Gator Bites- 9/22/23
Tuesday, September 26 - Picture Day grades PreK-5 for Littleville!
Tuesday, September 26 - Elementary Schools Open Houses, 5:30-6:30pm
Friday, September 29 - Picture Day for Chester grades K-5!
Monday, October 9 - No School-Columbus Day!
Tuesday, October 17-Half Day for students-Professional Development for Staff
Wednesday, October 18 and Thursday, October 19-Half Days for students-Family Conferences
School Picture Days!
Littleville Picture Day: PreK-5: Tuesday, September 26th
Chester Picture Day: K-5 Picture Day: Friday, September 29th
Preschool Picture Day & K-5 Absentee/Retake Day: Thursday, November 16th
Please check your child's red folder for the picture package information!
*Also, we acknowledge and apologize that the picture information is coming home without a great deal of notice--we will provide this feedback to our photography company to see if we can obtain information earlier next year!
Barr Foundation Grant-Student, Staff, and Family Survey!
Families are also asked to please complete a survey. More information will be shared in the next Gator Bites on October 6!
The survey window will be October 2-27th. The next Gator Bites will have more information about how to complete the survey and how to enter our raffle for participating!
School Safety Information
Most importantly, if you see or hear something that is concerning or questionable, please report it to a staff member. Oftentimes, these reports lead to proactive measures that can support the needs of our community and prevent issues from occurring before they have a negative impact.
Secondly, each of our schools have necessary protocols in place that are aligned to our district safety plan. At times, some of these protocols are inconvenient, like ringing the doorbell in order to gain access to the main office. We appreciate your patience and understanding, since these protocols are important to have in place in order to maintain our campus security. If you have questions about the rationale for any of our safety protocols, please reach out to your building principal or the superintendent.
Finally, we will be practicing our emergency response drills throughout the year. Each building has already completed a fire drill per state regulations. Later in October, we will be conducting our first lockdown drill. We will share more information with families before that drill occurs so you have the opportunity to process the importance of these activities with your child.
Thank you for your partnership in maintaining our safe school protocols!
School Custodian Day!
Monday, October 2 is School Custodian Day in Massachusetts! It is a day to recognizes school custodians for maintaining and providing clean, healthy, and safe learning environments. Thank you to our hard-working custodial team at Gateway!
Communication From Gateway
Gator Bites will be published bi-weekly, so our next edition will be released on October 6!
Gateway uses Sendit To send out all email, text and voice messages.
Here are some steps you can take to give you the best chances to receive all the necessary information:
Make sure your contact information is correct in PowerSchool. Sendit! Pulls information directly from PowerSchool. We send information using email and voice, so it is imperative that your information is correct and up to date. If you need to change information, please contact the appropriate school secretary for assistance.
In order to ensure you are set up to receive messages, you can customize your preferences by clicking at the bottom left of any email message received from us:
When you click on this, all of your contact information that has been transferred to Sendit appears along with your choices to allow different types of communication for each:
Please make sure you have voice turned on for the appropriate numbers and that firstname.lastname@example.org is not blocked or labeled as spam.
3. Lastly, make sure that 413-685-1000 (default number for calls) is not in your blocked/spam settings. Calls that are not answered will go to voicemail (if available). The system will replay the message 3 times on voice mail to make sure you receive all of it, as some voicemail cut off the beginning. If no one answers, and there is no voicemail or answering machine that picks up, Sendit will attempt to call you again until it gets a pickup (either answered or voicemail).
We strive to provide consistent, clear and timely information to our families. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our technology director, Chris Parker at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
Gateway Education Foundation
The Gateway Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that formed to enhance the educational opportunities for students of the Gateway Regional School District.
Much of GEF's work is done through our "Funds for Learning (FFL)" program. The Funds For Learning program is a small grants program that Gateway teachers and staff may apply to, in order to fund special programs for our students. To date, the Foundation has granted over $100,000 to hundreds of projects including bringing a planetarium to our schools, egg hatching, Model United Nations, school-wide musicals, KIBO robots, family math and literacy nights, schoolwide and summer reading programs, and numerous visits from authors, museums, ecologists and storytellers.
Please be on the look out for ways to give to the Gateway Education Foundation. These donations go directly to enhance student learning at Gateway!
The website is linked above, and you can also find us on Facebook-- at Gateway Education Foundation -GEF!
T-Shirts for Sale!
The Gateway Education Foundation will be selling shirts at the elementary open house and other upcoming events for $20 for kid sizes and $25 for adult sizes! Please consider purchasing a shirt to support this great cause and to sport your Gateway Gear! Adult and child sizes are available!
If you'd like to purchase, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
From our Community Partners
A PSA From our School Based Health Center
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses that is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Annual flu vaccination offers the best protection against flu and its potentially serious complications in children. Parents can help children fight flu by getting themselves and their children vaccinated against flu each year. The School Based Health Center has Vaccines available. Call or stop in today for more information. (413) 667-0142. The permission form for students is included as a PDF.
September and October are the best times for most people to get vaccinated.
A message from the Rural Public Health Project Manager
Please consider taking the Community Health Survey. The community health equity survey aims to help communities address barriers to health by collecting data on the social and structural health needs facing MA residents, specifically those disproportionately affected by health inequities. The MA Department of Public Health will use survey results to improve programs, make decisions about funding and resources, and support policies to improve health inequities.
If You Didn't Catch It Last Time: State Budget Update
You may have heard that the state budget for FY24 passed in August, which included some line item increases for public education. For perspective, in 2019 the Student Opportunity Act was approved by the state legislators to increase public education funding by $1.5 billion dollars over a seven year period of time. The Student Opportunity Act (SOA) was meant to provide the urgently needed funding to deliver a high quality education to students. Instead of receiving $1500-$2000 more in state aid per student like some, rural school districts like Gateway received the minimum of $30 more per student in the first year and $60 per in its second year. You can read more about it in this article.
Rural School Aid was added to the budget by legislators to support districts like Gateway that did not benefit from the new SOA calculation. Even though $15 million was approved this year for Rural School Aid, we still don’t know which districts will get funding (could be more than previous years), or how much each will get.
Where we are:
Although it is feels promising that Rural School Aid, Regional Transportation Reimbursement, and other lines increased, we are still unsure of how this will benefit Gateway. Further, the amount recommended by the state mandated Rural Schools Commission to truly provide all districts with the opportunity to deliver a high quality education without requiring local town budgets to pick up the bill (beyond a 2.5% increase) is for Rural School Aid to be funded at $60 million, not $15 million.
Not knowing how much funding Gateway will receive and when we will be provided with the funding has necessitated some very difficult decisions, some of which you may have heard about. We have made our best guess as to how much funding we will get in Rural Aid, but as costs continue to increase, this will still be a difficult budget year. The budget slide from the FY24 Budget presentation below shares how the district allocated funding.
The district and families need to continue to engage with legislators to advocate for increased funding to our rural communities. The next ask should be to have a comprehensive plan like the SOA to phase in the full amount of $60 million statewide for our students as soon as possible. Please reach out to any school committee member or member of administration for some sample form letters if you wish to participate.
Chester Elementary School:
Principal Vanna Maffuccio email@example.com
Littleville Elementary School:
Principal Melissa McCaul firstname.lastname@example.org
Middle School/High School:
Principal Jason Finnie email@example.com
Assistant Principal Will Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org
Athletic Director Matt Bonenfant email@example.com
Superintendent Kristen Smidy, firstname.lastname@example.org