Friday, October 23, 2020

October 23rd, 2020

It was great to have students back in the building again this week.  Thank you again for your patience and we are so happy that we only ended up having the one isolated positive case.  

I hope that everyone found Open House on Thursday beneficial.  Just like everything else this school year, we would rather have been able to have everyone come in to the building and physically meet their teachers but hopefully this format still allowed you to get some valuable information.  Thank you to everyone that attended!  

Please see the important updates below and as always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  

Mr. Bell

CLOSEGAP PROGRAM

Please see the attached information about a new digital emotional wellness tool we will be using called Closegap.  Mrs. Blessing is working with the school staff to use this tool with our students to ensure that they are emotionally well during this challenging period of time.  If you would like to opt out of having your child participate, please return the form to the school office signed by Friday, October 30th.  If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Blessing at jblessing@douglasps.net.

TECHNOLOGY SURVEY
We have heard from many families asking for a parent technology training.  We are looking at putting something together but wanted to gauge the interest and see what topics parent felt might be beneficial.  By Friday, October 30th, please take a minute to fill out this survey which will help guide what we do.  

PTO INFORMATION
ATTENTION...The Braided Pastries and Cake Rolls deadline has been extended to Monday October 26th!!  The final ordering deadline will be 6:00 pm on Monday October 26th as I need to submit the order to the company :)

PRIMARY SCHOOL FAMILIES: Send your orders into school this by Monday or create a profile and place orders online using the link below by 6:00 pm Monday October 26th.

ELEMENTARY FAMILIES: Cohort B families can send their orders into school on Thursday, their first day back!  Cohort A families can send orders in on Monday October 26th.  Unfortunately no late orders will be excepted.  Orders also can be placed online by creating a profile and using the link below by 6:00 pm October 26th

FULL REMOTE FAMILIES: Orders can be placed online by creating a profile and using the link below.  All orders must be submitted by 6:00 pm October 26th!!


Thank you so much for your continued support!!

PICTURE DAY
We will be having a picture day for each cohort.  Cohort A will be on Tuesday, October 27th and Cohort B will be on Thursday, October 29th.  Cohort A will get their forms on Monday the 26th so please make sure to check the backpacks that night.  Cohort B forms were sent home earlier this week.  Douglas Learning Academy students that would like to have their picture taken can come either of those two day between 8:15 and 9:30 and can get their form when arrive.  

Friday, October 16, 2020

October 16th, 2020

Everything is on track for our return to the hybrid model on Thursday, October 22nd.  All of the close contacts have come back negative or remain asymptomatic so the virus does not appear to have spread in the school.  

There is a lots to share this week so please take a minute to see the information below.  As always, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.  

Mr. Bell

NEW DEVICE PICKUP FOR GRADES 2-4
The Chromebooks have arrived and are now ready to be checked out to our 2nd through 4th grade students.  We are asking parents to pick-up the new device between 7:30 and 2:00 on Monday (10/19) and Tuesday (10/20).  Mr. Villemaire will have the devices outside the main entrance.  Parents will pull up in front of the school and he will bring the device to you so you don't even have to leave your vehicle!  No sign up is needed.  You must turn in your old device and charger in order to get the new device.  We know that school will be going on during these hours so teachers are aware that the switch will be happening and will be understanding if a student is not able to login for a short time as the transition occurs.  

OPEN HOUSE
Douglas Elementary will be holding a remote open house on Thursday, October 22nd from 5:30-7:30.  Please see this Open House Document for details and Zoom links.  We hope to see you there!  

SURVEY RESULTS
I appreciate everyone who took the time to complete the survey that Dr. Vieira sent out a few weeks ago.  We have looked at the feedback and are using it to help us continue to improve as we teach in the hybrid model.  

One of the biggest areas that we need to improve on is how Google Classroom is organized so that the information is easy for parents and students to find.  It should be easy to find a schedule, know what work needs to be completed, and get feedback on how your child is doing in school.  I met with four teachers and five parents this week to discuss these concerns and you should continue to see improvements in Google Classroom moving forward.  I want to thank the parents and teachers for the honest and productive conversation!  

From the results, it was also clear that parents are looking forward to the day that we can return to school fully in person.  While we aren't there yet, we are already making plans for how and when this might be able to happen.  We are committed to providing the best educational experience possible within the guidelines that we receive from the state.  

There were also \comments about tech issues, safety guidelines, communication, pace of instruction, quality of instruction, school supplies, parent pickup, and 504/IEP implementation.  Please know that we are taking all of these comments into consideration as we continue to tweak the hybrid model.  

Finally, we had several comments about too much work being assigned or too much time on Zoom along with the opposite of not enough work being assigned or not enough time on Zoom.  The responses were pretty split which means we have probably found a happy medium.  We are fully aware that it is impossible to make everyone happy with this so we have worked to find a balance that allows all students to be as successful as possible.  

PICTURE DAY
We will be having a picture day for each cohort.  Cohort A will be on Tuesday, October 27th and Cohort B will be on Thursday, October 29th.  Forms will come home a little later than normal due to the school being closed.  Cohort A will get their forms on Monday the 26th so please make sure to check the backpacks that night.  Cohort B will have a little more time since they will get theirs on October 22nd.  Douglas Learning Academy students that would like to have their picture taken can come either of those two day between 8:15 and 9:30 and can get their form when arrive.  



Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 9th, 2020

Sorry for the multiple updates this week.  I know I said I wouldn't send one today but I wanted to make sure everyone received these three updates below.  Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns!

Mr. Bell

Information from Dr. Vieira's Weekly Newsletter
As we continue to try to provide the best educational experience for your children while they are learning from home, we have two requests to help the Zoom meetings be as effective as possible:

  1. It is ok to help your child log on to a Zoom meeting but then it is best to step away and let them participate in the lesson independently.  This will allow them to rely on their teacher during their lessons and have a more authentic school experience.  
  2. We are asking that parents not ask questions on the Zoom meetings.  This takes away from the lesson and in many cases causes a disruption to the learning of other students.  Any questions that parents have should be emailed to the teacher which will be responded to in a timely manner.  Technology questions can be sent to helpdesk@douglasps.net.  
We appreciate your help with these two requests.  


Zoom with Dr. Vieira
This upcoming Wednesday, October 14th, Dr. Vieira will be holding a Zoom parent session to give some updates and get feedback on how the year is going.  We hope you'll join us.  The link is below. 
 
Zoom with Dr. Vieira - Wednesday, October 14th at 7:00


PTO Updates
Fall Family Festival
This Saturday October 10th from 11:00-2:30
**NEW LOCATION: Martin Road Baseball Fields/Playground-109 Martin Road

Join us for some lunch from Birds Nest Street Food Panini Truck, including BBQ chicken, meatball, ultimate cheese, hotdogs, and more!  Then enjoy a “Kool” treat from the Kona Ice truck!!

The PTO will have some AWESOME raffle prizes and will be selling spirit wear items.

Ironside Locksmith will have their mobile van for you to get some custom keys/accessories made while you wait!!

It is going to be a picture perfect day…we hope you can join us socially distant style!!!

Social distancing Rules
Given the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re working hard to host fun, socially distant events that can meet the requirements and allow our community to celebrate being together.
Be prepared to practice safety at our event.
1, Stay home if you’re sick.
2. Keep 6 feet apart from other patrons in line.
3. Face coverings are required when interacting with vendors or anytime within 6 feet of other guests.
4. After you get your food please do not eat, hang around or congregate within 20 feet of the trucks or guests in line.
(Eating on premise is permitted within socially distant areas)


Braided Bread and Pastry Fundraiser

Its Braided Pastry and Cake Roll Time!!! If you didn't have a chance to order these last year, definitely try some this year! They are SO good!! They ship frozen so you can save them for the holidays, a special breakfast, or a yummy dessert.
This sale runs from October 5th to October 23rd, with delivery in time for Thanksgiving.
Orders can be sent to school through the paper order form or you can create an online profile and family members can order online through your site. Use the link below to create your personalized profile!
**Elementary families, given the recent school closure, orders can be placed online using the link below or physical order forms and checks can be mailed to Melissa Johnson 24 Colonial Road Douglas
**Full remote learners: Of course you can create an online profile but if you need a paper order form please email douglasschoolspto@gmail.com.



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October 7th, 2020

As you all know by now, the elementary school will be learning from home from now until we return to our hybrid schedule on October 22nd.  We know that this is not an ideal situation and is difficult for families as you try to manage work schedules and daycare needs while also trying to make sure your children get a great education.  Our goal is still to work towards bringing students fully back in person and will continue to take steps to allow this to happen as soon as possible.  

During this period of learning from home, student schedules will look slightly different from hybrid.  Student from cohorts A and B for each homeroom will be learning together during the day with the exception of related arts.  Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays will follow the regular block schedules that we were using during the hybrid model and Wednesdays will continue to have a more asynchronous schedule.  Classroom teachers will be communicating the specifics to you about these changes.  

During related arts times, students will be split into their cohorts and will follow this same related arts schedule that I previously shared.  The week 1 & week 2 schedule is on the school website and to save you the trip, this week is week 2 and next week (October 12-16) will be week 1.  

Be watching for more information from PTO regarding the Fall Festival planned for this Saturday.  Due to the school closure, the event will either need to be adjusted or cancelled.  Stay tuned...

Please remember that students do not have school on Friday 10/9 and Monday 10/12.  See below for some additional information on a great program for free lunches.  I won't be sending an update on Friday since this is already my second one this week.  As always, please reach out with any questions or concern.  
Mr. Bell

School Lunch Information - Free Meals Available to ALL Students

Dear Families,

The Douglas Public Schools will be able to send home meals(5 breakfasts and 5 lunches) every Tuesday (Cohort A) and Friday (Cohort B) with students. This is 100% free to all students and available to every student in the Douglas Public Schools until December 31, 2020 or until funding from the Federal Government runs out. If you are interested, all you need to do is complete the attached form (one form per child) and then on Tuesday or Friday have your child pick up their meals in the cafeteria on their way to the bus. These meals are available to Full Remote students as well. Please contact Lisa Leon, Food Service Director, 508-476-3332 ext. 2253 or lleon@douglasps.net, to set up a pick up date and time or if you have any questions. Please allow for 1 week set up time for this opportunity to start. Ms. Leon will email you to let you know the official start date. Please click on the link to enroll.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October 6th, 2020

Please see the important notification below from Dr. Vieira:

Good afternoon,

As you are aware from my notification last night, The Douglas Elementary School had a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 of a staff member reported on Monday October 5, 2020. That staff member was in school on Friday, symptomatic on Saturday and Sunday, was tested on Sunday, and informed the school of her symptoms Sunday morning. Per our procedure, we began our contact tracing on Sunday. 


Upon receiving word that the staff member tested positive late Monday afternoon, the District notified all close contacts of the staff member; this included both students and staff members. On Monday evening, we discovered that there were two additional staff members who had contact with the staff member with COVID-19. These staff members were asked to stay home while the District determined contact tracing and close contacts.  


Earlier today we met with a representative from the Board of Health and the administrative team to discuss our next steps. The guidance suggests only changing models if there is a confirmed cluster of positive COVID-19 cases; a cluster is defined as multiple related cases. However, under an abundance of caution, and knowing that there is the potential that more people could test positive, the Douglas Elementary School will move to a fully remote model starting Wednesday October 7. This will ONLY impact the Elementary School and all other schools will continue with the current hybrid model. Students will return to a hybrid model on Thursday, October 22, 2020. This is a higher and more conservative standard than is recommended, but I want to be very cautious when it comes to the health and safety of students and staff given the information I have at this moment.


Please pay close attention to the list of COVID-19 symptoms to monitor yourself and your student, these include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Some have reported additional symptoms, such as a new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle or body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue and a runny nose when in combination with other symptoms.


Tonight, October 6 at 8PM I will host a Zoom session for families to be able to answer any questions that you may have. Keep in mind that due to confidentiality laws there is certain information I can not release. Here is a link to the Zoom session:


https://douglasps-net.zoom.us/j/89155762266?pwd=cnh4SERINjE5NzMyM04wM3pwd3pEZz09

Meeting ID: 891 5576 2266

Password: 024577


If you can not make the Zoom session and still have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to the building principals. We would rather have you contact us and have your questions answered than to speculate and wonder.


Respectfully,

Paul D. Vieira

Paul D. Vieira, Ed.D

Superintendent 

Friday, October 2, 2020

October 2nd, 2020

Now that we are a few weeks into the school year, we are really starting to figure out what works and doesn't work while students are learning from home.  One area that we are continuing to play around with is how to organize our Google Classrooms so that they are manageable for our students, parents, and teachers.  I am looking for 5 parents to volunteer to meet with a small group of teachers and discuss what is working and what isn't on October 7th at 11:00 through Zoom.  If you are interested in participating, please let me know by Tuesday, October 6th.  If we get a large response, I will randomly select from the group of volunteers trying to ensure representation from each grade.  

Dr. Vieira sent out this elementary survey in his newsletter last night as a forum for you to give feedback on how the year is going so far.  Thank you to everyone who has already responded.  I will be reviewing the responses on a daily basis and using it to help guide our decisions moving forward.  

As a district, we are in need of people to serve as substitute teachers.  If you or anyone you know enjoys working with children and are interested in getting more information, please reach out.  

Please see the PTO information and flyers below.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and we're looking forward to seeing everyone (either in person or through Zoom) again next week.  Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concern.  

Mr. Bell


PTO Information


The PTO is excited to host this years Fall Family Festival! This year we couldn't have our annual 
Back to School Ice Cream Social but that is not stopping us from celebrating the 2020-2021 school year!

Saturday October 10
11:00-2:30PM
 Upper Parking Lot-Douglas Elementary school

Share in the Festivities!

Spend time with your family or socially distant with friends while enjoying lunch from Bird's Nest Italian Street Foods and their two food trucks, along with the Kona Ice truck!!

We also have some awesome raffle prizes including: a Ring Doorbell, American Girl Doll. Boy's 20" bicycle, a Wine Party from Total Wine, Ski Passes from Wachusett, and MORE!

Social distancing Rules
Given the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re working hard to host fun, socially distant events that can meet the requirements and allow our community to celebrate being together.  

Be prepared to practice safety at our event.

1, Stay home if you’re sick.
2. Keep 6 feet apart from other patrons in line.
3. Face coverings are required when interacting with vendors or anytime within 6 feet of other guests. 
4. After you get your food please do not eat, hang around or congregate within 20 feet of the trucks or guests in line.
(Eating on premise is permitted within socially distant areas-soccer field, primary parking lot, grassy hill, etc)

Please be sure to follow our Facebook page for more information:



Friday, September 25, 2020

September 25th, 2020


The school year is finally in full swing.  Students should now be having full days of learning whether they are learning in person or at home.  Our teachers continue to make tweaks and changes to help make the remote learning experience as smooth as possible.  It has been an awesome first few weeks of school and I thank everyone for working with us to make the year as successful as possible.  Please continue to provide feedback about what is working and what isn't.  

This week we had several questions about related arts and what class students had each day.  We have created this DES Related Arts Information document that is also posted on the school website and in each Google Classroom that should help clarify the schedule for each cohort of students.  

This year we have worked to incorporate a morning meeting into our classrooms.  For our fully remote DLA students, these will happen each day with their homeroom teacher.  For our hybrid students, these will happen on the days that they are in school and on Wednesdays with their homeroom teacher.  The hybrid students will then have an asynchronous check-in on the other two days that they are learning from home.  This will allow all of our students access to effective morning meetings with a manageable number of students.  

A few have asked about whether or not a student can use a personal device rather than what is issued by the school while learning from home.  This is possible, however, when a personal device is used, school district staff will not be able to help troubleshoot with any issues that may come up.  Also, during in person learning, only a school issued device can be used with our network.  

We have one final elementary community forum next Wednesday, September 30th at 6:00.  Come and hear an update on how the year is going and I will also be answering questions and asking for feedback.  You can use this link for the meeting.  

Finally, we had a few questions about sending in birthday treats.  Unfortunately, due to the guidance from the state to limit the use of shared materials, there is not a good way for us to do these types of activities this year.  We know that this may be disappointing but appreciate your understanding.  

We're looking forward to another great week.  To see pictures of what is going on around the school on a day to day basis, follow @Principal_Bell and @MatthewAronian on Twitter.  Please see the additional information below from PTO and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.  

Mr. Bell

PTO Information
Mark your calendars!!!  The PTO is excited to announce our first Fall Family Festival on Saturday October 10, 2020 from 11-2:30.  Come join us for some socially distant fun as we enjoy lunch from Birds Nest Italian Street Foods Panini and Manicotti food trucks, as well as the Kona Ice truck!  Some great raffles prizes will be available as well, such as a Ring Door Bell, boys bicycle, American Girl Doll, Wachusett ski passes, and so much more!  Eating on premise will be available but look to the Douglas PTO facebook and emails for more information and some social distance guidelines!! 


Also, our Breads and Pastries fundraiser is back with those yummy cake rolls, danishes, and cinnamon rolls. Orders will be able to be placed via the traditional paper flyer as well as online.  Look for more information in your child’s backpack or posted online soon!