Therapist Offers Support to Parents of Teenagers Navigating Anxiety, Depression, and other Challenges

Bedford High School parents and caregivers gathered via Zoom with an internationally-known psychotherapist last week to discuss how they can help their teenagers manage and navigate anxiety, depression, and other challenges of a post-pandemic world.

The support seminar was hosted by author and speaker Lynn Lyons, who has worked as a psychotherapist for 31 years. The mother of two college-aged men, Lyons lives in Concord, NH, and sees families for therapy sessions out of her home when she’s not teaching.

The webinar was entitled “Now What? Helping Families Manage Emotionally During Uncertain Times.” Sponsors included the municipal Health Departments of Bedford, Carlisle, and Concord. A similar lecture is planned for this week for parents of younger students.

“Disruption” at Bedford High School

Bedford High School administrators and police are investigating a “disruption” that took place Friday at BHS that involved a student.

Principal Heather Galante, in a two-paragraph memorandum to the “BHS Community” sent by email around 3:40 p.m., reported, “Since the matter is still under investigation and involves a student, we are not able to share the full details.”

Overcoming Challenges ~ METCO Seniors Look Ahead

Resilience in the past. Reflection on the present. Excitement about the future.

Confidence in themselves.

Three Bedford High School seniors unwound in the BHS METCO room this week, sharing personal accounts of navigating and overcoming challenges and setbacks. In a few months, all expect to be enrolled in the state university system.

Angelica Jones and Nekeria Ransom joined the Class of 2021 in sixth grade. Two years later Ty-Janee Brewster arrived. They are among seven METCO seniors at BHS.

School Committee Praises Superintendent Conrad

The School Committee Tuesday took a few minutes to laud first-year Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad for his performance.

After he spent several minutes updating the committee on progress toward professional goals for the year, committee members took turns thanking and saluting Conrad.

Considering that his tenure has been shadowed by the Covid-19 virus and all of its consequences, “I’m impressed that you have managed to get this much done,” said committee member JoAnn Santiago.

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Case at JGMS~ April 16, 2021

April 16, 2021

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at JGMS School (JGMS case #22).  No close contacts.

* There are currently (2) active COVID-19 cases in the JGMS community at this time. 

* This case does not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in  the schools.   

* Please consider signing up your child for pooled testing so we can identify asymptomatic cases:  Bedford Pooled Testing Sign Up.

Parents Hear Bedford High School’s April 26 Reopening Plans

Bedford High School leadership is leaving no stone unturned in its preparation for full reopening planned for April 26.

But there’s only so much school officials can do to deter the spread of the coronavirus. For maximum safety, it will take “collective responsibility.”

That message was delivered during a Zoom webinar for BHS parents and caregivers Wednesday, presented by Principal Heather Galante, Assistant Principals Thomas Casey and Daniel Hudder, and Brian DeChellis of the Counseling Department.

METCO Program Director Relays Parents’ Concerns to School Committee

Several parents of Bedford METCO students are anxious that if there is a Covid-19 outbreak in a school, their children will be blamed,  program director Akil Mondesir told the School Committee Tuesday.

Particularly when the city was a hot spot, “Even with the understanding and appreciation for all of the principals and teachers, a lot of those concerns grew as the parents saw Boston numbers grow,” Mondesir reported.

He never suggested that there was actual finger-pointing. “A lot of my parents truly appreciate all the work by the administration, the School Committee, and the town. They wanted me to make sure this message is relayed to everyone. Their concerns are the same as everybody else’s.”

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Cases at BHS and Lane ~ April 9, 2021

April 9, 2021
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Lane School (LS case #15).  No close contacts.
* Two (2) new COVID-19 positive cases at BHS (BHS Case #55 and #56).  Close contacts have been identified.
* There are currently two (2) active COVID-19 cases in the Lane School community at this time.
* There are currently two (2) active COVID-19 cases in the BHS community at this time.
* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in    the schools.
* Please consider signing up your child for pooled testing so we can identify asymptomatic cases:  Bedford Pooled Testing Sign Up.

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Cases at JGMS and Lane ~ April 7, 2021

April 7, 2021

* Two (2) new COVID-19 positive cases at JGMS (JGMS case #19 and #20). One of these cases is a result of a positive pool and close contacts have been identified for both cases. 

* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Lane School (LS Case #14).  This case was identified as a result of a positive pool and close contacts have been identified. 

* There are currently four (4) active COVID-19 positive cases in the JGMS community at this time. 

* There is currently one (1) active COVID-19 case in the Lane School community at this time. 

* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in    the schools.   

* To sign up your child for pooled testing: Bedford Pooled Testing 

Superintendent’s Update ~ New Positive Covid Case at JGMS~ April 1, 2021

April 1, 2021
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at JGMS (JGMS case #17).  No close contacts. 
* There are currently two (2) active COVID-19 positive cases in the JGMS community at this time. 
* This case does not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in the schools.   

Details from Superintendent Conrad for Bedford’s Return to Full-Time, In-Person Learning

I wanted to let you know that we are busy planning for the return of students to all four schools five (5) days per week.

This is so that we can be in compliance with the Commissioner’s announcement on March 9, 2021, that Hybrid and Remote learning days will no longer be counted towards Student Learning Time (SLT) as of April 5, 2021, for elementary school students and April 28, 2021, for middle school students.

BHS & JGMS on Track for Full-time, In-Person Learning before State’s April 28 Deadline

Bedford High School and John Glenn Middle School are on track to reopen for full-time learning before the end of April, administrators told the School Committee at its virtual meeting Tuesday. “My expectation is that we will be either on time or ahead of schedule,” said School Superintendent Philip Conrad. “Our planning committee continues to work and will come back. We will definitely beat the 28th.” April 28 is the state-imposed deadline for all public schools to reopen grades 6-8.

FinCom Agrees to Tap Stabilization Fund to Cover Extraordinary School Expenses

The Finance Committee made some adjustments at its March 4 meeting to try to ensure that the appropriate category of reserves benefits the optimum expenditures.

The proposal that will be presented in the 2021 annual town meeting warrant, scheduled to close March 8, calls for allocating $1.9 million from the stabilization fund to offset spending.

The offset, as approved by the committee, will be linked to the $3 million reserve fund, much of which is designed to cover the schools’ projected request for pandemic “recovery” and out-of-district special education placement expenses.

Elementary Students Thrive under SAIL ~ Program will Expand to JGMS Next Year

Since teachers from Bedford Public School’s SAIL (Students Achieving Independent Learning) program have returned to in-person learning in July they’ve had one main goal: continuing to provide the necessary support and instruction to students with educational needs related to an autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities.

For almost four months during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers were daunted with the task of keeping students who have autism and related disabilities engaged online, as they tried to adapt to the country’s new normal.

Marianne Vines, Director of Special Education for the Bedford schools, said it was “really difficult” figuring out how to provide these students with a proper education online.

School Committee Presents a 3-Part Budget Proposal to Finance Committee

The Finance Committee Thursday considered a three-pronged proposed school budget for fiscal year 2022.

The committee’s decision process for the budget options will begin after next Thursday’s presentation on budget proposals for departments under the jurisdiction of the Select Board. Recommendations must be approved by Feb. 18 to meet warrant deadlines, the committee noted.

School Superintendent Philip Conrad and Finance Director Julie Kirrane presented the proposal:
* A baseline budget, reflecting a 3.8 percent increase over the current year, which reflects a continuation of school operations last seen in February 2020. The budget includes 6.1 additional personnel.
* A supplement of up to $1.44 million to sustain some of the current protocols, which would allow for all students to return to school in the fall full time even if the pandemic is still winding down. This so-called “recovery budget” would necessitate an additional 17 teachers.
* Continuation of a $450,000 town reserve allocation to cover the high cost of some out-of-district special education charges.

School Committee Chair Dan Brosgol stressed that “this is not an operational recommendation. It’s a question of resources only.” The actual model will be continually updated during the coming months, he said, as circumstances change, and it will be “well into summer before we know what the opening of school will look like.”

The “bottom line,” Conrad said, is all students will be accommodated in person except for those who, for medical reasons, will opt for full remote learning.

School Nursing in the Time of Pandemic ~ Tracy Fernald, Nurse Leader for the Bedford Schools

Tracy Fernald misses the kids. And that’s saying something—she is the nurse at John Glenn  Middle School, where hybrid learning has continued since September, tiptoeing around the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It couldn’t be more different than it was prior,” Fernald explained. “We don’t have the typical revolving door of students coming in and out of the nurse’s office. Now there are a lot of phone calls, emails, case management meetings. They are such a big part of our day.”