BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

October 23, 3030

Superintendent's Office


Dear Families and Staff,


It is hard to believe, but this week marks the end of our sixth week back to school. Within that time period, we have done our best to make large and small adjustments to meet the transitional needs of our students and families. Given the information we have in front of us daily, we continue to remain largely in a hybrid learning model, with a number of our students participating in a fully remote model, and still, others being homeschooled.


We know that, despite our best intentions, there are still areas that we can improve upon as we continue on this course, and ask you to join us in doing so by providing input to guide our decision-making.


This week, each school principal is providing a link in this newsletter that will take you to their individual school feedback survey. The purpose of this survey is to address some of the areas that we want to know more about, and that can assist us in improving teaching and learning in both the hybrid and remote models. We have made a conscientious decision to separate these surveys by school so that each building principal may be able to more easily address issues that pertain to their building.


The survey should take about 5-10 minutes, and we ask you to complete one survey per child in each of the schools in which your children are enrolled. The survey will close on Sunday, November 1st at noon, giving you a little over a week and two weekends to offer your participation.


We value your feedback and appreciate the time that you are taking to respond in a thoughtful and productive manner. As we move forward, please know that we will continue to reach out to all of you through surveys and discussion opportunities that are being planned by the District in the coming months.


Politics, the Election, and Education (edited and adapted from a letter by the MA Association for School Superintendents)


As educators, we take very seriously our responsibility and legal obligation to educate students about the history and current events in the United States and about the importance of civic engagement to our democracy. In a country of nearly 330 million people – with diverse backgrounds, religions, and political views – there will never be agreement on all issues. Our educational system is designed not to tell students what to think about issues, but rather, how to gather and examine information, think critically, engage with their peers, and draw informed conclusions.


At the same time, we know that many of us have strong opinions and deeply held beliefs of our own. When political issues arise in schools – particularly when students ask thoughtful questions – it can be difficult to set aside our individual perspectives and respond without bias. Some argue that even in school settings, students and adults are protected under the First Amendment to freedom of speech. However, that provision of the Constitution does not give individuals the right to voice any opinion, in any setting. The circumstances and context do matter, and in the case of schools, we have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that our viewpoints do not create division or disruption that would be harmful to students or staff. This year in particular, with so many members of our community feeling the anxiety and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be more vigilant than ever about creating school cultures rooted in empathy and support rather than conflict and opposition.


With Election Day just a little over a week away, it seems appropriate to provide a reminder that the law prohibits any form of campaigning in schools or on school grounds. In addition, public employees are prohibited from engaging in any political advocacy on school grounds, during the school day, or using any school property or resources to campaign or raise funds for any candidate or referendum. (This includes the prohibiting of signs endorsing a particular candidate or position on a ballot question).


It is also not permissible for teachers or other staff members to advocate for any political candidate in class. When engaging students in a discussion about politics, each of us must remain neutral about our own views while creating a constructive forum for students to explore and discuss the issues. The verbal or symbolic speech which results in disruption, disorder, or interference with instruction or professional activities is not permissible.


We recognize that in this political environment, the stakes are high, and many of us are deeply passionate about the issues at hand. In a community composed of people with different viewpoints, we will undoubtedly encounter neighbors and colleagues whose opinions may be different from ours, however, as educators, it is our responsibility to maintain safe, civil learning environments focused on students’ academic growth and social-emotional well-being.


If you, your student, or any of our staff members have questions or concerns about these matters, please do not hesitate to contact me at jzanghi@bbrsd.org. I am truly grateful to the members of this community for demonstrating kindness, compassion, and decency during these incredibly challenging times.

Respectfully,



Jeffrey Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

WHAT IS TITLE I?


Title I is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance to states and school districts to meet the needs of educationally at-risk students. The purpose of Title I, according to Congress, continues to be to have substantially higher expectations for all students. The factors to accomplish this goal include high standards, enriched educational programs, school-wide reform, effective professional development, coordination of services across agencies, the involvement of parents/guardians, distribution of resources to areas where needs are greatest, improvement of accountability, and an increase of decision-making authority and flexibility at the school level. The goal of Title I, Part A is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach proficiency on challenging state academic standards and assessments.


In each school, the Title I program is designed to meet the instructional needs of the student population. The services provided in each school are determined by our annual needs assessment as well as the results of standardized testing. Individual services are determined by the identified needs of each student. Some Title I schools offer school-wide programs available to all students, while some offer a targeted assistance program for eligible

students. Both program types provide extra educational assistance beyond

the regular classroom.


Specific programs and services provided to Title I students may include:

  • Targeted Assistance within and outside the classroom

  • After School Mathematics Support

  • After School Reading Support

  • Summer Program



To read more about Title I click here.


Carol Costello, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

ccostello@bbrsd.org

Business Office


Transportation update

We have been working with NRT to address service-related issues that have occurred recently with a couple of our bus routes. They have taken steps to address this including assigning a more experienced substitute driver to our routes while a regular driver is out on leave. We apologize for the inconvenience that was caused, and thanks for your patience during this time. Please continue to report any problems to me (rconry@bbrsd.org) or your school’s main office.


Related to the topic of transportation, I want to remind folks that as part of the district’s re-opening plans, and in accordance with state and federal guidance, the buses are operating with windows left open. Please With colder weather approaching, we will be maintaining this, however will be gradually reducing the settings so that less air comes into the bus and students remain comfortable for the ride. There are three settings on each window (fully open, halfway open, and slightly open). Beginning next week, in the mornings the routes will run with the settings alternating between halfway open and slightly open as shown in the picture below. In the afternoon, the buses will continue to drive with the windows halfway open, since there are still relatively moderate temperatures for the next few weeks. As weather changes, we will continue to evaluate and adjust to reduce the cold air coming into the bus. We will also be seeking more up to date guidance from the state and/or public health authorities as winter approaches.



Food Service notes

We are seeking more responses to our survey on how to make our remote meals more accessible to households in the district. Please take the survey below - we appreciate your participation and feedback!

Take the survey here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQBZeVsYw-yth4MQFKiznCYDm3TWe2K2YLdbMnOU1RisTs7A/viewform?usp=sf_link



Weekly remote meal ordering form link:

https://www.bbrsd.org/Page/1583


Breakfast and lunch will be provided for each remote learning day.


Any questions or concerns can be directed to Lauren Staples, Food Service Director 508-869-2333 ext. 2346 or lstaples@bbrsd.org.




Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Pupil Personnel Services

Special Education Services

During the 2020-21 school year, special education services may need to be delivered differently due to the modified hybrid schedule, as well as the necessary health and safety requirements. Special Education staff have been in touch with parents over the first few weeks to get their feedback and talk about what those changes will look like. They have documented any changes in the way that special education services will be delivered during the 2020-2021 school year on the “COVID-19 Special Education Learning Plan”. These learning plans have been sent out to parents over the last two weeks through our secure special education portal.

In the same way that IEP’s are shared with families, the email sharing these plans will come from “Portal” and will say "Document shared by mmancini@bbrsd.org. If you have questions or are having trouble viewing the plan, please contact your child’s liaison or Karen Molnar at kmolnar@bbrsd.org.


Mental Health Screening

Thank you to everyone who completed our confidential elementary social-emotional questionnaire last week. If you missed it last week, you can find the link here. This will be shared with our School Psychologists to help them to support your child. If you have multiple children in the elementary schools, please fill out a form for each student. If you choose not to complete the survey, but still have some concerns, please consider contacting your child’s school psychologist for assistance.

Thank you for partnering with us as we work together to support our students.


Karen Molnar, Director of Pupil Personnel Services

kmolnar@bbrsd.org

Technology Department

Hello from the Technology Department!


Just a note to say that as the year progresses should your need for a District-owned Chromebook arise, for example, your personal device has failed and is being repaired, please just contact the school and we can arrange to have one ready for your student to use. We ask that you fill out the request for the device online here before picking up the device.


Paul Mara, Director of Technology

pmara@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary 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!



The BIG week is upon us! Picture days, Virtual Open House, and Halloween costumes.


  • Picture days: Cohort A is Monday, Cohort B is Thursday. Remote students are invited in through the music room door from 12:00-12:30 (A through J on Monday/ K through Z on Thursday). This is to limit movement through the building


  • Open House: You should have received a Zoom link for Thursday's Open House sessions from your students' teachers. There will be two identical sessions to accommodate parents with multiple children. The first session will be at 6:00 and the second at 6:45. A reminder that this is a general overview of the class or grade level. This is not the time for specific questions about your child. Please leave these questions for parent-teacher conferences on November 5th.


  • Halloween!: Given the limited opportunities for kids this year to wear costumes, we are allowing students to wear their costumes to school on their second cohort day (Tuesday/Friday). Cloth masks are still required and costume face coverings should not keep the staff from recognizing students. Please do not send weapons or excessive gore. For the lower grades especially, you may want to make sure kids can access the bathroom in their costumes. On Wednesday the staff will host a reverse Halloween parade at 1:00 following the arrival and dismissal route! We hope to see you all come through!


  • The other big news next week, is we are welcoming a new teacher to our team. Mrs. Wheeler is joining us in 2nd grade. She is taking the place of recently retired Ms. Lubarsky! Mrs. Wheeler comes to us with experience and deep ties to the community. We are lucky to have her!



  • Mrs. Sullivan has asked me to share the results of her summer reading challenge. She challenged students in two categories. Read more pages than her or read more books than her. Overall, we had 7 students who read more books this summer. Griffen "read" the charge with a whopping 104 books this summer. Students who also surpassed Mrs. Sullivan's totals were: Clayton with 79, Nora with 71, Graham with 67, Ella with 66, Blake with 63, and Aedan with 54. Mrs. Sullivan, for her part, read an impressive 49 books. No one was able to surpass her 9,842 pages! Special recognition for participation also goes to Jason, Adrienne, Brooklyn, Sophia, Logan, Maki, Liam, and Ben. All will receive an $8 gift certificate to buy a book at a future book sale.



  • Monday (10/26)

    • Cohort A picture day

  • Tuesday (10/27)

    • Wear your Halloween Costume to school!

  • Wednesday (10/28)

    • Reverse Halloween Parade at 1:00

  • Thursday (10/29)

    • Cohort B picture day

    • Virtual Open House - 6:00-7:30

  • Friday (10/30)

    • Wear your Halloween Costume to school!



Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

Berlin Memorial School


School Feedback Survey

It has now been slightly over a month since our students returned to school, largely in the hybrid model. 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. The survey, which you can find here, must be completed by Sunday, November 1st at 12:00 pm. Thank you!


Thanks to all who attended our virtual Open House last night. We appreciate all your efforts to help us do a better job for our students.


Just a few quick items for you…


Last call for SOAR T-Shirts

We’re delighted with the response for SOAR t-shirts, but aware – in these hectic days – that one or two people might have missed out. So we are holding off submitting our order for one more day so that we can offer you 24 hours to get in on the fun.The website will remain until the end of the day on Saturday!! The cost is $10. SOAR T-Shirt


Halloween Parade

Our Halloween Parade is coming up fast! Cohort A will march on Tuesday, October 27th. The weather for that day is looking a bit funky, with some rain a possibility. We’ll worry about that when we get closer because there is no indoor alternative for parade observers. Cohort B will march on Friday, October 30th. Both parades start at 9:00. Same costume rules as last year – no gore, no weapons. COVID masks are required, but Halloween masks are not allowed.


Flu clinic

Just a reminder that the Nashoba Board of Health is sponsoring a flu clinic here at BMS on Wednesday, October 28th. For more information on that event, you can click here.




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 October 27, 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.



Health Screening Checklist

As we enter cold and flu season this is a great time to remind everyone that it is because of everyone’s vigilance that Berlin and Boylston remain low incidence communities as it relates to COVID-19. This is a reminder to use the daily checklist below every morning prior to sending your child to school. Let’s beat this thing together!

Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist



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 for All

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.



Library Books

YOU STILL CANcheck outa library book from the Tahanto LibraryIt’s as easy as counting 1,2,3!


Sign into bbrsd.follettdestiny.com

with your Google account

  1. Search to find a book

  2. Click on the Details button

  3. Click on the Hold It button

In the bottom right-hand corner

The book will be placed
on a shelf outside the library
with your name on it.

(within 24 hrs.)


See the library bulletin board for more info.



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!


Counselors Corner

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.


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 10/26/20-10/20/20 ODD WEEK (High School Only) *


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


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


Reminder

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


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

Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist



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




Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally-Ann Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org