Below is the link to today’s newsletter from Superintendent Murphy.
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Our vision of the ideal school is one in which all students are actively and intellectually engaged in their learning as a result of the instructional practices that are personalized, differentiated, innovative and designed to challenge their thinking and understanding. The result of our collective efforts is for all students to achieve their personal best and become meaningful contributors to our society.
Below is the link to today’s newsletter from Superintendent Murphy.
Superintendent Teresa Murphy wishes to share the initial state guidelines from Gov. Charlie Baker and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for the 2020-21 academic year, which will be modified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While prioritizing health and safety as well as getting as many students back in school as possible, districts across the state will now begin to develop three different plans: one for learning entirely in-person, one for a hybrid model that includes in-person and remote learning in the event in-person learning is not feasible due to space constraints and other concerns, and one for remote learning only should there be a second spike in COVID-19 cases regionally.
Prior to the guidelines released last week by DESE, Mansfield had created two task forces of district officials, teachers, staff, students and parents focused on the process of returning to school. One task force, the Return to Schools Safely group, is focused on transportation, cleaning, academic spaces, extra curricular spaces, eating spaces, school as a workplace and social emotional support. The second group, the Teaching and Learning Advisory Group, is comprised of district leaders, teachers, staff, students and parents focused on the instruction that will take place at school and/or remotely.
These three plans will be created through collaboration between the two task forces and submitted to DESE in the coming weeks. The final plan for the district will be announced in August.
“In the coming weeks the district will be creating and sharing three different school year models to be created by the district task forces and shared with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,” Superintendent Murphy said. “These steps will begin our process of reopening our district schools in the fall. We would like to remind all school community members that our top priority is the health and safety of our students. Any plans are subject to change based on public health data. We look forward to hopefully seeing all of our students in person in the fall.”
Guidelines that must be part of these plans include:
At this time, screening procedures to enter school buildings, such as taking a person’s temperature, will not be required. COVID-19 testing also will not be required for students to return to school.
Additional guidelines, including those for busing, will be released in July.
The initial guidelines, which can be read in full here, are also subject to change depending on how the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. The guidelines were developed by DESE’s Return-to-School Working Group, along with experts from the fields of infectious diseases and public health.
Approximately $200 million from the Commonwealth’s federal Coronavirus Relief Fund is available to help with the costs of reopening public schools. Schools are eligible to receive up to $225 per student for eligible costs incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, such as training for school staff, supplemental social and academic services, reconfiguration of school spaces, leasing of temporary facilities and acquisition of health and hygiene supplies.
Other potential funding sources to support school reopening include $502 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund that had previously been allocated by Gov. Baker to cities and towns, as well as $194 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund grants.
In partnership with legislative leadership, the state has also committed $25 million in federal funds for a matching grant program to help school districts and charter schools close technology gaps that have inhibited remote learning for students and families who lack access to computers or internet connections.
Specific state funding for each district will be determined at a later date.
The statewide closure of school buildings began in mid-March and was extended through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year as an unprecedented step in limiting the potential spread of COVID-19 and continuing the practice of social distancing as more positive cases and deaths are announced in the state each day.
MANSFIELD — Superintendent Teresa Murphy is pleased to announce that Mansfield High School’s Best Buddies Chapter was named as the Massachusetts 2020 Outstanding High School Best Buddies Chapter.
On Wednesday, June 17, Incoming Best Buddies Chapter President Lulu Cavicchi received the award virtually on behalf of Mansfield High School’s Best Buddies Chapter. Winners were announced on Instagram Live.
Mansfield High School’s Best Buddies Chapter was nominated by Best Buddies Project Managers for the Outstanding High School in Massachusetts award for the second year in a row. Each year Best Buddies Project Managers nominate chapters in their region to receive recognition.
This year, there were 28 nominations out of 235 chapters. Once nominated, the chapter’s executive board and the co-advisors contributed to the completion of an online application for the award. The application included questions regarding membership, community involvement, chapter goals and more.
“Our chapter is honored to have received such an award that recognizes all of our members’ hard work,” said faculty co-advisor Kelly Kenny. “Our goal as an organization is to encourage friendship and inclusion between peers who have special abilities and the general population. Receiving recognition from the state is extremely rewarding and will hopefully encourage more people to join us in our mission.”
Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1989, by Anthony Shriver, to provide opportunities for the more than 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Starting at Georgetown University, Best Buddies today has more than 2,900 chapters worldwide. Mansfield High School started its chapter in September of 2017 and is led by faculty co-advisors Christine Riley & Kelly Kenny.
The 2019-2020 MHS Best Buddies executive board included Chapter President Lindsey Perry, Vice President Lulu Cavicchi, Buddy Director Ben Ragazzo, Secretary Julia Shield, Friendship Coordinator Alaina Brown, Treasurer John Paul O’Sullivan, Social Media Director Isabella Gomes and Event Planner Karine Ayoub.
“As Chapter President, I worked closely with my advisors, Kenny and Riley, along with my 2019-2020 executive board. The main focus of this year was our mission of spreading inclusion,” Chapter President Perry said. “We surely spent a lot of time working together and making sure the matches were perfect. Our events were meticulously planned and we strived for every member to have a meaningful experience. I was honored to be president of the Mansfield Best Buddies and I am excited for the future of this program as we accept this exciting award.”
Every month the chapter hosts two activities or events for chapter members. Some of the events take place right after school and others are in the evening or on the weekend. The events allow for students, both with and without disabilities, to join together and create lifelong friendships with one another.
This year’s events included a trip to Ward’s Berry Farm in September, a Match Party for the new buddy pairs to meet and an Autumn Festival in October, Friendsgiving Celebration of Friendship in November, a movie night in December, seasonal craft activities in February, a walking field trip for ice cream at Flannel Cow Creamery and a Virtual Social Media Spirit Week in March.
In addition to bi-monthly chapter events, Best Buddies members engage in a number of interest-based social activities outside of school with their friends including playing video games, attending sporting events, dining out, video messaging and more. The chapter also hosts a variety of school-wide events focused on promoting inclusion and educating the school community about intellectual and developmental disabilities and hosts, promotes and engages in a variety of community events.
With the support of school administration, the chapter president attends an annual Best Buddies leadership conference at Indiana University, at which they are introduced to student leaders from chapters all over the country and world.
“On behalf of the entire chapter, our amazing executive board, Kelly and myself, we are exceptionally grateful to all of you for your continued support,” faculty co-advisor Christine Riley said. “We love our mission of spreading the word of inclusion throughout Mansfield High School and the Mansfield community! We are extremely blessed to be a part of such a welcoming community and we look forward to continuing to establish meaningful friendships with others.”
MHS Best Buddies chapter expectations include:
As we conclude the 2019-2020 school year, we are looking forward to September. This year, we entered into the realm of remote learning with little warning and worked rapidly to launch our current plans. Although we hope to be back in the school house next year, we are actively planning for a variety of possible scenarios.
The purpose of this survey is to determine how parents and guardians would like to see remote learning, if required, in the future. Please complete this survey considering a format where we are fully remote. We also ask that you complete one survey for each child in your care that will attend the Mansfield Public Schools next year. We may seek more feedback on other scenarios later on, if needed.
Thank you for your assistance on this.
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning