NSBORO NEWS - November 2019
NSBORO News - November Edition
Index:
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Action
Planning for Success ~ You're Invited
School Start Time Task Force ~ Update
School Cancellation Information
Quick links to important information
Superintendent's November Updates
STEM in Action
"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science."

-Albert Einstein  

Each year, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) highlights Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning activities across the Commonwealth by having a STEM week. It is a statewide effort to boost the interest, awareness, and ability for all learners to envision themselves in STEM education. The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough expanded STEM week to STEM fall and highlighted the STEM learning happening throughout the ten schools. STEM continues to be a District priority. In an increasingly complex world, it's more important than ever that our students are prepared to solve complex problems, make sense of information, and to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. Our students are our future leaders, neighbors, and workers, and they deserve the best possible education that we can provide them. I want to thank the Instructional Technology Department, led by Mrs. Julie Doyle, Director of Instructional Technology and Digital Learning, for organizing "STEM fall" in our District. The Department created a short video (below) to highlight the events that took place.

Respectfully,

Gregory L. Martineau
Superintendent of Schools
  
Planning for Success: Strategic Planning
In the 2012-2013 academic year, The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough developed a Strategic Plan, entitled Vision 2020: Strategically Planning for Our Future . The Plan was created in partnership with the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools (MARS) Consulting Group. Over the past seven years, Vision 2020: Strategically Planning for Our Future, has served as the districts’ beacon for school and district improvement efforts. With 2020 upon us, it is now time to reauthorize the strategic plan for 2021-2026 and set new priorities, ambitious goals, and action steps to guide the districts’ efforts for the next five years.

To accomplish this, the districts’ will use the Planning for Success model from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Create, Align, and Implement represent the three phases of Planning for Success, a planning process that is designed to strengthen coherence and support district and school success. This planning process centers on the creation of a multi-year district plan that is grounded in the analysis of a wide array of district data; sets specific, measurable outcomes; identifies the objectives and initiatives to accomplish them; and will guide all other district systems.

To begin the process, the districts will be analyzing qualitative and quantitative data and seeking input from students, educators, faculty and staff, school and district leaders, parents, community members, town leaders, and business representatives.  

The initial phase of data collection and input will begin in the month of December. Several community workshops have been scheduled and all are welcome to attend any or all of the workshops.  
Additionally, The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough will be launching a survey early in December (hard copies will also be available). If you have any questions about the process or would like more information, please call or email me, Gregory L. Martineau, Superintendent of Schools, at 508.486.5115 or gmartineau@nsboro.k12.ma.us  


You are Invited to Strategic Planning Sessions - Save the Date(s):

An important step in the strategic planning process is to envision a bold and ambitious future for our students in The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough. We are bound together by the commitment to prepare our students to be lifelong learners and positive contributors to society. Please join us for a collaborative process of defining our vision for success for our students. 

In each session, we will begin by considering the landscape our students will face in the future; What will jobs, higher education and society require of them? Then we will work together to describe the habits of learning, work, and well-being that will serve our graduates well. In addition, we will describe the skills and knowledge that students need to function in a complex, changing world.  

Come meet other community members, share your aspirations for our children, and finish this sentence:  We won’t stop until...
School Start Time Task Force ~ Update 
I want to communicate important information about the work of the School Start Time Task Force. The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough has been on a multi-year journey studying the impacts of a later start time for our adolescent aged students. Last year, Northborough, Southborough, and Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committees charged the Superintendent with hiring a school bus consultant to examine our student transportation system and to launch a Start Time Task Force.  

In January of 2019, School Bus Consultants (SBC) began an analysis of the districts’ student transportation operations, which concluded in the spring of 2019. The report provided excellent data and has led to many more questions.  

Additionally, in the spring of 2019, the School Start Time Task Force was established to continue the District’s study of starting Algonquin Regional High School later. Since the spring, the Task Force has held many meetings to research, study, and identify viable solutions. Also, the School Start Time Task Force developed a rollout plan that articulates the process of making a recommendation to the school committees. The rollout plan includes three phases: 1) Educate, 2) Identify Options, and 3) Seek Feedback. 

The goal is to provide the school committees with a recommendation in April of 2020. If a decision is made to start school later, it will be implemented in the 2021-2022 school year. There will be no start time change in the 2020-2021 school year.

To launch the first phase, Educate, the Task Force will be providing the community with resources to learn more about the relationship between sleep, school start times, and physical, psychological, and educational well-being. I appreciate your time and want to thank you in advance for engaging in the conversation. More information will be shared with the community as the year progresses. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please email healthysleep@nsboro.k12.ma.us . Additionally, I encourage you to visit the Start Time Task Force webpage for more information.

NSBORO FAQs: To learn more, please visit the Start Time Task Force Website
School Cancellation Information - FAQs
As we head into the winter months, the likelihood of having a school cancellation, delay, or early release due to inclement weather increases significantly. Like weather forecasting, the school-closing decision process is not a perfect science. However, it is important for families to understand how the process works. I’ve provided this FAQ document to answer questions about the process and what families can expect.

Who makes the decision about whether or not to close school?
The Superintendent of Schools, in consultation with the Director of Finance and the Director of Operations, Northborough’s Department of Public Works, Southborough’s Department of Public Works, and Northborough and Southborough safety officials make the final decision by 5:30 AM or earlier. On rare occasions, a final decision may be made later than 5:30 AM.

What information is gathered to aid in the decision?
There are multiple factors used in deciding whether or not to close school: information on road conditions; snow accumulation predictions; building conditions such as electricity and heat; parking lot conditions; air temperature and wind chill; and, estimated times from the Departments of Public Works as to when roads, walkways, and parking lots will be cleared of snow and ice.

How is the information acquired?
District staff monitors state and local weather forecasts. The Departments of Public Works and Northborough and Southborough police officials provide updates on neighborhood road conditions.

What is a delayed opening?
Rather than a close school for a whole day due to short-term weather situations, there may be days when the beginning of the school day will be delayed by two hours. The school day will simply start later by the length of the delay. Bus pickup, therefore, will also occur later. For example, if your child is normally picked up at 8:35 AM, during a one hour delayed opening he/she will be picked up at 9:35 AM. Lunch will still be available and dismissal will be at the regularly scheduled times.


How is the public notified of a delayed opening, early dismissal, or cancellation?
District website (http://www.nsboro.k12.ma.us/)
Twitter (@NSBOROSchools)
One Call Now school email
One Call Now school email phone call (“robocall”)
Local Television: WBZ-Ch. 4, WCVB-Ch. 5, WHDH-Ch. 7, WFXT-Ch. 25, and NECN/NBC10 Boston.*  

*Waiting for television broadcasts is often the least effective means of learning about school closings. It is recommended that you first rely on the resources above. Each station also posts school closings on its website.

What are parents’ responsibilities?
The safety of your child is paramount. On days when weather conditions are questionable, but school remains open, parents are free to exercise discretion and keep children home from school. Parents of young drivers are asked to reinforce winter weather driving skills: allowing extra travel time, reducing speed, and not worrying about being late.

How are days made-up?
As per state regulations, students must attend school for a minimum of 180 days and the school year must end by June 30. If school is closed due to weather, the day will be made-up at the end of the school year.

How do power outages affect the decision?
Inclement weather can affect the timeline for utility companies to restore electricity. If all school buildings have electricity, the goal will be to open school. Other factors also influence the decision, including whether a number of neighborhoods are without power.

Will the entire District be cancelled if one school is not able to open?
There will be times when a single school may be cancelled and not the entire District. For example, if a single school is without power, only that school would be cancelled.
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