May 8, 2020 (12:00 PM)
In less than a month, the 2019-2020 school year will come to an end. There are many moving parts with staff working hard to plan end-of-year activities and celebrations that are meaningful and special to our students. I have included topics of interest in this newsletter and ask for your understanding and patience while I try to communicate plans once all details are finalized to minimize confusion and speculation on social media.
Graduation & Senior Night
The Maine DOE released guidelines this week for graduation celebrations. The options are limited but we are hopeful as we work with student representatives of the Class of 2020 to find the best alternative option to hold a meaningful graduation ceremony that is inclusive of all seniors. Exact details will be outlined and shared with the parents and guardians of our seniors shortly and made available at our new website, www.biddefordschools.me/graduation
Candles UNITE for Seniors pick up begins next week on Tuesday, May 12 from 9-11am and Wednesday, May 13 from 4-6pm at both TA and Waterhouse Field. Gold and orange lights are available for a suggested donation of $5 each and a limited supply of electric window candles are available for $4 each (note: the bulbs will not work in battery-operated holders). Cash, check or Venmo (@KarenChasse) is accepted - simply stay in your car, and distribution will occur in a drive-thru manner. In honor of our seniors, all funds raised will be split equally between the two towns to help feed families in our communities. Families are encouraged to share their photos on social media with the hashtag #SeniorsUnite2020 and join us for Senior Night on Friday, June 5th at 6:30pm followed by our virtual Candlelight Ceremony at 7pm.
BMS 8th Grade Promotion
The BMS Promotion Ceremony will be held virtually on June 4th from 6-7pm in which certificates will be “presented” to students. In place of walking across the stage and shaking the Principal’s hand, students will be provided the opportunity to submit an outgoing message highlighting their time at BMS to add that personal touch.
Our Administrative team has developed a plan for parents to recover student belongings which coincides with the return of several hundred laptops, tablets, library books, and musical instruments belonging to the school department. This equipment must be returned so that it can be cleaned, serviced, and prepared for use this fall. Our staff is currently gathering student belongings and organizing them for pick-up utilizing the following process to bring an orderly close to the year.
During the week of June 8-12, school staff will be on campus for the purposes of retrieving school department assets and returning--as best we can--student possessions. Parents may “drive-thru” designated areas at each school to drop off school department equipment, and/or pick up possessions your son or daughter may have left behind in his/her locker. Exact dates and times will be forthcoming from Principals in their weekly newsletters. (Please note that in some cases because of perishable food or other loss, certain items may have been lost or discarded. We will make a good faith effort to identify, label, and return students’ possessions). If the FDA extends our foodservice waiver and we are still able to provide community meals on this date, distribution will be building-based during this week only. Any items not claimed will be part of a “lost and found,” which may be accessed between 9 AM and 12 Noon on Friday, June 12.
Summer School & Building Usage
We continue to seek guidance from the Maine Department of Education (DOE) on summer school and summer camps being held within our school buildings. As a school department, we are held to a higher standard of safety assurances and this decision is not one in which the Superintendent can yield an overarching decision for usage. At this time, our school facilities remain closed but it is our goal to provide summer school in some fashion to ensure students are not falling behind.
Staff Appreciation Week
As Staff Appreciation Week comes to an end, I want to again say thank you to our dedicated educators and hard-working staff. I cannot thank them enough for the support they provide the Biddeford youth which was echoed in this heart-warming BMS Video. I know the teachers appreciated all the wonderful messages they received this week from you and your child(ren).
As always, please stay connected with us at biddefordschools.me/health, and direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or use our special closure hotline at 207-391-6868.
I hope you all enjoy a Happy Mother’s Day this weekend.
Superintendent of Schools
Rent Relief Available
Are you having trouble paying rent because of the impacts of COVID-19? The MaineHousing COVID-19 Rent Relief Program is for renters who cannot afford to pay their rent due to circumstances related to the Coronavirus pandemic. The program is designed to provide a one-time bridge payment of up to $500 for rent until households get stimulus and unemployment funds they need. Applicants apply online at www.mainehousing.org/covidrent or they can apply through York County Community Action by calling 324-5762, Option 9, if they don’t have access to the internet or have questions about the program.