Gill-Montague District News

"Challenging and Supporting Every Student"

GMRSD District Updates July 16, 2020

Welcome to Superintendent Brian Beck

Dear Gill-Montague Families,

In the chaos of the pandemic, I have not yet taken the time to reach out and introduce myself. I am very happy to be here as the new Superintendent and have deeply appreciated the support and direction of so many people working over the summer, including administrators, administrative assistants, participants on the Pandemic Response Advisory Committee and members of the School Committee.


I have been an educator in Massachusetts for 23 years, including the last 16 years as a high school/middle school administrator at Mohawk Trail Regional, Athol High School and Hopkins Academy. I learned a great deal from students, parents, colleagues and the vast network of community agencies I have worked with in these positions.


For parents, our greatest concern is how the schools will deal with re-opening in the fall. As you are aware, our Pandemic Response Advisory Committee includes parents and your individual contributions in surveys has been an exceptionally valuable source of insight, to inform the draft of our learning plans. While it is too early to release any details I can share this general summary of work to date and plans:

  • We are drafting and preparing to share 3 learning models for in-person, hybrid in-person/remote, and fully remote learning. These will be submitted to DESE and shared publicly in mid-August. These models are being developed using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Office of the Commissioner of Education.

  • Decisions regarding which model we will use to start the school year will be made with approval from local and state public health officials. That decision will be made as close to the scheduled start of the school year, as is reasonably possible, to ensure that we have accurate data on COVID -19.
  • Decisions on any learning model will also allow parents flexibility to keep their children and family safe, as long as public health agencies believe that COVID-19 remains a threat to the public.


I look forward to serving your children and hope that we will be able to see each other in person soon!


Sincerely,
Brian Beck



Brian Beck
Superintendent of Schools
Gill-Montague Regional School District

brian.beck@gmrsd.org

413.863.9324

Pandemic Response Advisory Committee & Reopening of Schools

Gill-Montague school administration formed a Pandemic Response Advisory Committee (PRAC) last month to examine factors associated with reopening schools for the fall. The working group which includes teachers, parents, school committee members, nurses, district administrators, and the school superintendent have been busy meeting and examining the initial guidance document put out by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on the reopening of schools. Our district, along with all schools across the state, are required to put forth three operational plans for students returning to school in the fall. The three plans include:

1) In-person instruction for all students

2) Remote learning for all students

3) Hybrid or blended plan that includes both in-person instruction and remote learning for all students.

All three plans need to meet health and safety requirements as put forth by DESE and the MA Department of Public Health.


The school district has sent out a "return to school" survey to our district families via email. We also will have this survey posted on our website and will send out a notify reminder phone call to alert families. We value input from our families and request all parents/guardians complete one survey per each student. We ask for one survey per student so we can capture information relative to developmental differences and perspective a family may have based on age and/or status of different family members.

"Return to School" Parent/Guardian Survey

As we plan for reopening school, we want to hear from you! Your feedback is critical. Please provide your thoughts to help us better understand your family's needs and preferences as we approach the upcoming school year.


As you fill out the survey, please note the minimum (but not limited to) safety requirements that the state has issued to all public school districts:

  • All students in grade 2 and above and all staff must wear face masks/coverings (recommended for Pre-K-1st grade students)
  • Social Distancing at a minimum of 3 feet
  • Practicing regular hand hygiene
  • Regular cleaning and disinfecting of the buildings
  • Clear messaging to families and staff about staying home if sick.


For more information, go to this link to the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education and download the "Initial Return-to-School Guidance" document from the first page of http://www.doe.mass.edu/


* Please fill out one survey per child *.


Click here for survey!

Summer Meals Program and Distribution Sites

We are pleased to continue to offer our summer meals program at area distribution sites. Please click on the link below for our menu for the next three weeks.

July menu


Please note our summer meals program will continue through August 21, 2020.

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I-Ready Access for Elementary Students

Our district uses i-Ready which is an interactive online learning environment designed to assess and provide individualized instruction based on each student’s unique needs. We use i-Ready for both reading and math, and your child can access both (recommended 30 minutes each per day) until August 14, 2020.

Summer Reading for Grades Pre-K to Grade 5

All Elementary School students in GMRSD are invited to participate in a community summer reading book. For Preschool to Grade Two students, the selected text is Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena. And for Grade Three to Grade Five Students, the selected text is A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead. Families will receive information from their school principals regarding distribution of these books. We are so excited for our entire district community to read together!


In addition, we encourage families to participate in summer reading programs offered by our local libraries.

https://montaguepubliclibraries.org/p/7/Summer-Reading-Program-2020

Summer Math Resources...Check This Out!

Our Elementary School families (PreK-5) are encouraged to check out the Bridges Math program site. Our district has adopted Bridges as an evidence based mathematics curriculum program. The site offers unit overview and standards by grade level. Families may find this helpful as you review the past year or look ahead to the coming year. Materials are presented in English and Spanish.

https://www.mathlearningcenter.org/families/bridges2


We also suggest families in K-5 use the Bridges Math at Home site for activities of the day, practice problems, family games, and online games that will be sure to strengthen your student's problem solving skills!

https://www.mathlearningcenter.org/home-learning


Are you looking for something else? We want to thank our colleagues in the Cambridge Public Schools who have developed these wonderful summer calendar math resources. Students and families are invited to explore and utilize these resources to practice math skills over the summer months. The calendars are set up for students in grades K-8. In addition, the site offers standards information and guidance on middle school and high school level math including instructional videos.

https://www.cpsd.us/office_of_curriculum_and_instruction/math/district_information/summer_math_work

Summer Reading for Middle and High School

All middle and high school students are expected to read over the summer in preparation for the start of the new school year. We also encourage our students and families to participate in the Montague Public Libraries summer reading program.

https://montaguepubliclibraries.org/p/7/Summer-Reading-Program-2020


Listed here are ten recommended reads from Common Sense media for middle school students. The link also includes a description and recommended age level for these texts.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/10-books-for-middle-schoolers-to-read-over-the-summer


For our high school students, who may not be sure what they are interested in, you could visit the NY Libraries website and will be sure to find something captivating!

Dean's Beans Invests in "Kids Stimulus Package"

Gill-Montague Schools would like to express our deep gratitude to Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company, from Orange, MA, who has generously made a series of donations to support our local communities and schools. The corporate giving program, currently known as the "Kids Stimulus" package is Dean's Beans way of giving back to local schools who have continued their efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity during school closures brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. To quote Dean's Beans administrative representative Katherine Parcell, "We greatly appreciate your continued efforts to feed our area’s children during this difficult time. We are humbled to offer you our continued support."


On behalf of Gill-Montague we are humbled by this act of generosity! We will continue to utilize district resources, including this donation, in support of our meals program, the students and families in our community, and in forging connections to area resources that support families. We want to do our part to lessen hunger and food insecurity in our community.


For more information about Dean's Beans organic coffee that embraces corporate and social responsibility please visit their website at:

https://deansbeans.com/

or follow on social media at:

twitter @Deans_Beans

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeansBeansOrganicFairTradeCoffee/

Friendly Reminder! Please complete your Census

We want to take a quick moment to urge families to complete your census if you haven't already! Responding to the census is not only your civic duty; it also affects the amount of funding our community receives, how our community plans for the future, and our representation in government.

Specifically, data from the 2020 Census are used to:

  • Ensure public services and funding for schools, hospitals, and fire departments.
  • Plan new homes and businesses and improve neighborhoods.
  • Determine how many seats your state is allocated in the House of Representatives.


Responding to the Census

The 2020 Census is happening now. You can complete your questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail.

https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html

FAMILY ENGAGEMENT CORNER

Local Summertime Fun

Many families had vacation plans this summer that have now turned into "stay-cation" plans because of Covid-19. Luckily, we live in an area that is chock full of outdoor activities -- mostly free! You can find lots to do here: https://wmassoutdoors.com/, or take a walk or a bike ride around your neighborhood, do some gardening, or play some ball in the yard or the park. Take photos of your family's favorite flowers or trees and look them up when you get home to learn a bit about them. Don't forget our very own bike path in Turners Falls, and our parks too! Just be sure to stay safe with masks and social distancing in public. Hopefully by the time school starts again you'll have created fun family memories~happy trails!


Stacey Langknecht

Family Engagement Coordinator

413-863-7210

stacey.langknecht@gmrsd.org

Community Resource Information and Events

Gill-Montague shares community resource information that may be of interest to our families as a public service. These programs are not sponsored or specifically endorsed by the district.

4SC + The Partnership

Bookmark this website https://greenfield4sc.org/ for local information and prevention resources in our area. 4SC + The Partnership is now a collaborative organization that supports the continued work of the Gill-Montague School Community Partnership. They offer a community calendar, weekly newsletter, family support information, and much more. Stay connected, stay safe, and stay informed during these challenging times.
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Mass Support Network

How We Can Help?

MassSupport Network provides community outreach and support services to residents of all ages in response to the unprecedented public health crisis, COVID-19. This Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and managed in partnership between the MA Department of Mental Health and Riverside Trauma Center, a program of Riverside Community Care. Our anonymous, confidential, and free program is for individuals (including youth), families, schools, organizations, businesses and communities. We provide emotional support, coping strategies, resources, and up-to-date, factual information; also psycho-educational presentations, consultations and group supports.

Contact 888-215-4920 or MassSupport@riversidecc.org.


Some of our Western Mass team’s outreach clinicians:

Anna-Stina Wardlaw, M.Ed. awardlaw@riversidecc.org, 781-805-5573

Monica Bellucci, LMHC mbellucci@riversidecc.org, 781-805-5456

Sean McHugh, RN smchugh@riversidecc.org, 781-805-5353

Team Leader Sarah Gaer, MA sgaer@riversidecc.org, 781-805-5422


MA Support Network Flyer in English and Spanish

Community Action Programs & Family Center

Community Action Family Center located at 90 Federal St., in Greenfield offers a range of resources for Gill-Montague Families. This includes, but is not limited to, early childhood activities, support groups for new moms, diapers, formula, and basic needs (food, clothing) and community supports and connections. Being a parent is a tough job, made much more challenging, with Covid-19 and emergency measures. You can check out the Family Center and their current offerings at their website.

https://www.communityaction.us/family-center


Community Action also offers Nurturing Fathers groups, fuel assistance, WIC, HeadStart, youth & teen programs, training, and more.

GMRSD Student Services & Family Engagement Department

  • Special education
  • Guidance & School Psychology
  • English Learners
  • Specialty services- OT, PT, speech & language
  • Nursing & health education
  • Home & hospital tutoring
  • Homeless education and more
  • Family Engagement Coordinator


Dianne M. Ellis, Director of Pupil Services