May 31, 2020
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.
May 29, 2020
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.
May 28, 2020
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.
If you know of other families, please pass this along to them so we are sure to reach as many people as possible.
May 27, 2020
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
May 26, 2020
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!
Topic: COVID-19 District Task Force
Time: May 27, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 862 8398 4314
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May 25, 2020
I hope you had a great long weekend!
The CCHS staff will host another cooking lesson on Friday at 4 pm. I’m posting it today so you have more time to gather the ingredients if it is of interest. This week’s delicious recipe is for leek soup! All of the information is found at the bottom of the email.
The Autism Research Center shared a social story about wearing face masks that would be useful with all children of younger ages. You can find it here: https://www.autism.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/face-mask-social-story.pdf
Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders posted a webinar entitled “Parenting During COVID – Helpful Webinar for Parents and Caregivers of Children and Adolescents”. It is posted here: http://www.bu.edu/card/2020/04/15/parenting-during-covid-helpful-webinar-for-parents-and-caregivers-of-children-and-adolescents/
This article from a health care group in NY offers thoughts on how to manage the summer once school is out during COVID-19. The article is found here: https://nyulangone.org/news/schools-out-parents-guide-meeting-challenge-during-covid-19-pandemic
We have regrouped the calendar posted on the district webpage so it can be a resource for the many virtual events going on. You can either look at one school or select the menu to show you a few or all of them. The district calendar is found here: https://www.concordps.org/district-calendar/
Q5 Fun Fridays
Join us for our second Q5 Fun Friday!!! Q5 may not be happening at the end of the semester, but you get a chance to experience some of the courses virtually each Friday! Join us for some fun, live sessions brought to you by the CCHS staff and teachers who were also going to really miss Q5.
This week’s Q5 Fun Friday will be hosted on Zoom by Ms. Lina Smith from the CCHS Foreign Language department! Ms. Smith will be teaching you the Foundations of Cooking while creating a delicious leek soup. If you’re interested, here’s what you need to do:
Hope to see you there!
May 24, 2020
This Memorial Day is unlike any in recent times and yet it also seems more relatable in how we honor those who gave so much in service to others. Although our traditions are not an option, there are still ways to celebrate.
May 23, 2020
Yesterday, METCO Director Andrew Nyamekye joined us for the Virtual Coffee which is now posted at: https://concordps.zoom.us/rec/share/-e16MbDL_UJOaaOU9ETFfY0rBaG9X6a82yAb-6IFmEwvscNh7Rq3bcEcokH506Vx.
He provided a rich update about what is happening with the METCO program during the school closure. As you’ll see below, we are honoring Mr. Nyamekye today through a virtual get well card after he was in a serious car accident in March returning from Boston after delivering laptops to students at their homes. He barely missed a beat in supporting the students and families. Among the many heroes of the crisis, Mr. Nyamkeye is certainly one. Thank you to the CCHS teachers who initiated this effort and wrote the note enclosed below.
To the Communities of Concord, Carlisle and Boston:
As many of you know, our METCO director, Mr. Nyamekye, was involved in a serious car accident while delivering laptops to student homes the week after our schools were closed. He is on the mend, but he suffered serious injuries that require 12 weeks of bed rest and extensive rehab.
Mr. Nyamekye has already received many thoughtful cards from students and staff in the mail. However, he wishes to refrain from reading paper messages for the time being.
So we invite the entire school community to go online and express your appreciation! CCHS and Concord Schools are declaring this Saturday May 23rd “We love Mr. Nyamekye Day“. Messages can include homemade videos with “get well” wishes, photos of you and your family that you think he would enjoy, online cards to keep his spirits up, or just a few kind words!
Please share your encouragement and thanks on this Google Form
Thank you for joining us in honoring a teacher, leader, colleague and friend who goes above and beyond to support our entire school community.
Get well soon, Mr. Nyamekye. We love you!
May 22, 2020
Today is the last day of class for the seniors! We are so excited for all that lies ahead for them despite the unknowns. As part of a great team effort, the CCHS community has risen to the challenge and created a number of opportunities to celebrate.
This week, the CCHS administrators traveled via a highly decorated school bus to each and every senior’s home and personally delivered a Class of 2020 lawn sign. The feedback has poured in about the impact of the visit, the positive sense of community in the signs, and an overall sense of something uplifting. Thank you to the CCHS Parents’ Association, Transportation Manager John Arena, and the CCHS administrators Principal Mike Mastrullo and Assistant Principals Brian Miller and Katie Stahl. I know the week was as magical for them as it was for the kids.
Among the other plans is a Senior Parade now planned for next Saturday afternoon, May 30, when they would have graduated. The CCHS staff will line the school driveway (appropriately socially distanced and face covered) to celebrate the seniors as they drive through. We are excited about an opportunity to carefully gather the senior class creatively and safely.
We remain optimistic about plans for an in-person graduated of a scaled-down fashion this summer. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offered guidance this week supporting this idea after July 19 should all of the health data remain positive. That decision will be made in time based on health advisories and updated data.
It goes without saying that these celebrations don’t replace the traditions and that comes with loss and grief. We feel that loss and hold up the seniors with well-wishes, congratulations, and knowledge of the doubtless success ahead of them.
May 21, 2020
At the Joint School Committee meeting this week, it was decided that we would form a Superintendent’s COVID-19 Task Force focused on planning for the fall of 2020. This group will include a wide range of stakeholders including School Committee, teachers, administrators, nurses, counselors, parents, students, and the Board of Health. Contingency planning is critical given a range of possible scenarios and the prospect of ongoing changes.
We have already identified some of the topics to be processed and know this list will grow. They are:
- Curriculum Planning
- Blended Learning: Allows for Robust In-School and Remote Learning Fluidly
- Milestone and Special Events
- Calendar and Schedules
- Social Distance and Safety Practices
- Facilities and Cleaning
- Food Service
- Health Services
- Decision Making Protocols
- Community Partnerships (i.e Concord Recreation, Concord Children’s Center)
This will convene for the first time on Wednesday, May 27 at 9 a.m. Regular updates and an ongoing flow of information and feedback will occur as topics are discussed before decisions are made.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has a similar group in place and is also expected to provide guidance to all of the school districts in Massachusetts.
The goal of this process is to collectively plan, create a common vision, and establish direction and expectations so that no matter what the fall brings, we are all working together. Your support is greatly appreciated now and as we begin to consider what comes next.
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