Category Archives: Superintendent

COVID-19 Community Update #28 – July 23, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

We hope that all our Pittsfield families have been enjoying the summer weather and have been getting outdoors for summertime fun.

We are pleased to let you know that the governor’s school reopening guidance has been received and that district leadership – teachers, support staff, and administrators – have been busy developing Pittsfield’s plan for re-opening.  You’ll see more information below about this process.

While you read about our planning process and eventually read our plan for re-opening, we respectfully request your understanding of the challenges that we face as a district and as a school community.  In saying this, we recognize that a broad range of needs and opinions exist around the prospects of school re-openings.  We humbly request your support of the district plan, knowing that the needs of our students and staff for a safe, supportive environment remains our highest priority.

Below you’ll find a mix of new information and repeat information; we’re also including non-pandemic information in our messages to keep you up to date on district operations in general; reminder that headings in BOLD indicate that new or updated information is contained in that section.

Administrative RestructuringThe School Board approved a restructuring plan for district administration that will impact students and families at both schools.  Effective immediately, the district administration will move away from the dean/director structure to the more traditional principal/assistant principal structure.  Our district administrators will now fill the following roles:

  • PES Principal: Danielle Harvey
  • PES Assistant Principal: Kathy Lemay
  • PMHS Principal: Derek Hamilton
  • PMHS Assistant Principal: Melissa Brown

Additionally, Jessica Bickford will continue in her role as Director of Student Services.

Drake Field and Other District Property.  The abuse of Drake Field has been a major concern of our School Board and many citizens.  Everyone is respectfully requested to do what you can to maintain the beauty and inviting nature of Drake Field and other district property.

During a typical time, our custodians visit Drake Field one time each week to monitor and maintain the Field.  Recently, our custodians have increased their visits to every day, and even that is not enough to keep Drake Field consistently clean.

Please, enjoy Drake Field to the fullest.  But, please also pick up after yourselves.  Thanks!

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request.  At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Meal service will continue throughout the summer.  If you have been receiving meals, but do not wish to do so any longer or will be away from your home during the summer, please contact Derek Hamilton via email (dhamilton@pittsfieldnhschools.org) to modify your service schedule.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021.  As noted above, the governor has provided guidance for school re-opening.  Essentially, the guidance places the decision-making for school operations at the local level.  Once the guidance was received, the district organized to develop our Pittsfield plan for re-opening, using the governor’s guidance as a framework for planning.

We thank the many families who responded to our survey within the last twenty-four hours.  If you have not yet responded, you are encouraged to do so soon, as the survey information will be important to our planning process.  Plan development key points:

  • Our District Leadership Team (DLT), consisting of teacher leaders and administrators, are assuming primary responsibility for developing our Pittsfield plan. Other teachers and support staff have also volunteered to help in this important initiative.

 

  • The DLT and sub-teams (see below) are considering full remote, full in-person, and hybrid learning models for the fall. Based on feedback received from families and guidance received from public health sources, as well as considering the advantages and limitations of the school buildings themselves, the plan will outline a proposal for a hybrid learning model, which means that students will be on-site in small cohorts and be on-site on a part-time basis.

 

  • Four sub-teams have been formed to study and develop recommendations in key operational areas: communications, instruction, public health, and the school environment.  Other topics are also being actively addressed; these include food services, technology, and transportation, among others.

 

  • The sub-teams will address the finer details within the plan, including screening, social distancing, use of masks, response to a positive test, online platforms, grouping of students, transportation challenges, and many other details that will need to be addressed before we start school later next month.

 

  • The plan may also include a revised school calendar. The governor’s guidance includes accommodation of additional staff days for training.  The additional days will also allow time for student orientation in kindergarten and grades 6, 7, and 9.

 

  • Sub-teams will finalize reports by July 31, and the DLT will review recommendations for presentation of a full re-opening plan to the School Board on August 6.

 

  • We expect to provide the Board-approved re-opening plan to you after the Board takes action at that time.

Again, we appreciate family involvement through survey responses.  We also appreciate the generosity of our faculty and staff members who are taking responsibility for helping to develop our re-opening plan.  As always, the understanding and support of community members are so important to the success of our re-opening plan.

Playgrounds.  The Pittsfield School Board has reopened the district’s playgrounds, both at PES and Drake Field.  Playground patrons are respectfully requested to observe social distancing guidelines recommended by public health officials to minimize the risk of coronavirus spread.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above.  If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that we ask that our school and SAU offices not be visited if at all possible.  If you do visit, know that the district has instituted entry temperature checks and health screening in compliance with guidance provided by public health officials at the state and national levels.

You are respectfully advised to please email individuals with whom you would like contact rather than coming in to the schools or SAU office.  We will do our best to respond to email messages within twenty-four hours during the week.

Superintendent Transition.  The School Board agreed to terminate the superintendent’s contract effective July 31, at the request of the superintendent.  The Board then initiated a process to hire an interim superintendent for the 2020-2021 school year.  However, that process did not result in hiring a replacement; therefore, the current superintendent will continue on an acting basis as the Board begins a second process for hiring an interim superintendent.

The Board will make plans to search for and hire a permanent replacement; this search is likely to begin in the early fall, which is the typical hiring season for school district leaders.  It is anticipated that a permanent superintendent will being his/her service on July 1, 2021.

Our next planned COVID-19 Community Update will be distributed on Thursday, August 13, or when important new information requires sharing.  Be safe, and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #27 – June 30, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Though our next planned Community Update isn’t scheduled until late July, we’d like to provide updates on a few items.

Reminder that headings in BOLD indicate that new or updated information is contained in that section.

Commencement.  Congratulations to our PMHS Class of 2020!  We are very proud of your achievements and are confident in your knowledge, skills, and talents that will serve you well in your post-secondary lives.

This year’s commencement included most of our traditional graduation elements, except that it took place at Northeast Delta Dental Field (Fisher Cats Stadium) in Manchester with masks and social distancing on Friday, July 26, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our outdoor ceremony was held outdoors on a gorgeous summer evening; we thank our students’ families for your support and positivity that contributed to a successful and memorable event for our newest graduates.

Finally, a suggestion for our graduates and your families: take look at this five-minute college (although I think it works for high school graduates too!) graduation speech by writer and business consultant Patrick Lencioni in which he gives advice on two things to avoid as graduates in the year of the coronavirus pandemic:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=patrick+lencioni+graduation+speech&docid=607997326922680246&mid=93B5A264150BD4477A9393B5A264150BD4477A93&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

Drake Field and Other District Property.  Drake Field is currently being abused to a greater extent than is has experienced within memory.  A significant amount of trash is being left on the field, in the grandstand, and at other locations on this wonderful jewel.  You are respectfully requested to do what you can to maintain the beauty and inviting nature of Drake Field and other district property.

During a typical time, our custodians visit Drake Field one time each week to monitor and maintain the Field. Recently, our custodians have increased their visits to two times each week, and even that is not enough to keep Drake Field consistently clean.  Believe us, our custodians have plenty to do anyway; the district does not have the resources to pick up after inconsiderate Field users any more frequently.  Even at that, it’s just plain unreasonable for partiers at Drake to expect someone else to clear up after you’ve used the field.

Please, enjoy Drake Field to the fullest. But, please also pick up after yourselves.  Thanks!

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request. At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Meal service will continue throughout the summer. If you have been receiving meals, but do not wish to do so any longer or will be away from your home during the summer, please contact Derek Hamilton via email (dhamilton@pittsfieldnhschools.org) to modify your service schedule.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021.  A state-wide Task Force organized by the New Hampshire Commissioner of Education is due to present its report with recommendations for the fall sometime today.  It is anticipated that the recommendation will likely suggest that school districts create flexible plans for the fall that will include possible continuation of remote learning, full-on return to school, and a hybrid return to school that will feature a modified schedule which will permit recommended social distancing.

Of course, the safety of our students and staff remains as the district’s highest priority as we review the recommendations of the Task Force and make plans for the 2020-2021 school year. We know that getting back to normal as soon as possible is important for students and families.  However, we also know that it is impossible to create an entirely risk-free environment.  These and other factors put us in a challenging position as we look ahead to our planned opening day on August 28.

We thank the many parents and family members who completed our recent district survey on our next steps. The district has scheduled several work sessions – with administrators, faculty, and School Board – during the months of July and August to integrate the best information and recommendations from public health officials with the guidance of the Task Force and the directions provided by families in our survey.

We recognize the frustration that you may feel in not having a solid idea of what school will look like in the fall and appreciate your understanding and support as we work with the latest information and recommendations. We’ll provide as much information as we can as soon as plans are developed.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above. If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that we ask that our school and SAU offices not be visited if at all possible.  If you do visit, know that the district has instituted entry temperature checks and health screening in compliance with guidance provided by public health officials at the state and national levels.

You are respectfully advised to please email individuals with whom you would like contact rather than coming in to the schools or SAU office. We will do our best to respond to email messages within twenty-four hours during the week.

Summer Programs.  Unfortunately, the district’s plans for summer programs is disrupted by the pandemic; here’s the latest:

  • Drake Field Summer Program – cancelled this summer
  • Extended School Year Programs for Special Needs Students – individual plans are being developed; some on-site programs will be provided; dates for our on-site programs: July 13 to August 6
  • K-Camp – annual program for incoming kindergartners cancelled this summer; an alternative, shorter program for August is being considered; families will be contacted later in the summer
  • PES Summer School – our teachers have made recommendations for students to attend a pre-school-opening summer session; this session is scheduled for August 10 to August 20; our hope is that all our students will be prepared to get a good start to our new school year; information will be provided to families
  • PMHS Competency Recovery Programs – on-site competency recovery programs for students in need will be underway soon; info has been provided to qualifying students
  • PMHS Summer Academies – cancelled this summer

The district will is following CDC and state-level guidelines for on-site programs.

Our next planned COVID-19 Community Update will be distributed on Thursday, July 23.

Until then, we wish you the best for a great summer vacation!

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

 

COVID-19 Community Update #26 – June 25, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Our seniors and families were disappointed to have our commencement ceremony rained out last Sunday in Manchester.  We look forward to great weather and a wonderful ceremony tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m.  The ceremony will be live-streamed; the link is available on the district website.

Reminder that headings in BOLD indicate that new or updated information is contained in that section.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request.  At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Meal service will continue throughout the summer.  If you have been receiving meals, but do not wish to do so any longer or will be away from your home during the summer, please contact Derek Hamilton via email (dhamilton@pittsfieldnhschools.org) to modify your service schedule.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021.  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education has convened a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and the eventual re-opening of our schools.

Several activities are scheduled for July and early August to plan for the fall.  These include evaluation of the Commissioner of Education’s Task Force recommendations, the Governor’s guidance, CDC guidance, teacher and staff input, parent input via surveys, and guidance from a broad range of other sources.

Parent Surveys.  We will respectfully request parents complete a brief survey about your child/youth’s experiences with remote learning.  Your perspective will help us to evaluate our work of the past few months and to plan for the fall.  Parents should have received your survey; if not, please contact your school office.  Your help will be appreciated.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above.  If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Seniors.  Our seniors have enjoyed a series of graduation events; among our highlights have been the photo opportunities at PMHS, senior awards, and the senior parade.  Thanks to all for your wonderful support of our graduating seniors  Key details regarding remaining senior events:

  • Drake Field Posters: drive past Drake Field to see photos of our graduation seniors being celebrated on their individual posters on display
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): this year’s ceremony is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 26, at Delta Dental Field (Fisher Cats Stadium) in Manchester.  Detailed plans for entering, attending, and leaving this event is being provided to seniors and their families.  See our district website for a link to view the ceremony.
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

Summer Programs.  Unfortunately, the district’s plans for summer programs is disrupted by the pandemic; here’s the latest:

  • Drake Field Summer Program – cancelled this summer
  • Extended School Year Programs for Special Needs Students – individual plans are being developed; some on-site programs will be provided; dates for our on-site programs: July 13 to August 6
  • K-Camp – annual program for incoming kindergartners cancelled this summer; an alternative, shorter program for August is being considered; families will be contacted later in the summer
  • PES Summer School – our teachers have made recommendations for students to attend a pre-school-opening summer session; this session is scheduled for August 10 to August 20; our hope is that all our students will be prepared to get a good start to our new school year; information will be provided to families
  • PMHS Competency Recovery Programs – plans being developed for on-site competency recovery programs for students in need; more info will be forthcoming
  • PMHS Summer Academies – cancelled this summer

The district will follow CDC guidelines for on-site programs; more info will follow as planning progresses.

Our next COVID-19 Community Update will be distributed on Thursday, July 23.

Until then, we wish you the best for a great summer vacation!

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #25 – June 18, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Thanks to the flexibility, cooperation, and kindness of so many, our students have concluded the district’s 2019-2020 school year.  These have been an extraordinary few weeks, and the positive, can-do spirit of our Pittsfield school community has contributed to making these last few months as productive as possible for the learning of our district’s children and youth.

Reminder that headings in BOLD indicate that new or updated information is contained in that section.

Last Day Parade.  Thanks to our many students and families who commemorated last Friday’s last-day-of-school parade through Pittsfield.  Your friendly greetings, enthusiastic waving, and your thank you signs were so appreciated by our parading staff.

Thanks also to our Pittsfield Police and Fire Departments for helping us celebrate; that a great, positive afternoon it was!

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request.  At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Meal service will continue throughout the summer.  If you have been receiving meals, but do not wish to do so any longer or will be away from your home during the summer, please contact Derek Hamilton via email (dhamilton@pittsfieldnhschools.org) to modify your service schedule.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021.  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education has convened a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and the eventual re-opening of our schools.

Several activities are scheduled for July and early August to plan for the fall.  These include evaluation of the Commissioner of Education’s Task Force recommendations, the Governor’s guidance, CDC guidance, teacher and staff input, parent input via surveys, and guidance from a broad range of other sources.

We will be continuing our regular messages to you through the summer months.  We will continue our weekly messages through the end of June.  We will then schedule semi-monthly messages in July and August as plans become established and to keep you informed of district events.

Parent Surveys.  We will respectfully request parents complete a brief survey about your child/youth’s experiences with remote learning.  Your perspective will help us to evaluate our work of the past few months and to plan for the fall.  Parents can expect to see these surveys by the end of the week; your help will be appreciated.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above.  If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Seniors.  Our seniors have enjoyed a series of graduation events; among our highlights have been the photo opportunities at PMHS, senior awards, and the senior parade.  Thanks to all for your wonderful support of our graduating seniors  Key details regarding remaining senior events:

  • Drake Field Posters: drive past Drake Field to see photos of our graduation seniors being celebrated on their individual posters on display
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): this year’s ceremony is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, at Delta Dental Field in Manchester.  Detailed plans for entering, attending, and leaving this event is being provided to seniors and their families.
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

School Board Meetings.  With the relaxing of the governor’s Stay at Home order, the Pittsfield School Board will resume on-site meetings beginning with tonight’s meeting.  The Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. today in the PMHS lecture hall with the request that participants follow social distancing guidelines when entering and exiting the meeting as well as during the meeting itself.

Summer Programs.  Unfortunately, the district’s plans for summer programs is disrupted by the pandemic; here’s the latest:

  • Drake Field Summer Program – cancelled this summer
  • Extended School Year Programs for Special Needs Students – individual plans are being developed; some on-site programs will be provided; dates for our on-site programs: July 13 to August 6
  • K-Camp – annual program for incoming kindergartners cancelled this summer; an alternative, shorter program for August is being considered; families will be contacted later in the summer
  • PES Summer School – our teachers have made recommendations for students to attend a pre-school-opening summer session; this session is scheduled for August 10 to August 20; our hope is that all our students will be prepared to get a good start to our new school year; information will be provided to families
  • PMHS Competency Recovery Programs – plans being developed for on-site competency recovery programs for students in need; more info will be forthcoming
  • PMHS Summer Academies – cancelled this summer

The district will follow CDC guidelines for on-site programs; more info will follow as planning progresses.

Again, we’ll keep these messages coming throughout the summer; look for #26 next week; we’ll then be switching to a twice-per-month schedule over the summer to keep you informed of key district events and decisions.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #24 – June 11, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Our Pittsfield school community is enjoying a great week of Zoom and on-site celebrations as we bring a close to a very unusual school year. We thank all our students, family and friends, staff, and community members for celebrating our students’ many achievements and milestones.  The celebrating will conclude with our annual commencement ceremonies at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, June 21.

Reminder that headings in BOLD indicate that new or updated information is contained in that section.

End-of-Year Transition Celebrations.  Celebrations for today and tomorrow are scheduled as follows:

  • Eighth Grade – 6:00n p.m., Thursday, June 11
  • PES Whole School Morning Meeting – 8:30 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • PMHS End-of-Year Assembly – 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • End-of-Year Staff Parade – 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 12

Links for participation in these remote activities will be provided by email to families with students who will be participating in remote end of year celebrations the day before activities are scheduled to be held; links will also be posted on school websites.

Last Day of School.  The Pittsfield School Board has established tomorrow, Friday, June 12, as the last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year.  We wish all our Pittsfield students and families all the best for a wonderful summer!

Last Day Parade.  School staff, supported by town emergency personnel, will be parading through town beginning at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, June 12, to celebrate the conclusion of our 2019-2020 school (phew!) and wish beloved students and families the best for a wonderful summer school vacation.  In designing the parade route, we’ve extended beyond other in-town routes to get to as many areas of town as possible.  Our route is described below; we hope to see everyone tomorrow!

START: Pittsfield Elementary School (34 Bow Street)

 

ROUTE: Bow Street to Tilton Hill Road, right onto Tilton Hill Road, right onto Wildwood Drive (around the loop), left back onto Tilton Hill Road, right at the fork on to Catamount Road (at Family Dollar), left onto Carroll Street, left onto South Main Street (at Citizens Bank) to Dowboro Road, right on Quail Ridge Road (around the loop), left back onto Dowboro Road to South Main Street, continue down Main Street (past Dustin’s Park), right on Chestnut Street (in front of yellow Historical Society Building), right on to Bridge Street, left onto Depot Street, left on Barnstead Road (towards Drake Field), left onto High Street (after Floral Park Cemetery), left onto River Road, slight right onto Page Street (after Mary’s Bridge) to Watson Street, right on to Lyford Hill Road (towards Route 28), straight through intersection on Leavitt Road, left at the fork to Loudon Road, continue on Loudon Road through the intersection to Crescent Street, left at the fork onto Concord Hill Road to Main Street, left onto Elm Street to Depot Street, straight through intersection at Bell Brothers to Catamount Road (past the Fire Department), left onto Oneida Street.

 

END: Pittsfield Middle High School (23 Oneida Street)

Learning Materials.  Collection of learning materials for all students is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16.  Textbooks, science and art materials, and other district equipment will be collected at this time.

In addition, students who have been awarded recognition certificates or other awards will be able to pick up your awards at the time of learning materials drop-off next Monday and Tuesday as well.

Except for graduating seniors, student-issued computers will not be collected at that time; students will be holding on to computers through the summer in anticipation of a potential need to utilize remote technology when school gets going again in August.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request. At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Meal service will continue throughout the summer. If you have been receiving meals, but do not wish to do so any longer or will be away from your home during the summer, please contact Derek Hamilton via email (dhamilton@pittsfieldnhschools.org) to modify your service schedule.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

We appreciate that the Concord Area Dentists have donated oral health kids to our students; these will be delivered with meals on Monday, June 15.

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021.  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education has convened a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and the eventual re-opening of our schools.

Several activities are scheduled for July and early August to plan for the fall. These include evaluation of the Commissioner of Education’s Task Force recommendations, the Governor’s guidance, CDC guidance, teacher and staff input, parent input via surveys, and guidance from a broad range of other sources.

We will be continuing our regular messages to you through the4 summer months.
We will continue our weekly messages through the end of June.  We will then schedule semi-monthly messages in July and August as plans become established and to keep you informed of district events.

Parent Surveys.  We will respectfully request parents complete a brief survey about your child/youth’s experiences with remote learning.  Your perspective will help us to evaluate our work of the past few months and to plan for the fall.  Parents can expect to see these surveys by the end of next week (by June 19); your help will be appreciated.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above. If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Seniors.  Our seniors have enjoyed a series of graduation events; among our highlights have been the photo opportunities at PMHS, senior awards, and the senior parade.  Thanks to all for your wonderful support of our graduating seniors  Key details regarding remaining senior events:

  • Drake Field Posters: drive past Drake Field to see photos of our graduation seniors being celebrated on their individual posters on display
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): this year’s ceremony is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, at Delta Dental Field in Manchester. Detailed plans for entering, attending, and leaving this event is being provided to seniors and their families.
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

Summer Programs.  Unfortunately, the district’s plans for summer programs is disrupted by the pandemic; here’s the latest:

  • Drake Field Summer Program – cancelled this summer
  • Extended School Year Programs for Special Needs Students – individual plans are being developed; some on-site programs will be provided; dates for our on-site programs: July 13 to August 6
  • K-Camp – annual program for incoming kindergartners cancelled this summer; an alternative, shorter program for August is being considered; families will be contacted later in the summer
  • PES Summer School – our teachers have made recommendations for students to attend a pre-school-opening summer session; this session is scheduled for August 10 to August 20; our hope is that all our students will be prepared to get a good start to our new school year; information will be provided to families
  • PMHS Competency Recovery Programs – plans being developed for on-site competency recovery programs for students in need; more info will be forthcoming
  • PMHS Summer Academies – cancelled this summer

The district will follow CDC guidelines for on-site programs; more info will follow as planning progresses.

As we come to the end of our school year, we thank our Pittsfield community for your wonderful support during a very challenging time; we wish you the best for a great summer.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #23 – June 4, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Well, it’s been quite a spring, hasn’t it? We are very thankful to our families for your support during this challenging time.  We hope that our Pittsfield families are remaining healthy and are looking forward to a positive, if unusual, summer school vacation.

This week’s updates follow; reminder, bold titles indicate new information is contained in the bold sections.

Attendance.  Reminder to students and families that our teachers are taking daily student attendance during our check-in’s with students and through student participation in learning activities.  Of course, non-attendance will result in significant “learn loss” according to education researchers, with some students potentially erasing all gains made in the first portion of the academic year; our younger students are particularly vulnerable.

As always, we strongly encourage good school attendance and are very appreciative of Pittsfield families for your support of student learning and good school attendance.

End-of-Year Transition Celebrations.  Virtual versions of several end-of-year transition celebrations, as well as several special events, are being planned.  Our general aim is to include all the traditional elements of end-of-year celebrations to the greatest extend possible.  Celebrations are scheduled as follows:

  • Kindergarten – 6:00 p.m., Monday, June 8
  • Fifth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 9
  • Sixth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 10
  • Eighth Grade – 6:00n p.m., Thursday, June 11
  • PES Whole School Morning Meeting – 8:30 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • PMHS End-of-Year Assembly – 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • End-of-Year Staff Parade – 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 12

Links for participation in these remote activities will be provided by email to families with students who will be participating in remote end of year celebrations the day before activities are scheduled to be held; links will also be posted on school websites.

ESY Letters.  ESY – or “extended school year” is a program component that is provided to qualifying special needs students.  This year’s ESY letters will be mailed home to parents of qualifying students this week.  Please call Jessica Bickford at PMHS with any questions about ESY.

Last Day of School.  The Pittsfield School Board has established Friday, June 12, as the last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year.  We plan to wrap up new instruction on Friday, June 5, and utilize the week of June 8 to June 12 to provide small group and individualized support for competency strengthening and course completion.  We’ll have more info as we get closer to these dates.

Learning Materials.  Collection of learning materials for all students is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16.  Textbooks, science and art materials, and other district equipment will be collected at this time.

Except for graduating seniors, student-issued computers will not be collected at that time; students will be holding on to computers through the summer in anticipation of a potential need to utilize remote technology when school gets going again in August.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request. At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries 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.

Good news about our food deliveries: the state has received a waiver from the Department of Agriculture to continue our food distribution through the entire month of June and the summer months.  More details will follow.

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021:  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education has convened a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and the eventual re-opening of our schools (see Survey Participation Request below).  The Commissioner expects to provide this guidance to school districts by the end of June.  We expect to have more information about our next school year at about that time.  In the meantime, we’ll be living with uncertainty about re-opening and the 2020-2021 school year.

Parent Surveys.  We will respectfully request parents complete a brief survey about your child/youth’s experiences with remote learning.  Your perspective will help us to evaluate our work of the past few months and to plan for the fall.  Parents can expect to see these surveys by the end of next week; your help will be appreciated.

PES Class Placement.  As always, parent input regarding class placement for our next school year is appreciated and is given consideration as we develop our new class groupings.  This year, we’re not quite sure about what our school opening will look like for our students and families.  Our plan is to solicit input from parents and teachers, but hold off on class development until we have a better idea of what our 2020-2021 opening will require.  Stay tuned for updates.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above. If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Retention:  Parents may be wondering about the achievement of grade level competencies and whether students may need to be retained in a grade.  We’ve learned from speaking with leaders from other New Hampshire school districts that remote learning has infringed on grade level learning for many, if not most, students.  Our teachers have adjusted their plans and curriculum content in response to our remote learning challenges.

  • Grades K-7: if teachers are recommending retention for any students in these grades, parents would have been notified by now. If parents have not yet been notified, students and parents may assume that students will be promoted to the next grade.

It is our intent – and that of most schools nation-wide – to meet our younger students “where they are” in the fall; this means that we will be adjusting our curriculum and competency expectations next year (and possibly for another year, depending on school status next year) to ensure that students will progress through our curriculum and achieve competencies that build on prior learning. We’ll all need to adjust our expectations in a transition back to on-site learning in our schools.

  • Grades 8-12: these grades are different from the earlier grades in that progress in courses and the awarding of course credit is dependent on achievement of course competencies. a number of eighth grade students and their parents have been advised, beginning earlier in the school year, that students may be in danger of retention due to incomplete achievement of competencies.Students in grades 9-12 will be granted course credit if required competencies have been achieved; for some students, this may require additional work next year on this year’s courses. It is not entirely unusual for some students to need additional time to complete competencies during the summer or early fall.Of course, carry-over in courses is less than ideal and requires students to assume a larger than usual work load. Because of this, students in grades 8-12 are strongly encouraged to make every effort to complete current course competencies before the end of this school year next month.

Seniors.  Regarding graduation and senior activities, we have surveyed seniors regarding some preferences and are working with our senior class advisors, who play an important role in planning for graduation events.  Key details regarding senior events:

  • Awards Night (virtual): Friday, June 5
    • Traditional line-up of Awards Night activities and presentations
  • Drake Field Posters: drive past Drake Field to see photos of our graduation seniors being celebrated on their individual posters on display
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): to be scheduled
    • Seniors voted overwhelmingly to wait until all can be together for our traditional ceremony at PMHS
    • However, it’s looking more unlikely that we’ll be able to conduct a traditional ceremony, even in August
    • We’re looking at additional options not previously considered; we’ll be working with seniors and senior class advisors to determine our next steps; stay tuned!
  • Photo Opportunities: Saturday, June 6
    • Seniors and families schedule time for professional photos at PMHS
  • Senior Parade: scheduled for 5:00 p.m., Saturday, June 6; details will be coming; all seniors and families are enthusiastically encouraged to participate
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors
  • WMUR Graduation Special: WMUR has reached out to high schools for info on graduating classes in preparation for an hour-long special honoring the 15,000 New Hampshire graduates; PMHS will be participating in the special, which will be aired at 7:00 p.m. during the week of June 8; more info to follow

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

Summer Programs.  Unfortunately, the district’s plans for summer programs is disrupted by the pandemic; here’s the latest:

  • Drake Field Summer Program – cancelled this summer
  • Extended School Year Programs for Special Needs Students – individual plans to be developed; some on-site programs will be provided
  • K-Camp – annual program for incoming kindergartners cancelled this summer; an alternative, shorter program for August is being considered
  • PES Summer School – plans being developed for a shorter program to be provided in August; various formats being considered
  • PMHS Competency Recovery Programs – plans being developed for on-site competency recovery programs for students in need
  • PMHS Summer Academies – cancelled this summer

The district will follow CDC guidelines for on-site programs; more info will follow as planning progresses.

We close by wishing you all the best for a very positive, productive close to our 2019-2020 school year.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

 

COVID-19 Community Update #22 – May 28, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Many of us never imagined a close to our school year quite like this one.  While we recognize that our remote learning format is not like our usual schedule, we have been able to move forward with student learning for a large portion of our school year.  We thank our students, families, and staff for your contributions to student learning under very challenging circumstances.

Reminder, bold titles indicate new information is contained in the bold sections.

This week’s updates:

Attendance.  Reminder to students and families that our teachers are taking daily student attendance during our check-in’s with students and through student participation in learning activities.  Of course, non-attendance will result in significant “learn loss” according to education researchers, with some students potentially erasing all gains made in the first portion of the academic year; our younger students are particularly vulnerable.

As previously noted, the district is responsible for monitoring student attendance.  In situations where students and families have been absent and non-responsive, we are required to follow up.  We are working with the Pittsfield Police Department to conduct wellness checks under these circumstances and are making reports to the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families when necessary as required by law.

As always, we strongly encourage good school attendance and are very appreciative of Pittsfield families for your support of student learning and good school attendance.

End-of-Year Transition Celebrations.  Virtual versions of several end-of-year transition celebrations, as well as several special events, are being planned.  Our general aim is to include all the traditional elements of end-of-year celebrations to the greatest extend possible.  Celebrations are scheduled as follows:

  • Kindergarten – 6:00 p.m., Monday, June 8
  • Fifth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 9
  • Sixth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 10
  • Eighth Grade – 6:00n p.m., Thursday, June 11
  • PES Whole School Morning Meeting – 8:30 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • PMHS End-of-Year Assembly – 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • End-of-Year Staff Parade – 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 12

Access info will be provided as we approach these important transition events.  Also, see below for a list of senior events.

Exhibition of LearningWe missed our annual Exhibition of Learning this year due to the pandemic.  But, we’re happy to look at a range of evidence of student learning.

  • PES:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1mYsmnH9Z6vq06fcvR_QNEvnAGBwT4uQdEnEqmdYRK2Q/edit?usp=sharing

  • PMHS (expecting additional projects to be posted):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kJZt8JHY9kmVvZTMho5OHLu8GS5wGRBOaxMLn7NDWIY/edit

To share feedback with students:  –https://forms.gle/qQkzhhRxy1axPka68

Last Day of School.  The Pittsfield School Board has established Friday, June 12, as the last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year.  We plan to wrap up new instruction on Friday, June 5, and utilize the week of June 8 to June 12 to provide small group and individualized support for competency strengthening and course completion.  We’ll have more info as we get closer to these dates.

Learning Materials.  Learning materials pick-ups are scheduled for every two weeks.  Our next pick-up will take place next week, on Thursday, June 4.  Remember also that all pick-ups are scheduled for PES, regardless of the grade.  Materials not picked up will be mailed to student homes on Friday; an exception would be for tech equipment or other large materials, which will be delivered by school bus during daily food delivery runs.

Collection of learning materials for all students is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16.  Textbooks, science and art materials, and other district equipment will be collected at this time.

Except for graduating seniors, no student-issued computers will be collected at that time; students will be holding on to computers through the summer in anticipation of a potential need to utilize remote technology when school gets going again in August.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request.  At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries 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.

Good news about our food deliveries:  the state has received a waiver from the Department of Agriculture to continue our food distribution through the entire month of June and the summer months.  More details will follow.

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021:  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education has convened a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and the eventual re-opening of our schools (see Survey Participation Request below).  The Commissioner expects to provide this guidance to school districts by the end of June.  We expect to have more information about our next school year at about that time.  In the meantime, we’ll be living with uncertainty about re-opening and the 2020-2021 school year.

PES Class Placement.  As always, parent input regarding class placement for our next school year is appreciated and is given consideration as we develop our new class groupings.  This year, we’re not quite sure about what our school opening will look like for our students and families.  Our plan is to solicit input from parents and teachers, but hold off on class development until we have a better idea of what our 2020-2021 opening will require.  Stay tuned for updates.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

PMHS Yearbooks.  Yearbooks may be picked up at PMHS from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 4 (Thanks, Ms. Massey!).  If you have not paid in advance, please bring your payment with you on June 4.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above.  If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Retention:  Parents may be wondering about the achievement of grade level competencies and whether students may need to be retained in a grade.  We’ve learned from speaking with leaders from other New Hampshire school districts that remote learning has infringed on grade level learning for many, if not most, students.  Our teachers have adjusted their plans and curriculum content in response to our remote learning challenges.

  • Grades K-7: if teachers are recommending retention for any students in these grades, parents would have been notified by now.  If parents have not yet been notified, students and parents may assume that students will be promoted to the next grade.

It is our intent – and that of most schools nation-wide – to meet our younger students “where they are” in the fall; this means that we will be adjusting our curriculum and competency expectations next year (and possibly for another year, depending on school status next year) to ensure that students will progress through our curriculum and achieve competencies that build on prior learning.  We’ll all need to adjust our expectations in a transition back to on-site learning in our schools.

  • Grades 8-12: these grades are different from the earlier grades in that progress in courses and the awarding of course credit is dependent on achievement of course competencies.  a number of eighth grade students and their parents have been advised, beginning earlier in the school year, that students may be in danger of retention due to incomplete achievement of competencies.

 

Students in grades 9-12 will be granted course credit if required competencies have been achieved; for some students, this may require additional work next year on this year’s courses.  It is not entirely unusual for some students to need additional time to complete competencies during the summer or early fall.

 

Of course, carry-over in courses is less than ideal and requires students to assume a larger than usual work load.  Because of this, students in grades 8-12 are strongly encouraged to make every effort to complete current course competencies before the end of this school year next month.

Seniors.  Regarding graduation and senior activities, we have surveyed seniors regarding some preferences and are working with our senior class advisors, who play an important role in planning for graduation events.  Key details regarding senior events:

  • Awards Night (virtual): Friday, June 5
    • Traditional line-up of Awards Night activities and presentations
  • Drake Field Posters: drive past Drake Field to see photos of our graduation seniors being celebrated on their individual posters on display
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): to be scheduled
    • Seniors voted overwhelmingly to wait until all can be together for our traditional ceremony at PMHS
    • However, it’s looking more unlikely that we’ll be able to conduct a traditional ceremony, even in August
    • We’re looking at additional options not previously considered; we’ll be working with seniors and senior class advisors to determine our next steps; stay tuned!
  • Last Day: the last day of school for our seniors is scheduled for Friday, May 29
  • Photo Opportunities: Saturday, June 6
    • Seniors and families schedule time for professional photos at PMHS
  • Pittsfield Post: our Pittsfield Post will be devoting several pages to our graduating seniors in an upcoming issue
  • Senior Parade: scheduled for 5:00 p.m., Saturday, June 6; details will be coming; all seniors and families are enthusiastically encouraged to participate
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors
  • WMUR Graduation Special: WMUR has reached out to high schools for info on graduating classes in preparation for an hour-long special honoring the 15,000 New Hampshire graduates; PMHS will be participating in the special, which will be aired at 7:00 p.m. during the week of June 8; more info to follow

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

Summer Programs.  Unfortunately, the district’s plans for summer programs is disrupted by the pandemic; here’s the latest:

  • Drake Field Summer Program – cancelled this summer
  • Extended School Year Programs for Special Needs Students – individual plans to be developed; some on-site programs will be provided
  • K-Camp – annual program for incoming kindergartners cancelled this summer; an alternative, shorter program for August is being considered
  • PES Summer School – plans being developed for a shorter program to be provided in August; various formats being considered
  • PMHS Competency Recovery Programs – plans being developed for on-site competency recovery programs for students in need
  • PMHS Summer Academies – cancelled this summer

The district will follow CDC guidelines for on-site programs; more info will follow as planning progresses.

Survey Participation RequestThe New Hampshire Department of Education requests that interested parties complete a survey to assist the Department in re-opening of schools; the survey is due tomorrow, Friday, May 29, at 8:00 p.m. and may be accessed here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C2WZ3PP

We close by wishing you all the best for a very positive, productive close to our 2019-2020 school year.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

 

COVID-19 Community Update #21 – May 21, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Monday is Memorial Day, our national holiday that honors the men and women who have died while serving in the military of the United States.  It is a day to recall and reflect on the many thousands of veterans who lost their lives serving our nation, and specifically recall family members, friends, and neighbors who have died while in the military.

For citizens of our country, it is also a day of appreciation, appreciation for those fellow countrymen and countrywomen who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States.

A national moment of remembrance occurs at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day.  We encourage you to take a few moments at 3:00 p.m. on this coming Monday to pause and reflect on the sacrifice made by so many of our servicemen and servicewomen; and to consider the many benefits that we enjoy today as a result of their willingness to lay down their lives in defense of the freedoms that we enjoy.

Because of this important and solemn commemoration, Monday has been a national holiday for many years.  Classes will not be held in Monday, May 25; students and teachers will return to our usual schedule on Tuesday, May 26.

Reminder, bold titles indicate new information is contained in the bold sections.

This week’s updates:

Attendance.  Reminder to students and families that our teachers are taking daily student attendance during our check-in’s with students and through student participation in learning activities.  Of course, non-attendance will result in significant “learn loss” according to education researchers, with some students potentially erasing all gains made in the first portion of the academic year; our younger students are particularly vulnerable.

As previously noted, the district is responsible for monitoring student attendance.  In situations where students and families have been absent and non-responsive, we are required to follow up.  We are working with the Pittsfield Police Department to conduct wellness checks under these circumstances and are making reports to the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families when necessary as required by law.

As always, we strongly encourage good school attendance and are very appreciative of Pittsfield families for your support of student learning and good school attendance.

End-of-Year Transition Celebrations.  Virtual versions of several end-of-year transition celebrations, as well as several special events, are being planned.  Our general aim is to include all the traditional elements of end-of-year celebrations to the greatest extend possible.  Celebrations are scheduled as follows:

  • Kindergarten – 6:00 p.m., Monday, June 8
  • Fifth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 9
  • Sixth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 10
  • Eighth Grade – 6:00n p.m., Thursday, June 11
  • PES Whole School Morning Meeting – 8:30 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • PMHS End-of-Year Assembly – 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • End-of-Year Staff Parade – 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 12

Access info will be provided as we approach these important transition events.  Also, see below for a list of senior events.

Exhibition Night. In place of our annual Exhibition Night this June, our students will be presenting a virtual Celebration of Student Learning, which will be scheduled for next week, May 26 to May 29.  Our celebration will be a toned-down version of our usual Exhibition Night, which we look forward to renewing in the spring of 2021.  Watch for details.

Last Day of School.  The Pittsfield School Board has established Friday, June 12, as the last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year.  We plan to wrap up new instruction on Friday, June 5, and utilize the week of June 8 to June 12 to provide small group and individualized support for competency strengthening and course completion.  We’ll have more info as we get closer to these dates.

Learning Materials.  Learning materials pick-ups are scheduled for every two weeks.  Our next pick-up will take place next week, on Thursday, June 4.  Remember also that all pick-ups are scheduled for PES, regardless of the grade.  Materials not picked up will be mailed to student homes on Friday; an exception would be for tech equipment or other large materials, which will be delivered by school bus during daily food delivery runs.

Collection of learning materials for all students is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16.  Textbooks, science and art materials, and other district equipment will be collected at this time.  Except for graduating seniors, no student-issued computers will be collected at that time; students will be holding on to computers through the summer in anticipation of a potential need to utilize remote technology when school gets going again in August.  More info will follow as we get closer to the collection dates.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request.  At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries 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.

Good news about our food deliveries:  the state has received a waiver from the Department of Agriculture to continue our food distribution through the entire month of June and the summer months.  More details will follow.

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021:  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education has convened a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and the eventual re-opening of our schools.  The Commissioner expects to provide this guidance to school districts by the end of June.  We expect to have more information about our next school year at about that time.  In the meantime, we’ll be living with uncertainty about re-opening and the 2020-2021 school year.

PES Class Placement.  As always, parent input regarding class placement for our next school year is appreciated and is given consideration as we develop our new class groupings.  This year, we’re not quite sure about what our school opening will look like for our students and families.  Our plan is to solicit input from parents and teachers, but hold off on class development until we have a better idea of what our 2020-2021 opening will require.  Stay tuned for updates.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above.  If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Retention:  Parents may be wondering about the achievement of grade level competencies and whether students may need to be retained in a grade.  We’ve learned from speaking with leaders from other New Hampshire school districts that remote learning has infringed on grade level learning for many, if not most, students.  Our teachers have adjusted their plans and curriculum content in response to our remote learning challenges.

  • Grades K-7: if teachers are recommending retention for any students in these grades, parents would have been notified by now.  If parents have not yet been notified, students and parents may assume that students will be promoted to the next grade.

It is our intent – and that of most schools nation-wide – to meet our younger students “where they are” in the fall; this means that we will be adjusting our curriculum and competency expectations next year (and possibly for another year, depending on school status next year) to ensure that students will progress through our curriculum and achieve competencies that build on prior learning.  We’ll all need to adjust our expectations in a transition back to on-site learning in our schools.

  • Grades 8-12: these grades are different from the earlier grades in that progress in courses and the awarding of course credit is dependent on achievement of course competencies.  a number of eighth grade students and their parents have been advised, beginning earlier in the school year, that students may be in danger of retention due to incomplete achievement of competencies.

 

Students in grades 9-12 will be granted course credit if required competencies have been achieved; for some students, this may require additional work next year on this year’s courses.  It is not entirely unusual for some students to need additional time to complete competencies during the summer or early fall.

 

Of course, carry-over in courses is less than ideal and requires students to assume a larger than usual work load.  Because of this, students in grades 8-12 are strongly encouraged to make every effort to complete current course competencies before the end of this school year next month.

Seniors.  Regarding graduation and senior activities, we have surveyed seniors regarding some preferences and are working with our senior class advisors, who play an important role in planning for graduation events.  Key details regarding senior events:

  • Awards Night (virtual): Friday, June 5
    • Traditional line-up of Awards Night activities and presentations
  • Check Out for Seniors: our check out process for seniors will be a bit different this year; look for check-out forms – which will require the return of equipment, settling of accounts, etc. – in the coming weeks.
  • Drake Field Posters: drive past Drake Field to see photos of our graduation seniors being celebrated on their individual posters on display
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): as soon as can be scheduled
    • Seniors voted overwhelmingly to wait until all can be together for our traditional ceremony at PMHS
    • However, it’s looking more unlikely that we’ll be able to conduct a traditional ceremony, even in August
    • We’re looking at additional options not previously considered; we’ll be working with seniors and senior class advisors to determine our next steps; stay tuned!
  • Last Day: the last day of school for our seniors is scheduled for Friday, May 29
  • Photo Opportunities: Saturday, June 6
    • Seniors and families schedule time for professional photos at PMHS
  • Pittsfield Post: our Pittsfield Post will be devoting several pages to our graduating seniors in an upcoming issue
  • Senior Parade: scheduled for 5:00 p.m., Saturday, June 6; details will be coming; all seniors and families are enthusiastically encouraged to participate
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors
  • WMUR Graduation Special: WMUR has reached out to high schools for info on graduating classes in preparation for an hour-long special honoring the 15,000 New Hampshire graduates; PMHS will be participating in the special, which will be aired at 7:00 p.m. during the week of June 8; more info to follow

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

Summer Programs.  We’ve had questions about several of the district’s summer programs:  the Drake Field Summer Program, PMHS Summer Academies, and summer school.  We anticipate that the School Board may finalized decisions on summer programs this week.

Of course, Memorial Day also represents the unofficial start of summer.  Summer 2020 will be different from any that we’ve experienced, that’s for sure.  We wish you all the best for a fun summer nonetheless.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #20 – May 14, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Another great weather week! Hope that you’re able to enjoy it despite the black fly interference.

Reminder, we are putting the titles of any sections that contain new info in bold to help you focus on updates.  We’ll be keeping relevant old information on our Thursday messages.

This week’s updates:

Attendance.  Reminder to students and families that our teachers are taking daily student attendance during our check-in’s with students and through student participation in learning activities.  We’re observing an increase of daily attendance at PES and a decrease at PMHS compared with our first three weeks of remote learning:

  • PES
    • First 3 weeks of remote learning: 83.3% daily attendance rate
    • May 4-7: 87.6% daily attendance rate
  • PMHS
    • First 3 weeks of remote learning: 83.0% daily attendance rate
    • May 4-7: 78.3% daily attendance rate

Of course, non-attendance will result in significant “learn loss” according to education researchers, with some students potentially erasing all gains made in the first portion of the academic year; our younger students are particularly vulnerable.

As previously noted, the district is responsible for monitoring student attendance. In situations where students and families have been absent and non-responsive, we are required to follow up.  We are working with the Pittsfield Police Department to conduct wellness checks under these circumstances and are making reports to the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families when necessary as required by law.

As always, we strongly encourage good school attendance and are very appreciative of Pittsfield families for your support of student learning and good school attendance.

CARES Act Funds for Pittsfield.  The district will be receiving $264,000 in new funds authorized by the CARES Act.  The funds are intended to address spending needs that are being experienced by the district in response to the pandemic.  As you can assume, the district has expended funds for unanticipated emergency needs (such as technology) and anticipates additional expenses in the months ahead.

End-of-Year Transition Celebrations.  Virtual versions of several end-of-year transition celebrations, as well as several special events, are being planned.  Our general aim is to include all the traditional elements of end-of-year celebrations to the greatest extend possible.  Celebrations are scheduled as follows:

  • Kindergarten – 6:00 p.m., Monday, June 8
  • Fifth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 9
  • Sixth Grade – 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 10
  • Eighth Grade – 6:00n p.m., Thursday, June 11
  • PES Whole School Morning Meeting – 8:30 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • PMHS End-of-Year Assembly – 11:00 a.m., Friday, June 12
  • End-of-Year Staff Parade – 2:00 p.m., Friday, June 12

Access info will be provided as we approach these important transition events.

Exhibition Night. In place of our annual Exhibition Night this June, our students will be presenting a virtual Celebration of Student Learning, which will be scheduled during the short week of May 26 to May 29.  Our celebration will be a toned-down version of our usual Exhibition Night, which we look forward to renewing in the spring of 2021.  Watch for details.

Last Day of School.  The Pittsfield School Board has established Friday, June 12, as the last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year.  We plan to wrap up new instruction on Friday, June 5, and utilize the week of June 8 to June 12 to provide small group and individualized support for competency strengthening and course completion.  We’ll have more info as we get closer to these dates.

Learning Materials.  Learning materials pick-ups are scheduled for every two weeks.  Our next pick-up will take place next week, on Thursday, May 21.  Remember also that all pick-ups are scheduled for PES, regardless of the grade.  Materials not picked up will be mailed to student homes on Friday; an exception would be for tech equipment or other large materials, which will be delivered by school bus during daily food delivery runs.

Collection of learning materials for all students is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16. Textbooks, science and art materials, and other district equipment will be collected at this time.  Except for graduating seniors, no student-issued computers will be collected at that time; students will be holding on to computers through the summer in anticipation of a potential need to utilize remote technology when school gets going again in August.  More info will follow as we get closer to the collection dates.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request. At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries 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.

Good news about our food deliveries: the state has received a waiver from the Department of Agriculture to continue our food distribution through the entire month of June.

Moving to PMHS Webinar.  Due to our social distancing requirements, we will not be able to hold our usual in-person orientation for students and parents moving from PES to PMHS.  So, we will be conducting two orientation webinars to help ease the upcoming transition for both students and parents.  Mark your calendars for these two important events:

  • Grade 5 Move-Up Orientation Webinar: 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 19
  • Grade 6 Move-Up Orientation Webinar: 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 20

Access details will be forthcoming.

Moving Out of Pittsfield.  Families who may be moving out of Pittsfield are reminded that families are required to return any district materials and complete a check-out process.  If you are planning to move out of Pittsfield, you are respectfully requested to initiate the check-out process by contacting one the district officials identified below:

Next School Year, 2020-2021:  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education has convened a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and the eventual re-opening of our schools.  The Commissioner expects to provide this guidance to school districts by the end of June.  We expect to have more information about our next school year at about that time.  In the meantime, we’ll be living with uncertainty about re-opening and the 2020-2021 school year.

PES Class Placement.  As always, parent input regarding class placement for our next school year is appreciated and is given consideration as we develop our new class groupings.  This year, we’re not quite sure about what our school opening will look like for our students and families.  Our plan is to solicit input from parents and teachers, but hold off on class development until we have a better idea of what our 2020-2021 opening will require.  Stay tuned for updates.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above. If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Retention:  Parents may be wondering about the achievement of grade level competencies and whether students may need to be retained in a grade.  We’ve learned from speaking with leaders from other New Hampshire school districts that remote learning has infringed on grade level learning for many, if not most, students.  Our teachers have adjusted their plans and curriculum content in response to our remote learning challenges.

  • Grades K-7: if teachers are recommending retention for any students in these grades, parents would have been notified by now. If parents have not yet been notified, students and parents may assume that students will be promoted to the next grade.

It is our intent – and that of most schools nation-wide – to meet our younger students “where they are” in the fall; this means that we will be adjusting our curriculum and competency expectations next year (and possibly for another year, depending on school status next year) to ensure that students will progress through our curriculum and achieve competencies that build on prior learning. We’ll all need to adjust our expectations in a transition back to on-site learning in our schools.

  • Grades 8-12: these grades are different from the earlier grades in that progress in courses and the awarding of course credit is dependent on achievement of course competencies. a number of eighth grade students and their parents have been advised, beginning earlier in the school year, that students may be in danger of retention due to incomplete achievement of competencies.Students in grades 9-12 will be granted course credit if required competencies have been achieved; for some students, this may require additional work next year on this year’s courses. It is not entirely unusual for some students to need additional time to complete competencies during the summer or early fall.Of course, carry-over in courses is less than ideal and requires students to assume a larger than usual work load. Because of this, students in grades 8-12 are strongly encouraged to make every effort to complete current course competencies before the end of this school year next month.

Seniors.  Regarding graduation and senior activities, we have surveyed seniors regarding some preferences and are working with our senior class advisors, who play an important role in planning for graduation events.  Key details regarding senior events:

  • Awards Night (virtual): Friday, June 5
    • Traditional line-up of Awards Night activities and presentations
  • Check Out for Seniors: our check out process for seniors will be a bit different this year; look for check-out forms – which will require the return of equipment, settling of accounts, etc. – in the coming weeks.
  • Drake Field Posters: drive past Drake Field to see photos of our graduation seniors being celebrated on their individual posters on display
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): as soon as can be scheduled
    • Seniors voted overwhelmingly to wait until all can be together for our traditional ceremony at PMHS
  • Last Day: the last day of school for our seniors is scheduled for Friday, May 29
  • Lawn Signs: we’re looking into providing lawn signs for senior families to utilize to demonstrate our pride in the accomplishments of all our seniors to replace our lobby stars for this year’s grads
  • Photo Opportunities: Saturday, June 6
    • Seniors and families schedule time for professional photos at PMHS
  • Pittsfield Post: our Pittsfield Post will be devoting several pages to our graduating seniors in an upcoming issue
  • Senior Parade: scheduled for 5:00 p.m., Saturday, June 6; details will be coming; all seniors and families are enthusiastically encouraged to participate
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

Summer Programs.  We’ve had questions about several of the district’s summer programs:  the Drake Field Summer Program, PMHS Summer Academies, and summer school.  We have been advised that guidance on summer programs from our state Department of Education will be provided to districts by the middle of May, so we expect to have an update on our summer programs by the end of May.

As always, we greatly appreciate our family partnerships to support our students, but partnerships have never been more important than during this pandemic. We recognize that remote learning has placed additional stress on families.  Your commitment to partnering with teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, and other school officials is vitally important for all our students.  We thank you most sincerely for your support.

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations

COVID-19 Community Update #19 – May 7, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Haven’t we been fortunate to have some great weather this week!  We hope that you are enjoying it, whether indoors or out.

Reminder that we will be discontinuing our Monday communications at this time as we’re finding that very little is changing at this point between our Thursday messages and Mondays.

Also, we’ll be putting the titles of any new info in bold to help you focus on new information.  We’ll be keeping some old information on our Thursday messages as some information may be relevant as we move toward the end of our school year.

Below you’ll find today’s messages:

Attendance.  Our teachers are taking daily student attendance during our check-in’s with students and through student participation in learning activities.  Non-attendance will result in significant “learn loss” according to education researchers, with some students potentially erasing all gains made in the first portion of the academic year; our younger students are particularly vulnerable.  As always, students are strongly encouraged to maintain good, responsible attendance.

End-of-Year Transition Celebrations.  Virtual versions of several end-of-year transition celebrations are being planned.  Our general aim is to include all the traditional elements of these celebrations to the greatest extend possible.  Virtual celebrations are scheduled as follows:

  • Kindergarten – Monday, June 8
  • Fifth Grade – Tuesday, June 9
  • Sixth Grade – Wednesday, June 10
  • Eighth Grade – Thursday, June 11

Exhibition Night. In place of our annual Exhibition Night this June, our students will be presenting a virtual Celebration of Student Learning, which will be scheduled during the short week of May 26 to May 29.  Our celebration will be a toned-down version of our usual Exhibition Night, which we look forward to renewing in the spring of 2021.  Watch for details.

Field Day.  PES PE teacher Brandon Balser (Thank you, Mr. Balser!) has registered PES for participation in the National Open Field Day, which will take place tomorrow, Friday, May 8.
To get on board for this fun event:   https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cXZJTyZPiSc7uYJUSHJRuxrGapPIYXILGOowTpUw_wo/edit?ts=5e9dee60.

Last Day of School.  The Pittsfield School Board has established Friday, June 12, as the last day of school for our 2019-2020 school year.  We plan to wrap up new instruction on Friday, June 5, and utilize the week of June 8 to June 12 to provide small group and individualized support for competency strengthening and course completion.  We’ll have more info as we get closer to these dates.

Learning Materials.  Learning materials pick-ups are scheduled for every two weeks.  Our next pick-up will take place on Thursday, May 21.  Remember also that all pick-ups are scheduled for PES, regardless of the grade.  Materials not picked up will be mailed to student homes on Friday; an exception would be for tech equipment or other large materials, which will be delivered by school bus during daily food delivery runs.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily or between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon for families who opt to pick up meals at PES.  In addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day.  Be assured that the district and our food service contractor are utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Weekend meals are also being provided upon request.  At present, the district is providing about 200 meals to students on a daily basis, with our Friday meal count at around 600 meals, which include weekends.

Families who receive meal deliveries are requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize personal 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 for supporting our students in the pandemic!

Our PES and PMHS food pantries 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.

Good news about our food deliveries:  the state has received a waiver from the Department of Agriculture to continue our food distribution through the entire month of June.

Moving to PMHS Webinar.  Due to our social distancing requirements, we will not be able to hold our usual in-person orientation for students and parents moving from PES to PMHS.  So, we will be conducting two orientation webinars to help ease the upcoming transition for both students and parents.  Mark your calendars for these two important events:

  • Grade 5 Move-Up Orientation Webinar: 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 19
  • Grade 6 Move-Up Orientation Webinar: 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 20

Access details will be forthcoming.

National Honor Society.  A virtual NHS Induction Ceremony will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13; congratulation to our new NHS inductees!

Next School Year, 2020-2021:  Our next school is scheduled to get underway with our students on in late August.  What will it look like?  Well, we just don’t know yet.  Our New Hampshire Commissioner of Education is forming a task force to develop recommendations for local school districts regarding the fall and eventual re-opening of our schools.  The Commissioner expects to provide this guidance to school districts by the end of June.  We expect to have more information about our next school year at about that time.  In the meantime, we’ll be living with uncertainty about re-opening and the 2020-2021 school year.

PES Class Placement.  As always, parent input regarding class placement for our next school year is appreciated and is given consideration as we develop our new class groupings.  This year, we’re not quite sure about what our school opening will look like for our students and families.  Our plan is to solicit input from parents and teachers, but hold off on class development until we have a better idea of what our 2020-2021 opening will require.  Stay tuned for updates.

Playgrounds.  In the interest of minimizing potential coronavirus spread, the Pittsfield School Board has closed the district’s playgrounds (Drake Field and PES), as well as the basketball court and tennis courts at Drake Field.  We are sorry for this inconvenience and look forward to the reopening of the district’s playgrounds.  Drake Field itself is remaining open with the caution that citizens practice safe social distancing while at the field.

Preschool and Kindergarten Registrations.  Families who would like to have your preschool children entered into the annual lottery for preschool slots are requested to complete a pre-registration form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf63irLZKfIRr6DWQ65g9PFmVs2Klcc-ChVo5Co90AsweJ_gA/viewform

Families who are anticipating that a child in your household will begin kindergarten next year – reaching the age of 5 years old by September 30, 2020 – are also asked to complete the pre-registration form linked above.  If you know of other families who may be interested in kindergarten registration, and who may not be receiving this message, please pass along this information.

Retention:  Parents may be wondering about the achievement of grade level competencies and whether students may need to be retained in a grade.  We’ve learned from speaking with leaders from other New Hampshire school districts that remote learning has infringed on grade level learning for many, if not most, students.  Our teachers have adjusted their plans and curriculum content in response to our remote learning challenges.

  • Grades K-7: if teachers are recommending retention for any students in these grades, parents would have been notified by now.  If parents have not yet been notified, students and parents may assume that students will be promoted to the next grade.

It is our intent – and that of most schools nation-wide – to meet our younger students “where they are” in the fall; this means that we will be adjusting our curriculum and competency expectations next year (and possibly for another year, depending on school status next year) to ensure that students will progress through our curriculum and achieve competencies that build on prior learning.  We’ll all need to adjust our expectations in a transition back to on-site learning in our schools.

  • Grades 8-12: these grades are different from the earlier grades in that progress in courses and the awarding of course credit is dependent on achievement of course competencies.  a number of eighth grade students and their parents have been advised, beginning earlier in the school year, that students may be in danger of retention due to incomplete achievement of competencies.

 

Students in grades 9-12 will be granted course credit if required competencies have been achieved; for some students, this may require additional work next year on this year’s courses.  It is not entirely unusual for some students to need additional time to complete competencies during the summer or early fall.

 

Of course, carry-over in courses is less than ideal and requires students to assume a larger than usual work load.  Because of this, students in grades 8-12 are strongly encouraged to make every effort to complete current course competencies before the end of this school year next month.

Seniors.  Regarding graduation and senior activities, we have surveyed seniors regarding some preferences and are working with our senior class advisors, who play an important role in planning for graduation events.  Key details regarding senior events:

  • Awards Night (virtual): Friday, June 5
    • Traditional line-up of Awards Night activities and presentations
  • Check Out for Seniors: our check out process for seniors will be a bit different this year; look for check-out forms – which will require the return of equipment, settling of accounts, etc. – in the coming weeks.
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): as soon as can be scheduled
    • Seniors voted overwhelmingly to wait until all can be together for our traditional ceremony at PMHS
  • Last Day: the last day of school for our seniors is scheduled for Friday, May 29
  • Lawn Signs: we’re looking into providing lawn signs for senior families to utilize to demonstrate our pride in the accomplishments of all our seniors to replace our lobby stars for this year’s grads
  • Photo Opportunities: Saturday, June 6
    • Seniors and families schedule time for professional photos at PMHS
  • Pittsfield Post: our Pittsfield Post will be devoting several pages to our graduating seniors in an upcoming issue
  • Senior Parade: stay tuned for details
  • Senior Spotlight: see our district Facebook page for senior spotlights which include senior photos and brief biographical information on each of our graduating seniors

School and SAU Offices.  Reminder that 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.

Summer Programs.  We’ve had questions about several of the district’s summer programs:  the Drake Field Summer Program, PMHS Summer Academies, and summer school.  We have been advised that guidance on summer programs from our state Department of Education will be provided to districts by the middle of May, so we’ll have more information on our summer programs in a few weeks.

Finally, we wish all our Pittsfield moms a very Happy Mothers’ Day!

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations