Good afternoon, parents, guardians, and members of the Newmarket Community!
Happy Friday! Short weeks often feel longer than regular weeks. This week was short and yet full of so many things worth sharing.
Joy is an experience that we have when something makes us pause in appreciate and smile. I wanted to share some joyous moments at our schools with you that made me pause and smile. A couple of weeks ago I was at the Elementary School during one of our recess periods and took this picture of our School Resource Officer enjoying some time with our students. It was nice to see everyone having a great time, masks and all. Last night was our final home game for our Boys soccer team and they won (4-3). At the last home game of the season, students and their parents gather on the field for a photo op. It was so nice that parents could share this moment with their seniors! These are both joyous moments for our community that were possible because we were able to open our schools safely.
Newmarket Halloween Guidelines
The Town of Newmarket is supporting a traditional Halloween experience for children in the community. Halloween will be celebrated on October 30th from 5:00 PM- 8:00 PM. Families that wish to participate this year should follow Town safety guidelines for the benefit of all who want to enjoy this annual tradition.
Free Flu Shots
At a recent Town Hall Parent meeting, a parent asked if there would be a free flu shot clinic for students and families in Town. I reached out to the Town Public Health Officer and Town Manager to see if the Town offers community flu clinics. I learned that though the Town does not, Lamprey Health Care is offering free flu shots for families. The dates and times are noted on this flier. The flu season is upon us so please consider taking advantage of this convenient opportunity to get a flu shot for free!
Food Service and Custodial Hybrid Service Delivery?
Why not! If we can offer two models of instructional delivery, why not try a hybrid approach in operational areas to address some of our needs? As you know from my regular pleas for applicants, we have been short staffed in multiple areas since the start of the school year. In spite of our efforts, we have not been able to fill vacancies in our facility, food service, and support staff areas so we had to put our thinking caps and come up with a creative way to address our needs. Last year when we faced a similar situation, we were unable to fill a position in foreign language and speech, language pathology by contracting for these services through an outside organization. Though not ideal, we thought, why not use this strategy to fill vacancies in other essential areas of operation.
Janna Mellon, our Business Administrator, met with staff, our directors, and state regulatory personnel several weeks ago and was able design a hybrid approach to cover the staff shortages in the Food Service and Facility areas by contracting out for some of these services. This week, we moved all JSHS Food Service staff to the Elementary School so we are fully staffed there and outsourced Food Services at the JSHS to Fresh Picks for the remainder of the school year. We will also contract out for three custodial positions to ensure we are able to keep our buildings clean, sanitary and in good repair. We hope to have the additional facility staff in place sometime in the next week or so. Linda Hopey, Food Services Director, and David Creesy, Interim Facilities Director, will continue to oversee these areas under this hybrid service delivery model. The good news is that we will now be fully staffed in both areas for the first time in 18 months. Join me in thanking our operations staff for working together to creatively solve our staff shortage problems in these two essential areas.
We have updated our Food Service website to include new meal ordering forms specific to each school: NES, Jr. High and High School. These forms will better allow our staff to efficiently distribute meals to classrooms in each building. Should you have any questions, please contact Linda Hopey, Food Service Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arrival and Dismissal Update
After meeting with members of the Towns public safety department, it was determined that the following arrival and dismissal changes would be implemented at the schools on Monday, October 19th.
The traffic cones at student entrances will be removed on Friday October 16th, but families are still asked to follow the protocols that have been established for safe arrival and dismissal, including continuing to pull into the marked lane when picking up or dropping off students.
Since the arrival and dismissals have been going quite smoothly, we no longer need to require a left turn only from the JSHS. Drivers may exit in either direction when leaving school grounds.
COVID 19 Questions and Concerns
If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 exposure or if you think you have COVID-19, please contact the school nurse (Jen Farnese or Diane McCormick) and me by phone or email. If we are not available when you reach out, one of us will get right back to you.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools