THE NAVIGATOR

January 8, 2021

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Newsletter

This Newsletter updates on all matters connected to Cohasset Public Schools. This letter is sent as part of a District initiative focusing on communication.
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Resources to Use When Addressing Children Regarding Recent Events


The events of this week that took place at our Nation’s Capitol Building were disturbing, and the images projected in the media are difficult for our children to process. Our words and actions certainly matter in dealing with this difficult time; however, it is understandable that we may not readily have the words to help with the many emotions our children will be facing, as we ourselves process the happenings. As the images in the media cause some fear and uncertainty, we have provided the following guideline from the National Association of School Psychologists as a resource if you want to discuss these events with your children. Talking to Students About Violence.

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A Reminder that this Monday, January 11, 2021 is a Half Day Professional Development

Monday, January 11, 2021 is a Half Day Professional Development with dismissals taking place for CHS & CMS at 12:30PM, Deer Hill at 1:15PM, and Joseph Osgood at 1:20PM
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Although the holidays are behind us, there are still stresses to our day to day life during this pandemic and the current political unrest. There are many resources available. The District Website has a page dedicated to Social Emotional Learning and Wellness. Below are some additional resources that you or a friend may find helpful. Please remember that our schools are a resource and our adjustment counselors can support you and your child.


Osgood: Dave Vinton dvinton@cohassetk12.org

Deer Hill: Laurie Dolan ldolan@cohassetk12.org

Robyn Costa rcosta@cohassetk12.org


CMS: Emily Manewal emanewal@cohassetk12.org

CHS: Leanne McCarthy lmccarthy@cohassetk12.org


Please see the links below for additional resources.

Social Media is a powerful tool. Here is a nice reminder from Jack Buckley of CSCR.
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Strategic Planning Survey

We want your input!

Over the past few months, stakeholders of Cohasset Public Schools have met in focus groups to help the school district shape its future direction. To gain a more inclusive view of the school district, we are offering this stakeholder survey. The purpose of this work has been to refresh our current strategic plan. We are at the stage where we would like to solicit input from the community to help inform the process of updating the district’s strategic plan. Please take a moment to complete a survey by clicking on the link below. The survey will take about 5 minutes and I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to reflect upon and respond to some essential questions that can help shape our district for the future.


As you begin participating in this survey, please consider that Stakeholders may be asked to select a specific school to reflect upon. The feedback will be specific to your experience at that school. You may conduct the survey multiple times to provide input for numerous schools.

Thank you for your participation.

Cohasset Community Health Update

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Health Metrics

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Cohasset Community Health Update & Reminders about Travel Responsibilities

As of January 7, 2021, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reports that the town of Cohasset’s positive COVID-19 test rate over the past 14 days is 4.34%, with 39 positive cases out of 1060 tests reported. None of the cases have originated from Cohasset Public Schools. Under the new DPH metrics, the town of Cohasset is in the "Red" category for communities who have a population of under 10,000 who have more than 25 positive cases over the last 14 days.


Please keep following the protocols of handwashing / hand sanitizing and wearing face-covering masks when appropriate to do so. Here is the complete report that was issued on Thursday evening (1/7/2021).


Please find below a summary table of all confirmed positive COVID cases in the District as of today, Sunday, January 10, 2021.


Spreadsheet of Confirmed Positive Cases as of 1/10/2021


Please see the links below providing reminders regarding travel responsibilities:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order

Cohasset Public Schools Travel Order Protocol

New Quarantining Guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)

Here is the recent guidance from the CDC regarding quarantining:

"Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing the time they cannot work. A shorter quarantine period also can lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising.


Your local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs. Follow the recommendations of your local public health department if you need to quarantine. Options they will consider include stopping quarantine


  • After day 10 without testing
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

After stopping quarantine, you should

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
  • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider.
  • Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus. CDC will continue to evaluate new information and update recommendations as needed." (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html)

Decision Making Process Regarding Inclement Weather Days

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When weather conditions warrant, we will at times close the district, delay the start of school, or release students early. Additionally, this year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has issued new guidance allowing districts the additional option of providing a remote learning day when inclement weather takes place. The School Committee voted at the December 16 School Committee meeting to allow remote learning days to be considered as a possible option when inclement weather causes an interruption in in-person learning. We were able to implement two remote snow days just before winter break, which enabled us to keep the continuity of learning without adding days to the end of our school calendar. We will reflect on the efficacy of our approach as we make more finalized decisions regarding what remote days entail through our bargaining with the Cohasset Teachers Association (CTA).


If a remote learning day is called, Cohasset Public Schools will close the facilities to students; however, all students and instructional staff will participate in remote learning. These remote learning days will count as instructional days. Remote Learning days during storm events provide us the opportunity to maintain the continuity of learning without adding days to the end of our calendar. As of today, June 23 is scheduled to be our last day of school for the 2020-2021 school year. As a reminder, the option for remote learning days is in addition to the existing delayed opening, district closure, and early release options.


When would we move to an all remote day due to inclement weather?

We will move to an all remote day due to inclement weather if the majority of households in the district have power but the roads are unsafe to travel. It is understood that although a remote day may be called for the district, that not all students and staff will have power. Staff will be flexible with learning requirements and assignment due dates, and because of potential power issues, students and families will also need to be patient.


Please see the attached FAQs regarding the decision-making process for school closure, delayed openings, and potential full-remote days during inclement weather.

Updated 2020 - 2021 Calendar

The 2020-2021 calendar has been updated to include the “Hybrid Cohort A and B additional in person Wednesday” dates starting Dec 9th. And since there is a lot more information on this calendar than in previous years, it’s been reformatted so each month is easier to read. This calendar is also now posted on the district's website.

A Message Regarding Food Service from Director of Food Service, Marilyn Haraden

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2020-21 School Year Meals Information


Happy New Year! We would like to update families that the USDA has extended free meals for all through June 30, 2021. This allows every Cohasset Public Schools student access to breakfast and lunch at no charge. We encourage families to take advantage of this opportunity that will provide nutritious meals to both in-person and remote learners.


Menus will be posted on our website, www.cohassetk12.org, under the “Nutrition” tab. Students can choose either a hot meal or cold meal for lunch each day. All meals will be prepackaged and placed in bags for easy grab-and-go service. Each meal bag will contain the entrée, fruit, vegetable, and drink. You can access our online meal ordering system on each menu to pre-order meals.


In-person learning. When students are in the buildings, they will come to the cafeteria to get their meals. Because meals are now free for all students, they will move through the lunch line without having to enter their ID numbers into the computer. Grab-and-go breakfast will be available in every building daily.


Remote learning. When students are on the remote schedule, families have the option to pick up free to-go meals (breakfast and lunch) Monday-Friday. Pick-up for all students will be at the Middle/High School, 143 Pond Street, at the loading dock behind the Middle School, each day from 12:00-1:00.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Marilyn Haraden, Director of Food Services, at mharaden@cohassetk12.org or 781-383-6107.

RISE Before and After School Program

Cohasset Public Schools and the Cohasset Recreation Department provide before and after school care for our students at Osgood and Deer Hill Elementary Schools. Brett Youmans, DHS PE Teacher, is the director of the program. As we transition to the additional in-person alternating Wednesdays, Rise will provide after school care for those students attending school that day. For more information about the program and how to register follow this link.

Mental Health Resources (Courtesy of Principal Mills & CMS Newsletter)

Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu observed "In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity."


These are certainly difficult times and many parents and families are experiencing great stress. Our ability to cope is regularly challenged and, understandably, there may be times when individuals can no longer manage their emotions. It is important to know where to turn when we reach that point.


To help our families, we share this contact list of support providers--Mental Health and Crisis Contacts These support providers offer great opportunities to help receive help when those we love are struggling to manage.

Finance and Operations Update

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The Cohasset School Committee approved the following Budget Calendar and Budget Priorities at the December 16, 2020 School Committee Meeting,. Thank you to our Director of Finance and Operations, Susan Owen, for her excellent leadership with our budget initiatives.

School Committee Goals Announced

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The Cohasset School Committee also approved their goals for the 2020 -2021 School Year. Please see the attached document for the goals.

School Improvement Plans for 2020 - 2021 Approved by School Committee

The following School Improvement Plans were approved by School Committee at the December 16 Meeting for the 2020 - 2021 School Year. School Improvement Plans for the 2021 -2022 School Year will be presented in the spring. Thank you to the School Councils who worked diligently to create these plans.

Information from Director of Student Services, Barbara Cerwonka

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Kindergarten Registration is now Open for 2021 - 2022 School Year

Kindergarten Registration Information

Kindergarten Registration Timeline

Integrated Pre-School at Joseph Osgood School

Joseph Osgood Integrated Preschool Registration Information Letter


Preschool registration for the 2021-2022 school year begins on Monday, January 4, 2021. Children who turn 3 by September 1, 2021, are eligible to register for the Joseph Osgood Preschool Program, which is held 4 half days per week (Monday-Thursday). There is a morning and an afternoon session. Entrance to the preschool program is based on a lottery system for peer models. There will be a screening process completed for students to determine if they are appropriate peer models based upon screening tools. Peer Preschool Applications will be available on the Cohasset Public Schools district website at www.cohassetk12.org under Departments tab, Student Services & Special Education, Student Registration Forms then Preschool Registration or at the Student Services Office located at 143 Pond Street, Cohasset, MA 02025. Applications should also be returned to the Student Services Office, no later than January 29, 2021. The lottery will be held on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, and parents will be immediately notified after the lottery. A birth certificate and a document from each category on the Proof of Residency form must accompany all applications. Documentation for Proof of Residency is attached to the application.

Winter Sports Information

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Temporary Suspension of Winter Sports through January 18, 2021

Given the increase in COVID-19 cases town wide, and the volume of student-athletes who have had to quarantine this week related to COVID, we have determined to temporarily suspend all athletics through Monday, January 18th, at which time we will re-evaluate the continuation of winter athletics. This decision was made in consultation with the Cohasset Emergency Management Team and the Cohasset Board of Health, and places student health and in-person learning as our top priorities. The Athletic Director will be communicating sport-specific plans for continuing student-athlete engagement during the postponement. Anyone with sport-specific questions should reach out to Mr. Steve Rotondi, Athletic Director for further information. We look forward to resuming our sports season.

Thank you to Athletic Director Steve Rotondi and the Cohasset coaches for their leadership regarding athletics in Cohasset during these difficult times. Please see the below document for a list of our Winter Sports protocols.
Registration for Winter Sports in now open. Follow this link for more information.

Visit Cohasset Athletics to Get Updates on All of Our Teams

The Important Role Families Play In Stopping the Spread of COVID-19

Families will play an important role in helping to create a culture that prioritizes health and safety. Families should check their children daily for signs of COVID-19 and should keep them home from school if they are not feeling well or if they have been in close contact with a person who has been recently diagnosed with COVID-19. It is also important that families support students wearing masks in school and on the bus. We are strongest when we work together to stop the spread (Initial Fall School Re-entry Guidance, 2020).


CPS Pledge: Healthy and Responsible Behaviors Regarding COVID-19

By coming into Cohasset Public Schools, I pledge I am following:


  • State expectations for social and physical distancing

  • Regulations regarding the wearing of facial coverings over your nose and mouth when in public settings (for students from grades PK– 12 and for all staff)

  • Quarantine directives put forth by the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Cohasset Department of Health

  • Guidance that has students and staff stay home from school / work if they are experiencing symptoms of fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, or dry cough or if they have exhibited any symptoms relating to COVID-19

PROTOCOLS REGARDING COVID-19


The following information was compiled by our district nurses and provides supplementary information to the protocols stated in the Cohasset Public Schools Fall School Re-Entry Road Map. A big thank you to Kelly Gildea (lead nurse) and our district nurses for compiling this information and for their leadership and guidance during this difficult time.


Cohasset Public Schools Medical Frequently Asked Questions


Cohasset Public Schools Decision Tree Regarding Health Situations Related to COVID-19


COVID-19 Symptom Checklist for Parents and Guardians to utilize with their children


Here are some useful videos regarding Mask Wearing, When to Stay Home, and Hand Washing / Hand Sanitizing prepared by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).

BE THE CHANGE

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We will continue to engage students and staff in the meaningful discussions necessary to promote change. We are committed to promoting anti-racism and cultural competency.

Essay Award Recipient

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Congratulations to Amara Pierce, a seventh grad student at CMS recognized as one of six students who won a scholarship from Harvard Pilgrim for her essay based on the theme, "MLK: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." She will participate in their virtual celebration on Friday, January 15th at 11:00 am. For more information, you can visit their website. We are so proud of you. Amara!

Please visit our website for resources regarding the promotion of diversity.

A Message to CHS families from CHS Principal Brian Scott regarding the Institutional Climate and Inclusion Assessment

Dear Families,


Every two years for the past four years we have done something called the Institutional Climate and Inclusion Assessment (ICIA). The assessment measures whether students feel like they belong to our community and specifically looks at community through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In other words, do our students see themselves as part of the community? Do they feel like their identity is represented in the larger body?


This year's report, which were discussed at the 1/6/2021 School Committee Meeting, identifies several groups of students that do not feel as much a part of the community as most students. This is not unanticipated, and parallels feedback we have received from some student groups and several alumni.


In order to help address this, we have contracted with a consulting firm who will help us unpack the survey findings and lend an authentic student voice to the experiences of our students. These groups are called affinity groups. They are made up of students in groups of 6-10 who identify similarly.


The intention of affinity groups is to provide a safe space where we can delve deeper into the student experience. It's not enough, for example, to know that students feel as if they are treated differently. We want to know why and how so that we can change the systems and structures and attitudes that communicate those messages. I do not believe that those messages are being sent intentionally, so we will need help identifying those ways in which we are unconscously communicating.


Once we capture our stories, we will invite the larger community in to a conversation through focus groups. Focus groups will facilitate a dialogue among all groups and stakeholders, and will lead us towards identifying specific areas where we can develop steps to improve the experiences for all of our students.


Over the course of the year, our long term goals are as follows:


  • Unpacking and more fully understanding the ICIA data, via anecdotes, personal testimony, and direct examples of student experiences.
  • Illuminating the breadth of student experience at school as well as the range of student understanding of key diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts (e.g., microaggressions, implicit bias, etc.)
  • Discovering any gaps in faculty awareness or understanding of student experience.
  • Clarifying next steps and goals for end-of-year action plan and long-term strategy.


The following groups of students have been identified.


Racial minorities, especially (as three separate affinity groups)

  • African American / Black students (1)
  • Asian students (2)
  • Historically underrepresented students, including Latinx and Hispanic students (3)

LGBTQ+ students (4)
Students with disabilities (5)
Religious minorities (6) and

Females (7)


If you are interested in learning more or being a part of one of these groups, please reach out to Mr. Scott at bscott@cohassetk12.org and let me know which session or sessions you are interested in learning more about. Sessions are conducted by our consultant, and information gleaned from those conversations will be reported anonymously. This is an incredibly important opportunity for change. Please consider it.


Sincerely,



Brian T. Scott

Some Images from the Week!

Deer Hill students welcoming 2021 with goal setting.
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Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: Assistant Superintendent Leslie Scollins, Ed.D.

Elementary Families

First, thank you for all that you do every day to support the education of your child(ren). These are unprecedented times, and we know that there are many challenges. Knowing that this year would be different we purchased two programs for students to use to help support foundational skills in reading and math as well as give teachers and administrators data about student progress. These programs are Lexia (reading) and Dreambox (math). Both programs are adaptive programs meaning that as the child uses the program it adapts to their level and progresses them to the next level using appropriate skill building lessons. In addition, teachers and administrators can collect data on a student’s progress and address their needs on a more individual basis. Data will also be used as we plan for the 2021-2022 school year.


For these programs to be most successful, a student must log on and complete 15-20 minutes a day for at least three days a week, but no more than 60 minutes a week for K-2 and 90 minutes a week of grades 3-5. An overuse of the programs will not benefit your child.

The links for both Lexia and Dreambox are in Google classroom and easy to access. Our hope is that you will have your child use these programs on their remote learning days plus an additional day when needed to ensure that they are using the programs for the allotted times. If you have any questions about accessing the programs please contact your child’s teacher.


We truly appreciate your support.

Professional Development 1/2 Day, January 11

The entire staff will participate in a professional development day for the second half of the day on Monday, January 11. The professional development is part two of the professional development provided in December. Middle school and high school teachers will work with consultants from edtechteacher. The elementary teaching staff will continue their work with the Bridges Math consultants. Middle and high school special education staff will work with Barbara Cerwonka and elementary special education staff will participate in assistive technology training with edtechteacher as well as participate in PD provided by Cassy O'Brien and Lisa Radden.

SAFE HARBORS UPDATES

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Please see the latest edition of the Cohasset Safe Harbors Newsletter. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful student-centered group in the Cohasset community.

Updates

  1. Cohasset Virtual Youth Center This is now live on the home page of the Town’s website, found toward the bottom right-side of the page. This serves as a central location for all youth-geared programming/events that are occurring via Rec, Library, Elder Affairs, and Safe Harbor.

https://www.cohassetma.org/


2. WANTED: Social Media Boosters Looking to volunteer time to the Safe Harbor initiative but don’t have much time to give? Please consider volunteering to be a designated social media booster.

What does this entail?

Receiving communication from Marketing Director that information has been posted for you to like, comment, share, share to Cohasset143 and/or post yourself

How much of a time commitment?

5 minutes a week

Take Care of Yourself and Take Care of Each Other

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Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can do anything to help your student or your family during this difficult time. Most important is the physical and mental health of everyone, and we will stay focused on making that a priority. Please take good care.

Please click on the following link to access even more information on the Cohasset Public Schools Web Site.

Please follow me on Twitter for daily updates from the Cohasset Public Schools