Amesbury Public Schools Update
From the Office of the Superintendent - September 17, 2021
Dear Amesbury Public School Families,
It is already the middle of September and we are just finishing our first full week of school! Time sure flies when the students are around! It has been great watching students and staff develop routines, get involved in school activities, and settle in.
As we prepared for this school year, we knew that supporting our students and staff in their return to the classroom would be important. As a result, this summer, we formalized the collaborative relationship between several of our community partners and created ASSET – the Amesbury School Support & Empowerment Team. The goal of this group is to collaborate on assessing student needs and working to ensure that students and families receive the supports that they need. To assist in this process, we are enhancing and formalizing communication between these organizations which will allow us to better support members of our school community. As you may know, we have had School Resource Officers in our schools for many years. Their presence has had an extremely positive impact on our schools’ cultures. Having the SROs in the schools and attending school events has helped to develop positive relationships between these officers and our students. This year, the school has partnered with the Pettengill House in a similar way. Pettengill House has hired two social workers who are assigned exclusively to the schools. We are setting up office hours in each building to increase support for our students, their families and our staff. We are very excited to further enhance these relationships.
On a less positive note, we are still working out some kinks with one of the bus routes at AES. This week we met with the bus company and brainstormed some ways to help that bus arrive at AES at the correct time so that our students return home at the expected time. We have made some small changes and are watching to see their impact. We hope to get this sorted out shortly and we sincerely appreciate your patience as we work to solve this challenge.
Next week I will begin meeting with stakeholders of the Amesbury Public Schools as part of my “Counting, Seeing and Hearing” Tour. This information will help to inform the Strategic Plan that I will write with my Leadership Team. I sincerely hope that many of you will be able to contribute your thoughts either through a conversation with me or in a survey. Stay tuned for more information.
If you are looking for something to do tonight our football team opens their season at home vs. Wayland at 7pm in Landry Stadium. The weather is supposed to be perfect for football. We hope to see you there!
DESE COVID-19 Testing Options
Symptomatic Testing and Test and Stay
Symptomatic testing is used when a student is showing minor symptoms of COVID-19 during school; students should NOT come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Some symptoms of the virus look identical to other illnesses like the common cold of flu, and this test tells us whether a symptomatic student has COVID-19 or not. This is a rapid test, and we receive the results of the test within 15 minutes. If a student has minimal symptoms and tests negative, they can remain in school.
Test and stay allows students who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are NOT symptomatic. Students participate in test and stay for at least 7 days after they have been exposed.
DESE and DPH have identified EXEMPTIONS to both testing and quarantine which are outlined here:
1. Asymptomatic, FULLY VACCINATED close contacts
2. Classroom close contacts - provided that both individuals were masked and spaced at least 3' apart.
3. Bus close contacts - provided that masks were worn and windows were open
4. Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days
Students will only be able to participate in the school based Test and Stay or Symptomatic Testing with permission from a parent or guardian.
COVID Count for DESE
Below is a list of symptoms often associated with COVID-19:
Fever (100.0 degrees 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 cause, such as the 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
One of the most important things to remember is that if you are sick, you should stay home. Our nurses are reaching out to triage our sick calls to assist in determining if a student or staff member should be tested for COVID. As always, you may reach out to your doctor for further clarification.
Vaccination Status Survey
Link to vaccination survey: https://forms.gle/hp93aATVMELC4MLv6
If you need assistance in finding and/or receiving a vaccine, please reach out to your building nurse.
What's Happening in the Amesbury Public Schools?
One to One Device Roll Out
We are able to deliver 800 brand new chromebooks to our students thanks to funding from the Coronavirus Relief Funding we received. Our hope is that students keep their devices from grade 2 through grade 6, and then receive a new device in grade 7 that will take them through their high school years. This will involve a yearly line in our budget to purchase these devices. Look for that in the FY'23 Budget.
Device Agreement and Signature Form
Link to Google Form: https://forms.gle/eaoJkhcCszjwUxrw7
One to One Device Rollout FAQ's
A: No, we are working towards increased network security and need the devices on our network to be controlled by the district. Additionally, it allows us to manage updates to enhance performance and security. For those students slated to take MCAS tests this year, those tests must be taken on school issued devices.
Q: Will my grade 2 student be bringing the chromebook home?
A: Students in grades 2-5 will not be bringing their chromebooks home.
Q: Some students got brand new chromebooks, but my child did not. How come?
A: As mentioned above, our long term plan is to provide new chromebooks for students in grades 2 and 7. Our roll out this year, takes that cycle into consideration. Students in grades 3,4,5, 6 and 12 will receive "previously used" school devices. This will help us with the replacement cycle moving forward.
School Brains to Aspen Transition
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee
In response to feedback from a state Coordinated Program Review, where the feedback from the document review indicated that "the district does not evaluate all aspects of its K-12 program annually to ensure that all students, regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, limited English proficiency, sexual orientation, disability, or housing status, have equal access to all programs, including athletics and other extracurricular activities." To that end, under the leadership of Lyn Jacques, Director of Teaching, Learning, and Equity, a new working group (DEI) has been created. This group met throughout the summer and has continued to meet in the month of September to review the data surrounding the areas above.
Their work has or will include:
- Examining each school's and district data to assess areas of inequity and need improvement.
- Providing concrete strategies for creating or improving existing programs for equitable access.
- Sharing data/findings with the schools, the School Committee, and the Amesbury community.
- Integrating the information gathered from this work throughout the District
- Examining and integrating current research in areas of equity in the educational process.
Ultimately, the goal is to facilitate an ongoing conversation among educators as to how to create a more equitable and inclusive educational process in the Amesbury Public Schools.
Mascot Review Committee Update
AEFI is Giving Again!
Free Breakfast and Lunch Continue!
Sgt. Jordan Shay Memorial Lower Elementary School
Photos - From the Roof of CES
SY 22 COVID-19 Testing Program Webinar Slides - August 11, 2021
SY 22 COVID-19 Testing Program Webinar Recording - August 11, 2021