I hope this Superintendent Update for April 2022 finds you and yours well. There is a very old saying that April showers bring May flowers! Well, so far, the weather has been rather cold, wet and damp... So, let's look forward to some sun and fun in the weeks ahead as we continue our journey together focused upon “teaching and learning with purpose!”
Enrollment: Our enrollment as a regional school district has steadied. As of this morning, we have 1414 students enrolled within our district. David Prouty High School has 323 students enrolled; Knox Trail Middle School has 404 students; Wire Village School has 422 students; and East Brookfield Elementary School has 239 students including 98 students enrolled for the "Cubs Corner" Preschool!
Personnel: Open positions for summer and fall have begun to be posted within the district. If you are interested in becoming a part of our family, please continue to check back and apply at: https://www.schoolspring.com
Covid-19 Update: As of this morning, we have had a total of 506 confirmed cases of Covid-19 within our schools. We have had 436 students and 70 staff members test positive for Covid-19, to date. Please remain vigilant and adhere to the safety protocols for everyone’s benefit so we may keep our school house doors open. Please continue to work together with us - to maintain our health and safety protocols throughout the school year with frequent hand washing, disinfecting, test and stay as well as masking.
“At-Home” Antigen Testing Program for Enrolled Staff and Students Continues through April 22nd: Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in partnership with the Department of Public Health (DPH) approved our application to participate in the at-home antigen testing program as well as the diagnostic and routine pool testing program. To learn more about the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Updated Covid-19 testing program, click this link.
Family Responsibilities for Health and Safety Reminder
As mentioned above, parents / families play a critical role in supporting the culture of health and safety in our schools. As an important reminder, please keep your child home if they have been identified as a close contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19. If you or someone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19, please notify your child’s school nurse or principal, who can help guide you with this process.
Parents should perform daily Covid-19 symptom checks before leaving home. Students should stay home if they are having any one symptom of Covid-19, as indicated below. The following symptoms were taken from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website.
- Fever (100.0 Degrees Fahrenheit or above)
- Cough (not due to other known cause)
- Lower respiratory symptoms (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Fatigue/weakness, when in combination with other symptoms
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when combined with other symptoms/ If your child has chronic allergies, please request a note from your child’s physician indicating such.
*Please notify your child’s school principal or school nurse if you have any difficulties following any of these guidelines.
Smithville Road Closed (4/18/2022 – 5/30/2022). The Town of Spencer Water Department is scheduled to replace an existing watermain and water service piping on Smithville Road between Meadow Road and Pleasant Street. Tentative Start Date is April 18, 2022 and the duration is expected to last approximately 6 weeks (05/30/22).
Construction hours will be Monday – Friday 7am-5pm. During this period (and between these hours), The road will be closed and through traffic will be detoured around Smithville Road. Staff will assist residents in and around the construction site during the day. Temporary Water Shut Offs will occur for residents in the vicinity. Advanced notice for affected residents will occur to the extent possible.
We thank you in advance for your patience during construction. Please contact the Spencer Water Department office with any questions at 508-885-7525.
Update on School Meals: The Department’s Office for Food and Nutrition Programs recently sent districts a message about Congress not extending universal free meals past June 30. Starting July 1, all schools will return to the National School Lunch Program. If schools do not participate in the Community Eligibility Program, free and reduced price meals will only be offered to students directly certified for these meals or approved through a household application. As it stands right now, grab and go meals also will not be allowed past June 30. This means that all 2022 Summer Eats sites will need to return to congregate meals. Additionally, the eligibility criteria to be a Summer Eats site will return to the pre-pandemic criteria, meaning many sites that have operated the past few summers will no longer be eligible. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Office for Food and Nutrition Programs will provide updates and guidance as they become available.
David Prouty High School Facilities Update: As of this moment, I am pleased to report that we secured a vendor who was able to repair the damaged areas of “B” building so that we could safely reopen our school house doors last month. Many thanks to our local and state officials for providing us with the resources and supports we needed to safely reopen our high school in a timely manner.
MSBA Update: This month, on Friday, April 1st, our School Building Committee had the distinct honor and privilege of presenting our David Prouty High School “Add/Renovation” Project to FLEXcon. More presentations are in the planning stages. However, to stay informed, our David Prouty High School Building Committee meetings take place on the third Thursday of each month. These meetings include a great deal of information regarding our proposed “Addition/Renovation” of David Prouty High School. Our next meeting of the David Prouty High School Building Committee is tentatively planned to take place on Thursday, April 28th, 2022 at 6:00pm at the Wire Village School. All are welcome to these important in-person meetings.
Upcoming Events in April 2022!
As you know, each month we have many exciting activities taking place throughout our learning community. This month, in the month of April, here are just a few things planned.
- Event: SEPAC Meeting via Zoom. (Mon, April 4, 6:30 PM)
- Event School Committee Meeting (Tue, April 12, 6:00 PM)
- Event: Half Day of School (Thurs, April 14).
- Event: School Closed – Holiday (Friday, April 15)
- Event: School Closed – April Recess (April 18 – 22)
- Event: School Building Committee Meeting (Thurs, April 28, 6:00pm)
MCAS Season Begins! MCAS has been upgraded to better measure the critical skills students need for success in the 21st century: deeper understanding; knowledge application; synthesizing; and writing. Most students will take the test on a computer reflecting the digital world we live in today. MCAS helps the Commonwealth identify schools and districts that need additional support. The next-generation MCAS reports your child's scores in new categories that better show whether your child is meeting expectations in their grade level.
Beginning at the end of March/beginning of April, your child will be taking MCAS, our Commonwealth’s standardized test. Let’s work together and make your child’s experience a positive and successful one! We’ve been preparing at school. Here are some suggestions you can do to help everyday:
✔Ensure your child arrives at school on time.
✔Have your child eat a healthy breakfast at home or at school.
✔Ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
✔Gently encourage them to do their best.
✔And finally, take a quick moment to write an encouraging note to your child.
To learn more on steps you can take as parents/families, go to the Parents’ Guide to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.
And finally, as the weather improves this spring, lets finish the school year strong by putting our best selves forward in support of our staff, students and one another! As always, thank you for your continued partnership and support of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District. #Innovate #Inspire #Achieve
Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District