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!
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
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:
Welcome to AMS, Mr. Haas!
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.
AES Principal Search
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
AEFI Hall of Honor
Superintendent Search Update
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
CES "First Day" Arrival
Students waited patiently to come into the building for their "First Day of School"! They were met by greeters who squirted hand sanitizer on their hands as they entered the building.
If you look closely, you can see the smiling eyes and the thumbs up!
All ready to get to work!
CES "First Day" Arrival
Wow! There are so many of us!
AES students practicing distancing with a full class!
Back in Class!
AES students working hard!
School Resource Officer (SRO) pitches in to help with a physical education class at AES.
What do you do on your last ASYCH Wednesday? Go to school of course!
Grade 6 Staff Organized a revised Greek Day
Tremendous work by the Grade 6 Staff to re-envision Greek Day and keep the tradition alive!
Athens wins for the Red Team and Sparta for the Blue!
Spring Fling at AHS!
How about a little Spikeball?
It was great to see so many high school students spend their last Asynch Wednesday at AHS!
Cornhole in the parking lot!
Thanks to SAC and Barbara Leary for another great event. Love seeing the kids happy and back on campus!