BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

January 22, 2021

Superintendent's Office

Dear Parents, Staff, and Students:


After reviewing data from the MA Department of Health and in consultation with our local Boards of Health and school nurses, I have made the decision to enable our students to return to the hybrid model beginning Monday, January 25th until at least our winter break scheduled for Monday, February 15th - Friday, February 19th. Please be aware that this decision is predicated upon spikes and cases in the schools that require periods of quarantine or any mandatory shutdowns made by the Commonwealth.


There are several factors that have gone into this decision, and my intention is not to prioritize but to outline the process. The first is looking at numbers in our towns and schools. Boylston and Berlin are experiencing similar scenarios (towns in red) but all schools are experiencing very low numbers.


Positive case numbers, while high enough to place our towns in the red category, are not a reflection of what is happening in our schools. In fact, we currently have a total of 5 students out of school due to positive COVID testing.


With safety as the primary concern, the move back to a hybrid will also enable our students to return to classroom interactions with their teachers and friends, a factor that we consider very seriously. Face-to-face contact provides social-emotional support and a connection to our students in a way that remote learning cannot easily replicate.


I realize that not all families and staff will agree with my decision to return us into a hybrid model. I do hope that you will know that it has been made after careful consideration, numerous discussions, data collection, and an intrinsic desire to do what is best for our children.


Respectfully,


Jeff Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

News from the Town of Boylston

The Town of Boylston Master Plan Committee, which includes Berlin-Boylston Regional School Committee Chairman James Spencer, has asked me to share the Master Plan Committee Survey with Boylston residents. The data they receive from this survey will be important to the town's future, as well as the Berlin-Boylston Regional School District.


The survey is open to Boylston residents from Monday, January 25 through Monday, February 22.



Town of Boylston Master Plan Update Survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BoylstonMPSurvey

Business Office


Remote Meals!

While we return to hybrid learning mode, we will continue to offer remote meals for the days that students are in remote learning mode. BBRSD is excited to offer a complete breakfast and lunch meal for each remote learning day per week! (*3 breakfast and lunch meals for students attending in person 2 days a week*). Weekend meals may also be requested by emailing Lauren Staples, Director of Food Services (lstaples@bbrsd.org).

We are offering an assortment of ready to eat sandwich meals (Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, Ham & Cheese, PBJ), in addition to newly made frozen meals (Chicken Patty, Mozzarella Sticks, Chic’ Penne, Fish Sticks, Chicken Nuggets, BBQ Chicken), with a bag of fresh produce per household!

Pickup is at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School. Take the entrance nearest the softball/field hockey field, and idle at the cone near the dumpsters. Stay in your car, and someone will bring the order to your vehicle.

To allow time for food deliveries, preparation and packaging, meal pick-up times required a slight adjustment. Pickup times are on Monday from 12 noon to 2 PM, and 11 AM to 2 PM on Wednesday.


Note: All children ages 1-18 in the local area are eligible for our free remote meals, regardless of their enrollment status in the district.

Please fill out the form below(1 form per child) to specify your order and pickup details. If you are unable to pick up during the offered times below please email: lstaples@bbrsd.org to arrange alternate plans.

Participating in our remote meal program keeps our food service department working, so thank you in advance!


Weekly remote meal ordering form link:

https://www.bbrsd.org/Page/1583


Any questions or concerns can be directed to Lauren Staples, Food Service Director 508-869-2333 ext. 2346 or lstaples@bbrsd.org.



Berlin Memorial Facilities Assessment

Habeeb & Associates (based in Norwell, MA) is the firm that was selected to work on the Berlin Memorial Facilities Assessment project. Nine firms submitted applications, all very qualified, with Habeeb & Associates rated as the top firm based on the evaluation criteria specified in our bid documents. We are excited to begin this project, as it will provide a roadmap for the district on future capital needs for the school over the next ten to fifteen years.


Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

Pupil Personnel Services Department

Preschool Screening:

The Berlin-Boylston School District will be conducting a preschool screening for three and four-year-old children living in Berlin or Boylston on Monday, January 25, 2021 at Tahanto. Preschool classes at Berlin and Tahanto will not meet that day. Preschool staff from both programs will be engaged in screening throughout the day.


Screening is done in a playful atmosphere and allows the preschool staff to get a snapshot of each child’s capabilities, and can be particularly helpful if there are concerns regarding your child’s development or ability to learn. Screening appointments are scheduled in the Tahanto Preschool room and families who requested a screening have been notified of their appointment time. The screenings will be done following our social distancing and cleaning protocols and all visitors must wear a mask while in the building.


Preschool Lottery

A lottery will be held if there are more applicants for the 2021/22 preschools than the available openings. The Lottery will be held on January 28, 2021, at 1:00 pm. For safety reasons, we will be doing a virtual lottery this year. If you would like to attend, please notify Jannel Fitzpatrick at jfitzpatrick@bbrsd.com and she will provide a link for the meeting.


Karen Molnar, Director of Pupil Personnel Services

kmolnar@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School


As you've read in previous communications, the state is requiring an increase in daily contact between students and teachers. We have worked to determine the best way to respond to these additional requirements in age-appropriate ways and have created additional sessions for students on their hybrid remote days. Below is a schedule of times that students will be expected to be on live with their teachers when they are not in the building. You'll notice some variations in the timing of sessions based on students' developmental levels and academic schedules. The focus of each session will also vary from check-ins to some live-streamed lessons. It is important to remember that these times scheduled times account for the days students are NOT in the building.


Every student will have two 30 minute periods with one of their grade level teachers on each day they are home. They will also have a 30-minute mid-day session with a grade-level teacher. On Wednesdays, students will begin their day with an enrichment block. They will also have their Caring School Community Meeting (as usual, though possibly at a different time), and an additional hour-long live instructional block. This instructional block will consist of grade-level content provided by a grade-level teacher, but it may not be your child's teacher. Some interventions may still take place during these blocks and my recommendation would be to attend these interventions.


This email is to give you an opportunity to adjust schedules and communicate needs to caregivers for your child(ren). Classroom teachers will follow up shortly with specific Zoom links for these sessions.


I appreciate your patience and support as we work through these new changes.


Please see the chart below in the picture section.




As was posted last week, the enrichment blocks are linked here:

K-2nd 8:45-9:50 Link

3rd-5th 8:45-9:50 Link


Check the Electronic Folder this week for information around the upcoming baseball season!



The week ahead: Specials week 1

  • Monday (1/25)

    • Cohort A returns to school!

    • Cohort B new learning times

  • Tuesday (1/26)

    • Cohort A in person

    • Cohort B new learning times

  • Wednesday (1/27)

    • Fully remote with new learning times for both cohorts

  • Thursday (1/28)

    • Cohort B returns to school!

    • Cohort A new learning times

  • Friday (1/29)

    • Cohort B in person

    • Cohort A new learning times




Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

Berlin Memorial School


I want to thank everyone for their input on the hours we've added to the Zoom schedule for kids. It's an adjustment for everyone, and as I'm sure you've noticed, we're learning as we go on this. Thank you all for your patience and support as we struggle to meet the demands of our fearless leaders at the Department of Education.


Student Council Project

The 5th grade Student Council is sponsoring Thank You First Responders! Students at BMS will be making “Thank You” cards for Berlin’s police, fire, and EMS workers. Students in our hybrid model will make cards when they are in school and students working remotely will make cards and bring them to school. A box (made by a Student Council member-Owen Bratton) will be outside the school through February 8th to collect cards. We are also using funds from the Baystate Textile collection bin at the entrance of our school to also give our first responders $5 Dunkin Donut gift cards.


The Student Council members feel strongly about showing appreciation to our First Responders and thank everyone who helps us.


Student Council Members: Anali A., Skylar A, Owen B., Leah J., Sarah J.


Battle of the Coins – 2021

The coin battle will run from Tuesday, January 19 through Friday, February 12th.

This is a Cohort A vs Cohort B contest. The winning cohort will get an extra recess for each grade. If you have a student who comes every day, then they can choose which jar to put it in.

The money will be totaled every Friday and then the amounts will be posted on the Link Inc Facebook page. You can search for it in Facebook and ask to join if you are not already a member.


The totals will also be announced every Monday for cohort A and every Thursday for cohort B in school. We are accepting all forms of money, bills, coins, and even checks made out to Link Inc.


This will be one of two fundraisers that we will have for the year. Due to Covid guidelines and restrictions, we have been unable to do our regular fundraisers. The money raised will go towards the Cultural shows for next year. The exciting news is that we will be having the Fun Run this year! This will take place at the end of May so look for details to come out starting in March.


A note from Nurse Ana

Winter is upon us and New England is not shy when reminding us. With this school year’s COVID protocols, the importance of our students and staff accessing the fresh air throughout the day is at an all-time high.


The goal is to get outdoors as much as possible. If the “feels like” temperature is 20 degrees or higher, we will be having outdoor recess. It is critical that students come to school with the proper winter apparel. We are requesting that students wear warm coats, hats, and gloves for outdoor play. All students wishing to play in the snow MUST wear snow boots, snow pants, and gloves. There is nothing worse than wet cold feet or red raw hands.


Families, I ask for your help in ensuring that your child arrives at school with the appropriate winter apparel. Layers are perfect. If financial resources are strained and limit your ability to purchase warm winter gear for your child, (coat, snow pants, boots, hats, & mittens), please contact me. I can be reached via email at aamaral@bbrsd.org or by phone at 978-838-2214.

Alfred Wainwright once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” With Wainwright’s guidance in mind, parents/guardians, please help your child be ready with appropriate attire to go outdoors for recess and mask breaks.


Stay well and as always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

Ana


Where are those links?

You can find the links to all those Zoom meetings here.


Dates to Remember

· Tuesday, January 19 - Friday, February 12 - PTL Coin Wars!



John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School


This Week’s Schedule

Week of 1/25/21-1/29/21 ODD WEEK (High School Only) *

We are back in Hybrid!!


Cohort A (Last name A-LeB) you are at Tahanto in person on Monday, Tuesday & remote Wednesday-Friday


Cohort B (Last name Lee-Z) you are remote Monday -Wednesday and in-person Thursday & Friday


** Please remember to give teachers/staff 24 hours to return emails**


In order to ensure that Tahanto students are meeting the required daily “live” check-in, as well fully engaged during synchronous learning with their teachers and peers, beginning January 19th we will be requiring students to turn their cameras on during instruction if they are currently not doing so.


If parents and students have concerns regarding privacy, students are encouraged to do the following:

  • Use an appropriate virtual background

  • Angle the camera so it only shows the students face and ceiling

  • Use a sheet/blanket or blank wall as a background


Click below for the most recent information from the Counseling Office

Counselor's Corner

Help the Senior Class of Tahanto Class of 2021 celebrate this Spring in style! We are hoping to bring some joy to the 84 graduating seniors by sponsoring a gift bag for each student.

You can help us reach this goal by contributing something through the links below OR by sending a check to Tahanto PTO 1001 Main Street, Boylston, MA 01505 OR by using Paypal OR Venmo:

PayPal https://tinyurl.com/y2ru98k4

Venmo TahantoPTO


Celebrate a Senior

In collaboration with Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Tahanto Art presents Community, Connectedness, and The Legend of the Red String, an installation on view during the Yarnstorm Exhibition! Come view our school tree, which is adorned with student created Origami, in this yarn-bombing exhibition which runs from January 16th - March 31st, 2021. Please read our statement about this important work below:


Drawing on the Japanese Legend of the Red String and themes of community, connectedness, and collaboration, the students at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School have created a site-specific art installation for Tower Hill Botanic Garden's exhibition, Yarnstorm. The Legend of the red string states that every person's pinky finger is tied to an invisible red string that will lead him or her to another person with whom they will make history. Although the string may get tangled, contracted, or stretched, as surely often happens, it will never break. While community activities, and even art exhibitions, have been looking differently since the start of 2020, it is important to remind ourselves that we are all still connected to one another. Students created works of origami that symbolized their experiences throughout quarantine, and although our strings might all be slightly stretched right now, our community is intact and continuing to create light.


For more information regarding this exhibition, please visit: https://www.towerhillbg.org/yarnstorm/

To reserve tickets online (in accordance with social distancing guidelines), please visit:

https://www.towerhillbg.org/admissions-confirmation/



Mandatory Daily Parent Screening Health Checklist


Immunization Requirements

The Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health along with the MA Immunization Information Systems, will once again be surveying the complete immunization status of all grade 7 students. This year that will include the documentation of the mandated flu shot. Please ask your child's doctor to fax (508-869-6202) your child's immunization record as soon as possible.


This year, the State will also be surveying the immunization status of grade 11 students. Please ask your child's doctor to fax that to me at 508-869-6202 which is a confidential/dedicated fax line.


Questions? Contact Janet Sequeira, School Nurse at (508)869-2333 ext. 2303



Athletics

Please make sure that student-athletes have Covid related supplies (masks, sanitizer, plenty of water) in their gym bags.


https://tahantoregional.rschoolteams.com/


Matt Porcaro

Athletic Director

Tahanto Regional

mporcaro@bbrsd.org




Drama Club News


The Tahanto Drama Club is planning to perform a one-act play," Home of the Brave" in February.


Auditions are opening up again to fill our cast list; one main role and two supporting roles. We also are looking for a student who is interested in supporting the technical needs of putting on a virtual play.


Please contact Mrs. Gustavson directly at lgustavson@bbrsd.org to apply.



School Committee Policy Update on Travel during COVID

Please read the following update to the travel policy. TRAVEL: All staff and students are expected to comply with Governor Baker’s Travel Orders. In addition, if staff/students of any age travel outside of states deemed “low risk,” staff/students would be required to quarantine for 14 days regardless of test results.


Families, please contact the nurse if you have traveled outside of Massachusetts to a “high risk” state. Currently, the only state that is not deemed to be high risk in Hawaii. Now, if you are going to Hawaii there is also a policy stating that you must take the principal with you :)

These restrictions are put in place to keep everyone safe and healthy. We appreciate everyone’s commitment to this.



Every Tuesday after school in the Library Conference Room we are offering math support for all students in grades 6-12. No need to sign up, just show up!


Important Clarification for Attendance

School districts must take attendance for every student, every period regardless of the mode of learning. If your child is absent from school whether your child is remote or in person, please follow the same procedures:


  1. Call (508)869-2333 x 2303 to report your child absent. If your child is absent due to a medical appt. (doctor or dentist) please bring a note to the main office from the doctor’s office the next day your child is at Tahanto.


  1. If your child is going to be late to school for either remote learning or in-person please still call the above number and make us aware of this. Remote attendance will be taken within the first 10 minutes of class.


  1. Each student has 3 parental excusals that can be used during each semester for absences that are not subject to a doctor’s visit. To use parental excusal please write a note and have your child bring the note to the main office on the next day your child is in person at Tahanto.


If we do not receive a call notifying us of the absence, the secretaries in the main office will be contacting parents/guardians.




If you need further clarification or need to ask a question specific to your child’s attendance, please do not hesitate to contact Sue Boudreau at (508)869-2333 or send an email to sboudreau@bbrsd.org.




This is a clarification for all parents/students. If you are scheduled to be in person for learning, you may not choose to learn remotely unless you are not feeling well in which case a parent would call the school nurse.


If a student stays home due to not feeling well, a parent may write a parental excusal which should be brought into the Main Office upon the student's return to school. If the nurse excuses the student's absence for the day and allows the student to study remotely, students in a different cohort should contact their teachers to let them know they are planning on studying remotely as they may not have access to the Google Meet links/materials needed to work remotely.



School lunch in the cafeteria is free to all students until 6/30/2021, or until federal funding is depleted. Snack and extra meals are not included. Click here for more information.



Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org