Superintendent's Message

Make Dinner on Friday and More

May 20, 2020

Dear Families:

At CCHS, special teacher-student activities were held during the Q5 program at the end of the school year.  Q5 won’t happen this year as planned.  But, some of the CCHS staff are offering replacement activities on Friday afternoons!  This week’s event is described at the bottom of this email.  We’d encourage students of all ages to make dinner!

I recorded the daily message for the Concord Middle School students today and thought I would share it with everyone.  It is found here:

Related to my message to the middle school students in this article from Dartmouth College about students finding their creativity while being so restricted at home.

The Concord Journal highlighted acts of kindness conducted by two Concord siblings that I wanted to share:

A very thoughtful poem outlines the impact the pandemic and quarantine may have on the youngest generation and is posted here:




The first Q5 Fun Friday will be hosted on Zoom by Ms. Adrienne Dunne from the main office!  Ms. Dunne will be teaching you how to make a calzone of your choice – right in time for Friday night dinner!  If you’re interested, here’s what you need to do:

  • Obtain the materials and preparations needed on thislist by Friday, May 22nd
  • Join us Friday, May 22nd at 4:00 pm ready to cook! (duration: about 45 minutes- 1 hour)
  • Use this Zoom link below to join the webinar:

  • Password: 299465

Hope to see you there!

Two Great Videos and Mental Health Resources

May 19, 2020

Dear Families:

I start by sharing two videos that will bring smiles to your faces.  The first one is from the devoted group of school bus drivers who miss the kids!  Here is the video they made expressing that:

The CCHS Chorus made this fantastic video of the song “Blue Skies From Now On” which is a perfect message for the times!  The video is found here:

The Concord Education Fund is selling balloons to “Celebrate a Senior” as they graduate from CCHS.  The information is posted here if you’d like to participate:

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) released an FAQ about the COVID-19 related questions for the high school sports programs at this link:

As plans for the summer are modified, you may need resources to handle the related anxiety and stress related to more cancellations.  The Alcott Mental Health Team compiled resources and strategies here:

A favorite resource for managing mental health in children is Jessica Minahan who participated in the podcast posted here entitled “Podcast for Parents:  Supporting Learners Who Are Stressed or Anxious During This School Closure”.  The link is found at:

Finally, I remind you of the mental health resources posted on the district web page if you think outside support would be helpful:

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the school counselors and administrators if you need assistance.





Prerequisite Content Standards

May 18, 2020

Dear Families:

As mentioned when Phase 3 was rolled out, we want to communicate as to the curriculum standards covered during the school closure.  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released Prerequisite Standards for all grades and content areas on April 29, 2020.

We are collecting data as to the content being taught and recording it in our master curriculum software so we can track needs for the fall. From what has been entered, we are able to report that students have the opportunity in our current learning environment to learn the content addressed in these documents and have many of the skills necessary in upcoming instruction at the next grade level.

These DESE documents outline what content and skills should be covered for students to be ready for the next grade level in English Language Arts, math, social studies and science.   There is one document for the elementary grades (K – 5) and another for the secondary grades (6 – 12).  They are found below:


Additional information will be provided as we plan for Phase 4 this Fall.




Update and Reminders May 17/Carlisle Community Trails Challenge

May 17, 2020

Dear Families:

What a beautiful weekend!

If you plan to retrieve personal student belongings this week, please remember to bring face covering and gloves.   The Board of Health order regarding face coverings is found here:

The recording of Friday’s Virtual Coffee is posted here:

The Joint School Committees will meet on Tuesday at 5 p.m.  The agenda is posted here:

The CCHS administrators began their tour in dropping lawn sides to the Class of 2020 in Carlisle!  Many thanks to the Parents Association and all involved in decorating the rolling school bus!  A great photo is posted here:  The tour will continue in Concord and Boston.  This is one of a number of great events planned for the seniors!

Please see the message below about the upcoming Carlisle Community Trail Day Challenge in June.

Enjoy the evening.




Carlisle Community Trails Day Challenge

For this year’s Carlisle Community Trails Day Challenge, the Carlisle

Conservation Foundation and the Carlisle Trails Committee invite

Carlisleans of all ages to collectively walk the trails in Carlisle

throughout the month of June.


We are sorry that – due to the coronavirus pandemic – we can’t turn

out en masse in one day as we did last year for the First Annual

Carlisle Community Trails Day Challenge. But we are still a community

that shares an appreciation for the healing powers of nature. And we

can still find ways to celebrate and connect together. Individuals,

families and community groups are invited to participate in this year’s

revised “Trails Day” in ways that are safe and that conform to the

national, state and local guidelines then in place.


Visit our website,, and sign up for a walk. Choose

your own date and time. Document your walk with photos that you

can share with others. Post online with #carlisletrailsday. Visit CCF’s

Instagram feed – @ccf.nature – to see how we collectively walked the

trails in June, while keeping social distance.


Carlisle’s conservation lands and trails are a valuable resource to us

all. Let’s enjoy them together with the Carlisle Community Trails Day

Challenge in June.

Upcoming Library and Parent Events

May 16, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight I share a number of upcoming events from the Concord Free Public Library (including a community read aloud where I recorded chapter 12!) and the Center for Parents and Teachers.

I hope you are enjoying this perfect weather!



Concord Free Public Library


The Concord Free Public Library invites the whole community to come together and enjoy the pleasure of listening to different members of our community read a book. Concord Town Manager Stephen Crane, Superintendent Dr. Laurie Hunter, Police Officer Tia Manchuso, and other members of our community will participate.

Beginning Sunday May 17, we’ll feature a surprise guest each evening who will read a chapter from The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy.  Written by Jeanne Birdsall, this book was inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and as such is very appropriate for the Concord community. It tells the story of four sisters and their friendships and adventures with a local boy while vacationing in the Berkshire Mountains. The Penderwicks won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Hear a chapter read out loud on Facebook Premiere on the Library’s Facebook page every evening at 5 pm. If you can’t make the Premiere – no worries! The videos will be permanently available on the Library’s Facebook page after the premiere. WIQH, the local radio station, will broadcast the daily readings at 7 pm. Minuteman Media Network will broadcast the daily readings at 8 pm.

#ConcordReadsAloud is an initiative to engage the Concord community around reading. As part of this effort, the Library invites everyone to join the ConcordReads online reading program. Register at:


Teen Comix Zone Online with author Norm Harper!

Ages 14-18

Wednesday, May 20


This month in Comix Zone (Ages 14-18), we’ll be joined by the author Norm Harper for discussion and drawing activity of Haphaven by Norm Harper and Louie Joyce, and

Leprechauns, Rabbit’s Feet, Black Cats Crossing Your Path…

Step into a world of superstition, specifically the world of Alex Mills. On the search for the lucky rabbit’s foot to save her mom, Alex learns that breaking with superstition might be the key to saving her mom.

You can borrow this graphic novel instantly as an eBook on hoopla.

Register at to receive the Zoom link.

(Graphic novel intended for ages 13+).


Toddler Storytime Online

Every Thursday @ 10 am

The Concord Free Public Library invites children to join Toddler Storytime Online live

with Facebook Premiere every Thursday morning at 10 am . If you cannot make it to

the live storytime, the video will be available with the rest of the Library’s videos on

the Library’s Facebook page so you can enjoy this program from the safety and

convenience of your home . Join us for stories and rhymes. This interactive program is

perfect for busy toddlers and helps develop early literacy skills. Email Royce McGrath

at for questions.


Read to Luna the Dog on Zoom

Every Friday @ 11:30 am- 12:30 pm

The Concord Free Public Library invites children to Read to Luna the Dog every Friday

in May between 11:30 am – 12:30 pm. Did you know that reading to dogs boosts

reading skills & emotional & social skills for children? Join us for a “Read around the

Zoom” group reading experience. Using Zoom meeting platform, we’ll all take turns

reading aloud to Luna and to each other. Bring some of your favorite poems or short

stories. This event is for children ages 5+. This event is for children ages 5+.

Sign up for May 22 :

Sign up for May 29

Email Royce McGrath at with questions.


Virtual Storytime with Library Trustee, Cristina Coletta


Friday May 22, 10 am

Join Concord Free Public Library Trustee, Cristina Coletta Blau for a special

reading of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber. Everyone in the

neighborhood loves Lyle the crocodile–except for a cranky neighbor and his

nervous cat! Can lovable Lyle make everything right with his grumpy

neighbors? Can’t make the premiere? The storytime will be available on our

Facebook page after the Premiere ends.

This reading is part of our #ConcordReads community reading program. Anyone interested in joining our community reading program can register at:


Center for Parents and Teachers

(1) “Teens, Tweens, and Quarantines” presented by Jon Mattleman, a very humorous and insightful parenting education presenter.
He will speak for about 30 minutes or so, and then accept questions from parents and talk about their local resources as well as national ones.  He has done this locally, as well as through national organizations

Below is the schedule of such talks for next week that parents can join (all free).
5/19 — 6:30 PM

5:20 — 6:30 PM

5/21 — 4:00 PM

5/21 — 7:00

(2) Wednesday, May 20 at 10:30 AM

“Missed Moments: Helping Families Cope with Disappointment”
Please join Dr. Rachel Kramer for a live webinar where she can address your concerns.  Dr. Kramer will provide practical strategies for families of preschoolers, children, and adolescents 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: 703069

(3) Wednesday, May 20 from 7:30 to 8:45 PM the Massachusetts Health Council is offering an interactive online program, presented by Dr. Lester Hartman, MD, MPH and David Martin, CEO of the Massachusetts Health Council, to  discuss the risks of vaping in relation to covid-19.  Learn more and pre-register at:

Also, please check out the link to the article “E-Cigarettes Can be a Risk Factor for Covid-19”, from The Bedford Citizen, listed below.   Embedded in the article is a link to a very informative webinar by Dr. Marisa Silveri on “Teen Vaping Today”.  Dr. SIlveri is a prominent neuroscientist who ran this session as part of our tri-town coalition (in a collaboration with the Concord, Carlisle and Bedford Health Depts and the Center for Parents and Teachers).

Please learn more about our programs (and find a link to let us know topics of workshops that would be of support to you during this stressful time) at

Concord Middle School Building Project Update

May 15, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight I share an update from the Concord Middle School Building Committee about the impact of the COVID crisis.  Please see below.




CMS Building Committee Response to COVID-19 Crisis                                           5.14.20

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the Concord Middle School Building Committee has been evaluating the most prudent course of action related to the CMS building project.   At this time, the Building Committee recommends that following completion of the preliminary Feasibility Study, the committee will temporarily pause its work before proceeding forward with Schematic Design.

Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis

The crisis surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant uncertainty on many fronts. The Middle School Building Project is a significant undertaking for the Town of Concord, one that is rooted in the critical component of public participation. The impact of social distancing has an unprecedented effect on the building Committee’s commitment to:

  1. A public input process as the means to defining the community’s desired building attributes
  2. A financial request at the appropriate time

Public Participation  

During an extended period of social distancing, sufficiently including the community in the decision-making processes related to the building would be very challenging.  We will soon be at the point of finalizing the building parameters to move forward to Schematic Design, which will be ultimately presented to the town for consideration.  This is a point where we would expect thorough presentations to the community for review and substantial input. Given the social distancing necessary during this crisis, we do not feel confident that we could execute this review and input phase effectively.

Timing of a Financial Request  

According to original plans, the Building Committee is scheduled to bring a Schematic Design to the town for approval at a Special Town Meeting in the fall of 2020.   With the financial impacts of the crisis as of yet so unknown, it is likely that the town may not be in a position to consider a significant new capital expenditure at that point.  While the committee still firmly believes that a new middle school building is critical and is committed to fulfilling the charge as expressed at the 2019 Town Meeting, we also feel that the decision to move forward can be more effectively considered once there is a better understanding of our financial situation.

Interim Plan  

To date, thanks to the collaboration of our Designers SMMA and our OPM Hill International, the Middle School Building Committee has been operating on schedule.  Having recently received cost estimates for four initial design concepts, the committee has almost completed the preliminary Feasibility Study, which creates a natural breaking point in the project timeline.  In the absence of the current Covid 19 situation, the next step would be to engage the community in defining the parameters to move forward to Schematic Design.  Since this does not seem realistic at the current time, the committee will temporarily suspend activity, meet monthly to re-evaluate timing, and plan to resume work as soon as it is deemed feasible.

Commitment to the Project 

A temporary pause in progress will in no way change the Building Committee’s commitment to complete this project in the soonest time frame possible.  Every member of our Committee strongly believes that there is a critical need for a new middle school building and that the consolidation of the two current buildings at the Sanborn site is the correct strategy.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will resume work as soon as possible.


As we take this pause, the Building Committee would like to thank committee members as well as the project management and design teams for their excellent work and dedication to this endeavor.  In addition, we offer our thanks to the many residents who have offered their input on the project and to the educational professionals who have been an essential element in shaping the vision for a state-of-the-art middle school.

Until we reach that moment when we are able to resume our work and properly engage in a public dialogue, we appreciate the patience and understanding of the community and we share wishes for health and well-being for all.



The Concord Middle School Building Committee


CC Adult and Community Education

May 14, 2020

Dear Families:

Tonight I highlight the work of our Concord Carlisle Adult and Community Education Team.  First, we describe an incredible partnership between CC Adult and Community Education, the Concord Council on Aging, Concord Carlisle Community Chest and some extraordinary CCHS students!

From CCACE Director Jill Weintraub:

As challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic is, it has inspired people worldwide and here in Concord and Carlisle to think creatively about how we can help one another. Among those creative thinkers and doers: our Concord Carlisle Adult & Community Education teachers and students!

Amanda Mujica (Concord resident, CCHS parent, & CCACE instructor) dreamed up CCACE’s Buy One/Donate One Mask Project to benefit the Concord Carlisle Community Chest. For each mask sold, another mask is being donated, with net proceeds from the sales going to the Community Chest. The Chest has received requests for masks from local residents and organizations, particularly the elderly.

Within a week of announcing this program, our amazing community had ordered more than 350 masks! Our fantastic crew of volunteer stitchers has been madly sewing masks, and we have already donated over 100 masks to the Concord Council on Aging.

Additionally, all of us at CCACE send a big thank you to CCHS juniors Allegra Mujica and Gracie Sampson who are personally delivering the masks to the doorsteps of everyone who placed orders.

Thank you to the dedicated and talented staff and students of CCACE and the generous Concord and Carlisle community!


CCACE is under the school district umbrella.  Be sure to check out the virtual offerings on their web page at:

And if you need something uplifting tonight..

Enjoy the Willard school song, “We’re Willard”, sung virtually by Willard teachers and students!



A Few Highlights and Information

May 13, 2020

Dear Families:

I’ll open with a correction to the time of Friday’s School Committee meeting.  We are meeting at 1 pm, not 11 am, as the previous email stated.

Today, Alcott held the first of three virtual field trips to release the fourth-grade turtles- an annual tradition and celebration!  I posted photos here:

Tomorrow night at 7 pm, Dr. Denise Pope of Challenge Success will join NPR’s Education Correspondent in a webinar for families on tips and ideas about how to best support their students during remote learning.  Registration for the webinar is found here.  The program is targeted for elementary and middle school age families.

As you prepare to gather items from the schools, please bring your own face masks.  The CDC posted directions to make your own.  My mother provided a family set of cloth masks that we’ve found very helpful to have.

Finally, as COVID tracing is implemented, I share this reminder about the phone call you may receive as described by the Town of Concord.

Answering the Phone to Help the MA COVID Team Trace & Slow the Spread of COVID-19

If someone tests positive for COVID-19, staff from the state’s new Community Tracing Collaborative will reach out by phone to that person, and their close contacts, to slow the spread of the virus. Contact Tracers will make sure residents are getting the medical attention and support they need during isolation and quarantine.

The caller ID will show the call is coming from “MA COVID Team”. If you receive a call with this ID, please answer the call. Information shared during the call is strictly confidential and is treated as private medical information. Learn More about the Community Tracing Collaborative:

Enjoy the beautiful night!


Concord Requires Face Masks and Upcoming Meeting Dates

May 12, 2020

Dear Families:

The Concord Board of Health is now requiring the use of face masks.  Details of the requirements are found here:

Both Concord and Carlisle are discussing the timing and plans for Annual Town Meetings and Town Elections.

The Concord Town Manager provided an update at that includes

  • Concord Town Meeting continued from June 22 until at least late July, and ideally until late September.
  • Concord Town Election remains scheduled for June 11.  Please consider voting by mail.

Carlisle also has these plans as of today:

The Joint School Committees meet on Friday at 1:00 p.m.  Among the discussions will be initial planning for the summer and how to approach planning for Phase 4 this fall.  The agenda is found here:

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



Collections of Student Belongings

May 11, 2020

Dear Families:

We have been working with the Board of Health to develop a safe plan for students to retrieve belongings from the schools.  Through a process of making appointments beforehand, we will offer 5 slots every 15 minutes at each school over the course of a week.   Everyone present will need to wear face coverings and follow appropriate social distancing measures.  In order to limit the traffic in the building, only elementary age children will be accompanied by an adult.  The custodial staff and the administrators will assist with supervision.

At this time, students will only collect items from their classrooms at the elementary schools and lockers at the middle and high school.  When teachers pack their rooms for the summer, we will put other personal items aside for collection at a later date.  If your child does not have any items in the school, then there is no need to book an appointment.  Our goal is for this to occur throughout the week of May 18.  Please watch for an email from the building principals who will distribute the electronic form to schedule appointments.

Thank you for your patience and support.  Please let us know if you have any questions.



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