First and foremost, I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing Independence Day weekend. For me it kicked off the first week long break that I’ve taken in almost a year and through the long arm of technology, I am able to fulfill my commitment in providing you with this week’s update...dare I say...remotely.
I want to start by thanking those that have posted on the Padlet wall I created to share ideas on how to keep the brain active during the summer. I’ve added it to the update so you can access and check in from time to time to see if there are new ideas you might want to consider. I also want to give a big shout out to the staff that have also been using Padlet to share ideas with one another on what worked for them during remote learning and what didn’t go so well. A true sign of the dedicated staff that we have in our schools and districts. They took the initiative to establish a process on their own so that they could reflect upon and share best practices with one another for the greater good of our students! Who knows, maybe this will become a thing, but I can honestly say that I absolutely love the fact that these professionals are on our team!
After a very involved and busy week last week, we are ready to share our initial draft of the framework (attached) that will guide all of our schools when we open the new school year. I want to remind everyone that the framework is not a final decision on what model we will be implementing and advise that it was created with maintaining flexibility in mind. As a result, you will not find specific recommendations such as “all students and staff will _______” as guidance from both health officials and the State of New Hampshire continue to be updated. Instead you will find statements such as “...using the most current guidance from health officials…” embedded throughout the framework. Additionally, being overly detailed on specific guidance may not work effectively in each of our buildings. For example, one school may be able to consider one-way hallways while another school may not be able to implement such a procedure because of the building infrastructure. As we work toward finalizing the framework, each building site will work through what those specific details will be for their individual locations. Again, to hopefully be clear, the framework is intentionally designed to serve as a guide for all buildings to prepare site specific procedures that will best serve each individual location.
If you have any comments or suggestions for the framework that you would like to make known, please feel free to include them in the appropriate section using this embedded platform to collect all Framework Feedback. This forum will be open until 8am on Monday, July 13, 2020. At that time, we will take all of the input and amend the framework accordingly in order to have a finalized roadmap for our schools to build their plans.
I also want to be fully transparent that unless we have a specific direction from our state leadership on what model we will be required to implement when we open the new school year, we will use the most current information and data available to make those determinations locally. Therefore, all school year 2020-2021 opening decisions will be based on the most current epidemiological data, health official guidance and State of New Hampshire directives as they relate to our schools and our communities.
There is still a significant amount of work that we will need to do in order to be ready to resume educating our children/students. The groups of individuals that have dedicated their efforts to establishing the draft framework have acknowledged a number of more specific items that will undoubtedly need to be addressed. I am fairly certain that when the feedback comes in from our broader community of stakeholders, there will be additional items that will need to be addressed. Please trust that we will continue to work to address all of the items that we can over time. It will take time and it will require the use of the most current and updated information that we have but we are committed to getting that done as well.
I hope that everyone is able to review the framework and provide your comments for us to make it better. I also hope that everyone has a great week ahead of them. I know that when it is all said and done, WE will be in a good place because WE have proven that...WE GOT THIS!!!
Active Brain Ideas: If you have other thoughts or ideas on how to keep the brain active in the summer, please post them on this linked Padlet I created so that we can all share and learn from one another. All you need to do is double click on the wallpaper and a sticky note will pop up. Then you can jot down your idea, click on the wallpaper again to post it and those that visit can learn from your wisdom. You can also add comments to posts and like ones that interest you most.
Meals: Southwestern Community Services, Inc. began offering the Summer Food Service Program to our community’s youth June 29. All area students, including those from SAU 29 districts, are welcome to utilize the lunch program free of charge.
SCS is encouraging folks to take advantage of the curb-side pick-up at Keene Middle School. The program is available Monday through Friday from June 29 through August 21. The meals will be available from 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM.
For more information please contact Rhonda Hull, SCS Community Food Coordinator at 603.719.4240 or email@example.com
Mental Health & Cultural Awareness: Below are some resources that may be helpful as we begin our summer vacation.
100 Different Ways to spend time in the summer with your kids, and most are free of charge!
- https://www.unicef.org/parenting/talking-to-your-kids-about-racism to help talk with your children, our students. This article covers ages ranging under 5, between 6-11, and 12+.
- https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/5-ways-stand-against-racism-and-injustice/37355 This article addresses acceptable ways to condemn racism. This seems especially timely as peaceful protesters pop up all over the country, even here in Keene.
- https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/how-white-people-can-talk-their-kids-about-racism/37361 This is a great way to start a conversation about racial issues with your kids. Racism thrives in silence.
- The 5 Signs to help you identify and support others who may be struggling more than usual at this challenging time, or at any time.
Reporting Abuse: If you see something, please say something. You can find guidance on the NH Department of Health and Human Services website.
- Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention - We’re here for you 24/7. You don’t have to be in crisis to call. Call our hotline at: 603-352-3782 or 1-888-511-MCVP
- National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
School Boards: Please use the links below to access the most recent school board meetings for your respective school district.
Chesterfield - CSB Meeting Video
Harrisville - HSB Meeting Video
Keene - KBE Meeting Video
Marlborough - MbSB Meeting Video
Marlow - MwSB Meeting Video
Nelson - NSB Meeting Video
Westmoreland - WSB Meeting Video
School Buildings: Building hours are 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for staff only. Visitors are advised to call the school office in advance of showing up to ensure that your needs are able to be met.
Central Office hours are 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
All buildings are closed on the weekend.
School Calendars: The 2020-2021 school year calendars can be found using this link: SAU 29 School District Calendars.
School Grounds: Outdoor facilities were opened on Monday, June 22nd. Playgrounds will remain closed as proper sanitization can not meet recommended guidelines. Organizations and teams wishing to use the facilities must arrange to do so through the facility use process. Contact your respective school district for further information. Users of the facilities shall continue to practice social distancing while on school grounds.
School Year 2020-2021 Opening: In order to best prepare for the return to schools we need to consider all possibilities to most effectively provide for our students, staff and families. More specifically, we need to be prepared for models that could look like the following:
- Being fully onsite as we were prior to the pandemic.
- Some form of being onsite and being remote.
- Being fully remote as we have been since the start of the pandemic.
The primary objective is to have a flexible plan in place for the three models of returning to school for the 2020 – 2021 school year.
Our timeline to help us fulfill that objective looks like this:
Special Education: Happy Summer!!! We are moving forward with the daily business of Special Education. This includes referral meetings, individualized education plan meetings (IEP meetings) and extended school year programming for those students that have qualified. As always, please reach out to the Student Services Offices at 357-9001 extension 230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 3:30. Thank you!
Please contact your school for more information on times and where you should drop off the devices. Make sure you have the power cord with the device.
Help desk number, (603)352-0640 ext 3871, For help with the Home user and remote learning click here.
Vetted APPs and Websites: You can check the online vetted site here SDPC Look up the App and website by company. We have added more to the list as we get them back from the Vetting team.
Contact Information: Dr. Rick Matte is the lead contact person for all COVID-19 inquiries and concerns at all SAU 29 schools and districts. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Governor Sununu has also activated a 24-hour COVID-19 hotline for all related needs and supports. The hotline can be reached by dialing 211.