Scarborough Public Schools
Weekly Newsletter - March 26, 2021
Message from the Superintendent
The events of the past weeks have brought to light the long standing and yet often overlooked Asian/Pacific American racism that exists in our country, and even in Maine. We were shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific deaths at the Atlanta spa which included six Asian American women. And we are taken aback at just how prevalent the attacks on Asian Americans have been. Scarborough Public Schools firmly denounces hate crimes against Asian/Pacific Americans and any other groups and reaffirm our commitment to address and combat racism in all its forms. We support and stand strong with our Asian American and Pacific Islander students and families in our efforts to ensure safe and inclusive schools for all.
Resources for Parents and Educators
In Responding to Events:
In Looking to Combat Hate:
Time Article: How to Help Combat Anti-Asian Violence
Learning for Justice: Humanizing Asian Americans in the Classroom Through Children’s Literature
In Learning About and Celebrating the Contributions of Asian/Pacific Islander Americans:
May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month (start now)
From PBS: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Resources from Our Neighbor State: AAPI Heritage Month
Learning Model Update
As communicated in last Friday’s newsletter and in Monday’s survey that went out to families, the board approved a plan at the March 18 meeting to increase in person learning time for all students by cohort on Wednesdays. The K-12 Leadership Team met on Monday and it was decided that this will begin on April 7 with Cohort A, April 14 for Cohort B, etc. Approval was also made for schools to bring targeted students back as schools are safely able to, using criteria determined by each school. We certainly understand that this decision has resulted in many different responses across our school community. Many families have expressed disappointment that there is not the ability at this time to bring all of our students back safely and several have questioned the district’s ability or planning to re-open fully in the fall.
Where is the district as it relates to Fall, 2021 and in-person learning?
To be clear: We want our students to be back to full in person learning safely, and WE ARE FULLY COMMITTED to finding solutions to make 5 days of in person learning happen in the fall for all students.
What actions are being taken?
We are already in the process of exploring alternate spaces if CDC requirements do not change. In the past 2 weeks, we have:
explored the use of The Downs
made connections to explore possible space at The Point
entered into conversation with partners at USM about the potential of partnering with their pre-service education students to assist with staffing needs
How will planning for fall proceed moving forward? Is the STRRT team being disbanded?
To further assist us in planning for this fall commitment, we will be convening new groups to assist us in this work. We are grateful for the instrumental role that the STRRT team played as we entered into the pandemic and began to plan for so many unknowns last year.
Instead of continuing to engage our existing STRRT team to continue to work on a fall K-12 plan, new groups will be organized by phase level as we plan for fall. A call for interested parties to participate will be forthcoming by phase. This will allow for laser-focused efforts and engagement that address the specific needs of each phase.
Although there are overarching challenges across the district that have resulted from the pandemic, each phase level has identified unique needs and challenges, different spaces, and learners with developmental needs.
What is most needed now?
We look forward to continuing to dig into this careful planning for fall, providing ongoing feedback and reporting out to you about our progress regularly.
To maximize our success will require all of us to be unified in our efforts and focused on this goal for full in-person learning for our students in the fall.
CALLING ALL SUBSTITUTES!
Weekly SPS COVID-19 Update
Scarborough School’s budget for the FY22 year has been thoughtfully crafted with the intent of a return to full time, in person learning in the fall. Investments are focused on staffing to ensure academic, health, and social emotional needs can be met as students return from a year of hybrid and remote learning. A focus on staff will also put us in a better position should social distancing requirements not be reduced prior to the start of the 21-22 school year.
Nurses: The FY21 budget had specific funding to support Covid requirements by the Maine CDC to open in the fall, which included nurses at each building. This allowed us to have a nurse at each of our primary schools rather than one nurse who covered all three buildings. As this restriction has not been amended, we will be maintaining these positions in the FY22 budget.
Smaller Class Sizes: Due to social distancing requirements, we had fewer students in our classrooms. This allowed more direct interaction between the student and their teacher which has been very beneficial in their learning. As we bring our students back into the classrooms, we recognize there will be additional support needed to help them regain content areas in various subjects. We are adding five new staff members to ensure we maintain those optimum class sizes for maximum learning.
Bus Drivers: We will be retaining the three bus drivers added in the FY21 budget to support our students with the expectation of transportation services returning to normal in the fall.
Social and Emotional Learning: This year has been like no other, and we recognize all of our students may need additional support as they reenter the classroom in the fall. We are adding this support by increasing a part time social worker position at the high school to full time.
Special Education Changes: The Maine Department of Education has made an immediate change to state statute, extending the eligibility of our special education programming to students under IDEA, until their 22nd birthday. We will be adding two educational technician positions to support the change to the law and retaining one from the FY21 budget.
2021-2022 Kindergarten Pre-Registration
We are eager to welcome our newest Kindergarten students to Scarborough Public Schools! We are currently planning for Fall 2021 and will be able to release more information about what school will look like later this spring. If you have a child who turns 5 on or before Oct. 15, 2021 and you are considering sending them to school in the fall, please complete this form. Formal registration packets will be available on our website at a later date.
The information you provide is important for us to accurately plan for the number of classrooms, teachers and materials we will need in the fall. Please complete the form so we can contact you through email with updates and news about the 2021-2022 school year as the situation evolves and decisions are made. We will hold registration appointments at each school later in the Spring.
Spring Assessment News
- i-Ready Diagnostic for grades K-9: the window for this math and reading assessment is schedule for May 10 to 28. Planning is underway to identify whether or not to assess onsite at school or remotely as was done this past fall.
- Panorama Social and Emotional Learning Student Surveys for grades K-11: tentatively scheduled for April. This data will provide information on where we will target our efforts this spring and next fall. Survey information will be shared with parents.
- The Maine DOE has announced that the state testing, the MEA (Maine Educational Assessment) will be taking place this spring. Reading and Math for grades 3-8 and 11 and Science for grades 5, 8 and 11. For Reading and Math, the test is much shorter in duration with only two testing sessions required, both of which can be done remotely as they are online tests. The Science test though, will need to be done on site. There is more flexibility this year with special considerations for students available given the COVID-19 pandemic. The reporting will look different as well. We will keep you posted as additional information becomes available.
Images from Scarborough High School
Students in Video Production Collaborating on a Project:
Civil Rights Club Members Prepare for a K-2 Author
Awards and Reviews include:
- Coretta Scott King 2021 Honoree
- A CBC Recommended Book
- A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
- A New York Public Library Best Picture Book of 2020
- Kirkus Starred Review
- PW Starred Review
- School Library Journal Starred Review
Just One of the Many Clubs and Student Activities at the High School:
Upcoming SPS Events - Mark Your Calendar!
- March 29 - Special School Board Meeting
- March 31 - Town Council Budget Presentation
- April 1 - School Board Meeting
- April 7 - Town Manager & Superintendent's FY22 Budget Presentation
- April 14 - Town Council 1st Reading of FY22 Budget
- April 16 - No School
Fully Remote Preparedness Plans
Health & Safety
Please make sure you review the UPDATED Student Health Self Assessment questions EVERY DAY before sending your child off to school.
TOGETHER, we can make our schools as safe as possible!
Links to Our Schools
Services & Information
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