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 Restructuring. The 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 (firstname.lastname@example.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 (email@example.com). 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:
- PES Students Moving: Pam Miller at 435-5526 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- PMHS Students Moving: Melissa Brown at 435-6701 or email@example.com
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!
John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools
Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations