October 24, 2021
We find ourselves in the last week of October where academics and extracurriculars are in full swing! I’ll offer my congratulations to the CCHS cast and crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a fabulous performance this weekend outside under the stars!
This Week’s Spotlight
From Kristen Herbert, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
PreK-12 Professional Development Paths 2021-2022
Wednesdays 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM on October 6, December 8, January 12
On these three dates, our entire PreK – 12 faculty come together for professional development. Individual educators choose one of over 15 “Paths” to attend for all three sessions. These workshops and training are all led by experts in their respective fields. Educators are given articles, books, videos, and presentations to pursue outside of the workshop time. This ability to choose a topic, lengthy exposure, and depth of exploration has proven to lead to advanced learning for our faculty and, therefore, an enriched learning experience for our students. The titles and presenters for the “Paths” are listed below:
Developing Executive Function Dr. Sarah Ward
Understanding Dyslexia Dr. Nadene Gaab
Cultural Competence in Counselling Courtney Tucker, Ph.D., & Paul Hyry-Dermith, Ed.D
The Calculus Project Dr. Adrian Mims
Engaging All Students in Reading Literature Dr. Kim Parker
Including Students Who Identify As LGBTQ Jeff Perroti
Mindfulness in the Classroom Dr. Chris Willard
Teaching the Whole Teen (Social Emotional) Rachel Poliner
Becoming A More Culturally Competent Educator Dr. Paula Martin
Teacher Leadership in Action Gene Thompson Grove
News Literacy for Middle School & High School Robin Cicchetti & Elizabeth Stockwood
Project-Based Learning Dr. Chris Price
Enhancing Productivity With Technology Genoveva Matheus, Lisa Bailey, John Peachey
Enhancing Secondary Technology Terry Smolka & Liz Rose
A Study in Leadership Dr. Laurie Hunter and Angel Charles
How To Make Your Curriculum Bias-Free Phil Fogelman & Danika Manso-Brown
School Improvement Plans 2021-2022
On Tuesday night’s Joint School Committee meeting agenda are updates to the 2021-2022 School Improvement Plans from each building. Per Massachusetts law, each school must have its own improvement plan created through a School Advisory Council of administration, staff, parents, students, and community members. The district strategic plan serves as a guide to our systemic objectives. The plans are written each spring for the coming school year. Due to COVID, we revisited the spring plans and are updating them this Fall. Each plan is listed below as you may be interested to read about this year’s goals:
Concord Carlisle High School
Concord Middle School
Alcott Elementary School
Thoreau Elementary School
Willard Elementary School
Thoreau Fire Update
A modular wing is under construction in the field to accommodate the 8 displaced classrooms. On Friday, November 12, only Thoreau will have a half-day to allow time for set up such that the wing is ready for students on Monday, November 15. The modulars will be in place for the remainder of the school year. We offer great appreciation to the Thoreau faculty as they navigate this unexpected situation.
We had one student case at CCHS last week. Our total case count to date is 33. The COVID Dashboard is live and provides real time updates as to active cases.
We are in active discussions with the local health officials about a vaccine clinic for children under 12 in November pending approval of the vaccine.
Enjoy the remainder of this beautiful weekend!
October 17, 2021
What a beautiful Fall weekend!
This Week’s Spotlight
Student engagement and wellness are priorities throughout the schools. The performing arts is one significant means of accomplishing those goals while they are also among the areas most impacted by the pandemic. It has been their creativity, determination, and commitment that kept the arts alive and thriving. We are very excited to have music and theater returning in-person more and more as this year unfolds.
The elementary music program is back in-person after 18 months of remote instruction. We opened the year with a multitude of instruments and are now making our way to safely singing.
The middle and high schools began singing and playing wind instruments outside last year. We are excited to have live, indoor performances with reduced capacity audiences this Fall for all of the instrumental and vocal groups. In case you missed some of the amazing videos that were made last year, I hope you will check out these inspirational pieces!
CCHS Sings September
CMS Sings We Will
Finally, the CCHS theater program flexibly held an outdoor performance last Fall and then performed a radio play this past spring! This weekend, they will perform Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on an outdoor stage under the stars! Tickets are available here.
Parent conferences will be held entirely virtually at all schools over the coming weeks and months. Please watch for details from the building principals. One of the pandemic positive outcomes will be ongoing virtual options in the years to come. The dates are as follows:
October 29: CCHS
November 4: Elementary
December 9: CMS
Last week, we had only 1 case, an adult at CCHS. This brings our total number of positive cases for the year to 32. The COVID Dashboard is continuously updated and reports live case counts on the districts’ homepage. The deadline for staff to submit documentation of full vaccination is today in alignment with the voluntary agreements with all eight of our unions and the School Committee Vaccination Policy. As required by law, a very small number of staff were granted religious or medical exemptions. 99% of all staff are fully vaccinated.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support!
Twitter: @CPS_CCHS Super
October 11, 2021
I hope you enjoy the long weekend! It amazes us to already be in the middle of October! One of my goals is to make these updates more engaging and so I hope you will enjoy the addition of some photos this week!
This Week’s Spotlights
Ripley STEAM Lab and CMS Makerspace
It has been 18 months since the Ripley STEAM Lab heard the sounds of students imagining, creating, analyzing, and collaborating. Elementary students are now returning to the special space on in-district field trips from their individual schools. Through technology and many other hands-on activities, students work in small groups and as partners to create and design. This past week, fifth grade students programmed Spheros Robotics Balls as an example. The STEAM Lab is led by Assistant Superintendent Kristen Herbert and her staff with the partnership of classroom teachers when their classes visit.
Makerspaces are similar spaces where students engage in a wide range of hands-on activities and materials. Currently, both middle school buildings have small makerspaces available to students. With great thanks to Media Specialist Elizabeth Stockwood, the CMS library webpage outlines some of the many possibilities. The new Concord Middle School design includes space to ensure these opportunities continue.
CCHS Unified Basketball
Among our goals in the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan is to continue to foster the inclusion of all students. An objective in the plan has been to build a Unified Sports program at CCHS. Unified Sports is an aspect of the Special Olympics program where students with and without intellectual disabilities play together. The new basketball team had their first game against Acton-Boxborough this past week. This follows a successful initial season of Unified Track this past spring. We thank the vision of CCHS Athletic Director Aaron Joncas and a number of talented coaches for launching these programs.
Last week, we had 2 positive COVID cases for a total of 31:
1 CCHS and 1 Alcott student
The COVID Dashboard will be updated throughout the week. We will notify those who need to be notified of any positive cases.
Pooled testing is up and running smoothly. We are using the rapid antigen tests if a positive pool is returned meaning that no one quarantines unless they are positive on the antigen test.
We encourage all students to participate even if they are vaccinated in order to help us ensure the safest possible environment at all schools. Thank you as always for your support and cooperation.
We will utilize text and phone calls only for emergencies or critical, timely information. Social media and email will include both important and informative information but will never be the only place where something timely is posted. Do you remember the days when our only options were paper notes and handmade phone chains? It is great to have so many tools. We know we need to use them purposefully.
Concord Free Public Library
We continue to very successfully partner with the Concord Free Public Library including through the summer reading program. Throughout the year they offer a wide range of programs for younger students and teens. We encourage you to continually peruse out.
CFPL Kids Programs
CFPL Teen Programs
Have a great start to the short week!
October 3, 2021
I hope this email finds you enjoying your weekend! We welcome October and its beautiful colors and cooler days!
This Week’s Spotlight
Every week, I will highlight efforts, initiatives, or events in the districts. For the first time, we will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 11. The Town of Concord Select Board approved the change last spring. Initiative for the efforts was led through the Concord Middle School Eighth Grade who wrote letters to the School Committee and Select Board as their civics project last Fall.
Similarly, a Willard fifth grade class wrote to the Concord Select Board regarding the addition of George Dugan’s name to the Civil War Monument. Mr. Dugan was a Black farmer and Civil War veteran from Concord. Recently, the Select Board established a Civil War Monument Task Force as the next step to the request to add his name and that of others. The fifth grade efforts were covered in an article by the Boston Globe last spring.
We directly teach civics as part of the social studies curriculum and look to give students voice in our schools and community to feel that they can have an impact and make a difference.
New School Resource Officers
We are excited to introduce two new School Resource Officers to our schools. SRO Derek Rodriguez will be based at Concord Middle School. SRO Cara Paladino will focus on CCHS. We enjoy a very collaborative, positive relationship with the Concord Police and have already seen the new SRO’s contribute to that.
Bike to School Days/Thank You CEF
Each school will hold a Bike to School day during the coming weeks. We engage in the Massachusetts Safe Routes to Schools Program. Last year, the Concord Education Fund contributed bike racks and repair stations for every school. The SRO’s will conduct additional bike safety lessons with students. Biking has been a goal among our sustainability efforts. The pandemic accelerated the interest and we are happy to support the effort. The principals will share additional details of the Bike to School events.
Last week, we learned of four COVID cases including two adults (Thoreau and Alcott) and two students (Thoreau and CCHS). The COVID Data Dashboard is our live mode of communicating cases as they occur. We have begun to use the Test and Stay program with success to date.
School Closings and Delays
As we were reminded last week at the middle school, school closings and delays can be very unpredictable. I may call delays for one or two hours depending on the situation. The intent is to get in as much of the day as possible. I do use social media first (see below) since it is immediate so following me will get you information as soon as possible. Simultaneously, we send texts, phone calls, emails, and post on the district webpage in an effort to reach you in as many ways as possible. Hopefully, we will not need any of it very often!
Have a great night!