Amesbury Public Schools Update

From the Office of the Superintendent - November 19, 2021

Dear Amesbury Public Schools Families,

I hope that this communication finds you well. There are only a few days until our Thanksgiving break. It has been so great to be back to an “almost normal” school experience. I still love walking through the buildings watching and listening to the exchanges between students, between staff and students, as well as between staff members themselves. Watching learning happen is really enjoyable. Both students and staff are working hard to create, deliver, and assess meaningful learning experiences. I am very happy that our school community will have a few days to relax and enjoy their families. I sincerely hope that all of you can as well. I am fairly sure that we all need a little time to recharge our batteries.


As you probably already know, two weeks ago I shared my recommendation to retire the Indian as AHS’s school identifier with the School Committee. This past Monday, they voted on that recommendation. In short, moving forward, there will be a transition away from the Indian. As one might imagine, this will not be a simple or quick process to make this transition. I know that people are incredibly passionate about their positions on this issue. There are many questions and things to consider as we begin this process. I would like to share some quick thoughts with you in the attempt to clarify expectations.


  • As the first step in this process, anything new that we order as part of a school purchase or purchases within a school related organization should not have the Indian on it.

  • Until we complete the process of selecting a new identifier, we will be using either a Block A or Amesbury.

  • If things have already been ordered or are currently being worn, they may remain as is.

    • For example, online athletic or co-curricular stores that have already closed, will continue with what has been ordered.

    • New online stores, or ones that are on-going, must make the transition to the “Block A” or Amesbury.

    • Uniforms that are already being used and have the Indian on them, will continue to be used until they are replaced through the uniform replacement cycle.

  • We will begin the process of reviewing scoreboards and looking for ways to make the necessary changes to them.

  • We will get estimates for removing the Indian from the gym floor and will be intelligent about the timing of getting that work done.

  • There have been several questions about a committee to select the next identifier. At our SC meeting on Monday, we discussed modifying our existing policy to be more explicit about what types of identifiers can be considered. Until we have the policy finalized, we will not be forming the committee. It is important to all of us that we incorporate as much input into the selection process as possible and provide more clear guidelines for that process. I will be sure to send information about participation in that process through a variety of mechanisms. I would not anticipate that happening until after the start of the new calendar year. Again, timing is dependent upon the policy revision process.


I am certain that we will encounter things that we have not anticipated. As I have said to our staff, please reach out to me with any questions about this process. I will provide you with as much information as I have.


Again, I hope that the Thanksgiving break is a safe and restful one for all!


Sincerely,


Elizabeth McAndrews

Superintendent

Entry Plan and I AMesbury 2030 Learning Survey

As you may be aware, as part of my first year in the New Superintendents' Induction Program (NSIP), I have to conduct interviews, have conversations, and review documents to share in my Entry Plan Findings Report. This report will be used to create the 5 Year Strategic Plan for Amesbury Public Schools. I planned on doing a survey to gather information from those individuals who were unable to attend one of my in-person meetings. The City of Amesbury is undergoing a similar process with their I AMesbury 2030 campaign. As part of that effort, the city is conducting a learning survey. In the interest of saving you a little time and maybe reducing your level of "survey fatigue", we combined our efforts. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. It will be evident that there are questions that are tailored to the schools and others to the city; however, as we continue to work together in the best interest of Amesbury, I hope that you will answer as many questions as you can. Thank you in advance for your support of our efforts.


Link to survey:


https://www.amesburyma.gov/mayors-office/webforms/i-amesbury-2030-learning-survey

School Committee Spotlight

Know someone who deserves to be recognized for doing something that stands out? If so, please use the link below to submit their name for consideration.


Policy AGA: On behalf of the school system, The Amesbury School Committee: Teaching and Learning Subcommittee will recognize students, staff, Committee members, and community members whose outstanding service and/or accomplishments reaffirm and reinforce the District's mission, values and goals. The Subcommittee may invite individuals or groups that have made important school-related contributions or achievements to the School Committee meeting at which they will be commended during a "Spotlight". Additionally, they may receive a letter of commendation from the Subcommittee or recognition in the form of an adoption of a resolution citing such service or accomplishment.


Additional documentation for a nomination can be emailed to daniel.grayton@amesburyma.gov.


Link to Google Form: https://forms.gle/Xgg1XMDKPJ7nBPLJ9

Congratulations to School Committee Member -- Mel Webster

Mr. Webster was recently selected by the MASC (Massachusetts Association of School Committees) to receive the MASC's Division I All-State School Committee 2021 award. "This honor recognizes your contributions to the students of the Amesbury Public Schools both through your years of service on the school committee, as well as through the many activities in which you have participated as an advocate for children."


MASC will be reaching out to set up a time to present Mr. Webster with his award at a School Committee meeting in the near future.


Congratulations!

CES STEAM Day

A huge shoutout to the CES Team for organizing the first annual, building-wide STEAM Day! The day focused on construction, more specifically structure and function. There were a wide range of events and activities planned for the students. From all accounts, the day was incredibly successful!

Substitute Teachers Needed

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Building and Grounds Update

Last Spring we applied with the Massachusetts School Building Authority(MSBA) to be part of the Accelerated Repair Program (ARP). We submitted a Statement of Interest (SOI) to fully repair the roof of Amesbury Middle School. Concurrently, the city provided $56,000 of capital funds to repair the same roof. We anticipated hearing from the MSBA in the early fall as we had in previous years; however, we did not receive our letter of denial until Wednesday, October 27, 2021. As you can see, there were 60 applicants, 49 of which made it through the initial review. However, the "youngest" roof that was admitted into the program was 29 years old. Conversely, ours is 25 years old. Immediately following the receipt of that letter, our Director of Facilities, Matt Bennett, was instructed to get quotes to repair AMS' roof. To date, the following steps have been taken:



  • 5 companies have been contacted to provide quotes for the AMS roof. Those companies have also been asked to quote on roof repairs for AES, CES, and AHS.
  • 3 of the 5 companies will have walked the roof by the end of this week.
  • Once the quotes are in, Mr. Bennett, along with Ms. Liporto (Director of Finance and Operations) will determine the next steps in this process.



Because these will only be repairs and not a replacement, we will continue to apply to the ARP each year in the hopes of fully repairing the AMS roof.

Consent for Testing - We Need Your Help

As you know, we have been conducting in-school testing for students and staff who are close contacts in school and/or are symptomatic. We are NOT conducting pool testing at this time. If you have not completed the consent form for your child, please take a moment to do so using this link.


Moving forward, we will not be able to perform "Test and Stay" on students who do not have a consent on file. Paper copies of consents can be found in each school's main office. If your child is deemed a close contact and does not meet any of the exemptions, they will not be permitted to participate in the Test and Stay Program which means that they will no be able to remain in school. Please take a moment to complete the consent form by clicking on the link above.


As a reminder, we are NOT participating in Pool Testing.


COVID Dashboard

I have included the number of COVID cases by building since the first week of October. Given the number of weeks that have gone by, I am not including September's numbers by the week, but those numbers ARE included in the total number of cases.
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Vaccine Links for Ages 5-11

We are happy to share the following links for Pfizer Clinics for children ages 5-11.


Location: West Newbury Town Office Building Annex, 381 Main Street, West Newbury
Parking: Available in front and rear of the building, enter through door B-3.

* Monday, November 22 - APPOINTMENT LINK<https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/amesbury>
* Monday, November 29 - APPOINTMENT LINK<https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/amesbury>

Grad Night Fundraisers - Calendar and Flatbreads!

ALL GRADES - Would you like 31 chances to WIN cash and prizes this December? Purchase an AHS Grad Night Raffle Calendar and you will be supporting efforts to provide an all-night, substance free and surprise adventure for the Class of 2022 and future graduating classes! Entries are $10 each and there are over $3,500 in cash and prizes!. If you win, your name goes back in for even more winning opportunities. Every five tickets you sell earns a free entry into the raffle PLUS the top 3 selling students will win a special prize! Please turn in your sold tickets to the main office before November 23rd! If you have misplaced your calendars that were mailed out in early November please contact Grad Night at amesburygradnight@gmail.com. Each night in December be sure to check out our Facebook page (AHS Grad Night Committee) to see the winning tickets being drawn....it could be you! Late entries will be accepted and entered into the drawing on the day they are received. Thank you for your support!!!


Grad Night Flatbread Fundraiser - Dine in or take out on November 30th 5PM-8PM. Proceeds support AHS Grad Night's mission to provide a safe, substance-free, all-night, fun-filled surprise activity to students in the senior class every year on graduation night.

AMS PAG Wreath Pick Up

A huge thank you for those of you who supported this drive!
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Progress on Shay Memorial

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Thanksgiving Break

As a reminder, our Thanksgiving Break begins on Wednesday, November 24th. On that day, dismissal times are as follows:


AHS 10:50 am

AIHS 10:50 am

AMS 10:50 am

CES 11:30 am

AES 11:30 am

Please have a safe and relaxing break! Students return to school on Monday, November 29th!