BBRSD District-Wide Weekly Update

September 3, 2021

Welcome Back, Students, and Staff!

Have a great school year!

Superintendent's Office

Re-Entry Plan2021

On Tuesday, August 31 the BBRSD School Committee approved our Re-Entry 2021 Plan. This plan was sent out via email to all families, however, I have since added additional links to the plan for you to reference. The updated plan can be found here.


BBRSD Vaccine Clinic

BBRSD will be holding a vaccine clinic on September 15 at Tahanto from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Students, staff, families, and the general public are welcome to attend. This clinic is sponsored by the MA Department of Public Health. Click here to make an appointment. Click here for an adult consent form. Click here for a student consent form. If you have questions about the clinic, please contact Kristi Turgeon.


We're Easier to Find!

Thanks to Bob Bourassa and the Town of Boylston Facilities Team, our offices are now easier to find! Bob and his team installed a new sign outside of BBRSD Central Office last week. See the photo below.



Jeff Zanghi, Superintendent of Schools

jzanghi@bbrsd.org

Assistant Superintendent's Office

Greetings and welcome to our new and returning students, families, and staff members!

We’re very excited to have you back in school after missing so many friendly faces during the past year and even since you left for summer vacation! It was a pleasure to travel to each of the schools this week and check in on the learning that was taking place in each of the classrooms.


I can say with confidence that the learning pace did not slow down very much in our district this summer, especially for our elementary students. The Freckle Summer Fun Online Challenge drew more than 130 students in grades K-5 who participated in the self-paced, adaptive online program for either English Language Arts or mathematics or both! A number of these students will be recognized in the coming weeks for practicing a specific number of times at several checkpoints throughout the summer. Stay tuned to receive your prizes! And, while the experience was designed to be low key and fun thanks to the efforts of our two coordinators, Mrs. Brittany Sheikh and Ms. Shannon Kelleher, our administrators and teaching staff will also be able to access individual student growth data from the program that can be used to inform instruction, potential reteaching, and remediation as needed.


We were so fortunate to receive a summer grant from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that enabled us to run a one-week instructional program in August for selected students in grades K-5. Our program, appropriately named “Jump Start”, provided just that for 86 students from both elementary schools including 39 new kindergarteners. They must have been so excited to start school, they came in a week early!


Students received both rigorous and engaging instruction on foundational skills in early literacy and mathematics sprinkled with a daily dose of extra art with Mrs. Michelle Murray. Similar to our Freckle program, teaching staff and administrators will be able to measure individual student growth in specific standards between late spring and early fall as needed.


A Tale of Two Parent Camps

Our Parent Camp for incoming sixth graders and their parents was held yesterday afternoon, Thursday, September 2nd, at Tahanto Regional High School. The annual event featured tours of the school, information about academics, guidance, clubs and organizations and sports as well as banking opportunities with our local partner, Clinton Savings Bank.


We have made a decision to cancel the Parent Camp scheduled for Tuesday, September 14th for incoming kindergarteners, however, due to a variety of reasons including unanticipated restrictions on our fall school opening, a recently compressed and altered sports schedule creating a shortage in parking, and multiple conflicts with competing school events. We are so fortunate to have welcomed our incoming kindergarten students a day prior to their official arrival to our buildings and are confident that parents will be able to learn all about their child’s kindergarten experience at the Open House/Curriculum Nights held at both Berlin Memorial School and Boylston Elementary School on Thursday, September 16th.




Carol Costello, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

ccostello@bbrsd.org

Office: 508-869-2837 ext. 1111

Business Office News

School Bus Driver Shortage and its impact

The school bus industry is facing a severe shortage of drivers that are impacting bus companies and school districts across the state, and throughout the country. Many districts are short drivers and have not been able to fully staff their regular daily routes. Fortunately, our district is not in that situation, our routes are fully staffed and all are experienced and familiar with our routes. However, the issue for our district is that when a regular driver is out, there are no spare/substitute drivers that can fill in due to the driver shortage. We are working on plans to minimize the impact of these situations to the extent possible.

Related to this, NRT Bus notified district administration just before the start of the school year that there may be “bumps” in service delivery in the Fall. A similar letter was sent to Athletic Directors regarding athletic transportation. Principal Tucceri will address that in her update.


Article on MA Driver Shortage Letter from NRT to Berlin-Boylston Schools


What will occur when the bus company is short one driver on a given day?

The bus company will have the assigned buses complete their routes, and then have one of the buses circle back to complete the route that did not have a driver. This will end up impacting a couple of bus routes and lead to a 30 - 40 minute delay on those routes when a driver calls in sick.

For example, the Boylston bus 5 driver was out Wednesday afternoon. Boylston bus 2 completed its Tahanto route then circled back and completed bus 5's Tahanto route, running about 30 minutes behind. After that route, it circled back to complete its usual Boylston Elementary bus 2 route, starting about 30 minutes late. NRT was able to send a cover driver from another town that had completed its routes and run bus 5's Boylston Elementary route with a 10-minute delay.


How long will the driver shortage last?

It is not clear, but NRT is actively recruiting and onboarding new drivers, and as referenced in their letter, they expect that the expiration of COVID unemployment benefits will lead to more applicants and people seeking to obtain their CDL license.


Is there anything else that we as a district, and community, can do to help?

· YES - DRIVERS WANTED! Seriously, if anyone is interested, or knows of anyone interested in becoming a bus driver, please reach out to me directly, and I will put you in touch with NRT Bus management.


· Let’s be supportive of our drivers! The issues that our district and families is facing, while certainly not desirable, are minor relative to the situations in most other districts where regular routes are not fully staffed. The driver shortage is not their issue, and they are doing the best they can given the circumstances. NRT Bus gives its drivers each year the opportunity to “bid” for open slots across all of its districts, our drivers choose to work in Berlin-Boylston, and it helps with route familiarity and continuity, and keeps our buses fully staffed.


· We are investigating the possibility of a modest driver bonus for perfect monthly attendance for early in the school year when the shortage is expected to be most pronounced. This would be subject to School Committee approval.


· If driver shortages continue, and our district experiences a significant disruption, we may look to consolidate route(s). This would be challenging and time-consuming, and would lead to longer rides, but would also reduce the likelihood of a delay on a given day.


Other Transportation Updates

· Berlin Bus 2 is running its afternoon in the reverse order of how it was posted. This will continue in the near term, as the route generated by the routing software assumes a turnaround on Rte 62 that is not viable. I am aware that this leads to a subset of students having long rides in the morning and afternoon. We will be looking into options to alleviate this, including putting these students on a different bus or resequencing the stops, but it will take some time to review.


· Parent requests related to bussing – A large number of requests are received at the beginning of the school year. They need to be “triaged” to address those that are the most pressing. As I have indicated in my responses to some folks, I will be reviewing more requests in the coming two weeks and will be circling back with parents on those once I have reviewed them with the bus company.


School Lunch Update

Just a quick reminder that all Berlin-Boylston students continue to get a FREE LUNCH again this school year.



Bob Conry, Director of Finance and Operations

rconry@bbrsd.org

508-869-2837 ext. 1103

Pupil Personnel Office

We have been busy interviewing and hiring some exceptional new staff for Pupil Services this summer.


Welcome to our new Pupil Services staff members:


  • Sherry Trainque- Elementary Special Education Coordinator
  • Francesca Cavallo - Special Education Teacher grades 3-5 at BES
  • Kelsea Greene - Special Education Teacher, grade 7
  • Eric Sheehan- Special Education Teacher, Grade 8
  • Meghan Logan- Transition Teacher at Tahanto
  • Emily McCarthy- English Language Learners teacher at Tahanto
  • Jenny Lewis- Boylston School Nurse
  • Keli Irgens- Tahanto School Nurse
  • Sara Quartochi- Stanwood- Occupational Therapist



Team meetings

Many parents told us last year that virtual team meetings were more convenient for them to attend. For that reason, we will continue to offer parents the choice of how to meet. Special Education Coordinators will be in touch when it is time to schedule your child’s Team meeting to discuss whether you would like to meet virtually or in person.


Family Letter from DESE

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has asked that all districts share their 2021-22 school year letter with parents. The letter contains important reminders and updates intended to provide clarity to families about existing requirements and policies.


Occupational Therapy

Mrs. Trudeau will be out on medical leave for the next 6 weeks and we all wish her well. While she is gone, Ms. Shipman from our collaborative will continue seeing students, and Mrs. Sara Quartochi- Stanwood, OTR will be substituting for Mrs. Trudeau.



Karen Molnar, Director of Pupil Personnel

kmolnar@bbrsd.org

Office: 508-869-2837 ext. 1105

Technology Department

As we start the new year we have entered a slightly different phase of our Digital Technology Initiative. At the elementary level, Chromebooks are now being housed strictly in the classroom, so any issues with your student's Chromebook are being dealt with at school.


At the Middle/High school, however, we still are utilizing a more 1:1 method of technology distribution. For some students that means utilizing a family-owned device both at home and at school. For some students that may mean utilizing a school-owned Chromebook for both in school and at home. If your child is using a school-issued Chromebook and encounters problems with the device, please have them bring the device to the Guidance Office to be swapped out. Very soon we will be transitioning that exchange function to the Library/Media Center.


Our main concern remains to make sure that all of our students have access to a device for online work, assignments, research, and assessment. If your family is in need of a device where it did not in the past please reach out to me via email at pmara@bbrsd.org and we can make arrangements to have one available. If you have any questions please reach out to that same email account.


For any families still struggling to provide Internet Access for their children, please click on this link to find information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program: https://connectednation.org/ebbprogram/


We also have a limited number of hotspots we can provide to families in need of a connection at home. Please again email me if this is your situation.



Paul Mara, Technology Coordinator

para@bbrsd.org

Office: 508-869-2837 ext. 1109

Boylston Elementary School

Who's idea was it to start with a five-day week? I am sure the kids came home today as exhausted as the adults in the building. It was great to "hit the ground running" in a full week and really develop routines and rhythms before the long weekend. I'd like to take this chance to thank you all for your patience. Your patience with each other in the morning has allowed the drop-off to go smoothly. Last year, I missed being out front to greet everyone as they were dropped off! I'd also like to thank you for your patience as we work out dismissal. We've had some technical issues with our check-in program as well as some bus issues. We are working through them though. If anyone ever considered becoming a bus driver, this is a great time!


Over the years, you've heard me wax on about the support we get from the community here at BES. This year has been no different! It started with everyone who supported our staff in preparing for the start of school. Then on Tuesday night, we had a marathon School Committee meeting for all the right reasons. With two seats opening up there was an outpouring of community members that were willing to step up and give of their time willingly. Listening to the six candidates speak of their desire to support students and serve their community was inspiring. Ultimately, the committee could only choose two and I would like to congratulate Adam Wilbur and Megan Grill, our newest school committee members. This is a chance too, to thank Jim Spencer and Keith Lewis for their years of service and support.



One of my favorite parts of each new school year is walking through the building and seeing the creative work our staff produces in the form of bulletin boards and decorations. Mrs. Kuppens (our art teacher) never disappoints and somehow always manages to tap into our students' artistic talents. This year may have been my favorite when she invited our newest artist in residence, Blake (3rd grade), in over the summer. He free-hand painted the squid for her bulletin board. He is an amazing talent and I can never walk down the hall without stopping for a second to admire his efforts. I'm looking forward to a year where we can really celebrate the arts!


Parent Camp Canceled

The central office has asked me to share information about the Parent Camp with all of you. Due to several scheduling conflicts and low registration, we are canceling our rescheduled Kindergarten parent camp (9/14). I am linking to a letter from the central office to give further explanation. Based on the first few days though, our kindergarteners came to play/learn and are off to a great start. We hope to revisit the program in the spring for next year's kindergarteners.


Wanted: ForeignLanguage Teachers

Wanted: Foreign language teachers! As we return to some old traditions, we are preparing to once again offer mini-courses after school. More information to come on that. In the past (a few years in the rearview mirror) we were able to offer foreign languages and we'd love to again. If you would be interested or know anyone who may be, please email Mrs. DiFonso for specifics.



The electronic folder


Week ahead:


  • Monday (9/6)

    • No School Labor Day

  • Thursday (9/9)

    • PTO meeting

  • Friday (9/10)

    • Electrical Safety program for 2nd and 4th grades

    • Football begins! Patriots Day as they get ready to squish the fish!



Ace Thompson, Principal

athompson@bbrsd.org

BES Office: 508-869-2200

Berlin Memorial School

Well, we have survived our first week of school! As we look forward to a long weekend to recover, here are a few items I wanted to bring to your attention.


Start of the Year Items

It has been great to get all the kids back to school - the joy of seeing children in the building, how much they’ve grown, how happy they are to be with friends - it never gets old.

We’re back to lunch in the cafeteria, which is great (and free, don’t forget!) and our beautiful gym is no longer a storage unit. I think that for all the challenges we face in the days ahead, we are much better prepared than we were a year ago.


With the “unusual” (for lack of a better word) year we had in 2020-21, teachers were anxious to start the beginning of the year assessments to see where we stand. Once those assessments are completed we will send the summaries your way.


We are adapting to this year’s COVID rules. Much has already been written about this elsewhere, so I will avoid the repetition. I mention it simply to thank you for all your support as we deal with what’s new this year. The kids have been great about masking, and have really enjoyed the return to a more normal lunch as recess time.


End of the Day issues

As you know, School Dismissal Manager continues to have some connectivity issues. They are in constant contact with us, but it has made dismissing students to the pick-up line a bit more time-consuming. We thank you for your patience as we work through this with our partners. To ensure that we get you on your way home within a reasonable time frame, we are going to start the PPU dismissal process five minutes earlier - at 2:50 PM each afternoon. We will return to our normal dismissal time once the SDM issues are resolved.



Parent Camp Canceled

The central office has asked me to share information about Parent Camp with all of you. Due to several scheduling conflicts and low registration, we are canceling our rescheduled Kindergarten parent camp (9/14). I am linking to a letter from Central Office to give further explanation. I can tell you that our K students have made a great start to the year - making new friendships and learning their way around the building.


Date to remember...

  • Monday, September 6 - Labor Day - No School

  • Thursday, September 9 - School Picture day!

  • Friday, September 10 - Football Friday - Wear your favorite team colors to celebrate Opening Weekend!

  • Thursday, September 16 - BMS Open House - 6:00 - 7:30



John Campbell, Principal

jcampbell@bbrsd.org

BMS Office: 978-838-2417

Tahanto Regional Middle/High School


Tahanto will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic on 9/15/21 from 9-1. Please click on the link below for more information and registration

Vaccine Clinic 9/15/21


Mandatory Health Screening Forms

Every student is required to have an updated Health Screening Form filled out by their parent yearly. Please click on the link below for the 2021-2022 form.

Please note that the school nurse cannot administer over-the-counter tylenol/motrin , etc. without parental consent. Also, updated doctor’s orders for epi-pens and any medication taken in school must be sent to the nurse. All prescription medication must be brought to school by a parent or guardian.

https://forms.gle/Q4CuYYksKCznZfN3A



Please note the change below in pick-up times for parent pick-up!

Parent pick-up 2:20-2:30 Please do not arrive at the school before 2:20. This will allow for our buses to exit onto Rte. 70 in a timely manner in order to ensure the elementary routes will run on time.


Upcoming Events

September 6th: No School

September 15th: Early dismissal (10:56 a.m.) Professional Development

September 15th: BBRSD Mobile Vaccine Clinic at Tahanto Regional Middle High School, sponsored by the MA Dept. of Public Health.

September 22nd: School Pictures/Senior Class Photo


Did your child forget something at home when they arrived at school?

If so and it is critical that your child needs the item, it can be dropped off at Tahanto. When you arrive, please follow the steps below:

  1. Press the buzzer outside of the main high school entrance to be buzzed in.
  2. Inside the first door to your right is a table where you may leave the item. All items should be labeled with your child’s name.
  3. Your child can come to pick the item up either between a class, at lunch, or after school.


School Absences/Tardies/Dismissals

School districts must take attendance for every student, every period. If your child is absent from school please follow the procedures below:

  1. Call (508)869-2333 and Press option 4 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 for school please still call the above number and make us aware of this.

  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.
  2. If your child is being dismissed from school, a written dismissal note must be handed in to the main office by 8:00 a.m. Telephone dismissals will not be accepted.

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 Kathleen Angiulo at (508)869-2333 or send an email to kangiulo@bbrsd.org



Class of 2022 Yearbook Information


Here is how to access your schedule!


For Students

Select the www.bbrsd.org website **Please note that we do not support the use of the PowerSchool App on your mobile device. Information through this App does not contain accurate and up-to-date data.

Under Tahanto - Select "For Students"

Select Powerschool Login

Username and password login will appear. If you forgot your username or password, please send Mrs. MacDonald an email to have it reset at amacdonald@bbrsd.org.

Once you are logged in click “ my schedule” located on the left side of the screen and choose Matrix view to view your schedule.


For Parents

Select the www.bbrsd.org website **Please note that we do not support the use of the PowerSchool App on your mobile device. Information through this App does not contain accurate and up-to-date data.

Under Tahanto - Select "For Parents"

Select Powerschool Login

Username and password login screen will appear. If you forgot your username or password or need to create one, please send Mrs. MacDonald an email to have it reset or set up at amacdonald@bbrsd.org

Once you are logged in click “ my schedule” located on the left side of the screen and choose Matrix view to view your schedule.


School Nurse Information

Tahanto welcomes our new school nurse Keli Irgens. Ms. Irgens can be reached at (508)869-2333 ext. 2303 or via email at kirgens@bbrsd.org


Mandatory Daily Screening Checklist for all students, faculty, and staff

Below is the full list of symptoms for which caregivers should monitor their children, and staff should monitor themselves.

COVID-19 symptoms list:

• Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

• New loss of taste or smell

• Muscle aches or body aches

• Cough (not due to other known causes, such as a chronic cough)

• Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms

• Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms

• Headache when in combination with other symptoms

• Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms

• Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms


A reminder: All students in Grades 7 and 10 are required, by the state, to have an up-to-date physical on file in the Health Office. Please send one in with your child, or you can email or fax the physical as well.


Athletics

Important information regarding athletic transportation

Due to the bus driver shortage, NRT has informed us that they may have issues supplying buses to some of our games.

They will not know for sure until they organize the routes for any given week. Typically the routes for the following week are set by Friday. NRT will inform Tahanto of any disruptions to the schedule for the next week every Friday. If there are issues for a given week, we will be as creative as possible to work through them, however, it could result in certain sports teams needing later starting times, or PPD of games to later in the season. We will do our best to deal with these situations.


For the latest information regarding fall athletics please click on the link below

Tahanto Athletics




Diane Tucceri, Principal

dtucceri@bbrsd.org


Sally Stukuls, Assistant Principal

sstukuls@bbrsd.org

Tahanto Office: 508-869-2333

BBRSD Vaccine Clinic

Wednesday, Sep. 15th, 9am-1pm

1001 Main Street

Boylston, MA


  • Wednesday, September 15, 2021
  • Tahanto Regional Middle/High School
  • 1001 Main Street, Boylston
  • 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Sponsored by the Mass. Dept. of Public Health
  • We welcome students (ages 12 and over), parents, staff, and the general public.
  • Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are available for adults. Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for those under 18.
  • PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
  • A limited amount of walk-in vaccinations will be available
  • Consent Form
  • Consent Form for Minors
  • Students may get the vaccine without being accompanied by an adult ONLY IF BOTH consent forms are completed and turned in at the time of vaccination.
  • Questions? Concerns? Contact Kristi Turgeon at kturgeon@bbrsd.org