Superintendent's Message

Face Masks and Upcoming Events

April 30, 2020

Dear Families:

Concord town officials asked that I remind families of both social distancing and especially, the Governor’s advisory to wear face masks.  The advisory comes in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.  Wearing a mask protects others.

The CDC published information here:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health published information here:

Tomorrow, we will host another Virtual Coffee at 3 p.m.

We are working with the Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) to host a forum for special education parents on Wednesday, May 6 at 10 a.m.

The school nurses will soon be in touch with families about collecting medication.  We are developing a plan for all students to collect belongings.



National Field Day and More

April 29, 2020

Dear Families:

We continue to look for inventive modes of engagement and to find a means to maintain some of our spring traditions.  At the elementary schools, Field Day is a huge event every year.  Please see the message below from the elementary physical education staff. Other information items follow this note.

Hello Concord Families-

As many of you know, one of the favorite events at our Elementary schools each Spring is their annual Field Day.  Unfortunately, as we are not returning to our beloved buildings this Spring, we are not able to hold Field Day.  But wait…..Mr. Gaudreau (Alcott),  Mrs. Murphy (Thoreau), and Mr. Germond (Willard) have found an exciting alternative Field Day.

The National Field Day 2020 is being organized and shared by The On-line Physical Education Network, or OPEN.  This fun-filled day will take place on Friday, May 8, 2020, and includes thousands of schools across all 50 states.  It is designed to be a relaxing, fun, family event, and please don’t feel obligated to participate if it doesn’t work for your family.

There are over 20 creative games that use items commonly found in our homes.  The links below will bring you to each school’s PE website and have all the information needed to explain this fun event.  Of course, feel free to contact your child’s PE teacher if there are additional questions.  They will update their websites with any new or important information as we get closer to the event on May 8, 2020.  So explore the links below, which will highlight event information, activities, practice plans,  and much more and we look forward to having our schools be part of this event.


Tim Gaudreau – Alcott PE

Mike Germond – Willard PE

Beth Murphy – Thoreau PE

Alcott National Field Day 2020 Page

Willard National Field Day 2020 Page

Thoreau National Field Day 2020 Page

The school nurses of Concord and Carlisle organized a food donation to the housekeepers, respiratory therapists, and anesthesiologists at Emerson.  Here are some great photos:

We will continue to provide food every weekday morning at CCHS for those in need through the end of the school year. We are so fortunate to have had so much community support for this work.  If you’d like to make a financial donation, you can do so at:    A special thank you to the staff who volunteer every day to help with distribution.  I offer a special thanks to Bryce MacKnight, our Food Service Director, and Jess Brown of the food service department who helps him devotedly.    Friday is School Lunch Hero Day!  They are among the many heroes in the community!



CCHS Guidance Session for Parents and Other Information

April 28, 2020

Dear Families:

On Thursday at 2:30 p.m., the CCHS Adjustment Counselors will host a session for parents about supporting their high school students.  The Zoom information is found at the bottom of this email.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education posted update guidance for schools regarding remote learning on their COVID-19 webpage:  This will serve as a reference for our Phase 3 work.

The Department of Public Health is hosting a Youth Town Hall on Thursday at 2 pm. Youth can ask public health and medical experts about COVID-19 and talk to other teens about ways to keep the community safe.  Register at

Acton-Boxborough Superintendent Peter Light shared thoughtful reflections about the crisis both as superintendent and parent.  He captures well our work in education right now from both the personal and professional perspectives.   His letter to the community is found here: I hope you’ll hear the takeaway message.  We are all in this together as we navigate the challenges, the positives, the negatives and the emotions that accompany it all. We are all doing our best in unknown and unpredictable environments.  Thank you for your support.




You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When: Apr 30, 2020 02:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: CCHS Guidance

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Password: 339011

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +13126266799,,97314787259#  or +19292056099,,97314787259#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 312 626 6799  or +1 929 205 6099  or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 253 215 8782

Webinar ID: 973 1478 7259

International numbers available:

Phase 3 Topics and Upcoming Meetings

April 27, 2020

Dear Families:

Phase 3 of our remote learning plan is moving along.  Among the topics we plan to address:

  • increased live opportunities with teachers
  • increased accountability
  • increased structure
  • additional approaches to student engagement

We expect to share more information over the coming week.

The Joint School Committees meet tomorrow morning at 9 am.  The agenda is found here as is the Zoom login:

The Concord Middle School Sustainability Subcommittee meets on Wednesday at noon.  Please find the agenda and Zoom information here:

The Concord Middle School Building Committee meets on Thursday at 7:30 a.m.  The agenda and Zoom information is found here:

Minuteman Media Network is an excellent way to view local meetings on television or online (

If young children need an introduction or overview of why people are wearing facemasks, this social story may be helpful:

Finally, the middle school enjoyed a virtual assembly this morning from the empty Sanborn auditorium.  It was outstanding and could be enjoyed by all.  It is posted here:




This Week

April 26, 2020

Dear Families:

On Friday night, we received additional guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as to the remote learning plan for the remainder of the school year.  We are actively reviewing this document and analyzing the survey results in relation to the extensions we already had planned.  The survey remains open until tomorrow afternoon if you wish to respond: We always value feedback and are appreciative of your time.

We are developing an electronic student registration system that will be available for all incoming Kindergarten students by the end of May.  This should allow us to ensure the flow of Kindergarten registration goes smoothly.

We invite students, families, and middle school staff to an empowering and motivational live assembly — “School is Not Closed for the School Year” — emanating from an empty Sanborn auditorium at Concord Middle School tomorrow, Monday, April 27th, at 8 am.   Middle school parents should watch for an email early tomorrow morning.

CCHS parents received an invitation for an information session for parents of juniors to be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

The CCHS guidance department will also hold a session for parents on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Watch for details to follow.



Upcoming Community Events

April 25, 2020

Dear Families:

I hope you got outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather!  Tonight, I sharing a number of upcoming events in the community.


The Center for Parents and Teachers invites all interested parents/grandparents/guardians to join Dr. Rachel Kramer for a free webinar:

School’s Closed and Children Are Home: Practical Strategies for Helping Families Cope

Wednesday,  April 29, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Dr. Kramer will provide strategies and guidance for families and will allow ample time for parents to ask questions.  Can’t join live?  There are links to all of the recorded webinars on Dr. Kramer’s website –

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Password: 813729


Emerson Hospital’s 5k VIRTUAL Run~Walk for Cancer Care

May 11-25, 2020 | EmersonHospital.Org/5k

Run~Walk a Distance … From a [SOCIAL] Distance – Join us as we take our annual family-friendly event virtual from May 11-25. We’re meeting you where you are – in your living room, backyard or local trail.

Here’s our reality: Cancer patients continue to need treatment – even during a health care crisis of this magnitude.  What better time for us, as a community, to support local health care.

Together, we can do this – we must do this – for our Cancer Care Center! Run, Walk or Stroll(er) and help us reach our goal!

Registration is easy and family packages are available! Create a neighborhood, organization, business or school group challenge and have some fun!

For updates and to share “How You Run~Walk’, follow us on Facebook at @EmersonHospital5k 


Concord Free Public Library

Concord Reads

The Concord Free Public Library invites the whole community to join our online reading program and engage with each other about what you’re reading!  You can track your reading progress, earn reading incentives, and connect with your community. We also have activities to help people stay on track with their reading goals. We have three programs: Concord Read for Adults, Concord Read for Teens, and Concord Read for Kids–all of which have specific prize badges and activities geared towards their general interests. You can also share your reading progress on social media with the hashtag #ConcordReads”

Register at:

Library Trustee Cristina Coletta Blau reads One Morning in Maine
Enjoy a special bedtime story on Facebook Premiere as part of our #ConcordReads community reading program on Friday May 1, at 7 pm.

Concord Free Public Library Trustee, Cristina Coletta Blau reads aloud from One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey. This Caldecott Honor Book tells the story of a girl named Sal. Today is a special day for Sal because she gets to go to Buck’s Harbour with her dad. But when she wakes up to brush her teeth with her baby sister, she discovers something shocking…. Her tooth is loose! And that’s just the start of a huge day!

Toddler Story Time Online 

Thursday April 30 10 am

Toddler Story time is moving online while the Library is closed. We’ll go live with Facebook Premiere every Thursday morning at 10 am. If you can’t make it to our live story time, the video will be available with the rest of our videos on our Facebook page so you can enjoy this program from the safety and convenience of your home.



Read to Luna the Dog on Zoom

Friday May 1, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Read to a good listener who loves stories! Luna misses hearing your stories while the library is closed. She’s ready to connect with you using Zoom meeting platform. Register here and we’ll share the Zoom link information.  This event is for children ages 5+.

Survey Reminder, Talent Show, Etc.

April 24, 2020

Dear Families:

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey so far!  The survey is open until Monday so please fill it out if you haven’t:


The Virtual Talent Show was an amazing success!  The recording is posted here:

I mistakenly omitted Lev Podolska from Alcott so his performance is posted here:

One other correction when you view the show is that Grayson Alloway is a fifth grader at Thoreau rather than fourth as the slide shows.

Thank you to all of our student performers!


The recording of the Virtual Coffee at 3 pm is posted here:

A colleague shared an interesting article on what is ahead for schools.  We are actively discussing everything mentioned here.

Finally, I share a resource for talking with very young children about what is happening entitled “When Can I Go Back to School?”.  It is found here:

Have a good night.




Virtual Talent Show Friday 12:30 pm

April 22, 2020

Dear Families:

On Friday at 12:30 p.m., we will present a Virtual Talent Show.  Approximately 50 students from K-12 are signed up to share their many talents.  I’ll be sending Zoom information via another email tomorrow.

Virtual Coffee with the Superintendent and District Leaders will happen on Friday at 3 p.m.  Zoom information to follow soon as well.

The Concord Middle School Building Committee meets tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m.  The agenda and login information is found here:

Our partners at Challenge Success posted a number of resources for parents during the COVID-19 crisis and school closures:

Sesame Street is partnering with CNN for a special program for children about coronavirus.  More information is found here:

The Center for Parents and Teachers has an upcoming parent program about social media and mental health.  The details are found below.

Have a great night.



“Social Media and Mental Health” Wed, May 6, 7:30 to 9 PM online
Is there an increase in adolescent mood disorders and is social media to blame? Articles, research and our guts tell us to worry about how much time are kids are spending online. Is it warranted? Can we work with our adolescents to help them achieve digital wellness? Yes, we can! Join presenters from Turning Life On to uncover practical strategies you can implement today to help your kids embrace digital wellness and the human experience by keeping tech in check. This seminar is offered in collaboration with Turning Life On and is free, but registration is required. To register go to

The folks at Turning Life On will send you the event link to the zoom platform a day or so beforehand.

Follow-Ups to Today’s Closure Announcement

April 21, 2020

Dear Families:

I write to follow-up on a few points after the Governor’s announcement this afternoon.  First, I mistakenly wrote that schools were closed for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.  Apparently, the last month feels like years!  I should have written that schools are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Commissioner of Education Riley referenced four phases to the closure and reopening process.  We are at the beginning of phase three.  His memo outlining the structure of these phases is found here:  We expect the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to issue additional remote learning guidance as well as resources about the reentry process.

As previously mentioned, we planned a survey this week to gather input and feedback about the virtual learning process so far.  That should be forthcoming shortly.  We will also provide additional information before the break is over as to the additions and changes we already have in place.  This process must be iterative so your input is critical.

Finally, if you have individual questions, concerns or other feedback, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the district level or building administrators.  We value those discussions and want to be available to you.



Governor Orders School Closed for Remainder of the Year

April 21, 2020

Dear Families:

A few minutes ago Governor Baker ordered all of the school in Massachusetts to remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year given concerns over public safety and efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

While very appropriate given the circumstances, this is incredibly difficult news for everyone.  We may have known it was likely but hearing the official word makes it formal and final.  We have actively been preparing for this possibility and are confident in the remote learning plan we are providing to students.  We are reviewing its effectiveness and prepared to make small tweaks as necessary based on our experiences and your feedback.

We are actively reviewing events scheduled for the spring and looking to reschedule the essential activities electronically or by other means.  Events of great tradition, like graduation, we are expecting to hold in person whenever it is safe to do so.  We also understand that students likely need access to the schools to collect belongings and are working on those plans.

Your partnership over these first five weeks has been critical and invaluable.  We look to continue that same relationship over the coming months to ensure the stability, connections, and well-being of all students and families.



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