Superintendent Update: School Closure - Week of May 11th!

School Closure: Week 9

Dear Parents, Families and Community Members,   

I hope this correspondence finds you and yours continuing to do well.  I continue to be awestruck and proud of the fantastic teaching and learning taking place throughout our regional school district.  Over April Break, I sent out a survey for students, parents/families and staff to help us gauge where we were in our efforts with remote learning; and to determine adjustments or shifts we could make to continue to engage your son or daughter as well as you as a parent/family.  Based on the results, the feedback has been positive and speaks well to the hard work, due diligence and dedication of our faculty, staff and administration as well as to all that you are doing to support your son or daughter learn remotely while school buildings remain closed.  We know the challenges you are facing often with this "new normal" and "paradigm for learning," and we remain committed to supporting you any way we can.  Despite the challenges our regional school district has faced together, we have all remained steadfast in our commitment and continue to press on in keeping learning alive!

Phase 3 Begins. 

As I stated in an earlier Superintendent Update, the Commissioner of Education, Jeffrey C. Riley, issued further guidance, recommendations, strategies and effective practices to schools in Massachusetts to begin to implement in early May through to the end of the school year.  The Commissioner is asking that school districts throughout the Commonwealth provide opportunities for students to be exposed to certain identified prerequisite skills necessary to enter the next grade.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) identified essential standards or what we often call, “power standards,” for each grade level; and after reviewing these with the scope and sequence of our grades here in the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District, our curriculum experts: our teachers staff, and administrators have found that the vast majority were already taught and/or were being reinforced by our remote learning plan work.  As a result, we began introducing and exposing our students to the remaining handful of “essential standards” that were not already taught or reinforced as we enter our latest phase of remote learning. 

I have seen firsthand a great many wonderful experiences taught and learned by our students since the closure of our school buildings.  I understand that this limited exposure will not and cannot take the place of what would be done in school under normal circumstances.  However, it is my belief that the inequities of not exposing students to these prerequisite essential/power standards outweighs the challenge of not being able to provide the in-depth “deeper” teaching and learning through remote learning.  In brief, this time is essential because it is an opportunity for us to remain purposeful, committed to one another, and focused in our work together for our young people.     

As our remote learning plan and the 2019-2020 school year begins to wind down, it is imperative to remain steadfast and supportive of one another: you as parents, families and students and us as a regional school district learning community.  It is imperative we remain committed to one another because it is what makes our remote learning plan effective.  For instance, together, we have kept the safety, health and wellness of our students, parents/families and staff in the forefront; and continue to believe that this is paramount.  Second, by maintaining steady connections with our students, parents and families we have been able to mitigate and address needs as they have come up in real time. 

Remote Learning.   

As of March 30th, 2020, we have been providing work remotely to our students and to you as a family.  Our overarching goal since the closure of our school buildings has been to make remote learning opportunities more readily available and equitable for every single student of our regional school district as well as for you as parents/families. To access the District Remote Learning Opportunities, go to: Learn @Home anytime.  Please refer to SEBRSD's Remote Learning Website to view your students' specific school assigned learning opportunities each week. Additional suggestions for supporting students' remote learning can be viewed from our Student Services Webpage or our Student Services Information Bulletin. 

Remote Learning is on YouTube!  

After joining forces with the Spencer Cable Access’ Channel 192 to create original, educational programming for students in grades PreK through 12. Dedicated teachers from across our regional school district have developed original video lessons, pulling content from their own lesson plans and sources to provide exceptional learning opportunities for Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School district students and now also posting them to our YouTube Channel at ChooseSEBRSD.  This opportunity would not be possible without the help of Spencer Cable Access and our faculty, staff and leadership team within the district and most importantly, our technology team members, Christian Gemme and Dan Burque.  Thank you everyone for continuing to keep learning alive throughout this challenging time 

New Partnerships are Formed.

Thanks to the efforts of Cheryl Donahue at the Richard Sugden Library, we now are able to pass out with our "Grab & Go" Meals program over 100 kindergarten leveled books for our young people to practice their reading at home.  This is in addition to so many donations of books and arts & craft kits already donated in grades 1-12 through to adult age, as well.   Further, if anyone is need of WiFI Access, the Sugden library has also offered their internet services to the public for FREE.  All anyone has to do is stop by and obtain the log in information at the library.

Operation Feed SEBRSD!   

The Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District Director of Food Services reports that as of today, Friday, May 15th, 2020, we have delivered about 5,000 “Grab & Go” Meals to our students and their family members.  Many congratulations to everyone involved in making the vital program so successful!   

FREE meals for all students within the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District will be made available for ALL Students within the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District.  The schedule for the week of May 18h through 22nd, 2020 includes the following locations and times.  

In Spencer, MA (10:30am – 11:15am)  

  • Mary Queen of the Rosary Church (Parking Lot)  at 60 Maple Street  

  • Richard Sugden Library (Rear of Building) at 8 Pleasant Street  

In East Brookfield MA (11:30am – 11:50pm)  

  • East Brookfield Baptist Church (Parking Lot) at 262 East Main Street  

In Spencer, MA (12:00pm – 12:15pm) 

  • 9 Bixby Road Housing Development  (This location is for residents only).  

How it works:  

  • Drive Up and Let us know how many meals you would like.  
  • Staff will provide you with the appropriate number of meals.  
  • Drive off and have a nutritious day!  

Celebrating the Class of 2020!  

Presently, there are a number of activities and unique opportunities that are in the planning stages.  Presently, we have received word that we have many commitments for our seniors: from entering the workforce right away to begin their careers in technology, agriculture, manufacturing and the like to college and university commitments and beginning their lives... Please join us in celebrating the David Prouty High School Class of 2020 this spring as they round the final leg of their secondary education by keeping an eye open for updates on all of the celebration activities we have planned. 

Sharing the "Good Stuff"   

As mentioned in earlier Superintendent Updates, if parents or families want to take pictures of their students remote learning opportunities so we are able to post them online, we would love to have them to share!  Please continue to use the hashtag #SEBRSDLearnsTogether and #WeGotThis so we may post on Twitter.  As well, if you post pictures on Twitter yourself, just use the hashtag (@ChooseSEBRSD) or my personal twitter account (@pshaughey).  I would love to see them and re-tweet them as well as a share them on Facebook and Instagram, as well.  Let's do what we do best - Celebrate all of the outstanding work of our students here in SEBRSD! 

Closing Thoughts   

In closing, I am aware that there will be challenges associated with exposing our students to some of the prerequisite skills identified in the essential standards.  However, the next five weeks is an excellent opportunity for us to identify what will be needed to support our students, parents, families and staff should we continue down the road of remote learning in the summer and fall. 

As always, thank you for your continued partnership and support of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District!!  #Progress #Unity #Knowledge   

Take care and be well. 

Sincerely Yours,   

Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.   

Superintendent of Schools