Superintendent’s Update – November 18

Superintendent Conrad’s weekly message for November 18, 2022, focuses on remembering Dorry O’Malley; Annual Bedford Fired Department Toy Collection; Native American Heritage Month; Davis Literary Event; Native American Heritage Month; ALICE in BPS and at BHS; COVID-19; Test kits for Holidays.

Sad News

We learned this week that Ms. Dotty O’Malley (formerly Hovsepian) passed away on November 8, 2022. Ms. O’Malley was an English teacher and Guidance Counselor at BHS for 40 years. For more information please visit https://www.joycefuneralhome.com/obituaries/dorothy-omalley

Annual Bedford Fire Department Toy Collection

The Bedford Fire Department will be holding their annual Toy Collection on Saturday, December 10, 2022 and Saturday, December 17, 2022 from 10:00 am- 2:00 pm each day. The collection point will be in the back parking lot of Bedford High School at 9 Mudge Way. Unwrapped toys for children of all ages are accepted. The toys will be given to needy families through Toys for Local Children. The Fire Department will also be collecting non-perishable food items to be donated to the Middlesex Community College Food Bank. Thank you for supporting this wonderful Bedford tradition of giving.

Native American Heritage Month

In 1990, Congress passed and President George H. W. Bush signed into law a joint resolution designating the month of November as the first National American Indian Heritage Month (also known as Native American Indian Month). “American Indians were the original inhabitants of the lands that now constitute the United States of America,” noted H.J. Res. 577. “Native American Indians have made an essential and unique contribution to our Nation” and “to the world.” Introduced by Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye, the joint resolution stated that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon Federal, State, and local governments, interested groups, and organizations, and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.” In 2008 the commemorative language was amended to also include the contributions of Alaskan Natives. Every year, by statute and/or presidential proclamation, the month of November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month. For more information about Native American Heritage Month please navigate to https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/

Davis Literacy Event

On Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the Davis School Literacy Team hosted a successful literacy night for all families K-2.  Families began their evening with an overview of the reading brain and the complex processes of learning to read.  They then learned how Davis School teaches literacy skills and curricula that we use.  Parents/caregivers were then invited to visit stations to learn more about phonemic awareness, oral language & vocabulary, comprehension & fluency, and decoding, as a means to support literacy at home.

Please visit the Literacy page on the Davis School Website to learn more about learning to read.  The slides and resources provided at the evening presentation are posted here as well.

ALICE in BPS and at BHS

Several years ago, Bedford Public Schools adopted ALICE protocols as the practice for students, faculty, and staff in responding to an emergency event. This morning, Bedford High School participated in an ALICE drill. At approximately 9:00am, Bedford High School administration, in partnership with the district’s School Resource Officer and members of the District Wide Critical Response Team alerted students, faculty, and staff to enact ALICE protocols for a safety drill. An initial announcement was made that this was a practice drill only. The drill was completed quickly and successfully. Bedford High School students, faculty, and staff did a great job with this safety drill. Teachers debriefed the drill with their students and feedback was solicited by school administration on what went well and what could be improved. Counselors were available after the drill and will continue to be available if students require further support. As a district, we will continue to examine our emergency response practices to best ensure the safety and well-being of all of our students and staff. Thank you for continuing to work with us in addressing the safety and well-being of our students and staff and look forward to ALICE protocols, drills, and practice sessions at other schools in the future.

COVID-19

The Bedford Public School nursing staff is able to provide COVID-19 symptomatic testing at school. This testing service is optional and consent is required prior to testing. See the link below to sign up for your student.  The school nurses will administer rapid antigen testing using Abbott BinaxNOW or iHealth tests on-site at each school health office. 

2022-2023 Student Consent Form for Symptomatic COVID-19 Testing at School 

This service is for students who develop symptoms while already at school.  Please continue to screen your children each day before school and refer to the COVID-19 symptoms checklist on the BPS website. If your child has mild symptoms of illness, please test them at home with a rapid home antigen test before sending them to school.  

We encourage all families to keep a supply of COVID-19 home rapid antigen tests on hand.  Home test kits are available from the following town offices during normal business hours:  Health Department, Council on Aging, Town Manager’s Office, or the Bedford Free Public Library. Students may attend school with mild symptoms as long as they are testing negative on an antigen test before coming to school.

Many families signed up for iHealth home tests last Spring and may still have them left over.  The expiration date for this product has been extended.  You can check the expiration dates with the lot # using this link: iHealth Expiration Date Extension

We encourage everyone to get vaccinated with the most recent booster.

For the latest information on COVID-19 cases within the school district please navigate to the Bedford COVID-19 Dashboard 

Test Kits for the Holidays

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will make iHealth Test Kits available to school districts just prior to Thanksgiving for students and staff. The Bedford Public Schools plans to participate in this free program. More information will follow soon.

As always, thank you for your patience, your participation, and your continued commitment to our schools.


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