Superintendent's Message

Superintendent’s Message

Monday’s Updates

April 6, 2020

Dear Families:

The teachers continue to show kids how much they miss them in all kinds of different ways!

The Integrated Preschool Staff made this video:  Preschool Video

A parade of teachers drove through the Willard neighborhoods today!

More to come!

You’ll find a recording of Friday’s Virtual Coffee with the Superintendent and Central Office Leaders here:

A recording of the Storytime with me, Mr. Lucey, Mrs. Charles, and Mrs. Krakow is found here:


Hopefully, you’ll find this article applicable to the Virtual Learning Phase Two plan where grades are not included:

Thank you for a great start to the week!


Upcoming Events:

CCHS Guidance Meeting

The Adjustment Hour: A discussion with the Adjustment Counselors from the CCHS Guidance & Counseling Department.

1:00 Thursday, April 9th.

In this hour-long zoom meeting, counselors will be presenting about adjusting to these challenging times.  In light of the shutdowns and the growing COVID-19 crisis, this will be an open discussion with parents with the intent of offering support and guidance.  Positive strategies and information about resiliency will be presented. Come with questions, concerns, or just a wish to connect with our school adjustment counselors and other members of the community.


Kelli Kirshtein, MSW, LICSW, Adjustment Counselor, Network Program, Program Coordinator

Daniel Simone, Ed.D., LMHC, Adjustment Counselor, Lighthouse Student Support Center, Program Coordinator

Moderator: Alison Nowicki, Ed.D., Department Chair

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Password: 111170

Virtual Learning Phase Two

April 5, 2020

Dear Families:

Before sharing information about the next phase of virtual learning, I first want to express sincere appreciation and gratitude.  This extremely intimate relationship between school and home is a novel experience in the public schools.  Parents, thank you for the ongoing support and guidance you provide to your child daily.  We know that this comes with benefits and challenges since this environment is so atypical and unexpected. Assessing our priorities and being flexible is key in determining the outcomes and expectations of our academic plan.

In preparation for this week, the administrators, teacher leaders, and faculty reviewed and refined the plan for virtual learning that began on March 15, 2020.  The strong foundation proved to be a solid basis for the approach that we share tonight.  The changes reflect a commitment to robust learning balanced with the conditions created by a global health emergency.

Attached to this letter is an overview of the approach for Phase Two.  The table of contents is below as a preview of the important information in the document.

Virtual Learning Activities Phase Two

April 6, 2020 and Beyond

•    Where We Are

•    Core Values

•    Our Approach

•    Instructional Tools

•    Content and Curriculum

•    Special Education

•    Assessments, Grades and Progress Reports

•    Communication

•    2020-2021

•    Resources

As with any new plan, we commit to its ongoing review.  We ask your patience while we move forward.

This school community is exceptional and extraordinary.  We look forward to partnering with you as we continue this journey.


File attachments:
Virtual Learning Opportunities April 6 2020.docx

April 4 Updates

April 4, 2020

Dear Families:

I hope you got out to enjoy the sunshine!

We recognize that there are upcoming religious holidays and want to remind you of our religious holiday accommodation policy:  Religious Accommodation Policy

Thanks to the Panico Family for this great photo thanking all essential staff!

If you’d like to send a photo or scan of a message of thanks, please email it to:



Upcoming Events:

Concord Recreation is offering an at-home egg hunt since the annual tradition cannot happen as usual.  Drive-by for pre-filled egg pick up at Beede Center tomorrow from 11 am-12:30 pm


The Center for Parents and Teachers in collaboration with Dr. Rachel Kramer invites interested parents/grandparents to the following zoom webinar: 

Parenting Teens During the Pandemic

Please join Dr. Rachel Kramer for this webinar, and bring your questions for her on this topic (or access it later at along with other recorded sessions).

When: April 8, 2020 10:30am

Please use the following link and password:

Password: 377336

Friday Night Updates

April 3, 2020

Dear Families:

On Sunday, I will send information regarding the upcoming “Phase 2” of our virtual learning opportunities. Teachers will also share changes with students during next week as appropriate.  I am so appreciative of the ongoing efforts of the faculty as they support students.

Please continue to send student work to the email address below as described in today’s earlier email:

District-Wide Service Project 

We have been working closely with Emerson and a number of residential facilities in town.  We would love to have pictures, letters of thanks and encouragement, artwork, etc. to share with them so they know they are appreciated or thought of during this difficult time.  Please consider sending photos or scans of student work to this email address so we can create presentations, messages, and other creative virtual ways of reaching out.  Please know that anything submitted would be considered public and might be used in social media, etc.  All work can be submitted to  This is an activity for students of all ages!

I share another great act of kindness by CCHS Junior Kimberly Staniar who brought fresh cupcakes to the Emerson Hospital staff:

The recording of today’s Virtual Coffee will be posted shortly. Thank you so much!  It is great to have 200 people attend each week.

This is a thoughtful New York Times article about scheduling learning activities at home.  Probably the most important piece of advice here is to engage your child in making the plan:

MCAS is currently being discussed at the State House.  We await the next steps after the House’s vote on Thursday night.

I hear the sun is back tomorrow!




Activities for Everyone Today

April 3, 2020

Dear Families:

Good Morning!  Given the professional development day today, we wanted to share a number of options for students at every level should you be looking for things to do on a rainy Friday.

District-Wide Service Project 

We have been working closely with Emerson and a number of residential facilities in town.  We would love to have pictures, letters of thanks and encouragement, artwork, etc. to share with them so they know they are appreciated or thought of during this difficult time.  Please consider sending photos or scans of student work to this email address so we can create presentations, messages, and other creative virtual ways of reaching out.  Please know that anything submitted would be considered public and might be used in social media, etc.  All work can be submitted to  This is an activity for students of all ages!


Special Events Today

1 pm Concord Middle School Student Assembly as mentioned in Mr. Cameron’s announcements

2 pm Elementary Storytime with Dr. Hunter, Mr. Lucey, Mrs. Charles, and Mrs. Krakow!

Live on Zoom and recorded for future viewing.  The login information is found at the bottom of this email.  500 slots are available.

2 pm CCHS Administration Returns to WIQH!

Due to popular demand Mr. Mastrullo, Mr. Miller and Ms. Stahl are back!  Call in at 978-369-2440.  Listen at 88.3 FM or stream on

3 pm Virtual Coffee with the Superintendent and District Leaders

Our weekly information session will be held at 3 pm.  Zoom information is found here:


Resources for Other Learning Opportunities

Please peruse the extensive list of learning resources available for each grade level at:

Have a great day!



Elementary Storytime Login:

When: Apr 3, 2020 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: Storytime


Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Password: 261096

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +19292056099,,950507687#  or +13126266799,,950507687#

Or Telephone:

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

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

Webinar ID: 950 507 687

International numbers available:

April Vacation Is On and More

April 2, 2020

Dear Families,

As you know, the school calendar calls for April vacation to occur from Monday, April 20, 2020 (Patriot’s Day) through Friday, April 24, 2020.  When school closed on Friday, March 13, we immediately provided learning opportunities the following week without a break in academic activities.  As a result, the April break will go on as scheduled.  Our final day of school remains June 19, 2020.

We will provide supplemental resources and other options for families who wish to maintain a daily structure.  We think, too, this will be a much needed relief for families where the academics are very challenging under the current circumstances.  Either way, our goal is to support everyone in making it a positive, valuable week.

Other updates:

We still await final notification from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and state legislators regarding the plans for MCAS.  As soon as we have that information, we will share it.

On Sunday, I will share an overview of our approach to learning beginning on Monday.  We are making some revisions and maintaining what we feel is most effective.

The Concord Middle School Building Committee met last week via Zoom.  In that meeting, we reviewed drawings of possible conceptual designs for the new school.  This was a very exciting step so I’d encourage you to check out the video:  Concord Middle School Building Committee Meeting March 25, 2020

Massachusetts General Hospital published a resource page for families focused on supporting children during the pandemic:

Another great example of members of the school community was highlighted in today’s Journal:

This community’s generosity and kindness are extraordinary.



Professional Development Day April 3 and More

April 1, 2020

Dear Families:

I don’t think we can enter April without acknowledging the two different worlds we experienced in March.  Although it seems an eternity ago, it has been just a few short weeks since we were all running from one activity to another, trying to keep up with the hecticness that we all called normal.  Now, we have learned to balance the challenges and benefits of found time: to do things we do not usually do, to have true quality time with our immediate family, and to be creative and satisfied with that. I wonder what incredible gifts we roll forward from this new normal to the previous one.  I wonder too what we realize was not healthy and we do not put back into our daily worlds.

There are growing daily reminders of why we are not in school and the impact.  We are slowly learning of illness either in homes within the school community or in the homes of those people love and care about.   The expectation is for that to increase over the next few weeks.  We must remember that this is why we are not together.  We are also more and more aware of families in need of financial help.  For many, the loss of jobs is real and having an immediate implication.  For yet others, the conditions at home now include two working parents and young children. I can go on since there are so many variations on what people are experiencing.  All of us are wrestling with the constant sense of crisis, loss, change and worry about what could happen.  Things are not normal.  The goals and expectations of education cannot be the same.

We are actively preparing for what we are calling “Phase 2” of our virtual learning efforts given the extended school closure.  The details of this plan will be shared at the end of the week with implementation scheduled for Monday, April 6.  In order for teachers to plan, collaborate, and organize for this, Friday, April 3, 2020, will be a professional development day.

Daily assignments will be postponed until Monday as will regular feedback or check-ins.  We encourage families to explore the vast set of resources posted on the Supplemental Resource list at this link if you want to be academically oriented on Friday:  There is rich, robust content on this list.  We are also exploring creative ideas for engagement and connection to be shared on Friday morning.  Thank you so much for the ongoing support as we reinvent every educational practice and process.

Other reminders and information:

A reminder that CMS is hosting a student assembly at 1 pm on Friday.  Information is found here:

The Massachusetts Health Council is sponsoring a COVID-19 Video Contest for Middle and High School Students.  The request is for a 20-60 second video on the importance of social distancing and other MPDH guidelines. There is a $500 prize for the winning video!

We will have another Virtual Coffee with the Superintendent on Friday at 3 p.m.  The Zoom information is posted here:

It was rewarding to see WCVB Channel 5’s Eyeopener highlight the school districts’ donations to Emerson Hospital this morning.  Congratulations too to Concord mom Anna Travias who also organized a donation to Emerson!

Among the positives to the situation is the sense of community and efforts to take care of one another.  Thanks to everyone who furthers those efforts each day.



Virtual Coffee with the Superintendent Friday April 3 3 pm

April 1, 2020

Dear Families:

As we have for the previous two weeks, I will host a Virtual Coffee on Friday, April 3 at 3 pm.  The Zoom information is found below.  I hope you can join us.



You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Apr 3, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Super Virtual Coffee

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Password: 815325

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13126266799,,720449956#  or +19292056099,,720449956#
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 +1 253 215 8782  or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833
Webinar ID: 720 449 956
International numbers available:

Resources for those in Need and 2020 Census

March 31, 2020

Dear Families:

We enjoyed recognition in this week’s METCO newsletter thanks to two great volunteers.

We also dropped off more supplies to Emerson thanks to our generous teachers.

Carlisle resident Lauree Eckler is coordinating a group called The Carlisle Neighborhood Response Team. This group of volunteers will shop for vulnerable Carlisle residents that do not have anyone else that can provide those services.  Please see the following link both if you need help or would like to volunteer.

Open Table is a local food pantry.  Their information is found here:

We continue to provide food at CCHS from 8:30 am-11 am every weekday.  For more information or to offer a financial donation, please use this link:

Given these difficult times, please know that you can reach out to the administrators and counselors.  We are working closely with a number of local agencies and are happy to make those connections for you.

On another note, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education asked that the schools share information about the 2020 census.  I am sharing that here and will have you note the educational activities that are also available.

Census invitations have been sent to all residences, and families can respond online in 13 languages. Everyone who does not respond online will eventually receive a paper form in English and Spanish from the Census Bureau. (More information for parents is here.) In addition, online Statistics in Schools educational resources are available to use with students at home. An accurate count is vital in order to help our schools get needed resources.



In the Media, Challenge Success and DESE Letter, 3D Printing

March 30, 2020

Dear Families:

The students of our schools continue to lead by example and are found on social media and in the local press:  A CCHS Social Distancing Birthday Party

The CMS Wind Ensemble made a special recording just as we closed school, not sure when anyone would hear them play:

We are a Challenge Success district meaning we belong to an organization of high performing schools that “challenge” the way we measure success in school.  This message from their founder, Denise Pope, highlights what is important during the school closures- it isn’t all about academics.

Today, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Commissioner Jeff Riley published the attached letter to parents reflective of the guidance DESE released about remote learning.  As I mentioned last night, we are actively planning and will have more information to share shortly as to what this means to us locally.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Board of Directors met today to update the plans for the high school athletic season.  Their vote sets the season to start no earlier than May 4, 2020, and end (inclusive of the regular season and tournament games) by June 27, 2020.  MIAA updates its web page according to these changes:

If the virus has impacted your family, it is helpful for the school nurses to know that.  If you are willing to communicate with them, it would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, with great thanks to CCHS teacher Elaine Picard, a dozen face shields were dropped off at Emerson today after being made on one of our 3D printers!  A photo is posted on my Twitter feed (@cps_cchs).


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