Editor’s Note: Superintendent Conrad’s weekly newsletter is replete with information on National Bullying Prevention month, links to Covid statistics for the Bedford schools, and other interesting news.
National Bullying Prevention Month
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. A time to focus on bullying prevention and to raise awareness about the effects of bullying. During this month, many groups across the country will release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of bullying. For more information go to National Bullying Prevention Month Information
Each of our schools takes a unique approach to bullying prevention. At the Davis School, we utilize Responsive Classroom to build classroom communities that teach communication and social problem-solving skills. We also share stories that help children determine when something is hurtful, unfair, and/or unsafe and how to take action to help the person or themselves. At the Lane School, we work with students so that they can understand, identify, and prevent bullying through understanding what bullying is or is not, the impact of bullying, the role of bystanders/upstanders, and how administrators handle reports of bullying. At JGMS we expect everyone to show Empathy and Acceptance every day and everywhere in our school. These values make up the E and A in HEART and are the core of our conversation when we work to prevent and address bullying. At BHS we utilize our advisory curriculum to build strong relationships that help students understand that we are all in this together and that bullying has no place in our school. Through all of these efforts, we aspire to create a safe, respectful, and inclusive learning environment where all students can realize their growth as a learner.
Streamlined COVID Communication
Please check the link below to review current and past cases of COVID-19 cases within our school community. Cases are immediately reported on the Town of Bedford COVID-19 Statistics Page which is continuously updated by the Bedford Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with our School nurses and the Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiologic Network (MAVEN).
Remember, this reporting change has not been a change to our COVID-19 protocols or processes.
COVID-19 Testing Programs
We continued with COVID safety checks this week for grades Pre-K to 12 with the exception of JGMS who didn’t test due to the holiday last Monday. This week we completed 300 tests at Davis, 336 tests at Lane, no tests at JGMS due to the holiday Monday, and 108 tests at BHS. The results of the tests to date have all been negative. The testing schedule for next week (all grades) is: Davis: Wednesday morning, Lane: Tuesday morning, JGMS: Monday morning, and BHS: Wednesday morning upon arrival starting at 7:20 AM
Please! Sign up for testing as another way to keep our community safe. We offer Test and Stay which allows non-symptomatic close contacts to come to school, get tested, and if negative go to class. If a child tests positive they are sent home. Symptomatic testing allows us to test a student who starts to have symptoms of COVID-19 at school; students should not come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Routine COVID-19 safety checks (previously called Pooled testing) allow students and staff to be tested on a regular basis. This year each of us will be providing two samples so that in the case of a positive pool each individual can be tested in the lab and the positive COVID-19 case easily identified. The samples will be taken via nasal swab at school.
Vaccination Rate Update
Our school nurses at JGMS and BHS working with data from the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) and direct outreach have confirmed that 71% of BHS students and 72% of JGMS 7th and 8th graders are fully vaccinated. This information is different from that seen in a recent Boston Globe article. We are investigating the disparity between the two sets of figures.
2021 Military Impact Aid Survey
As we do each October, we are asking for each parent/guardian’s cooperation in filling out a survey form to meet the requirements of Public Law 874. Under the provisions of Public Law 874, Bedford Public Schools must conduct an annual Military Impact Aid Survey. The Town of Bedford receives a substantial sum of money under this provision, which lowers the cost of education for all taxpayers.
This year the survey is fully electronic with an e-signature! Parents/Guardians will receive an email with a survey link for each student. It is very important that all surveys are completed and electronically signed for each student, as reimbursement is made for all eligible students on a per-pupil basis. This survey is repeated annually. We thank you very much for your assistance with this important annual survey. For further information please navigate to Annual Federal Impact Aid Survey
DESE has released the Spring 2021 MCAS results to school districts throughout the state. State-wide results show that many more students had gaps in their knowledge of math and, to a lesser extent, English language arts, compared to students in the same grades before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that fewer students met or exceeded grade-level expectations.
Our Bedford MCAS data is being analyzed currently, by district-wide and school-based teams. We are examining the results carefully, and are using this information in our grade level, and department level data meetings, along with our internal student assessment data to continue to inform our instruction, our RtI (Response to Intervention) planning, and our differentiation work with students. Families will receive individual MCAS student reports as they have in the past. We will also be presenting an overview of our Bedford MCAS results to the school committee this fall.
The Bedford Public Schools are seeking substitute teachers and Special Education Teaching Assistants. If you are interested please apply at BPS Substitutes or to BPS Special Education Teaching Assistants.
As always, thank you for your patience, your participation, and your continued commitment to our schools.