Op Ed: Bedford Education Association Faculty Survey Results

The Bedford Education Association (BEA) has always had a collaborative relationship with school administration and has held our students’ educations at the forefront of our thinking.

In that spirit, the BEA wants to be transparent with the data we have collected from our members and we hope this will help to inform collaborative decisions that are in the best interest of the Bedford educational community.

Editor’s Note: Please click this link to read the detailed survey results, graphics, charts, and tables in the BEA’s survey results.

Superintendent’s Update on Reopening the Bedford Schools ~ August 3, 2020

Hello Bedford School Community,

As I mentioned in my Friday letter I am letting you know that we have placed our Bedford Public Schools Draft Reopening Plan Fall 2020 on our website.

Click this link to read the Draft Reopening Plan for Fall 2020

This draft is nearly 50 pages long and answers many questions about the All Remote, the Hybrid, and the All In-Person models we have developed for the fall.  It also includes information about the Learning Management System (LMS) that will be offered by the state of Massachusetts, although we are still awaiting more clarity on this option.  Please note that this document is a draft and we will continue to add to it as new information becomes available. I hope that you will have a chance to review the document.

Superintendent’s Update on Reopening the Bedford Schools ~ July 31, 2020

Hello Bedford Schools Community,

It has been another very busy week! The entire district leadership team, each building reopening task force, the district reopening task force, and town officials have all been working cooperatively to answer the Sixty Four Thousand Dollar Question (The $64,000 Question) how do we reopen [Bedford’s] schools in the fall in a way that accounts for the academic, social-emotional, health and safety needs of our students, parents, faculty, and staff and all of our families.

Our collaborative decision-making process has been guided by our core values and our commitment to the health and safety of our students, teachers, faculty, and staff

Childcare Providers and Preschools Find Innovation Among Strict Regulations

As businesses around the state continue to reopen, parents face the challenge of finding childcare. Governor Baker’s executive order closed all but essential child care programs as of March 22, 2020. Childcare agencies were able to open in late June but face strict regulations as they reopen.

An Open Letter from Philip Conrad, Bedford Superintendent of Schools

Hi Everyone,

I am looking forward to seeing you at the Town Meeting tomorrow morning.  Please note that as I write this at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, the meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. on Sabourin Field at BHS.  

Op:Ed: FY21 Budget Newsletter ~ July 7, 2020

On behalf of the Bedford School Committee, I am pleased to present the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) School Department Budget. This budget totals $42,031,459, which is a 0.4% increase over the current adjusted FY20 operating budget of $41,844,365. The School Committee also received Finance Committee approval for a $450,000 reserve fund transfer to cover extraordinarily large increases in our special education out of district expenses. This budget reflects reductions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After 34 Years of Service, School Crossing Guard Cathy Young Retires

There are a lot of questions looming about how the Bedford school scene will look 12 weeks from now. Will the classrooms be full? How about the buses and athletic fields? Marching band? Choruses? Field trips?

The landscape is uncertain – except for one significant change: Cathy Young, school crossing guard since 1986, has decided to retire.

Bedford Education Foundation Announces its Summer Grant

We at the Bedford Education Foundation (BEF) hope that this message finds you and yours well at this challenging time for our community and our country as a whole.  Now, for some good news…

The BEF Grant Committee has voted to award the Bedford Public Schools a $15,000 grant for two site licenses, one each for Davis and Lane Schools, for the Lexia Core5 Reading (Lexia) program. Lexia is an online tool that students in grades K-5 will use to build their reading skills. The program supports educators in providing differentiated literacy instruction for students of all abilities from grades Pre-K to 5.

Celebrating the Class of 2020 ~ The Citizen’s Special Tribute Edition

Today in the virtual pages of The Bedford Citizen we bring you our first-ever Special Tribute Edition dedicated to all of Bedford’s high school seniors. Whether you attended Bedford High School, Shawsheen Tech, or an independent high school we salute your achievements and your resilience in this very unusual year.

Click this link in the actual story to read The Bedford Citizen’s Tribute to the Class of 2020. After graduation The Citizen will offer this special edition in PDF format,
so it can be printed and saved alongside your yearbook and other mementos.

I know there was a lot surrounding graduation that didn’t happen this year…but we are struck by the creative and innovative ways that so much did happen…and may even happen yet. Virtual awards are not as much fun as the in-person events, but our kids got recognized. While photos of friends in caps and gowns are not as wonderful as photos together in caps and gowns, hundreds of pictures and videos are being shared through The Citizen. Yard signs dot our local landscape…and for the first time were hand-delivered by BHS principal Heather Galante and teacher Charlie Humphrey. Cap-and-gown pick-up was transformed into a mini-parade which made a socially distanced attempt to allow students and teachers to see one another one last time.

To the Class of 2020: We’ve brought all of this and more together into a single edition of The Bedford Citizen. This edition captures the ways in which parents, teachers, administrators, town officials and employees, and Bedford at-large came together in the Year of the Pandemic to ensure that your graduation would be recognized and remembered as the important milestone it is…Covid-19 be damned!

A huge thank-you and shout-out to the many hands that brought this special edition to life: Heather Galante; Andy Pigeon; Charlie Humprey; Patrick Morrissey; Jonathan Pierre; Keith Mangan; Karen Santos; the 2020 BHS Senior Parents Committee; Jeff Hoyland; Rep. Ken Gordon; and all those who generously shared their videos and photographs with us.

The Bedford Citizen’s Tribute to the Class of 2020 was coordinated by Ginni Spencer with help from Gene Kalb, Meredith McCulloch, Mike Rosenberg, Jordan Stewart, and Julie Turner.

A Message from Superintendent Jon Sills ~ Reductions to the FY21 School Budget

Editor’s Note: The following message regarding reductions to the FY21 budget, was sent by School Superintendent Jon Sills  to families on Sunday, June 7, 2020

As you may be aware, the school department is required to reduce the FY21 budget that we originally created with the support of the School Committee, and which received the support of the Finance Committee back in January, by $1,278,000.  This is due to over $2,000,000 in reduced state and local revenues.

While we are not reducing below our FY20 budget number, we are significantly reducing what we originally proposed for FY21.  The $1,278,000 net reductions change our FY21 budget from a 3.5% increase over FY20 plus a $450,000 extra fund for what were extraordinary out-of-district special education costs, to a .4% increase plus the extra special education funds.  In looking at where to make these changes, we could not simply eliminate the new positions we had asked for, as these are needed to meet our special education/IEP ethical and legal obligations and anticipated increases in emotional and mental health needs.

Click the following links in the actual document:

Read the FY21 Budget Chart – Bedford School Department 06072020

The School Committee will meet in remote session at noon on Wednesday, June 10; click this link for the agenda and instructions for joining the meeting

Celebrating Senior Night ~ Buccaneers Baseball, 2020

On what should have been the last home game for the seniors on the Bedford Bucs Baseball Team, the evening of May 27, 2020, the team’s 8 members of the Class of 2020 gathered on A field to celebrate Senior Night, the capstone of their high school baseball careers.

It was the season that wasn’t when the pandemic halted all practices and every game.

Caps and Gowns and Ups and Downs

On a hot, sunny afternoon more reminiscent of July than late May, Bedford High School (BHS) seniors yesterday drove by the main entrance of the building they left forever on March 11 to pick up their caps and gowns.  Supported by an energetic faculty and administrative staff, a plan was developed to turn the normally routine dropping off of books and school equipment and picking up of graduation garb into a fun event that would inject a note of celebration into the disappointment that has pervaded this year’s many canceled activities. 

St. Paul’s Weekday Nursery School Welcomes Pauline Leone as its New Director

In anticipation of beginning its 61st school year serving the greater Bedford community, St. Paul’s Weekday Nursery School is pleased to welcome Pauline Leone to serve as the next Director of the school.  She succeeds current Director, Sharon Healey, who will step down at the end of this school year after four years of service. 

Mrs. Leone’s energy and passion for young children and their education has been developed over a 20-year career as a teacher in early childhood education in eastern Massachusetts.  For the past four and a half years, she was Lead Teacher in the pre-school program at St. Mary’s School in Winchester, where she supervised a team of teachers in addition to being hands-on with her students in the classroom.  She has earned glowing recommendations from her program’s parents and co-workers.  Since her time at St. Mary’s, her classroom has been voted the #1 pre-school program both in Winchester and in the wider region by the local community.

BHS to Host 9th annual Tenacity Challenge on Saturday, May 30

The L&A2 Tenacity Challenge, is an annual academic scholarship competition for Latino and African-American high school students from urban and suburban districts across Massachusetts.

In the last nine years, Bedford has hosted the event at the High School. For the first time, however, undeterred by the unexpected pandemic and its resulting limitations, Bedford High School will host the event virtually.

On Saturday, May 30th, 14 teams from participating schools will compete, in three categories – History Argument, Literature Analysis, and Math & Science Quiz Bowl – for an opportunity to win a scholarship. Each student member of the first-place team will receive $1,000. $500, $300, and $150 will be awarded to each student member of the second, third, and fourth place teams, respectively.