BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

January 28, 2022

BBRSD School Committee Update

The school committee voted this past Tuesday to hold an additional February meeting to gather information and perspective from the community on the district's masking requirements. This meeting will be held e Tahanto Auditorium on Tuesday, February 1 at 6:30 pm. The agenda is framed first as a Listening Session - an opportunity for the committee and those in attendance to listen to diverse perspectives and experiences with the mask requirements in our schools, as well as an opportunity to share thoughts about issues the community would like the committee to bear in mind as we move forward. We look forward to broad participation - whether you choose to sign up and share comments directly with the committee or simply listen to the perspectives and experiences shared by our community.


Those who would like to make public comments are invited to sign up with Kristi Turgeon (kturgeon@bbrsd.org) prior to 3:30 p.m. on February 1, 2022. Speakers may also submit written comments, but it is not required.


Speakers are invited to comment only on the District’s masking requirements. Comments or questions pertaining to other topics, including the committee’s recent decision to move to the DESE recommended Alternative COVID-Testing Program (see Superintendent Zanghi’s Family Letter) should be directed to the school committee Vice-Chair, Lori-Anne Hart.


The Listening Session will be up to 75 minutes. Speakers are asked to keep their comments under three minutes to allow time for others to speak. All public comments must adhere to District Policy on Public Comment. Those who are not able to attend or speak due to the meeting time constraints are invited to submit written statements to the Vice-Chair, who will disseminate all statements to the full committee.


Following the Listening Session, the committee will have time to discuss what they heard and share their own perspectives on the mask requirements. There is time, as well, for the committee to make any related motions for action, as they see fit (e.g., postpone any votes about masking requirements to a later date, maintain or revise the district's requirements). We expect the meeting will center heavily on the listening portion to inform the committee's policy and fiduciary decisions going forward into the spring.

Superintendent's Office

COVID Testing Options

Good Afternoon,


Berlin-Boylston families and staff members received a notification letter yesterday morning indicating that our district is updating our COVID-19 Testing Program, effective January 25, 2022, in accordance with a vote taken by our School Committee on that date. This at-home testing program will increase the testing of our participating students and staff regardless of vaccination status. At the same time, the District will continue to perform symptomatic testing during the school week while both Test and Stay and contact tracing will be discontinued.


In order to participate in the new at-home testing program, parents/guardians and staff members must opt-in through the completion of the survey embedded in yesterday’s letter. There is also a separate link in the letter to opt-in and give consent for symptomatic testing if you did not do so in the fall. That information can be found here.


The new at-home testing opportunity is voluntary and only those who opt-in through the survey will receive test kits on a regular biweekly basis. Please note: if you do not opt-in, you will not receive at-home test kits. Survey completion for the first round of kit distribution is today, Friday, January 28, 2022. If you choose to opt-in at a later date, you will be added to the next available distribution timeline.


The at-home testing program is intended to provide a more efficient, effective method of testing, reducing the time out of class for students who had been participating in the Test-and-Stay program and can identify positive cases much sooner. Please give strong consideration to the availability of these at-home kits and participate in the program.


Thank you,

Jeffrey T. Zanghi

Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Pupil Personnel Department

Berlin-Boylston students and staff are signing up for the Updated At-Home Testing Program at a wonderful pace!

Here are some quick facts about the new At-Home Testing Program:


  • The At-Home Testing Program is for all students, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Families can opt their child into the updated At-Home Testing Program here: https://forms.gle/CqGhD2D6DhCSC6EBA
  • If a child is not opted-in, they will not receive at-home test kits.
  • Students who are opted in by noon on January 28 will receive their first At-Home Test kits on February 4, 2022.
  • If a student isn’t opted in by noon on January 28 but is opted in by February 9, the student will receive their first At-Home Test kits on February 18.
  • Each At-Home Test Kit contains 2 tests.
  • 1 test will be taken at home every Wednesday, including the Wednesday of February vacation.
  • Click here for a training video on using the test.
  • In the event of a positive result, it must be reported here: https://forms.gle/zppxxe2acLUow9E17
  • At-home testing kits are for monitoring purposes. They are taken every Wednesday at home. They cannot be used any other day of the week, for any other reason, nor by anyone else. (For example, if you or your child feels sick over the weekend, a test from the At-Home Testing Program cannot be used; The family must use a test from a different source in this scenario.)
  • The District’s At-Home Testing Program replaces the District’s Contact Tracing and Test and Stay programs.
  • The last day of Contact Tracing in our schools is February 3.
  • The last day of Test and Stay in our schools is February 4.
  • Symptomatic testing is also available for vaccinated and unvaccinated students whose parents have provided consent for testing at school. https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma#consent
  • The updated At-Home Testing Program is available to BBRSD staff, too, and they are receiving their first test kits today.


Please see the calendar below for important testing dates.


If you have questions about how tests will be distributed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your child’s Principal.


If you have questions about test results or Symptomatic Testing, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your child’s School Nurse.


SEPAC Fundraiser

Please see the announcement below for the SEPAC Fundraiser through Little Caesar.


Jannel Fitzpatrick

Director of Pupil Personnel

jfitzpatrick@bbrsd.org

Boylston Elementary School

I apologize for the brevity this week. Being out of the office, I only know through texts and emails all of the great work that was done. However, a few notes:



The PTO is at it again! They have planned their second annual family Trivia night, "Are You Smarter Than a Bobcat!” I hope you'll virtually join us on February 6th. All the details can be found here. I promise this time I'll stay awake (there was an unfortunately timed nap last year I will never live down). Don't forget, you are all welcome to attend our meetings. The next one is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30. We will meet in the library but if you'd feel more comfortable joining us from the comfort of your own home you can join us remotely here.


What would an email communication be without the mention of COVID? Hopefully, you received the communication from the superintendent about the new protocols and signing up for weekly at-home test kits. You can sign up here if you missed it. At-home testing kits will be sent home with students who have been opted in Beginning February 4th. Please remember to check their bags for the test kits. Alternatively, if you wish to pick up your child's test kit instead please email me. Positive results can be reported here.



This week, our Math Specialist had his second session of Partnering with Parents. If you weren't able to attend we have the recording here!



Electronic folder



The Week Ahead:

  • Thursday (2/3)

  • Friday (2/4)

    • The 100th Day of School!

    • Wear a shirt with a number on it! We'll see if we can add up to 100!



Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

BES Office: 508-869-2200

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School

Latest COVID Information

Hopefully, you received the communication from the Superintendent about the new protocols and signing up for weekly at-home test kits. You can sign up here if you missed it. At-home testing kits will be sent home with students who have been opted in beginning February 4th. Please remember to check their bags for the test kits. Positive results can be reported here.


Term II Grades Posted to PowerSchool Today, 1/28/22

If you have any questions regarding your child's grade, please contact the teacher directly.

Please remember that we have support here to help with every facet of the learning process. Below is a list of supports that we offer:

  • Teachers are available 1 day a week after school for extra help (check with the individual teacher for the day)

  • School Counselors are available for academic advisement and check-ins. irodman@bbrsd.org gpicariello@bbrsd.org

  • School Adjustment Counselor, Kara Ford is available for social and emotional support. kford@bbrsd.org

  • Peer Tutoring is available for students who may need assistance. Contact your child’s school counselor for more information.

  • School Nurse, Courtney Lamb is available for medical and health-related support. clamb@bbrsd.org


Upcoming events

  • January 28th: Term II & Semester grades posted to PowerSchool

  • February 5th: Athletic Booster Meat Raffle 12-4

  • February 7th: College Admission Panel 8:30-10:00

  • February 8th: School Committee meeting 6:30

  • February 21st-25th: Vacation


TAHANTO ATHLETIC BOOSTER CLUB

MEAT RTAHANTO ATHLETIC BOOSTER CLUB

MEAT RAFFLE

Thank you, Thank You, Thank You!!!


The raffle basket donations were a HUGE success thanks to all of you!! Bravo!!!


The hard work is done all that’s left for this to be a success is for you, your neighbors, your friends, and family to join us on:


Saturday, February 5, 2022

From 12-4 at the Berlin Country Club

25 Carr Road, Berlin, MA 01503


We hope to see you there!!!


Tahanto Driver’s Education Course


Are You Ready To Drive?

Tahanto is partnering with CMSC Auto School to offer basic driver education to age-eligible Tahanto students at a discounted rate. This class will be offered during the first two weeks of March. Please see the attached flyer for registration information and important dates. Should you have any questions, please contact Chris Covino by email (ccovino@bbrsd.org) or telephone (508-869-2333 x 2121).

Tahanto Driver's Education Form


GRADE 7 ELA NEWS

Each quarter, students choose a free reading book from our school library. The students have the entire quarter to read the book and complete their SSR - or silent sustained reading - project. Students get to see examples of superior projects from previous years so expectations were high……..and students certainly met the challenge!

The project this quarter was to create a 3-dimensional representation of either the protagonist or antagonist in their story; this could be realistic or symbolic. Check out their fabulous work – they did an amazing job!



JOIN THE ENGINEERING CLUB-EVERYONE WELCOME!!

We will be running the engineering club on the next FOUR Thursdays from 2:15 PM-3:15 PM, as follows:

  1. Thursday, February 3, 2022

  2. Thursday, February 10, 2022

  3. Thursday, February 17, 2022


If you have questions or are interested in attending, please reach out to Mr. Eiermann at reiermann@bbrsd.org.


Managing Middle School

Time really does fly! As we wrap up Semester 1 and head into Semester 2 it is important to remember that there is still a lot of school left! Students who are thriving should keep at it through these cold and dark months. Students who may have struggled in Semester 1 still have plenty of time to turn things around and finish the year strong. The important message is that now is the time because you don’t want to make positive changes too late to make a difference.


Most middle school students will have some elective changes occur in Semester 2, so it’s a good time to look that over with them so they are sure where they need to be. If anyone needs a new schedule, please direct them to the counseling office so we can print them out!



What’s happening now?

6th grade

I have started 6th-grade check-in meetings and I am really enjoying getting to know the students, and look forward to connecting with everyone!


7th grade

We finished our classes for now, and I really enjoyed talking to them about bullying, kindness, school stressors, and even some deeper philosophical questions. Never a dull moment with this group! I plan to check back in a little later in the school year and look forward to more interesting conversations.


8th grade

I will be connecting with 8th-grade students in the near future, going over bullying and talking about how to be positive members of the community. We will also be talking about the transition to high school, and what they can expect next year and beyond. It’s hard to believe that high school is right around the corner for these kiddos!


IMPORTANT

Assabet and other school applications should be completed at this point. Now is the time we start getting requests for grades and attendance, so please reach out to myself and Ms MacDonald.


Resources

Ms Ford’s virtual office - A great place to find coping strategies

Mr Picariello - Counselor grades 6-8, 9 (M-Z)

gpicariello@bbrsd.org

Ms Ford - School Adjustment Counselor

kford@bbrsd.org

Dr Trainor - School Psychologist

ktrainor@bbrsd.org

Ms MacDonald - Administrative assistant/ school registrar

amacdonald@bbrsd.org


From the HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELOR’S CORNER January 2022

The colleges are coming! Plan ahead for Monday, February 7, from 8:30-10 a.m., and join us in the Auditorium. Tahanto will be hosting a panel of college admissions representatives, who will discuss the college search and application processes. We have representation from a variety of colleges: public and private schools, in and out of state, small and large, etc. General information on topics such as school visits, the admissions process, senior year course selection, standardized testing, essays, letters of recommendation, and more will be addressed. Covid protocols of masking and social distancing will be followed. All Juniors will be attending the program in school. Families are invited and encouraged to attend as well. See who is coming - Flyer on College Panel for Juniors and Families


Remember that we are here for you via phone, email, and now for in-person appointments, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Visit our Tahanto School Counseling website for more information on available supports and resources.


NEW YEAR = NEW START & NEW TO DOs

A new year provides opportunities for new beginnings. In January, we also start a new semester. Everyone can view it as a clean slate, so all students should take advantage of the fresh start.


Fill Out & Submit Your FAFSA - The FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is an important component of your college search and became available on October 1, 2021. It’s important to fill it out as soon as it becomes available because it not only determines whether or not you qualify for federal aid, but also for certain types of state financial aid.

Parents can use their 2020 tax income returns. The sooner you fill out your FAFSA the better chances at earning state aid before funds become limited.

Learn more about filling out the FAFSA and, remember, it’s always free to fill out – so if you’re being charged to fill out the form, it’s not legitimate. The only correct FAFSA website to access the FAFSA is studentaid.gov.


Midyear Reports

Your first semester transcripts will automatically be sent to any school to which you have already applied. You do not need to request them separately on Naviance. Please check Quarter 2 report cards for any errors or incompletes. If you do not notify me about any issues, they will go out as is by mid-February.


Focus on Your Second Semester Classes - Keep in mind that no matter how your first semester went, the second semester can be a fresh start. Colleges love to see continual improvement; and, if your grades improve the second semester, your chances of getting off a waitlist or deferral list are that much better.


Avoid Senioritis

Students may have heard about Senioritis and laughed it off. It can cause a greater lack of motivation, general laziness, and lethargy. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of senioritis. Colleges can actually rescind their admission decision if they don’t like what they see on a student’s final transcript. Treat this semester like you would any other. Remember that if seniors continue to do well enough, they could be exempt from final exams!

Register for Spring Standardized Tests - Throughout winter and spring there are many opportunities to take the ACT and/or the SAT. Check with the colleges and universities which you may be considering. Are they requiring test scores in their admissions decisions? Some have decided to continue their test-optional policies indefinitely or at least through 2024. Learn more from FairTest.


Apply for Scholarships

Continue to research and apply for scholarships. Remember that Naviance is just one tool to help you search for scholarships. It is updated on a regular basis, so check back often. Here is a Reference Guide to help you Navigate the newly formatted Scholarships in Naviance. There are many scholarship search engines out there, but be cautious of scholarship scams as well. Never pay anyone who guarantees they will find you a scholarship and do not share overly personal (financial) information.


Get a Part-Time Job - Getting a part-time job is a great way to gain job experience for your resume and help stretch your student budget. If you're searching for a part-time job opportunity, try to be strategic about where you end up. They could help you pay for college.


COLLEGE BOARD NATIONAL RECOGNITION

Carter Nosek, Class of 2022, has been selected as a College Board National Recognition Program awardee. He earned the National Rural and Small Town Recognition Award because of his academic achievements in school and outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT® and/or AP® Exams. He accomplished this milestone during an immensely demanding period of his high school career. How wonderful to be able to share this great news - congratulations Carter!


COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENT-ATHLETES

Are you involved in sports and thinking about participating in athletics in college? Students considering studying and competing at an NCAA Division I or II school must register with the NCAA. The NCAA Eligibility Center is where students and families can learn about the latest initial-eligibility information, requirements they must meet to be ready when they get to campus, and where to find the best resources for planning to become a college athlete.


AN EARLY TASTE OF COLLEGE

Students interested in experiencing college-level coursework, while still in high school, have lots of opportunities to do so. Many universities offer students ways to explore and challenge themselves through online programs throughout the year. Summer enrichment programs are already taking applications. Learn from college professors, explore interests, and discover new skills. Some of these opportunities are at no cost for rising juniors and seniors who demonstrate financial need. Don’t forget to check out the Tahanto School Counseling Website for a link to a regularly updated list.


PANEL OF COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICERS

Right at the start of the Second Semester, Tahanto will be hosting a panel of college admissions representatives, who will discuss the college search and application processes. We have representation from a variety of colleges: public and private schools, in and out of state, small and large, etc. General information on topics such as school visits, the admissions process, senior year course selection, standardized testing, essays, letters of recommendation, and more will be addressed.


We hope to host this event in person on Monday, February 7, from 8:30-10 a.m. following Covid protocols of masking and social distancing. Watch your emails as the date approaches for a Zoom link, should we need to move the event online. All Juniors will be attending the program in school. Families are invited and encouraged to attend as well. Should you have a specific question you would like addressed during the program, please send it ahead of time to irodman@bbrsd.org. I will be moderating the panel program and will include those topics about which most people indicate an interest.


IS IT WINTER BLUES OR ARE YOU S.A.D?

Winter has arrived. If the shorter and darker days seem to really impact your/your teen’s mood, read this article to learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder. Work to improve your mood with these suggestions.


Ms. Ilene Rodman, EdM

High School Counselor

irodman@bbrsd.org

508-869-2333 x2317


Mask Wearing

Prior to vacation administration met with the entire student body to remind them of expectations around mask-wearing. Masks MUST cover both the nose and mouth. A majority of our student body does an excellent job with this, however, we do have some students who have to be constantly reminded to pull their masks up. A warning has been given to all that if reminders continue, detentions will be given to those not following the requirements.

I think we can all agree that no one wants to have to wear a mask but we all must do our part to keep everyone safe and be in compliance with the state mandate.


Please make sure that your child(ren) has a mask prior to leaving for school. The school does have extras for those whose masks break or get soiled at school, but we are not able to provide masks to those who forget theirs on a daily basis.




Athletic News

GUARDIANS YOUTH LACROSSE

SPRING REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING TEAMS FOR BOYS Grades 1-8:

U9 – Grades 1 & 2

U11 – Grades 3 & 4

U13 – Grades 5 & 6

U15 – Grades 7 & 8

No experience is necessary at ANY level!

Register at www.guardiansyouthlax.com by February 1st!

If you have any questions please reach out to guardiansyouthlax@gmail.com Guardians Youth Lacrosse is a town-based youth sports program, for boys from Pre-K through 8th-grade inn Boylston, Berlin, West Boylston, and Clinton





REGISTER NOW FOR BOYLSTON YOUTH SOFTBALL

We are always looking for new girls in Grades 6-8 to join our team!

Register online at www.boylstonsoftball.org

COVID Safety: We follow all state and local guidelines. Softball is an outside sport with social distancing built into the game, making it one of the safest options for youth sports.

Cost: The entry fee is $120 (Early Bird discount of $20 off if you register prior to February 1st, 2022)

Season: Starts tentatively in late April and ends in mid-June.

Equipment: We are asking that each girl brings her own helmet, glove, and bat due to the pandemic. However, if this presents a problem, we do have a limited amount of equipment that we can loan out.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions:

boylstonsoftball@gmail.com

We are always looking for volunteers to help with coaching or join the Board. Please let us know if you are interested in helping out.


Also, check out our Facebook page @bybsb01505 and Twitter page @boylstonbasebal for information as we get closer to the start of the season.

LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON THE FIELD!



Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org


Tahanto Regional High School

1001 Main Street

Boylston, MA 01505

(508) 869-2333

The Berlin-Boylston Regional Public Schools do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, disability, veteran status, genetic information, homelessness or any other class protected by state or federal law.