Monday, July 6, 2020

MERSD Virtual SC Meeting 7.7.20



MERSD Virtual School Committee Meeting
7.7.20 @ 6:00pm





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Meeting number (access code): 126 244 3611
Meeting password: 3j2hD4B5hdm (35243425 from phones) 



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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

MERSD Remote Learning Survey Reopened


In response to the feedback on our initial year-end remote learning survey, we have reorganized the format.  I hope you will take the time to share your thoughts about remote learning and how we can continue to improve as we plan for the fall of 2020. Please complete a survey for each school at which you had children enrolled during the spring of 2020. If you have a child that did not attend an in-district school, please complete the survey for the school to which you would have been assigned. For those of you who took the time to complete the original version of the survey, we will incorporate your responses into our analysis, or if you prefer you are welcome to take the survey again.

Survey Links
I will continue to keep you informed by sending out regular updates through email and social media. School Committee meetings will include Reopening Updates & Planning Reports, and community input will be gathered throughout the summer.  At the end of July, we will be reaching out again with a Return to School Survey that addresses the DESE guidelines, schedule, and structure for a return to in-person and hybrid instruction this fall.

Summer School Committee Schedule
  • July 7 & 21
  • August 4 & 18
  • WebEx Call-In information is posted the Monday afternoon before the meeting on the District Website & Facebook Page
Tentative Schedule for Community Conversation (All Dates are Subject to Change)
  • June 26th – End of Year Remote Learning Survey
  • Week of July 6th – Virtual Focus Groups
  • Week of July 27th - Return to School Survey 
Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to develop our plans for fall 2020.
Pam 

Friday, June 26, 2020

MERSD - DESE Initial Reopen Guidance Update

Good Afternoon MERSD Community,

Yesterday, Governor Baker’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released their initial guidance for reopening schools this fall.  Over the next week, we will be reviewing the recommendations and requirements to begin to understand how it impacts the reopening framework for MERSD.  A preliminary review of the guidance supports our approach of planning multiple scenarios along a continuum.   As MERSD has anticipated, we will need to develop three separate plans - one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for full remote learning, and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote learning.  Based
upon the current advisory, MERSD is in the process of conducting a feasibility study to determine our ability to return to modified in-person instruction in September. 

Key recommendations from today’s DESE Guidance document include the following:
  • Current medical research supports a safe in-person return to school - with preventive measures in place - as infection and transmission rates are lower for children than adults.
  • Preventive measures include masks/face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces
  • Masks/face coverings will be required for all students in Grade 2 and above and for all adults; they are recommended for students in Grade 1 and below
  • Based upon current medical research, and in conjunction with other preventive measures, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established
The guidance released yesterday is intended to provide planning guidelines and does not address all aspects and requirements for reopening.  There will be additional installments of guidance throughout the summer, and our final plan will not be complete until mid-August.   Even then, it is likely that plans could change suddenly and move in a different direction from what we are preparing for at this time.   Please watch out for communications from your child’s school and from the district, so that you can stay informed and can participate in community engagement opportunities over the summer.  I will continue to keep you informed throughout the summer by sending out regular updates through email and social media.  School Committee meetings will include Reopening Updates & Planning Reports, and community input will be gathered late June – early August.   The first opportunity to share your feedback is through our Year-End Remote Learning Survey.  Your input will be valuable to improving our program for the fall.

Summer School Committee Schedule
  • July 7 & 21
  • August 4 & 18
  • WebEx Call-In information posted Monday afternoon before the meeting on the District Website & Facebook Page
Tentative Schedule for Community Conversation (All Dates are Subject to Change)

Thank you for your patience and support as we continue to develop our plans for Fall 2020.

Pam

Friday, June 19, 2020

MERSD End of Week Update!

Dear MERSD Community,

I’d like to close the week and the school year by expressing my sincere gratitude to the entire school community for the tremendous team effort by all to organize, to implement, and to support remote learning during the COVID-19 school closing.  The challenge isn’t over, and I ask for your patience and flexibility as we navigate the uncharted waters ahead. At this time, the organization of the 2020-2021 school year is still a work in progress.  I anticipate getting the initial reopening guidance in the coming days, and this will assist in developing a framework for the Fall, but our final plan will likely not be complete until mid-August.

What We Know At This Time

  • Health & Safety Plan Design Guidance
    • Will be derived from a state team of medical experts
  • Hybrid of In-Person and Remote Learning
  • Remote Learning Will Be Different
    • Structure
    • Schedule
    • Accountability
    • Integrated w/ in-person experience
  • Final Guidance Expected Late July
    • Significant Planning & Implementation Will Likely Take Place Through Mid-August
  • Parents May Have Option to Keep Students Home 
  • Calendar Could Change 
 What We Don’t Know – Yet

  • Organization of the School Day/Year
  • What limits might be placed on the organization of the school day
    • Class size
    • Number of student allowed in school at one time
    • Programs after-school activities
    • Athletics
  • Schedule By Building/Grade Level
  • Transportation Options

It is likely that plans could change suddenly and move in a different direction from what we foresee at this time.   I will continue to keep you informed throughout the summer by sending out regular updates through email and social media.   Community Input will be gathered from late June through  August.

Tentative Schedule for Community Input
All Dates are Subject to Change
·         Week of June 26th – Remote Learning Survey
·         Week of July 6th – Virtual Focus Groups

·         Week of July 27th - Return to School Survey 


Have a wonderful summer.
Pam


End of Year Celebrations

High School   Senior Spotlight Celebration
Middle School  Grade 8 Moving On Ceremony
Essex Elementary
·         Talent Show
·         Grade 5 Moving On Ceremony
§  Slideshow
Memorial School
·         5th Grade Play – The Show Must Go On   Cast 1  &   Cast 2
·         Grade 5 Moving On Ceremony

MERSD 2020-2021 TENTATIVE DISTRICT CALENDARClick Here
All Dates are Tentative and Subject to Change

Annual Town Meetings
Manchester Town Meeting – Monday, June 22 / Outdoors on MERMHS Hyland Field /6:30pm

Memorial Building Project Update:  The Memorial School Project continues to move forward on time and on budget for a Fall opening of the classroom wing.  Although it is exciting to think about the move this fall, it is sad to say goodbye to the school that served us well for so long.  Click Here for Full Post

Food Assistance: Free Lunch is available to all who need it.
School Buildings: All buildings and fields will remain closed.
  • No access for students, staff, or the community.
  • During the shutdown, buildings will be cleaned and sanitized.
  • Construction at Memorial School continues under the guidelines for essential construction.





Thursday, June 18, 2020

MERSD 2020-2021 Tentative District Calendar

 MERSD 2020-2021 TENTATIVE  DISTRICT CALENDAR
All Dates are Tentative and Subject to Change


Due to the uncertainty of next year's organizational structure, we are unable to publish a complete calendar at this time.  All dates are tentative and subject to change including the organization of the beginning of the school year. I am hopeful that we will have a more detailed calendar available by August. 





Key Dates Included

Back to School for Staff:  August 31, 2020
Back to School for Students:  September 2, 2020
Holidays
Breaks/Vacation Periods
Tentative Last Day:  June 17, 2021

Dates to Be Added

Early Release Days
Professional Days
Conference Days

Monday, June 15, 2020

MERSD Virtual SC Meeting 6.16.20

MERSD School Committee Meeting
June 16, 2020 ~ 6:00pm via WebEx.



Call-In Information is available on the School Committee Agenda page.

Friday, June 12, 2020

MERSD End of Week Update!


Dear MERSD Community,

This past week, students from Essex and Manchester participated in student-led peaceful protests and rallies.  I am very proud of our MERSD students for organizing and using their voices in support anti-racism, equity, and justice.  Whether through our curriculum, our literature choices, our social-emotional learning program, or our student activities, our faculty works deliberately to challenge and to develop students’ critical thinking by introducing the complex issues of race, civil rights, and inequity.  Through courses and programs, such as Facing History and Ourselves, Middle Eastern Literature, RULER, Women in Engineering, ADL’S World of Difference Program, the Humanitarian League and the Gay-Straight Alliance, MERSD strives to provide students with the foundation and opportunity they need to develop an informed world view that allows them to be active and engaged citizens.   I am optimistic about the future knowing that our students will be tomorrow’s community leaders.

As we begin to wrap up the 2019-2020 school year, I know everyone is anxious to know what the return to school will look like.  At this point, we anticipate that the fall school schedule will be a hybrid of remote and in-person learning and that we must be prepared to pivot to either a traditional model or a fully remote model at any time.  I believe that community and teacher input is critical to developing our reopening plan for the fall.  At this point, all planning for the fall is theoretical, and it will be more productive and efficient if we focus our feedback and community discussions on an actual framework.  With that in mind, I am hopeful that upcoming state directives will provide the necessary guidance for us to create a draft framework to be shared with the community for feedback and refinement.    Based on what is currently known, I am planning to organize a community conversation on this topic sometime early this summer.  Please watch out for communications from your school and from the district so that you can stay informed and participate in upcoming community engagement opportunities.

I ask for your patience and flexibility as we navigate the uncharted waters ahead.  It is likely that plans could change suddenly and move in a different direction from what we foresee at this time.   I will continue to keep you informed throughout the summer by sending out regular updates through email and social media.

Have a wonderful weekend.
Pam


Updates & Reminders

Annual Town Meetings
  • Essex Town Meeting – Tomorrow, June 13th/Outdoors @ Essex Elementary School/10:00am
  • Manchester Town Meeting – Monday, June 22  /Outdoors on MERMHS Hyland Field /6:30 pm
  • MERSD Annual Budget Book
Memorial Building Project Update:  The Memorial School Project continues to move forward on time and on budget for a Fall opening of the classroom wing.  Although it is exciting to think about the move this fall, it is sad to say goodbye to the school that served us well for so long.  Click Here for Full Post
School Closure:  All Massachusetts schools remain closed and we will continue implementing Remote Learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  Because we opted to eliminate three days of April Break to continue remote learning through that period, the DESE has advised that we can end the school year on the 181st day of school.  That makes our last day of school June 19th.  

Food Assistance:
 Free Lunch is available to all who need it.
School Buildings: All buildings and fields will remain closed.
  • No access for students, staff, or the community.
  • During the shutdown, buildings will be cleaned and sanitized.
  • Construction at Memorial School continues under the guidelines for essential construction.
Remote Learning: The MERSD Remote Learning Plan and related documents are available on our Remote Learning Page.  If you have questions or concerns related to the implementation of the remote planning plan, I encourage you to reach out to the school using the MERSD Problem Solving Quick Guide.