BWRSD Community Update 3/19/21

Message from Jonathan Brice, Superintendent of Schools

Dear BWRSD community,

Today, as expected, the CDC revised it’s social distancing guidelines for schools. Key information is provided in section 2 of this update. As we ramp up our plans for returning more students to schools we should consider the following:

Key Considerations:

  • The CDC has changed the guidance for social distancing between students from 6 feet of distance to 3 feet of distance. RIDOH will likely update their guidance as well.

  • The CDC guidance still requires 6 feet of distance when students are unmasked and eating. This means that if we change to 3 feet in the classroom at the elementary level we will need to find additional locations for students to have lunch. (This was unexpected.)

  • Guidelines for transportation have not been updated so we await that information as well.

When and How will we Reopen:

  • We will have a staggered reopening at MHHS prioritizing seniors, then freshman, then other students.

  • All other schools will reopen to all students that want to return to in-person beginning the week of April 26th, if safe to do so based on CDC and RIDOH guidance.

  • Distance learning parents will be requested to choose maintaining their current status or changing to in person school for the remainder of the school year.

  • Once a family has made a decision about their student’s status for the remainder of the year, that decision will be final, so as to facilitate a smooth transition.

It will be Important to Continue with Mitigation Strategies:

  • Correct mask wearing: one that fits securely over nose and mouth. Must be clean each day.

  • Good hand hygiene.

  • Complete the COVID Attestation screening tool daily - staff member or student should stay home if they have any symptoms.

  • After notifying attendance, call or email your child's School Nurse if your child is home with any probable case symptoms.

  • Continued Binax testing of students and staff.

We will update the community as additional information becomes available.

Jonathan Brice, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools


Contents of this Update:

  1. CDC Revises Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention

  2. Massachusetts K-12 School Study Regarding COVID-19 Transmission

  3. Results from Distance Learning Survey

  4. RI Adopts Adjustments to ELA and Math Common Core State Standards

  5. Strategic Planning Update

  6. Online/On Demand NAMI Basics

  7. Barnes & Noble: My Favorite Teacher Contest

  8. East Bay Food Pantry Food Programs

  9. MHHS Art Department

  10. Staff Shout Out

1. CDC Revises Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention

Information Below from CDC Website:

Summary of Recent Changes - Updates as of March 19, 2021:

  • Revised physical distancing recommendations to reflect at least 3 feet between students in classrooms and provide clearer guidance when a greater distance (such as 6 feet) is recommended.

  • Clarified that ventilation is a component of strategies to clean and maintain healthy facilities.

  • Removed recommendation for physical barriers.

  • Clarified the role of community transmission levels in decision-making.

  • Added guidance on interventions when clusters occur

Key Points:

  • Evidence suggests that many K-12 schools that have strictly implemented prevention strategies have been able to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open.

  • CDC’s K-12 operational strategy presents a pathway for schools to provide in-person instruction safely through consistent use of prevention strategies, including universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.

  • All schools should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.

  • Testing to identify individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination for teachers and staff provide additional layers of COVID-19 protection in schools.

View Previous CDC Updates

2. Massachusetts K-12 School Study Regarding COVID-19 Transmission

Linked for your review is a study based on Massachusetts schools that examines more than 200 school districts, over 500,000 students, and more than 99,000 staff members. This study is the first of its kind and indicates that there is no significant difference between 3ft vs 6ft of distance for students in terms of COVID-19 transmission. The study indicates that the most effective COVID-19 mitigation strategy is properly wearing a mask, as we all do at school.

3. Results from Distance Learning Survey

Here are the results from the distance learning survey sent out in the BWRSD Community Update on March 3, 2021. Thank you to all who responded.

4. RI Adopts Adjustments to ELA and Math Common Core State Standards

Rhode Island transitions to the Rhode Island Core Standards for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics from the Common Core State Standards.

Following a period of review and public comment, RIDE is pleased to announce the endorsement by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education of new content standards for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics. The Rhode Island Core Standards for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics are directly aligned with the expectations set forth in the Rhode Island comprehensive assessment system of which the RICAS assessment is an integral part.

The Rhode Island Core Standards maintain the levels of focus, coherence, rigor, and overall content expectations of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). However, there are some instances in which the new standards enhance or clarify the content of the CCSS. Users of high-quality curriculum materials can be assured their resources are still aligned with the expectations of the Rhode Island Core Standards, but there may be a need for minor adjustments within or across grade levels.

To assist users in making these adjustments, RIDE has created crosswalk documents highlighting the instances where expectations differ between the Rhode Island Core Standards and the CCSS.

The new standards and the crosswalk documents can be found at Content Standards - Instruction & Assessment - RI Department of Education.

BWRSD will develop a plan to provide all educators with an overview of the changes and impact on curriculum and instruction. Many of the changes to standards have already been reviewed and are incorporated into curriculum planning.

5. Strategic Planning Update

BWRSD is embarking on the 2021-2026 strategic planning process that will result in operationalizing strategic plans using a project management charter approach. Traditional strategic planning serves as a guide for what organizations want to do. Many organizations write strategic plans but few operationalize the document so that they are responsive to environmental, organizational, financial, and political decisions. In order for strategic planning to be successful a methodology to operationalize the plan must also be included so that the plan is constantly reviewed and revised.

Charter meetings will be held weekly beginning March 22, 2021 through April, 2021. You will be contacted by email with information about your charter, proposed virtual meeting dates & time, and initial documents for review. If interested in participating in this process, please fill out this survey/sign-up form.

6. Online/On Demand NAMI Basics

NAMI Basics is a class for parents, guardians and other family caregivers who provide care for youth (age 22 or younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms. Learn on-line at your own pace. Visit the NAMI website for more information.

7. Barnes & Noble: My Favorite Teacher Contest

The 2021 My Favorite Teacher Contest will run the entire month of March from 3/1 to 3/31. The winning teacher will receive $5,000 for themselves and $5,000 for their school, and the student who writes the winning entry will receive a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card! To enter and see official rules, please visit the Barnes & Noble website.

8. East Bay Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

EBFP food programs are available free of charge to anyone in need of food assistance in Eastern RI (Newport through East Providence).

All EBFP food programs emphasize high-quality, nutritious foods. No appointment needed.

Please click here to learn more about the EBFP programs.;;;

9. MHHS Art Department

Hi! My name is Lauren Enjeti and I am the Teacher Leader for the Art Department at Mt Hope High School. Along with Ms. Sloat, Ms. LoCicero, and Mr. Ricamo, I’m inviting you to join the Art Department at MHHS.

In order to graduate from high school, every student must show proficiency in the Big 3 Academic Expectations. In the Visual Art program, you will have the opportunity to meet all 3 - Critical Thinking, Communication, and Problem Solving, many times over.

The first thing to do is to sign up for General Art 1 for Freshman Year. This course is a prerequisite for any other art course, so passing it early in your high school career opens up many options. In the Visual Art department we offer courses of every kind – traditional media such as painting and drawing, 3-dimensional experiences such as ceramics and sculpture, and the graphic arts, such as Computer Graphics and Photography. We also offer advanced classes in all of those areas, including AP Art Portfolio. Please refer to the pathways chart in the Program of Studies (page 47) to see all of your options and read course descriptions. See What Students say after taking Art 1

In addition to our in-school courses, the Visual Art department offers many opportunities to shine. We have an Art Club, a National Art Honor Society, Ceramics Club, and Art & Literary Magazine. We enter student work and win awards at the local and National level in the Scholastic Art Awards, and we show student work in the community at galleries and community businesses in Warren and Bristol. Each year culminates in an Arts Week Show here at the high school, which showcases all of the amazing work our students have created.

Every student is an individual, and we give you the opportunity to to showcase your personal voice through your artwork. Whether you think of yourself as an artist or not, we welcome you to join us - We have fun and we learn a lot about art and ourselves! Looking forward to meeting you all! See What Students say after taking Art 1 <-----Click the link!

10. Staff Shout Out

Mr. Andrew Cannata, a teacher at Kickemuit Middle School, was selected to participate in the spring 2021 Historical Argumentation Webinar Series. This program is a collaboration between National History Day and the Library of Congress and includes 116 teachers from around the world.

Since December, Mr. Cannata has completed readings, engaged in discussion boards with peers from around the world, and joined live programs with historians and curriculum specialists to improve his practice. The course focuses on applying historical thinking skills to primary sources to develop historical arguments.

Here is the link to the press release. Congratulations Mr. Cannata!

BWRSD Back To School

Please visit our Back to School 2020-21 web page for important updates and links to our reopening plan and resources.