Category Archives: Superintendent

COVID 19 Community Update #9 – April 3, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Now that we have had some experience with remote learning and realize that we will be utilizing remote learning for at least another month and possibly to the end of the school year, the district is making a number of modifications to our current practices.  We have also looked forward to the remaining months of the school year in making plans for students and families to the greatest extent possible.

You are receiving this additional message to advise you of actions taken by the Pittsfield School
Board at its meeting last night, Thursday, April 2:

April Vacation.  Our annual April vacation has been cancelled.  Thanks to the many parents who helped the Board make this decision by responding to our survey this week.

Building Access.  Beginning Monday, April 6, access to the district’s buildings will be further limited:

  • Students will no longer have access to the buildings
  • Community members are asked not to enter the buildings
  • School offices will not be staffed on a consistent basis
  • Communications are requested to be made via email; email addresses for all staff are available on the school websites
  • Food service operations will continue in current format

Grading.  Due to the complexities of remote learning, our grading system will be altered for third and fourth quarters as follows:

  • PES: (grades K to 6) narrative reports
  • PMS: (grades 7 & 8)  narrative reports with comments reflecting on-course-pace / off-course-pace status
  • PHS: (grades 9 to 12)
    • Narrative reports with comments reflecting on-course-pace / off-course-pace status
    • Spring semester-only courses default to pass / fail
    • Yearlong only courses default to pass / fail with individual student or teacher options to maintain letter grading

Graduation:  PMHS graduation is scheduled for Saturday, June 6; we’re not sure what graduation will look like yet, but rest assured that planning for graduation activities for our seniors while we are moving forward.

Instructional / Learning Time Commitment.  General guidelines have been established relative to instructional / learning time per grade as follows:

  • Kindergarten: 60 minutes
  • Grades 1 & 2: 90 minutes
  • Grades 3 & 4: 120 minutes
  • Grades 5 & 6: 150 minutes
  • Grades 7 to 12: 30-40 minutes per course with total no more than 4 hours

As noted, these time guidelines are “guidelines” and not requirements.  All students and all instructional activities are not the same so we would expect variations to occur, and we are confident in our teachers to develop instructional activities that best serve our students.  These time spans are being established to provide only the most general frames of reference.

Last Day of School. The last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year is scheduled for Friday, June 12.

School Board Meetings.  School Board meetings will continue to be held remotely with accommodations for public access during the emergency period.  Some Board discussions – including a discussion of the recent warrant article regarding the tuitioning of high school students – have been put on hold for now; the Board is hoping to have an open, face-to-face meeting on this and other topics as soon as it is able to do so.

School Board Officers.  Last night’s meeting was the annual Board reorganization meeting; the current Board:

  • Bea Douglas, Chair
  • Heidi Asdot, Vice-Chair
  • Ted Mitchell, Secretary
  • Adam Gauthier, Member
  • Jessica Drouin, Member

Weekly Schedule.  Beginning Monday, April 6, our teachers will shift to a 4/1 model, which means that regular instruction will be provided for four days each week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Friday will be a day for catch-up, student conferences, individual and small group help, faculty office hours, etc.

We thank our colleague teacher leaders and administrators for making recommendations regarding the instructional decisions that our School Board has made, and we thank our Pittsfield School Board for your openness to making these modifications in the interest of best serving our students in this challenging and unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #8 – April 2, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

We hope that all our Pittsfield students and families are continuing to following social distancing guidelines and that we are all protecting our health.  We wish you the very best in this stressful, anxious, uncertain time.

After last week’s announcement that the remote learning mode will extend through May 4, and that it is not unlikely that remote learning will continue through the end of the school year, we have been meeting to plan for a longer term implementation.  You’ll see some changes to our operations noted below and will likely see more next week.

Importantly, our School Board will hold an emergency meeting tonight.  The public will have access to the meeting via phone; the Board meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. and is accessible at the following numbers:  1-929-205-6099 or 301-715-8592; password is 107036; if asked for participant ID, hit pound to skip.

District updates:

Attendance.  PES homeroom teaches and PMHS advisors are taking attendance through daily check-ins with students.  One reason that maximizing attendance – and accuracy in attendance records – is important because the state funds going to school districts is partly-based on attendance; with accurate, high attendance rates, our per-student allocation will be accurate and our district will be receiving its due in state funding (which impacts Pittsfield’s tax rate).

Calendar.  Thanks to families who responded to our calendar survey yesterday and today.  We received 202 responses to this point.  The results for first choice:

  • 9% – eliminate April vacation; end school year early; move to four-day week
  • 3% – keep April vacation; move to four-day week
  • 8% – keep April vacation; continue with five-day week
  • 0% – keep April vacation; move to four-day week

These results will be shared with our School Board, which has the authority to modify the school calendar.  We’ll likely have an update on Monday.

Class Time Commitments.  Our teacher leaders and administrators have discussed time expectations for the various grades in light of the extension of remote learning; we anticipate finalizing guidelines for the long-term very soon and have additional information on these guidelines on Monday.

Family Check-Ins.  We’ll be initiating periodic family check-ins for all our Pittsfield families beginning within days; we want to assure that our families are doing OK and that we will provide any needed support that we are able to provide.

Grades.  We have shifted our end of quarter schedule:  grades will close on Friday, April 10; grade reports and special education progress reports will be mailed home on Monday, April 20.  More information on changes to our grading systems will be provided new week.

Additionally, we have discussed modifications to our grading system due to the remote learning format.  We are likely to have more information to share on grading next week.

Learning Materials.  Some teachers are making additional learning materials available to students as we move forward; these materials are important for our students and their continued learning.  The district will make these materials available for pick-up from PES (for students of both schools) between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday’s.  Materials not picked up on Thursday’s will be mailed to student homes on Friday’s; an exception would be for tech equipment or other large materials, which will be delivered by school bus during daily runs.

Meals.  The district has received permission to provide meals to all students.  At present, we are preparing and providing close to 200 meals per day.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily; in addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day with varied menus for each.  Families have been requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize contact.  Derek Hamilton is coordinating food deliveries; questions and requests should go to Derek vis email (dhamilton@pittsfieldnhschools.org).  Thanks to our outstanding food service staff!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries for those in need will continue to function during the period of remote learning, offering personal toiletries in addition to food items.  Please contact Mike Curtin via email (mcurtin@pittsfieldnhschools.org) to arrange for service from our food pantries.

National Honor Society.  Our new inductees have been notified, and we are developing plans for a virtual induction ceremony.  Stay tuned for updates.

Pittsfield Youth Workshop.  Sign up for the PYW email list to get the most up to date info! The PYW Pantry will be open Thursdays from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Please let the PYW know if you have any special requests. Stay healthy and safe!

 

What’s up at the PYW?  More info at:  – https://mailchi.mp/943cd2709a2f/whats-up-at-pyw-change-in-pantry-hours

Resources.  Commissioner of Education Edelblut recommends two websites as resources for support:

Scholarships.  PMHS seniors are reminded to stay updated on opportunities through our scholarship folder.  The Foss Scholarship open period has begun and extends through May 4.  Other great opportunities are also included in the folder.

School and SAU Offices.  Effecting on Monday, April 6, we ask that our school and SAU offices not be visited; please email individuals with whom you would like contact.  We will do our best to respond to email messages within twenty-four hours during the week.

Seniors. Our spring calendar of senior events has been postponed for now.  It is our hope that we’ll be able conduct most activities in an in-person or virtual format with special plans for our graduation ceremony.  More information will become available in the weeks ahead, including the setting of the graduation date.  (Caps and gowns, honor cords, and other supplies for graduation are all being ordered as usual.)

Summer Learning Opportunities.  We have begun planning for an extended summer program to support our students.  The federal government has allocated additional funds to schools in recent legislation, so any extended summertime plans will be funded through these additional funds.

Title I Services.  As you may know, PES is a Title I school-wide school which means that we receive federal grant money that allows us to provide students and their families with academic supports that are in addition to what the district is able to provide.  During this remote learning time, Title I will be supporting the purchase of additional resources for you to have at home to enhance your child’s engagement in their learning.

We are thankful to our students and families for your flexibility and understanding of our efforts in this very unusual situation.  We are also thankful to our teachers and staff for your strong support of our students under trying conditions.

We wish you all the best for a happy, healthy weekend.

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #7 – March 30, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

By now, you likely know that the Governor has extended our remote learning period through to Monday, May 4.  However, judging by reports from both the state and federal sources suggest that we may be going through the end of the school year.

We recognize that this shift to remote learning has been a challenge for many of our students and families.  We are understanding of your challenges and stand ready to support you in any ways that we can; please do not hesitate to speak with your child’s teachers or advisors if you are in need of additional support.

Our guidelines have changed quite a bit over a short period of time; we anticipate that we’ll continue to see shifts in our practices as we work to refine teaching and learning activities in the weeks ahead.  We ask for your patience and understanding in this difficult and uncertain time.

District updates:

Attendance.  PES homeroom teaches and PMHS advisors are taking attendance through daily check-ins with students.  Though not perfect, this system will allow us to keep as accurate an accounting of attendance as possible in this period.

Grades.  We have shifted our end of quarter schedule:  grades will close on Friday, April 10; grade reports and special education progress reports will be mailed home on Monday, April 20.

Learning Materials.  Some teachers are making additional learning materials available to students as we move forward; these materials are important for our students and their continued learning.  The district will make these materials available for pick-up from PES (for students of both schools) between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday’s.  Materials not picked up on Thursday’s will be delivered via school bus during meal deliveries on Friday’s.

Meals.  The district has received permission to provide meals to all students.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily; in addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day with varied menus for each.  Families have been requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize contact.  Derek Hamilton is coordinating food deliveries; questions and requests should go to Derek.  Thanks to our outstanding food service staff!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries for those in need will continue to function during the period of remote learning, offering personal toiletries in addition to food items.  Please contact Mike Curtin at 435-8432 to arrange for service from our food pantries.

Resources.  Commissioner of Education Edelblut recommends two websites as resources for support:

Scholarships.  PMHS seniors are reminded to stay updated on opportunities through our scholarship folder.  The Foss Scholarship open period has begun and extends through May 4.  Other great opportunities are also included in the folder.

School Board Meetings.  The Pittsfield Board will meet in remote emergency session on Thursday, April 2.  Public will have access through a call-in number; this number will be publicized within the next few days.

School and SAU Offices.  School and SAU offices are open only to visitors with appointments; please do not come into the school offices without a prior arrangement.  To minimize contacts, all calls will be routed through the PES office and forwarded as may be requested.  We will do our very best to return all calls by the end of the following school day.

State Testing.  The Department of Education has cancelled the state testing program for this spring for all students; the Department is considering a fall test, but has not yet made a decision.  AP tests for high school students enrolled in AP courses will be held on schedule.

Please stay safe!

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #6 – March 26,2020

Pittsfield Families,

We are so grateful to our Pittsfield families and school staff for your work to continue to support our students’ learning in this very challenging time.  We hope that you are staying safe and healthy as we face a completely new set of challenges.

We would like to thank so many Pittsfield folks who have called school to offer assistance in a variety of ways.  The deeply held values of a community are evident in times of stress, and our Pittsfield values remain strong in our support of each other.

The latest district info:

Attendance.  PES homeroom teaches and PMHS advisors are taking attendance through daily check-ins with students.  Though not perfect, this system will allow us to keep as accurate an accounting of attendance as possible in this period.  This week, our absentee rate is a bit above the usual; families are reminded to be sure that a check-in will confirm that each student is engaging in learning activities.

Grades.  We have shifted our end of quarter schedule:  grades will close on Friday, April 10; grade reports and special education progress reports will be mailed home on Monday, April 20.

Internet Service.  The mobile hotspot devices have arrived and we are in the process of distributing those to families that requested one. If you did not sign up for a hotspot but are in need of one, please contact the school office. We have a limited supply of additional hotspots to loan out. Also, another option to consider is Atlantic Broadband’s offer for low cost internet service.

Learning Materials.  Some teachers are making additional learning materials available to students as we move forward; these materials are important for our students and their continued learning.  The district will make these materials available for pick-up from PES (for students of both schools) between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday’s.  Materials not picked up on Thursday’s will be delivered via school bus during meal deliveries on Friday’s.

Meals.  The district has received permission to provide meals to all students.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily; in addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day with varied menus for each.  Families have been requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize contact.  Derek Hamilton is coordinating food deliveries; questions and requests should go to Derek.  Thanks to our outstanding food service staff!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries for those in need will continue to function during the period of remote learning.  Please contact Melissa Brown at 435-6701 or call either school office to arrange for service from our food pantries.

National Honor Society.  Acceptance letters have been sent out to qualifying students; congratulations to new NHS members!  Students who were not accepted have been provided with feedback that will strengthen a future application.  We are making plans for an induction ceremony, so stay tuned for that info.

New Hampshire Scholars. Unfortunately, we have been notified that this spring’s New Hampshire Scholars Day 2020 has been cancelled.

Passing Papers.  We have been advised by our state Department of Education, that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has no problem with passing of papers to and from students by school officials.  The DHHS has also approved of food preparation and delivery practices.

Remote Learning Term.  At present, the state is directing remote learning to continue through Friday, April 3, which is considered a re-evaluation date.  We have been told that it is “highly likely” that remote learning will extend beyond April 3, possibly through the end of April or the end of the spring semester.  At the state level, a good deal of coordination among different agencies and departments is required; we’re hoping to receive info on a possible extension by early next week.

Resources.  Commissioner of Education Edelblut recommends two websites as resources for support:

Scholarships.  PMHS seniors are reminded to stay updated on opportunities through our scholarship folder.  The Foss Scholarship materials will soon be released; the open period for this scholarship opportunity will extend from March 30 through May 4.  Reminder that this scholarship is also open to PMHS grads who are attending a post-secondary institution; if you know of a grad who qualifies, you are respectfully requested to pass along this info.

School Board Meetings.  We are anticipating that the Board will meet in remote emergency session next Thursday, April 2.  We are working on logistics to ensure that the public will have access to the meeting and hope to provide more definitive information on Monday.

School and SAU Offices.  School and SAU offices are open only to visitors with appointments; please do not come into the school offices without a prior arrangement.  To minimize contacts, the PES office will remain open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; the PMHS office is now closed (beginning Wednesday, March 25).  All calls will be routed through the PES office and forwarded as may be requested.

Special Education Services.  Services to students with special need will continue through the remote learning period; this includes para-educator support and related services for students who have such provisions in their IEP’s.

State Testing.  The Department of Education has not yet made a decision regarding the delay or cancellation of our annual spring testing regimen, although it has been announced at the federal level that this requirement will be waived for this spring’s testing.  The New Hampshire Department has not submitted a waiver request to the federal government at this time.

Student Led Conferences.  Student led conferences will, of course, be altered quite a bit this time around.  We are considering options and alternatives to our usual conference protocols and will let folks know more as this process develops.

Title I Services.  Thanks to our many families who quickly responded to our recent Title I survey.  If your child receives Title I support and you have not yet responded to the survey, you are respectfully requested to do so at your earliest convenience.

Finally, we wish you and your family all the best for good health.

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

 

COVID-19 Community Update #5 – March 23, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

We hope that your remote learning experience is going well for your family and that you are staying healthy in the face of this pandemic.

Here’s the latest info from the district:

Administrator Schedules.  Administrator schedules are being staggered to maximize social distancing; administrators will be working from home at times.  However, at least one administrator will be on site in the district every school day.  Our district leadership team is meeting at least twice weekly to ensure coordination of programs for our students.  However, all district administrators will continue to work full time and can be reached on any school day via email.

Cleaning.  Our custodial staff is working reduced shifts in compliance with health guidance provided by the CDC.  Spaces that are used regularly throughout the remote learning period will be cleaned and sanitized daily.  Thanks to our excellent custodians!

Hot Spots.  Mobile hot spots have arrived in the district, and most have been delivered to families in need.  Families who may still be in need of tech equipment are asked to email Derek Hamilton, who is coordinating distribution of technology equipment.

Learning Materials.  Some teachers will make additional learning materials available to students as we move forward.  The district will make these materials available for pick-up from PES (for students of both schools) between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday’s.  Materials not picked up on Thursday’s will be delivered via school bus during meal deliveries on Friday’s.

Meals.  The district has received permission to provide meals to all students.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily; in addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day with varied menus for each.  Families have been requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize contact.  Derek Hamilton is coordinating food deliveries; questions and requests should go to Derek.  Thanks to our outstanding food service staff!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries for those in need will continue to function during the period of remote learning.  Please contact Melissa Brown at 435-6701 or call either school office to arrange for service from our food pantries.

Registrations.  We are exploring the possibility of establishing an on-line system for new school registrations; we will keep you advised if/when we are able to do so.

Remote Learning Term.  At present, the state is directing remote learning to continue through Friday, April 3, which is considered a re-evaluation date.  We have been told that it is “highly likely” that remote learning will extend beyond April 3, possibly through the end of April or the end of the spring semester.

 

Resources.  Commissioner of Education Edelblut recommends two websites as resources for support:

School Board Meetings.  We hope to provide guidance regarding future School Board meetings soon.

School and SAU Offices.  School and SAU offices are open only to visitors with appointments; please do not come into the school offices without a prior arrangement.  To minimize contacts, the PES office will remain open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; the PMHS office will be closed (beginning Wednesday, March 25).  All calls will be routed through the PES office and forwarded as may be requested.

Special Education Services.  Services to students with special need will continue through the remote learning period; this includes para-educator support and related services for students who have such provisions in their IEP’s.

State Testing.  The Department of Education has not yet made a decision regarding the delay or cancellation of our annual spring testing regimen, although it has been announced at the federal level that this requirement will be waived for this spring’s testing.  The New Hampshire Department has not submitted a waiver at this time.

Tech Support.  We have been providing tech support to families who are having difficulty with remote learning, particularly with new devices and with connecting to the district with personal devices.  If you are in need of tech support, please email:  www.psd-support@pittsfieldnhschooldistrict.org.

This shift to remote learning is providing us all with new, unanticipated challenges.  Your support and understanding of our changed work lives in this new world is appreciated.  As has already occurred, we’ll likely be making some changes to these procedures as we move ahead and as the public health situation changes.

We again thank our state officials for making decisions in the best interests of good health and in their strong efforts at coordination and communication.

Finally, we’d like to again express our appreciation to our school district staff members who are stepping up in response to deeply altered expectations.  We are thankful for the high level of commitment of our Pittsfield School District employees.

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #4 – March 19, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Thank you very, very much for contributing to our very positive distribution of student learning materials, technology equipment, and meals yesterday.

Your positive spirit demonstrated in the amazing response (all but about 15 families were able to pick up yesterday) and encouraging comments (many thank you’s and expressions of concern for district employees) was nothing short of inspirational.

Here’s the latest info from the district:

Administrator Schedules.  Administrator schedules are being staggered to maximize social distancing; administrators will be working from home at times.  We will be meeting at least twice weekly to ensure coordination of programs for our students.  However, all district administrators will continue to work full time and can be reached on any school day via email.

Cleaning.  Our custodial staff is working daytime shifts and conducting a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all spaces within the schools.  Spaces that are used regularly throughout the remote learning period will be cleaned and sanitized daily.

Hot Spots.  For families who do not have internet access, we placed an order with Atlantic Broadband for mobile hot spots last weekend and were told that we’d have the equipment on Tuesday; however, we’ve yet to see the equipment.  We are working with Atlantic Broadband to get this equipment here asap; we’ll be in touch with impacted families as soon as the hot spots arrive in Pittsfield.

Learning Materials.  For those families who were not able to get to the schools for pickup yesterday, we will be delivering the materials via school bus at mid-day today.  Additionally, we will be establishing Thursday’s as our materials distribution day beginning next week and extending for as long as we’re in a remote learning mode.  We’ll be providing additional details as we move ahead.

Meals.  We will be continuing to provide meals for students who are eligible for free / reduced price meals.  We had a number of pick-ups yesterday and will begin to provide either the pickup option or delivery option (via school bus) to our qualifying families.  We anticipate that deliveries will be made between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily and will include the day’s lunch and the next day’s breakfast.

If your family qualifies for these meals and you have not added your name to our delivery list, please respond to the questionnaire that was previously distributed electronically or simple call the school office (PES, 435-8432; PMHS 435-6701).

Additionally, we’ve had questions regarding menu; please be assured that the menu will be varied.

Our PES and PMHS food pantries for those in need will continue to function during the period of remote learning.  Please contact Melissa Brown at 435-6701 or call either school office to arrange for service from our food pantries.

PMHS Senior Events.  Our annual prom and senior class trip are postponed; no decisions regarding graduation or other senior events have yet been made.

PMHS Seniors.  Our Career Readiness office will continue to function.  Seniors’ transcript requests, scholarship support, and all other operations will continue to function.  Students or parents with questions or concerns are asked to call or email our Director of Career Readiness, Melissa Brown, to resolve any issues or concerns.

Remote Learning Term.  At present, the state is directing remote learning to continue through Friday, April 3.  However, everything that we know at present indicates that it is likely that the state will extend this period.  We’ll stay in touch regarding future plans.

SAT’s.  We have been advised that spring SAT’s (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) are being rescheduled.

School Board Meeting.  Tonight’s (March 19) School Board meeting is cancelled.  Updates regarding Board meetings will be provided in advance.  We have been told that community members are interested in providing input to the Board regarding the warrant article regarding high school options.  The Board will provide advance notice of the meeting during which this issue will be discussed to allow for input from interested community members.

School and SAU Offices.  School and SAU offices will remain open at this time; however, they’ll be operating on a reduced schedule.  Offices will be staffed for phone calls between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. daily; we will, however, be routing school office calls through one of the offices only, usually the PMHS office.  We request that you avoid coming to the offices in person but rather call or email offices or administrators directly.

Special Education Services.  Services to students with special need will continue through the remote learning period; this includes para-educator support and related services for students who have such provisions in their IEP’s.

State Testing.  The Department of Education has not yet made a decision regarding the delay or cancellation of our annual spring testing regimen.

State-Level Support.  FYI, the New Hampshire Department of Education has been conducting conference calls to keep all districts informed with the latest guidance; these calls are scheduled for every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Tech Support.  We provided tech support to a large number of families yesterday who were having difficulty getting started with remote learning, particularly with new devices and with connecting to the district with personal devices.  If you are in need of tech support, please email:  www.psd-support@pittsfieldnhschooldistrict.org.

Finally, we’d like to express our appreciation to our school district staff who are stepping up in response to deeply altered expectations.  We are fortunate to have so many caring and committed folks supporting our students and families.

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #3 – March 16, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Today, our school staff worked to make the shift to remote learning.  As you can imagine, this is quite a change from our usual way of designing learning experiences for our students.  Below you’ll find a status report on this important work.

Remote Instruction Plan.  Teachers worked today and will be working tomorrow to design our initial remote learning plans, including goals, competencies, a delivery plan, special education accommodations, and Title I support.  We anticipate our plan will be launched on Wednesday.

Teachers are designing instruction that is most appropriate to the age, knowledge, and skills of their students.  This instruction may take a number of forms including use of Google Classroom, classroom apps such as Lexia, email check-in’s, and teacher response to student questions and challenges.  Our teachers will also be accessing additional professional development activities to support their work in this new learning environment.

Again, it is anticipated that we’ll be up and running on Wednesday; you / your child / youth can expect to hear from teachers by Wednesday, if you haven’t yet heard.  We anticipate a pick-up of curriculum materials, books, equipment, etc. will take place in each school from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. this Wednesday, March 18.

PES students are asked to connect with your class dojo; students in grades 5 – 12 are asked to check your email often and regularly.  Info will also be shared via the Pittsfield School District Facebook page.

Special Education Services and Section 504 Plans.  Special educators are working with classroom teachers to integrate supports into classroom assignments.  Para’s and related service providers are making plans to continue to provide for student needs.  Students may be asked to come into school, either individually or in small groups, for some of these services.

Attendance.  Daily check-in for attendance purposes will be accomplished daily by PES Morning Meeting teachers and PMHS Advisory teachers.

School Offices.  School offices and the SAU office will be open during school hours this week; this schedule may be altered as we move forward.

Technology.  Thanks to families who responded to our recent Tech Survey.  The district will be providing loaner hardware and loaner hotspots for families who are in need.  It is anticipated that technology loans will be available on Wednesday as well; you can look forward to more info coming from the district if you are in need and responded to the Tech Survey.

Food.  We have been notified that the USDA has granted a waiver for regulations concerning free and reduced price meals.  Though many students qualify, we are not sure how many families will want to take advantage of school-prepared meals.  Therefore, you will be seeing a Food Survey coming your way very soon.

Additionally, we expect to continue operating our food pantries at both PES and PMHS.  Additional info will be forthcoming, with an anticipated pick-up day scheduled for Thursday’s.

School Cleaning.  Our custodians will be conducting a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the school building in anticipation of our students’ return.

School Board Meeting.  The Pittsfield School Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday, March 19; the meeting will take place in the PMHS Lecture Hall to allow participants to keep a safe distance from each other.

I am pleased to report that our governor and state government has been very supportive and very helpful in this crisis situation.  The state Department of Education has begun to issue guidance on a number of issues, including special education services in the remote learning environment and others.  This support is much appreciated.

We will issue our next update on Thursday at the latest, with vital information being provided as needed.

Finally, we thank our Pittsfield families for your positivity and cooperation during this most unusual time.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #2 – March 15, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

The thread of COVID-19 is certainly impacting our lives in very significant ways; I hope that you and your family remain healthy throughout this current pandemic.

As you may know, Governor Sununu has directed New Hampshire’s schools to take up to one week to develop plans for remote learning; he has further directed that such plans be in effect from Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3, with the possibility of extending this period of remote learning.

Pittsfield school personal have begun planning and will continue to do so in the days ahead; we will have more detailed information within the next few days regarding these plans, including:

  • Each teachers’ plans for continuing student learning;
  • The provision of special education and related services to students with individualized education plans;
  • Technology supports, including for families who do not currently have access to devices or internet;
  • Meal service for students who qualify for free or reduced price meals.

At this time, we are planning for our school and SAU offices to remain open; however, students will not be attending school for a period of at least three weeks – Monday, March 16, through Friday, April 3; of course, there is a possibility that this time will be extended.

We will continue our communications plan to provide updates at least every Monday and Thursday, and at other times when indicated, throughout this challenging period.

Your understanding, patience, and support are greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #1 – March 12, 2020

The Pittsfield School District leadership team has been monitoring the rapidly changing pandemic status regularly since we’ve returned to school from our February break.  Our priority at this time is focused on the safety and well-being of our students and staff.  We are communicating with you at this time to advise you of actions that we have taken and are planning to take in response to COVID-19.

1 – Actions Taken.  Since we’ve returned from February break, we have communicated CDC recommendations to Pittsfield families, have held two meetings of our standing Emergency Management Team to review protocols and needs, held conversations with other school leaders in our area, and participated in weekly phone consultations conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, among others.

2 – Cleaning.  We have altered our nightly cleaning in the schools to include additional sanitizing, prioritizing frequently touched surfaces.

3 – Communications.  We are planning to issue communications to our community twice each week, on Monday’s and Thursday’s, beginning today.  We ask that you let us know of your concerns and suggestions as we move forward.

4 – Criteria for Large Group Gatherings.  Effective at the end of the school day tomorrow, Friday, March 13, we will terminate:

  • All gatherings within the schools that involve members of the public;
  • All hosted events within the schools;
  • All gatherings of more than 100 individuals;
  • All field trips.

School District Warrant Articles 2020-2021

The School District Deliberative Session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5, at 7:00 p.m. in the Pittsfield Elementary School gymnasisum (snow date of February 6 at 7:00 p.m.). An overview of each warrant article is listed below. Voting day is March 10 at the Town Hall.

Article 1:  School Lunch Program.  To see if the Pittsfield School District will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $330,000 for the support of the School Lunch Program.  This appropriation will be funded by a like amount of revenue from the sales of food and state and federal sources.  (Estimated tax impact of this article:  $0.)

Recommended by the Pittsfield School Board.  Recommended by the Pittsfield Budget Committee (12 yes, 0 no).  (Majority vote required)

  • YES vote supports allowing the district to operate the food service program for students and staff at no cost to the district, including service to students who qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  • NO vote supports restricting the district from operating the food service program altogether.

Article 2:  Receive and Expend Grant Funds.  To see if the Pittsfield School District will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $850,000 for the support of Federal and private foundation grant-funded educational programs of the Pittsfield School District.  This appropriation is contingent upon receiving revenue from Federal grants and private foundations and will be expended in accordance with Federal and State requirements upon approval by the New Hampshire Department of Education or private foundation requirements.  (Estimated tax impact of this article:  $0.)

Recommended by the Pittsfield School Board.  Recommended by the Pittsfield Budget Committee (12 yes, 0 no).  (Majority vote required.)

  • YES vote supports allowing the district to receive grant funds; these funds are primarily federal funds intended to support students in need of special education services, Title I services to struggling students, and Title II services to support professional development of educators in the district.
  • NO vote supports restricting the district from receiving and expending grant funds altogether.