NSBORO NEWS - May 2020
NSBORO News - May Edition
Superintendent's Message
Virtual District Art Show - Work from our District’s Talented Student Artists
F all School Reopening - Family Input Essential - Survey
School Start Time Later Proposal - Please Complete Survey
Draft - Reauthorized Strategic Plan - Feedback Welcomed

Superintendent's Message
"No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it." – H.E. Luccock

Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):

On behalf of the District, I want to recognize students, faculty, staff, and families and express our appreciation for the school community in partnering with the District on making the best of challenging times. I find it hard to comprehend that in a very short time, more than 100,000 Americans have lost their lives due to COVID-19. I want to offer my condolences for those who have lost friends or loved ones due to the disease.  

As I look ahead, I am hopeful. I have great faith in the goodness of people and the power of education. Over the past several months I have witnessed countless examples of students, faculty, staff, and families who have helped one another and others in need in a very challenging time. Whether volunteering at our local food pantries, donating money to support families in need, or volunteering to help the Nutrition 68 Program, it has been a wonderful symphony to listen to.  

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been keenly aware of the dark side of humankind. In addition to fighting a pandemic, our country continues to battle hatred, racism, and intolerance.  The District’s recent “Portrait of a Graduate” work reemphasized the communities’ collective commitments to their children and doing whatever it takes to launch the next generation of citizens who are leaders, educators, doctors, artists, musicians, and the like. Citizens who leave Algonquin Regional High School leverage strengths to build collective commitment, action, and understanding. Citizens who demonstrate thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.Citizens who have personal, civic, and social integrity through ethical and empathetic behaviors. Citizens who recognize the individual and communal impact on others and the natural world. Citizens who value and embrace diverse cultures and unique perspectives through mutual respect and open dialogue. Citizens who demonstrate awareness, sensitivity, concern, and respect to connect with self and others’ feelings, opinions, experiences, and cultures. 

Even in the darkest of times, I remain hopeful. I believe that the current Class of 2020 and the many classes that follow in its footsteps will continue to fight against hatred, racism, and intolerance of any kind. I’m looking forward to listening to the symphony our graduates will play.

Gregory L. Martineau
Superintendent of Schools

With May’s NSBORO News, there are a number of important updates and opportunities for families to provide our District with feedback and input. As the District looks to make important decisions that will impact its future, your feedback is essential. 1) Fall Reopening Plans; 2) School Start Time Later Proposal; and, 3) Draft Reauthorized Strategic Plan. Your input and feedback are greatly appreciated.
K-12 Visual Arts Gallery - Click Below to Browse
They Still Create
Fall Reopening Plans - Family Input Essential
I’m hopeful that our District will reopen in the fall and that students will return full-time; however, being mindful of the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 health situation, the District is also planning for two other scenarios. One scenario the District is planning for is a hybrid model where there is a combination of in-person and remote learning. The second scenario sets plans for our District if it is not allowed to reopen and schools are required to continue with full-time remote learning. Regardless of whether the District opens at 100 percent capacity or in a hybrid model, safety protocols will be implemented based on guidelines from our local boards of health, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), The Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Although the DESE is expected to release reopening guidelines to districts across the Commonwealth sometime in the next couple of weeks, the District is taking a proactive approach and has convened a Reopening Advisory Panel (RAP) to study options and plan accordingly. The Panel includes school nurses, principals, educators, and District-wide leaders across our ten schools. By reviewing lessons learned from other countries and states, we are predicting the hybrid approach is highly likely and would involve a cohort approach with one-half of our students participating in remote learning, while the other half are attending school. The District acknowledges that this model continues to add layers of complexities to our families. Again, the District would only implement a hybrid model if required. In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to communicate to families what to expect, as I know that families need time to plan and prepare for their families’ needs.

The District is studying two hybrid models and requests families’ feedback before moving forward with in-depth planning. Hybrid Model One, Full-week Rotation: A/B Week, is outlined in the table below. Half of the student population (Cohort A) would report to school for full days, while the remaining second half (Cohort B) of the school population participates in distance learning at home. The student population would alternate each week. All grades would be included. Students would be provided assignments to support their learning on the days in which they do not report to school that could include paper, pencil, eLearning or a combination.

Hybrid Model One: Full-week Rotation: A/B Week

 Hybrid Model Two, Split-week Rotation - A/B Days, half of the student population (Cohort A) would report to school for full days on designated days while the second half (Cohort B) participates in distance learning from home. Students would be provided assignments to support their learning on the days in which they do not report to school that could include paper, pencil, eLearning or a combination

In case our District is required to begin the 2020-2021 academic year with a hybrid model, I’m asking families to provide input on the two hybrid options. We understand that both hybrid options have pros and cons and may require families to adjust their family and work schedules. Families’ input and feedback are essential as the District plans for reopening in the fall. Throughout the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to communicate to families as I know that families will need time to plan and prepare for the fall.  

(Closes Friday, June 5, 2020)
School Start Time Later Proposal - Survey
Over the past six years, the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough have studied the impact of a 7:20 AM start time on Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) students. In fact, ARHS is included in the minority (10%) of high schools across the country that start school before 7:30 AM. Because of ARHS' start time, students have to wake up earlier than experts recommend so they can catch the bus or drive to school. 

The early start time has been identified as problematic for ARHS’ student body and is thought to be one of the factors contributing to students' stress levels. Sleep quantity and quality are correlated to mental well-being and academic achievement. Knowing that teenagers' sleep needs do not match the body of scientific knowledge prompted the continued study of ARHS' start time.

In the spring of 2019, the District formed a School Start Time Task Force to continue to explore solutions. The Task Force included representatives across our educational community, including parents, educators, school committee members, central office leaders, and principals. This group worked throughout the year to identify solutions. The Task Force identified a three-phased process. First, to educate the community about the relationship between sleep, school start times, and physical, psychological, and educational well-being of teens. Second, to identify viable options that are financially feasible and research-based. Thirdly, to communicate the viable options and seek stakeholder feedback. If successful, the Task Force would recommend a solution to the school committees to be implemented in the fall of 2021.

The School Start Time Task Force is pleased to share with the community that it has identified a viable solution to having a later start time at ARHS. Before moving forward with a recommendation to the school committees, it is seeking input and feedback from educators, families, and community organizations. The Task Force is asking that you review the proposal and provide feedback via a survey. The results of the survey will be shared with the community and will be used to make adjustments, identify concerns, and ultimately be used to decide if there is support to make a recommendation to the school committees for their approval. If approved, the adjusted start times would be implemented in the fall of 2021; this year will give stakeholders time to prepare for the change and for the District to make final adjustments. 

Below is the Proposed Start Time Changes for the 2021-2022 school year. The times in green are the current start/end times for our 10 schools. The times in yellow are the proposed changes that would take effect in the fall of 2021. The “Tier” indicates which students will be riding together for each town. For example, ARHS students will be riding with middle school students in Tier 1. 

Your input and feedback are essential: Start Time Proposal Survey
(Closes Friday, June 5, 2020)
Draft Reauthorized Strategic Plan - Feedback Welcomed
This school year, we have been engaged in the extensive process of writing a new strategic plan for the District. This has been guided by the Planning for Success model from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In addition, we used the Profile of a Graduate process to define our vision for success. Throughout, we have invited a wide range of stakeholders to participate. In addition, we have benefitted from the insight and support of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee which is made up of community members, School Committee members, teachers, and administrators.  

At this time, we would appreciate your perspectives on the draft Strategic Plan for the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough. Please provide feedback by completing the linked survey Strategic Plan Feedback Form , by Friday, June 4, 2020.  

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