Friday, August 7, 2020

August 7, 2020 Reopening Update

Dear North Reading Public Schools Community,

This morning in a 5-0 vote the North Reading School Committee accepted the final reopening plan for the North Reading Public Schools, incorporating any recommendations form the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), with the understanding that the situation is fluid and changes to the plan may be necessary.

As soon as all feedback is received from DESE on our previously submitted proposal by Monday evening I will be sending the final version of our reopening plan to the North Reading School Community on Tuesday, August 11th, as planned. In addition to the plan I will also be sharing a link to the reopening website that will contain the plans, videos from the forums, presentations, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to a variety of resources.

We will also be hosting forums specifically for the families of incoming Kindergarten students as well as families of students receiving Special Education services. Details on those forums will be shared next week.

Of note, this morning I shared that we will be able to have all Kindergarten students return in-person five days a week. More information on this model, as well as an overview of the full- and half-day models, will be shared in the forum mentioned above.

I also shared that the district will be supporting all of our students K-12 with 1:1 Chromebook devices that we hope to have in place as we begin the school year. More information will be forthcoming on this process as well.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to complete the July 31st survey for reopening, or if you wish to change your response to indicate that your child(ren) will be participating in the full remote Cohort D, please complete this survey as soon as possible: https://forms.gle/k9Akbc8JZmicaB5dA 

Information about which cohort your child will be in (A or B) as well as those students who will be a part of cohort C will be shared as soon as possible so that families will be able to adjust their schedules as needed. Our Principals have been hard at work balancing the cohorts and trying to accommodate the many needs of all students into these placement decisions.

We are also continuing to explore options for working parents who may want to take advantage of programs by community partners for remote learning assistance on the days the students are scheduled to be remote. Other details, such as the school day schedule and busing information will be shared as soon as it is available. 

For those who would also like to review the preliminary plan it is available here.

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!

Be well,

Dr. Daly

Monday, August 3, 2020

Parent and Family Forums

Good evening,

Please click on this link for a  recording of our Monday evening at 5pm parent and family forum. There is an additional forum Tuesday morning at 10am (link below). Be sure to join 5 minutes early to ensure that you are in the session when it begins.

Note: We will also hold an future meeting to specifically address the Kindergarten program.

Please click to view the Tuesday morning session:

Please also see these updated FAQs from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Good afternoon North Reading Parents and Families,

Please follow this link to read my message to the community about our initial draft of the reopening plan. There are several opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback to the district before our final plan is reviewed next Friday morning at School Committee. Once you have reviewed the plan (and perhaps attended a forum next week) please complete this brief survey.

There are many more details contained in the links above. Thank you for your patience as we carefully and thoughtfully arrive at the best plan for our students and staff.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Daly

Thursday, July 23, 2020

July 23: Reopening Update

Hello North Reading Public Schools Community,

Thank you to those who completed our reopening surveys. This data has been instrumental in assisting our leaders and reopening group in determining the best steps for our district.

Dr. Downs and I have applied for a technology grant and Mr Connelly and I are preparing for additional purchases of safety equipment and supplies, nursing support, HVAC updates, and other needs through the Coronavirus Relief Fund School Reopening Grant.


Next steps

Between now and July 31st we are finalizing our document that we will be submitting to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that describes the district's approach for three different possibilities (in-person with safety precautions, hybrid, and remote learning). We are preparing our approach with each model as there may be a need to utilize all of them depending upon the situation we face this year.  Our leadership team has tested each learning space and they believe that we can comply with the safe distancing of students and staff (3ft-6ft) and also provide safe passage through the hallways, during lunches, and on buses.

We are also continuing to meet our teachers and other stakeholders to ensure that their needs are represented in our plan.

Our school reopening group, comprised of parents, SEPAC leaders, teachers, paraprofessionals, staff, school committee, administrators, and community leaders will review the draft plans leading up to July 31st and school committee will also provide their feedback on July 30th.

Since these plans require DESE approval and because we want to have as much clarity as possible around what reopening will look like in the fall, we have been asked to not widely present and discuss the plan until on or around August 10th. This will be a much more comprehensive plan and will be the first plan to be shared widely with the school community.

Our goal continues to be to bring as many students back as possible in-person within the safety parameters that are established. Accommodations will be made for those students who require remote learning. We are also strongly considering a phased-in start to school to ensure that all staff are trained and all students are able to practice  the safety procedures for entering and exiting, passing in the halls, wearing masks, etc. Much more will be communicated about these careful approaches leading up to the August 10th distribution of our plan for reopening.

Athletics and Performing Arts

We recognize the importance of the athletic and performing arts programs have in our students lives and to our entire community. We are committed to offer as many programs and opportunities for our students as long as we can maintain the safety of all involved. As a community we should expect some changes to our performing arts and athletic/PE courses and extra-curricular activities this year.  Fall Athletic programs will begin practices no earlier than September 14th. There may also be changes to when sports are offered, when and where band or chorus can meet, etc. Preparing our students for these changes will be important as we look to continue to offer as many opportunities as possible for our students.

School Bus Transportation

The DESE recently released its guidance on school bus transportation and our business office staff is in the process of reviewing our registrations and bus routes and assuring that they adhere to the safety protocols (one student per seat, assigned seating, face coverings, etc.). As a reminder, the registration deadline for busing is tomorrow, July 24, 2020 by the close of business. After this date any family seeking a bus pass should contact Rosaly MacKillop directly via email at rmackillop@nrpsk12.org to be placed on a waiting list.

Communication

The survey feedback on my communication with the community has been very helpful. I will continue to utilize the Blackboard messages as I have been doing. The most important messages, such as the dissemination of the reopening plan, will likely be sent via email, text, and phone message to ensure that everyone receives it. Other updates will be communicated by email and text with a link to my blog. The blog archives all of the previous messages as well.

To reduce the number of emails sent home we are utilizing our community bulletin board for messages about fundraisers and other community events. Please check our website for those updates and subscribe to the "notify me" section of the website to receive updates each time a new event or message is posted.

Thank you

I have attached these FAQs from DESE as an update for parents in our community that should be helpful to families. I am also happy to answer any individual questions or concerns that you can send to me directly or to the reopening group through the parent liaisons or school committee members.

Thank you for your patience and feedback as we work together to develop the plans to return our students to school in the safest and most effective manner possible.

Sincerely yours,

Patrick Daly

Monday, July 13, 2020

Reopening Updates

Hello North Reading Public Schools Community,

Thank you to those who have already completed our reopening survey. It is also very important that everyone take this NEW technology survey (very brief) so that we can apply for a $25 million dollar state grant for additional devices for individual students in need. If you have been issued a device currently by the school as a part of the 2020 closure please DO NOT include these devices in your response.

https://forms.gle/ZGAeJXCzfjWNusBv6

If you have not had the opportunity to take the reopening survey please do so as soon as possible. Please only one response per family.

https://forms.gle/mPFhuVjSbXBXdDMk9

Next steps

This week we anticipate a template from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that we will need to submit by July 31st that describes the district's approach for three different possibilities (in-person with safety precautions, hybrid, and remote learning). Our leadership team is currently testing each school to make sure that we can comply with the safe distancing of students and staff (3ft-6ft) and also provide safe passage through the hallways, during lunches, and on buses.

We will then meet with our teachers and other stakeholders this week to make sure that their needs are represented in our plan.

Our school reopening group, comprised of parents, SEPAC leaders, teachers, paraprofessionals, staff, school committee, administrators, and community leaders will review the draft plans on Monday, July 20th. I will then present the plans to the school committee on July 20th to receive additional feedback before submitting to DESE by July 31st.

Since these plans require DESE approval and because we want to have as much clarity as possible around what reopening will look like in the fall, we have been asked to not widely present and discuss the plans until early August.

I have attached these FAQs from DESE as an update for parents in our community that should be helpful to families. I am also happy to answer any individual questions or concerns that you can send to me directly or to the reopening group through the parent liaisons or school committee members.

Thank you for your patience and feedback as we work together to develop the plans to return our students to school in the safest and most effective manner possible.

Sincerely yours,

Patrick Daly

Friday, June 19, 2020

Superintendent's Message

Dear North Reading Public Schools Community,

Today is our last day of school for students for the 2019-20 school year. The weather is beautiful and summer is here. It's a bit strange to not see the school buses or the lockers being emptied out but I have enjoyed the virtual field days and other ceremonies that I have been able to view online this week. This spring did not turn out how any of us expected but I have to say that the North Reading School Community has certainly done an amazing job of stepping up and making the most of this challenging situation.

I've had the opportunity to visit students in online classrooms and I've told each of them how impressed I am with their level of engagement and commitment to learning in these circumstances. Thank you to the parents, guardians, and families who have worked so hard to continue the learning for our students in this new environment.

Thank you to those who made and delivered lunches, provided technology, administrative assistant support, and for those who are preparing our buildings for re-opening. Thank you to our administrators for providing such solid plans and such dedicated leadership. Our wonderful Paraprofessionals continue to provide support to our amazing teachers, who have been so incredible in making the adjustment to remote learning. Our Student Services team and Business Office have continued working non-stop to ensure that our schools continue to operate efficiently and that all of our students receive the supports that they need. The Nurses have worked not only for our schools but also for our town, and our counselors have been available for a variety of student and staff needs. Our Digital Learning Team, lead by Dr. Downs, truly stepped up and helped our teachers and students make the transition and I think that all of our school community, working together, has helped to make this as successful a spring as possible.

The School Committee has been supportive as well and I truly appreciate the collaborative relationships that I have developed with them as well as with the other local boards and town officials who have been meeting weekly since early March as we collaborate on this situation together as a community.

I appreciate the emails, calls, and conversations with parents in the community. I know that remote learning has been a challenge for many students and please know that our hope is to return to school in the fall in a manner that is safe and supportive and that resembles a typical fall reopening as much as possible. 

​There are many questions that remain as we await guidance about reopening but I know that we are on the right track with the formation of a working group for reopening that will be working over the summer to send surveys and information to families and to communicate important information about reopening. I ask that you please respond promptly to any surveys sent over the summer as this data will be very important to our decision making process and the design of the 2020-21 school year.

Have a wonderful summer and be well!

Dr. Daly

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Class of 2020 Graduation Parade

The public is encouraged to cheer on the 2020 senior class along the parade route. Please
take into account the Governors Social Distancing Guidelines of remaining 6 feet apart from
one another, wearing a mask if you are unable to maintain the 6 feet of social distancing, and