October Edition: October 4, 2019

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Monthly Newsletter

This Newsletter is a monthly letter that will update on all matters connected to Cohasset Public Schools. This letter is sent as part of a District initiative focusing on communication.

Important Dates for Upcoming Events Mentioned in this Newsletter

October 4: Aspen Go-Live

October 9: SEPAC Informational and Support Coffee on October 9 from 10:00am-12:00pm. Location: Meeting Room, Paul Pratt Library. A gathering for parents of children on an IEP or Section 504 Plan.

October 15: (6:30PM - 8:00PM) Cohasset Safe Schools Night in the Middle and High School Auditorium

October 16: (9:00AM - 1:30PM...Principals will communicate exact times for each grade-level) Deer Hill and Osgood Fun Run

October 17: (6:00PM - 7:00PM) Superintendent's Coffee to Discuss Change in School Start and Ending Times for 2020-2021 (Middle and High School Learning Commons

October 22: (9:30AM - 11:00AM) SEPAC Presentation at the Joseph Osgood School, “A Spotlight on Early Education”

October 23 & October 24: Osgood and Deer Hill Parent /Guardian -Teacher Conferences (by appointment)

October 25: (8:00AM - 11:00AM) Credit for Life Fair in the Middle and High School Gymnasium (students only)

October 25: Trunk or Treat! Joseph Osgood School...more information forthcoming through PSO

October 26: (10:00AM - 11:30AM)METCO Host Family Information Session in the Joseph Osgood Library

By the End of October: Individual MCAS Reports for Students Mailed Home (exact date will be announced)


High Five Friday to Thank First Responders

Last week, we celebrated Cohasset's First Responders with our First "High Five Friday." This event gave students and staff a chance to say thank you to members of the Cohasset Police and Cohasset Fire for all they do to keep us safe. Here are some pictures from the event.
High Five Friday

We are also proud to announce that we will be honoring our First Responders at half time of the Cohasset vs. Mashpee football game on October 11. We are thankful for all that our First Responders do each day to keep us all safe.

High School Coastal Sweep!

Thank you to everyone who helped organize last week's Coastal Sweep with our ninth grade students. It was a fantastic event. It was wonderful seeing the students working to keep our beaches clean. Thank you to everyone who models responsibility and activism for our students. Here are some pictures from the event.
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Thank you to all of you who attended our Back to School Nights at Osgood, Deer Hill, CMS and CHS. It was inspiring watching the positive collaboration between staff and families.
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September 27 Safety Professional Development

Thank you to Officer Taylor, Detective Lopes, Detective Schmidt and to everyone helped with last week's professional development for our staff regarding safety and emergency protocols. We look forward to our follow-up meetings with the Cohasset Police and to more safety professional development on October 11.
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Camp Wing Orientation for Sixth Grade Students

Thank you to Principal Mills, Assistant Principal, Dr, Salas, and the sixth grade team for supporting a fabulous day filled with team-building for our sixth grade students at Camp Wing in Duxbury. It was an amazing day to be a Cohasset student! Here are some pictures from the day.

Middle School Start of the Year! Here is a slide show, courtesy of Cohasset Middle School Principal John Mills, regarding the start of school at CMS. This is just one example of the positive start that all schools experienced throughout the District.

2019 CMS School Year Start


Thank you to Principal Scott, Assistant Principal Noyes, Athletic Director, Steve Rotondi, Department Chair of Music and Visual Arts, Stephanie Moriarty and everyone who helped with the dance and athletic events. A special thank you to Safe Harbors for sponsoring and hosting the Tailgate before the football game. It was a true community celebration, and our students were amazing throughout the entire weekend. Our sports teams are off to an amazing start. Thank you for showing your Skipper Pride!


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The Aspen Student Information System (SIS) is a centralized platform for hosting and managing student data. Aspen SIS safely and securely stores data like class schedules, student performance, attendance, grades and much more. Aspen thus eliminates the need for multiple databases and streamlines the process of reporting student data, creating instructional plans, and applying state-specific guidelines.

Students and families will be using the Aspen Information System in a variety of ways. At the middle and high school level, students and parents will be utilizing the Aspen portal to check grades, verify attendance and communicate with teachers. At the elementary level, information on the Aspen portal will be limited to contact information and attendance at this time. However, this year Osgood and Deer Hill progress reports will be published on the portal. For your convenience, families and staff can find a link to log-in to Aspen on the homepage of the Cohasset Public Schools website.

On Friday, October 4, we will be going live with Aspen at all of our schools. Parents and Guardians of elementary students will receive access to the Aspen student portal through their primary contact email. At Cohasset Middle School, students will be given login credentials and supported in logging and changing their passwords. Students will be instructed: to use their existing network password (the one they use to get on the network, Google, etc.); to record their passwords in their agendas and; to transmit their login and password to their parents. At Cohasset High School, students will be guided to access their Cohasset email accounts and will then, like the middle school students, be able to change a temporary password to a unique password, which they will be asked to share with their parents.

After usernames and passwords are initiated, families can contact the main office(s) of their child’s / children’s’ school(s) should a password or user name need to be reset. Also, in the coming weeks, information will be sent home regarding training sessions for parents / guardians to help them get the most out of Aspen.

Note: Using the Aspen Student Portal exclusively for the beginning of Aspen implementation is a recommended and widely used practice. Parents / Guardians can access all needed Aspen information through the Student Portal until the Family Portal is up and running.


At the August 21 Cohasset School Committee Meeting the School Committee voted unanimously to change the school day start and ending times for the 2020 – 2021 school year. The school day start and ending times for this year (2019 - 2020) will remain the same as to what we are accustomed.

This decision comes after a presentation by the Start Schools Later Team at a July School Committee meeting. This team presented regarding the importance of sleep for students of middle and high school age (presentation attached).

We realize that these changes in start and ending times will impact families. With that in mind, we will be hosting a Superintendent's Coffee on Thursday, October 17 from 6:00PM - 7:00PM in the Learning Commons of the Middle and High School to discuss the start time for the 2020 - 2021 School Year..

Here is the proposed plan for the school day start and end times for the 2020 – 2021 school year. It should be noted that as we collaborate and hear more voice from stakeholders, the times may shift slightly.

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Superintendent's Coffee to Discuss School Start Times for 2020 - 2021: October 17 from 6:00PM - 7:00PM in the Learning Commons of the Middle and High School

Safe Schools Night Planned for October 15 from 6:30PM - 8:00PM in the Middle and High School Auditorium

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On October 15 from 6:30PM to 8:00PM in the Middle and High School Auditorium, the Cohasset Safe Schools Committee will be presenting to any interested Cohasset families (all educators are invited, as well) in an effort to inform them regarding our approaches within each building to promote the physical, social, and emotional safety of every student.

This presentation will include a review of A.L.I.C.E. procedures by the Cohasset Police and a presentation of our Youth Risk Behavior Survey. We will also look at safety through the "eyes of the student" in the areas of social-emotional learning and wellness, building security and protective measures, promoting a safe and inclusive culture and bullying procedure and bullying prevention from a District and school perspective . Here is a description of the Mission of each of our subcommittee. A big thank you goes out to the over 30 leaders, students, parents / guardians and educators who are on this important district-wide team.

Social-Emotional Learning and Wellness Subcommittee: This subcommittee will address the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and wellness needs of our school community. The work of this group will include advising our practices / programs at the school level concerning SEL and advising our efforts to help address the wellness needs of students, staff, and families. This subcommittee will include work on creating or strengthening structures that help educate regarding and protect from addiction.

Building Security and Protective Measures Subcommittee: This subcommittee will review our building safety protocols and our procedures for handling a crisis, threat, or critical incident. This committee will collaborate with police, fire, and emergency service providers when needed during the review of these protocols and procedures.

Promoting a Safe and Inclusive Culture Subcommittee: This subcommittee will look to promote ways to ensure stakeholders collaborate to create a culture that is sensitive to the diverse needs of the members of our school community (including the needs of those students who have experienced trauma). This subcommittee will ensure that the culture of each school is inclusive and that our structures and practices are representative of the diverse needs of the school community.

Safe Schools Bullying Procedure Review Subcommittee: This subcommittee will review our current policy and procedures regarding the reporting, intervention and prevention of bullying.

Communication and Action Planning Subcommittee: This subcommittee will create structures to communicate the work of all subcommittees to the stakeholders in the Cohasset School Community (providing one collective voice for the team). This subcommittee will also create structures to gather input from the community.

Osgood and Deer Hill Parent / Guardian - Teacher Conferences...October 23 and October 24 by appointment

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Credit for Life Fair at CHS!

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“Credit for Life is a financial education fair that is a fun, interactive simulation of saving, spending, and budgeting based on career choices and lifestyle decisions. Student participants choose an occupation and make a variety of financial decisions, ranging from where to live and how to save for retirement to buying a television or owning a pet. This event will engage students in the various levels of financial decision making that they will face in their mid-20s. Students will experience the task of managing a budget while maintaining a balance between future needs and wants. The broader goal of all fairs is to help empower students to be proactive about their financial futures by beginning to develop solid personal finance habits. We need many volunteers to make this day a success! Volunteers for the booths are only needed 9-11am but are encouraged to join for the welcoming message and speaker at 8.

Ask how you can get involved by

contacting Nicole Wilson at or Mary Corwin at

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Osgood and Deer Hill Fun Run

We are looking forward to the Osgood & Deer Hill Fun Run, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16. This Cohasset Tradition is a major fundraiser for all of our schools. Thank you to the PSO for the amazing work bringing this wonderful event to the Cohasset school community each year. Here are a couple of images from the recent pep-rallies at Osgood and Deer Hill.
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Homework Free Weekend Coming for Veterans Day Weekend

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This year, in conjunction with Veterans Day, we are implementing a “homework free” weekend for students as a school district. We recognize that the social-emotional wellness of our students and staff is paramount, so in part, this is a small gesture to allow students time to enjoy a stress free weekend.

In addition, this time away from homework should allow our students and staff, and their families, to focus on the importance of recognizing Veterans Day. In lieu of homework, it is our hope that members of our school community will find the time to thank Veterans for their service to our country and to be involved in the town ceremonies regarding Veterans Day.

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Process for Snow Days and Cancellations

Although the nice weather is still here, inevitably winter will be upon us. Like weather forecasting, the school closing decision process is not a perfect science. However, I believe it is important for students and parents to understand how it works. I hope this FAQ document answers your questions.

Who makes the decision about whether or not to close school?

As Superintendent, I am responsible for the final decision. I work with District staff to monitor state and local weather forecasts and consult with officials from the Department of Public Works, Cohasset Police, and the town manager who provide updates to me on snow removal operations, neighborhood road conditions, and any power outages.

What time do I make the call?

My goal is to make the decision to open, close, or delay by 5:45 A.M. or earlier if possible. I try not to wait any longer as families then have little time to make arrangements for childcare, and some of our staff may have already left for work. Also, while I know there is often an interest in having a decision the night before, a lot can change overnight. I will try my best to make a decision as early as possible.

What information is gathered to aid in the decision?

There are multiple factors used in deciding whether or not to close school. Information on road conditions, snow accumulation predictions, building conditions such as electricity and heat, parking lot conditions, air temperature and wind chill, and estimated times from the Department

of Public Works as to when roads, walkways, and parking lots will be cleared of snow and ice are all considered. I also consider the number of children who walk to school and student drivers.

What is a delayed opening?

Rather than close school for a whole day due to short-term weather situations, there may be days when the beginning of school will be delayed one hour, ninety minutes, or two hours. School will simply start later by the length of the delay. Bus pickup, therefore, will also occur later. For example, if your child is normally picked up at 6:55 A.M., during a two-hour delayed opening, your child will be picked up at 8:55 A. M. Lunch will still be available, and dismissal will be at the regularly scheduled times.

What happens to Pre School and Half Day Kindergarten during a delayed opening?

When a delayed opening is called, the Pre School and Half Day Kindergarten classes are cancelled.

What are parents’ / guardians' responsibilities?

The safety of your child is paramount. On days when weather conditions are questionable, but school remains open, parents are free to exercise discretion and keep children home from school. Parents of young drivers are asked to reinforce winter weather driving skills: allowing

extra travel time, reducing speed, and not worrying about being late.

How are days made up?

As per State regulations, students must attend school for a minimum of 180 days and the school year must end by June 30. If school is closed due to weather, the day will be made up at the end of the school year.

How do power outages affect the decision?

Inclement weather can affect the timeline for utility companies to restore electricity. If all school buildings have electricity, the goal will be to open school. Other factors also influence the decision, including whether a large number of neighborhoods are without power.

How is the public notified?

Announcements about school closings and delays are posted as outlined below. Please be advised that, depending upon the severity of the storm, school and district administration offices may also be closed in addition to cancelling classes for students.

· District website (

· Twitter @SuperCohasset (I will usually tweet the cancellation first…so follow me If you want the early scoop)

· Black Board Connect Automated Telephone Notification Service (if operational)

· WBZ TV and Radio (Channel 4)

· WATD 95.9

· WHDH Channel 7 and 56

· WCVB Fox 25 and Channel 5

I will try to send periodic updates via Black Board Connect messages whenever possible should the storm extend for any period of time beyond the day or should the storm result in continued questionable community conditions.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Compass: Assistant Superintendent Leslie Scollins, Ed.D.

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2019 MCAS Results

The 2019 MCAS results were released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the end of September. Individual student results will be sent home via email during the month of October. Your child's principal will alert you when the MCAS results are mailed.

Data Teams

Data Teams

This year we are going to focus on data and create data teams at the school and district level. The school level data teams will work with Data Consultant, Laura Tilton, focusing on MCAS results. MCAS is just one part of how we assess achievement and progress. There are many other components of assessing a student’s growth, however MCAS is a great place to start to have conversations about student achievement vs progress toward expected standards.


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A priority of the District Leadership is to be more transparent and be more present in the schools. In order to achieve that goal, the Leadership Team will be engaging in Learning Walks this year. A Learning Walk is formative, and the purpose is to improve professional learning and school-wide practices. Student achievement is the primary goal and source of evidence. Learning walks are not meant to evaluate teaching and learning, but to learn from it. It is a non-evaluative observation.

(adapted from Moss & Brookhart, 2015)

The leadership team is working with a consultant, Dr. Scott Borstel, to implement the Learning Walk process. Learning Walks with District Leadership will take place in each building throughout the year. In addition, the Principal, Superintendent, and Assistant Superintendent will be engaging in Learning Walks during monthly meetings. In addition, buildings will receive feedback about the trends and patterns that were observed during the Learning Walks via email. We are very excited about this new way of focusing on teaching and learning.

Below are the types of observations that the district will be engaging in this year:

Types of Observation

Classroom Visits: Classroom visits are simply classroom visits to see staff and students on an informal basis. Classroom visits are most commonly used by building / district administration as part of daily practice.

Walkthroughs: Walkthroughs are the formal classroom observations conducted as part of the Cohasset Educator Evaluation Model.

Learning Walks: This term infers that the person doing the walk is learning. The learning walk is used on a monthly basis when district administration visits buildings. We meet formally with each principal monthly and engage in the learning walk during this time. During this walk, we visit as many classrooms as possible and discuss what we see and hear regarding teaching and learning. Learning walks are also used at the building level by administration and other personnel to support the observation of teaching and learning.

From the Office of Mary Buchanan, Director of Student Services

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Office of Student Services

Events and Happenings in October:

SEPAC Informational and Support Coffee on October 9 from 10:00am-12:00pm. Location: Meeting Room, Paul Pratt Library. A gathering for parents of children on an IEP or Section 504 Plan. Talk with parents, learn more about SEPAC, and learn how to be involved.

Please visit our October 22nd SEPAC Presentation at the Joseph Osgood School, “A Spotlight on Early Education” from 9:30am -11:00am. Experts from the Joseph Osgood School will participate in a panel discussion with parents about important topics such as; Developmental Milestones, Academic Expectations, Social Skills Development, Sensory Regulation, Attention and Behavioral Expectations. The panel will also review some Calming Strategies, Gross and Fine Motor Skill Strategies, Communication Strategies and Sensory Regulation Strategies. Get some useful tips on routines or how to ask about your child’s day.

New Individualized Education Program (IEP): Cohasset has moved to Aspen for their Special Education Platform. The IEPs have a slightly different format to them. If you have questions about new IEPs that are being sent home after Team Meetings, please reach out to The Office of Student Services at 781-383-6104 with any questions.


Many of our Boston students and other Cohasset students participated in apple picking at Honeypot Hill Orchards in Stowe, MA earlier this month. A great time was had by All.

There is a meeting upcoming for any Deer Hill or Osgood families who would like to be Host Families on October 26 in the Osgood Cafeteria.

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We are excited for Cohasset's 250th Celebration. Stay tuned in the coming months for updates regarding how Cohasset Public Schools is taking a part in this important celebration!

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THANK YOU FOR A GREAT SEPTEMBER! Superintendent Patrick E. Sullivan, Ed.D.

Please follow me on Twitter for daily updates from the Cohasset Public Schools