January 15, 2021

Big picture


This Newsletter updates on all matters connected to Cohasset Public Schools. This letter is sent as part of a District initiative focusing on communication.
Big picture
Monday, January 18, 2021 is Martin Luther King Day. In honor of the day schools will be closed.

A Reminder that this Monday, January 18, 2021 is Martin Luther King Day

Big picture
In these turbulent times it is important to take some time to reflect on Dr. King's legacy and his urging for all to stand up for what is right and to do it in a way that is peaceful and just. As Dr. King stated, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Essay Award Recipient

Big picture

Congratulations to Amara Pierce, a seventh grad student at CMS recognized as one of six students who won a scholarship from Harvard Pilgrim for her essay based on the theme, "MLK: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Today she was recognized during the MLK Recognition and Service Event—an online celebration of Dr. King’s legacy in words and music. It was wonderful that some of her classes joined the online event.

The event included a bio and interview with Amara which can be seen here:

Way to go, Amara!


Big picture
We will continue to engage students and staff in the meaningful discussions necessary to promote change. We are committed to promoting anti-racism and cultural competency.

Deer Hill students continued a long tradition of knitting hats to donate to Rosie’s Place.

Big picture

Sign announcing Affinity Groups at CHS

Big picture

Display of Diversity Books at CHS and CMS

Big picture
Big picture
Although the holidays are behind us, there are still stresses to our day to day life during this pandemic and the current political unrest. There are many resources available. The District Website has a page dedicated to Social Emotional Learning and Wellness. Below are some additional resources that you or a friend may find helpful. Please remember that our schools are a resource and our adjustment counselors can support you and your child.

Osgood: Dave Vinton

Deer Hill: Laurie Dolan

Robyn Costa

CMS: Emily Manewal

CHS: Leanne McCarthy

Please see the links below for additional resources.

Social Media is a powerful tool. Here is a nice reminder from Jack Buckley of CSCR.
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture offers virtual support for teens who want to quite their use of vaping or nicotine products. Project CONNECT is for students in middle and high school, ages 13-18. For more information

Mental Health Resources (Courtesy of Principal Mills & CMS Newsletter)

Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu observed "In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity."

These are certainly difficult times and many parents and families are experiencing great stress. Our ability to cope is regularly challenged and, understandably, there may be times when individuals can no longer manage their emotions. It is important to know where to turn when we reach that point.

To help our families, we share this contact list of support providers--Mental Health and Crisis Contacts These support providers offer great opportunities to help receive help when those we love are struggling to manage.

Strategic Planning Survey

We Want Your Input!

Over the past few months, stakeholders of Cohasset Public Schools have met in focus groups to help the school district shape its future direction. To gain a more inclusive view of the school district, we are offering this stakeholder survey. The purpose of this work has been to refresh our current strategic plan. We are at the stage where we would like to solicit input from the community to help inform the process of updating the district’s strategic plan. Please take a moment to complete a survey by clicking on the link below. The survey will take about 5 minutes and I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to reflect upon and respond to some essential questions that can help shape our district for the future.

As you begin participating in this survey, please consider that Stakeholders may be asked to select a specific school to reflect upon. The feedback will be specific to your experience at that school. You may conduct the survey multiple times to provide input for numerous schools. The survey will close Friday, January 22 at 4:00pm.

Thank you for your participation.

Cohasset Community Health Update

Big picture

Health Metrics

Big picture

Cohasset Community Health Update & Reminders about Travel Responsibilities

As of January 14, 2021, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reports that the town of Cohasset’s positive COVID-19 test rate over the past 14 days is 5.30%, with 65 positive cases out of 1339 tests reported. Under the new DPH metrics, the town of Cohasset is in the "Red" category for communities who have a population of under 10,000 who have more than 25 positive cases over the last 14 days.

It is imperative that we all follow the protocols of handwashing / hand sanitizing and wearing face-covering masks when appropriate to do so. Here is the complete report that was issued this evening, Thursday, 1/14/2021.

We had one additional case that was reported this week in our middle school community. Any close contacts were contacted privately. For your information, please find below a summary table of all confirmed positive COVID cases in the District as of today, Friday, January 15, 2021.

Confirmed Positive Cases as of Friday, January 15, 2021

Please see the links below providing reminders regarding travel responsibilities:

Cohasset Public Schools Travel Order Protocol

Update on FLU Vaccine Requirement for Students

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is removing the requirement for flu vaccination for attendance in childcare/preschool, primary, secondary and postsecondary education. Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19. Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID -19 vaccination efforts.

DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine each year. ​

New Quarantining Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)

Here is the recent guidance from the CDC regarding quarantining:

"Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing the time they cannot work. A shorter quarantine period also can lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.

Your local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs. Follow the recommendations of your local public health department if you need to quarantine. Options they will consider include stopping quarantine

  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

After stopping quarantine, you should

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
  • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider.
  • Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus. CDC will continue to evaluate new information and update recommendations as needed." (

Updated 2020 - 2021 Calendar

The 2020-2021 calendar has been updated to include the “Hybrid Cohort A and B additional in person Wednesday” dates starting Dec 9th. And since there is a lot more information on this calendar than in previous years, it’s been reformatted so each month is easier to read. This calendar is also now posted on the district's website.

A Message Regarding Food Service from Director of Food Service, Marilyn Haraden

Big picture

2020-21 School Year Meals Information

Happy New Year! We would like to update families that the USDA has extended free meals for all through June 30, 2021. This allows every Cohasset Public Schools student access to breakfast and lunch at no charge. We encourage families to take advantage of this opportunity that will provide nutritious meals to both in-person and remote learners.

Menus will be posted on our website,, under the “Nutrition” tab. Students can choose either a hot meal or cold meal for lunch each day. All meals will be prepackaged and placed in bags for easy grab-and-go service. Each meal bag will contain the entrée, fruit, vegetable, and drink. You can access our online meal ordering system on each menu to pre-order meals.

In-person learning. When students are in the buildings, they will come to the cafeteria to get their meals. Because meals are now free for all students, they will move through the lunch line without having to enter their ID numbers into the computer. Grab-and-go breakfast will be available in every building daily.

Remote learning. When students are on the remote schedule, families have the option to pick up free to-go meals (breakfast and lunch) Monday-Friday. Pick-up for all students will be at the Middle/High School, 143 Pond Street, at the loading dock behind the Middle School, each day from 12:00-1:00.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Marilyn Haraden, Director of Food Services, at or 781-383-6107.

RISE Before and After School Program

Cohasset Public Schools and the Cohasset Recreation Department provide before and after school care for our students at Osgood and Deer Hill Elementary Schools. Brett Youmans, DHS PE Teacher, is the director of the program. As we transition to the additional in-person alternating Wednesdays, Rise will provide after school care for those students attending school that day. For more information about the program and how to register follow this link.

Finance and Operations Update

Big picture
The Cohasset School Committee approved the following Budget Calendar and Budget Priorities at the December 16, 2020 School Committee Meeting,. Thank you to our Director of Finance and Operations, Susan Owen, for her excellent leadership with our budget initiatives.

Information from Director of Student Services, Barbara Cerwonka

Big picture

Kindergarten Registration is now Open for 2021 - 2022 School Year

Kindergarten Registration Information

Kindergarten Registration Timeline

Integrated Pre-School at Joseph Osgood School

Joseph Osgood Integrated Preschool Registration Information Letter

Preschool registration for the 2021-2022 school year begins on Monday, January 4, 2021. Children who turn 3 by September 1, 2021, are eligible to register for the Joseph Osgood Preschool Program, which is held 4 half days per week (Monday-Thursday). There is a morning and an afternoon session. Entrance to the preschool program is based on a lottery system for peer models. There will be a screening process completed for students to determine if they are appropriate peer models based upon screening tools. Peer Preschool Applications will be available on the Cohasset Public Schools district website at under Departments tab, Student Services & Special Education, Student Registration Forms then Preschool Registration or at the Student Services Office located at 143 Pond Street, Cohasset, MA 02025. Applications should also be returned to the Student Services Office, no later than January 29, 2021. The lottery will be held on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, and parents will be immediately notified after the lottery. A birth certificate and a document from each category on the Proof of Residency form must accompany all applications. Documentation for Proof of Residency is attached to the application.

Winter Sports Information

Big picture

Athletics on Track to Resume on January 19, 2021

After meeting with the Cohasset Emergency Management Team and analyzing the data from our recent sports quarantines, we are on track to resume winter sports on January 19, 2021. Athletic Director Rotondi will be communicating specific information regarding athletics protocols and procedures going forward in a separate email to the Cohasset High School Community. We will be constantly monitoring the safety of sports throughout the season.

Thank you to Athletic Director Steve Rotondi and the Cohasset coaches for their leadership regarding athletics in Cohasset during these difficult times. Please see the below document for a list of our Winter Sports protocols.
Registration for Winter Sports in now open. Follow this link for more information.

Visit Cohasset Athletics to Get Updates on All of Our Teams

The Important Role Families Play In Stopping the Spread of COVID-19

Families will play an important role in helping to create a culture that prioritizes health and safety. Families should check their children daily for signs of COVID-19 and should keep them home from school if they are not feeling well or if they have been in close contact with a person who has been recently diagnosed with COVID-19. It is also important that families support students wearing masks in school and on the bus. We are strongest when we work together to stop the spread (Initial Fall School Re-entry Guidance, 2020).

CPS Pledge: Healthy and Responsible Behaviors Regarding COVID-19

By coming into Cohasset Public Schools, I pledge I am following:

  • State expectations for social and physical distancing

  • Regulations regarding the wearing of facial coverings over your nose and mouth when in public settings (for students from grades PK– 12 and for all staff)

  • Quarantine directives put forth by the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Cohasset Department of Health

  • Guidance that has students and staff stay home from school / work if they are experiencing symptoms of fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, or dry cough or if they have exhibited any symptoms relating to COVID-19


The following information was compiled by our district nurses and provides supplementary information to the protocols stated in the Cohasset Public Schools Fall School Re-Entry Road Map. A big thank you to Kelly Gildea (lead nurse) and our district nurses for compiling this information and for their leadership and guidance during this difficult time.

Cohasset Public Schools Medical Frequently Asked Questions

Cohasset Public Schools Decision Tree Regarding Health Situations Related to COVID-19

COVID-19 Symptom Checklist for Parents and Guardians to utilize with their children

Here are some useful videos regarding Mask Wearing, When to Stay Home, and Hand Washing / Hand Sanitizing prepared by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).

Please visit our website for resources regarding the promotion of diversity.

A Message to CHS families from CHS Principal Brian Scott regarding the Institutional Climate and Inclusion Assessment

Dear Families,

Every two years for the past four years we have done something called the Institutional Climate and Inclusion Assessment (ICIA). The assessment measures whether students feel like they belong to our community and specifically looks at community through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In other words, do our students see themselves as part of the community? Do they feel like their identity is represented in the larger body?

This year's report, which were discussed at the 1/6/2021 School Committee Meeting, identifies several groups of students that do not feel as much a part of the community as most students. This is not unanticipated, and parallels feedback we have received from some student groups and several alumni.

In order to help address this, we have contracted with a consulting firm who will help us unpack the survey findings and lend an authentic student voice to the experiences of our students. These groups are called affinity groups. They are made up of students in groups of 6-10 who identify similarly.

The intention of affinity groups is to provide a safe space where we can delve deeper into the student experience. It's not enough, for example, to know that students feel as if they are treated differently. We want to know why and how so that we can change the systems and structures and attitudes that communicate those messages. I do not believe that those messages are being sent intentionally, so we will need help identifying those ways in which we are unconscously communicating.

Once we capture our stories, we will invite the larger community in to a conversation through focus groups. Focus groups will facilitate a dialogue among all groups and stakeholders, and will lead us towards identifying specific areas where we can develop steps to improve the experiences for all of our students.

Over the course of the year, our long term goals are as follows:

  • Unpacking and more fully understanding the ICIA data, via anecdotes, personal testimony, and direct examples of student experiences.
  • Illuminating the breadth of student experience at school as well as the range of student understanding of key diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts (e.g., microaggressions, implicit bias, etc.)
  • Discovering any gaps in faculty awareness or understanding of student experience.
  • Clarifying next steps and goals for end-of-year action plan and long-term strategy.

The following groups of students have been identified.

Racial minorities, especially (as three separate affinity groups)

  • African American / Black students (1)
  • Asian students (2)
  • Historically underrepresented students, including Latinx and Hispanic students (3)

LGBTQ+ students (4)
Students with disabilities (5)
Religious minorities (6) and

Females (7)

If you are interested in learning more or being a part of one of these groups, please reach out to Mr. Scott at and let me know which session or sessions you are interested in learning more about. Sessions are conducted by our consultant, and information gleaned from those conversations will be reported anonymously. This is an incredibly important opportunity for change. Please consider it.


Brian T. Scott

Big picture

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Assistant Superintendent Leslie Scollins, Ed.D.

Professional Development 1/2 Day, January 11

The entire staff participated in a professional development day for the second half of the day on Monday, January 11. The professional development was part two of the professional development provided in December.

Middle school and high school teachers worked with with consultants from edtechteacher focusing on assessment and collaborative digital experiences.

The elementary teaching staff continued their work with the Bridges Math consultants. They focused on assessment and had the opportunity to work in grade level teams with the Math Specialists on unit work.

Middle and high school special education staff worked with Barbara Cerwonka and elementary special education staff participated in assistive technology training with edtechteacher as well as PD provided by Cassy O'Brien and Lisa Radden.


Big picture

Safe Harbor Cohasset Coalition’s “Our Safe Home” campaign is about addressing the issues of youth access of alcohol in the community, which involves parents, guardians, merchants, and youth themselves. Parents pledge their commitment to joining other parents in providing a fun, safe, and substance-free environment for our children. Merchants pledge to comply by following the law and regulations, to not sell alcohol to young people under 21 years old. Youth are increasing awareness of the issue by talking to adults in their community.

We recognize that we cannot supervise our teens 24/7, nor can we always control the choices they make. However, we will do our part to discourage underage drinking and we will do our best to help each other support and monitor our teens.

Please see the link below for more information:
Big picture

Please see the latest edition of the Cohasset Safe Harbors Newsletter. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful student-centered group in the Cohasset community.


  1. Cohasset Virtual Youth Center This is now live on the home page of the Town’s website, found toward the bottom right-side of the page. This serves as a central location for all youth-geared programming/events that are occurring via Rec, Library, Elder Affairs, and Safe Harbor.

2. WANTED: Social Media Boosters Looking to volunteer time to the Safe Harbor initiative but don’t have much time to give? Please consider volunteering to be a designated social media booster.

What does this entail?

Receiving communication from Marketing Director that information has been posted for you to like, comment, share, share to Cohasset143 and/or post yourself

How much of a time commitment?

5 minutes a week

Take Care of Yourself and Take Care of Each Other

Big picture
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can do anything to help your student or your family during this difficult time. Most important is the physical and mental health of everyone, and we will stay focused on making that a priority. Please take good care.

Please click on the following link to access even more information on the Cohasset Public Schools Web Site.

Please follow me on Twitter for daily updates from the Cohasset Public Schools