Superintendent Update: School Closure - Week of March 16th!

School Closure: Week 1

Good Afternoon Everyone,

HAPPY FRIDAY!  I wanted to reach out briefly on a few items, and also to take a moment to celebrate!  First a few items of "Business"...

Satellite Lunch Program - Operation "Feed SEB"

We delivered over three weeks of food stuffs to our  to local food pantries in the past week and demand continues to come in to our offices.  We planned for 200+ breakfasts and lunches - so still time to grow.  We anticipate that participation in this program will grow over time, so we are encouraging families who would like to participate to email pulverb@sebrsd.org or call 774-200-7162 to let us know - or you can stop by one of our locations from 11:30 - 1215 p.m.  We'll take care of you and then based on participation is how we'll plan future numbers.   THANK YOU to all our volunteers and support staff who are helping to put this program together.  Here's a photo below to show you their enthusiasm!

Reporting of Illness

I just wanted to make clear to families that at this time, with schools closed, although our nurses may still be doing some health checks with families, we do not have an expectation that families call us with updates on potential illness of students.  We have had some families call us with information about students who may or may not have been exposed to COVID-19.  At this point in time, with the CDC acknowledging that community spread is occurring in Southern Worcester County and Massachusetts.  it is important to know that it is the CDC's responsibility (through your PCP) to communicate with folks who may or may not have been exposed to certain individuals.  The school is not able to perform this task.  Therefore, it you are concerned that you or your family has been exposed to COVID-19 it is much more important that you reach out to your PCP and listen to their guidance and instruction than it is to let  us  know  - although please know we are here for you to reach out to and listen if you need us!

Also, as was the case before the world of COVID-19, the schools cannot control what is posted on social media.  We will continue to use our social media sites to share the "good work" going on in our community and thankfully there is PLENTY OF THAT GOING ON...but we can't promise others will do the same.  That's really all I can say about that. 

Remote Learning Opportunities

This past week I asked that our faculty, staff and anyone affiliated with SEBRSD reach out and begin initiating communication between themselves and the homes of parents/families and students.  This outreach was intimated with the goal of our work to begin providing opportunities for learning for our students!  We have begun remote learning opportunities - slowly - across all schools and all grades.  For a detailed list of resources, please go to our "Learning form Home" weblink under the Academic Affairs page.  More resources are being brought forward daily thanks to the outstanding efforts of our staff and students as well as our leadership team.  So, please check back often for more learning opportunities as they become available.

Overall, let's be sure to take this slow during the first two weeks or so!  Focus on making sure everyone is comfortable communicating with one another (teachers to parents and students and parents and students to teachers).  The goal is to make sure that WE stay in touch though...I'm sure teachers are open to feedback about what is working and what isn't; and I am also very sure we want to know these things so that we can tweak and adjust programming to make things work moving forward.  If we wind up having to go longer than 3 weeks, it will be important we have a solid communication base to build on to improve our systems and ensure they are working for everyone within the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District.

Sharing the "Good Stuff"

If families want to take pictures of their students learning online, I'd love to have them share!  I think using the hashtag #SEBRSDlearningtogether and #WeGotThis would be awesome if folks want to post pictures on twitter and use that hashtag and go ahead and loop me in (@ChooseSEBRSD) or my personal twitter account (@pshaughey).  Would love to see them and re-tweet and maybe even share on Facebook site too!  Let's do what we do best - CELEBRATE THE GOOD!

Timing

Right now, we have closed all schools and our Central Office operations for 3 weeks, but I will be honest the more and more information that comes in about what is going on in Southern Worcester County and Massachusetts, it would be prudent for families to expect that this is likely going to be a longer stint than just these three weeks.  More information will be coming out either later this week or early next on these details as final decisions are made - so please stay tuned.

Frequently Asked Questions

All schools and school-related activities in the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District are closed and cancelled from March 16 – April 6, 2020.

The information detailed in this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document is intended to provide guidance for this period. It is important to note that this is a fluid situation and so this document will be regularly updated and modified and it is recommended that you revisit frequently for the latest updates and information.

Closing Thoughts

I heard a story today about one of our teachers who reached out to one of older middle/high school-aged students to check in and make sure they were all set for learning.  The teacher's intent was to check in with the student...but the student actually took the time to turn the conversation around and to check in with the teacher.  The student talked with the teacher for a while...making sure the teacher was doing okay.  I share this story to illustrate just how important our relationships are between our students and our staff; and to show you that even via a distance...THEY ARE STRONG.

I wanted to share one more story...I got an email last night from a parent.  This parent was a working mom with a few elementary-aged students.  She was so very kind and polite to me, but basically her message was this:  She is still having to work; she is still having to be a mom; and now, somehow the schools are asking her to also be a "teacher" - how could she maintain her sanity and do all those things?  The answer is simple...she cannot.  The answer is also simple to us all.   This is NOT about schoolwork...this is not about making sure a student can add 3 + 3.  This is about relationships and community and supporting one another to do the best we can with what we have.  If at the end of all this, when we finally set things back up straight again - her son or daughter didn't do this and this, we will figure that all out together.  NO ONE IS GOING TO PUNISH OUR STUDENTS for doing the best they can.  No one is going to punish our families for doing the best they can.  No one is going to punish our schools or our community for doing the best we can.  If it comes down to reading a book to your child instead of forcing them to do those two worksheets sent home by teachers... then read the book!  Then reach out to our teachers to tell them what you did and why...and we'll figure out the rest.  A colleague fo mine recently reminded me of a very important point: Let’s take care of EACH OTHER first...the rest will come.  - And given our current circumstances and what is known at this moment about this public health crisis.it is one I cannot emphasize enough -

I am so proud to be the Superintendent of Schools for the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District for so many reasons... One of the main reasons I am so proud rests with our students, our staff; and our communities; and the fact that together – “We Got This!”   As always, thank you for your continued partnership and support of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District!!  #Progress #Unity #Knowledge

Stay healthy and stay safe. 

Sincerely Yours,

Paul S. Haughey, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools