I hope that everyone has been enjoying their summer thus far and have been able to get away from the screens that occupied the last ⅓ of the school year (or at least greatly reduced the amount of time on them). The week ahead looks like we’re going to get some more of the much needed rain our lawns and gardens are thirsting for. Hopefully you’ll still be able to get outside for stretches in between the rainfall.
This week we start building the draft framework for what the opening of the new school year may look like. The fifty-three (53) people that have been working across three focus areas have put in a ton of work thus far. They have identified core values, designed the survey questions that went out and have reviewed the results of the survey to help move this process along. I have a smaller group of people that will be spearheading the writing of the draft framework so that we can keep to our timeline of finishing that work this week. In turn, I will be sending out the draft for our stakeholders to review and comment on next week. Those comments/inputs will lead us to finalizing what the framework will eventually become. I want to caution everyone here that the framework will not be a final decision, but more of a plan on what we will do in the various scenarios that we could be faced with in late August. As we near the end of July and beginning of August, we will use the most current information and guidance from the state and health officials to assist us with determining how we will begin the new school year. If (and that’s a big if) there is a directive that is issued for all school districts around the state, we will obviously comply with that directive, but there has not been an indication that such a directive is forthcoming, however, I think we can all attest to stranger things having happened.
The summer meal distribution program has begun. Please see the attachment to today’s update or the “Meals” update below for details on the logistics regarding the dates, times and locations for pick-up.
While our buildings continued to be closed except for staff that need to be in them, our outdoor facilities opened last week. The playgrounds will remain closed as proper sanitization can not be realized on a daily and consistent cycle. Summer conditioning programs at Keene High School are scheduled to commence this week. These workouts are all taking place outdoors and following the Summer Guidance that was approved by the NHIAA. 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.
We are continuing the collection of school materials and equipment that was loaned out during the remote learning phase of last school year. If you still have items that need to be returned to the school you borrowed them from, please contact that school to arrange details on how to do so. We will be following up with families that still have outstanding materials and equipment that has not been sent back to school so that we can ensure our inventories are updated and ready for the next school year.
Summer projects are well underway at many of our locations. All indications look positive for the projects to be completed in advance of the new school year. Additionally, crews are in the buildings giving them a very deep cleaning from head to toe (so to speak). A large number of our teachers closed out their respective classrooms during remote learning and our custodial crews have taken advantage of that extra time to further enhance what is typically done during the summer maintenance cycle in all of our buildings. I am completely confident that our buildings will be in tip top shape before the summer comes to an end.
Speaking of summer maintenance, here’s some food for thought, for the next couple of months anyway. A good way to learn from experience is to document what those experiences were and how they made you feel when they were happening. While schools are in summer break mode, it may be helpful for students to go back to a time before things really changed in their lives with this pandemic. Then, to the best of their recollection, try to write down how things unfolded moving forward. They can write about their feelings, their emotions, or simply about their observations. They can jot down the things they did to help them navigate day-to-day life away from their places of normalcy. This is not an assignment, but a method of reflection that can help young people (and people of any age for that matter) be mindful of the things they experienced and acknowledge what worked and what didn’t work. I know, it sounds an awful lot like school work, but really it is for personal use only. I also recognize that it is difficult to find the time to do that, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. It could be as simple as 10-15 minutes a day at a time that works best. It is quite possible that you may find it therapeutic and relieving to express yourself that way. In the end, the worst that can happen is that you have the making of a short story to look back upon ten, twenty, thirty or more years down the road.
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, because collectively, WE GOT THIS!!!
Meals: Southwestern Community Services, Inc. began offering the Summer Food Service Program to our community’s youth today. 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 see the attachment to today’s update or 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.
- 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.