Amesbury Public Schools Update

From the Office of the Superintendent - March 3, 2021

Dear Amesbury Families,

Happy March! I would like to apologize for the back to back surveys but the recent news from DESE has created an immediate need to gather more specific information about the intention of families moving forward. Thus, even if you have already completed the survey from last week, I am asking you to complete this one as well. Please complete the survey no later than 3 pm on Friday, March 5th.

As you may have heard, last week Commissioner Riley shared his intent to request that the Massachusetts Board of Education grant him the authority to declare that hybrid and remote learning models for schools will not count for Time on Learning. What this means is that schools will be required to bring all their students back to school in-person, five days a week. In his message, he stated that he would begin the move to full in-person learning with elementary students. If the Board does grant him this authority, it is anticipated that this would begin on April 5th with our elementary students. The Commissioner also stated that the change would eventually extend to the middle and high schools as well. It is important to note, that at this time, this is NOT an official change. The Board of Education must vote to grant him the authority to make this change. That meeting is scheduled to take place this Friday, March 5th.

However, in order to prepare for the possible scenario presented by the Commissioner, I am asking all families to indicate the most likely learning model for each of their children. While this decision is not officially binding (yet), please provide us with the information that best represents your decision for the remainder of the school year for each of your children. The data collected from this survey will provide the foundation for our planning and classroom design, therefore accuracy matters. When completing the survey, please made your decision as if we were returning to full in-person learning on Monday, April 5th.

It is important to understand that we would continue to follow all safety guidelines including masking, sanitization, and cleaning throughout the day. However, under the DESE regulations, separation between student desks can range between 3 and 6 feet. In short, we will maximize the amount of space between student desks but the distance may get as low as 3 feet. I am respectfully asking that you complete the survey indicating the model in which you anticipate having your child participate for the remainder of the school year. Should the Commissioner be permitted to make this change, remote learning models will not count as Time on Learning for a school or district model; however, we anticipate that DESE will continue to permit families to select a remote learning option for their child for the remainder of this year. As we move deeper into this process, we will provide additional information.

We are excited at the prospect of having our students safely return to school full time. We will continue to have our planning groups work towards our goal of bringing students back full time regardless of the Board’s decision. Thank you in advance for your assistance.


Elizabeth McAndrews

Acting Superintendent

Learning Model Survey #2 - Please complete by 3 pm on Friday, March 5th.

AMS Principal Update

We are happy to announce that on Friday, March 5th, members of the AMS staff and a group of students will have the opportunity to meet the three candidates who have moved forward in the selection process. Between 8 am and 10 am, the three candidates will rotate through the library, Performance Center and the cafeteria, spending approximately 35 minutes in each of these locations. During each session, staff and students will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with each candidate.

SAVE THE DATE! On Wednesday, March 10th, we will hold virtual community forums to provide the community with the chance to interact with the three candidates. ACTV will record each candidate while live streaming on the Amesbury Public Schools Facebook Page. Viewers will have the opportunity to pose questions in the chat. Feeling like you want to join this process in person? We will also provide a socially distant in-person opportunity. Our first candidate will "go live" at 6 pm , the second at 6:45 pm and the third at 7:30 pm. At the end of the evening, attendees will be asked to complete a feedback form for each candidate.

Questions on how to join in? Please contact Daniel Grayton at (978) 388-0507.

We will send out a reminder early next week. We sincerely hope that you can join us!

FY '22 Budget Timeline

On Monday, prior to the School Committee meeting, we held a budget workshop with the School Committee/Finance Meeting of the Whole. During this meeting, members of the School Committee had the chance to ask questions, offer suggestions, and learn about any additional information that we acquired since our last meeting.

We anticipate having one more workshop (tentatively set for March 11th). Following that meeting, we will update our budget in preparation for the Public Hearing which is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 5th. During the Public Hearing, members of our community will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ask questions about the proposed budget. The School Committee will vote on the Superintendent's budget at their meeting on April 12th. The School budget is slated to be presented to the City Council one evening between May 17th and 20th. Final budget approval is anticipated by the end of June.

Thank you for reading this newsletter and taking the survey. Be well!