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Superintendent's Message

Concord Middle School

COVID-19 Task Force Update and Anti-Racist Resources

June 4, 2020

Dear Families:

I wanted to provide an update on the COVID-19 Task Force discussions.  This week, each of the COVID-19 Task Force Working Groups met as did the Building-Based Task Forces.  We are grateful for the input of everyone who is engaged with these ten committees.   If you would still like to participate but haven’t heard from us yet, please watch for Focus Group invitations over the coming week.  The District Task Force meets on Wednesday, June 10 at which point we will be reviewing a big picture vision for the 2020-2021 school year and a brief assessment of the work ahead.  It seemed valuable to share the recent guidance released by the state to open camps and daycares since we expect much of it may translate to the directives we expect from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education later this month.  https://eeclead.force.com/resource/1591036172000/Min_Req

 

The Challenge Success program with whom we partner on student wellness posted anti-racist resources for parents. They are posted here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Izv0ZqcK3vca1QnsPgDITTbcG-Y-C88TsZaqQ4GxLnY/edit

We are finalizing plans for parent forums next week to allow for discussion and support.  Please watch for details shortly.

 

Finally, below I share the philanthropic efforts of a CCHS student to support those on the frontline.  We are so proud of the many efforts of our students to support others!

Best,

Laurie

 

My name is Julia Zipoli and I am a sophomore at Concord Carlisle High School. Recently I founded a community service organization called, Caring for the Frontlines – Concord and Carlisle. I am raising money from members of the community and beyond and am also receiving donations from local businesses so that I may recognize essential workers who have worked so hard to keep the community going. I am emailing today regarding this project. So far, I have raised $900 from the community and family members and have begun to recognize one group of essential workers this week with the delivery of pizza for the Carlisle Police Department on Tuesday. Tomorrow, I will be delivering pizza to the Concord Police Department.  To contribute, please use this link:

https://caringforthefrontl.wixsite.com/caring4thefrontlines

 

 

A Letter of Support from CCHS and Cooking with a Student on Friday

June 3, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight, I share two items of very different nature common in that they both promote community.

A CCHS student will host this Friday afternoon’s cooking lesson so he’d love to have live viewers cook along with him:

Join us for our third Q5 Fun Friday!!!  This Friday (June 5th) we have a special guest teacher….your very own rising senior, Jeremy Pietropaolo, class of 2021!!  Jeremy has a love of cooking and has already taught a few classes through the CCRSD Adult & Community Education program.

Jeremy will be teaching you how to make Risotto (mushroom or any vegetable of your choice).   If you’re interested, here’s what you need to do:

Tune in next Friday, June 12th for a lesson on Chocolate!!

Secondly, I share a letter to the community crafted by the teachers at CCHS of the Concord-Carlisle Teachers’ Association.  They asked that I share it with everyone.  It is found below.

Best,

Laurie

 

Dear Communities of Boston, Concord, and Carlisle,

We, the members of the Concord-Carlisle Teachers’ Association, condemn the senseless killing of Black people and the injustices perpetrated against people of color in our country.

We mourn the devastating, continual loss of Black lives and the impact of this loss on all of our communities, especially our Black communities of students, staff, and their families.

We vow to recommit ourselves in our classrooms to addressing racism, including the historical and systemic ways it has functioned and continues to function, and to promote the kind of critical thinking and moral courage required of us, our students, and communities to take action to counter and dismantle it.

Many of us have already renewed these discussions in our virtual classrooms to help all students understand the complexity of recent events, sort truth from misinformation, and to reflect with compassion and critical thinking.

Teachers and staff are also educating and supporting one another pedagogically by sharing anti-racism reading lists and resources, relevant articles to use in the classroom, and upcoming events to attend in support of justice and awareness. In addition, the Concord-Carlisle High School Anti-Racism Group for Educators (CHARGE) continues to offer professional development to staff.

We believe in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and look forward to partnering with you to fulfill them: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

We also stand by the wise words of Coretta Scott King who declared, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

To our students and colleagues of color and their families: We see you, we care about you, and we will be here for you through the summer and beyond.

In solidarity,

Shel Hull

President

Concord-Carlisle Teachers’Association

 

Reopening of School Campuses

June 3, 2020

Dear Families:

As you are aware, Governor Baker allowed access to open spaces for public use as part of the phased approach to reopening.  As a result, the school campuses are reopening today.  We believe strongly in the need for families and individuals to be outside and enjoy outdoor activities.  I do share reminders of the Governor’s directives so that this can occur with both personal and public safety in mind.  The items I share below are found in the May 18, 2020 Memorandum from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs   Please note that the use of playground equipment is not permitted.

Best,

Laurie

 

DPH Orders and Guidelines 

Face Coverings and Masks: All visitors to parks and open space, as well as those participating in outdoor education programs should comply with COVID-19 Order 31: Order Requiring Face Coverings in Public Places Where Social Distancing is Not Possible. The order requires any person over the age of 2, whether indoors or outdoors, to wear a face covering or mask when they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and others, unless they have a medical condition preventing them from doing so (see further guidance here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-state-of-emergency).

Group Size: No groups larger than 10 are allowed to gather: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march- 31-2020-assemblage-guidance/download

Parks and Open Space Guidelines: 

  • Visitors should always practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from others and adhering to all site-specific rules, regulations, and posted signage regarding permitted uses.
  • On trails, walker and hikers should move aside and leave room for others to pass, and cyclists and runners should alert other users when approaching and wait for others to step aside before passing.
  • After visiting public spaces, users should use wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

Athletic Fields and Non-Contact Courts (Non-Organized/Permitted Use) 

Athletic fields and athletic courts can be utilized only for non-contact sports, with no shared equipment, such as tennis and pickleball. No permits should be issued for group gatherings and users should not engage in pick-up games, organized games or tournaments.

Athletic Fields Guidelines: 

  • Users should sanitize hands before and after play, not share equipment, and clean and wipe down equipment.
  • When engaged in play, users should avoid touching other users’ equipment in separate areas.
  • Users waiting to utilize a section or area of the field should wait outside the field of play until previous users have vacated the facility to ensure proper social distancing and prevent accidental contact of other users’ equipment.
  • Users should not engage in pick-up games, organized games, or tournaments.

Athletic Courts (Non-Contact) Guidelines: 

  • Users should sanitize hands before and after play, not share equipment and clean and wipe down equipment, including racquets, balls, and water bottles.
  • Users waiting to utilize a court should wait outside the court’s gates/fence until previous users have vacated the facility to ensure proper social distancing and prevent accidental contact of other users’ equipment.
  • Users should not engage in pick-up games, organized games, or tournaments

 

An Important Letter from Our METCO Director, Good News and SEPAC Meeting

June 2, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight, I start with good news.

This past week, two students were highlighted in the Concord Journal for their help to the Greater Boston Food Bank.   Concord Journal Link

The CCHS administrators received recognition in a Boston Globe article about creative ways to celebrate the Class of 2020.  https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/05/29/metro/with-drive-throughs-yard-signs-photo-ops-seniors-forge-ahead-with-nontraditional-graduations/

CCHS theater students who spring musical was cancelled recreated the “9 to 5” theme for us to enjoy virtually.  Such talent!  Watch it here:  https://youtu.be/to3Xh-BLalc

SEPAC will hold its last meeting of the year tomorrow night at 7 pm.  The Zoom information is here.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83094412835?pwd=SXpqU2pVNGpLQXNhUVcwWWVxWWN1Zz09
Meeting ID: 830 9441 2835
Password: 251886

Finally, I share the poignant words of METCO Director Andrew Nyamekye and his reflections about this race in this country.  I ask that everyone take the time to read, reflect, and reach out if you need to.

Best,

Laurie

 

Dear Parents and Guardians:

As I laid here this morning watching the sunrise, I was reminded that “darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.”  Over the last week and still today, I find myself in deep sadness and in thought trying to process what we all have witnessed in the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and now George Floyd. These stories are all too familiar to us, and it sickens me to my core. This modern-day lynching, by way of officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on the neck of George Floyd I know, infuriates us all. The impact of the murder of George Floyd and that of every senseless killing of unarmed Black men and women by the hands of some racist White police officers will have long-reaching ramifications and the sad reality is, it probably won’t be the last.

I feel that we have been bringing attention to BLACK LIVES MATTER for 400 years. I feel that African Americans cannot continue to be the only ones teaching America about racism and how it systemically infects every foundation of our institutions. I was not born in this country, nor was I born in the sixties but with the historical knowledge that I have gained through my education, what has occurred with the murder of George Floyd, as Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom of Atlanta says, “it feels like America before 1965.” While I know we stand firm in solidarity with George Floyd and his family and are joining forces with those who are standing up for this injustice, we must now more than ever recognize the impact on our youth, particularly, on our Black and Brown boys and girls who are experiencing these events, and the devaluation of the black body. As an educator, the well-being of our Black and Brown students at this pivotal moment in time is at the forefront of my thoughts and feelings. The anxiety around the health pandemic, the interruption of school, and the anxiety our Black and Brown boys and girls are feeling now and how to soothe and cope, will be critical to their well-being; mentally and emotionally, in the days, months and years to come.

As we engage with our children, families, friends, and colleagues, our conversations need to be open and honest conversations. Despite how deep racism runs to the core of this country, and as much as it is painful to open up the wounds of the past, we have to educate ourselves, and our youth, and those who do not know about the past about the long term impact of slavery, remembering the story of Emmitt Till, the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow Era, MLK, and Malcolm X, just to list a few, and yes, even the silver linings such as the Harlem Renaissance where the social and artistic explosion of African American culture manifested in literature, music, stage performance, and art, and the powerful story of Greenwood “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa Oklahoma, where the largest African American townships were located after the civil war, and black-owned businesses and establishments amassed economic power in the 20th century.

While I feel there’s no grand gesture that can mend the list of injustices inflicted on African Americans in this country and around the world, It is my hope that through all of this, we recognize and celebrate our differences and point to the fact that WE CAN come together to bring about justice and effective policy changes in this country- we cannot afford to lose faith and hope. This work, this rebellion needs to be a collective responsibility on everyone and especially, on our White allies and accomplices who are 1) understanding how much of a “punch in the gut” it is for African Americans and communities of color to be marginalized, criticized, and treated unfairly, and 2) are not becoming defensive or take it as a personal attack when the notion of white supremacy and its institutionalization is mentioned. I empower you to continue to speak up and against racism, injustice, lack of equity, and every “ism” in-between when it happens, and hold individuals accountable.

I offer you, your family, your son, or daughter my support. In navigating the current events we are witnessing in this country, please, I ask you do not hesitate to email me at anyamekye@concordps.org if you need to talk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBuIBaDSOa4

An Opportunity

June 1, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight, I write with a heavier heart.  The pain of long-term racism and inequality was felt today as it touched our school community directly and the city of Boston where families in our community live.  We created a plan for staff and student discussions as incident management teams met, staff meetings began, student conversation started and a plan to host community discussions of race drafted.

I see an opportunity here.  We know this is not an immediate solution to the racism that exists in our schools.  We hope, however, that it is a beginning.

I am grateful for the immediate response of The Center for Parents and Teachers as they offer programming focused on children, race and wellness.  That information is found below.

We invite and urge you to join us.
Best,

Laurie

The Center for Parents and Teachers is offering a number of collaborative programs, free to parents and grandparents — (please scroll below) along with a couple of helpful resources on how to speak with your children about racial justice.

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/talking-to-kids-about-racial-violence/

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1598-racism-and-violence-using-your-power-as-a-parent-to-support-children-aged-two-to-five.  (this one is written for parents of younger children but actually has quite a lot of helpful information for parents of older children as well).

(1) Ivy Child International will present its final monthly Mindfulness workshop for Parents, Teachers and Caregivers.

June 3, 7 – 8:30 PM EDT

The theme for this session will be a timely and vitally important offering on Mindfulness and Racial Justice  led by Craig Martin.

Craig Martin, 2018 National Distinguished Principal and Massachusetts Elementary Principal of the Year and 2009 Boston Public Schools’ Educator of the Year, currently serves as the Executive Director of Bridge Boston Charter School in Roxbury, MA.

In six years as Proud Principal of the Michael J. Perkins School, with strategic professional development, partnerships, and investments in socio-emotional learning, culturally responsive pedagogy, trauma-informed practices, mindfulness, 21st Century technology skills development, blended learning, and social media presence, the Michael J. Perkins’ School student achievement has improved over 320% leading to reversals in achievement gaps among English Language Learners and Latino American Learners, a 50% reduction in suspensions, a 25% decline in chronic absenteeism all while being named a 2019 Semi-Finalist for the Edvestors’ School on the Move Prize.

Craig is the founder of the Brown Boys of Boston Ed-Camp, an educational Think Tank of best practices and approaches to how we educate, elevate, and empower our African American and Latino American male youth to their genius potential. Additionally, he served as Co-President of the Boston K8 Principals Association; Founder of the School Leaders of Color Think Tank; and Founder of the Brown Boys Network.

Craig holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Dillard University and a M. Ed in Educational Leadership from Lesley University.

This tremendously important workshop is FREE but you will need to pre-register ahead in order to receive the log-in information. Please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mindfulness-workshops-for-parents-teachers-and-caregivers-tickets-70932516065

(2) Join Dr. Rachel Kramer for a live webinar on “Promoting Social and Emotional Well-being this Summer  for Parents of Preschool to Grade 4”

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 10:30am

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82056947560?pwd=R3QrcWtTVFNiTUkvOFBmWGRINGI5dz09

Password: 759816

(3) Join Dr. Rachel Kramer for a live webinar on “Promoting Social and Emotional Well-being this Summer – for Parents of Tweens and Teens”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 10:30am

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89606308206?pwd=WENWa2luTzBXdWNCZStnOWZFZ1h0dz09

Password: 432289

These webinars will focus on Q&A from parents about how to promote social and emotional well-being during the coronavirus pandemic.  Can’t join live?  All webinars are recorded and posted on Dr. Kramer’s website – www.drrachelkramer.com

Learn about these and other workshops — and how you can support this nonprofit local organization that is able to offer its services through grants and donations — by visiting:
www.centerforparentsandteachers.org

Uniting Us

May 31, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight, I reflect on a wide range of emotions this weekend.  I am deeply saddened and angry about the racial incident yesterday within our community and the horrible, unspeakable tragedy of George Floyd’s death that is having an impact nationally.   We continue to work with the Concord Police Department to investigate the unacceptable media post and ensure that we respond strongly and deter future behavior of this kind.  The district committed to being more culturally competent three years ago, as outlined in the Strategic Plan.  I believe that the work is ongoing and must ensure that we foster a supportive, inclusive environment and educate the next generation about the urgency and the role we all have in creating equity and respect for all.

On the other end of the spectrum, the high school’s collaborative celebration of the Class of 2020 through today’s parade is an event that united us this afternoon. It allowed us to be together, not just physically but emotionally.  Although students and families were in vehicles and the faculty spread out and masked, there was a community atmosphere of making up for lost events, creating long-lasting memories, and honoring every graduate in a very personal way.   The event felt like a symbol for what can be (even if only for an hour) in a world currently filled so much pain from illness, job loss, and racism.

Over and over again, I experience this community’s ability to support one another, come together in crisis, have difficult conversations, and be stronger than we were before.

Best,

Laurie

Summer Food Service Survey and Donation Portal

May 29, 2020

Dear Families:

It has been our pleasure to help to provide food to those in need.  As of this week, approximately 3400 bags of food were made available to those in need at an average of 45 families each weekday.  Since our structures and processes shift as school closes, we need to review our plans for the summer.  We are asking for your help by providing a very brief survey in order to have data to inform our plans.  If you need food to be available this summer, please complete this anonymous survey:  https://forms.gle/yupCkDnxnjBwfZCUA

This service is a result of the incredible generosity of the community.  Donations and grants so far have totaled just over $39,000.  Thank you so much.  Offering food for the summer months will require additional fundraising.  If you are able and interested in giving, please do so via the electronic portal on the food service webpage:  https://www.concordps.org/food-and-nutrition-services/

Thank you for the community’s support of one another.

Best,

Laurie

 

Incoming Kindergarten Registration is Open Please Share

May 28, 2020

Dear Families:

We are thrilled to announce that an electronic registration portal is now available so that incoming Kindergarten students can register.  This was a goal we had planned for two years from now.  Thanks to the Ripley staff we created it in months since we had no other means to register the Class of 2033!

For anyone with a child eligible for Kindergarten in the fall, please go to this page and you will find the instructions as to what you will need and how the process will work.

https://www.concordps.org/new-student-registration-information/

If you know of other families, please pass this along to them so we are sure to reach as many people as possible.

Best,

Laurie

Task Force Work and Highlights from the News

May 27, 2020

Dear Families:

The Concord Journal highlighted these efforts of a Concord Middle School student.  It is great to see students giving back!  View Article Here

The CCHS Class of 2020 car parade has been postponed to Sunday, May 31 given the potential for storms on Saturday.  We look forward to seeing everyone from a distance!

The Concord Education Fund’s Operation Celebration where you can send balloons to the home of a CCHS senior.  The information is found here:  http://concordedfund.org/community-support/operation-celebration/

The District COVID Task Force met this morning.  The recording of the meeting is posted here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eoCBd4JlTf8R1r95Wgcx4pcH4u6DFkLC/view?usp=sharing

The presentation that provides an overview of the process is found here:  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/14MqzjugGr_f_kYxVBMczVyBNVzAnIZauN1RNh7KAKK4/edit?usp=sharing

Two articles published today reflect the work of the Task Force as to what school could look like in the fall are worth reading.  This first one offers comments from Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley:  https://www.boston.com/news/coronavirus/2020/05/27/massachusetts-schools-fall-2020

A Boston Globe article captured all of the questions we are grappling with while being highly committed to a fruitful 2020-2021 school year educationally:  https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/05/26/nation/reopening-public-schools-this-fall-would-come-with-daunting-issues/?p1=HP_TrendingBar

Best,

Laurie

COVID-19 Task Force Meeting Tomorrow and Career Day at CMS

May 26, 2020
Dear Families:

As noted last week, the District COVID-19 Task Force will begin meeting tomorrow morning at 9 am.  The meeting is accessible via the Zoom information below.   We ask that if you plan to join us as an observer that you attend the meeting without your video on.  The meeting will be recorded and posted on the webpage as will the materials that we discuss and other related documents.

In addition to the District Task Force, four working groups are forming (Health and Safety, Blended Innovative Learning, Social and Emotional, Operations) which will have opportunities for members to join.  Each school will also have a building-based task force.  The planning process will ebb and flow between these three groups.

We are so grateful for the outpouring of interest to serve on these committees.  Many of you will be contacted over the next week as to how you could participate.  There will also be opportunities to attend focus groups and forums and to complete surveys engage throughout the creation of the plans for the fall.

Secondly, today was virtual Career Day at the middle school. Click here for a quick video walkthrough of the day.  The day began with Kate Merrill, CCHS graduate and current CMS/CCHS parent going live from the WBZ studio with a keynote address for close to 500 students. There were a total of 56 Zoom presentations for the middle school students today.  The middle school extends their gratitude to the following parents of Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District who presented their careers today: Eve Isenberg, Carla Moynihan, Doug Johnson, Matthew Growney, Steve Valentine, Courtney Eaton, Cassandra Price, Matt Carey, Beth Vause, Dr. Patrick Henning, Emmy Odunze, Rebecca Connolly, Major (Ret) Jon Belmont, Meg Jensen, Dr. Mike Fahey, Charles Babu, A. Eden Evins, Angela Martino, Tia Manchuso, Justin Bull, Leslie Flinn, Christine Hart and Kate Merrill. The middle school also played host to non-parent presenters, including the Assistant Concord Fire Chief, a Visual Artist and Executive Director of Concord Art.

Finally, the day would not have been made possible without the support and participation of the following middle school staff who worked behind the scenes to support this special day for the kids: Valerie Young, Debra Bordonaro, Tara Fernandez-Davila, Sharon Moss, Carol Costello, Paul Crowley, George Lewis, Sarah Pozmanter, Maria McDermott, Rakesh Bhol, Sharon Taft, Richard Murphy, Rachel Balian, Dave Davidson, Karin Baker, Suzie Chapin, Maureen Murphy Baker, Roseanne Katsaris, Joe Meyer, Janice Gullotti, Megan Hogan Stedman, Mary Anderson, Shannon Babu, Brian Revell, Theresa Scalzi, Christine Cunningham, Roseanne Katsaris, Eleanne Roosenburg, Molly Burkhard, Bonnie Echmalian, Jobie Fagans, Elizabeth Stockwood, Cheryl Shea, and Kristen Callahan.

Please enjoy the night!

Best,

Laurie

 

Topic: COVID-19 District Task Force

Time: May 27, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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