BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update
January 14, 2022
School Mask Mandate Extended
Commissioner Riley from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has extended the mask mandate for MA Public Schools through February 28, 2022. Please click here to read the news release.
Updated COVID Protocol Flow Chart and FAQ's
Superintendent Advisory Council-Berlin Members Needed
Superintendent Zanghi would like to add more members to his Superintendent Advisory Committee from the Town of Berlin. If you live in Berlin and would like to join, please send an email to Kristi Turgeon, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. This group meets one Thursday per quarter via Zoom.
Happy Retirement to Mrs. Karen Molnar!
The BBRSD would like to extend our thanks and gratitude for the work done by our Pupil Personnel Director, Karen Molnar, who retires today. Karen has worked for 33 years in education and has been a tireless champion for our students. She has been an outstanding leader in our district and we hope the future brings her all the happiness and fulfillment she deserves.
Next week we welcome Mrs. Jannel Fitzpatrick to the role of Pupil Personnel Director.
Jeff Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
Below is a summary of my report to the Berlin-Boylston School Committee this past week, highlighting some of the more recent initiatives, activities, and events taking place around teaching and learning.
Continuation of District Equity Work
The Administrative Team continued its work with Teachers 21 consultants on Thursday, January 6, 2022, in a two-hour session that included the introduction of two staff representatives from each of the three schools. These staff members will contribute to further conversations both as members of the committee and with colleagues, and projects related to equity and cultural responsiveness in their home schools.
During the session, the building principals communicated their individual equity goals for the 2021-2022 school year and the Administrative Team shared key takeaways of their learning to date. Principals also worked on action plan steps with their building representatives in anticipation of moving into work with the staff this spring.
Last year, the Team embarked on an exploration of equity in relation to our district that included a book study, Breakthrough Leadership - Six Principles Guiding Schools Where Inequity is Not an Option, followed by initial engagement with Teachers 21 to better understand and reflect upon personal biases, to incorporate available data into decision-making related to next steps, and to draft a definition of equity to be expanded upon and revised this year with the staff representatives.
Early Release Day - January 12, 2022
This is the second of two early release days offered to staff for the purpose of professional development. At the elementary schools, teacher leaders facilitated presentations and discussions around topics related to literacy and mathematics as well as alternative instructional practices, and special education service implementation. At the middle/high school, staff continued to work on curriculum development in accordance with our District Improvement Plan timeline.
An Introduction to the B.R.Y.T. Program
Tahanto Guidance Department members and school and district administrators recently partnered with the Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition (B.R.Y.T.) program developed from the offices of the Brookline Center for Community Mental Health. The program specializes in working with schools and families to “promote healing, wellness, and academic success for teens returning from prolonged absences.”
B.R.Y.T. Facilitators will initially be working with Tahanto to create a school bridge program for students transitioning back into school after short-term, or prolonged periods of hospitalization, mental health struggles, or at-home care. The District's intention is to then continue with B.R.Y.T. into the elementary schools and provide families with resources related to social-emotional and mental health challenges at home.
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
School Bus Transportation Update
A message was sent out to families earlier this week related to the combination of two Boylston Elementary bus routes (route #2 and route#4). In the event you missed it, a copy of that message is pasted below.
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
I am writing to communicate a change to Boylston Elementary bus routes. With the driver of bus #4 out until at least the beginning of February, Boylston elementary route #2 and route #4 will be combined into a single route. This change will take place immediately, starting the morning of Friday, January 14, 2022, and continuing until further notice.
The driver of bus #2 will no longer stop at the elementary school between route #4 and route #2, and the sequence of routes will be changed.
The relatively short duration of these two routes will result in students getting to school on time for the start of school.
The impact to pick-up and drop-off times is as follows:
Route #2 students picked up first, then route #4 students
· Route #2 will be picked up approximately 20 minutes earlier than published route times (bus #2 has some “lag time” between it’s Tahanto and BES route and will start earlier). With limited ridership, that may be closer to 25-30 minutes on the last couple stops.
· Route #4 will be picked up approximately 10 minutes after published route times. As it gets to the last couple stops, that gap may reduce to 5 minutes later than published route times.
Route #2 students dropped off first, then route #4 students
(this will balance the overall travel times for each bus)
· All students riding bus #2 and bus #4 will board at the same time.
· Boylston Elementary staff may elect to make/modify seating assignments to facilitate the drop-off process.
· Bus #2 students will be dropped off first, followed by bus #4 students.
· Bus #2 will follow its published afternoon schedule, and by the end of the route is expected to be running 5 – 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
· Bus #4 students will be dropped off after bus #2’s route is completed. Its drop-off times are expected to be approximately 20-25 minutes later than published times.
We will be monitoring travel times for all Boylston Elementary routes after this change. If warranted and feasible, certain stops on this combined route may be moved to a different Boylston Elementary route in order to balance overall travel times. Families will be notified in advance if this is to occur.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding while we strive to obtain more stability and consistency on our transportation routes.
Robert Conry, Director of Finance and Operations
Pupil Personnel Department
As you may know, I will be retiring from my position as Pupil Personnel Director, this week. Before setting off on the next chapter of my journey, I wanted to take a moment to let parents and staff know how much I’ve enjoyed my time in Berlin-Boylston. The staff and families in Berlin-Boylston have honestly been one of the best parts of working here. It’s been a true pleasure getting to know you and your children through the years.
We are so pleased to have Jannel Fitzpatrick move into the Pupil Personnel Director role next week. Jannel has been the Special Education Coordinator at Tahanto for many years, and before that she was a Special Education teacher at Boylston Elementary. Replacing Jannel as the MS/HS and Boylston Preschool Coordinator will be Sherry Burke. Sherry has many years of experience as a Team Chairperson, and most recently she has been working as a Lead Evaluation Team Facilitator in Lawrence Public Schools.
Wishing you all the best,
Please see the announcement below for the next SEPAC meeting.
Please see the announcement below for the SEPAC Fundraiser through Little Caesar.
Director of Pupil Personnel
Mrs. Jannel Fitzpatrick
Mrs, Fitzpatrick begins as the new Pupil Personnel Director on Tuesday, January 18!
SEPAC Meeting 1-24-2022
Please see this notice regarding the SEPAC meeting on January 24.
Please see this flyer regarding the SEPAC fundraiser at Little Caesars.
Boylston Elementary School
COVID once again seems to be dominating our day. My apologies for filling your inboxes with the standard email almost daily. I'd like to publicly acknowledge the efforts of Nurse Lisa in contact tracing, testing, and communicating. It has been more than a full-time job this month and she still is finding time for the day-to-day issues a school building encounters. I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can within the guidance to keep everyone healthy and respond when they are not. Our goals are two-fold right now, to keep everyone healthy, and educate all kids. Many of the new guidelines show this shared emphasis as well. It can be a tough balance and we so appreciate all of your support.
Given the frigid temperatures this week and more snow potentially in the forecast, it seems like a good time to remind everyone that we try to get outside as often as possible, even for snacks if weather permits. What permits this? Anything above 20 degrees with the windchill. Below is the chart we use in making the decision. This makes it important that students come to school prepared to play outside for 30 minutes. A warm coat seems to be the minimum. If you get them to bring them in, we will make them wear them. If you need help in getting a warm coat just let me know. If the kids want to play in the snow...and what kid doesn't...they will need to have boots, snow pants, coat, and gloves/mittens (a hat is recommended). It can be particularly difficult for the little ones who don't have the right clothing to be confined to the hardtop while their friends frolic in the snow. We can help with this too if you let us know.
This week we also were able to award the winners of our "Make the Principal an Ugly Sweater" contest. As a part of our Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) program, students were able to use their bobcats to purchase templates with my face and a blank sweater outline. I love the creativity they all showed! Below are winners at each grade level. These artists walked away with 52 bobcats for their efforts! Thank you to Mrs. Koziak for organizing the whole thing.
The Week Ahead
Week Ahead looks to be a quiet one. Just the reminder:
Chorus performs at the Railers
No School - MLK Day
Ace Thompson, Principal
BES Office: 508-869-2200
As part of our PBIS Program students "Made the Principal an Ugly Sweater" this past week!
Wind Chill Chart
We will use this chart to determine whether we will have indoor or outdoor recess, depending on the weather. Please send students with appropriate clothing.
MLK Day 1-17-2022
There will be no school on Monday, January 17, 2022, in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wind Chill Chart
Berlin Memorial School
Another adventure of a week - just a few notes for you.,,
Mid-year Benchmark Testing
Your student may have come home this week talking about a test - or several small tests - they took here at school. We are doing mid-year benchmark testing, where we use a series of short assessments to measure student growth and look for areas of concern. It takes a couple of weeks to finish this process, especially this year with so many kids out as COVID close contacts. When assessments are complete, we will send your child’s report home for your review.
We continue to see daily positive cases and spend a good deal of time organizing information on who is affected, and what we need to do next. Just as a reminder, when we have a member of our school community test positive, we do the following.
Call the homes of children who are considered close contacts. Understand that if you don’t answer your phone, I can only leave a message if I’m sure it’s you. If your voice mailbox has no message or is full, you won’t get the information via phone.
Email to the parents of children considered close contacts, to share information on our “test & stay” program, and other important information on quarantine.
We also email parents of students who are considered “Exempt” close contacts - exempt due to vaccination or previous infection, to inform them and encourage them to watch for symptoms.
Finally, we send a school-wide email to everyone letting them know that we’ve had another positive case.
With the significant increase in positive cases, these procedures take an increasing amount of time. Please be patient with us if we fall a bit behind - Nurse Ana and I are working as fast as we can.
Megan Grill, from the Boylston Youth Baseball and Softball Board, reached out to me to ask I share a flyer about girls' softball. Berlin students are invited to participate this year. For more information, check out the flyer here.
I heard from Kim Theriault, who serves on the youth lacrosse board (Guardians Youth Lacrosse) that represents Berlin, Boylston, Clinton, and West Boylston. She asked me to share this informational flyer with you for anyone interested in spring lacrosse.
Remember, everyone, that Monday, January 17th, is Martin Luther King Day. There will be no school that day.
John Campbell, Principal
Tahanto Regional Middle/High School
January 17th: No School
January 18th-21st: Midterms grades 9-12
January 21st: End of Q2
January 28th: Term II & Semester grades posted to PowerSchool
Grades 9-12 MIDTERM EXAMS January 18th-21st
Students in grades 9-12 will be taking midterm exams from January 18th-21st. Since it has been two years since students have taken midterm exams, I wanted to communicate the expectations and exam schedule to everyone.
Exams must be taken according to the students’ schedule and when the exam is scheduled.
If a student has a free period or does not have an exam, they do not have to report to school. If they do not have an exam first period but have a second exam they may come in late and sign in at the main office.
Students may be dismissed after their last exam of the day at the end of the exam period, without penalty. In order to cut down on interruptions, all students must remain in the exam room until the end of the period.
Student dismissals must be in the form of a note, signed by a parent/guardian. No phone call or email dismissals will be accepted. Students should hand in their dismissal notes to the office when they arrive at school.
**transportation to and from school for late arrivals and early dismissals is the responsibility of individual families.
If a student misses an exam due to medical reasons, COVID included, the nurse should be contacted and the student should reach out to their individual teachers to schedule an exam make-up. Due to COVID, we are allowing the make-up of exams to be extended until February 4th. Students will receive an incomplete until the exam is made up.
From the COUNSELOR’S CORNER January 2022
Remember that we are here for you via phone, email, and now for in-person appointments, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Visit our Tahanto School Counseling website for more information on available supports and resources.
NEW YEAR = NEW START & NEW TO DOs
A new year provides opportunities for new beginnings. In January, we also start a new semester. Everyone can view it as a clean slate, so all students should take advantage of the fresh start.
Fill Out & Submit Your FAFSA - The FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is an important component of your college search and became available on October 1, 2021. It’s important to fill it out as soon as it becomes available because it not only determines whether or not you qualify for federal aid, but also for certain types of state financial aid.
Parents can use their 2020 tax income returns. The sooner you fill out your FAFSA the better chances at earning state aid before funds become limited.
Learn more about filling out the FAFSA and, remember, it’s always free to fill out – so if you’re being charged to fill out the form, it’s not legitimate. The only correct FAFSA website to access the FAFSA is studentaid.gov.
Midyear Reports - Your first semester transcripts will automatically be sent to any school to which you have already applied. You do not need to request them separately on Naviance. Please check Quarter 2 report cards for any errors or incompletes. If you do not notify me about any issues, they will go out as is by mid-February.
Focus on Your Second Semester Classes - Keep in mind that no matter how your first semester went, the second semester can be a fresh start. Colleges love to see continual improvement; and, if your grades improve the second semester, your chances of getting off a waitlist or deferral list are that much better.
Avoid Senioritis - Students may have heard about Senioritis and laughed it off. It can cause a greater lack of motivation, general laziness, and lethargy. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of senioritis. Colleges can actually rescind their admission decision if they don’t like what they see on a student’s final transcript. Treat this semester like you would any other. Remember that if seniors continue to do well enough, you could be exempt from final exams!
Register for Spring Standardized Tests - Throughout winter and spring there are many opportunities to take the ACT and/or the SAT. Check with the colleges and universities which you may be considering. Are they requiring test scores in their admissions decisions? Some have decided to continue their test-optional policies indefinitely or at least through 2024. Learn more from FairTest.
Apply for Scholarships - Continue to research and apply for scholarships. Remember that Naviance is just one tool to help you search for scholarships. It is updated on a regular basis, so check back often. Here is a Reference Guide to help you Navigate the newly formatted Scholarships in Naviance. There are many scholarship search engines out there, but be cautious of scholarship scams as well. Never pay anyone who guarantees they will find you a scholarship and do not share overly personal (financial) information.
Get a Part-Time Job - Getting a part-time job is a great way to gain job experience for your resume and help stretch your student budget. If you're searching for a part-time job opportunity, try to be strategic about where you end up. They could help you pay for college.
COLLEGE BOARD NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Carter Nosek, Class of 2022, has been selected as a College Board National Recognition Program awardee. He earned the National Rural and Small Town Recognition Award because of his academic achievements in school and outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT® and/or AP® Exams. He accomplished this milestone during an immensely demanding period of his high school career. How wonderful to be able to share this great news - congratulations Carter!
Are you involved in sports and thinking about participating in athletics in college? Students considering studying and competing at an NCAA Division I or II school must register with the NCAA. The NCAA Eligibility Center is where students and families can learn about the latest initial-eligibility information, requirements they must meet to be ready when they get to campus, and where to find the best resources for planning to become a college athlete.
AN EARLY TASTE OF COLLEGE
Students interested in experiencing college-level coursework, while still in high school, have lots of opportunities to do so. Many universities offer students ways to explore and challenge themselves through online programs throughout the year. Summer enrichment programs are already taking applications. Learn from college professors, explore interests, and discover new skills. Some of these opportunities are at no cost for rising juniors and seniors who demonstrate financial need. Don’t forget to check out the Tahanto School Counseling Website for a link to a regularly updated list.
PANEL OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICERS
Right at the start of the Second Semester, Tahanto will be hosting a panel of college admissions representatives, who will discuss the college search and application processes. We have representation from a variety of colleges: public and private schools, in and out of state, small and large, etc. General information on topics such as school visits, the admissions process, senior year course selection, standardized testing, essays, letters of recommendation, and more will be addressed.
We hope to host this event in person on Monday, February 7, from 8:30-10 a.m. following Covid protocols of masking and social distancing. Watch your emails as the date approaches for a Zoom link, should we need to move the event online. All Juniors will be attending the program in school. Families are invited and encouraged to attend as well. Should you have a specific question you would like addressed during the program, please send it ahead of time to email@example.com. I will be moderating the panel program and will include those topics about which most people indicate an interest.
IS IT WINTER BLUES OR ARE YOU S.A.D?
Winter has arrived. If the shorter and darker days seem to really impact your/your teen’s mood, read this article to learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder. Work to improve your mood with these suggestions.
Ms. Ilene Rodman, EdM
High School Counselor
In order to control the spread of COVID-19 and communicate effectively with families please remember the following:
Please sign up for Test and Stay. Not signing your child up until your child is a close contact may delay the test by 48 hours and increase the workload for those contact tracing, checking immunization status, etc. Test and stay sign-up must be done for each individual student (not one form for all children in the district).
BBRSD COVID-19 Test and Stay Program
1. Letter regarding Test and Stay COVID-19 Program
2. Student Consent Form
If your child is not feeling well, please do not send them to school. Call the school nurse and leave a message with specific information as to the symptoms your child is experiencing and the nurse will contact you regarding recommendations.
With the new CDC guidelines if an asymptomatic COVID positive student returns after 5 days they MUST wear a mask at all times for an additional 5 days.
Prior to vacation administration met with the entire student body to remind them of expectations around mask-wearing. Masks MUST cover both the nose and mouth. A majority of our student body does an excellent job with this, however, we do have some students who have to be constantly reminded to pull their masks up. A warning has been given to all that if reminders continue, detentions will be given to those not following the requirements.
I think we can all agree that no one wants to have to wear a mask but we all must do our part to keep everyone safe and be in compliance with the state mandate.
Please make sure that your child(ren) has a mask prior to leaving for school. The school does have extras for those whose masks break or get soiled at school, but we are not able to provide masks to those who forget theirs on a daily basis.
HELP THE HOMELESS BY DONATING WARM CLOTHES
The Boylston Lions Club is collecting new or gently used sweatshirts and sweatpants for the homeless. Boxes will be at Tahanto and BES until January 23.
GUARDIANS YOUTH LACROSSE
SPRING REGISTRATION IS OPEN!
WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING TEAMS FOR BOYS Grades 1-8:
U9 – Grades 1 & 2
U11 – Grades 3 & 4
U13 – Grades 5 & 6
U15 – Grades 7 & 8
No experience is necessary at ANY level!
Register at www.guardiansyouthlax.com by February 1st!
If you have any questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org Guardians Youth Lacrosse is a town-based youth sports program, for boys from Pre-K through 8th grade in Boylston, Berlin, West Boylston, and Clinton
REGISTER NOW FOR BOYLSTON YOUTH SOFTBALL
We are always looking for new girls in Grades 6-8 to join our team!
Register online at www.boylstonsoftball.org
COVID Safety: We follow all state and local guidelines. Softball is an outside sport with social distancing built into the game, making it one of the safest options for youth sports.
Cost: The entry fee is $120 (Early Bird discount of $20 off if you register prior to February 1st, 2022)
Season: Starts tentatively in late April and ends in mid-June.
Equipment: We are asking that each girl brings her own helmet, glove, and bat due to the pandemic. However, if this presents a problem, we do have a limited amount of equipment that we can loan out. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions:
email@example.com We are always looking for volunteers to help with coaching or join the Board. Please let us know if you are interested in helping out. Also, check out our Facebook page @bybsb01505 and Twitter page @boylstonbasebal for information as we get closer to the start of the season. LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON THE FIELD!
Diane Tucceri, Principal
Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal
Tahanto Regional High School
1001 Main Street
Boylston, MA 01505