Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/3/20


Dear Parents and Newmarket community members,

What is the skinny on happiness? Is it nature or nurture? Are there ways we can influence this sought-after state of mind? Well…Yale University believes that we can influence the degree to which we experience happiness and they have developed a course to share their findings!

Yale University’s Wildly Popular Happiness Class Is Now Available Online For Free
In an effort to help the general public pursue joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Yale University is making the most popular class in the ivy league school’s 318 year history, a “happiness” course, available for free via Coursera.

Read in Forbes

Link to register (scroll down below the introductory video)

In keeping with the happiness theme…the weekend is here, and it is time to lay aside the school work and enjoy some recreation. Two last assignments before we break:

1) Place your order for meals next week: Click HERE for the order form

2) Mark your calendars to drop off NES assignments from the packets your  children have been working on and pick up a new packet (and Chromebook – grades 3, 4, and 5) on Monday!

PreK through grade 1 drop off / pick up         8 -10 pm
Grade 2 & 3 drop off/ pick up                         10 -12 pm
Grade 4 & 5 drop off / pick up                        12 – 2pm

Now it is time to relax and enjoy the weekend. Likewise, I have asked all staff to unplug and take care of themselves and their families until school starts on Monday morning.

Thank you for your flexibility, courage, and support. Enjoy the weekend hiatus!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 4/1/20


Dear Parents and Newmarket community members,

One way that we can shift our minds and lift our spirit is through music. Whether rocking out to a tune while exercising, riding to the grocery store or enjoying a relaxing meal while listening to something soothing, music can enhance the experience. Tonight, I thought I would share a couple of music related resources that might enhance your love of music or expand your skills as a musician. All are free so if you want a little break, check them out!

Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Home School  
Rock & Roll – Hall of Fame
Berklee School of Music – Music for Wellness

I have read all 395 comments from the survey that was sent out on Monday. Several participants wanted to know when a decision would be made about this year’s calendar, graduation, and other related topics. As you know, we are gathering data from you as well as our teachers to gauge interest in continuing through the upcoming April vacation and ending school a week early. Simultaneously, we are waiting for guidance from the Commissioner of Education about potential options or waivers the state might offer in light of their mandate to continue providing remote learning and services for at least another month. Once we have all this information, the Leadership Team and Teachers Union will develop a calendar recommendation that will be brought to the Board for consideration next week. Once the calendar is set, we will shift our attention to end of year event planning, grading and the impact this will have on the upcoming school year.

Last, we received a waiver that allows us to feed every student from preschool to age 18 for free through our school meal program. If you would like to receive breakfast and lunch for your children, please let us know by completing this request form:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScCjmsT7hSwi0uG8KicFTGLNrdeDMfiKpu8KZ_cgLbe5zv6ig/viewform

Have a great night.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/30/20


Dear Parents and Newmarket community members,

Remote learning (learning away from the classroom setting) will continue in New Hampshire until May 4 and possibly beyond.  As nearby states go into various stages of shelter in place, and the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase all over the United States, it seems prudent to expect to deliver our educational program and support services remotely for the remainder of the year.   The District leadership team and Joanne Lazarus, President of the Newmarket Teachers Association, have been meeting daily to develop a plan to support the physical and mental well-being, growth and development of all members of our academic learning community including faculty, students, and parents. 

Starting on Monday, April 6 faculty will teach four days per week and spend one day a week collaboratively identifying power standards and essential skills by discipline and grade level; calibrating, curating and sharing instructional materials; and participating in remote learning related professional development.  The planning day will be staggered by grade level/discipline. This will allow us to advance our online instructional practices and ensure that the workload moving forward is more manageable for students and parents.

On Monday April 6, the elementary school will be collecting completed work and handing out a two-week packet. All students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will be issued a Chromebook at this time. The drop off/pick up schedule is as follows:
PreK through grade 1 drop off / pick up 8 -10 am
Grade 2 & 3 drop off/ pick up 10 -12 pm
Grade 4 & 5 drop off / pick up 12 – 2pm

Thereafter, all instructional materials will be provided to parents electronically.

SAUs across the state are weighing whether to cancel April vacation this year given that most travel, entertainment, and hospitality industries are closed. Continuing through the April vacation break will also allow us to close school a week earlier on June 18 instead of Thursday, June 25.  To help inform our decision, we would like to gather some information from you. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey.  https://forms.gle/dkmR6EqrqQAxDkj16

Have a good night!

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/26/20
 

Good evening, parents and Newmarket community members:

Our Athletic Director shared some exciting information about some of our student athletes that we wanted to communicate to our entire community.

As many of you know, winter championship tournaments were cancelled by the NHIAA so our boys were not able to play in the basketball championship game. Given this unprecedented turn of events, the NHIAA named Newmarket the 2020 Division 4 Co-Champions.  The boys finished the season with a 20-1 record and a 15-game winning streak.  We are very pleased that the boys were rewarded for their effort and dedication this season. 

The following student-athletes were named Division 4 All State teams by the NH Basketball Coaches Organization:

Will Chase
Brianna Filion
Keenan Mills
Logan Willey

In addition, Will Chase was named the Division 4 Jack Ford Award winner.  This award is given the student-athlete that shows excellence in Academics, Basketball, and Community Service in our division.  All three parts are equally weighted.  This is one of the most prestigious awards given each season.

The good news continues… The following student-athletes were named to the Division 4, All-Academic Team.  The NHBCO All Academic Team is awarded to any varsity basketball player in their junior and senior year, who maintains a B+ average or is in the top 20% of their class.

Nicole Berry
Will Chase
Ashley Dyer
Brianna Filion
Owen Hayes
Abby Henry
Keenan Mills
Zach Mosher
Jack Noon
Riley Palasciano
Julia Perry
Chloe Tobin

Last, but not least, both of our JV basketball coaches were named the Division 4 JV Coach of the Year.  Congratulations to Meghan Fiore and Nick Farrer!

Please join me in congratulating our winter student-athletes and coaches for representing our community so well and for a season well played.
 

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/25/20
 

Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket community:

You have completed a week of remote learning and we hope that you are starting to develop a routine that suits your particular home situation. Please let us know if you need any support, we are here to help. Tomorrow we will have a more in-depth update about the work we have been doing these past few days but tonight we thought you might appreciate some resources and/or ideas for how to decompress if you find yourself experiencing stress. Your physical, mental, and emotional health should remain a top priority during this time of uncertainty.

Some of my favorite ways to relax and decompress are cooking, enjoying nature, getting some exercise, meditation, watching the Home and Garden channel, Face-timing with friends and family, and playing frisbee with my Australian Shepherd, Sophie. Here are some cool tools that our counseling staff has curated to help students and families cope with anxiety, stress and frustration. Also, I have included a link to Cooking with Kids to share my love of cooking with you and your family.

1)      Take a Break - 50 ways to shift your focus

2)      Calming Down Tools (Elementary)

3)      Coping Skills for Anxiety

4)      Family friendly games that help develop self-regulation skills (Elementary)

5)      Cooking with Kids
 

Have a wonderful night.
 

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/23/20
 

Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket learning community:

We have now completed day four of remote learning and our goal for this week is to continue to provide you with the support you need at home as you adjust to this new style of learning. Essential to its success is adopting new ways to communicate and collaborate. The communication and collaboration tools we will be using and can support in our school district are the G Suite for Education tools. 

Students in upper grade levels have used many, but not all, of the G Suite for education applications as part of the one-to-one initiative.  The students, and many teachers, at the elementary level have not used these applications in the past for communicating and collaborating because skill development in the lower grades is focused on introducing and cultivating foundational social, emotional, literacy, and numeracy skills.

Using consistent tools effectively will enable us to build the collective capacity of our learning community (staff, students, and parents). Once the capacity to communicate and share information is built, we can focus on exploring ways we can leverage these tools to advance engagement in our new digital, remote learning environment.

Today, the featured G Suite tool is Google Hangout Meet. For an overview of this tool, please watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdNxUrXryrA. I am also re-sending the two Google Classroom training resources I sent last week in case you missed them.

1)      Google slideshow – https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1bY4IXxmS8hJFK-VzMtS6LB6FfoR6ugkKn32B9gEF8Ao/edit?usp=sharing

2)     YouTube Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgqtCi7hdo
 

Have a wonderful evening.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/19/20

Dear parents and members of the Newmarket community:

Congratulations, you have just finished your first week of remote learning! Your final assignment for the week is… letting us know if your children need breakfast and lunch next week by filling out this form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScCjmsT7hSwi0uG8KicFTGLNrdeDMfiKpu8KZ_cgLbe5zv6ig/viewform

Food pick-up is behind NES from 11:00 AM to 12:00PM Monday through Friday.

Now it is time to relax and enjoy the weekend. Likewise, I have asked all staff to unplug and take care of themselves and their families until school starts on Monday morning.

Have a great weekend.
 

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/19/20

Dear parents and members of the Newmarket community:

Wow! It has been a very active remote learning day and we are so glad everyone is reaching out for the support they need. We so appreciate all the positive feedback and emails of support. A little note of appreciation goes a long way when people are trying something new! 

The theme of tonight’s letter is providing support and guidance in this new learning world. First, it is very important to attend to our social and emotional needs, especially during times of uncertainty. To help support families, I want to share several resources that you might find helpful. These topics on well-being are an important part of the educational experience we provide in school and may help manage anxiety, fears, and frustrations as you adapt.

1)      The Department of Education published an article on Health Habits for Well-Being that reminds us to take care of
         ourselves, connect with others, and relax.

           https://patch.com/new-hampshire/concord-nh/doe-publishes-healthy-habits-well-being

2)     Jamie Hayes shared two resources to help us stay active with some home fitness options.

        a)      Darebee provides over 1300 workouts - https://www.darebee.com/

        b)     10 different workout options ranging from Yoga to weight lifting -
                 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eUwfimEV6bUmWBvXoyF-5uiAN8owBL2t-UmlAal4-54/edit?usp=sharing

Another resource I thought you might appreciate is an article written by Reshan Richards and Stephen Valentine titled “How to Keep School Rhythm and Routines for Young Children at Home.” This is an easy read with some interesting resources and commentary provided by the authors. 
https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-03-17-how-to-keep-school-rhythm-and-routines-for-young-children-at-home

For parents who are not familiar with Google Classroom and want a quick primer, our Elementary school computer science teacher, Laura Bascom, prepared a Google Slideshow, and I also found a video that might be helpful to give you a preview of this tool.

        1)      Google slideshow –
                  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1bY4IXxmS8hJFK-VzMtS6LB6FfoR6ugkKn32B9gEF8Ao/edit?usp=sharing

        2)     YouTube Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgqtCi7hdo

Just a reminder that the Elementary school home learning packets sent home have 15 days of material and the focus this week and next is to establish new routines that include the social and emotional needs of your students and each other. Pace yourself, relax, and enjoy the moments together.

We hope you find these resources helpful to your home school transition. Please continue to reach out for help; we are here to support you.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to the Newmarket School Community 3/18/20

 

Dear parents and members of the Newmarket community:

The inauguration of our remote learning plan is under way and it has actually gone quite well, in spite of the very short time given for planning and preparation. If you have any questions or need support, please contact your child’s teacher(s) via email, the Building Administration during the day or complete a support request online and we will get back to you with the help you are seeking.

Thank you to the many parents, guardians and friends who picked up the NES Home Learning Packets and to the many staff members who assisted with this process.  All packets were distributed by 10:00 am today!  Our Newmarket Community is amazing!

Let us know what we can do to support you.
 

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket School Community 3/17/20

Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket community, 

Tomorrow is our first remote learning day and we wanted to provide you with some information that you might find helpful as you think about how to adjust to this change.

Junior Senior High School

Junior Senior High School students should be receiving electronic invitations to Google classrooms developed by their teachers.  Teachers who had already been using Google classroom will continue with their same page.  All students should “enroll” in their Google classrooms by tomorrow morning, the official beginning of remote learning. Teachers will be working remotely each day. 

Elementary School

Teachers at the Elementary School have prepared Home Learning Packets with learning activities and supplies. These packets, along with any resources you requested, will be available for pick at the front entrance at NES tomorrow morning between 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM.

Virtual Office Hours

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays          9:00 AM to 11:00 AM 

Tuesdays and Thursdays                            12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

All faculty will be available online during these hours to provide direct support to parents and students. Faculty will do their best to respond to emails within a day (24 hours). 

Parent/Student Support Request

In addition to Virtual Office Hours, parents and students can request the following support by completing the following help request form: LINK

Support available includes meals (breakfast, lunch, 68 hour program, food pantry), technology, psychologist, nurse, counselors, social worker, school supplies, administrative help, delivery vs. pick up or anything else not listed here.  We will respond to requests for support daily.

Sample Home Remote Learning Schedule: LINK

Parent Talking Points for Students: LINK

School Breakfast and Lunch Program:

Orders for our school lunch program should be placed through the parent/student request link. Parents pick-up will take place between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM at NES, using the parent drop off road behind the building. 

We know you may feel overwhelmed and we are here to help you in any way. Remote Learning en masse is new to everyone. Our goal this week is to make sure our systems are working, everyone has access to the internet and has a device, students/parents can access and communicate with their teachers, and delivery systems work. Once these basics are in place, we will begin to provide more robust programming and support.

We are all in this together and I am confident that as a community we can provide for our children by modeling flexibility, creativity, and resiliency. Best of luck tomorrow.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket School Community 3/16/2020


Good evening, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

I wanted to provide you with an update this evening about our progress and happenings today. In just a few days, our amazing staff have been able to prepare enough lessons to deliver learning opportunities in every discipline to launch our remote learning program on Wednesday. We will finalize the delivery of support services and mobilize tomorrow. 

Given the pace of changing information and guidance, I have decided to move to a remote work environment until further notice effective Wednesday, March 18th.  Only essential staff will continue reporting for work to ensure remote services are able to be delivered. I will continue to assess our needs and modify our operational practices to limit the number of employees in our buildings.

All JSHS courses and services will be delivered using Google classroom, Infinite Campus and other web-based tools. Teachers at the Elementary school have prepared Home Learning Packets with learning activities and supplies. These packets, along with any resources your requested, will be available for pick at the front entrance at NES tomorrow between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM and Wednesday morning between 7:30 AM and 9:30 AM. More details will be provided tomorrow and in the upcoming days.

In gratitude for your cooperation and flexibility as we navigate this unprecedented challenge.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/15/2020

 

Good afternoon, staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

I communicated this morning the closure of Newmarket schools as a precaution due to the COVID-19 situation.  In light of developments yesterday with this fluid situation, I contacted the NH Commissioner of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services last night to review current circumstances and based on their assessment, made a decision to close school to students for at least two weeks.  I communicated the closure decision early this morning so parents and students have maximum time to prepare.  We are deep cleaning the facilities using a combination of our inhouse staff and a professional service out of abundance of caution, and we may do this on a periodic basis going forward.  Relatedly, we ordered a Clorox Total 360 electrostatic sprayer several weeks ago before the outbreak and we should receive it soon to assist with disinfecting.     

Since my communication this morning, the Governor of New Hampshire has directed that all public schools in the State close to students effective immediately through at least April 3rd  due to COVID-19.  The Governor and Commissioner of Education further directed that all public schools implement remote learning on or before March 23rd.  Here is a link to the Governor’s press conference today.  Governor Press Conference 3/15  Closure will be reassessed based on relevant conditions closer to April 3rd.  Because of our planning efforts thus far, we intend to implement remote learning well before then.

Schools in Newmarket will be closed to students from now until at least April 3rd.  Our goal is that remote learning shall commence in Newmarket by Wednesday, March 18th.  I will know better after the day tomorrow whether this is an achievable goal by Wednesday, and I will let you know tomorrow evening.  Over the next couple days, I would encourage students to complete any unfinished work they currently have and perhaps work ahead if able in their school or online classes and/or do some reading on their own.

All school staff will report to work this week to finalize necessary preparations for the remote learning plan to provide education and support services to students during the closure.  Thereafter, staff will be working at the schools during normal hours during in support of the remote learning program.  Ideally, we think students learn best with teachers and other students present where ideas and thoughts can be exchanged.  Our professional staff will provide creative opportunities for exchange during this remote learning period, and will be in touch with, and available to, all learners through remote connections.  How that will look will of course vary from elementary to high school learners.  Remote learning will not be limited to “online” learning. 

We will soon provide further information as to precisely how remote learning and support services will function.  For example: how lessons will be provided to students; how students will submit work and receive feedback; how individual education plan (IEP) services will be provided; how food services will be provided; etc.  In the interim, here is a link to a Parent/Student Assistance Form we have prepared to better assess needs of individual students and families as remote learning is implemented.  For example, if a student needs a mobile hotspot for online access, we can provide those so all students have remote access.  Kindly complete this SURVEY at your earliest convenience so we may understand and satisfy your particular needs. 

Social distancing is one reason for school closure - the idea is to limit contact and potential spread of COVID-19.  It makes sense for families to do the same away from school as well during this period.  Accordingly, we will provide information soon about social distancing best practices as well as talking points to review with your children. For information about how to talk to your children about COVID-19, you can access a guide HERE.

It will be important for all students to maintain a routine learning schedule at home, but also address the possible effects of isolation.  Here is a link to a sample remote learning schedule for guidance in assisting students during the remote learning period: ScheduleTalking Points. In addition to learning, to mitigate as best we can the detriment of social isolation, students are encouraged to stay in touch with their peers, friends, family and relatives through phone calls, video chat, and other non-contact methods.   

We will be in touch with more information soon so you can better understand precisely how learning and services will take place during this period.  We thank you for your patience as we work through the details.

Thank you,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools       

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/15/2020

 

Dear staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

Though the number of presumptive cases of the Coronavirus in New Hampshire are relatively low (seven), there are three known cases in Rockingham county and last night one in Manchester was confirmed. Given these cases continue to be identified in our general area and it will become increasingly more difficult to trace contact with others outside of our school setting, I no longer feel comfortable having students return to school on Monday. For this reason, and out of an abundance of caution, we will be closing school for students for at least the next two weeks. I wanted to give you as much advance notice of this as possible to allow you time to make plans.

Monday and Tuesday, staff will continue making necessary preparations to initiate a remote learning plan that will allow us to provide education and support services to students during the closure. We will be talking to the commissioner at noontime today to seek guidance about current remote learning expectations and we will provide you with more information about our plan over the next several days.

Thank you for your cooperation and flexibility as we navigate this very dynamic situation. More information will follow later today.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/14/2020

Good afternoon, staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

Here is an update from last evening.  We still plan to open school on Monday, with an early release for students (dismal for NES is 12:00 PM and 11:15 AM at the JSHS).  School staff will use the rest of the day to finalize remote learning plans.  

The Administration Team is meeting today to finalize plans if there is a closure.  Among other things, the Team is addressing:

  • Remote Learning Details (including access to technology, etc.)
  • Food Service
  • After School Programs

More particular information will be provided on all aspects of the remote learning plan if there is an extended closure.

There is much conflicting information regarding COVID-19 and school closures.  Please know that our decision making is guided by expert information from the Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHHHS), the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE), and specific local circumstances.  For your information, here is a link to the CDC’s current guidance on school closures: CDC Considerations for School Closure  As you can see, there are many factors to consider and we will continually assess them in the best interests of Newmarket students, parents and the community.  Currently, the CDC and the State of New Hampshire are not recommending school closure.  We are not aware of any local COVID-19 cases in Newmarket at this time.

As this is a developing situation on the forefront of our minds, we will issue updates daily and as needed for any significant developments.  Again, we can all help by exercising common sense health precautions – please see the CDC’s recommendations: CDC Health Precautions

Finally, we are fortunate to have so many skilled and dedicated professionals who have contributed to planning – I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all involved!

Thank you,

 Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/13/2020

Good evening, staff, parents and members of the Newmarket community-

At the outset, we are not planning to close schools at this time but we continue to work on plans for remote learning in the event a school closing becomes necessary.  We plan to open school on Monday, however, it will be an early release day so teachers can finalize remote learning plans. While we realize this is not ideal, we feel it is essential given the trend in school closures locally.

I also wanted to provide you with some important information related to school closures, event postponements and other cancellations that impact Newmarket as well as provide you with an update on our remote learning plan and other precautions we have taken to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and visitors.

Closures, postponements, and cancellations

  • Exeter schools have closed and are moving to a remote learning method of teaching and learning for the next two weeks. Newmarket students who are enrolled in SST during the morning session should report to NJSH as usual @ 9:30am. Those who attend the afternoon session, will be allowed to leave NJSHS as normally scheduled @ 11:45am to work on their online SST coursework.
  • The NHIAA has postponed all tournament events over the weekend and will reevaluate the situation next week. They have also decided to postpone the start of the spring sports season. Practices will not begin until the first or second week in April and games will not begin until the last week of April or first week of May.
  • All District field trips and events will be cancelled until April 1st. We will continue to monitor this and make further adjustments if necessary.
  • Access to the schools will be limited to staff, students, and volunteers who have been serving in schools on a routine basis this year.

Health Precautions
We are following all sanitation protocols (disinfecting doorknobs, water fountains, tables, bathrooms, sinks, etc. nightly, cafeteria tables between lunches, and entrance ways in the morning and afternoon). We have reviewed the hand washing protocols with staff and students and hung posters in bathrooms to remind people to do this. The bus companies are disinfecting their buses daily as well. This past Sunday night and Monday all of our facilities were sanitized and cleaned again by an outside contractor. We are asking anyone who feels sick to stay home and following up on all information shared to make sure we have all the facts when making decisions.

Remote Learning Plan
On Tuesday, our faculty spent the day developing five days of remote learning lessons in each subject area that can be used should we need to cancel school. We need to develop an additional five days of lessons and finalize how we will provide student supports services remotely. Families that do not have internet connectivity or a device for their children with at least an eight inch screen size should contact Jackie Santiago (santiagoj@newmarket.k12.nh.us) at the JSHS or Brenda Collins (collinsb@newmarket.k12.nh.us) at NES. We will provide more information about the plan on Monday.

As this is an evolving situation, we will keep you informed of any changes that will cause us to reevaluate our decision to remain open.  

Susan K. Givens

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Letter to Newmarket school community 3/9/20

Dear staff, parents, and members of the Newmarket community

I am writing with an update to the message you received last night about today’s school closure and the self-quarantining of a Newmarket staff member. 

As we received the information about our staff member late in the evening, I decided to close schools in order to provide the district with critical time to gather guidance from experts and to make a plan for next steps. As previously planned, students are not in class tomorrow as it is an all day Professional Development. School will resume as per normal schedule on Wednesday.

Coordination with the State Department of Education 
I spoke this morning with Frank Edelblut, State Commissioner of Education. Commissioner Edelblut reassured us that the state was not aware of any specific risk from COVID-19 to any NH school communities. Should such a risk be identified in the future, both the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services will notify the district and will work with us collaboratively to address that risk.

Town Administrator Steve Fournier, Town Health Officer Michael Hoffman, and Fire Chief Rick Malasky joined school administrators in reviewing our current situation and coordinating plans for moving forward.

Coordination with the Department of Health & Human Services
Our administrative team held a conference call with Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist. Dr. Chan seconded the points made earlier by Commissioner Edelblut: The state is not aware of anyone in Newmarket School District (NSD) who would currently pose a risk of infection to members of our community. Should that situation change, DHHS will contact me and will work with us to identify appropriate next steps. 

Dr. Chan reminded us of helpful information about exposure and quarantines:

  • Most people who develop COVID-19 show symptoms within one week, with the range of days for appearance of symptoms being 2-14. (The NSD staff person under self-quarantine has passed the one-week mark, as they were exposed eight days ago. The staff member has shown no symptoms.)
  • Asymptomatic people, including those under quarantine, do not generally pose a risk of infection to members of the public. 
  • Schools and school districts do not, therefore, need to take special steps when they learn of a community member who is asymptomatic and under quarantine. (NSD did take the precautionary step of closing school today in order to gather information and, out of an abundance of caution, to sanitize our schools and central offices.)
  • The state has no recommendation that school districts cancel mass events at this time. Tonight’s basketball game will take place as regularly scheduled, and tomorrow’s town vote will proceed as planned.
  • The state does recommend that we continue to promote preventive measures, such as staying home if sick, practicing frequent hand hygiene, and frequent disinfection of surfaces.

Professional Development Day tomorrow, Tuesday, 3/10/20
Again, tomorrow’s PD day for staff was already on the 2019-20 school year calendar. The agenda for tomorrow has been revised to focus on the continuity of student learning and contingency planning. While there is no current need for a longer-term closure of schools, we are taking this opportunity to review the district’s existing emergency preparedness plans. Staff and faculty will also be reviewing age-appropriate talking points for discussing COVID-19 and its prevention with students.
 

Resources for Families
We encourage families to seek information from reputable sources, including the following organizations:


In particular, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), in conjunction with the National Association of School Nurses, has provided an excellent guide for parents and guardians when talking with children about COVID-19.

The health and safety of all members of our community continues to be our priority, and we will continue to provide you with information as it becomes available.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community,

I truly hope everyone had an enjoyable break from their regular routine last week during our winter break. I wanted to share some important information with you about the Coronavirus, additional school warrant articles, and remind you of some important upcoming events.  

Coronavirus Information Update

The Town Manager, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Town Health Officer, and I met yesterday to review information about the Coronavirus and discuss the best way to share accurate and timely information with all members of the Newmarket community. Town Manager, Steve Fournier, prepared a very nice letter about the virus with links to credible sources for those who want more information. His letter, with information about the preparatory actions we have taken, can be found here: Coronavirus Letter  

School Warrant Article Information

Before the February vacation break, we sent out a summary of Article 2 – the school budget, to highlight how the budget request will positively impact teaching and learning next year if it is passed next Tuesday, March 10th, at Town Meeting. This week we created a summary of the remaining school warrant articles with information about their tax impact. We ask for you to support the recently negotiated Support Staff contract, the use of some of the building project bond investment interest proceeds to enhance or preserve our schools, and grant us permission to use a portion of any unspent resources from the current year budget to help fund renovations to the elementary school playground. For more information, please review the summary infographic link here.

Noteworthy Events Ahead

JSHS Parents - Course Selection Workshop                Wednesday, March 4th, 6:00 PM

NESDEC Focus Group – Parents/Community              Saturday, March 7th, 9:00 AM

Public Forum - FY21 Budget & Student Success          Saturday, March 7th, 10:00 AM

NESDEC Principal Characteristics Survey                     Monday, March 9th, Noon -closes

Town Meeting – School Warrants/Elections                  Tuesday, March 10th
 

Enjoy the beautiful summer-like evening.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, February 21, 2020

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community,

Hot off the presses! I wanted to share some ways that you can provide input in the development of the candidate profile for our next JSHS principal. 

NESDEC, who is overseeing the principal search, has designed an anonymous survey to gather information about qualities, skills, characteristics, experience, and knowledge that you believe we need in our next principal and to also ascertain what you perceive are the challenges and tasks the new principal should focus on in their first year on the job. When you have a moment over the next two weeks, please complete this survey so they can develop the profile the screening committee will use when they review applicants.

In addition, NESDEC will be holding a parent and community focus group in the JSHS library media center from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 7th so that you can share with them your thoughts, wishes, and insights about the school and/or the leadership qualities you believe are important in our new principal.  

Your input is greatly appreciated!

Noteworthy Dates Ahead

  • JSHS Parents - Course Selection Workshop                 Wednesday, March 4th, 6:00 PM
  • NESDEC Focus Group – Parents/Community               Saturday, March 7th, 9:00 AM
  • Public Forum - FY21 Budget & Student Success          Saturday, March 7th, 10:00 AM
  • Town Meeting – School Warrants/Elections                   Tuesday, March 10th

I look forward to seeing you at these events in March.

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, February 7, 2020


Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community,

I wanted to take a minute to provide you with some important and timely information about upcoming events before the weekend so you can mark your calendar.

Elections/Professional Development Day - No School, February 11th
On Tuesday, February 11th, the New Hampshire Primary elections will be held at the elementary school from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Therefore, school will be closed for students. Faculty will report to the Junior Senior High School for a professional development day that will focus on topics related to our district and school improvement goals for this year. 

JSHS Principal Search  
New England School Development Council (NESDEC) will be conducting our Principal Search. NESDEC will be advertising for the position in the next day or so and we wanted you to be aware of this before it went out publicly.  We also wanted to share some information about the process and how you can get involved. There will be multiple opportunities for parents and members of the community to participate in the process - as a member of the screening committee, through surveys and focus groups, and during candidate site visits.  The principal search screening committee with include representation from multiple stakeholder groups including faculty from the middle and high school (4), other professional and non-certified staff (2), administration (1), parents (2), community members (1), and students (1). If you are interested in participating as a member of the screening committee, please send Penny Botterman a letter of interest by February 19th. Interviews will take place in March with a targeted nomination date of April 9th. NESDEC will work with the Committee to develop the official timeline once the screening committee has been appointed.  

Course Selection – Parent Information Night
On Thursday, February 13th, the Junior Senior High School Administration will be holding a Parent Information Night to review the upcoming high school course selection process and a draft of next year’s Program of Studies. Parents will be divided into two groups – 8th and 9th grade transition and parents of upper-class students. The workshop is scheduled for 6:00 PM in the Cafetorium.

Noteworthy Dates Ahead

JSHS Parents - Course Selection Workshop                  Thursday, February 13th, 6:00 PM

Public Forums on Important Educational Topics         Tuesday, February 18th, 6:00 PM JSHS Cafetorium

School Vacation Break                                                        Friday, February 21, 3:00 PM

 

Have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

PUBLIC STATEMENT - Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Superintendent Susan Givens and Newmarket Junior-Senior High School Principal Christopher Mazzone release this joint statement in order to clarify any misunderstanding related to Principal Mazzone’s recent absence from Newmarket Junior-Senior High School.  The circumstances underlying Mr. Mazzone’s absence have been resolved.  Both Mr. Mazzone and Superintendent Givens have acted in good faith and want the public to know that aside from this statement, there will be no further comments made regarding this matter. 

As some of you may know, Mr. Gregory Marles, who has served as the Town and School Facilities Director for the past two and a half years has resigned, effective January 10, 2020, to take a position closer to his home.  In addition to the day-to-day tasks for facility maintenance, Mr. Marles is responsible for managing the school renovation project.

Given Mr. Mazzone’s familiarity with the construction project, as well as school operational systems, security protocols, and his prior construction experience, we are pleased to announce he will take over school facility responsibilities from Mr. Marles, as well as other administrative responsibilities for the school district.  Mr. Mazzone will continue in this capacity for the remainder of the school year.  Taking his place as Principal at Newmarket Junior-Senior High School is Mr. Sean Pine, who will serve as Interim Principal for the remainder of the school year.  The District will commence the search for a permanent replacement for the Junior-Senior High School principal in the coming weeks.    

We regret any confusion that exists and any uncertainty this situation has created for members of the public, staff, and students.  The Superintendent, School Board, and Mr. Mazzone will continue to work together in the best interest of our students.  The public is encouraged to positively support them all in these efforts.  
 

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, December 20, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community, 

The administrative team has been meeting over the past couple of weeks to outline the work we have before us so that we are able to mindfully reshuffle our work assignments so that we have a primary point person in each building moving forward. Our plan is as follows. 

Sean Pine, currently the Principal at Newmarket Elementary School, will begin serving as Acting Principal of the Jr/Sr High School as of January 2nd. Mr. Pine’s strong relationships with students and families and his administrative acumen complement the strengths of the assistant principals and address the immediate needs of the school. In addition, it will afford him the opportunity to become more familiar with the Middle School programs and services provided to students transitioning from elementary school. This experience will help us strengthen our transition programming between the schools.

Debbie Roffo, our long standing (twenty-five years) Assistant Principal at Newmarket Elementary School, will serve as Acting Principal while Mr. Pine is at the Jr/Sr High School. Ms. Roffo’s many years of leadership at the Elementary School, long-term relationships with staff, families and students, knowledge of organizational workflows, timelines, and expectations will ensure the smooth operation of the school during this interim period.  

In their Acting Principal roles, Mr. Pine and Ms. Roffo serve as the administrative leaders of their respective buildings. Building-related questions are, therefore, most appropriately directed to either Mr. Pine or Ms. Roffo.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to a great year ahead. 

Sincerely,

Susan Givens, Erica MacNeil, Patricia Kinsella, Sean Pine, Debbie Roffo,  Kristina Cochran, Sarah Denham, and Jennifer DeStefano

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, December 6, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community- 
        
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. The snow from the recent weather events saves us from having to dream of a white Christmas/holiday season since it is unlikely the two feet of snow we received on Monday and Tuesday will melt away anytime soon. Before I mention opportunities to get involved in our school and district improvement efforts or the proposed budget for next year, I want to share with you some fun holiday events that are coming up this month in our schools and the broader community so they are not lost at the end of my letter. 

School and Community Happenings
December 7th, 5:00 PM, Newmarket’s Tree Lighting & Giving Tree Ceremony, Arbor Park (across from Post Office Downtown)  
December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Lions Club - Santa Claus pictures, treats, trees, etc., Thrift Shop, 10 Main Street, Newmarket 
December 10th, 11:00 AM, Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner, Elementary Cafeteria
December 12th, 6:30 PM, Winter Concert, Jr/Sr High School Cafe/Library
December 17th, 6:17 PM, Kindergarten Holiday Show, Elementary Cafeteria   
December 18th, 6:30 PM, Grades 3-5 Chorus Group, Elementary Cafeteria


December Calendar for the Newmarket Library...
https://newmarketlibrary.org/uploads/1/0/5/0/105085461/2019_december_event_calendar.pdf 

School and District Improvement Committee Opportunities
We have been very busy this fall developing our District and School Improvement goals for the upcoming year and are excited to share opportunities for you to participate on committees that will focus on improving communication, my entry plan, and reviewing the JSHS student handbook. There will also be opportunities to participate on screening committees this winter and spring as we seek to recruit staff for next years vacancies. Your voice is invaluable to the conversations that will take place in these committees, and your service would be greatly appreciated. Amazing things happen when stakeholders come together to talk about important topics such as communication, meeting the needs of the whole child, and the expectations and supports that lead to student achievement.  The committees will begin their work in January. A brief description of the committees follow. 

      District Website Improvement Committee: This committee will help the district improve its overall online presence and the quality of communications on its website. Our goal includes ensuring that parents and members of the public are able to find commonly-sought documents and information intuitively and with no more than two navigational clicks. The committee will begin its work with a survey inviting the community to share their experience with the current website, as well as their hopes for improvements on an updated website.

     Superintendent’s Entry Plan Committee: This committee will assist Superintendent Givens with gathering information about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) of the schools and community. A summary of findings will be shared with the community in the late spring/ early summer. 

    JSHS Student Handbook Review Committee: This committee will look at industry best practices (trauma informed schools, restorative practices, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), etc.) and based on this learning, identify how we can create a learning community that supports the development of the whole child and make recommendations to the student handbook that reflect current best practices in the field. 

     JSHS Communication Committee: In support of a JSHS Organizational Goal, this committee will help to develop a culture of participatory leadership and communication at the Newmarket Junior Senior High School.

     NEW Communication Committee: In support of an NES Organizational Goal, this committee will work to enhance internal and external communications among multiple stakeholder groups in the Newmarket educational community.
Ad Hoc Hiring Committees: Over the winter and spring, members of this committee will participate when needed in selection committees during the hiring process.

If you would like to participate on one of these committees, please submit a letter of interest, with details about any relevant experience and the name of the committee(s) on which you would like to serve, to Penny Botterman at bottermanp@newmarket.k12.nh.us. Letters may be delivered in person to the SAU office, as well. The deadline for submitting letters is Tuesday, December 17th. The committees will begin their work in January. 

If you are not able to participate in a committee, please know that there will be additional opportunities to provide input on this work throughout the school year.


FY21 Proposed Budget

Last evening, the School Board adopted the FY21 proposed budget. This budget includes funding for some important program enhancements centered on: 

1) Sustain or advance existing school improvement efforts; 
2) Attend to some essential needs that, if not addressed, will have a detrimental effect on student growth and development;  
3) Ensure our facilities are safe, secure, and accessible to all members of our school community

The adopted budget that will be reviewed with the Town Budget Committee on Monday, December 9th, at 7:00 PM, is posted on our website (https://www.newmarket.k12.nh.us/school-board/school-board-budget) under the School Board’s menu tab. 


Personnel Matter

As many of you know, our Principal, Mr. Mazzone has not been at school for the past few weeks and as previously mentioned, his attendance is not a topic that will be discussed publicly. The assistant principals continue to take care of the daily staff and student affairs and have completed the budget, goal setting, staff observations, supply ordering, etc. in his absence. That said, it is important to have one person ultimately in charge. With this in mind, I am developing an interim plan that I will share with you next week pending resolution of this matter. Thank you for your patience, advise, and notes of support.
 
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing you at some of the events this month. 

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dear parents/guardians,

I know people are curious about Mr. Mazzone’s attendance at school. Like any organization, attendance and other personnel matters are not topics that are discussed in public for many reasons including an employee’s right to privacy. Mr. Mazzone continues to be an employee and the district will continue to honor and respect his right to privacy. As is always the case, when the principal is absent, the assistant principals, take care of the day to day responsibilities associated with running the school. In addition, we have very capable and experienced teachers and staff dedicated to supporting the children. Rest assured that staff and students are in good hands and that all is going well in school.

We will not be making any further comment about this matter and ask the public to join us in respecting the privacy of the staff in our schools.

Have a nice evening.

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

Letter from Superintendent Dr. Givens

Friday, September 20, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community-

Calling all educators! There are three institutions that together form an interconnected triad for learning, growth and development of students and adults alike; families, schools, and the community. The community is an integral educational partner and I thought you might find value in knowing about some of our community partners and the things they are doing to support student learning.  With this in mind, I asked each partner to provide a brief overview of what they do and a highlight or two of programming and/or upcoming events that they would like to share with you.

Newmarket Community Education Partnership

Newmarket Community Education Partnership (NCEP) has a 15-year history of supporting the social, recreational and educational experiences of children and youth in Newmarket. Over the years, NCEP has granted over $100,000 to our community, and Newmarket's schools have received the greatest amount of funding for things like: speaker programs, technology and other classroom equipment, field trips, seed funding for various clubs, special education materials, supporting our students with food insecurities, Mules Mission, and much more. NCEP’s major fundraiser is Newmarket EATS, a unique celebration of local restaurants and businesses. Set for Sunday, November 10 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the historic Millspace downtown, attendees can expect food tastings, entertainment, a silent auction, raffle and a cash bar (21+ event). Tickets are $30/each, $55 for two in advance; $35 at the door. Please see NCEP's website or follow NCEP on Facebook for more information on this special community event.

Newmarket Public Library

The Newmarket Public Library is a learning center and gathering place for community residents of all ages.  We serve children, young adults & families with great collections, programs, and services designed to build kids’ love of reading and discovery.

The library offers a wide range of digital resources to help students with research and homework which can be accessed from home with a library card, from language learning to reading recommendations as well as easy-to-use research databases for any class or topic.  All of our digital resources can be found on our website newmarketlibrary.org, under resources, digital resources.  The New Britannica Library is an award winning resource that offers levels for children, young adults and adults.  We have recently added LearningExpress Library which provides test preparation to for important exams like the ACT®, SAT®, AP® Tests, and more. Included are career-related information and test preparation for college admissions, professional career licensing and certification, high school equivalency and much more.  You can’t trust all the resources in Google but you can trust the quality resources at the Newmarket Public Library.

NPL offers many on-going and special programs.  We have a weekly preschool story time and monthly book club “Nuts About Novels” for elementary aged children.  Check out our website and facebook page for all that we offer.  Every resident of Newmarket is entitled to a library card and we invite you to come and take advantage of the wonderful programs that we offer.  All programs are open and free to the public.  Please come in, meet the staff, and get your library card.  Visit us on our website newmarketlibrary.org and on facebook.

The NES PTA

The NES PTA supports Newmarket Elementary School’s students, parents and staff throughout the year.  We host community events throughout the year, such as movie nights, unplugged week, literacy events, and the Harlem Wizards versus Newmarket School District Teachers and Staff basketball game.  Please CLICK HERE for a calendar of events scheduled this year. We are currently fundraising for a new playground at the Elementary School, and are hoping to complete fundraising so that the project can move forward during the summer of 2020.  We are also fundraising to purchase additional Tower Gardens for the NES classrooms and cafeteria.  If you have any questions, or are interested in joining the NES PTA, please contact us at newmarketnhpta@gmail.com.

The Recreation Department

Support the Rec, Create Community! Your child’s participation in a diverse range of activity and  sport programs with Newmarket Rec helps to generate funds that goes directly back into our community. We offer a wide range of programming for all ages including soccer, hip hop, flag football, cartooning, ballet, creative arts, music and so much more. One of our exciting new programs is Sustainable Art on Wednesdays 10/30-12/18, which will provide students a chance to explore items in nature and turn them into art creations! More info about this program and all others can be found on our website. We have a new variety of programs year-round, so please join and refer to our FB page where we post lots of updates (Newmarket Rec). You may also see our flyers come home with your children in backpacks throughout the year and please give us call to find out what programs might be perfect for your kiddos anytime, we would love to hear from you!  We are grateful to be a partner and building block within our Newmarket community. 603-659-8581; recdesk@newmarketnh.gov  - Hope to chat soon! - Aimee, Andy, Alyssa, Anna & the whole Rec Team!!

The African adage it takes a village to raise a child reminds us of the importance these community programs play in the education of our children. Let’s celebrate the work of these organizations and the impact they have on raising them to become productive and engaged citizens of our world.

School Happenings

On September 28, 2019 we will be offering tours of our newly renovated Elementary School from 9:00 AM until noon. Tours, conducted by administrators and members of our student council, will run every half hour starting at 9:00 AM.  The last tour will begin at 11:30am. 

On September 30th, the construction company will begin the month long process of replacing the Cafetorium roof at the Jr/Sr High School. The roof being removed contains some hazardous materials that will require workers to take specific precautionary measures as required by OSHA and other agencies. This work will not pose any imminent danger to staff or students. During this period, there will be an increase in worker presence, heavy equipment on and around the building's east wing, and there may need to be changes to parking and traffic flow patterns in and around the building. More information will follow as it becomes available. In addition, Principal Mazzone, Director of Facilities Marles, and the contractor will be available to answer any questions you may have about the roofing portion of the construction project after the Open Houses at the times noted below.

Open House for the High School will take place on Tuesday, October 1st at 6:30 PM.

Open House for the Junior High School will take place on Wednesday, October 2nd at 6:30 PM.

A detailed schedule of events for both nights will be provided by Principal Mazzone next week.

Join with me in thanking our community partners for providing resources and opportunities that support the growth and development our children. I look forward to seeing you at school and community events during the upcoming weeks, months, and years. Have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.

 

 

Letter from the Superintendent

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dear Parents and members of the Newmarket community- 

There are so many exciting things going on in our school district that I am bursting with optimism and enthusiasm as we approach the opening of school. Here are some highlights about the amazing work that has been going on in our school community in preparation for the 2019-20 school year. 

Inspired, enthusiastic, highly qualified teachers, ignite the love of learning in our students.  For this reason, hiring well is job one! We are very fortunate to have a wonderful group of talented teachers and support staff joining our team this year.  As of this writing, we have filled all classroom teaching positions at the Elementary School and all but one at the Jr/Sr High School. We are optimistic that this last position will be filled by the second week of school.  In the interim, a retired teacher will be stepping in to ensure students have a qualified teacher to guide their learning as we begin the year. We will continue to actively recruit candidates for the remaining open positions until we have a full complement of staff.     

Over the summer and prior to school opening, faculty and staff have been very busy modifying their curriculum to align with new standards, developing curriculum for new courses, curating content and updating lesson plans to deliver high quality learning experiences for our students. They have also been actively engaged in professional development related to Competency Based Education (CBE), social emotional learning, and student engagement using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and other strategies that draw out the knowledge assets, passions, and interests of our students. All of this work supports our effort to create a culture of learning that celebrates and leverages the brilliance in every person who enters our doors. I look forward to working with the community, parents, School Board and our entire team of educators and support staff, to continue this important work. 

Construction at the Elementary School is substantially complete and teachers have been moving into their classrooms the past couple of days. The facility is beautiful and staff are feeling both relieved and excited to be in their new spaces. Significant progress has also been made at the Jr/Sr High School during the summer months. The new additions are substantially complete, the contractor has completed the first of three renovation phases to the older sections of the building, and all safety, security, network, and communication systems are installed and have been tested. Of course that also means that we will be under construction this year and will be moving classrooms around in November and April as the remaining phases are completed. This will inevitably cause some disruption for both staff and students but we know that the end is in sight and when it is complete, we will have wonderful environments that will support 21st Century teaching and learning experiences for our students. We would like to thank the community for this important investment in our schools. 

The Board has held several retreats over the summer to review feedback from staff, evaluate strengths and challenges, and develop goals or focus areas for our work this year. These goals include completing the building project, negotiating an initial contract for our paraprofessional bargaining unit, developing a salary and compensation program that will enable the district to attract and retain highly qualified staff, to begin transitioning our policies, procedures and practices to align with 21st Century, best practices that support or enhance quality teaching and learning experiences for students, and to support activities related to the Superintendent’s entry plan and subsequent report.  More information about the entry plan and opportunities to meet and share your suggestions, hopes and dreams with me will be forthcoming.

In closing, there is so much for us to be grateful for as we open our school doors; new schools, a dedicated staff and community, and an energized staff focused on finding ways to use their collective strengths to meet the needs of every child.  Let this year mark the dawn of a new beginning filled with hope and promise as we set our sights on the future. Your support and engagement is integral to our success and I look forward to learning more about this wonderful community in the upcoming year. 

Sincerely,

Susan K. Givens, Ed.D.


For more information regarding school opening details, please read the following letters from the principals.

A note from Principal Pine, Elementary School

A note from Principal Mazzone, Jr/Sr High School