The District Dispatch
Dear Middleborough Faculty and Staff,
I hope that you and your families are well. It's been a long year.
I want to share with you that I am excited about the positive signs I have been observing in our community. Temperatures are trending upward on the thermometer, early flowers are blooming and we're returning to full in-person learning for our K-8 Faculty, staff and students next week! Thanks to everyone who has made this possible.
I wanted to give a "shout out" to the MEA Negotiations Team who have worked with the district to outline our reopening parameters. As part of this process, the district and the M.E.A. have agreed to a protocol wherein individual employees (teachers, ESP's and Cafeteria workers) will not be charged for the necessary time taken for vaccinations(and recovery from vaccinations) against the Covid-19 virus.
I would like to announce that these vaccination-related accrued sick leave and/or personal time exemptions, which are of vital importance to our school community, will also be extended to ALL of our employees and shall be retroactive in nature. We are not looking for proof of vaccination and we will be trusting folks and taking individuals "at their word" regarding the use of such time. Please note that because you're all vitally important to the smooth operation of our district, any absence can have a negative impact so we are asking that people schedule appointments for vaccinations "after hours" although we do understand the nature of the "scheduling beast".
Please see the information below for additional information/instruction.
In closing please enjoy the warmer weather, the beautiful flowers and our K-8 students returning to our schools full time!
COVID Vaccination Request for Leave Procedure
Faculty and staff who are obtaining their COVID Vaccination during school hours must complete a short term request leave form. Check “Other” and state the reason as COVID Vaccination. Also, please indicate if you are taking a full, half, or quarter of a day. Employees will do their best to plan for vaccine appointments, if available, at times outside of the school day or so as not to use excessive time out of school.
Completed short term requests for leave should be submitted to your school’s Main Office in advance of the requested day. Your timely submission of this request is appreciated.
Faculty and staff will also submit their absence to SubOnline. Please select “COVID Vaccination” as the reason for absence. You may choose a full or half day in SubOnline. If a quarter day is needed, please select 0.50 day on SubOnline and indicate that substitute coverage is not needed. Please let your Main Office know of your coverage needs for internal coverage.
Central Office staff will then indicate “Other/No Deduct” for attendance purposes in Aspen. The reason for absence will be indicated under comments. Time will not be deducted from accrued time.
COVID Vaccination Illness Request for Leave Procedure
If a member of our faculty and staff experience a reaction following their COVID vaccination, we ask that you follow your Main Office’s protocols for reporting your absence.
Faculty and staff must also log your absence in SubOnline by selecting “COVID Vaccination Illness”. You may choose full or half day in SubOnline. If a quarter day is needed, please select 0.50 day on SubOnline and indicate that substitute coverage is not needed. Please let your Main Office know of your coverage needs for internal coverage.
Main Office staff will input the absence in Aspen and indicate “Other/No Deduct” for attendance purposes in Aspen. The reason for absence will be indicated under comments throughout the duration of the absence. Time will not be deducted from accrued time.
Recouping Time Previously Taken for COVID Vaccinations
Faculty and staff who had previously taken sick or personal leave to obtain their COVID vaccination and reactions to the vaccination can recoup any time taken for these purposes.
Please submit a short term request for leave to your Main Office. In the section for “Date(s) Requested”, indicate the date of your vaccination and any subsequent dates related to any reaction to the vaccination. Check “Other” and state the reason as COVID Vaccination.
Central Office will make all needed changes in Aspen using COVID Vaccination and/or COVID Vaccination Illness as warranted. Time will not be deducted from accrued time.
I hope that you are remaining healthy during this time. March has certainly been a long month but the hope of warmer weather looms. It seems that spring has sprung finally!
With spring comes the planning of summer and our Extended School Year (ESY) services. This year the PPS Office plans to open our ESY program in a fully in-person model at the Memorial Early Childhood Center. The ESY program is a six week program that will run from July 6-August 12, 2021. The ESY program also contains a five week tutoring program (July 12-August 12, 2021) as well as itinerant services. As you may have heard, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has mandated that we still must offer a remote option for ESY for requesting families; however, the majority of this program will occur in-person as it has in years past. The PPS Office is looking for licensed special education teachers to apply for these positions. If you are interested in a position, please contact me as soon as possible.
Most recently, the PPS Office teamed up with the Middleborough SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) to present a panel of mental health experts to open the conversation with our greater school community on mental health. You can watch this event on the District’s YouTube channel here. Thank you to all of our panelists for an engaging conversation on a topic that impacts everyone in our community!
Over the weekend I was reflecting on the journey we have all been on for the last 12 months and in doing so it conjured up so many thoughts and feelings. Immediately I was overcome with a strong sense of pride in our entire school community. I am proud that we have worked together to focus on what is most important for our children, their families and each other. This year has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but we have overcome our challenges through following our guiding principles to ensure that we feel safe, cared for, and are ready to learn.
As we welcome back the majority of our Kindergarten through 8th grade students for full in-person learning, we need to continue to let our guiding principles influence our decision-making. Let's continue to prioritize our well-being and relationships so we can all be available for learning. Our full return is almost like starting a new school year and in some instances it is for our students who are returning to the brick and mortar school for the first time since last March.
A colleague and I spoke of this last night and she shared that it is like a new student moving into a new school in the middle of the year and it can take upwards of 6 weeks for that student to settle in and develop connection with others in the classroom. Regardless if you have any new students or not in your classroom, let's not gloss over the monumental change of being in-person 5 days a week. This is a big change for us all! Let's make sure we re-establish routines so our students feel safe. Re-connect within your community of learners so students feel a sense of belonging. We all have taken our educational psychology 101 class and the reason it is one of the first courses in education is because of its importance. We have to Maslow before Bloom!
Trust in yourself as educators and trust in each other as colleagues. You know your content and standards. You know your students. Be confident in what you know and in your ability to meet our students needs. For areas where you do not have confidence or maybe you have questions, reach out to your colleagues and administration. Like our students, we are a community of learners also and we have so much we can all learn from each other! Remember we are a TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More)!!
Again, I am so proud of all that we have done together and I know we will continue to foster a culture of excellence amongst our students and with each other! We got this, Middleborough!