COVID-19 Community Update #16 – April 27, 2020

Pittsfield Families,

We hope you are weathering the pandemic “storm” in good health and in good spirits.  We’ll get through this challenge; we appreciate all the support that our students are receiving, despite our new and daily challenges.

A little news for today:

Attendance.  Reminder to families that the district is taking attendance during our daily check-in’s with students and through student participation in learning activities.  Non-participation 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.  As always, students are strongly encouraged to maintain good, responsible attendance.

Colleges and Universities.  Upper level students and families may be concerned about the potential impact of remote learning on post-secondary plans.  Please rest assured that this has been a concern of us as well.  Melissa Brown, our Director of Career Readiness, has participated in conversations with college and university admission officials, organized by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

We are happy to report that the admissions officials recognize that these are unusual times and that all upper level high school students are in the same boat.  With this conclusion comes assurances that students will not be penalized, in terms of post-secondary plans, by the nature of school learning at this time.

End-of-Year Transition Celebrations.  In addition to our PMHS graduation ceremony, several other end-of-year transition celebrations are being scheduled and planned.  Given our present circumstances, these celebrations will likely be conducted remotely.  Our general plan is to include all the traditional elements of these celebrations to the greatest extend possible.  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. Our very popular annual Exhibition Night, scheduled for Thursday, June 4, will not be held this year.  In its place, our students and teachers will be planning a virtual Celebration of Student Learning, which will be scheduled at about the same timeframe.  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 on Friday, May 8.  For more info on 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.  Reminder that next year’s calendar has also been established by the Board and is posted on the district website.

Learning Materials.  Learning materials pick-ups are scheduled for every two weeks.  Our next pick-up will take place on Thursday, May 7.  Remember also that all pick-ups are 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.  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 now 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.

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

Personal Belongings.  Because of the continuation of school closure through the end of the school year, district staff are collecting all personal belongings of our students – from cubbies, classrooms, lockers, etc. – and ready belongings for pick-up by students and parents.  Pick-up for PMHS is scheduled for Thursday, May 7, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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.  Regarding graduation and senior activities, our PMHS administration reached out to seniors and their families this week.  Key details shared regarding senior events.

  • Awards Night (virtual): Friday, June 5
    • Traditional line-up of Awards Night activities and presentations
  • Photo Opportunities: Saturday, June 6
    • Seniors and families schedule time for professional photos at PMHS
    • Other June 6 celebrations under discussion
  • Graduation Ceremony (in-person): as soon as can be scheduled

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.

We wish you the best for a happy, positive week!

Sincerely,

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations