgiving Break is right around the corner.


At the end of last week, I celebrated the one year anniversary of serving as the Superintendent of Amesbury Public Schools. It is crazy to think how much we have all experienced in the last year. Whether serving as Acting Superintendent or as your “official” Superintendent, I have sincerely enjoyed working with a broader portion of our community. The last couple of months, I have been on my “Listening, Hearing, and Counting” Tour which has afforded me the opportunity to listen to so many different groups of people. I have been blown away by the honesty, the thoughtfulness, and the passion for our schools. I am beyond impressed with the commitment to helping our schools, supporting our staff, and finding ways to get things done. As I wind down my conversations with the stakeholders of Amesbury Public Schools, there are definitely themes that are emerging from the conversations. My Leadership Team and I will use those themes to develop a Strategic Plan for our district.


During Monday’s School Committee meeting, each of the principals, from the elementary level to the high school level, will share their School Improvement Plans with you. I am referring to this year’s plans as “bridge” plans. School Improvement Plans are supposed to tie directly to the Strategic Plan, drive the budget process, and link directly with the goals of the administrators and teachers. Next year’s School Improvement Plans will have a Strategic Plan with which they can align. This year’s plans will provide the foundation or connection between where we are now and where we want to go.


I want to thank everyone for continuing to do their part in helping to keep our school community safe. As we enter the cold and flu season, it is even more important that students who are not feeling well or are displaying COVID-like symptoms stay home. If you have any questions, please reach out to your school’s nurse for assistance.


Sincerely,


Elizabeth McAndrews

Superintendent


COVID Information

Vaccine Self Certification Survey

I have included the link so that any students, ages 12 and up, is able to attest that they are fully vaccinated (2 doses either Pfizer or Moderna or 1 dose J & J. Please take a moment to complete the survey even if your child has not been vaccinated. Additionally, if you are unable to locate your vaccine card, you may write a letter attesting that you are fully vaccinated and, if possible, include the dates of your doses.


Link: https://forms.gle/KG4azBwTxgp5fhTP6

Consent for testing

As you know, we have been conducting in-school testing for students and staff who are close contacts in school and/or are symptomatic. We are NOT conducting pool testing at this time. If you have not completed the consent form for your child, please take a moment to do so using this link.

Vaccine for 5-11 year old students

As you are aware, children ages 5-11 are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We hope to make this as easy as possible for families. The Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative that ran the clinics last year at AHS (and other locations), anticipates offering clinics beginning on Monday, November 15th at the West Newbury Annex and possibly Holy Family. We will keep you in the loop as this moves forward.

COVID Dashboard

As you know, DESE requires all schools to report the number of cases on Wednesday of each week. I have included our case count since we have been required to report to DESE. Their weeks run from Thursday through Wednesday. We have had an uptick in cases this week, so I would like to encourage you to follow safety protocols with your children even when they are not in school. Please see the Nursing Notes created by our nurse leader, Kristin Tierney. We need your help to keep COVID down in the schools.
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Nursing Notes

COVID cases in our schools have increased in the last week. Through contact tracing, most of these cases were determined to be connected to social gatherings outside of school. As we move forward into the winter and begin to spend more time indoors, open communication and prompt notification of illness continue to be effective tool in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 in the schools. Please read Nursing Notes, for additional COVID information.

School Nurse Contact Information

Kristin Tierney, FNP Amesbury Innovation High School (978) 388- 8037

kristin.tierney@amesburyma.org


Elisabeth Shorter, RN Amesbury High School (978) 388- 4800

elisabeth.shorter@amesburyma.org


Nicole Brown, RN Amesbury Middle School (978) 388- 0515

nicole.brown@amesburyma.org


Carol Greene, RN Cashman Elementary School (978) 388-4407

carol.greene@amesburyma.org


Nicole Quadros, RN Amesbury Elementary School (978) 388- 3659

nicole.quadros@amesburyma.org

What's Happening in the Schools?

Professional Development

On Tuesday, as the election took place our teachers and several paraprofessionals participated in a wide range of professional development opportunities. Some of these events included Safety Care Training which provides specific staff members with the training to prevent, minimize, and manage behavioral challenges. Prior to making the change to Safety Care, Amesbury Public Schools used CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute) as their training provider. This training will continue over subsequent Professional Release Time and Professional Development Days. However, the majority of our staff participated in three of the following sessions: ST Math, Teacher Toolkit: Self Care, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)-Cultural Competence Training, and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). We were lucky to have our District's DEI consultant, Michael Eatman facilitate the conversation around DEI, AHS adjustment counselors, Cara Sullivan and Rachael Dobbs lead the Teacher Toolkit: Self-Care Workshop, District Tiered Reading Support and Dyslexia Specialist, Holly Cole, shared information about MTSS, and Jenn Donais, with presenters from ST Math, worked with teachers around math data for their students. I love when staff members lead the learning!

AEFI - Autumn Evening of Giving

What a great night it was! AEFI awarded approximately $23,000 in grants to our teachers. There were grants for technical physics equipment, books for the district's library to increase the representation in the collection, books for grade 6 ELA class to diversify the novels read in that course, as well as many other things. We are so grateful to all the members of AEFI who give selflessly of their time to support our teachers and our schools. I know I speak for many when I say, "Thank you from the bottom of my heart!"

AEFI - Peter Gray Award - Friend of Education

Every fall AEFI recognizes an individual in the Amesbury Community for their contribution to the Amesbury educational process. Each year, the recipients are increasingly impressive. This year is no different. Amesbury High School's Kathy Morrill received this recognition. Kathy is the consummate team player. Her focus, dedication, determination, commitment and passion for our students and staff is simply unsurpassed. As is typical of Kathy, she was stunned when it was announced. For those of you who know her, Kathy prefers to be behind the scenes. While she does amazing work there, I, and all of her bosses (yes, there were many of us there to see her win this), are thrilled that Kathy was publicly recognized for all that she does! Kathy's last day at AHS was Friday, October 29th and boy do we miss her! But we also know that she deserves this time for herself and her family. Congratulations and happy retirement Kathy!

State Tournament Games

In case you have not been following our fall sports teams, we have 4 teams who have made it to the state tournament. Some are frequent visitors to the tourney - Girls' Soccer and Football, while others will be competing for the first time in a while - Boys' Soccer and Field Hockey. As of today, the schedule is as follows:


Friday, Football vs. E. Boston 7 pm at Landry

Saturday, Field hockey vs. Hamilton-Wenham 4 pm at Landry

Saturday, Girls Soccer vs. Malden Catholic. 7 pm at Landry

Saturday, Boys Soccer @ Manchester-Essex 6:30 pm


To purchase a ticket for the football game, one must go to gofan.co (yes, really co and not com) and type in Amesbury. For the soccer and field hockey games, one can purchase tickets as usual.


Hope to see you all at the games!

Coffee with the Superintendent

On Friday, November 19th from 9:00 am to 10:00 am, please join me for a chance to chat about Amesbury Public Schools. I have set the time a little bit later to allow those parents/guardians who need to drop off their elementary school children to do so and still have time to join us.


Please use this link to join the virtual coffee: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/193557653


You may have to download the GoToMeeting app. It's easy!

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Community Health Needs Assessment - Anna Jacques - Beth Israel Lahey Health

Beth Israel Lahey Health and its member hospitals are conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment to better understand the most pressing health-related issues impacting the people living and working in the communities we serve. This anonymous, 15-minute survey will allow us to develop a deeper understanding of issues that relate to our community member’s thoughts on quality of life, availability of services, and physical and mental health to improve patient and community services.


Survey Link

Mascot Review Committee

After reviewing the data and information that the Mascot Review Committee shared with me, I will share my recommendation at Monday's School Committee meeting (November 8th at 7 pm).

Progress on Shay Memorial - Week of November 1st

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter!