Gill-Montague District News
"Challenging and Supporting Every Student"
Student Support Updates & Resources April 18, 2020
April 16, 2020
Dear Gill-Montague Families,
Due to the current school closure, we have adapted our registration process and we will now offer three options for Kindergarten Registration. We hope that these options will provide families with convenient ways to get their children signed up for kindergarten. If you have any questions about the Kindergarten Registration process, please contact Sarah Burstein, Hillcrest Principal and GMRSD Early Childhood Coordinator, at 413-863-9526.
Drive-Up Registration -- Families of soon-to-be kindergarten students may come to the school to pick up a registration packet and/or drop off necessary documentation and completed forms. These are Drive-Up sessions only -- families will be asked to remain in their vehicles and a school staff member will assist with the pick-up or drop-off of paperwork.
At Gill Elementary School
Wednesdays -- April 15 and April 22 from 1:00 - 2:00
At Hillcrest Elementary School
Wednesdays -- April 15, April 22 and April 29 from 1:00 - 2:00
Thursdays -- April 16, April 23 and April 30 from 3:00 - 4:00
Electronic Registration -- Families can download the Student Registration forms from the Gill-Montague website and fill out the necessary information. Families will then scan and return the completed Student Registration form, along with copies of the student’s birth certificate, proof of residency documents, physical examination records and immunization records via email: email@example.com.
Registration by Mail -- Families can obtain the Student Registration forms through the Drive-Up option or through the Gill-Montague Regional School District website at www.gmrsd.org. Families will then complete the Student Registration forms and return them, along with copies of the student’s birth certificate, proof of residency documents, physical examination records and immunization records via U.S. Mail. Our mailing address is Kindergarten Registration, Gill-Montague Public Schools, 35 Crocker Avenue, Turners Falls, MA 01376.
We look forward to welcoming you and your kindergarten student to our schools at the start of the 2020-2021 school year!
Principal, Hillcrest Elementary School
Early Childhood Coordinator, GMRSD
Remote Learning is Up and Running!
April 7, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Please READ MORE on a summary of the plans we have put in place for remote learning and support during the emergency school closure. If you have questions about these plans please contact your students’ teachers, counselors, or school principal. We are striving to balance providing some continued student learning while also hoping to limit undue stress upon families at this unprecedented time. Your ongoing feedback and your partnering with our educators will be essential to any successes we have together.
These plans will take effect on Thursday, April 9, and last through the emergency closure period. In a previous letter I spelled out all the context for these plans and all the things the state and schools are aware of regarding the inadequacies of learning in this remote and hastily arranged manner. So, I won’t repeat them again. However, I do want to emphasize that our educators have been asked to teach in a whole new manner, using brand new tools, at a time that they too are struggling to manage this situation at home. So, I would just ask that we all continue to show each other as much patience and understanding as we can.
In it is an outline of what teachers will be providing by grade ranges across the district. School principals will be communicating with you about more school specific details.
Superintendent of Schools
Update on Special Education Services
Our teachers and related service providers are working in collaboration to develop individual remote learning plans for students with disabilities for this period of school closure. The plans reflect adapted day/weekly schedules, teacher/ service provider contact info and/or office hours as well as instructional guidance, accommodations/modifications and communication methods during this time, and a combination of both model 1 and model 2 special education service delivery methods. These student specific plans do not change the terms or placement of the last agreed upon IEP. These plans do not require parent/guardian consent as they reflect short term specialized support planning for the period of school closure. We appreciate that these remote learning plans cannot take the place of the richness of interaction and learning that takes place in a full day structured school program. Students, families, teachers, and staff are all adapting and working to manage daily routines that protect our health, balance demands, and promote learning and connections during this time. We are hopeful through our working together and through the delivery of remote services we can maintain critical academic skills for our most vulnerable learners while also maintaining supportive connections and relationships with teachers, support staff, and classmates.
Although our offices are closed, we hope to send out individual remote learning plans within the coming week. If you have questions about your student's services or need further guidance on engaging your child in a home based routine please contact your special education liaison or building principal.
DESE Letter and Family Resource Toolboxes
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has asked that districts distribute the letters linked below to communicate actions taken by the department to support districts, students, and families during this time of school closure. Additionally, the department has published a "family toolkit" in English as well as multiple languages that reflect the diverse language needs of our Commonwealth.
To access this family letter in other languages please click visit the DESE website
To access the family toolbox in other languages please visit the DESE website
Status of IEP meetings? Family Q & A Sessions Offered
If your child was due for an annual review meeting during this time of school closure one of our educational team leaders will be in contact with you to offer a virtual team meeting. At this time we are not able to hold eligibility team meetings or re-evaluation team meetings in which psychological & educational assessments remain outstanding. We are not able to remotely complete these formal evaluations that include student observations, clinical assessment, adherence to specific testing protocols, etc. at this time.
We thank you for your patience as we prioritize a backlog of meetings! The Education Team Leader for Hillcrest, Sheffield, and Gill Elementary School is Celia Snow. Ms. Snow can be reached at Celia.Snow@gmrsd.org. The Education Team Leader for Great Falls Middle School and Turners Falls High School is Cheryl Thompson. Ms. Thompson can be reached at Cheryl.Thompson@gmrsd.org.
Would you like to participate in a question and answer virtual conference session about special education and student support topics? If yes, please send an email to Director of Pupil Services, Dianne Ellis at Dianne.Ellis@gmrsd.org with FAMILY Q & A in the subject line. We will then be in contact with you to offer times in which you can join a virtual session with district administrators to address questions you may have.
In our working together and supporting one another we will get through this uncertain period.
Pupil Services Director
We look forward to meeting you Montague Mack! :-)
You can follow Mack on Instagram at @Mpdk9Mack. For a coloring page of Mack click here.
To write a letter to Mack, please address it as follows:
C/O Officer Dan Miner
180 Turnpike Rd.
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Technology Tips and Guidance for Using G-Suite for Education Tools
Please note these videos are posted on Youtube which unfortunately includes advertisements! GMRSD doe not endorse any products presented but wanted to offer the instructional content of the videos as families and students learn to more effectively navigate these technology applications.
If you have questions or concerns or need assistance in accessing technology for remote learning for your student please be in contact with your child's school.
Supporting English Learners During Remote Learning
Our teachers, administrators, and support staff have been reaching out to families and students to ensure our English Learners have learning resources, technology access, and online instruction to promote their academic and language development skills.
GMRSD English Learners Educational Resources padlet
This includes a wide range of educational websites suitable for prek through highschool.
English Learners Family and Community Resources: (GMRSD website)
English Learner Remote Education DESE state guidance
Supporting the Needs of English Learners through Remote Learning (provided by DESE)
E-Learning Resources for Teaching English Learners (general educational resources)
If your have concerns about your English Learner student during our remote learning time please contact your student's principal or our Spanish Language Community Liaison, Jimena DePareja at 413 695-9593.
Family feedback on school calendar for next year
Please answer this question by April 31 if you wish to have the school committee see your response. Please click the link to access our Draft Calendar.
Earth Day Community Service Opportunity
In honor of Earth Day , we invite students and families to take part in a community green up day through planting seeds/plants, raking yards, or picking up litter around your neighborhood. We ask that families choosing to participate in an Earth Day community green up exercise good judgement and supervision, maintain social distance and wear personal protective equipment (masks and gloves) while they take part in this international event.
The Montague Public Works Department has agreed to pick up bags of collected trash from Earth Day Community Green Up activities. In order to make this arrangement, please call 413 863-2054 between the hours of 6 am and 4 pm. As the office is closed, you will need to leave a detailed phone message and specify:
- The name and phone number of family that participated in the Earth Day green up;
- Street or area that was cleaned;
- the number and location of trash bags for pick up.
In the spirit of Earth Day, the Department of Public Works will only accept collected litter from streets, wooded areas, and river banks.
Spreading "positive" messages and hope during this challenging time
GMRSD Student Services & Family Engagement Department
- Special education
- Guidance & School Psychology
- English Learners
- Specialty services- OT, PT, speech & language
- Nursing & health education
- Home & hospital tutoring
- Homeless education and more
- Family Engagement Coordinator
Dianne M. Ellis, Director of Pupil Services