Amesbury Public Schools Update

From the Office of the Superintendent - April 16, 2021

Dear Amesbury Families,

I hope that this newsletter finds you loving the warmer temperatures (well, at least they were when I started writing this!) and appreciating the increasing amount of daylight!


I am so grateful that so many of our elementary families have decided to have their children return to five days of full in-person learning. Last week I spent some time at each of the elementary schools walking through classes and speaking with both students and staff. To say that both students and staff were thrilled to be back would be an understatement! During my visits, I was sincerely impressed with how well the return went. I know that the staff and the administration worked tirelessly to anticipate the needs and challenges that would present themselves during the first few days of school. I walked by teachers who had students lined up in the hallway prior to transitioning to a special where each student stood patiently on “their dot” to maintain their distance. I watched students who had been participating in the hybrid model help students who were returning from remote learning understand and execute the COVID routines and expectations. And most importantly, I saw everyone so happy to be back together with members of the other cohort and fully remote students. It felt so much closer to “normal” than it has in such a long time.


This week, the Innovation High School (AIHS) returned to full in-person learning too! Even though these students are older, and the school has a lot fewer students, the overall vibe was the same. Staff and students were excited to see one another and have the opportunity to interact in person. During my visit, I saw students eating lunch in various locations throughout the school. A large number of students were in the gym and had found themselves safely spaced small groups happily chatting and eating. Here, too, there were students who were in-person for the first time this year as well as for the first time in this school. It was great to feel the level of support provided to these students both by staff and other students.


I know we are eagerly awaiting for the middle and high school students to return to full in-person learning on Monday, April 26th. Significant progress has been made in both buildings in terms of classrooms being set up for a large increase in the number of students and plans to accommodate serving lunch. Both the middle and high school took advantage of their last asynchronous Wednesday to offer in-person activities for students. At the end of this newsletter, you will see pictures of the sixth grade Greek Day as well as the high school’s Spring Fling (sponsored by SAC). These two events were hugely successful and truly contributed to a sense of normalcy for our students. I am so thankful that our staff continues to think “outside the box” to maintain an important tradition and maybe start a new one!


I would be remiss if I didn’t express my most sincere appreciation to our families. I know how challenging this past year has been trying to balance the “uniqueness” of school and the sudden changes between learning models. I realize that many families returned to work before our students returned to full in-person learning and the unbelievable amount of juggling that needed to be done to meet the competing demands of a child’s education and a parent’s work responsibilities. I genuinely appreciate the patience, understanding and compassion that you have shown to our schools during this incredibly difficult time. So many of you have shared with me how impressed you have been with the determination and commitment of our staff. Getting through this past year has been a tremendous accomplishment that has only been attained through some serious teamwork! I am so proud to be part of such an incredible team!


Be well,


Elizabeth McAndrews

Acting Superintendent

Updated MA Travel Requirements Affecting the Amesbury Public School Community

As we begin to enjoy the improving weather and more adults are receiving covid-19

vaccinations, we understand there will be increased travel in and out of state as well as more

gatherings with friends and family.


We respectfully request that all individuals who travel follow the MA Travel Advisory Guidelines. Below is a link directly to MADPH for further information. If these guidelines are ignored, we will undoubtedly see a spike in covid-19 infections upon return to school/work.

Please feel free to reach out to your student's school nurse for clarification if needed.


Please read the following information carefully and take the necessary steps:


● PLEASE NOTIFY YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL NURSE OF ANY OUT OF STATE TRAVEL


● Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after an absence of fewer than 24

hours is exempt from this advisory.


● All individuals entering Massachusetts after 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 2020 must

quarantine from the date of arrival in Massachusetts unless the individual meets

one of the criteria below:


● 72-hour Testing Rule: The individual can produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. If not obtained before entry to Massachusetts, a test may be obtained after arrival, however all such arriving travelers must immediately begin the 10-day quarantine until a negative test result has been received. PLEASE NOTE: If traveling out of state for a 48 hour weekend, you must wait till your return to MA to obtain a test.


● Lower-Risk State: This includes individuals coming from a COVID-19 lower-risk state within the United States, which as of 3/16/21 include HI, WA. OR, and MO.


● Persons Who Tested Positive within 90 Days of Arrival to Massachusetts and Successfully Completed Isolation: Individuals who are COVID-19-recovered, meaning individuals who tested positive more than 10 days but less than 90 days ago and who do not have symptoms, do not need to obtain a negative test prior to traveling to or quarantine upon arrival to Massachusetts. COVID-19 recovered individuals arriving in Massachusetts must have documentation of the positive test result available if asked. This exception does not include COVID-19-recovered individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, who must follow all testing and quarantine guidance outlined in the travel rules.


● Persons Who Have Been Completely Vaccinated for COVID-19: Individuals who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Janssen vaccine, more than 14 days ago and who do not have symptoms, do not need to obtain a negative test prior to traveling to, or quarantine upon arrival to, Massachusetts. COVID-19 vaccinated individuals arriving in Massachusetts must have documentation of their vaccination(s), including the date(s) of administration, available if asked. This exception does not include COVID-19-recovered individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, who must follow all testing and quarantine guidance outlined in the travel rules.


Testing as an Alternative to Quarantine


You do not need to quarantine if you took a test for COVID-19 and have received a negative

result. The specimen for the test must have been collected no longer than 72 hours before your arrival in Massachusetts, and the testing must be by a method approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Upon request, you must be able to demonstrate proof of the negative test result.


If you took a test prior to your arrival but have not received your negative result, you MUST

quarantine until you receive the negative result. You may obtain a test at your own expense

after your arrival in Massachusetts, but you MUST quarantine until you obtain a negative

result. Use the COVID-19 testing map to find a site near you.


Acceptable tests: PCR Molecular tests are the gold standard. However, UPDATED guidance now accepts the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen (Rapid) test. NO OTHER RAPID TESTS WILL BE

ACCEPTED.


Visitors are strongly urged to obtain a negative result before traveling to Massachusetts.


Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their

household is not required. Children 10 years and younger should mimic the quarantine

requirement and testing options completed by the household adult they accompanied for

travel. If the accompanying adult chooses to quarantine, the child must also quarantine. If the accompanying adult chooses to obtain a test, the child and adult must quarantine until the adult’s negative test result is received.



FOR MORE DETAILS PLEASE GO TO:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-advisory

Welcome to AMS, Mr. Haas!

We are pleased to welcome Mr. Jarred Haas to our Amesbury Public Schools family.


It is with tremendous pleasure that I share with all of you that Mr. Jarred Haas will be our new middle school principal beginning on July 1, 2021. Jarred will replace Mr. Brian Gill who is serving as interim middle school principal for this school year. Thank you, Mr. Gill!


In July, Mr. Haas will leave his current role of Assistant Principal at Peabody High School. During his fifteen years in Peabody, Mr. Haas has held a wide range of positions including middle school teacher (7th and 8th grade), middle school digital learning coach and Director of Teaching, Learning and Integration of Technology. I have already forewarned him that his technology experience will be very valuable to us as we move forward with our infrastructure rebuild. During the interview process, Mr. Haas consistently received high ratings in terms of his ability to articulate his ideas well, promoting high expectations, and expertise in instruction. I am looking forward to watching Mr. Haas and Mr. Denio work with the entire AMS staff to expand and build upon the strengths that already exist there.


I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the level of engagement of the AMS staff, students, and community throughout the selection process. It was impressive and provided a tremendous amount of feedback with which the selection committee and I could work.

Big picture

AES Principal Search

As you may have heard, AES Principal Shannon Nolan has accepted a position as the Administrator of Special Education for the Triton Regional School District. We wish her the best in her new position! We recently posted the position (applications close on 4/25) and solicited volunteers to serve on the Screening Committee. Thank you to all who indicated a willingness to serve!


Here are the members of the committee:


Lyn Jacques - Chair - Director of Teaching and Learning

Maryann Welch - School Committee

Adam Denio - Administration

Rae Pritchett - Special Education

Bruce McBrien - Specials

Susan Kimball - Grade 1 Teacher

Ellen Elliott - Grade 3 Teacher

Julie Mitchell - Secretary

Shayna Marshall - Parent, CES Kindergarten Teacher

Amy Bogert - Parent

Amy Clinard - Parent


This committee will meet on Wednesday, April 28th to review applications and select the candidates who will be interviewed.


Here is the timeline:


April 25th: Deadline for submitting applications

Week of April 26th: Semifinalists selected

Week of May 3rd: Semifinalist interviews

May 7th: Finalists selected

Week of May 10th: Finalists to visit AES, Community and Teacher Forums, Final Interviews with Superintendent, Selection of New AES Principal

Budget Update

On Monday, the Amesbury School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent's Budget with a few small changes. We are excited to be able to restore some of the cuts that were made in last year's budget. We greatly appreciate the support of the School Committee and look forward to working with the Municipal Council in June to finalize the FY '22 budget. All budget related materials can be found on our website by using this link.

AEFI Hall of Honor

After a one year hiatus, on Friday, May 7th, AEFI will induct three honorees into their Hall of Honor. Former educator, Beverly Peeke, former student, Dr. Jacqueline Bastien, and friend of education, Florence Kennedy, RN. The ceremony will be held in the AHS Auditorium at 7pm and doors will open at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $10 each and must be purchased in advance at AEFIonline.com. Reservations must be made by April 30, 2021.

Superintendent Search Update

On Thursday, April 15th, three finalists for the position of Superintendent of Amesbury Public Schools were announced.


Elizabeth McAndrews

Frank Tiano

Stephen Zadravec


Resumes for each candidate can be found here.


During the week of April 26, 2021, members of the School Committee will visit the finalists' districts.


During the week of May 3, 2021, finalists will visit Amesbury and interview with the School Committee.



Vaccination Clinics at AHS

For the past several weeks, the Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Collaborative has been running vaccine clinics at AHS. To date, the clinic has distributed more than 15,000 doses of Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Many staff members have both volunteered for clinics and received their vaccinations there. It takes an incredible amount of time, effort, organization, and planning to plan and execute these clinics. Please read this press release to learn more about the extraordinary work of this clinic. As access to the vaccine opens up to all people who live, work or study in Massachusetts, please consider registering for your vaccine at this clinic. To register for future clinics, please go to the city's website.

Mascot Committee

At the March 15, 2021 School Committee meeting, the committee heard a student presentation regarding the high school's identifier. As a result of that presentation, I have been tasked with creating a committee to review our identifier by following our policy CN. At some point during the first week of May, it is my intention to communicate, via multiple avenues, the mechanisms for interested individuals to volunteer to serve on this committee. Stay tuned for more information.