COVID-19 Community Update #11 – April 9, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

Good afternoon to you!  We don’t know about you, but many of feel the isolation more severely and the stay-at-home guidance more challenging on these gray, rainy days, while the sunny days are not quite so heavy.  We sincerely hope that you are doing well and that your family remains in good health and good spirits.

Here’s the latest district news:

Attendance.  Reminder to families that the district is required to take attendance during our daily check-in’s with students. Reminder that school attendance impacts student achievement and that our attendance records impact the amount of state aid that comes in to Pittsfield.  Because of this, we encourage good attendance during our remote learning period.

Our school attendance at both schools has been down about 10% in the remote learning period.  Of course, most important in this number, is the fact that a larger proportion of our students are missing out on important learning experiences that contribute to student success, both while in school and later on during students’ post-secondary pursuits.  Your help in ensuring excellent attendance is great appreciated and is vitally important to both students and the district (and taxpayers!).

CARES Act and Summer Programming.  You may be aware that the CARES Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.  It is anticipated that funds from this new law will reach Pittsfield within the next two months or so.  That means an additional $200,000 to $300,000 will be coming to the district to support student learning in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.  Planning for the wise use of these funds is underway and is likely to include a beefed-up summer program to support our students in the transition back to school in the fall.  We’ll have more info as details are developed.

Counselor Time Extended for 2020-2021.  We received good news this week:  our LDAC (licensed drug and alcohol counselor) will be expanding services next year from four days / week to a full-time five days / week.  This is a result of additional grant funds becoming available to pay for the additional day.  At present, the cost of this position is shared between the district and Second Start in Concord, which has been a collaborator in this work for many years.  We are very pleased that our current counselor – Liz Pellegrini – has confirmed that she will continue to serve our students and families in this role next year.

CRTC.  PMHS students participating in CRTC (Concord Regional Technical Center) programs are advised that the CRTC will be taking April vacation as scheduled later this month.

Learning Materials.  Reminder that we are moving to materials pick-ups every two weeks.  Our next pick-up will be Thursday, April 23.  Remember also that all pick-ups will be scheduled for PES, regardless of the grade.  Materials not picked up on Thursday’s will be mailed to student homes on Friday’s; an exception would be for tech equipment or other large materials, which will be delivered by school bus during daily food delivery runs.

Meals.  The district is providing meals to all students upon request.  At present, we are preparing and providing close to 200 meals per day.  Meals are delivered between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily; in addition to lunch, meals include breakfast for the following day with varied menus for each.  The district is utilizing meal delivery best practices to minimize the danger of potential danger of exposure to the virus.

Some families are opting to pick up meals at PES daily, which is an option available to all.  However, please be advised that our pick-up hours are being reduced to 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon daily.

Families have been requested to leave a cooler or box at your door to minimize contact.  Derek Hamilton is coordinating food deliveries; questions and requests should go to Derek vis email (dhamilton@pittsfieldnhschools.org).  Thanks to our outstanding food service staff!

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

Related Services.  Though we have initiated a 4/1 schedule of instruction (instruction to all students on Monday’s through Thursday’s; Friday’s utilized for office time, individual help, small group work, etc.), our related service providers (speech and language and other therapeutic services provided per individual student plans) will continue to provide services on Friday’s due to scheduling requirements.

Remote Learning Term. Currently, our remote learning term is scheduled through Friday, May 1.  We have been advised, however, that remote learning is likely to continue through the end of the school year.  The Department of Education has advised districts that our governor will likely make the decision on extending remote learning by the end of next week, by Friday, April 17.

Seniors.  PMHS seniors received a survey last week regarding our graduation ceremony and other senior events.  Seniors who have not yet responded are requested to do so asap so that planning for these important events can continue.

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 Activities.   The Pittsfield School Board has postponed a number of activities that were scheduled for this spring during the period that the Board is meeting in emergency session via remote access.  These activities include discussion of the high school options warrant article, meeting with representatives from other schools, and a planned forum on school funding in New Hampshire, among other activities.  The Board is hoping to continue its usual schedule as soon as possible.

School Board Meeting.  During the period of remote learning, the Pittsfield School Board will meet in emergency session.  This means that only “emergency” agenda items may be placed on the Board’s agenda and discussed.  The public may access the Board meeting via a call-in number posted on the meeting agenda as noted on the district website.  Please contact John Freeman (jfreeman@pittsfieldnhschools.org) if you need the call-in information.

And, to our families who celebrate Easter, we wish you a very happy Easter.  It likely won’t be the sort of Easter celebration that you are used to, but it will certainly be a memorable one.

Finally, we thank everyone – siblings, parents, aunts & uncles, grandparents, teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, and everyone else who is contributing to the continuation of student learning during our remote learning period.  Your commitment to our students and willingness to lend a hand and your gracious understanding of a difficult situation is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations