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Coronavirus Update #14 - Planning for Fall 2020

posted May 18, 2020, 10:30 AM by Dan MacLeod

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff:

            It has been over two months now since our students and teachers have been face-to-face in their classrooms.  Over that period, our students, parents/guardians, and staff have shown remarkable resilience in the face of constant change and frequent challenges.  We are incredibly proud of the Remote Learning Plan that our educators developed and even prouder of the efforts of our staff to constantly update and adjust that Plan in an effort to meet the ever-changing needs of our students in this remote learning setting.  While it is inarguable that remote learning does not approach the quality of instruction that takes place in our classrooms every day, nonetheless, Holliston’s teachers and staff are working tirelessly to minimize the gap between these two very different models of education.  As they always do, Holliston’s teachers are giving it their all, while juggling the extraordinary demands of working at home during a pandemic, and we are deeply appreciative of their efforts and proud of their results.

            One month from today, June 18th, will be the last day of the 2019-2020 school year.  While we remain committed to adjusting our current practices to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for the remainder of this school year, we are also focusing our attention on planning for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.  Today, the Governor is scheduled to announce his plan for re-opening Massachusetts, but this plan will NOT include much, if any, information about how schools will re-open.  However, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has formed a large 30-person working group that has been tasked with developing a re-opening plan for Massachusetts’ schools.  Unfortunately, this plan is not scheduled to be released until the middle-to-end of June, at the earliest. 

           It would be irresponsible, however, to sit idle and wait for that plan to be announced.  So, the Holliston Public Schools has formed its own team to begin to study the options and develop an understanding of how each of these options would be implemented.  The team will initially consist of: the entire senior leadership team of the Holliston Public Schools (Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Director of Student Services, Business Administrator, Director of Technology, as well as the four building principals); Holliston’s Fire Chief (who also serves as Holliston’s Emergency Management Director); Holliston’s Police Chief and the HPS School Nurse Leader. Initially, we are focusing our planning and brainstorming on the issues related to the four most likely scenarios:

  • Business-As-Usual;

  • Full-Opening with Social Distancing/Safety Protocols and Equipment Required;

  •  Hybrid Model where only 50% (or some portion) of our students could be physically present in our schools at one time and the remainder would be taught remotely; or

  • 100% Remote model, similar to our current situation. 

During Phase I of our planning for the fall, we are brainstorming the implications of each of these models on all aspects of our work, such as:

  • Student and staff schedules;

  • Health and safety protocols; 

  • Technology needed by students and staff;

  • Professional development of our staff;

  • Necessary curriculum, instruction and assessment adaptations; 

  • Student transportation;

  • Medical staffing and equipment;

  • Special education services;

  • Extra-curricular activities;

  • Building cleaning requirements;

  … just to name a few.

            Following our initial brainstorming, our thinking will be shared with our teaching and professional staff in early June for their feedback, discussion and further refinement.  Our goal is to have a draft of this work completed when the state announces its plan in mid-to-late June so that we can make revisions based upon useful guidance from the state.  Additionally, once the draft plan is developed, we will be formally soliciting feedback from parents/guardians in late June or early July and throughout the summer in order to inform further adjustments to the plan.  We then will be ready to spend the remainder of the summer finalizing our preparations for school opening in whatever form it is expected to take. 

            It is highly likely, however, that the plan announced by DESE in late June will still be built upon a number of assumptions regarding the expected status of the virus when school is scheduled to open on September 1st.  As a result, we will likely not know for certain what opening day will look like until mid-to-late August.  In addition, even after we open schools in the fall, we are going to need to be prepared to toggle between the various scenarios in response to potential changes in the virus in the area.

            We recognize that this is not welcome news for either our parent/guardian community or our staff, each of whom needs to be able to develop family plans for the return to school.  If we could make the Holliston Public Schools an island of certainty in the center of all of this uncertainty, we would.  But, that will likely not be possible.  As we draft this letter on Sunday, May 17th, the Governor is slated to share his initial plan for re-opening Massachusetts tomorrow, yet none of us knows with ANY certainty, what that plan will entail.  Whether it’s a state-wide plan to reopen our economy or Holliston’s plan to reopen school in the fall, that plan is driven by the then-current status of the virus. 

            It goes without saying that all of the HPS administrators and staff eagerly anticipate the time when we can safely return to our school buildings and resume face to face instruction with all of our kids. We will continue to prepare for all possible scenarios and share the status of our planning efforts as the end of the school year approaches and over the course of the summer as well.  

Respectfully,

 

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.                                                   Peter J. Botelho, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools                                                    Assistant Superintendent


CoronaVirus Update #13: HPS to Remain in Remote Learning Mode for the Remainder of the 2019-2020 School Year

posted Apr 27, 2020, 1:44 PM by Dan MacLeod   [ updated Apr 27, 2020, 1:48 PM ]

Dear Holliston Parents/Guardians and Staff:

Governor Charlie Baker announced that all Massachusetts school buildings will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.  While many of us expected this announcement, the reality that teachers and students will not physically be returning to their classroom for the remainder of this school year elicits a number of powerful emotions, including anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, sadness and loss.  This is a normal reaction to the loss of normalcy we are all experiencing.

Over the course of the coming weeks, every one of us, parents, staff and students, will feel many if not all of these emotions and probably more.  For this reason alone, it is critical that we continue to focus our efforts on our Remote Learning work to ensure we remain connected with each other and to minimize the impact of this new reality on our students and their growth.  While our school buildings are closed, the 2019-2020 school year is not over!  We will continue to execute and adjust our Remote Learning efforts to meet the needs of our students for the remainder of the school year.  I encourage and expect all students to engage in those activities to the extent they are able. 

Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be announcing decisions regarding the status of our traditional end-of-year activities and other important issues that arise as a result of this announcement.  In the meantime, please continue to keep your families safe during this pandemic.

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Coronavirus Update #12 - Stay At Home

posted Apr 27, 2020, 1:42 PM by Dan MacLeod

A Stay-At-Home Advisory from the Holliston School Nurses

As the weather gets nicer and the Stay-At-Home Advisory continues, it is tempting to gather outside, especially on the Rail Trail.  The nurses want to remind everyone that the Stay-At-Home Advisory from Governor Baker states that you should only leave your home to address essential needs.  However, if you do decide to leave your home for some fresh air and exercise, it is important to follow everyday preventative measures and the following physical distancing tips:

  • Do not leave home if you are symptomatic

  • Wear cloth or fabric face coverings in public spaces

  • Only visit parks, trails and recreation areas that are open. 

  • Stay at least six feet from others at all times. 

  • Do not gather in groups

  • Do not go into a crowded area.

  • Avoid gathering with others outside of your household.

  • Do not shake hands or hug

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use if soap and water are not available.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/parks-rec/visitors.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM25771

Coronavirus Update #11- April Vacation Changed & The Revised Last Day of School

posted Apr 8, 2020, 3:29 AM by Dan MacLeod   [ updated Apr 10, 2020, 8:45 AM ]

Dear Holliston Parents/Guardians and Staff:

The Holliston School Committee has voted to change the 2019-2020 (current school year) calendar as follows:  April 21, 22, 23 and 24, 2020 are no longer School Vacation Days; they are now designated as Remote Learning Days.  As a result of this change, the last day of school for students in Grades K-11 has changed from Wednesday, June 24, 2020 and will now be Thursday, June 18, 2020.  The last day of school for seniors will remain May 29, 2020.

Since all residents of Holliston (and the Commonwealth) will be under a stay-at-home order during the week when April school vacation was scheduled to be held, I recommended that the Committee make this change.  Most families have built their stay-at-home routines with the time for Remote Learning built in.  Given that there are few, if any, options, for safe ways to travel, visit with friends or connect in person with remote family members, I felt that the time would best be used continuing the momentum we are building with our new Remote Learning Program.  Moreover, the ability to end the school year earlier in June made this choice even more attractive.

Teachers will be issuing complete Remote Learning Plans for the week of April 21-24 and our expectations for student participation will be the same for these days as it is for all Remote Learning Days.

Thank you for your continued understanding and flexibility as we adjust to new issues as they present themselves.

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Coronavirus Update #10 - Remote Learning Plans

posted Apr 5, 2020, 12:42 PM by Dan MacLeod

Dear Holliston Parents/Guardians and Staff:

Three weeks ago yesterday, on March 12th, I cancelled school in Holliston for Friday, March 13th and the week of March 16-20th due to growing public health concerns related to the CoronaVirus.  On Sunday, March 15th, Governor Baker cancelled school across Massachusetts through early April. On Monday, March 23rd, we began Week one of our two-week Enhanced Learning Program. This program was designed to meet several objectives:
  • To assess the digital readiness of our staff and families for future remote learning;
  • To re-establish connections between students and their teachers;
  • To assess our students social-emotional wellness; and
  • To offer students high-quality learning activities that were aligned with then-current DESE advisories that assigned work should be limited to preventing academic regression by reviewing previously-taught material and reinforcing skills already taught this school year and applying and deepening those skills.
On Wednesday, March 25th, 8 days ago, Governor Baker announced a further state-wide cancellation of school, this time through Friday, May 1st.  On Thursday, March 26th,  the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued their first set of written guidelines regarding Remote Learning.  These guidelines encouraged districts to continue to set the social-emotional wellness of their students as their highest priority, but allowed districts to locally determine the appropriateness of teaching new content moving forward.  

After considerable discussion, we have concluded that Phase 2 of our Remote Learning Plan will allow teachers to add new content to their remote learning instruction beginning Monday, April 6th.  At Placentino and Miller, where skill development in reading, writing and mathematics have always been the core work our teachers do, this focus will continue. At RAMS, teachers will continue to explore curriculum content through the school-wide lens of “Personal, Local, Global” with the emphasis on deeper, applied learning and deep conceptual understanding continuing to drive the work. New content will be introduced judiciously while reinforcing important concepts and skills. 

The changes for Holliston High School students will be much more pronounced:
  • HHS will be moving forward in curriculum content beginning Monday, April 6th.  Teachers have been asked to be alert to the differentiated needs of their class and offer all necessary accommodations;
  • HHS will work on a fixed class schedule beginning at 9:00AM and ending not later than 11:50AM M/T/Th/F where each period will meet twice per week for a class period not to exceed 50 minutes.  On the days when the student is not meeting with their teacher, they will be assigned independent work that should require no more than 50 minutes to complete. With this schedule, each student will meet with their Period A teacher for up to 100 minutes per week and have up to 150 minutes of independent work assigned to them.  
  • Students are expected to complete the work assigned to them and teachers will provide students with feedback on their submitted work.
Additional details can be seen in our comprehensive Remote Learning Plan.  You should expect to hear additional details from your school principal by Saturday, April 4th.

In the past three weeks, we have closed school, developed an initial plan for PreK-12 remote instruction, implemented that plan, modified the plan based on feedback and are now preparing to roll-out that revised plan.  This has been exhausting work that has required administrators and teachers to put in an extraordinary number of hours to develop and execute these plans. In addition, this work has required a level of flexibility and collaboration between administrators and teachers far beyond the already-high levels Holliston typically sees.  Everyone has rolled up their sleeves and pitched in, putting roles and responsibilities to one side, working together to make this happen. I am intensely proud of this work and profoundly proud of the teachers and administrators of the Holliston Public Schools who have worked together to make this happen. I also want to express my personal appreciation to the leadership of the Holliston Federation of Teachers for their flexibility and commitment to ensuring the students of Holliston are well-served through this shutdown.

I thank you for your continued patience and support as the Holliston Public Schools retools and redesigns itself to meet the unique changing needs of our community. 

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Coronavirus Update #9- Privacy, Nurse and Food Service Info

posted Mar 30, 2020, 12:21 PM by Dan MacLeod

Dear Holliston Parent/Guardians and Staff:

               One week after Governor Charlie Baker closed schools across the state to slow the spread of coronavirus in our communities, Holliston Public Schools rolled out a comprehensive set of Enhanced Learning Opportunities for students to use as a vehicle to get re-connected with their teachers and classmates and re-engage with their academic work.

This past Wednesday, Governor Baker announced that schools would remain closed through Friday, May 1, 2020.  Then, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a set of guidelines for districts to use as they develop plans for this extended shutdown period.  On Friday, March 27, we wrapped up Week 1 of our Remote Learning Program, with Week 2 beginning today, Monday, March 30th.   This success can only be attributed to the hard work, time, and talent that our district’s entire team has invested in this effort. It is truly a remarkable accomplishment, made even more remarkable when you consider that each of these employees were adapting to their “new normal,” – including working from home, meeting remotely, as well as juggling their responsibilities to care for family and friends, to name a few things.

               During Week 1, many of our teachers reached out to students using the tools available through Google Classroom or commercially-available products such as Zoom or FlipGrid.  Because many families are working in close quarters, we wanted to be explicit about our expectations of students and their families regarding student privacy.  I have attached a document to this email that outlines those expectations with instructions to follow-up, no later than Friday, May 4th if you feel you are unable to meet those expectations.

This week, while staying connected with their students and rolling out Week 2 of our Remote Learning Program, Holliston’s teachers and administrators will be conducting a comprehensive re-assessment of our current program, assessing it against the DESE guidelines and reviewing it for appropriateness knowing that schools will now be closed through at least May 1st.  

At a minimum, we will be looking at the following areas of our current plan and reviewing it against DESE’s new guidelines and our own goals for student learning, including:

·     Providing meaningful and productive learning for approximately half the length of a regular school day;

·     Providing students the opportunity to connect with one or more educators multiple times per week;

·     Provide students with time each day for physical activity based on recommendations from educators;

·     Provide additional time daily for enrichment activities such as the arts;

·     Ensuring teachers are providing valuable feedback on student work completed at home;

·     Reviewing the appropriateness of our current focus on “reinforcing skills already taught and applying and deepening those skills” to minimize the impact that this now-extended closure will have on all of our students, but particularly, on the ability of HHS students to qualify for academic credit for Term 3, Term 4, Semester 2 and courses 3 terms in duration; and

·     Reviewing any proposed revisions that we consider to our current program against the legal and moral imperative that “students have equitable access to learning opportunities during the closure, keeping in mind the variety of technology, health, disability and language challenges” and other unique circumstances facing many of our students during this extraordinary time.

Any changes to our current plan will be shared with parents/guardians at the end of next week with Phase II of our Remote Learning Program going on-line on Monday, April 6.

Holliston Public Schools is not just focused on serving the academic needs of our students during this time. Our talented nurses are working hard to keep Holliston healthy and our incredible School Food Service employees are working hard to feed families-in-need.   Important information from our School Nurses and Food Service staff are attached to this email.

In closing, I want to assure you that the Holliston Public Schools is committed to putting together the most comprehensive, compassionate and flexible plan for remote learning possible to accommodate families during these unprecedented times.  It’s important to acknowledge that Holliston, our Commonwealth, our country and our planet are not experiencing an education crisis - we are experiencing a public health crisis that is impacting our public education system.  Our decisions must be and will be driven by the needs of our students -- all of our students.  We must accept the fact that we will not have the same educational outcomes this June that we have always had.  We must accept the fact that the recovery period from a mandated 2-month school closure will last well into the 2020-2021 school year.  At the same time, we must, and we will, find a way to minimize the impact that this COVID-19 crisis will have on our students’ futures.  We will not, however, achieve this goal by sacrificing those students who are already struggling to catch up to their peers or who are unable to connect with our offerings due to challenges they or their families are facing during this public health crisis.  That is not who we are as a community.

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Holliston Student Privacy Expectations and Consent

Holliston School Nurse COVID-19 Update April 2020

Holliston Food Service April 2020 Newsletter

Coronavirus Updates

posted Mar 12, 2020, 7:15 AM by Winnie Carey   [ updated Mar 26, 2020, 5:19 PM by Dan MacLeod ]

Update #8- School Closure Extended until May 1, 2020

Dear Holliston Parents/Guardians and Staff:

At 3:30 this afternoon, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that he was extending his state-wide school closure order through Friday, May 1, 2020.  This means that the Holliston Public Schools will continue to be closed through that date. The earliest date for school reopening is now Monday, May 4, 2020. 

We anticipated that the shutdown period would be extended and the plans we developed to keep our students engaged with learning activities were designed to be expandable to meet the needs of our families and students for a longer shutdown period.  In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that it will be issuing specific guidelines for districts to follow for the remote learning opportunities we provide. Once these guidelines have been shared with us, we will review our current Enhanced Learning Opportunities program and make any adjustments needed to ensure compliance with these new state guidelines.  If modifications to the plan are required, we will share those changes with students and parents as soon as possible.

In the meantime, even though many expected that the school closure period would be extended, it is a hard reality to face.  We recognize that for many staff, parents and students this new reality will only serve to increase anxiety, concern and a yearning for the return to normalcy.  Unfortunately, there is no substitute for the face-to-face, in-person schooling experience and no amount of technology or creativity can ever replace the connections that our students establish when they are physically present in school.  Nonetheless, we will do everything we can to establish and maintain meaningful connections with your children during this extended shutdown period. We can not recreate the school experience that existed in February. We are, however, doing everything we can to adapt that model to meet the unique social, emotional and educational needs of our students while we are unable to be together. 

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as Holliston Public Schools adjusts to these remarkable, unpredictable and unprecedented events.  

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools



Update #7- Food Service News

Dear Holliston Families:

Holiday Dreams, partnering with Pepperoncini’s of Milford, Anthony's on the Green in Holliston, and the Holliston Public Schools, will offer lunches to families-in-need beginning Wednesday March 18, 2020 through the end of the school closure period.  This program is designed to assist all Holliston families who may have a need, regardless of whether or not you have a child attending the Holliston Public Schools.  As is the case throughout Massachusetts, we will be using a "grab-and-go" method of distribution in line with the Governor's instructions on social distancing.

Curbside pickup will be available at the Miller Elementary School, 235 Woodland Street from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM to any family who does not have any member of their household who is in quarantine or is showing any symptoms of COVID-19.  For those unable to leave their homes, a volunteer will deliver lunch to your doorstep. If you are in need of delivery please email: foodservice@holliston.k12.ma.us by 9:00 PM the night prior.  Please provide the following information: your family name, the number of people in need of lunch and your street address.  This information will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

This lunch program will be available on the following days:

  • Wednesday March 18, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020 (excluding Saturday and Sunday, March 21st and March 22nd)
  • Beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, we will go to a three-day per week model (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) where we will distribute/deliver lunch for two days at a time.

Community volunteers and employees of the Holliston Public Schools Food Service program will be staffing this program.  At this time, community volunteers are not needed.  Should this change, we will inform you.  Also, unfortunately, we are not able to accept food donations of any kind. 

For families in need, this lunch program will likely not serve all of your needs.  In these cases, the Holliston Pantry Shelf is ready to help with expanded food delivery services. Please contact them directly for assistance.

Finally, this email is being sent through the distribution system of the Holliston Public Schools and will only reach a subset of our community.  Please distribute this information widely.

All community agencies are working together to support the Holliston community.

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools



Update #6- School Cancellation Extended Through April 6, 2020

Dear Holliston Parents/Guardians and Staff:

On Sunday evening, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered ALL schools in Massachusetts be CLOSED through (and including) Monday, April 6, 2020.  This means that the Holliston Public Schools will be CLOSED THROUGH MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020.  The earliest date we will be re-opening will be Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

Central Office and Building Administrators have been working throughout the weekend to begin to plan for this likely announcement.  Our expectation is that we will begin to provide enhanced learning activities for our students beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.  Parents received preliminary information from building principals earlier this weekend and you should expect more information will be forthcoming in the coming days.

In the meantime, it is critical to remember that these are NOT snow days.  The reason the Governor took this extraordinary action is to promote thoughtful social distancing to limit exposure to the Coronavirus for our students and their families.  Please take these recommendations seriously.

Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to react to this rapidly changing set of circumstances.

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools


Update #5- School Cancellation Notice Beginning March 13, 2020

Dear Holliston Parent/Guardians and Staff:

I am writing to inform you that, while there are still no Coronavirus cases reported in Holliston, there are a large number of school districts in our area that are closed tomorrow and next week.  Many of our staff members have children who attend these schools, which will understandably result in an abnormally high level of staff absences. I have concluded that it is unlikely that we would have an adequate number of staff members present to be able to ensure a quality school day tomorrow and over the course of the next week.

As a result, the Holliston Public Schools is cancelling school for Friday, March 13th, Monday, March 16th, Tuesday, March 17th, Wednesday, March 18th and Thursday, March 19th.  Friday March 20th is a scheduled Professional Development Day for teachers. There will be no school for students on that day as well.  A decision regarding the possible cancellation of the PD Day for teachers will be made next week.

The Holliston Extended Day Program will be closed and will not re-open until Monday, March 23, 2020, at the earliest.

In accordance with the current advisories issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Holliston must make up a total of 5 school days lost to either weather or health related conditions.  This means that the last day of school will now be Wednesday, June 24, 2020. All total cancelled days beyond 5 do not have to be made up.

Further information will be shared over the next few days should it become apparent additional school cancellations are required. 

I sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we progress through this unprecedented set of circumstances.

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools



Dear Holliston Parent/Guardians and Staff:

On March 10, 2020, Governor Baker announced that executive branch employees should discontinue all out-of-state work-related travel, cancel conferences or hold them virtually, and not attend external work-related conferences, seminars, or events. While schools are not part of the executive branch, the Governor also urged employers and other large organizations to "limit or eliminate non-essential travel" and "limit or eliminate large events where possible."  

In light of this advisory, I am taking several steps to limit possible exposures, particularly from outside elements.  Effective immediately:

  1. All after-school events, concerts, and exhibitions scheduled to take place between March 12, 2020 and Friday, March 20, 2020 are cancelled.  Cancellations are likely to be extended beyond March 20th, but that decision will be made mid-next week.

  2. I am respectfully asking parents who are scheduled to volunteer in our schools between March 12th and March 20th to cancel those plans. 

  3. Any previously-approved use of our school buildings by outside organizations is cancelled for that same time period.

For staff, I am cancelling all attendance at external professional development seminars and conferences through March 19th.  At this time, the Professional Development Day, scheduled for March 20, 2020 will proceed as planned.

As of today, our plans for our middle school and high school spring athletic season are not being changed, in order to allow time for the MIAA and/or Tri-Valley League to make some initial determinations.

As expected, as we receive increased reports of either confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus in some MetroWest communities, public and private institutions are being asked to curb all but essential elements of their operation.  This announcement is aligned with that objective.

Still, this issue continues to evolve at a rapid pace with even more restrictions a distinct possibility. Parents and staff should now begin to consider developing contingency plans should more fundamental changes to our overall operation become necessary.

Respectfully,

 

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Read Across America - Spirit Week

posted Feb 28, 2020, 7:42 AM by Winnie Carey   [ updated Feb 28, 2020, 9:46 AM ]


Read Across America Spirit Week 2020


PLACENTINO PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS - OPEN HOUSE

posted Jan 3, 2020, 9:21 AM by Winnie Carey


OPEN HOUSE on January 28, 2020


Holliston parents who are interested in enrolling their children (must be 3 years or older by September 1, 2020) in any of our Preschool Programs at Placentino Elementary School in Fall 2020 are invited to a Preschool Information Night on January 28th at 6:30PM at Placentino Elementary School.  We ask that only parents/guardians attend the information night as this evening is explicitly geared to adults.

Online registration will take place from January 30th through February 6th.  If you prefer to register in person to utilize a school computer to fill out the registration form, prefer not to upload documents, and/or need to speak with a nurse regarding a health concern you have for your child you may come into the Placentino office on February 3rd, 4th and 5th between the hours of 10:00AM-2:00PM.

A $100 non-refundable deposit, an original birth certificate, immunizations and two proofs of residency are required at the time of registration. Payments can be made online or by bringing a check to our school office. Our Preschool programs are open to Holliston residents only.  If you have any questions, please contact the school at 508-429-0647.

Snow Date for Information Night:  January 30th.

School Committee Reaffirms New School Start Times for 2020-2021 School Year

posted Dec 17, 2019, 9:46 AM by Winnie Carey

At their December 12th meeting, the Holliston School Committee unanimously voted (with one member absent) to reaffirm and move forward with the plan they previously approved in May 2019, to adjust the school hours for the Holliston Public Schools as follows:
  • HHS:                8:10AM – 2:43PM
  • RAMS:             8:10AM – 2:33PM
  • Miller:             7:30AM – 1:53PM
  • Placentino:    8:50AM – 3:15PM
Originally approved in May, these revised school hours generated concerns among some parents in the community. In response, the School Committee engaged with these concerned parents and held a public forum that outlined the science behind the changes and offered people the opportunity to ask the Committee and Superintendent Jackson questions about the change. An open debate also took place at October Town Meeting.

Following these events as well as numerous meetings that individual Committee members held with concerned parents, the Committee reviewed a set of 10 proposed alternative start times scenarios proposed by this group of concerned parents. At their November meeting, the School Committee publicly reviewed each proposed scenario and concluded that eight of the ten proposed scenarios were untenable and removed those proposals from further consideration. The Committee then directed the administration to review the remaining two scenarios and report back to the Committee on their impact and viability.

At their December 12th meeting, the Committee reviewed the comprehensive analysis prepared by the administrative team and agreed with their conclusion that the drawbacks associated with either scenario were significant, making both remaining alternative solutions unviable. Following that discussion, the Committee unanimously voted to reaffirm their originally voted plan.

With this decision reaffirmed, parents and staff are strongly urged to begin planning for the impact that these changes could have on your individual family routines.  At the same time, Holliston administrators will begin finalizing the detailed plans needed to implement these new school hours. In addition, the School Committee and Superintendent will discuss the process we will use to collect the impact of these changes and how we will use that data to see if refinements of this plan are needed in future years.  

In addition to planning already under way at each school, the administration has already reported that they have a plan to open up a number of spots in our Extended Day program next school year to meet the anticipated demand for additional before and after-school care  Holliston Extended Day is also planning to offer an 80-minute “gap” program to cover the time between the dismissal of Placentino students and Miller students, so that siblings might be picked up together. The Holliston Extended Day program will formally announce the availability of their options later this winter and share sign-up information.  Further, the Committee reached out to the “Y” in Hopkinton regarding availability in their program for after-school care and that effort is showing promise. Interested parents should contact the YMCA directly if they wish to learn more about their after-school programs. Finally, the School Committee has authorized a transportation audit to see if we can find ways to make our bus system more efficient and/or convenient. The administration will share the results of this audit with the School Committee at one of their upcoming meetings as soon as the review has been completed.

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