BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

January 8, 2021

Superintendent's Office


Please see below the very important reminder regarding our re-entry schedule for next week.


Returning to School

In the wake of COVID-19 numbers rising in our Boylston community, I have made the difficult decision to continue the remote learning model for both Boylston Elementary School and Tahanto Regional Middle/High School for the week of Monday, January 11th through Friday, January 15th.


Berlin Memorial School will reopen next week in their regular hybrid model. Buses will operate as usual and the school cafeteria will be open as well.


Staff in all three schools, Berlin Memorial School, Boylston Elementary School, and Tahanto Regional Middle/High School, will be required to report to their respective schools in person beginning next week.



Jeffrey Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Department of Teaching and Learning


Early Release Day - Our regularly scheduled early release day will take place on Wednesday, January 13th, as originally planned within our Professional Day framework each year. “Dismissal from remote learning” time will conclude in the elementary schools by 11:45 am and at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School at 10:56 am. Our students are learning remotely on that day, therefore, any regularly scheduled synchronous learning beyond these hours will not be held.


Student Learning Time Increases - In December, the Board of the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education voted to adopt amended regulations to the Re-Entry Models for school districts and the required Student Learning Time. The new, mandatory regulations will go into effect on Tuesday, January 19th as follows:


School Districts in a primarily Hybrid Model:

1 ) All hybrid models must provide a minimum average of 35 hours of live learning time over a 10-day learning period across the model for the district.

2) A live check-in must occur DAILY whether or not our students are synchronous or asynchronous for that day. (Note: there is no specific amount of time for this check-in).


School Districts in a primarily Fully Remote Learning Model*:

1) All fully remote models must provide a minimum average of 40 hours of live (synchronous) learning time over a 10-day learning period across the model for the district.

2) A live check-in must occur DAILY. (Note: there is no specific amount of time for this check-in).


* This model pertains to any days/weeks in which the District, or any school within the District, must move to a remote learning model and applies to the predominant model that the district/school is offering all of its students. Therefore, this does not include students who are learning in our alternative programs, the Bridge Program at the elementary level, and Edgenuity at the middle/high school level.


Results of a preliminary survey distributed by the DESE in late October to all school districts provided guidance on the number of live learning hours each district, including Berlin-Boylston, needed to increase to meet the new regulations. Our average, as of the initial survey, was 31 hours, prior to the increase in live streaming and other synchronous opportunities. The SLT survey data is now posted on the Department website: Data and Accountability - Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education listed under Data Reports.


Please know that all administrators and staff at each of our schools are working to increase the number of hours to meet the regulation average of 35 hours over a two week period of time across the district and will be prepared to meet the January 19th implementation date. Your student(s)’ teachers and principals will be reaching out to you in the coming week with the specific changes that will impact your child. Please plan to have support (particularly for younger students in the elementary level) to assist them in accessing multiple live sessions on what had previously been their asynchronous days.




Carol Costello, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

ccostello@bbrsd.org

Business Office


School Lunch - Meals the week of 1/11 to 1/15:

Berlin Memorial meals will be offered at school on in-person learning days… and remote meals may be ordered for remote learning days. For Boylston Elementary and Tahanto, all days next week will be remote learning days, so all students will be able to order 7 days of breakfast and lunch. Pickup will take place from 10am-1pm at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. If you are unable to pick up meals during the offered times, please email lstaples@bbrsd.org to arrange alternate plans. Sign up here.


This week’s menu includes 3 ready-to-eat sandwich meals (Chicken Salad, Turkey & Cheese, Tuna Salad, PBJ), in addition to 4 newly prepared frozen meals (Cheese Calzone, Pasta & Meatballs, Mac n’ Cheese, French Toast Sticks, Chicken Nuggets, American Chop Suey). We are also offering a bag of fresh produce for each household!


We appreciate the recent newcomers to our program, and the folks that have been with us since the beginning. We encourage all households to participate, regardless of their financial situation, as participation keeps our food service department working!



Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Pupil Personnel Department

Special Education Services

Special Education students in Boylston Elementary School and Tahanto Regional will receive remote services next week, with the exception of a few students with significant, global needs who are not able to access education virtually. These students are classified as “High Needs” by DESE. Families will be notified directly if their child is identified as a “High Needs” student, and the staff will discuss the best plan for the student with their parent/guardian. Only these families will be contacted, all other students will be remote next week.


Preschool Special Education Services

Preschool students with Special Education services are also designated for in-person services whenever possible. For the week of 1/11/21 Preschool students with Special Education services only, who attend the program at Tahanto Regional High School will be in-person and should plan to attend on their regularly scheduled days. Typical peers in the program will be remote and have asynchronous activities.


Preschool Screening Rescheduled

Please note the preschool screening for new three and four-year-olds that was scheduled for January 11, 2021, has been postponed to Monday, January 25th at the Tahanto Preschool.


SEPAC Meeting

Finally, on Monday, January, 25th at 6:30 pm, the Berlin-Boylston SEPAC will hold an Online Basic Rights Presentation and General Meeting. To join, send a message to info.bbrsd.sepac@gmail.com for more details. For more information: http://www.sepac-berlin-boylston.org.


Karen Molnar, Director of Pupil Personnel

kmolnar@bbrsd.org

Technology Department

Just to try to clarify what went home in the reentry letter earlier this week. Weeks when we are Fully Remote, as was the case this past week when all students and staff were working remotely, we will still have some minimum hours in order to facilitate exchanges or technical support that cannot be handled via remote intervention.


In keeping with the purpose of these weeks, which is trying to minimize contact, the hours will be 8 AM-10 AM and 2 PM-4 PM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the location will be a single location which is Tahanto Regional Middle/High School. These limited hours for physical/on-site support only occurs during weeks where both students and staff are asked to be fully remote.


If staff or both students and staff are in the buildings, then such exchanges can take place during normal school hours and in the building where the student or staff member resides. For example, this coming week when Berlin Memorial will be in Hybrid mode and Boylston Elementary and Tahanto will be remote, since staff will be in all three buildings and technology exchanges/support can take place at the individual buildings during regular school hours. If an individual building is closed for additional cleaning, please email your student’s teacher or principal and we will try to arrange an appointment time to handle necessary issues.


Staff, please continue to use the ticket system, even during Fully Remote weeks, and if an in-person appointment is needed we will let you know and get that scheduled. I hope this did clarify the message, but if you have any questions about these technology support hours, please don’t hesitate to email me. Thank you.


Paul Mara, Director of Technology

pmara@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School


This past Wednesday, I was glued to the news outlets as I am sure many of you were. It was and is still hard for me to wrap my brain around the events of the day. I can only imagine how some children are trying to process what is going on. I know it has come up in some zoom sessions this week and the teachers have handled it well. Kids need to know they are safe and cared for. I had shared some resources with staff but will share them with all of you as well.

  • This link is provided by our Caring School Community and is in line with our Social-Emotional Curriculum.

  • While classroom-focused, this is a good read specifically around the insurrection at the capitol building.

  • This is a more global tool for talking to your child about violence.


A note for our Remote Bridge students: You should be receiving an invitation from the classroom teachers to attend live-streamed specials classes next week. Please feel free to join them if they do not conflict with one of your other sessions. It will be great to "see" you on zoom!


This week, letters went out to families who are listed on the town census as having an incoming Kindergartener. If you have a child that will be 5 by September 1, 2021, and you didn’t receive a letter, please contact us. Registration will be contactless & we hope to have an accurate count of incoming students by the end of the month so that we can budget appropriately.


Good news from the Department of Education: The state has decided to shorten MCAS testing time for Grades 3-8: The Department will significantly reduce testing time for students in these grades through a session sampling approach, in which each student will take only a portion of each MCAS assessment in each subject. This modified MCAS administration will preserve the validity and reliability of the test at the school, district, and state levels. When combined with other data points, this approach will provide meaningful diagnostic data at the individual student level. It is a step in the right direction.


As we returned from the break, I have heard kids share online that they have traveled or plan to travel over the upcoming weekend. I wanted to remind families of the School District policy around traveling into states deemed "high risk." At this point, anyone traveling outside of the state (unless they are going to Hawaii), will still need to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. Please be aware of this and plan accordingly.


The REMOTE week ahead:

  • Tuesday (1/12)

    • School Committee meeting

  • Wednesday (1/13)

    • 1/2 day of school for PD day

  • Friday (1/15)

    • Pajama Day!





Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

Berlin Memorial School


The images we were exposed to from our nation's capital yesterday were deeply disturbing. While I think that the word "trauma" is sometimes over-used, this event certainly seems to rise to that level.


As I shared with teachers earlier, in our dealings with kids over the next few days, it would seem wise to remember that our role is to support and reassure them that they are safe and loved. Adults will deal with what is happening, and their job is to be good students and good friends.


In discussing this topic with Ms. Checola, our school psychologist, she referred me to a resource on talking to children about violence which we have relied on in the past. You can find that document here.



A note from Nurse Ana


Dear Parents/Caregivers,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone was able to rest and rejuvenate during the holiday break. In order to keep our staff and students healthy, I have a few reminders for you as we return to in-person learning:


· Please continue to screen your child at home for signs/symptoms of illness prior to sending him/her to school. Daily Screening Assessment. If he/she is ill, keep them home and inform the school and the school nurse in order to determine how to proceed in order for your child to return to school after an illness.


The Berlin-Boylston Travel Policy of a 14-day quarantine remains in effect for all staff and students that travel outside Massachusetts, this includes going skiing for the day/weekend in NH, visiting family in ME, etc.)


TRAVEL: All staff and students are expected to comply with Governor Baker’s Travel Orders. In addition, if staff/students of any age travel outside of states deemed “low risk,” staff/students would be required to quarantine for 14 days regardless of test results. For the complete policy click here.


Please continue to send me a copy of your child’s Flu Vaccine documentation. The deadline for the flu vaccine has been extended through February 28, 2021.


Stay well and as always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

Ana Amaral, BSN, RN, NCSN



Kindergarten Registration

This week, letters went out to families who are listed on the town census as having an incoming Kindergartener. If you have a child that will be 5 by September 1, 2021, and you didn’t receive a letter, please contact us. Registration will be contactless & we hope to have an accurate count of incoming students by the end of the month so that we can budget appropriately.


Have a great week!



John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School



Tahanto Today January 8, 2021


We would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back from winter break! Although we had hoped that we would be able to be back in with our hybrid model, for everyone’s safety, full remote is the best option at this time. The importance of physical distancing, limiting social interactions and limiting non-essential travel continues to be so important. Please remember that the health of our communities directly impacts the safety of our schools.


At Tahanto we consider ourselves a family. Part of Tahanto’s core values and beliefs is to ensure that our school is one that promotes safety, respect and empathy. In light of this past week's events at the Capitol we need to remind ourselves and everyone around us that although we may have differing opinions and beliefs, what truly matters is that we respect and embrace each other's differences in a peaceful manner.


Please know that our counseling staff is available to help anyone process these events.


This Week’s Schedule

Please remember that we are full remote until January 19th.


Tahanto Schedule 1/11/21-1/15/21


** Please remember to give teachers/staff 24 hours to return emails**




Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist


State Mandated Flu Vaccination

Documentation deadline extended to February 28, 2021

Please click Here for important information



Questions? Contact Janet Sequeira, School Nurse at (508)869-2333 ext. 2303


Athletics

Please make sure that student-athletes have Covid related supplies (masks, sanitizer, plenty of water) in their gym bags.


https://tahantoregional.rschoolteams.com/


Matt Porcaro

Athletic Director

Tahanto Regional

mporcaro@bbrsd.org



Drama Club News


The Tahanto Drama Club is planning to perform a one-act play," Home of the Brave" in February.


Auditions are opening up again to fill our cast list; one main role and two supporting roles. We also are looking for a student who is interested in supporting the technical needs of putting on a virtual play.


Please contact Mrs. Gustavson directly at lgustavson@bbrsd.org to apply.



School Committee Policy Update on Travel during COVID

Please read the following update to the travel policy. TRAVEL: All staff and students are expected to comply with Governor Baker’s Travel Orders. In addition, if staff/students of any age travel outside of states deemed “low risk,” staff/students would be required to quarantine for 14 days regardless of test results.


Families, please contact the nurse if you have travelled outside of Massachusetts to a “high risk” state. Currently the only state that is not deemed to be high risk is Hawaii. Now, if you are going to Hawaii there is also a policy stating that you must take the principal with you :)

These restrictions are put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy. We appreciate everyone’s commitment to this.



Every Tuesday afterschool in the Library Conference Room we are offering math support for all students in grades 6-12. No need to sign up, just show up!


Important Clarification for Attendance


This is a clarification for all parents/students. If you are scheduled to be in person for learning, you may not choose to learn remotely unless you are not feeling well in which case a parent would call the school nurse.


If a student stays home due to not feeling well, a parent may write a parental excusal which should be brought into the Main Office upon the student's return to school. If the nurse excuses the student's absence for the day and allows the student to study remotely, students in a different cohort should contact their teachers to let them know they are planning on studying remotely as they may not have access to the Google Meet links/materials needed to work remotely.



School Lunch is FREE!

School lunch in the cafeteria is free to all students until 6/30/2021, or until federal funding is depleted. Snack and extra meals are not included. Click here for more information.


Counselors Corner

For the latest from the Counseling Department, please click HERE

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.


Ms. Ford’s Virtual Office

Ms. Ford's Virtual Office Link

I developed this Virtual Office to provide students with the opportunity to have fun while learning about different coping skills, relevant topics such as Anxiety, and a space where they can explore content to help them strengthen their social-emotional skill set. I update the office with new links and content weekly and even have had some suggestions from students too. So far this has allowed me to interact with students in a different way while teaching them they can "virtually do anything". A lot of students and parents have recognized that it is hard to utilize coping strategies while at home or when they do not have immediate access to them. In this office, they can explore what meets their needs and gain insight on areas they need additional support and feel connected.


Powerschool

Are you or your child having trouble logging onto your powerschool? Parents, do you need an account set-up? We encourage parents and students to have their own accounts. With that said, please reach out to Mrs. Esposito with any account-related concerns at besposito@bbrsd.org. As a friendly reminder, we DO NOT send home report cards. All grades can be viewed on powerschool. If you have multiple children in grades 6-12, parents can view each of their child’s information from one account.

Have you logged into powerschool but are unable to see grades? At the very top of the screen, above the student’s name there is a tab for Grades and Attendance, select the tab for them to appear. (This is different from the tab on the left-hand menu bar). Anything in blue, you can click on and it will provide detailed information like classwork, grades for an assignment, and days absent from the class. Your child’s teacher email information is also provided, should you need to reach them with any questions or concerns.


Attendance Information/Clarification

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.


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.



Tahanto Regional High School

1001 Main Street

Boylston, MA 01505

(508) 869-2333




Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally-Ann Stukuls

sstukuls@bbrsd.org