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

Pittsfield Families,

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

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

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

District updates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

 

John Freeman, Superintendent of Schools

Derek Hamilton, Dean of Operations