Superintendent Updates

December 8, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Kids Night Out
  • Health Information
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

We have a short month for December!  A reminder that schools are closed for the winter break starting with a half day on December 22 and we reopen on January 3, 2023.

The Greenfield Middle School held a Cookies and Cocoa event on December 1 with over 50 families in attendance.  Folks were able to decorate cookies and take pictures in the photo booth.  Thank you to Musica Franklin and Strings for Kids for the musical entertainment.

The elementary schools will be sending home a Reading and Math Bingo challenge for students during the winter break. Please watch for that information.

KIDS NIGHT OUT

Greenfield High School Student Council is holding a Kids Night Out.  This provides an opportunity for caregivers to have a few hours when students are entertained by GHS Student Council members.  They will have activities and a movie.  The registration link is on the front page of the GPS website on the banner and cost is $20 per child (cash only).

HEALTH INFORMATION

We will be hosting a vaccine clinic on December 20th from 3:30 – 6:30 pm at Newton School in the cafeteria.  Covid and flu vaccines are both available. Pre-registration is required so please see the banner on the district website to sign up. 

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Instructional Assistants as well as substitute teachers, substitute bus monitors and substitute instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care,

Christine


November 17, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Health Information
  • School Closures or Delays
  • Heating Assistance
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS

There will be no preschool on Nov 23 – 25; early dismissal on Nov 23 for students grades K – 12 and no school Nov 24 and 25 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  District offices will follow the same schedule as our schools.

Next week some of our buildings will have a Turkey Trot! Staff and students will have the opportunity to engage in fun activities geared to increase relationships and build on positive climate. The weather looks promising for our Turkey Trots! 

HEALTH INFORMATION

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing no cost, at-home COVID tests for staff and students.  They will be distributed before the Thanksgiving break and are intended for use before returning from Thanksgiving and the Winter Breaks.  Folks will be able to accept or decline the available tests.  Our middle and high school students will have the opportunity to take a kit as they leave the building and elementary students will be provided with kits.  If you do not wish for your child to get a kit, please reach out to your child’s teacher or building administrator.

For anyone who is interested, you can find information on how to access free at-home COVID tests below.

https://www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free

SCHOOL CLOSURES OR DELAYS

It is only November but we already had a close call with the forecast.  At times, I may decide to close schools, have an early dismissal or delay the opening due to weather or other factors.  Any school closures will be shared through School Messenger as well as on TV and the district website. It is very important that you keep your contact information updated.  Please contact the school office if you need to provide a phone number or email change.

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Custodians and Instructional Assistants as well as substitute teachers, bus monitors and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care and I hope everyone is able to spend time with family or friends during the upcoming holiday. I will not send a Parent Update next week due to the brief school week.

Christine


November 10, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Health Information
  • COVID Tests
  • School Closures or Delays
  • Heating Assistance
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS

There is no school tomorrow, November 11 in recognition of Veteran’s Day. 

This is a reminder to families that there will be an early release for students on Nov 23 and no school on Nov 24 and 25th for the Thanksgiving break.  There is no preschool on November 23. 

HEALTH INFORMATION

The district will continue to provide helpful information for families on the website, under Departments, Health.  Please take a few minutes to check the website as we enter the cold and flu season.

COVID TESTS

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing free at-home COVID tests for students and staff.  The district expects to have them for distribution the week of November 21.  The tests are intended to be used no more than 24 hours before return to school following the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks.   Testing is not required to return to school following these breaks.

SCHOOL CLOSURES OR DELAYS

Like it or not, winter is rapidly approaching!  At times, I may decide to close schools, have an early dismissal or delay the opening due to weather or other factors.  Any school closures will be shared through School Messenger as well as on TV and the district website. It is very important that you keep your contact information updated.  Please contact the school office if you need to provide a phone number or email change.

HEATING ASSISTANCE INFORMATION

We have included information about home heating assistance on our website. 

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Custodians and Instructional Assistants as well as substitute teachers and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care and I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!

Christine


 

November 4, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Health Information
  • School Closures or Delays
  • Heating Assistance
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS

This is a reminder to families that there will be no school next week on Tuesday, Nov 8 for elections and on Friday, Nov 11 in observance of Veterans’ Day. 

HEALTH INFORMATION

The district will continue to provide helpful information for families on the website, under Departments, Health.  Please take a few minutes to check the website as we enter the cold and flu season.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing no-cost, at-home COVID tests for staff and students.  They will be distributed before the Thanksgiving break and are intended for use before returning from Thanksgiving and the Winter Breaks.  Folks will be able to accept or decline the available tests.

SCHOOL CLOSURES OR DELAYS

Like it or not, winter is rapidly approaching!  At times, I may decide to close schools, have an early dismissal or delay the opening due to weather or other factors.  Any school closures will be shared through School Messenger as well as on TV and the district website. It is very important that you keep your contact information updated.  Please contact the school office if you need to provide a phone number or email change.

HEATING ASSISTANCE INFORMATION

We have included information about home heating assistance on our website. 

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Custodians and Instructional Assistants as well as substitute teachers and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care and I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!

Christine


October 28, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Celebrations and Upcoming Events
  • Health Information
  • Re-envisioning our School Facilities
  • Safe Routes to School Survey
  • Heating Assistance
  • Staffing

CELEBRATIONS and UPCOMING EVENTS

Please join us in congratulating the Greenfield High School students who were inducted into the National Honor Society on Tuesday evening.  Induction into NHS reflects that students have met qualifications under the four pillars of NHS: Scholarship, Service, Leadership and Character. 

There is a vaccination clinic (flu and COVID) on Oct 28th from 3 pm – 5 pm in the Greenfield High School cafeteria.  Information will be available on the website.  

HEALTH INFORMATION

The district will continue to provide helpful information for families on the website, under Departments, Health.  Please see the links below for information about hints for staying healthy and also about COVID or illness in general.

Staying Healthy

Covid and Illness Information

RE-ENVISIONING OUR SCHOOL FACILITIES

Our parent/community meetings have concluded at this time.  A summary of the pros, cons and outstanding questions or concerns from those meetings will be summarized and shared with our staff.  The information will be shared with the School Committee at a future meeting for their ongoing discussion.

We would like to thank the folks who came to those discussions and offered valuable feedback.

If you need a copy of the report, it is available on the district website or you can request a hard copy from the Superintendent’s office. A summary document is also on the front page of the website. The Summary is available in Spanish, Russian and Romanian.  Moldovan translation is on its way!

SYMPTOMATIC COVID TESTING CONSENT

Our nursing staff will be able to conduct COVID testing for students or staff who develop signs of illness during the school day for parents/guardians who provide written consent.  Please use the link for testing on the district website under Departments and Health and Wellness. 

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL

The Greenfield Schools are working with the Department of Public Works and the City to apply for a Safe Routes to School grant.  This would provide funding for sidewalk replacement around Greenfield Middle School. The program goals are to make walking and biking to school safer and a more appealing way to get to school.  We need your help to provide information for the grant.  Please take a minute to complete the survey through the link below.  We’d appreciate your feedback by November 10.  

Safe Routes to School Survey

HEATING ASSISTANCE INFORMATION

We have included information about home heating assistance on our website.  Please see the link below for more information.

Home Heating Resources

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Custodians and Instructional Assistants as well as substitute teachers and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care,

Christine


October 20, 2022

  • Celebrations and Upcoming Events
  • Re-envisioning our School Facilities
  • Symptomatic Testing Consent
  • Drills
  • Staffing

CELEBRATIONS and UPCOMING EVENTS

We are pleased to share that our GMS physical education teacher and GHS softball coach, John Hickey was named the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) 2021-2022 Coach of the Year for softball.  Please join us in congratulating John for this honor!!!

Students and staff in the district participated in Unity Day on Wednesday. Unity Day is recognized by wearing orange to bring awareness to anti-bullying and to promote inclusivity.  We had great participation.

There is a vaccination clinic (flu and COVID) on Oct 28th from 3 pm – 5 pm in the Greenfield High School cafeteria.  Information will be available on the website.  

RE-ENVISIONING OUR SCHOOL FACILITIES

The last family meeting scheduled to discuss the options for Re-envisioning our School Facilities (redistricting) is October 25 at 6 pm in the cafeteria at Federal Street School

If you plan to attend and need transportation, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 772-1310.

We are also providing child care at that meeting. Please contact the Superintendent’s Office if you will need to access child care.

If you need a copy of the report, it is available on the district website or you can request a hard copy from the Superintendent’s office. A summary document is also on the front page of the website.

SYMPTOMATIC COVID TESTING CONSENT

Our nursing staff will be able to conduct COVID testing for students or staff who develop signs of illness during the school day for parents/guardians who provide written consent.  Please use the link for testing on the district website under Departments and Health and Wellness. 

We will not be able to accept consent over the phone if your child becomes ill during the day so please submit permission through this link or send a letter to school with your child. 

Please do not send your child to school with symptoms of illness in order for them to be tested by the nurse.  We need students who are sick to stay home and get tested outside of school.

Please contact your school nurse or Melissa Bednarski, nurse leader at melbed1@gpsk12.org with any questions.

DRILLS

The district is participating in safety and security procedure drills on Thursday, October 20 and Friday, October 21.  These are opportunities for practice and review of ways that we work to keep our students and staff safe.  The drills are facilitated by Jim Carmichael, formerly of the Mass State Police, who has done this work with the district for a number of years, but now works for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.  Drills will occur periodically during the year. We’d like to thank the students and staff at AEL, Greenfield Middle School, and Greenfield High School for their great work today!

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Custodians and Instructional Assistants as well as substitute teachers and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care,

Christine


October 14, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Re-envisioning our School Facilities
  • MCAS Reports
  • Symptomatic Testing Consent
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS

There are vaccination clinics (flu and COVID) on October 17th from 3 pm – 5:30 pm at Greenfield Middle School in the cafeteria and October 28th from 3 pm – 5 pm in the Greenfield High School cafeteria.  Information is available on the website here.  

RE-ENVISIONING OUR SCHOOL FACILITIES

The last two family meetings scheduled to discuss the options for Re-envisioning our School Facilities (redistricting) are listed below. 

October 20th at 5:30 pm in the community room at Oak Courts

October 25th at 6 pm in the cafeteria at Federal Street School

We will provide transportation for the meetings held at Greenfield High School and Federal Street School.  If you plan to attend either of these meetings and need transportation, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 772-1310.

We are also providing child care at those two meetings. Please contact the Superintendent’s Office if you will need to access child care.

If you need a copy of the report, it is available on the district website or you can request a hard copy from the Superintendent’s office. A summary document is also on the front page of the website or can be accessed here:

View the Summary of options for Re-Imagining our school facilities

MCAS REPORTS

The student MCAS performance reports were just received by the district and will be sent home by Wednesday, October 19th.  It is important to remember that the MCAS score is only one data point when we talk about student or even district performance.  If you have questions when you receive your child’s report (if they took MCAS last year), please contact your child’s teacher or the building administrator.

SYMPTOMATIC COVID TESTING CONSENT

Our nursing staff will be able to conduct COVID testing for students or staff who develop signs of illness during the school day for parents/guardians who provide written consent.  Please use the link below to submit consent for testing.  We will not be able to accept consent over the phone if your child becomes ill during the day so please submit permission through this link or send a letter into school with your child. The consent form is also available on the website under Departments, Health and Wellness.

Please do not send your child to school with symptoms of illness in order for them to be tested by the nurse.  We need for students who are sick to stay home and get tested outside of school.

Please contact your school nurse or Melissa Bednarski, nurse leader at melbed1@gpsk12.org with any questions.

CONSENT FOR SYMPTOMATIC TESTING 

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Instructional Assistants across all grade levels and substitute teachers and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care,

Christine


October 7, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • Re-envisioning our School Facilities
  • MCAS Reports
  • Affordable Connectivity Program
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

A reminder that schools and offices are closed in observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, Oct 10th.

Thank you to all who were able to attend our Open Houses last evening. 

The first Strategic Planning meeting was held this past Wednesday and we are very excited about this important work.  Please keep watching the Parent Updates for information about the process as it moves along this school year.

National School Lunch week begins Oct 11th!   The theme is “Peace, Love & School Lunch”.  There will be a lucky plate giveaway on Thursday, Oct 13th for students who participate in school lunch that day. A huge THANK YOU to all of the staff that make our school lunch program possible for our students.

After-school clubs started this week at GMS and GHS.  Please have your child check in the school offices if they are looking for information about after-school activities.

The Greenfield Middle School school-wide social contract will be signed Oct 11.  The staff appreciates and looks forward to the support from families in reinforcing these agreements at GMS.

An Ice Cream Social will be held at Federal Street, Newton, and Discovery School at Four Corners on Thursday, October 13th from 5 pm – 6 pm.  We hope all elementary students and families can join us!

There are vaccination clinics (flu and COVID) on October 17th from 3 pm – 5:30 pm at Greenfield Middle School in the cafeteria.  The vaccination clinic scheduled at GHS for Oct 21 needs to be postponed to Oct 28th from 3 pm – 5 pm in the Greenfield High School cafeteria.  Information will be available on the website.  

The National Honor Society Induction at Greenfield High School will be held on Oct 20.  Congratulations to all students being inducted!

For any folks looking for a family event for this evening, our varsity football team plays tonight at home against Palmer – 7 pm

RE-ENVISIONING OUR SCHOOL FACILITIES

The Greenfield School Committee representatives of the Re-envisioning our School Facilities (redistricting) subcommittee are pleased to announce the following dates and locations for community members to discuss the options shared in the NESDEC Best Use of School Facilities study:

October 11 at 5 pm in the cafeteria at Greenfield High School

October 13 at 1 pm in the community room at Leyden Woods

October 20 at 5:30 pm in the community room at Oak Courts

October 25 at 6 pm in the cafeteria at Federal Street School

We will provide transportation for the meetings held at Greenfield High School and Federal Street School.  If you plan to attend either of these meetings and need transportation, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 772-1310.

We are also providing child care at those two meetings. Please contact the Superintendent’s Office if you will need to access child care.

If you need a copy of the report, it is available on the district website or you can request a hard copy from the Superintendent’s office.

MCAS REPORTS

The student MCAS performance reports were just received by the district and will be sent home shortly.  I will be presenting an overview of the district’s performance at the School Committee meeting on Oct 12th for any who are interested.  It is important to remember that the MCAS score is only one data point when we talk about student or even district performance.  If you have questions when you receive your child’s report (if they took MCAS last year), please contact your child’s teacher or the building administrator.

AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM

Families may be interested in learning about offers related to your Internet costs.  Please check the following link to learn more:

https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/acpbenefit/schools-toolkit/

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Instructional Assistants across all grade levels and substitute teachers and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care,

Christine


September 29, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Re-envisioning our School Facilities
  • Strategic Planning Parent Representatives
  • Eligibility Letters
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS

There are vaccination clinics (flu and COVID) on October 17th from 3 pm – 5:30 pm at Greenfield Middle School in the cafeteria and another on October 21 from 3 pm – 5 pm in the Greenfield High School cafeteria.  Information will be available on the website.  

Family newsletters will be sent home from all of the schools in the next few school days. Please watch for those and the upcoming events in each.

RE-ENVISIONING OUR SCHOOL FACILITIES

The Greenfield School Committee representatives of the Re-envisioning our School Facilities (redistricting) subcommittee are pleased to announce the following dates and locations for community members to discuss the options shared in the NESDEC Best Use of School Facilities study:

October 11 at 5 pm in the cafeteria at Greenfield High School

October 13 at 1 pm in the community room at Leyden Woods

October 20 at 5:30 pm in the community room at Oat Courts

October 25 at 6 pm in the cafeteria at Federal Street School

We will provide transportation for the meetings held at Greenfield High School and Federal Street School.  If you plan to attend either of these meetings and need transportation, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 772-1310.

We are also providing child care at those two meetings. Please contact the Superintendent’s Office if you will need to access the child care.

If you need a copy of the report, it is available on the district website or you can request a hard copy from the Superintendent’s office.

STRATEGIC PLANNING PARENT REPRESENTATIVES

Thank you to those of you who volunteered to participate in our Strategic Planning.  We would love to have parent representatives from Greenfield High School, Greenfield Middle School and Discovery School.

ELIGIBILITY LETTERS

Our Food Service department will send home letters to those families who are eligible for free or reduced meals.  While these letters are not needed for school meals this year, families should keep these letters as they may be helpful for other opportunities.

STAFFING

The district is still looking for Instructional Assistants across all grade levels and substitute teachers and instructional assistants.  If you are interested, please check the website and click the “Click here for employment opportunities” bar on the front page.

Take care,

Christine


September 15, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Re-envisioning our School Facilities
  • Illness and Mitigation Strategies
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS

We are pleased to share that this year we will try an elementary Open House.  The event will be on September 29 from 5 pm – 6 pm.  We will evaluate parent/guardian interest and then determine if this should be considered as a regular addition to the school calendar.

There is also a link to the athletic schedules on the high school page of the website.

RE-ENVISIONING OUR SCHOOL FACILITIES

The Greenfield School Committee representatives of the Re-envisioning our School Facilities (redistricting) subcommittee are pleased to announce the following dates and locations for community members to discuss the options shared in the NESDEC Best Use of School Facilities study:

September 21 at 5 pm in the community room at Greenfield Gardens

October 11 at 5 pm in the cafeteria at Greenfield High School

October 13 at 1 pm in the community room at Leyden Woods

October 20 at 5:30 pm in the community room at Oat Courts

October 25 at 6 pm in the cafeteria at Federal Street School

We will provide transportation for the meetings held at Greenfield High School and Federal Street School.  If you plan to attend either of these meetings and need transportation, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 772-1310.

We are also working to provide child care at those two meetings and will share sign-ups once that has been confirmed.

ILLNESS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES

The Massachusetts Department of Education has reminded us there is no longer a mask mandate except in school health offices and there are no testing requirements for schools. That said, we support anyone who wishes to wear a mask.  Below is a link to the recent joint memo from the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/2022-0815covid19-guide-update.docx

The City of Greenfield recently provided information about testing options which can be found on the City’s website at https://greenfield-ma.gov/

STAFFING

We are pleased to share that Melissa Bednarski has joined us as our Nurse Leader.  She will be sharing information through these Parent Updates as well as in the school Newsletters.

Take care,

Christine


September 9, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • School Messenger and Contact Information
  • Safety Protocols
  • Illness and Mitigation Strategies
  • Staffing

UPCOMING EVENTS

District-wide, we continue to focus on routines and students and staff getting to know each other, however, instruction is in swing. Our elementary and middle school classes have begun using our new English Language Arts materials and have started year two with the math resources.

We are in the process of scheduling meetings to discuss the Re-envisioning the Use of our School Facilities (redistricting) and those meetings will be announced as soon as possible.

Please keep watching the school newsletters, website and my Parent Updates for information throughout the year about other family events at the schools.  There is also a link to the athletic schedules on the high school page of the website.

SCHOOL MESSENGER AND CONTACT INFORMATION

It is extremely important that families update their phone numbers and email addresses so you are able to get communication from the schools, especially via School Messenger.  Please remember to change your contact information with the schools when you make changes in your phone number or emails.

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

At times, students may use language that suggests unsafe topics, such as violence or threats. We have unfortunately found that students are using this language causally and do not understand the impact of their words.  Regardless of the context, the district takes these matters seriously.

Any time we are made aware of unsafe language, we utilize the following steps as a guide for response:

·         Students are removed from others

·         Searches are conducted

·         Administrators investigate

·         Safety assessments are conducted by school staff or outside providers

·         Parents/guardians are contacted

·         Police and other authorities are contacted if needed   

We follow up with students to make sure they understand the impact of their words and collaborate with families to avoid those types of situations going forward.  We appreciate your help with ensuring students understand the impact of what they say and do.

ILLNESS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES

The Massachusetts Department of Education has reminded us there is no longer a mask mandate except in school health offices and there are no testing requirements for schools. That said, we support anyone who wishes to wear a mask.  Below is a link to the recent joint memo from the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/2022-0815covid19-guide-update.docx

The City of Greenfield recently provided information about testing options which can be found on the City’s website at https://greenfield-ma.gov/

STAFFING

The Greenfield Schools are experiencing a staff shortage, particularly with our Instructional Assistant (IA) positions.  We continue to interview and have filled some positions in this past week, but still there are still roles that need to be filled. If anyone is interested in applying to be an Instructional Assistant or a teacher or IA sub, please visit the home page of the website and visit the “click here for employment opportunities” link.

I hope everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the Fair this weekend!

Christine


September 2, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Celebrations and Upcoming
  • School Messenger and Contact Information
  • Handbooks
  • Illness and Mitigation Strategies
  • Staffing

CELEBRATIONS AND UPCOMING

Welcome back to school for the new school year.  The first week of school has gone very well for our students and staff.  Generally, we are focused on establishing routines and a feeling of community with students and staff getting to know each other and learning the rules and routines of the various areas of each of their schools.  The Meet and Greets were attended by many students and their families. Please keep watching the school newsletters and my Parent Update for information throughout the year about other family events at the schools.  There is also a link to the athletic schedules on the high school page of the website.

SCHOOL MESSENGER AND CONTACT INFORMATION

School, district and emergency communications are most often sent through the School Messenger program.  We are including all families in the School Messenger list at the start of school.  If you do not wish to receive these communications, you will need to contact the school and request to opt out.

Please seriously consider this decision.  Communication about emergencies, weather related closures or unanticipated early school dismissals would all be communicated in this manner, as will attendance calls if your student is absent but we have not received a call or note from the parent/guardian.  Given this important information, we strongly urge you to remain subscribed to School Messenger.

It is also extremely important that families update their phone numbers and email addresses so you are able to get communication from the schools.  Please remember to change your contact information with the schools when you make changes in your phone number or emails.

HANDBOOKS

Updated Family/Student handbooks are available on the district website under each school page.  A handbook acknowledgement form was sent home for all students and we ask that you review the handbook and return the signed acknowledgement form. 

ILLNESS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES

The Massachusetts Department of Education has reminded us there is no longer a mask mandate other than school health offices and there are no testing requirements for schools. We support anyone who wishes to wear a mask.  Below is a link to the recent joint memo from the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/2022-0815covid19-guide-update.docx

The district is working with the Greenfield Health Department regarding ways to mitigate the spread of illness, not just COVID 19.  We will continue to encourage and schedule opportunities for handwashing or use of hand sanitizer, continue use of classroom air purifiers when the windows are not able to be open and encourage all students and staff to remain home when they are ill.  Our discussions with the Health Department are ongoing and will continue throughout the year as we work collaboratively regarding all illness including, flu, norovirus, Chickenpox, measles etc… should they occur.  Updates to this information may be made and I encourage families to keep checking Parent Updates and the website as the year progresses. 

The City recently provided information about testing options which can be found on the City’s website at https://greenfield-ma.gov/

STAFFING

The Greenfield Schools are experiencing a staff shortage, particularly with our Instructional Assistant positions.  We are working to fill as many positions as possible as quickly as we can.  If anyone is interested in applying to be an Instructional Assistant, please visit the home page of the website for the “click here for employment opportunities”.

Unfortunately, with the educator shortage impacting not just Greenfield, but the entire region, we still have some changes in staffing.  All district administrators are continuing to recruit and interview applicants so we have positions filled.  This can take some time as the applicants are typically employed in other districts and required to give notice before they leave.  We realize changes can be difficult for some students and we are working to get any openings filled as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Take care,

Christine

 


August 16, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Welcome Back
  • An Apology
  • Administrator Communications
  • Inclement Weather or School Cancellations
  • School Messenger and Opt Out
  • Illness and Mitigation Strategies

CELEBRATIONS AND UPCOMING

Welcome back to school for the new school year. We are so excited to get ready for a new school year. I am sending this to provide some basic information as we look to the first day of school. Principals will send school-specific updates to families later this week.

AN APOLOGY

It was brought to our attention that one of the communications used in our Summer Eats advertisements was racially insensitive. That was not our intention. We reviewed the promotional materials through some lenses but we needed to view the materials through others. I apologize for this, we are learning from this mistake and will do better moving forward.

ADMINISTRATOR COMMUNICATIONS

The principals will send information to parents regarding the start of school for each building later this week. They will be sending communication to families each month with specifics related to their buildings and upcoming events. Please check your emails and the school websites for those communications close to the first of each month.

I will be resuming my weekly Parent Updates after the first day of school. My updates will generally include district-related information and will also be added to the website for reference.

SCHOOL MESSENGER

School, district and emergency communications are most often sent through the School Messenger program. We are including all families in the School Messenger list at the start of school. If you do not wish to receive these communications, you will need to contact the school and request to opt-out.

Please seriously consider this decision. Communication about emergencies, weather-related closures or unanticipated early school dismissals would all be communicated in this manner, as will attendance calls if your student is absent but we have not received a call or note from the parent/guardian. Given this important information, we strongly urge you to remain subscribed to School Messenger.

Weather-related school closures will also be available on WWLP, Western Mass News, NECN and 98.3 WHAI as well as posted on the district website.

ILLNESS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES

The Massachusetts Department of Education has reminded us there is no longer a mask mandate other than school health offices and there are no testing requirements for schools. We support anyone who wishes to wear a mask. Below is a link to the recent joint memo from the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/2022-0815covid19-guide-update.docx

The district is working with the Greenfield Health Department regarding ways to mitigate the spread of illness, not just COVID 19. We will continue to encourage and schedule opportunities for handwashing or use of hand sanitizer, continue use of classroom air purifiers when the windows are not able to be open and encourage all students and staff to remain home when they are ill. Our discussions with the Health Department are ongoing and will continue throughout the year as we work collaboratively regarding all illness including, flu, norovirus, Chickenpox, measles etc… should they occur. Updates to this information may be made and I encourage families to keep checking Parent Updates and the website as the year progresses.

NESDEC PRESENTATION

The district is in the process of scheduling community-based discussions about the options for use of our facilities provided in the NESDEC report. The dates, times and locations will be provided to the community as soon as a final schedule has been identified. The goal is to schedule these community discussions now through the fall. A copy of the report can be found on the GPS website.

If anyone requires a printed copy of the report, please contact Lauren at the Superintendent’s office at lauric1@gpsk12.org.

Take care,

Christine


June 9, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Events and Celebrations
  • Summer Eats
  • Principal Update
  • Positive Case Notification and Masks
  • NESDEC Presentation
  • Elementary Teacher Assignment
  • Last Day of School
  • Summer Communications

CELEBRATIONS, UPCOMING and SUMMER EATS

Angie Mass, GHS math teacher and Student Council advisor, was surprised by the Western Mass News 40 Surprise Squad. Angie had been nominated by one of her students for her dedication and hard work on behalf of students.  She was given gift cards to take care of not only her classroom, but also herself!  Congratulations Angie!!!

Greenfield High School celebrated their graduation on Saturday June 4.  It was a beautiful day to celebrate all of our graduating seniors.

The GHS Softball team is continuing in the state tournament with a Friday evening home game at 6 pm. 

GHS final exams week is June 14 – June 16 with half day for students.

Newton School Grade 4 Step Up is on June 15th at 10:00 am.  Fourth grade families are invited to attend.

AEL enjoyed their year end celebration on Tuesday. Barts Ice Cream truck was there along with some big trucks and lots of arts and crafts.

SUMMER EATS

Our Food Service Department will be operating a free Summer Eats Program for kids 18 and under from Jun 27 - Aug 19. All kids can eat a free breakfast and lunch Mon-Fri at sites across the city. Please follow @GreenfieldSchoolFood for the latest announcements, and keep an eye on the gpsk12.org website. Site locations, times, and menus will be posted by the end of the school year.

Please save the date for a Summer Eats Kick Off event at the Green River Swimming & Recreation Area on June 22 from 4-6pm (rain date 6/23). All families are welcome. Kids and adults who accompany kids will receive a free cookout meal, and there will be activities, resources, and giveaways from local organizations. We hope to see you there!

PRINCIPAL UPDATE

I am pleased to share that Darlene Rehor will be the next principal of Newton School.  She has served as an elementary assistant principal and was an elementary classroom teacher for many years.  I am excited to have her with us as of July 1.

Please join the GPS staff, and specifically Newton staff, in wishing Melodie Goodwin the best of luck in her hard earned retirement.  Mel has given many years to education and Greenfield and we wish her the very best.

Lynn Dole will be leaving GPS at the end of June.  Please join me in thanking Lynn for all of her work on behalf of the students of Greenfield.  We wish her well.  I will update families as soon as possible as we move forward.

I would like to also thank Dr. Carol Holzberg for her years of service to GPS as our Director of Technology.  Carol announced her retirement effective June 29.  We are in process with the search for a new IT Director.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 34 cases reported the week ending June 8.

A reminder that we will not be doing pooled testing next week.  After the end of this school year, DESE will no longer be providing supplies for COVID testing.  As we get closer to the new school year, I will provide an update about the plan for next year. 

NESDEC PRESENTATION

 

The NESDEC report on Best Use of Educational Facilities for the Greenfield Public Schools was presented to the School Committee June 8, 2022.  A copy of the report can be found on the GPS website and also on the City website.

 

We plan on having an open dialogue via focused community meetings outside of the typical public comment forum that occurs during a School Committee meeting. We want to have an exchange of ideas, where we can respond to your concerns, ask our own questions about your ideas, and consider all the avenues we can go down before we make any decisions about the direction to take. We look forward to having you involved in this process.  An update will be provided when the structure and schedule are determined.

 

ELEMENTARY TEACHER ASSIGNMENTS

 

As I shared in a School Messenger previously sent, this year we will not be providing the name of next year’s teacher on the end-of-year report cards.  This is due to the anticipated number of teacher transfers or changes between now and the end of summer.  We will send letters to our students in grades K – 4 on or around the first week of August that will include the teacher for the 2022-2023 school year.  Thank you for understanding.

 

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL

As of today, the last day of school is June 16th. This will be an early release for students.

This is the last Parent Update for the school year.  During the summer, I will send Updates as any significant changes occur or information is available.  I will send an Update in August with information about the start of school.

Take care and I hope everyone has a safe and happy summer

Christine


June 3, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • Principal Update
  • Positive Case Notification and Masks
  • NESDEC Presentation
  • Elementary Teacher Assignment
  • Last Day of School

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

Greenfield High School graduation will be held outdoors on Saturday, June 4. The weather looks like it will cooperate for the outdoor graduation!  A link to the GCTV broadcast of the ceremony can be found on the Greenfield Public Schools’ website and all of our seniors have received the link as well.

The Girls on the Run club, which is an after-school club with GPS staff as coaches, will be running their 5K at Western New England University on Sunday. We are proud to have the largest team in Western Mass! Good luck!

PRINCIPAL UPDATE

I am pleased to share that Michael Browning will be returning to Discovery School next year as our permanent principal. I am excited to have Mike continue in his role and as part of the GPS community.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 11 cases reported the week ending June 1.

It is required that students or staff mask if anyone in their household tests positive.  We also ask that families contact their school nurse in these cases so additional information can be provided by our nurses. 

This is a reminder that any parent who wishes for their child to wear a mask should send them to school with masks. We have masks in the nurses’ offices for students who become sick at school but masks for routine wear should be sent in with students.

The last week of pooled testing for the school year will be the week of June 6. 

NESDEC PRESENTATION

The NESDEC report on Best Use of Educational Facilities for the Greenfield Public Schools will be discussed at the School Committee meeting on June 8, 2022. The focus of the report will be on how we can better equitably and efficiently provide educational opportunities for all our students. And while some of the report will be of no surprise to any of us, there may also be other observations and recommendations that we have not yet approached.

We will not be making any decisions at that meeting, nor will the School Committee make any decisions without talking with you first. Following the June 8 initial discussion, we will be opening the conversation up to the community to discuss the NESDEC report and all the options that arise from that discussion. We want to share with all of you that no decisions will be made without hearing from teachers, families, and community members.

We plan on having an open dialogue via focused community meetings outside of the typical public comment forum that occurs during a School Committee meeting. We want to have an exchange of ideas, where we can respond to your concerns, ask our own questions about your ideas, and consider all the avenues we can go down before we make any decisions about the direction to take. We look forward to having you involved in this process.

ELEMENTARY TEACHER ASSIGNMENTS

As I shared in a School Messenger previously sent, this year we will not be providing the name of next year’s teacher on the end-of-year report cards.  This is due to the anticipated number of teacher transfers or changes between now and the end of summer.  We will send letters to our students in grades K – 4 on or around the first week of August that will include the teacher for the 2022-2023 school year.  Thank you for understanding.

Suggested supply lists will be added to the school-specific websites if you wish for your children to have their own materials for the upcoming school year. 

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL

As of today, the last day of school is June 16th. This will be an early release for students.

Take care,

Christine


May 27, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Resources to Support Students
  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • Positive Case Notification and Masks
  • Last Day of School

RESOURCES TO SUPPORT STUDENTS

It is extremely upsetting to all members of our school community when there are acts of school violence. Our counselors are available to assist students in dealing with their emotions following such an incomprehensible event.  However, I recognize that families may wish to have access to resources that may be helpful in discussions with their children.  

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-safety-and-crisis/school-violence-resources/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers

Additional Resources from A Mighty Girl - shared by the Collaborative for Educational Services

Dawn Huebner has also released a book for kids 6 to 12, "Something Bad Happened: A Kid's Guide to Coping With Events in the News,"

For parents and educators, there's an excellent guide filled with conversation scripts and tips on helping kids feel calm in an anxious world, "When the World Feels Like a Scary Place"

For a simple yet powerful picture book that reassures kids that the world is filled with helpful and friendly people -- and serves as a counterpoint to scary news stories -- check out "Most People" for ages 4 to 7.

For a few helpful books for younger kids on coping with worries, we recommend

For older kids, we recommend

For more books to help kids of all ages manage their worries, visit A Mighty Girl blog post "25 Books to Help Kids Overcome Anxiety, Worry, and Fear"

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

Tomorrow is an early dismissal for all students. Staff will have professional development.

Tonight is the Newton School Art Night from 5 – 6 pm.  Please come see all of the wonderful artwork our students have created.

Step-Up Day for rising 5th graders will be on Wednesday, June 1 from 4 pm – 5 pm.  

The GMS Band Concert is Thursday, June 2 at 7 pm in the GMS auditorium.

Greenfield High School graduation will be held on outdoors on Saturday, June 4. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in the GHS auditorium on the same date.  Please contact GHS with any questions.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 30 cases reported the week ending May 25. We are pleased that our positive numbers have declined again this week but we continue to monitor our cases.  Thank you to everyone for your cooperation with following the Health Department recommendations.

It is required that students or staff mask if anyone in their household tests positive.  We also ask that families contact their school nurse in these cases so additional information can be provided by our nurses.  For those participating in Test and Stay (unvaccinated people with a school-based close contact), you are required to mask during the 5-day period following the contact. Additional information about our COVID protocols can be found on our website in my May 12, 2022 Parent Update.

This is a reminder that any parent who wishes for their child to wear a mask should send them to school with masks. We have masks in the nurses’ offices for students who become sick at school but masks for routine wear should be sent in with students. Thank you for your understanding.

The last week of pooled testing for the school year will be the week of June 6. 

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL

As of today, the last day of school is June 16th. This will be an early release for students.

Take care,

Christine

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May 20, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • Positive Case Notification and Nurse Note
  • Job Postings
  • FY23 Budget
  • Last Day of School

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

Step Up Day for rising 5th graders will be on Wednesday, June 1 from 4 pm – 5 pm.  Information regarding the format will be sent to all rising 5th grade students and their families in the next few days.

Step Up Day to GHS for all rising 8th graders was held today, Friday, May 20.  The high school was very pleased to welcome our rising new GHS community members.

Greenfield High School will be held on outdoors on Saturday, June 4. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in the GHS auditorium on the same date.  More information will be provided by Greenfield High School.

The Greenfield Public Schools’ Film Fest and Arts Night will return on May 20th at 6 pm with refreshments provided.  More information can be found on our website and will be shared in the Updates as we get closer.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 45 cases reported the week ending May 18. We are pleased that our positive numbers have declined this week but we continue to monitor our cases.  Thank you to everyone for your cooperation with following the Health Department recommendations.

It is required that students or staff mask if anyone in their household tests positive.  We also ask that families contact their school nurse in these cases so additional information can be provided by our nurses.  For those participating in Test and Stay (unvaccinated people with a school-based close contact), you are required to mask during the 5-day period following the contact. Additional information about our COVID protocols can be found on our website in my May 12, 2022 Parent Update.

Our nurses are also reminding families that students need to remain home for 24 hours following a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.  Please contact your school nurse with any questions.

JOB POSTINGS SCHOOL YEAR 2022-2023

The Greenfield Public Schools has posted positions that we expect to be open for the 2022-2023 academic year.  If anyone is interested in positions, please monitor SchoolSpring for opportunities.  Please share this information with friends and family. 

FY23 BUDGET UPDATE

The Greenfield City Council voted to approve the School Department’s budget as presented by the Mayor.  This reflects a 6.34% increase in local funding over FY22.  We are very pleased to have these resources for our schools in the coming year.  This is in addition to the $100,000 in funding for the update of desktop computers.

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL

As of today, the last day of school is June 16th. This will be an early release for students.

I hope everyone has a great weekend

Take care,

Christine

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May 12, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

COVID UPDATES

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 95 cases reported the week ending May 11.

We recognize that the schools along with the Greenfield community and even the Northeast, are all seeing an increase in COVID cases. As expected, the schools often reflect the situation in the community.

The Greenfield Board of Health voted to strongly recommend wearing of masks in public buildings at their last meeting.  Schools are considered public buildings and therefore, we also encourage staff, students and visitors to wear masks during the increase in COVID cases.

The GPS nurses and I have been collaborating with the Greenfield Health Department and together, we have been in communication with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Education. Following our discussions and in accordance with DESE protocols, DPH guidelines, Board of Health and Health Department recommendations, we will be doing the following:

  1. We will continue doing pooled testing weekly for our students and staff who have signed up for in-school testing.  That includes Test and Stay for anyone who is a close contact in school but not demonstrating symptoms, and symptomatic testing for anyone showing symptoms.  Continued use of pooled testing is a conservative approach for mitigating COVID 19 and has allowed us to identify people who are positive but not showing symptoms.  This helps to decrease exposure for others in the school setting and in the community. It also results in higher numbers of cases than we might have had without pooled testing as a number of our cases are with asymptomatic people.
  2. In situations where specific classrooms are experiencing two or more positive cases, we will send a message home stating students and staff in those classrooms are to wear masks for 10 days in accordance with DPH guidelines. This includes vaccinated individuals.
  3. If there are multiple positive cases in one classroom, we may determine that it is best to test all staff and students in the class who have consented to at-school testing. This would occur if we determine that increased transmission is likely and that students are likely close contacts.  Parents will receive a message sharing their child’s classroom is identified for whole class testing. Students who are not vaccinated, do not participate in at-school testing and are identified as a close contact, will be required to quarantine at home for 5 days and mask an additional 5 days, following DPH guidelines.

Any parent who does not wish for their child to mask if required is asked to have your child quarantine at home for the 10 days.

DPH guidelines do indicate a rapid antigen or PCR test on Day 5 for people exposed to COVID. If your child does not participate in at-school testing, you may wish to get them tested outside of school. Please share any results with the school nurse.

For more information, please see the isolation and quarantine guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-isolation-and-quarantine-guidance-for-the-general-public

We recognize that the increase of cases is concerning and we are continuing to utilize mitigation strategies such as increased ventilation, continued cleaning and disinfecting, separate tables/desks in cafeterias for students who choose, and separate tables or desks available in classrooms for students who choose.  We continue to work with DPH, DESE and the Greenfield Health Department to respond to the increase in cases.

Please contact your building principal, building nurse or me with any questions.

I hope everyone has great weekend with some warmer weather!

Take care,

Christine

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May 6, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • Survey Regarding Forum Preferences
  • Positive Case Notification and Nurse Note
  • Security Drills
  • Job Postings

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

May 2 – May 6 is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Please join me in thanking all of our teaching staff for the work they do every day.

May 6th is both National Nurse Appreciation Day and School Lunch Hero Day.  This year has shown us how much we all rely on our nurses and how lucky we are to have our staff.  Our school lunch staff truly are heroes – having served our students and community throughout the pandemic and continuing to do so.  We also look forward to all of their work in the upcoming summer to continue supporting our students.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR FANTASTIC STAFF!

Dr. Russell Johnston, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education and several of his colleagues, visited Greenfield High School and AEL.  They were able to visit classrooms and speak to students.  They were very excited to see work happening.

The Greenfield Fire Department has begun providing Fire Safety lessons in the GPS.  The plan is for them to work with students in all of our buildings before the end of school.  We look forward to working the GFD on a regular basis again.

The Greenfield Public Schools’ Film Fest and Arts Night will return on May 20th at 6 pm with refreshments provided.  More information can be found on our website and will be shared in the Updates as we get closer.

SURVEY REGARDING FORUMS

The School Committee has been discussing the possibility of hosting forums for parents/guardians to share thoughts about a variety of topics related to the School Committee’s work.  Thank you to those who have completed the survey. We’d ask anyone else who is interested to take a minute to complete this brief survey to help with their planning.  The survey will close Monday May 9.

https://forms.gle/jXyxfYtsyLU65nrZ6

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 34 cases reported the week ending May 4. We are monitoring this uptick in cases and would like to remind families of some COVID protocols. 

It is required that students or staff mask if anyone in their household tests positive.  We also ask that families contact their school nurse in these cases so additional information can be provided by our nurses.  For those participating in Test and Stay (unvaccinated people with a school based close contact), you are required to mask during the 5 day period following the contact.

Our nurses are also reminding families that students need to remain home for 24 hours following a fever, vomiting or diarrhea.  Please contact your school nurse with any questions.

SECURITY DRILLS

Thank you to all of our staff and students for an outstanding job during the safety drills this week. We greatly appreciate the support of the Massachusetts State Police and Greenfield Police Department and their collaboration regarding the safety of our students and staff.

JOB POSTINGS SCHOOL YEAR 2022-2023

The Greenfield Public Schools will be posting positions that we expect to be open for the 2022-2023 academic year.  If anyone is interested in positions, please monitor SchoolSpring for opportunities.  Please share this information with friends and family. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend with some warmer weather!

Take care,

Christine

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

April 29, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • Survey Regarding Forum Preferences
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Security Drills
  • Band at Elementary Schools

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

May 2 – May 6 is National Teacher Appreciation Week.

May 6th is both National Nurse Appreciation Day and School Lunch Hero Day.

Please join us in sharing our deepest appreciation for the work all of these folks do on behalf of our students every day. Our district is very lucky to have these folks with us!

The Food Service Department has been awarded a total of $17,300 in grant funding from DESE and Project Bread to promote their upcoming Summer Eats program. Grant funds will be used to purchase exciting weekly raffle prizes, equipment such as brand new XL Vitamix Blenders for smoothies, and advertisements to spread the word about the program. Stay tuned for more information about Summer Eats, coming soon!

Discovery School has scheduled some field trips – our grade 2 students will be visiting the Springfield Museums and our kindergarten students will doing team building at the Green River.

The Greenfield Fire Department has begun providing Fire Safety lessons in the GPS. The plan is for them to work with students in all of our buildings before the end of school. We look forward to working the GFD on a regular basis again.

The Greenfield Public Schools’ Film Fest and Arts Night will return on May 20th at 6 pm with refreshments provided. More information can be found on our website and will be shared in the Updates as we get closer.

Please check information from Greenfield Middle School about two upcoming concerts!

SURVEY REGARDING FORUMS

The School Committee has been discussing the possibility of hosting forums for parents/guardians to share thoughts about a variety of topics related to the School Committee’s work. Please take a minute to complete this brief survey to help with their planning.

https://forms.gle/jXyxfYtsyLU65nrZ6

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 14 cases reported the week ending April 20 and 4 cases reported the week ending April 27. We are seeing more self or parent reported cases from home-tests and fewer cases being identified through pooled testing. Thank you to families who are calling in to share positive tests results with our nurses.

This is a reminder that we no longer have a requirement for students participating on GMS or GHS sponsored athletic teams to test weekly to participate.

SECURITY DRILLS

We will have our rescheduled security drills for May 3 and May 4th. These will be lockdown drills as part of our regular security protocols and will be announced for students and staff.

BAND UPDATE

Mr. Burns has resigned his position as Elementary Band Teacher. We are advertising to fill this position as soon as possible and families whose students are in band will be provided an update when we have additional information. We apologize for any disruption to your students’ music instruction.

I hope everyone has great weekend with some warmer weather!

Take care

Christine


April 14, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • No School April Break and K screenings
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Covid Testing for GMS and GHS Athletes
  • Budget Presentation
  • Security Drills

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

The Greenfield Public Schools’ Film Fest and Arts Night will return on May 20th at 6 pm with refreshments provided.  More information can be found on our website and will be shared in the Updates as we get closer.

Childhood 2.0: A Conversation with Katey McPherson will be held on April 14th at 6:30 pm. This is an online discussion about the impact of social media on youth and is available for anyone who would like to better understand the impact of social media on our youth.  This is a follow-up of the documentary “Childhood 2.0” that was shown earlier this year at Greenfield Garden Cinema. If you are interested in logging on to Childhood 2.0: A Conversation with Katey McPherson, please click the link below to register and receive the Zoom link.

https://www.gcc.mass.edu/events/childhood-2-0-a-conversation-with-katey-mcpherson/

Beginning this week, the district began field-testing two of the programs identified through the DESE High-Quality Instructional Material process.  You may recall this work being shared at School Committee meetings and the recent School Council meetings, at which these programs were discussed.  The field tests will take place in some classrooms from grades K – 7.

Please check information from Greenfield Middle School about two upcoming concerts!

VACATION

April 15th is no school for kindergarten. This allows our K teachers to screen our incoming kindergarten students.

April 18th is Patriots Day and April 19-22 is April vacation.

Please know that some of our school offices, including Central Office, may be closed or have low staffing due to vacation. Please call ahead if you have business with any offices.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 12 positive cases in district. We are seeing more self or parent-reported cases from home tests and fewer cases being identified through pooled testing.  Thank you to families who are calling in to share positive tests results with our nurses.

The district is dealing with some staffing challenges in our testing partners so we thank you for your patience with any testing schedule changes.

CHANGES IN COVID TESTING FOR GMS AND GHS ATHLETICS

Last night, the School Committee voted to repeal the requirement for pooled testing for our GHS and GMS athletic teams.  Effective today, we will no longer have to test weekly to be eligible to participate.

BUDGET PRESENTATION

The School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent’s Budget proposal of a 7.72% in the local appropriation request for FY23.  A copy of my presentation is available on the GPS website along with a copy of the budget.  The School Committee budget is scheduled with Ways and Means on April 14th.  Please see the City of Greenfield Ways and Means FY2023 Budget Meeting agenda for the link to the meeting. A copy of the Mayor’s Budget Book is also available on the City website.

SECURITY DRILLS

We will have our rescheduled security drills for elementary and our secondary drills the week after vacation.  These will be lockdown drills as part of our regular security protocols and will be announced for students and staff.

I hope everyone has a safe and restful vacation week.

Take care,

Christine

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April 8, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Budget Presentation
  • MCAS Opt-Out
  • MCAS Opt-Out

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

The Greenfield Public Schools’ Film Fest and Arts Night will return on May 20th at 6 pm with refreshments provided.  More information can be found on our website and will be shared in the Updates as we get closer.

Childhood 2.0: A Conversation with Katey McPherson will be held on April 14th at 6:30 pm. This is an online discussion about the impact of social media on youth and is available for anyone who would like to better understand the impact of social media on our youth.  This is a follow-up of the documentary “Childhood 2.0” that was shown earlier this year at Greenfield Garden Cinema. If you are interested in logging on to Childhood 2.0: A Conversation with Katey McPherson, please click the link below to register and receive the Zoom link.

https://www.gcc.mass.edu/events/childhood-2-0-a-conversation-with-katey-mcpherson/

Beginning this week, the district began field-testing two of the programs identified through the DESE High-Quality Instructional Material process.  You may recall this work being shared at School Committee meetings and the recent School Council meetings, at which these programs were discussed.  The field tests will take place in some classrooms from grades K – 7.

Thank you to Jessica Pollock, Library Media Specialist for the Greenfield Public Schools for partnering with a number of community agencies to bring author Tiffany Jewell to the GPS yesterday.  Tiffany spoke with our GHS students and staff in the morning and then a community event was held last evening.  It was wonderful to see so many members of the Greenfield community come to hear her message.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 9 positive cases in district. We are seeing more self or parent-reported cases from home tests and fewer cases being identified through pooled testing.  Thank you to families who are calling in to share positive tests results with our nurses.

The district is dealing with some staffing challenges in our testing partners so we thank you for your patience with any testing schedule changes.

BUDGET PRESENTATION

The School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent’s Budget proposal of a 7.72% in the local appropriation request for FY23.  A copy of my presentation is available on the GPS website along with a copy of the budget.  The School Committee budget is scheduled with Ways and Means on April 14th.  Please see the City of Greenfield Ways and Means FY2023 Budget Meeting agenda for the link to the meeting. A copy of the Mayor’s Budget Book is also available on the City website.

MCAS “OPT-OUT”

We have gotten some questions about “opting out” of MCAS testing for students. According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education “students educated with Massachusetts public funds are required by federal laws and the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Law, state law M.G.L. Chapter 69, section 1I, to participate in statewide testing”. This can be found on their website in the section about Student Participation in MCAS. Greenfield Public Schools is required to administer MCAS as required by DESE. If your child refuses to participate, they will be provided an alternative, quiet activity to do during the testing session. The district accountability measures include participation rates in MCAS.

APRIL VACATION

April vacation is April 18-April 22, with April 18th being a holiday.  Our school offices may be closed for some or all of the vacation week due to staff vacations so please consider calling ahead if you have business with any of our offices.

Take care,

Christine

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March 31, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events and Celebrations
  • School Registration
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Budget Presentation
  • Update on Newton School Principal Search

UPCOMING EVENTS and CELEBRATIONS

The district was pleased to have the Taste of World Culture event again last evening at Greenfield High School.  It was a wonderful event attended by students, staff, families, and members of the community.  A special thanks to all of the GPS staff who invested their time, energy and culinary skills in planning and hosting the event.  Our great appreciation to the restaurants for donations of food, which was greatly enjoyed by all.

Bingo for Books was a great success at our elementary schools.  Tables were filled with students and families enjoying many games of Bingo and leaving with wonderful books funded by Title I.  Thank you to all of the Title I staff for planning and facilitating the event. And thank you to all the Greenfield Public School staff who supported their efforts.

The Greenfield Public Schools’ Film Fest and Arts Night will return on May 20th at 6 pm with refreshments provided.  More information can be found on our website and will be shared in the Updates as we get closer.

Author Tiffany Jewell will be speaking at GHS on April 7th at 6:30 pm in the Greenfield High School Auditorium.  A flyer about this event can also be found on the GPS website.

Beginning the week of April 4, 2022, the district will be field testing two of the programs identified through the DESE High-Quality Instructional Material process.  You may recall this work being shared at School Committee meetings and the recent School Council meetings, at which these programs were discussed.  The field tests will take place in some classrooms from grades K – 7.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 7 positive cases in district for the second week.

BUDGET PRESENTATION

The School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent’s Budget proposal of a 7.72% in the local appropriation request for FY23.  A copy of my presentation is available on the GPS website along with a copy of the budget. 

NEWTON SCHOOL PRINCIPAL SEARCH

Melodie Goodwin will be retiring from the principal position at Newton School after this school year.  While we are sad to see her leave GPS, we are excited to begin the search for a new principal.  Karin Patendaude, Assistant Superintendent, will be facilitating the first round of interviews for this position.  Staff and parents from Newton School will participate in interviews mid-April.

Take care

Christine

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March 24, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Upcoming Events
  • School Registration
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Budget Presentation
  • Safety Drills to be Determined

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Greenfield Public Schools’ Film Fest and Arts Night will return on May 20th at 6 pm with refreshments provided.  More information can be found on our website and will be shared in the Updates as we get closer.

Taste of World Cultures will be happening again! The event will take place at GHS on March 30 from 6-8 pm.

Author Tiffany Jewell will be speaking at GHS on April 7th at 6:30 pm in the Greenfield High School Auditorium.  A flyer about this event can also be found on the GPS website.

Beginning the week of April 4, 2022, the district will be field testing two of the programs identified through the DESE High-Quality Instructional Material process.  You may recall this work being shared at School Committee meetings and the recent School Council meetings, at which these programs were discussed.  The field tests will take place in some classrooms from grades K – 7.

SCHOOL REGISTRATION

Information about our preschool and kindergarten registration can be found on our website and will be available in the Recorder as well as Greenfield city sites.  Please share the information with anyone you may know with PK or K-aged students.  Please also share registration information with any families with students new to Greenfield.  We’d love to get students registered early.  Any determinations about intraschool choice will be made at a later date.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 7 positive cases in district.

BUDGET PRESENTATION

The School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent’s Budget proposal of a 7.72% in the local appropriation request for FY23.  A copy of my presentation is available on the GPS website along with a copy of the budget.  The budget process now moves to the City side for review, questions, and next steps.  I will keep providing updates as we move through the budget process. 

SAFETY DRILLS

We were scheduled for Lockdown drills at Federal Street School, Newton School, and Discovery School this week. Unfortunately, they needed to be rescheduled and new dates will be shared in the future.

Take care

Christine

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March 18, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Kindergarten and Preschool Registration
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Budget Presentation
  • School Council Meetings
  • Parent Conference Dates
  • Safety Drills Next Week

KINDERGARTEN AND PRESCHOOL REGISTRATION

Information about our preschool and kindergarten registration can be found on our website and will be available in the Recorder as well as Greenfield city sites.  Please share the information with anyone you may know with PK or K-aged students.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 11 positive cases in the district.

It is extremely important for the health and safety of all that anyone with symptoms remain at home until they feel better.

If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

BUDGET PRESENTATION

The School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent’s Budget proposal of 7.72% in the local appropriation request for FY23.  A copy of my presentation is available on the GPS website along with a copy of the budget.  The budget process now moves to the City side for review, questions, and next steps.  I will keep providing updates as we move through the budget process. 

SCHOOL COUNCIL MEETINGS

Presentations will be shared at the School Council meetings regarding the two English Language Arts programs being considered for the elementary through grade 7.  Feel free to log into one of the other meetings to hear the information, even if you miss the meeting for your child’s school.

GMS               Monday, March 14 at 5:00 pm GMS Library or

(Hybrid)          virtual at meet.google.com/ozt-otpf-gxk or join by phone at


                        (US) +1 405-646-0182 (PIN: 501354936)

 

Newton          Thursday, March 17 at 6:00 pm meet.google.com/vkr-hmwn-bhx

            (Virtual)          Join by phone at (US) +1 386-603-3076 (PIN: 586006795)

PARENT CONFERENCE DATES

Grades K – 7 will have early release days on both March 24 and March 25 with no preschool for our elementary Parent Conferences.

Greenfield High School Parent Conferences are March 24 from 6 – 7:30 pm with a regular day of school.

Grades 8-12 will have an early release on March 25 for professional development for our high school staff.

SAFETY DRILLS

We are scheduled for Lockdown drills at Federal Street School, Newton School and Discovery School during the week of March 21.  These drills are part of regular security practices, just like Fire drills and will be conducted with the support of Trooper Carmichael.  They will clearly be announced as drills and staff will work with our students to answer any questions.

Drills for GMS, GHS and AEL will take place at a later date but parents will be informed prior to the date of the first drill.

Take care,

Christine

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March 10, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Kindergarten and Preschool Registration
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Update on Mask Policy
  • Budget Hearing
  • Student Council Meetings
  • Parent Conference Dates

KINDERGARTEN AND PRESCHOOL REGISTRATION

Information about our preschool and kindergarten registration can be found on our website and will be available in the Recorder as well as Greenfield city sites.  Please share the information with anyone you may know with PK or K-aged students.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 4 positive cases in the district.

It is extremely important for the health and safety of all that anyone with symptoms remain at home until they feel better.

If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

UPDATE ON MASK POLICY

The School Committee updated the GPS policy regarding face coverings.  Please see the full policy on our website.

In summary:

  • Masks are recommended for unvaccinated people
  • Masks MUST be worn in nurses’ offices or if you return on day 6 following a positive COVID test
  • Masks are not required on GPS buses. Private bus companies can make their own policies but Kuzmeskis is not requiring masks
  • Masks are able to be worn by vaccinated staff or students if they choose
  • Anyone who chooses to wear a mask will be respected for that choice

We will continue to implement a number of mitigation strategies in schools including:

  • Use of hand sanitizer and handwashing
  • Availability of masks for adults and students who choose to wear them
  • Pooled testing and contact tracing
  • Continued use of air purifiers or open windows for increased ventilation
  • Continuation of our current disinfecting and cleaning protocols
  • We will continue to provide desks in classrooms that allow for distancing for students who prefer
  • Teachers are able to configure their classrooms as they deem appropriate, including setting up desks to continue with added space

We will begin to return to our typical configuration in cafeterias but this will take time. We will offer socially distanced spaces in cafeterias for students who wish to continue eating with added space.

The use of these mitigation strategies will be continually reviewed and any changes will be shared as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please let me or your building administrator know.

BUDGET HEARING

The budget hearing has been rescheduled for Monday, March 14 at 6 pm in the Greenfield High School café.  Copies of the Superintendent’s budget can be found on our website or you can contact the Superintendent’s office if you’d like a hard copy.

SCHOOL COUNCIL MEETINGS

Presentations will be shared at the School Council meetings regarding the two English Language Arts programs being considered for the elementary through grade 7.  Feel free to log into one of the other meetings to hear the information, even if you miss the meeting for your child’s school.

FSS     Friday, March 11 at 1:00 pm Principal's HQIM Coffee Hour (Virtual)         

GMS      Monday, March 14 at 5:00 pm GMS Library or  (Hybrid)  

Virtual at meet.google.com/ozt-otpf-gxk or join by phone at    (US) +1 405-646-0182 (PIN: 501354936)

Newton  Thursday, March 17 at 6:00 pm meet.google.com/vkr-hmwn-bhx

            (Virtual)  Join by phone at (US) +1 386-603-3076 (PIN: 586006795)

PARENT CONFERENCE DATES

Grades K – 7 will have early release days on both March 24 and March 25 with no preschool for our elementary Parent Conferences.

Greenfield High School Parent Conferences are March 24 from 6 – 7:30 pm with a regular day of school.

Grades 8-12 will have an early release on March 25 for professional development for our high school staff.

Take care!!

Christine

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March 4, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Celebrations District-Wide
  • Update on Mask Policy
  • Kindergarten and Preschool Registration
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Budget Hearing

CELEBRATIONS

We have started kindergarten registration and are very excited to meet our newest GPS students!

Students in the National Honor Society at GHS are partnering with grade 5 students, focusing on building relationships and supporting literacy.  We are very happy to support their efforts.

Dr. Laura Davis has joined GMS as a new Associate Principal. Please join me in welcoming Dr. David

Our elementary schools have or will be celebrating Read Across America with a theme of we are a “Nation of Diversity”

Our boys’ basketball and hockey teams are both continuing on in their respective state tournaments.  Both upcoming games are away – please check the website or Arbiter for schedules.  Go Green Wave!!!

UPDATE ON MASK POLICY

The School Committee updated the GPS policy regarding face coverings.  Please see the full policy here: GPS Mask Policy March 3, 2022.docx 

In summary:

  • Masks are recommended for unvaccinated people
  • Masks MUST be worn in nurses’ offices or if you return on day 6 following a positive COVID test
  • Masks are not required on GPS buses. Private bus companies can make their own policies but Kuzmeskis is not requiring masks
  • Masks are able to be worn by vaccinated staff or students if they choose
  • Anyone who chooses to wear a mask will be respected for that choice

We will continue to implement a number of mitigation strategies in schools including:

  • Use of hand sanitizer and handwashing
  • Availability of masks for adults and students who choose to wear them
  • Pooled testing and contact tracing
  • Continued use of air purifiers or open windows for increased ventilation
  • Continuation of our current disinfecting and cleaning protocols
  • We will continue to provide desks in classrooms that allow for distancing for students who prefer
  • Teachers are able to configure their classrooms as they deem appropriate, including setting up desks to continue with added space

We will begin to return to our typical configuration in cafeterias but this will take time. We will offer socially distanced spaces in cafeterias for students who wish to continue eating with added space.

The use of these mitigation strategies will be continually reviewed and any changes will be shared as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please let me or your building administrator know.

KINDERGARTEN AND PRESCHOOL REGISTRATION

Information about our preschool and kindergarten registration can be found on our website and will be available in the Recorder.  Please share the information with anyone you may know with PK or K-aged students.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 11 positive cases in the district. These cases represent two weeks:

Feb 17 – Feb 23   4 cases

Feb 24 – March 2  7 cases

It is extremely important for the health and safety of all that anyone with symptoms remain at home until they feel better.

If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

BUDGET HEARING

The budget hearing has been rescheduled for Monday, March 14 at 6 pm in the Greenfield High School café.  Copies of the Superintendent’s budget can we found on our website or you can contact the Superintendent’s office if you’d like a hard copy.

Take care!! 

Christine

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February 18, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • School Vacation
  • Kindergarten and Preschool Registration
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Update on Mask Mandate
  • Grab and Go Meals
  • GCC Sponsored Movie Night
  • Annual Asbestos Letter

This is a reminder that next week is school vacation. We will see you on Feb 28th.

KINDERGARTEN AND PRESCHOOL REGISTRATION

Information about our preschool and kindergarten registration can be found on our website and will be available in the Recorder.  Please share the information with anyone you may know with PK or K-aged students.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 17 positive cases in the district.

It is extremely important for the health and safety of all that anyone with symptoms remain at home until they feel better.

If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

UPDATE ON MASK MANDATE

Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley has determined the DESE mask mandate will be lifted, effective Feb 28, 2022. Decisions about masks will still be a local decision. 

This is a reminder that the Greenfield Public Schools still has a mask policy in place.

https://www.gpsk12.org/sites/default/files/School_Committee/Policy_Manual/EBCFA%20Face%20Coverings_revision_2021-05-21.pdf

The School Committee Chair has indicated that the policy will be reviewed at an upcoming meeting, however, a timeline has yet to be discussed.

GRAB AND GO MEALS

Grab and Go meals will be discontinued after Friday, Feb 18.  We had low numbers of families who took advantage and now that our COVID numbers are declining we anticipate even less need.

GCC SPONSORED MOVIE NIGHT

A last reminder, tonight Greenfield Community College is sponsoring a free screening of the documentary Childhood 2.0, about the impact of social media on the lives of youth. This will be followed by discussion with FRCOG and film participants.  The film will be shown on Feb 17th from 7 – 9 pm at the Greenfield Garden Cinema.    

ANNUAL ASBESTOS LETTER

Our annual, mandatory notification regarding our asbestos plans is online. Please check the website under Facilities if you would like to access the letter.

Take care!! 

Christine

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February 11, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Celebrations
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Update on Mask Mandate
  • Grab and Go Meals
  • Safety and Security Procedures
  • GCC Sponsored Movie Night

CELEBRATIONS

The Greenfield Public Schools are celebrating Black History Month.  There are displays and activities across the district to recognize and have students learn about significant figures in history.  Please check with your students to hear what they are learning about in their schools or classes.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 25 positive cases in district.

It is extremely important for the health and safety of all that anyone with symptoms remain at home until they feel better.

If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

UPDATE ON MASK MANDATE

Commissioner of Education Jeff Riley has determined the DESE mask mandate will be lifted, effective Feb 28, 2022. Decisions about masks will still be a local decision. 

This is a reminder that the Greenfield Public Schools still has a mask policy in place.

https://www.gpsk12.org/sites/default/files/School_Committee/Policy_Manual/EBCFA%20Face%20Coverings_revision_2021-05-21.pdf

The School Committee Chair has indicated that the policy will be reviewed at an upcoming meeting, however a timeline has yet to be discussed.

LISTENING SESSIONS

The district is partnering with the Collaborative for Educational Services Social Justice/Equity team and they facilitated Listening Sessions for staff, students and parent/caregivers during the past two weeks.  If you or your child were unable to participate but would like to share your thoughts, you can complete the document located on our website under Listening Sessions.  We ask that you complete the form no later than February 14.

You can also access it here:  https://forms.gle/X8zxRYampuXCxwTB7

As the Greenfield Public Schools community, we can learn what schools are like for everyone and be a part of making our schools places where truly everyone can thrive.

 

GRAB AND GO MEALS

We are pleased to share that our Food Service Department is offering grab and go meals for any students who are out of school due to COVID 19, either quarantine due to close contact or isolation. Parents are welcome to pick up without their children in the car if they are ill. Students will receive one breakfast and one lunch per day. Meals can be picked up at Greenfield Middle School on the North Side Parking Lot (side next to the church) between 11:30 am and 1 pm. These meals will be available until further notice.

SAFETY AND SECURITY PROCEDURES

Trooper Carmichael from the Massachusetts State Police was with us today to tour buildings and answer individual staff questions about our safety and security protocols.  This followed Trooper Carmichael providing training in December to all staff about shelter in place and lockdowns, as a reminder of our procedures prior to the COVID 19 closure.

In the future, we will schedule drills for each school, including all staff and students. These drills will be scheduled and announced so all members of the GPS community will be aware that it is a drill and an opportunity for us to ensure we are all aware of our safety procedures. 

GCC SPONSORED MOVIE NIGHT

Greenfield Community College is sponsoring a free screening of the documentary Childhood 2.0, about the impact of social media on the lives of youth. This will be followed by discussion with FRCOG and film participants.  The film will be shown on Feb 17th from 7 – 9 pm. 

Take care!!

Christine

 

January 27, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • No School Friday
  • Celebrations
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Updated Quarantine Timelines
  • Listening Sessions
  • Grab and Go Meals

This is a reminder that we have no school on Friday, January 28, 2022. This is a day for faculty and staff professional development.

CELEBRATIONS

Today, Greenfield Middle School band students presented concerts for their peers. Maria Scotera conducted as the students performed a number of short pieces which were accompanied by creative staging. Those of you with GMS students, please ask about the Jaws theme!!

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 81 positive cases in district. Our pooled testing schedule was modified because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Therefore, some of the cases identified this week were actually from the week prior. Overall, the cases have decreased somewhat from our high of 91. I shared the steps we are taking to try to mitigate the impact of COVID 19 in the Parents Update on January 4. Here is the link:

https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district/superintendent-updates

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.

Because our numbers are still elevated, we will continue the 10-day quarantine for at least one more week, until Feb 4. We will reevaluate at that time.

UPDATED QUARANTINE TIMELINES

On December 30, 2021, DESE updated the isolation guidelines to allow for a 5 day isolation period following a positive COVID 19 test. The Greenfield Public Schools has experienced the anticipated increase in cases in the days since returning from winter break. Nursing reports a majority of students still require the 10 day period due to symptoms. We have had a number of students return to school with active symptoms on Day 6 despite DESE guidance and discussions with nursing.

On or after Day 6, if any student has a negative, rapid test result that includes identifying information, such as their name, the student can return to school. In addition, if a student becomes completely free of symptoms following on or after Day 6, the parent can contact the school nurse to discuss receiving a rapid test through the nurse. This test will be done without the parent or student entering the school building.

It is critically important that no student come to school with symptoms of illness. Students have been seen in our nurses’ offices with active symptoms. Students who come to school with symptoms present a risk to the rest of the school community. If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

LISTENING SESSIONS

The district is engaging in partnership with the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) to build a strong foundation in moving forward with work on equity. We are looking for information and feedback regarding your experiences and the culture in classrooms and buildings. The first step is listening sessions conducted by CES social justice and equity specialists. The information to sign up for the parent/guardian virtual listening session will be provided next week in the Parent Update but please hold the date of Feb. 8, 2022, from 6:00 – 7:50 pm.

A student listening session for students at Greenfield Middle School and Greenfield High School will be held on Feb 7. Information will be sent to students and families next week as well.

GRAB AND GO MEALS

We are pleased to share that our Food Service Department is offering grab-and-go meals for any students who are out of school due to COVID 19, either quarantine due to close contact or isolation. Parents are welcome to pick up without their children in the car if they are ill. Students will receive one breakfast and one lunch per day. Meals can be picked up at Greenfield Middle School on the North Side Parking Lot (side next to the church) between 11:30 am and 1 pm. These meals will be available until further notice.

Take care!!

Christine

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January 20, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Positive Case Notification
  • Updated Quarantine Timelines
  • Alternative Testing Option
  • Grab and Go Meals
  • Emergency Contact Information

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 55 positive cases in district. Our pooled testing schedule was modified because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday so the positive cases are not reflective of all of our schools, however, they do represent most. If there are positives from the last group of pooled testing, they will be included in the next Parent Update.  I shared the steps we are taking to try to mitigate the impact of COVID 19 in the Parents Update on January 4. Here is the link:

https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district/superintendent-updates

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.

UPDATED QUARANTINE TIMELINES

On December 30, 2021, DESE updated the isolation guidelines to allow for a 5 day isolation period following a positive COVID 19 test. The Greenfield Public Schools has experienced the anticipated increase in cases in the days since returning from winter break. Nursing reports a majority of students still require the 10 day period due to symptoms. We have had a number of students return to school with active symptoms on Day 6 despite DESE guidance and discussions with nursing. Because of these issues, we will reinstate the 10 day period until January 28 to further mitigate the spread of COVID 19. We will reevaluate the cases at that time.

On or after Day 6, if any student has a negative, rapid test result that includes identifying information, such as their name, the student can return to school. In addition, if a student becomes completely free of symptoms following on or after Day 6, the parent can contact the school nurse to discuss receiving a rapid test through the nurse. This test will be done without the parent or student entering the school building.

It is critically important that no student come to school with symptoms of illness. Students have been seen in our nurses’ offices with active symptoms. Students who come to school with symptoms present a risk to the rest of the school community. If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

ALTERNATIVE TESTING OPTION

You may have heard that the Department of Education has made a new testing option available for districts.  At this time, we are looking into the details of that new option and will share what changes, if any, will be in place for the district in the next Parent Update.

POOLED TESTING

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state-level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

GRAB AND GO MEALS

We are pleased to share that our Food Service Department is offering grab-and-go meals for any students who are out of school due to COVID 19, either quarantine due to close contact or isolation. Parents are welcome to pick up without their children in the car if they are ill. Students will receive one breakfast and one lunch per day. Meals can be picked up at Greenfield Middle School on the North Side Parking Lot (side next to the church) between 11:30 am and 1 pm. These meals will be available until further notice.

EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

We need all parents to make sure that we have working phone numbers and the names and numbers for someone else who can pick up your child in case of sickness or emergency.  Please contact the school to update your information.

Take care!!

Christine

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January 13, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include:

  • Celebrations
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Updated Quarantine Timelines
  • Grab and Go Meals

We have no school on Monday, January 17 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

CELEBRATIONS

Newton School's Handwriting Challenge this month is to create a valentine with a great message and your best handwriting.  Our valentines are being made for Life Path which supports the elderly in our community. 

For more information visit:  https://lifepathma.org/about

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Since the last Parent Update, we have had 91 positive cases in the district, which reflects approximately  5% of students and staff.   The cases are spread out across our schools and grades and are primarily seen in our students. I shared the steps we are taking to try to mitigate the impact of COVID 19 in the Parents Update on January 4.  Here is the link:

https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district/superintendent-updates

The increase in cases was expected following the holidays and an increase in gathering with family and friends.  Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health. 

UPDATED QUARANTINE TIMELINES

On December 30, 2021, DESE updated the isolation guidelines to allow for a 5 day isolation period following a positive COVID 19 test.  The Greenfield Public Schools has experienced the anticipated increase in cases in the days since returning from winter break.  Nursing reports a majority of students still require the 10 day period due to symptoms. We have had a number of students return to school with active symptoms on Day 6 despite DESE guidance and discussions with nursing.  Because of these issues, we will reinstate the 10 day period until January 28 to further mitigate the spread of COVID 19. We will reevaluate the cases at that time.

On or after Day 6, if any student has a negative, rapid test result that includes identifying information, such as their name, the student can return to school.  In addition, if a student becomes completely free of symptoms following on or after Day 6, the parent can contact the school nurse to discuss receiving a rapid test through the nurse.  This test will be done without the parent or student entering the school building.

It is critically important that no student comes to school with symptoms of illness. Students have been seen in our nurses’ offices with active symptoms. Students who come to school with symptoms present a risk to the rest of the school community.  If you have questions about whether or not your child has COVID, please keep them home and call your own doctor or the school nurse.

POOLED TESTING

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state-level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

GRAB AND GO MEALS

We are pleased to share that our Food Service Department will begin offering grab-and-go meals for any students who are out of school due to COVID 19, either quarantine due to close contact or isolation.  Parents are welcome to pick up without their children in the car if they are ill.  Students will receive one breakfast and one lunch per day.  Meals can be picked up at Greenfield Middle School on the North Side Parking Lot (side next to the church) between 11:30 am and 1 pm.  These meals will be available until further notice.

Take care and we're watching the weather this weekend!! 

Christine

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January 6, 2022

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Positive Case Notification
  • Updated Guidance from DESE/DPH
  • KN95 Masks
  • Childcare Arrangements
  • Weather-Related Issues
  • Cold-Weather Gear
  • Instagram for Food Services
  • Affordable Connectivity Program

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

I’d like to welcome everyone back to school after what I hope was a restful and relaxing time. 

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

For the period between Dec 30 – Jan 5, we have had 71 positive cases in district, which reflects less than 5% of the GPS community of students and staff.   The cases are spread out across all of our schools and grades and are primarily seen in our students. We are following all protocols for conducting contact tracing, doing “test and stay” and reaching out to families to share information about our “test and stay” process.  I shared the steps we are taking as a district to try to mitigate the impact of COVID 19 in the Parents Update on January 4.  Here is the link in case you missed that Update:

https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district/superintendent-updates

The increase in cases was expected following the holidays and an increase in gathering with family and friends.  Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

It is very important that anyone who is not feeling well stay home.  We ask that students who are showing symptoms not come to school to get tested by our nurses. If parents or staff have questions about COVID symptoms, please see the district website or contact your school nurse or your own doctor.

I understand that hearing from our nurses that your child needs to be picked up from school, needs to isolate or has been a close contact can be very frustrating. Our nursing staff has been working very hard to address the health needs of students and staff since the first day of school. We greatly appreciate everyone’s understanding and courtesy especially now as we are dealing with an increase in positive cases.  The words of support and praise for our nurses are greatly appreciated so thank you for taking the time to share those with me and the building administrators.

UPDATED GUIDANCE FROM DESE/DPH

In the Parent Update on Tuesday I mentioned we would provide an update on the new isolation guidance from the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health.  I had hoped to have a document available that was easier to read than the memo from DESE but our nurse leader and all of our nursing staff have been extremely busy this week doing testing and working with our students.  Please find the guidance using the link below and a summary will be provided as soon as we are able.  Thank you for your understanding.

https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/on-desktop/protocols/protocols.pdf

KN95 MASKS

Districts received KN95 masks from the Department of Education during the winter break and I have ordered more, which are expected to arrive in the next few days.  We received KN95 masks from DESE reported to have 25-48% filtration and then the ones ordered by the district have a higher filtration rate. We will make the masks available to staff and students who want them until the supply is gone as that should give families and staff time to locate more if they would like.  We will begin distributing the higher filtration masks first and then make the others available.  Cloth masks still provide protection against the virus but recent guidance has suggested the use of KN95 masks and surgical masks.

No one is required to wear a KN95 or surgical mask in school.  There is still a School Committee policy and a mandate from the Department of Education for everyone in school buildings to wear a face-covering that covers both the nose and mouth.  A cloth mask does meet this requirement when worn appropriately.

POOLED TESTING

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state-level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

CHILDCARE ARRANGEMENTS

As I have shared in other Parent Updates, I am suggesting that families of younger students think about options for childcare should we need to close schools.  Weather is certainly one factor but as we continue dealing with high numbers of COVID 19, we may need to modify school schedules due to staffing shortages.  We are doing everything we can to avoid that scenario but we have been experiencing staffing shortages all year and if staff are sick, we could be left unable to open school. 

Our transportation company has also been dealing with periodic staffing issues. If there is an impact on transportation, you will receive a School Messenger with information.  We anticipate that a bus driver shortage could result in some bus runs arriving to school on a delay but GPS transportation and Kuzmeskus Bus are working hard to avoid this situation.

WEATHER-RELATED DECISIONS

We are expecting snow overnight tonight.  I’d like to remind everyone that there are a number of factors taken into consideration when deciding the status of school due to inclement weather.  The projected accumulation, the timing of the storm and the highest snowfall rates are certainly important.  We also need to consider what the status of our parking lots and walkways around our schools will be when students would be scheduled to arrive.  I consult with our Department of Public Works, our transportation company and with a meteorologist when making decisions about school.

If possible, I will try to make decisions about school status by 5 a.m. or if I can, the evening before.  As we all know, weather is unpredictable but we have a great team of people working together to monitor the situations and we all prioritize safety. 

I am aware that any change in the typical school schedule can have an impact on families, especially with childcare.  My decisions are based on what I believe to be the safest situation for our students and staff.  There are times when parents/caregivers may not agree with my decision and I respect that.  Parents/caregivers are always free to make a decision for their children as they see necessary.  Please just contact your child’s school office if they will remain home due to weather so we know they are home safe. 

COLD WEATHER GEAR

We are asking families to send students, especially the elementary grades, to please make sure students have clothing appropriate for the weather.  It’s getting colder out and our students are still going out for recess on most days. 

INSTAGRAM FOR FOOD SERVICES

Our Food Services department now has an Instagram – please check it out at @greenfieldschoolfood

AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY

GCET, our local internet provider, is happy to announce they are part of the Affordable Connectivity Program, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. The new long-term benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households to afford internet service by $30 a month. This discount can be applied to existing accounts and new accounts. If your child is approved to receive free or reduced lunch or attends a USDA Community Eligible Provision (CEP) school you can qualify. All schools in Greenfield except Four Corners qualify for CEP. Find out more about the ACP Program here: https://gcet.net/affordable-connectivity-program/ Contact GCET at 413-775-6400 with any questions.

Take care,

Christine

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

January 4, 2022

Dear Families

We realize that returning to school with the numbers of COVID cases increasing across the state has created some anxiety for our families.  We want to assure you that we continue to follow the recommended protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID 19.  Here are steps we are continuing to take to support the health and safety of our students and staff:

  • We are reminding students and staff about the district mask policy which requires everyone to wear masks in any school buildings or at school activities. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) also has a mask mandate for schools in effect until at least January 17, 2022. 

We do need to ask for your help ensuring students have masks when they leave for school every day. Masks are also required on school buses. Please ensure students wash their masks daily – if you have challenges getting enough masks to have a clean one daily please see the nurse at your child’s school

  • Disposable masks are available for students at the entrance to every building if they arrive without one and disposable masks are available during the day if masks are lost, dirtied or damaged.
  • We are refocusing on the need for hand washing and use of hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is available in many locations throughout all of the buildings.
  • When students share instructional materials, they have access to hand sanitizer and/or wipes for cleaning
  • Our water fountains are still covered and we provide water bottles or have water bottle filling stations available for our students.
  • We are reminding students about the need for distance between people – 3 ft. in classrooms.
  • We are maximizing space in the cafeterias to provide additional space between students while their masks are off for meals.
  • The district continues to provide routine COVID safety checks (pooled testing) every week to any student and staff who has signed up – please see below for the link to sign your child up

https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

  • Our nursing staff continues to communicate with families if students are identified as close contacts.

Our nurses have shared that it is challenging to get in touch with families at times.  It is critical that you confirm the schools have a working phone number and that the emergency contacts you have provided would be able to pick up students from school.  

  • We are cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as recommended.
  • The district has air purifiers in all occupied spaces.
  • All of our interscholastic athletes from both middle school and high school, any coaches, referees and spectators are required to wear masks at athletic events.

Mask wearing and social distancing outside of school are helpful measures in preventing the spread of COVID. We strongly request that families check their children every day before they leave for school to ensure they do not present with any symptoms of COVID.  We unfortunately still have students who are coming to school with symptoms.  We ask that you do not send students to school with symptoms so they can be tested by our nursing staff.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provided rapid tests for staff. These were made available to our staff over the New Year’s Day weekend but were not required before returning to work. 

The isolation and quarantine guidance has recently been updated by DESE.  We are in the process of reviewing those changes and new information will be shared with families in the Thursday Parent Update.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your building principal and your questions will be forwarded to our nursing staff if needed.

Take care,

Christine

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

December 30, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • COVID 19 Important Information.
  • Administrative Change at GHS/GMS

COVID Information

As we look to return to school following our Winter Break, we unfortunately anticipate a continued increase in positive test results for COVID 19.  This trend was seen last year at this time across Massachusetts and given the pattern not just in the Greenfield Schools but across the Commonwealth, it seems wise to anticipate a continued increase following the break. 

In a previous Parent Update, I had asked families to arrange for childcare in anticipation of not only poor weather but also in the event schools needed to be closed due to staffing issues.  I am asking again that you consider options should this situation occur, especially in the two weeks following Christmas and the New Year – when families and friends were most likely to gather.

I realize that unanticipated school closures are highly disruptive to families and do not suggest the possibility lightly. However, I would rather let you know in advance that the next two weeks will be of increased concern in terms of staffing and student cases.

Our bus company, F. M. Kuzmeskus, is also running short staffed. They have done a wonderful job of ensuring our bus runs have been covered but it is possible to have some disruption in transportation due to staffing issues at the bus company.  The most likely disruption, should it occur, would be a delay in specific runs.  If there is any disruption in transportation, you would receive a School Messenger regarding the impact on transportation.  

We are aware that the CDC has made recommendations regarding shortened isolation times for some individuals.  We are getting information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding these changes and any changes for the Greenfield Schools will be shared with families in the Parent Updates. The DESE mask mandate remains in effect at least until January 17 for all school buildings and events – this includes athletic events on or off school grounds.

I apologize for having to share this information and understand that it is likely frustrating. Your anticipated understanding and flexibility is greatly appreciated as we anticipate possible scenarios.

Administrative Changes

Although it was shared previously, this is a reminder that Derek Morrison will be joining Greenfield High School as our new Principal on January 3.  Please join us is welcoming Derek to the GPS!

I also wanted to let all of you know that Jonathan Cavallo will be transitioning to the middle school from the high school. Mr. Cavallo will join Greenfield Middle School as a second Associate Principal and work alongside Ms. Dole, current Associate Principal Mr. Pratt, and the school counseling team in supporting both students and staff. His training in Restorative Practice and Restorative Circles will benefit the whole school. Mr. Cavallo will officially start at the middle school on January 3, 2022.

I hope all of you have a safe and peaceful New Year and we look forward to seeing you when we return to school in 2022!

Christine

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

December 17, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Celebrations across the District
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Pooled Testing
  • New Principal at GHS
  • Social Media Reminder
  • Weather-Related Issues

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE DISTRICT

At Newton Street, they are participating in a handwriting challenge.  This month students are making holiday cards using their best handwriting and learning how to address an envelope.  These cards will be mailed to families next week.  On December 23, Newton School will have a Hot Chocolate Run with prizes for the best festive attire!

Discovery School at Four Corners is hosting a Read-In Day on December 23, 2021 where guest readers from the community will read to classrooms!

FSS had their December All School meeting virtually today 9:00. Second grade hosted the event and we welcomed many of our families who were able to join us!

GMS held grade level assemblies today during the WIN period to celebrate student accomplishments and contributions to our community.  In addition to recognizing students who earned honor roll distinctions, our educators are highlighting students who have demonstrated the most improvement, who are positive role models as team players and shining stars, and some additional recognition for achievements in specific subject areas.  Some grades are also including Student Shout-outs as students have shared what they appreciate about their peers. 

GMS also recently introduced the Kindness Crew, a recognition program for students making good choices and representing our community values.  At the assemblies on Friday, there will be a drawing of the tickets earned by all the students who've received Kindness Crew recognition in the past week and one student from each grade will receive a special prize.  We are proud of the work our students are doing and how they are working together to make GMS a good place to grow and learn.

At GHS, college acceptances are beginning to roll in for the Class of 2022 and will continue through March. Early acceptances thus far include Cornell University (several seniors), Fordham University, Boston University and Mass College of Pharmacy and Sciences. We look forward to the many more acceptances to come as cause for celebration with the Class of 2022!

GHS hosted Coffeehouse last night and it was a great event!  Folks enjoyed numerous live performances from faculty and students and it was a great night for the GHS community to come together and have some fun.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had nineteen positive cases in the district, and most of the cases have been at the middle school. We want to remind families to continue social distance and masking when outside of school as a precaution.  We are following all protocols for conducting contact tracing, doing “test and stay” and reaching out to families to share information about our “test and stay” process.  If we identify the need to add any mitigation strategies, we will be in contact with families as soon as possible. At this time, our protocols are doing what they are intended to do: provide opportunity for early identification of positive cases and provide ongoing to testing for asymptomatic people so they can remain at school. 

It is very important that anyone who is not feeling well stay home.  If parents or staff have questions about COVID symptoms, please see the district website or contact your school nurse or your own doctor. Thank you

POOLED TESTING

The pooled testing schedule will be changed to Monday and Tuesday each week rather than Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.  This will allow the district to get results back earlier in the week; we will have more ability to make up testing in the case of a school delay or “snow day” and we will be able to test the last week before the winter break.  The December schedule will be on our website.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

NEW PRINCIPAL AT GHS

I am pleased to share that Derek Morrison will be joining the Greenfield Public Schools community as our new high school principal. Mr. Morrison is very excited to join us in Greenfield and comes to us with more than 15 years of experience as a principal at the high school level. He was most recently in Chicopee Public Schools where he served as principal of the high school and then the middle school. Derek earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and followed that with a master’s degree in education leadership from Framingham State University.

I would like to thank Jon Cavallo for serving in the role of Acting Principal at the high school. I hope you will join me in sharing our appreciation for the time and effort he has given to Greenfield High School.

SOCIAL MEDIA PARENT REMINDER

The events of this week have really brought to the forefront how important it is for parents/caregivers to be involved and monitoring their child’s activity on all social media sites.  Please continue to have the important conversations with your child about if they see something, they say something to a trusted adult.  Student and school safety requires all of us to work together as a community.

WEATHER RELATED ISSUES

It is time to start thinking about weather related delays, early dismissals or cancellations.  Any time we anticipate inclement weather, I work with multiple people when I have to make a decision about the status of our schools.  I consult with a meteorologist, the city Department of Public Works, the transportation company and the GPS facilities director.  There are a number of factors that are considered when a decision is made to alter the school day including timing of the storm and anticipated road conditions throughout the day.

If possible, I will try to make decisions about school status by 5 a.m. or if I can, the evening before.  As we all know, weather is unpredictable but we have a great team of people working together to monitor the situations and we all prioritize safety. 

A reminder that if there is a 2-hour delay, there is no morning pre-school and no before school care programs.

I am aware that any change in the typical school schedule can have an impact on families, especially with childcare.  Please begin to arrange back up child care plans should the need arise to dismiss early from school (or, as I shared last week, to close school due to lack of staff coverage). My decisions are based on what I believe to be the safest situation for our students and staff.  There are times when parents/caregivers may not agree with my decision and I respect that.  Parents/caregivers are always free to make a decision for their children as they see necessary.  Please just contact your child’s school office if they will remain home due to weather so we know they are home safe. 

Take care,

Christine

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

December 9, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Celebrations Across the District
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Pooled Testing Schedule Changes
  • Weather Related Issues

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE DISTRICT

At Federal Street School, there was a Family Fair from 3 pm – 4 pm.  Students and families had activities related to art, math and engineering, including marble painting, designing pattern block snowflakes as well as constructing a shelter for a turkey. Newton Street School will host a Cozy Up and Read Day with pajamas, great books and hot chocolate!

At AEL, in the next few weeks, classrooms will be very busy doing a variety of special activities such as - celebrating all December holidays, making gingerbread houses, being read to by United Way volunteers, decorating their classroom doors, and being visited by community members sharing family traditions. Also, we are all participating in school spirit days the last 3 days before our break. We are having Green Day on Monday, Ugly sweater/shirt day on Tuesday, and PJ day on Wednesday. We hope your children join in the fun on these days.

MassWildlife delivered trout eggs to GMS on Wednesday.  For many years, we have worked with Greening Greenfield to raise trout that are released in the spring.   This year the tanks with the trout eggs is in Ms. Ricketts room.

On Monday, Dec 13, speakers from the Nolumbeka Project will make an afterschool presentation to the Garden Club and other interested students about Native American history and perspectives on land care. Students will learn about the best plants to support pollinators and walk away with a plant.  This event is made possible through the support of the Greening Greenfield group and the Nolumbeka Project.

Students in the Beacon Program have organized a Holiday Art Pop-Up Market at the GCC downtown center.  Twelve artists will be hosting.  There will also be a Pop-Up car detailing shop in the parking lot behind the GCC downtown center.

The flyers are on the website if you are interested – we’d love to have community members come out to support Greenfield students!

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had thirteen positive cases in district.   The cases are not concentrated in one location/grade.  We are following all protocols for conducting contact tracing, doing “test and stay” and reaching out to families to share information about our “test and stay” process.  If we identify the need to add any mitigation strategies, we will be in contact with families as soon as possible. At this time, our protocols are doing what they are intended to do: provide opportunity for early identification of positive cases and provide ongoing to testing for asymptomatic people so they can remain at school. 

It is very important that anyone who is not feeling well stay home.  If parents or staff have questions about COVID symptoms, please see the district website or contact your school nurse or your own doctor. Thank you

POOLED TESTING

The pooled testing schedule will be changed to Monday and Tuesday each week rather than Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.  This will allow the district to get results back earlier in the week; we will have more ability to make up testing in the case of a school delay or “snow day” and we will be able to test the last week before the winter break.  The December schedule will be on our website.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

WEATHER RELATED DECISIONS

It is time to start thinking about weather related delays, early dismissals or cancellations.  Any time we anticipate inclement weather, I work with multiple people when I have to make a decision about the status of our schools.  I consult with a meteorologist, the city Department of Public Works, the transportation company and the GPS facilities director.  There are a number of factors that are considered when a decision is made to alter the school day including timing of the storm and anticipated road conditions throughout the day.

If possible, I will try to make decisions about school status by 5 a.m. or if I can, the evening before.  As we all know, weather is unpredictable but we have a great team of people working together to monitor the situations and we all prioritize safety. 

I am aware that any change in the typical school schedule can have an impact on families, especially with childcare.  Please begin to arrange back up child care plans should the need arise to dismiss early from school (or, as I shared last week, to close school due to lack of staff coverage). My decisions are based on what I believe to be the safest situation for our students and staff.  There are times when parents/caregivers may not agree with my decision and I respect that.  Parents/caregivers are always free to make a decision for their children as they see necessary.  Please just contact your child’s school office if they will remain home due to weather so we know they are home safe. 

Hopefully, we rarely need to think about weather-related issues!!

Take care,

Christine

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

December 2, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Celebrations Across the District
  • Positive Case Notification
  • COVID 19 Second Dose for  5-11 year olds
  • Pooled Testing
  • Weather-Related Issues

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE DISTRICT

At Federal Street School, I was so excited to participate in a movement break with a Third Grade class.  A student was able to pick a short, song and movement-based break on the SmartBoard and all students (and adults) in the class could choose to participate.  What a great way to help everyone take a brief, positive break from all of the hard work they were doing!

Newton Street School continues to have their weekly handwriting challenge.  Students can win a special coin to be used in the Book Vending Machine.  Each month Newton has over 20 students win a free book!! A special Thank You to the PTO for providing the vending machine books.

Discovery School had an All-School STEM challenge that engaged all students in building a tower with only 10 flashcards – nothing else! Many classes discussed strategies and many surpassed their own expectations! 

We are also pleased to have Laura Luker, a certified Library Media Specialist, working with the Greenfield Schools to do an assessment and audit of our elementary and middle school libraries.  She will assess the collections in each school and make recommendations to us for updated, relevant, diverse, and culturally reflective books for our students to access in the coming years. 

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had nine positive cases in district.   The cases are not concentrated in one location/grade.  We are following all protocols for conducting contact tracing, doing “test and stay” and reaching out to families to share information about our “test and stay” process.  If we identify the need to add any mitigation strategies, we will be in contact with families as soon as possible. At this time, our protocols are doing what they are intended to do: provide opportunity for early identification of positive cases and provide ongoing to testing for asymptomatic people so they can remain at school. 

It is very important that anyone who is not feeling well stay home.  If parents or staff have questions about COVID symptoms, please see the district website or contact your school nurse or your own doctor. Thank you

COVID 19 VACCINE CLINICS FOR STUDENTS AGES 5-11

Thank you to everyone who participated in the initial Vax bus clinics at Federal Street School and Newton School! We apologize for the long cold wait at Federal Street School. We learned a lot from that initial outdoor clinic and have moved all subsequent clinics indoors with additional volunteers to help the process run more quickly and smoothly. Second doses will be available at the following INDOOR clinics:

Federal Street School: Monday, December 6, 2:30-6:30 pm in the school gymnasium

Newton School: Monday, December 13, 2:30-6:30 pm in the school gymnasium

If your child received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine at one of our clinics, you should be able to pre-register them for the second dose at this link: https://home.color.com/vaccine/register/yankeeline

POOLED TESTING

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

WEATHER-RELATED DECISIONS

It is time to start thinking about weather-related delays, early dismissals or cancellations.  Any time we anticipate inclement weather, I work with multiple people when I have to make a decision about the status of our schools.  I consult with a meteorologist, the city Department of Public Works, the transportation company and the GPS facilities director.  There are a number of factors that are considered when a decision is made to alter the school day including timing of the storm and anticipated road conditions throughout the day.

If possible, I will try to make decisions about school status by 5 a.m. or if I can, the evening before.  As we all know, weather is unpredictable but we have a great team of people working together to monitor the situations and we all prioritize safety. 

I am aware that any change in the typical school schedule can have an impact on families, especially with childcare.  Please begin to arrange back up child care plans should the need arise to dismiss early from school (or, as I shared last week, to close school due to lack of staff coverage). My decisions are based on what I believe to be the safest situation for our students and staff.  There are times when parents/caregivers may not agree with my decision and I respect that.  Parents/caregivers are always free to make a decision for their children as they see necessary.  Please just contact your child’s school office if they will remain home due to weather so we know they are home safe. 

Hopefully, we rarely need to think about weather-related issues!!

Take care,

Christine

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

November 19, 2021

I was excited to participate in my first Turkey Trot at GHS this morning.  While it was a bit chilly, staff and students ran or walked 1.5 miles, listened to music and were able to participate in some other activities during the Trot time.  I greatly appreciated the opportunity to participate in a great community activity.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION and PREPARE FOR INCREASED CASES

Since the last Parent Update, we have had eleven positive cases in district.   The cases are not concentrated in one location/grade but are coming up in various buildings across the district and both involve students and adults.   We continue to follow all protocols for conducting contact tracing, doing “test and stay” and reaching out to families to share information about our “test and stay” process.  At this time, our protocols are doing what they are intended to do: provide opportunity for early identification of positive cases and provide ongoing to testing for asymptomatic people so they can remain at school. 

The Commissioner of Education reminded Superintendents this week that in 2020 the Commonwealth experienced a spike in COVID 19 cases in the weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the winter break.  He encouraged all districts to be mindful that we may see a spike in cases again, despite the vaccinations. As you can see, the Greenfield Schools have seen an increase in cases already, particularly this week and last.

Closing school due to COVID 19 would be a last resort, however, we already are experiencing a staff shortage and have few substitutes available to assist with coverage.  It is recommended that all families determine options for child care should we need to close schools at any point due to staffing or significantly increased numbers of positive cases.  Again, this would be the last resort and hopefully will not be needed but I would not want families unaware of the potential.

Thank you so much for your planning around this issue.

It is very important that anyone who is not feeling well stay home.  If parents or staff have questions about COVID symptoms, please see the district website or contact your school nurse or your own doctor. Thank you

A consent form for testing is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

We also encourage families to reach out to the counseling staff at any of the schools if your child is in need of support.  Both the guidance and adjustment counselors are available and happy to connect with families and students.

I hope you are able to spend time with family, friends or other loved ones and enjoy a restful break.

Take care,

Christine

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 18, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Celebrations Across the District
  • Positive Case Notification
  • COVID 19 Vax Bus for 5-11-year-olds
  • Pooled Testing
  • Update Regarding GMS and GHS
  • Schedule Next Week

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE DISTRICT

At Federal Street School, they celebrated “Green Wave Day” to kick off their new school mantra – The FSS Way: Friendly, Safe, and Successful.  Students will be recognized with a “wave” from staff when they are seen exemplifying friendly, safe, or successful behavior.

Newton Street School will be having its annual Newton Turkey Trot on November 24th with prizes for the best costumes and trot.

Discovery School is having their first All School Meeting on November 24.  One of the 4th grade classes will lead the meeting with a greeting, news, announcements, and a closing song.  The rest of the classes will join virtually from their rooms.

Greenfield Middle School introduced a Second Chance Breakfast for all students.  It began with the 5th grade mid-October and now includes all three grades.  Prior to the Second Chance, we had 40-50 breakfasts being served daily and now we have 170-200 daily.

Greenfield High School will be celebrating 225 students for their 1st quarter grades on Monday afternoon with an Ice Cream Social.

Join us in congratulating Rory Cronen-Townsend for being named the Superintendent’s Academic Excellence Award Recipient for 2021-2022.  She will be recognized at a dinner on December 2 with her family, Mr. Cavallo the GHS principal, and me. 

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had seven positive cases in district.   The cases are not concentrated in one location/grade.  We are following all protocols for conducting contact tracing, doing “test and stay” and reaching out to families to share information about our “test and stay” process.  If we identify the need to add any mitigation strategies, we will be in contact with families as soon as possible. At this time, our protocols are doing what they are intended to do: provide opportunity for early identification of positive cases and provide ongoing to testing for asymptomatic people so they can remain at school. 

It is very important that anyone who is not feeling well stay home.  If parents or staff have questions about COVID symptoms, please see the district website or contact your school nurse or your own doctor. Thank you

COVID 19 VACCINE CLINICS FOR STUDENTS AGES 5-11

We have scheduled the state DPH “Vax Bus” to be at our elementary schools in November.  The flyers regarding this are on the Greenfield Public Schools website. 

The Vax Bus will be at:

Newton Street School   November 22 from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Students were given paper copies of the letter from the DPH and DESE, the Pfizer consent and some information about the vaccine clinic.  Please look for those in your child’s backpack or folder.

POOLED TESTING

The GPS will have a modified pooled testing schedule during November due to our professional development day, Veteran’s Day, and the Thanksgiving break.  Please see the updated schedule on our website.  No pooled testing will occur next week due to the shortened week.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state-level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

UPDATE AT GMS AND GHS

We are pleased to share that we will have an additional counselor joining the staff at GMS after the Thanksgiving break.  While she will be available to support all GMS students, she will primarily be working with grade 5.

An additional counselor began work at GHS this week and will support students across the building as part of our counseling office.

Professional development for staff regarding trauma-informed care and equity and race are being planned. This is intended to provide staff with additional ways to support students who are dealing with the effects of trauma.

We also encourage families to reach out to the counseling staff at any of the schools if your child is in need of support.  Both the guidance and adjustment counselors are available and happy to connect with families and students.

SCHEDULE NEXT WEEK

This is a reminder that we will have no school on Thursday, November 25, or Friday, November 26.  Preschool will have no school on Wednesday, November 24. Students in grades kindergarten through grade 12 will be dismissed early on Wednesday, November 24th. 

I want to thank so many of you for your patience and for your continued support of our school system.

Take care,

Christine

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 12, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Positive Case Notification
  • COVID 19 Vax Bus for 5-11 year olds
  • Pooled Testing
  • GHS Principal Search
  • Update Regarding GMS and GHS Challenges

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had two positive cases in district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

COVID 19 VACCINE CLINICS FOR STUDENTS AGES 5-11

We have scheduled the state DPH “Vax Bus” to be at two of our elementary schools in November.  I have attached two flyers regarding this and they will also be on the Greenfield Public Schools website. 

The Vax Bus will be at:

Federal Street School   November 15 from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Newton Street School   November 22 from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Students were given paper copies of the letter from the DPH and DESE, the Pfizer consent and some information about the vaccine clinic.  Please look for those in your child’s backpack or folder.

POOLED TESTING

The GPS will have a modified pooled testing schedule during November due to our professional development day, Veteran’s Day and the Thanksgiving break.  Please see the updated schedule on our website.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

GHS Principal Search

Our acting high school principal, Mr. Cavallo, has decided not to pursue the permanent position of principal of Greenfield High School.

Mr. Cavallo stepped into the acting role when longtime principal Karin Patenaude was promoted to the position of assistant superintendent of schools in June of this year. With Mr. Cavallo's desire to return to the role of associate principal in the near future, we have posted for the GHS principal position with an anticipated start date of January 1, 2022. We will continue with three associate principals at that time.

The School Committee and our leadership team is thankful for Mr. Cavallo’s time, energy, and effort in helping us navigate through what has been a transformative time for our high school on several fronts.

CHALLENGES AT GMS AND GHS

Last week I shared some information about the challenges at GHS and GMS, most notably at the 5th grade.  Please find additional information here, which was shared at the School Committee meeting on November 10.

I want to thank so many of you for your patience and remarkable understanding of the challenges our school system faces and for your continued support of our school system.

Take care

Christine

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 4, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Positive Case Notification
  • COVID 19 Vax Bus for 5-11 year olds
  • Pooled Testing
  • Challenges at GMS and GHS

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least January 15, 2022. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had one positive case in district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

COVID 19 VACCINE CLINICS FOR STUDENTS AGES 5-11

We have scheduled the state DPH “Vax Bus” to be at two of our elementary schools in November.  I have attached two flyers regarding this and they will also be on the Greenfield Public Schools website. 

The Vax Bus will be at:

Federal Street School   November 15 from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Newton Street School   November 22 from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Students were given paper copies of the letter from the DPH and DESE, the Pfizer consent and some information about the vaccine clinic.  Please look for those in your child’s backpack or folder.

POOLED TESTING

The GPS will have a modified pooled testing schedule during November due to our professional development day, Veteran’s Day and the Thanksgiving break.  Please see the updated schedule on our website.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

CHALLENGES AT GMS AND GHS

I want to bring you up to speed and keep you in the know as we work together to continue to improve the programs and services we provide to students. The beginning of the year - with the return from Covid - has not been without challenges expected and unexpected. What follows is a breakdown of where we are.

 

At Greenfield High School, our faculty and staff has been doing its best under the circumstances presented by the pandemic. Much like restaurants and other businesses, we have not been able to find enough staff to fill our vacant positions and this has admittedly impacted our work.

Complicating this challenge is the increase in services students need, such as counseling, support for making up for the learning loss from being remote for so long, and behavior support for our highest need students. We have also struggled, as a result of a staff shortage, on some discipline issues and are making changes at current to address these issues.

 

I share this all with you to be open and transparent, not to present excuses.

 

  1. of our students at GMS are also struggling. Some of which is completely expected and comes with transition to middle school from elementary school, some is due to staff turnover due to unexpected resignations and both anticipated and unanticipated medical leaves. We are experiencing a staff shortage at Greenfield Middle School as well. We also did not have an assistant principal at the start of the school year but were successful in hiring Mr. Pratt. This will pay dividends to our effort to provide support to our struggling students.

 

Our elementary schools continue to push on, and while they too have reported an uptick in behavior/discipline issues, they have overall settled in and continue to make progress.

 

We also have utilized some of our safety and security protocols. These protocols are typically used to create a private area for staff to respond to a medical, mental health or at times, behavioral situation.  These protocols have been used in years past, our students generally know their role in these protocols and using those helps us to respond to a variety of situations that arise.

 

I share all this information to give you a glimpse of what we’re dealing with, how we are addressing it, and to let you know we are aware and addressing these challenges to the start of school as best we can. I want to thank so many of you for your patience and remarkable understanding of the challenges our school system faces and for your continued support of our school system.

Take care,

Christine

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 27, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Parent Conferences for Elementary Schools and Greenfield Middle School
  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Pooled Testing
  • Election Day – No School
  • Instrument Lessons for Grade 4
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

PARENT CONFERENCES FOR ELEMENTARY and GMS

Our elementary school conference days are October 28-29.  Students will be dismissed at 11:55 am.  Greenfield Middle School also has conferences these same days and students will be released at 11:10 am.

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least January 15, 2022. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings and the requirement by the City of Greenfield.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

BUS EXPECTATIONS INCLUDING MASKS

It is extremely important for all of our students to follow rules for safe and respectful behavior on our buses.  Students need to remain seated, leave their masks on and speak in “talking” not “yelling” voices.  Our principals will work with families for any of our students who have a hard time following the rules but we are asking parents to help reinforce safe behavior on buses.

We also need to ask that parents send their children to the bus stop with a mask. The bus company is reporting that many students are trying to board the bus without masks on.  Masks on buses is a requirement and we appreciate your help. Thank you

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had one positive case in district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

POOLED TESTING

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

ELECTION DAY NOVEMBER 2

Please remember there is no school next Tuesday, November 2.  Voting will be held at GHS.

INSTRUMENT LESSONS GRADE 4

4th grade instrument lessons will begin on Monday, November 1. Tim Burns has joined the GPS as the teacher and is excited to provide students with the tools to become musicians. If your 4th grader is interested and has not signed up, please email him at Timbur1@gpsk12.org or email the Principal at your child's school. Federal Street will begin on Monday, Newton Elementary on Wednesday and DSFC on Thursday. "

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care,

Christine

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 21, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Parent Conferences for Elementary Schools and Greenfield Middle School
  • AEL Wrap Care
  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Bus Expectations
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Pooled Testing
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

PARENT CONFERENCES FOR ELEMENTARY and GMS

Our elementary school conference days are October 28-29.  Students will be dismissed at 11:55 am.  Greenfield Middle School also has conferences these same days and students will be released at 11:10 am.

AEL AFTERNOON WRAPCARE

The AEL Wrap care program will not be available on Friday, Oct 22 in the afternoon.  We are experiencing some staffing shortages but are actively working to address that.  We apologize for any inconvenience this unavailable change has created.

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least November 1. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings and the requirement by the City of Greenfield.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

BUS EXPECTATIONS

It is extremely important for all of our students to follow rules for safe and respectful behavior on our buses.  Students need to remain seated, leave their masks on and speak in “talking” not “yelling” voices.  Our principals will work with families for any of our students who have a hard time following the rules but we are asking parents to help reinforce safe behavior on buses. Thank you

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had no positive cases in the district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

POOLED TESTING

This week I sent a message about some members of the National Guard assisting with our routine COVID 19 checks.  I accepted an offer from the Department of Education for added assistance due to the concerns shared by members of the community about the testing not occurring as planned.  The nursing staff tried to do all three types of testing without assistance but were unable to follow the schedule they had hoped.  I cannot thank our nurses and health assistants enough for all of their work in the testing protocols.

Some families have asked about the National Guard staff who are on site.  I had the pleasure of meeting them on Wednesday and they expressed how pleased they are to be able to help in this critical effort.  As they are here in the capacity of the National Guard, they are in uniform but are not armed.  A member of the GPS staff is also with them while they are on site.

I would like to thank them for their assistance as we transition to another vendor for the ongoing testing efforts.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state-level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care

Christine

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 15, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Parent Conferences for Elementary Schools
  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Masks on Buses
  • Positive Case Notification
  • MCAS Results
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

PARENT CONFERENCES FOR ELEMENTARY

Our elementary school conference days are October 28-29.  Students will be dismissed at 11:55 am

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least November 1. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings and the requirement by the City of Greenfield.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

MASKS ON BUSES

Masks continue to be mandated on buses. This is according to federal, DESE and local mandates.  Please make sure your child has a mask when they leave home and they know it must be worn on the bus. Thank you for your assistance.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had one positive case in district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

MCAS RESULTS

MCAS results from last year’s test administration are being sent home today.

REMINDERS

I have been carrying forward the reminders about COVID testing and protocols but at this time, the information will be available on the district website.  If you have any questions about COVID 19 protocols, symptoms or testing, please check the website or feel free to contact your child’s school nurse.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care

Christine

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

October 7, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Farewell and Welcome
  • Late Bus
  • Parent Conferences for Elementary Schools
  • Extended Mask Mandate
  • Positive Case Notification
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

FAREWELL AND WELCOME

Please join us in wishing Caissie Putman, Principal at Discovery School a fond farewell. We wish Caissie the best of her luck in her new district and many thanks for her work here in Greenfield.

Also please join us in welcoming Michael Browning as the Interim Principal at Discovery School.  We are excited to welcome an experienced administrator from the Greenfield Public Schools to a new position.

LATE BUS

We have begun offering a late bus for middle and high school students.  The late bus will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, when school is in session for full days.  Middle school late bus will pick up students at 3:40 for afternoon runs and high school students will be picked up at approximately 3:50.  More information will be provided at each school regarding sign ups

PARENT CONFERENCES FOR ELEMENTARY

Our elementary school conference days are October 28-29.  Students will be dismissed at 11:55 am

EXTENDED MASK MANDATE

The Commissioner of Education has extended the mask mandate until at least November 1. This is in addition to the current School Committee policy requiring masks in school buildings and the requirement by the City of Greenfield.  Thank you for your ongoing cooperation.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had five positive cases in district.

We continue to ask parents/guardians not to send students who are sick to school. Thank you

REMINDERS

We have no school on Monday, October 11.

I have been carrying forward the reminders about COVID testing and protocols but at this time, the information will be available on the district website.  If you have any questions about COVID 19 protocols, symptoms or testing, please check the website or feel free to contact your child’s school nurse.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care,

Christine

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 30, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • TikTok Challenge – Serious Issue
  • Late Bus
  • Open House for GMS and GHS
  • Positive Case Notification
  • Letters for Attendance and MCAS
  • District Website

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

TIKTOK CHALLENGES

We have been made aware of a serious issue with the Tik Tok challenges.  This month’s challenge is to slap a staff person/teacher.  This is a completely unacceptable behavior and will lead to serious consequences for our students. This is especially true for our older, high school students.

All students will participate in an advisory or morning meeting tomorrow to discuss respectful behavior and positive expectations for behavior in school and with others.  The elementary level will focus more on global positive behavior but may also touch on possible exposure to older siblings or friends discussing online things that aren’t appropriate behavior.  Our middle and high school students will have language developmentally appropriate but more specific in terms of addressing Tik Tok.

We are asking all families to remind your students that this behavior may be considered assault.  Please partner with us to remind students about good choices, being leaders rather than following social media and to treat others as they would like to be treated.  If we unfortunately encounter this behavior, we will need to respond with appropriate consequences as we take this very seriously.  Thank you for your support.

LATE BUS

We will begin offering a late bus for middle and high school students on October 4.  The late bus will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, when school is in session for full days.  Middle school late bus will pick up students at 3:40 for afternoon runs and high school students will be picked up at approximately 3:50.  More information will be provided at each school regarding sign ups

OPEN HOUSE

Greenfield Middle School Open House will be on October 7th from 5 pm – 6 pm.  Greenfield High School will host its Open House that same evening from 6 pm – 7 pm.  Our elementary schools will have Parent Conferences later in October and more information will be provided at a later date.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had three positive cases in district.

LETTERS COMING HOME

Some of our students will receive letters with a summary of attendance in the next week or so.  We are reporting all absences, including those for COVID.  The letters are meant to be information for families so please contact us if you believe the information is incorrect.  For students who have missed a significant number of days that are not related to COVID 19, we’d like to work with families to increase students’ time in school.

MCAS reports will also be available October 15.  We realize the testing was completed during the pandemic and the district is using the results as a broad measure of where we have areas for improvement in curriculum, instruction and assessment.  More information will be provided prior to Oct 15.

REMINDERS

I have been carrying forward the reminders about COVID testing and protocols but at this time, the information will be available on the district website.  If you have any questions about COVID 19 protocols, symptoms or testing, please check the website or feel free to contact your child’s school nurse.

We are encouraging all families to consider signing up for testing through the GPS. We have begun our pooled testing but since we are using our district staff in the absence of state level resources, we ask for and appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work through some glitches.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care

Christine

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 23, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Mandatory Testing for Athletics
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • TikTok Issues and Bathrooms
  • Riders on Assigned Buses Only
  • Late Bus
  • Open House for GMS and GHS
  • Sports Schedule
  • Community Tree Planting
  • Thank you

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioner’s mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well.  We ask that families try to send an extra mask with students in the event one is lost or damaged during the day. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies is reviewed frequently. We have reinstituted assigned seating in cafeterias at the elementary level to aid in contact tracing. Our older students are better able to assist with contact tracing if needed so we are not assigning seats at this time. In classrooms, we will maintain seating charts to assist with contact tracing if students are less than three feet apart, especially if they are eating snack. We continue with sanitizing restrooms, rooms where ill staff or students have been and high touch areas. Hand sanitizer is available in high traffic areas and use of hand sanitizer will be required when hand washing is not readily available. We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur.

I have received some questions about use of cohorts while students are outside at recess.  According to DESE protocols dated August 13, 2021, a close contact is defined as someone who has “been within 6 ft of a COVID – 19 positive individual while indoors for at least 15 minutes during a 24 hour period”.  Students outside at recess would not be considered close contacts in that setting.

It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well and we ask families to continue to contact our school nurses.  Unfortunately, we do have some students who have come to school not feeling their best so we ask parents to check in with students daily about how they are feeling.

COVID TESTING - Update

District nurses and health assistants will begin pooled testing for the Greenfield elementary schools next week with the secondary schools beginning the week after.  This is the plan as of now and we will provide any updates if needed.

A reminder that pooled testing is just one of three testing scenarios available to our students. Rapid tests have been provided for any student who is ill.  These are being done by our nurses and this rapid testing began with the start of school.  We are also doing the Test and Stay, in which students who are identified as close contacts within the schools but are not showing symptoms, are tested at school and then remain in school as long as they are feeling well and the tests are negative.  This type of testing has also been used since the start of school.

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about testing was shared by our Head Nurse, Kelly Savitri, earlier this week and is available on the district website.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

MANDATORY TESTING FOR INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETICS

At the September 13 meeting, the School Committee voted to require COVID 19 testing for students who participate in interscholastic athletics at both the middle and high school levels.  This testing will begin as soon as pooled testing is available for all students who have signed consent.  If any athletes have questions, please contact the high school nursing office or the high school administration.  Please see the link to the consent form above.

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had four positive cases in district.

TIKTOK and BATHROOMS

Many students follow TIKTOK on social media.  Unfortunately, some of our students, most notably at the secondary level, have engaged in a trend that involves taking items that are not theirs.  Please help us in reminding all students that they are expected to be respectful of other people’s things and to not engage in this type of behavior.  Vandalism led to restrooms at both the middle school and high school needing to be closed for periods of time. When school restrooms are vandalized we need to have them off limits to students while repairs or restorations are completed.  Closing of rest rooms is extremely unfortunate but also avoidable so we appreciate your assistance in reminding students to respect school property. Please see the link below for more information.

https://www.newsweek.com/tiktok-devious-licks-trend-stolen-items-school-1628463

EXTRA RIDERS ON BUSES

Kuzmeskus Bus has asked that we not allow students to ride buses except their assigned bus.  Given the increased numbers of COVID 19 cases and the possibility for contact tracing, they need to have riders on their assigned buses only.  Thank you for your cooperation with this update.

LATE BUS

We will begin offering a late bus for middle and high school students on October 4.  The late bus will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week, when school is in session for full days.  Middle school late bus will pick up students at 3:40 for afternoon runs and high school students will be picked up at approximately 3:50.  More information will be provided regarding sign ups at each school.

OPEN HOUSE

Greenfield Middle School Open House will be on October 7th from 5 pm – 6 pm.  Greenfield High School will host its Open House that same evening from 6 pm – 7 pm.  Our elementary schools will have Parent Conferences later in October and more information will be provided at a later date.

SPORTS SCHEDULE

The Greenfield High School and Greenfield Middle School sports schedules can be found here:

https://www.arbiterlive.com/School/Calendar/9037

We hope to see you at the games!!!

COMMUNITY TREE PLANTING

A community tree planting event will be held at Newton Street School on Saturday October 2 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm.  We hope you are able to attend this community event.

THANK YOU

I realize that the start of the school year has presented some challenges for some of our students and families. Adjusting to a full time, back to school schedule has been difficult and some of our students need additional support to feel successful.  Added to the start of school, many families are talking with our nursing staff and office staff about difficult or challenging subjects, including illness and district policy.  I’d like to thank the families who have been working through these issues with our district staff.  We understand that at times it’s frustrating but greatly appreciate the respectful and collaborative conversations with families.  THANK YOU!!!

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

Take care,

Christine

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 16, 2021

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Mandatory Testing for Athletics
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Before School Care
  • TikTok issues
  • Riders on Assigned Buses Only

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioner’s mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well.  We ask that families try to send an extra mask with students in the event one is lost or damaged during the day. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies is reviewed frequently. We have reinstituted assigned seating in cafeterias at the elementary level to aid in contact tracing. Our older students are better able to assist with contact tracing if needed so we are not assigning seats at this time. In classrooms, we will maintain seating charts to assist with contact tracing if students are less than three feet apart, especially if they are eating snack. We continue with sanitizing restrooms, rooms where ill staff or students have been and high touch areas. Hand sanitizer is available in high traffic areas and use of hand sanitizer will be required when hand washing is not readily available. We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur.

I have received some questions about use of cohorts while students are outside at recess.  According to DESE protocols dated August 13, 2021, a close contact is defined as someone who has “been within 6 ft of a COVID – 19 positive individual while indoors for at least 15 minutes during a 24 hour period”.  Students outside at recess would not be considered close contacts in that setting.

It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well and we ask families to continue to contact our school nurses. 

COVID TESTING - Update

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has not yet been able to provide the resources offered to districts to conduct pooled testing for COVID 19.  We are working to hire sufficient medically based staff (nurses, health assistants etc…) to provide the pooled testing using Greenfield Public School staff rather than continue to wait for the state level resources.  We hope to have that system in place very soon.  In the meantime, we are providing the two other types of testing for our students.  Rapid tests have been provided for any student who is ill.  These are being done by our nurses and this rapid testing began with the start of school.  We are also doing the Test and Stay, in which students who are identified as close contacts within the schools but are not showing symptoms, are tested at school and then remain in school as long as they are feeling well and the tests are negative.  This type of testing has also been used since the start of school. We will begin doing district-wide pooled testing as soon as the staffing is in place or the DESE vendor is able to provide the staffing. 

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

MANDATORY TESTING FOR INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETICS

At the September 13 meeting, the School Committee voted to require COVID 19 testing for students who participate in interscholastic athletics at both the middle and high school levels.  This testing will begin as soon as pooled testing is available for all students who have signed consent.  If any athletes have questions, please contact the high school nursing office or the high school administration.  Please see the link to the consent form above.

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had five positive cases in district.

BEFORE SCHOOL CARE

We have the ability to offer additional spots for students in our before school care program. Parents will need to sign up for before school care at least a week prior to the date on which they need their child to start so we can confirm we have appropriate staffing levels.  It is very important for safety and keeping track of the students at before school that parents not drop off students we are not expecting.  If you are interested in signing your child up for before school care, please contact your child’s school. If you have questions about before school care, please contact your child’s school and one of the program coordinators will get back to you.

TIKTOK

Many students follow TIKTOK on social media.  Unfortunately, some of our students, most notably at the Greenfield Middle School have engaged in a trend that involves taking items that are not theirs.  Please help us in reminding all students that they are expected to be respectful of other people’s things and to not engage in this type of behavior.  We appreciate your support.  Please see the link below for more information.

https://www.newsweek.com/tiktok-devious-licks-trend-stolen-items-school-1628463

EXTRA RIDERS ON BUSES

Kuzmeskus Bus has asked that we not allow students to ride buses except their assigned bus.  Given the increased numbers of COVID 19 cases and the possibility for contact tracing, they need to have riders on their assigned buses only.  Thank you for your cooperation with this update.

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

I hope everyone enjoys the Fair and the projected beautiful weather this weekend

Take care,

Christine

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

September 9, 2021

Good evening,

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Bus Routes and Student Pick Up
  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Before School Care
  • Lunch Menu Changes
  • Picture Day for Newton School
  • Newton School PTO Meeting

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

BUS ROUTES

The bus routes are on the Greenfield Public Schools website and can be found here: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/2021-2022-bus-routes

If you have questions about the routes, please contact Travel Kuz at 413-863-2595.

A reminder that parents of our kindergarten students need to meet their children at the bus stops at afternoon drop off.  Thank you

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioner’s mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We are hearing that a number of students are boarding buses without them.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies continues to be critical in our efforts to reduce the spread of illness.  In the Greenfield Schools we will be continuing to utilize these strategies, in addition to the wearing of masks indoors. There is no requirement for specific social distancing from DESE, however, we will be providing added space when possible. This includes in the cafeterias when students are unmasked to eat. Other mitigation strategies include: frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, having students facing the same direction when possible to limit direct face to face when speaking.  We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur. It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well.  There will be an updated list of COVID symptoms on our website. 

Our goal is to keep our students and staff in school for the full year. Your help in following the mitigation strategies is greatly appreciated as we collectively focus on the health and safety of the entire Greenfield Public School Community. Thank you!

COVID TESTING

We are again doing routine COVID safety checks (previously referred to as “pool testing”) in the Greenfield Public Schools.

There are three types of testing available for students.

  • We can administer a rapid antigen testing if students exhibit symptoms after they arrive at school – again please keep students home if they are not feeling well
  • Test and Stay - if students are identified as a close contact from school exposure , they can continue to come to school and get tested daily as long as they are not showing any symptoms
  • COVID safety checks

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

Since the last Parent Update, we have had two positive cases in district.

BEFORE SCHOOL CARE

We are pleased to share that our before school care started this Tuesday.  We have staff in place to support the students who had signed up as of Friday Sept 3.  Parents will need to sign up for before school care at least a week prior to the date on which they need their child to start so we can confirm we have appropriate staffing levels.  It is very important for safety and keeping track of the students at before school that parents not drop off students we are not expecting.  Thank you so much for helping with this important matter.  If you have questions about before school care, please contact your child’s school and one of the program coordinators will get back to you.

LUNCH MENU CHANGES

We are experiencing some supply chain issues and at times, the lunch offerings may be different from what is on the menu because we aren’t able to get food orders on time. The Food Service staff is working to keep the menu options as close as possible to the published menus. Thank you for your understanding.

PICTURE DAYS

Please remember that Newton School has pictures on September 17th.

NEWTON STREET PTO

The Newton Street PTO meeting will be held virtually on September 16 at 4:00 pm.

Please remember to check the website for our schools for important dates specific to each school and other exciting news!  Our website is www.gpsk12.org

I hope everyone enjoys the Fair and the projected beautiful weather this weekend

Take care

Christine

_______________________________________________________________________________

September 2, 2021

Welcome to the 2021-2022 academic year! Our students, grades 1 – 12 have had a successful start to the new school year and we are looking forward to welcoming the class of 2035 for kindergarten and our new preschool students tomorrow.

Each week while we are dealing with COVID 19 in our area, I will send out a Parent Update to all families through School Messenger.  I will try to send them on Thursdays in the early evening but periodically, I’m not able to send the Update until Friday so thank you in advance for your flexibility. Once COVID related information is no longer relevant, I will gather feedback from the community to determine if a weekly update from the Superintendent would still be helpful. My Parent Update will include information that is general to the district and also related to COVID 19 protocols and information.

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Start of School and Labor Day
  • Bus Routes
  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Staff Vaccination Status
  • Before School Care
  • Lunch Menu Changes
  • Drop Off
  • Picture Days

START OF SCHOOL

Kindergarten and Preschool Friday September 3, 2021 –  K and PK students will have a half day with dismissal at 11:55 am.

Schools are closed Monday September 6 for Labor Day

START AND END TIMES

Our typical start and end times for school are:

Greenfield High School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Greenfield Middle School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Elementary Schools (Newton, Federal and Four Corners) – start at 8:30 am and end at 2:55 pm

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

BUS ROUTES

The bus routes are on the Greenfield Public Schools website and can be found here: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/2021-2022-bus-routes

If you have questions about the routes, please contact Travel Kuz at 413-863-2595.

 COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  While the Commissioners mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) requires that everyone wear masks on transportation vehicles regardless of vaccination status – this includes school buses.  We are hearing that a number of students are boarding buses without them.  We provide disposable masks for any student whose mask gets dirty or broken/ruined but ask families to help us make sure students have masks to board the bus.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.

The use of mitigation strategies continues to be critical in our efforts to reduce the spread of illness.  In the Greenfield Schools we will be continuing to utilize these strategies, in addition to the wearing of masks indoors. There is no requirement for specific social distancing from DESE, however, we will be providing added space when possible. This includes in the cafeterias when students are unmasked to eat. Other mitigation strategies include: frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, having students facing the same direction when possible to limit direct face to face when speaking.  We will continue to review the strategies we use and will update families as changes occur. It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well.  There will be an updated list of COVID symptoms on our website. 

Our goal is to keep our students and staff in school for the full year. Your help in following the mitigation strategies is greatly appreciated as we collectively focus on the health and safety of the entire Greenfield Public School Community. Thank you!

COVID TESTING

We are again doing routine COVID safety checks (previously referred to as “pool testing”) in the Greenfield Public Schools.

There are three types of testing available for students.

  • We can administer a rapid antigen testing if students exhibit symptoms after they arrive at school – again please keep students home if they are not feeling well
  • Test and Stay - if students are identified as a close contact from school exposure , they can continue to come to school and get tested daily as long as they are not showing any symptoms
  • COVID safety checks

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms and information about testing, please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

STAFF VACINATION STATUS

It can be very challenging to send students back to school with much uncertainty about COVID; however, some families have asked staff to disclose their vaccination status.  Vaccination status of our staff is considered personal health information and they are not required to discuss that, or any other health information with families.  I realize that knowing the vaccination status of your child’s teacher or other support staff could reduce anxiety or concern but please know that we are following recommended mitigation strategies aimed at reducing the likelihood that illness will spread.  The staff takes the risk of COVID 19 very seriously and is doing everything we have asked to protect your children and themselves.  I realize that not knowing the vaccination status of staff may lead some families to make difficult decisions and we invite you to discuss our mitigation strategies with the building principal as our goal is to help you feel as comfortable as possible, following our legal requirements. Thank you for respecting the privacy of our staff regarding health information.

BEFORE SCHOOL CARE

We continue to look for staff for the before school care program.  We have more than 130 students signed up but do not have all the staff to safely supervise that many students.  This is one of the top priorities for our district and we realize that parents are looking to this before school care to assist with work schedules.

We have advertised on SchoolSpring so the posting is visible to the public, so please share that information with anyone who may be willing to cover the morning, even as a substitute.  We have also reached out to some of our community partners, who also are dealing with staffing shortages.  We are continuing to search for applicants and will continue to do so.  I apologize that the program was not up and running on the first day of school but as I said, we continue to keep this a top priority.

I will continue to provide updates on our progress and we are optimistic that we will be able to start at some point soon.

LUNCH MENU CHANGES

We are experiencing some supply chain issues and at times, the lunch offerings may be different from what is on the menu because we aren’t able to get food orders on time. The Food Service staff is working to keep the menu options as close as possible to the published menus. Thank you for your understanding.

STUDENT DROP OFF

We are asking all families who drop their children off for school to please be aware of the buses and not drop students off in the parking lots.  Thank you so much for helping us to keep all of our students safe!

PICTURE DAYS

Please remember that GHS picture day is September 3 and Newton School has pictures on September 17th.

I hope everyone enjoys the mild weather this weekend

Take care,

Christine

 

<hr>

August 26, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

I am so pleased to have started my time as Superintendent here in Greenfield. I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with so many wonderful staff and I look forward to meeting our students and families throughout the year. I am beginning to visit schools and can see the pride our staff takes in how cared for and welcoming our school are. New teacher orientation is being held this week and our Food Service Staff did an amazing job welcoming the new members of the GPS community.  The excitement is building as we all look forward to the first day with our students.

Each week while we are dealing with COVID 19 in our area, I will send out a Parent Update to all families through School Messenger.  I will try to send them on Thursdays in the early evening but periodically, I’m not able to send the Update until Friday so thank you in advance for your flexibility. Once COVID related information is no longer relevant, I will gather feedback from the community to determine if a weekly update from the Superintendent would still be helpful. My Parent Update will include information that is general to the district and also related to COVID 19 protocols and information.

This week’s Parent Update will include information about:

  • Start of School
  • School Hours – new information is included
  • Bus Routes
  • Meet and Greets
  • Covid Protocols
  • Covid Testing Options
  • Positive Case Notifications
  • Staff Vacancies
  • Elementary Specials

START OF SCHOOL

  • Grades 1-12 Wednesday, September 1, 2021 – Students will have a half-day with dismissal at 11:55 am for Elementary and 11:15 am for Middle and High School.
  • Kindergarten and Preschool Friday September 3, 2021 –  K and PK students will have a half-day with dismissal at 11:55 am.

START AND END TIMES

Our typical start and end times for school are:

Greenfield High School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Greenfield Middle School – starts at 7:45 am and ends at 2:10 pm

Elementary Schools (Newton, Federal and Four Corners) – start at 8:30 am and end at 2:55 pm

The School Calendar can also be found on our website https://www.gpsk12.org/calendar

 A FEW REMINDERS

  • Students may still go outside during the academic day for instruction, breaks etc… Please make sure they have water bottles, hats and have applied sunscreen prior to leaving home if appropriate based on the weather
  • Parent will need to bring any medication to the school nurses. Our students are not permitted to bring in their own medication.

MEET AND GREETS

The Meet and Greets at our schools are scheduled for Monday August 30 with building specific times available on the website.  With COVID continuing to be a concern, we ask families to please consider limiting the number of guests who attend. This will help to provide added space in the buildings. We also ask that families read the COVID protocols below, especially related to the mask mandate. Thank you so much in advance for everyone’s assistance.

COVID PROTOCOLS

We continue to have a mask mandate in the Greenfield Public Schools, following GPS policy and a recent mandate by the Commissioner of Education.  This mandate requires all public school students, ages 5 and older, and all staff, to wear masks indoors.  All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings.  While the Commissioners mandate is for students ages 5 and older, we do ask that our preschool students wear them as well. 

The use of mitigation strategies continues to be critical in our efforts to reduce the spread of illness.  In the Greenfield Schools we will be continuing to utilize these strategies, in addition to the wearing of masks indoors. There is no requirement for specific social distancing from DESE, however, we will be providing added space when possible. This includes in the cafeterias when students are unmasked to eat. Other mitigation strategies include: frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, having students facing the same direction when possible to limit direct face to face when speaking.  It is also critical that students remain home if they are not feeling well.  There will be an updated list of COVID symptoms on our website. 

Our goal is to keep our students and staff in school for the full year. Your help in following the mitigation strategies is greatly appreciated as we collectively focus on the health and safety of the entire Greenfield Public School Community. Thank you!

COVID TESTING

We are again doing routine COVID safety checks (previously referred to as “pool testing”) in the Greenfield Public Schools.

There are three types of testing available for students.

  • We can administer a rapid antigen testing if students exhibit symptoms after they arrive at school – again please keep students home if they are not feeling well
  • Test and Stay - if students are identified as a close contact , they can continue to come to school and get tested daily as long as they are not showing any symptoms
  • COVID safety checks

A consent form is at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Greenfield

Parents who sign consent are agreeing to all three types of testing associated with GPS – families are not able to choose one but decline the others.

More information about these types of testing can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/testing/

As a reminder about symptoms please see the district website at www.gpsk12.org

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school nurse.

POSITIVE CASE NOTIFICATION

I will provide information to the school community about the number of overall positive cases in the schools in my weekly Parent Update. Students who are identified as a close contact will be contacted individually by our school nurses or staff from the Department of Public Health.  Nursing staff will also provide information about a positive case to others who may require the information. 

We have specific protocols that are followed in regards to contact tracing and will continue to coordinate with DPH when anyone tests positive, is a close contact or in any other situations where we have concern regarding exposure or high risk for exposure.

Testing positive for COVID 19 is confidential, medical information and we will continue to respect the privacy of those dealing with this illness.  Thank you for understanding.

STAFF VACANCIES

We are working hard to fill all of the positions in the GPS. AT this time, there are still some unfilled positions and we thank you for your patience as we interview qualified candidates.

ELEMENTARY SPECIALS

There has been a recent schedule change related to elementary special subjects (art, music, PE, technology). This schedule change was made to ensure that all of our elementary students had access to all of these classes since the previous staff schedules did not allow all of our students to enjoy instruction in these important subject areas.  However, we do realize that chorus and band have been affected with this change.  We are working with the elementary specials teachers and administrators to address some questions and logistical issues that are typical with any schedule change and we continue to explore creative ways to potentially offer band and chorus.  I appreciate that a late schedule change can be frustrating for families and I appreciate you giving us to the time to address the situation in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner.

Dr. Christine DeBarge, Superintendent of Schools

superintendent update banner spring 1

June 18, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

The last day of school has arrived for our students. After a very difficult year of remote learning and a return to in-person learning with restrictions that have placed hardships on everyone, we want to congratulate all our students and families for accomplishing a great deal under trying circumstances. I particularly want to thank our administrators, educators, and all staff for the incredible work they’ve done while working our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the summer approaches, it comes with optimism and hope for a brighter future. The administration of the Greenfield Public Schools will be preparing for the 2021-2022 school year, starting next week. There is much to do to meet the challenges that lie ahead. During the summer months, I will update you on our progress.

The School Committee received the names of the finalists for the permanent position of Superintendent of Schools. They are Bernard Audette, Jennifer Culkeen, Christine Debarge, Thaddeus King, and Carole Learned-Miller. A brief summary of their biographies was sent to our GPS Community on Thursday, June 17th. We have also posted their resumes for anyone interested in reading them on the Superintendent Search web page.

Each of the candidates will be visiting our district for a day on July 6, 7, 8, 12, and 13 to meet with administrators, educators, staff members, parents, and community leaders. Be on the lookout for a survey next week to register your interest in meeting with the candidates. At the conclusion of each day’s visit, each candidate will be interviewed by the School Committee in a public session. The School Committee will deliberate at their July 14th meeting and vote on their choice to take on the leadership of the district.

Wishing you all a happy and safe summer!

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


June 3, 2021

Hello GPS Community!

Three items for your information below:

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

We are coming down to the end of what has been an extraordinary school year and our Seniors at GHS are very excited about their graduation on Saturday, June 5th. Per orders of the Board of Health, this is a ticketed event, open to a limited number of guests with all physical distancing protocols followed. There will be a video of the event for those of you who would like to watch it from home. Those without a ticket will not be able to attend. 

Last Week of School activities

The last week of school is the week of June 14th. All of our schools have planned ways to help students learn the significance of the Juneteenth holiday, signed into law in Massachusetts in May. Check out your child’s school newsletters and communications from the principals for the details of the observances, along with other end-of-the-year activities. Please understand that typical events for the end of the year will be different this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions. We thank our families for your understanding.

Our last day of school will be Friday, June 18th. It will be a half-day for students. The observed Juneteenth Holiday for the Greenfield Public Schools will be on Monday, June 21st. All school and district offices will be closed on that day.

Family and Community Survey

The Greenfield Public Schools is partnering with TMS, an education management firm, to conduct an independent survey of expectations, experiences, and school-to-home communications. The feedback and insight provided by you will help inform the school leadership team and school committee as efforts are made to strengthen the school system.

As a parent or guardian, teacher, staff member, student, or resident of Greenfield, you have a valuable perspective on the state of Greenfield's public schools. Your input is extremely important.

The survey opens today and closes Sunday evening. It takes just a few minutes to complete and your input is critically important. 

Click here to take the survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/GPS2021survey

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


May 21, 2021

Good afternoon GPS Community,

This has been a week of rapid changes by the state regarding mask-wearing in public schools. As a result, the Greenfield School Committee met on May 21, 2021, to revise their current face coverings policy to reflect these changes. Click here to read the updated version. The revisions allow for the following exemptions to mask-wearing at school:

  • for students only, while outside (recess, physical education, youth sports, and outdoor learning environments) per the DESE guidelines, published May 17, 2021;

  • for athletes on spring teams in active play outdoors, on the bench/dugout, indoors at low-risk sports where 14 feet or more of distance are consistently maintained between each participant (per MIAA guidelines, published May 17, 2021);

  • spectators, chaperones, coaches, staff, referees, umpires/other officials who can meet the district’s 6-foot distancing guidelines outdoors only (per MIAA guidelines, published May 17, 2021).

Adults must continue to wear masks outdoors if distancing cannot be maintained, per the May 17, 2021, DESE guidelines. Visitors, spectators, volunteers, and staff must wear masks indoors during athletic events per the May 17, 2021, MIAA guidelines.

In response to the peaceful protest regarding equity, equality, race, and social justice at GHS last week, Principal Patenaude has been working closely with students to get their input into how to move forward. The students have plans to continue their work by engaging with both faculty and students and are making plans to participate in an upcoming faculty meeting.

We have also reached out to the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton, which is providing support to districts across the Pioneer Valley in the areas of social justice and equity. We have engaged in some preliminary discussions regarding professional development for staff members and community engagement. We will share more details as they become available over the summer months.

I would like to remind our families that there is a half-day of school for students on Friday, May 28, 2021. This early release day will afford our teachers some professional time to work together on ensuring smooth transitions for students as we look forward to the 2021-2022 school year.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


May 14, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

This has been a busy week in the Greenfield Public Schools. As you know, we did have a couple of positive cases of COVID-19 within our school community, but thanks to everyone’s work at following our Daily Four protocols, we have not seen any further spread. Although the CDC is making recommendations regarding vaccinations and mask-wearing, the GPS Facecovering policy remains in effect for all staff and students in our schools and on our grounds. Thank you all in advance for continuing to follow our protocols. While we as educators teach, we also learn from our students. On Friday morning, May 17th, a group of students had a conversation in the form of a peaceful protest with our high school principal, Ms. Karin Patenaude, about equity, equality, race, and social justice. The students were thoughtful in their approach, identifying several issues they wish to see addressed and it was a mutually beneficial discussion for the adults and the students. The students have also made a commitment to actively engage in finding solutions to their concerns. I also met with them to hear their ideas about ways we can resolve some of the concerns and issues they have identified. In the coming days, we will be meeting with the students again, will be reaching out to Community Action and Stand Up, and working with the high school leadership team and our students to continue to meet the students’ needs. Look for a public announcement next week on the details of our approach. The School Committee met on Wednesday evening and reviewed several policies that are in need of an addition to the policy manual or revisions to existing policies. You can read the policies that were adopted or are under review by going to our website, gpsk12.org, and clicking on the School Committee meetings page. The policies are included in the 5/12/21 meeting materials. The Committee will be meeting in a special session on Tuesday evening, May 8th, at 6:00 pm, to continue this important work. Sincerely, Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


May 10, 2021

Greetings GPS Community, 

The month of May is in full swing and with it, several things to share with you. We appreciate everyone’s vigilance with The Daily Four, as it really makes a difference in our schools. Another way to protect our school community is through participation in the GPS Pooled Testing program. If you have not yet signed your child up for pooled testing, click here to register. Thank you.

The City of Greenfield is winding down their COVID-19 vaccine program, but there are still slots available for anyone age 18 and over to receive the Moderna vaccine at the John Zon Community Center on Pleasant Street. You can register through the state’s COVID-19 system, https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/locations/greenfield-senior-center. No insurance is required or asked for and no IDs are required (if an 18-year-old looks young they may need to verify their birthdate). If you have trouble registering through the state website, you can call or email 413-775-6411 or vaccine.clinics@greenfield-ma.gov for 5/12 and 5/14 clinic dates.

The Greenfield School Committee will meet on Wednesday, May 12th, at 6:00 pm. The meeting will be held via a Webex link. You can find the agenda and packet here: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district/committee-meetings.

Kindergarten registration is in full swing! Our Registrar, Sierra Rother, will be available for some special hours over the next couple of weeks, beginning Tuesday, May 11th. If you have a child who will be the age of 5 by September 1st and haven’t yet registered for Kindergarten, these special hours will give you an extra opportunity to do that. You can find more information on that by clicking here.

The Greenfield Public Schools are hiring! We are a great place to work and learn and we have a variety of positions available in many areas: teachers, instructional assistants, substitute teachers, and instructional assistants, cafeteria staff, crossing guards, and custodial staff. You can find more information on our website at https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-district-wide/administration/employment. Come join our teamwork in your community and be a part of what makes Greenfield a wonderful place to be!

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 29, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

We are now back to in-person learning in all our schools! Thanks to the hard work of our administration, faculty, and staff as well as our transportation providers, things are going pretty smoothly. GHS and GMS families should be aware of the new traffic patterns at both schools for drop-off and pick-up. Please remember that GHS students should not arrive at school until 7:10 am and GMS students should not arrive until 7:45 am, as we do not have supervision available ahead of those times. Thank you for your cooperation.

We also want to remind the broader community that school grounds are off-limits to the general community for personal use during school hours. This includes our playgrounds and outdoor athletic facilities. Our overall safety protocols require that these areas be open to students and staff only. We thank the community for your understanding and cooperation with this district policy.

As you know, we are continuing our downward trend in Massachusetts regarding the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, statewide. As more people are being vaccinated, we are beginning to see some loosening of restrictions by Governor Baker. One of those areas is with regard to mask-wearing. Please be advised that the GPS policy on face coverings is still in force in the district and will remain that way for the remainder of the school year. We want to end the year strong and appreciate our families’ help with ensuring that students have masks available for all places and at all times except meals and supervised mask breaks.

One way in which we can continue to keep our community safe is through pooled testing at school. Our school nurses have worked tirelessly to get this program in place and we have learned from the state that they will fund this program through the end of August. Staff and students will have the opportunity to be tested once a week.

Now, our nurses have created an easier way to register for both pooled testing and BinaxNow testing (in case your child experiences symptoms of illness at school). If you haven’t registered your child yet, please click on Greenfield Pooled Testing to complete our new electronic consent process.

If you are having any concerns about your child’s comfort with COVID-19 testing, please watch this adorable video of a 2nd grader demonstrating how to do a nasal swab. He’s an expert at showing just how easy and painless it is! Also, feel free to reach out to your school nurse with any questions or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 22, 2021

To our GPS Community:

I hope that everyone has been enjoying the April break. We have certainly had a wide range of weather!

As we prepare to return to school next week and to welcome our GMS and GHS students on Wednesday, April 28th, I want to remind everyone of The Daily Four, the keys to our success. These steps are important both in school and in the community.

  1. Wear a mask – With vaccinations becoming more widespread, it’s easy to think that we no longer need masks. We are still operating under a mask mandate per the School Committee’s policy and state regulations. Click here to read the policy. Even though hope is on the horizon, wearing a mask is our best protection – both in school and in the community.
  2. Wash your hands (and use hand sanitizer) – This is another easy, yet effective way to protect yourself and others against the COVID-19 virus. The CDC recommends 20 seconds of washing – the equivalent of singing “Happy Birthday” two times. Teaching our youngest learners the “happy birthday” method will help them know the 20-second rule and can be a fun activity at home. We also provide hand sanitizer in our schools for extra protection for students and staff.
  3. Stay apart – The recommended distance, person-to-person, is 6 feet. Our distancing protocols in school provide for this amount of space between our students. Furniture has been arranged to allow for that and stickers are on our hallway floors to ensure everyone keeps that distance. Many places in our community use similar floor markers, one-way aisles in stores, and other cues to help remind us of keeping a proper distance. Research has shown that physical distancing is an effective preventative measure.
  4. Stay home if your child or someone in your household does not feel well – We are doing everything in our power to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, but we need the help of our families to keep our schools safe. We can’t stress enough the importance of everyone’s efforts in this regard. The CDC has a list of symptoms that you can check. Be sure to check for these in your household daily before children leave for school. Click here to read the list. If anyone in your household has these symptoms, get tested immediately and quarantine until you get the results.

Together, we can make these final weeks of school a valuable learning experience for all our students. Thank you for doing your part to help keep our schools safe!

A special note to our GMS and GHS families: Our bus contractor, F.M. Kuzmeskis, has published preliminary bus routes for the return to in-person learning on April 28th. There are still some adjustments that may need to be made prior to then, so be sure to check back up until next Tuesday for any last-minute changes. Please make sure your child arrives at the stop, with a mask on, 5 minutes ahead of the scheduled pick-up time. Masks are required on all our buses. Click here to see the routes.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 16, 2021

To our GPS Community:

Our first two weeks of in-person learning went pretty smoothly. I want to express my deep appreciation to all our administrators, faculty, staff, and transportation providers for the extensive work in preparing for students’ return to our school buildings and for making sure everyone was warmly welcomed and settled in.

On Wednesday, April 28th, GMS and GHS will welcome our 5th through 12th graders back to in-person learning. Preparations are underway for what we anticipate to be a smooth opening. Both GMS and GHS have some welcome back events scheduled for their students on Monday and Tuesday, April 26th and 27th. Check your emails for the details for each school. We anticipate that bus routes for GMS and GHS will be made available early during the week of April 19th. We will make sure everyone knows how to access that information as soon as it becomes available.

As we head into the April vacation week, we want to remind everyone of our “Daily Four” and to be sure to practice those actions throughout the vacation week: (1) Wear a mask, (2) Wash and sanitize your hands, (3) Keep apart (6 feet, person-to-person), and (4) Stay home if you don’t feel well. We understand that everyone is COVID-weary and that the availability of vaccines is giving us hope, but it is important that we all stay vigilant during the April vacation week, particularly if you have plans to travel. Together, we can be sure that our schools continue to be safe places for our students to learn and grow.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


April 2, 2021

Hello GPS Community,

After a lot of hard work by all our administrators, faculty, and staff, we look forward to welcoming our PK-4 students back to in-person learning on Monday, April 5, 2021. Children in grades PK and K will be coming to school in the mornings only on April 5 and 6, with an early release in the afternoon. All children in grades 1-4 will have a full day of school on those days.

Bus routes for the elementary grades have been posted to our website, which you can find by clicking this link: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/2020-2021-bus-routes Please bear in mind, as is the case with any opening of school, that there may be some glitches in the first few days as we get routines of drop off and pick up of children established. Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated.

Families of students at GMS and GHS are reminded that we need your information about whether or not your children are returning to school and, if so, whether or not they will be using bus transportation or some other means to get to school and back each day. Please be sure to fill out the in-person survey link by Monday, April 5th. Here's the link: https://www.gpsk12.org/gps-central/administration/gps-person-learning-survey After that day, the survey will close.

If you have any questions about the specifics by school, please feel free to reach out to your children's principals for more information.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 29, 2021

Hello GPS Families!

Our GPS Virtual Tour is up for viewing. You can find it, along with a list of FAQs about the return to in-person learning, on our website page dedicated to in-person learning at https://www.gpsk12.org/in-person-learning.

In order to get bus routes planned and published by week's end, we need your help to complete our survey about your intentions regarding your student's return to school on this same web page. Please complete the survey by Tuesday, March 30th, at noon.

Thank you for your cooperation. Our PK-4 students will be released from remote learning on Thursday, April 1st and Friday, April 2nd at 11:55 am. Students who are attending in-person will also be released at that time on these dates. This will allow teachers time to prepare their classrooms for students' return on April 5th.

The School Committee approved a revised mask policy at their March 25th meeting. You can find the details on this policy by clicking here. These revisions are in response to recent updates to the guidance from the state on mask-wearing.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 26, 2021

Hello GPS Community!

I want to thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to attend our public forums on the return to in-person learning on March 24 and March 25. We have established a new web page on our site for In-Person Learning, where you can find links to the recordings, in case you were not able to attend. Here’s the link to that page: https://www.gpsk12.org/in-person-learning. You can also get to that page from our main website by clicking the “for FAMILIES & COMMUNITY” and clicking on the In-Person Learning link in the menu. We will continue to update this special web page with information about our in-person learning plans on a frequent basis over the next few weeks, so be sure to check back often. We will keep our families informed of updates via our School Messenger system.

We have launched our follow-up survey for families to let us know whether or not you will be choosing to return to in-person learning in April per our plan and how you will be arranging for transportation to and from school. It is important that we receive these surveys back no later than Tuesday, March 30th, as we need this information to finish setting up our classrooms and determining bus routes. Here is the link to the survey: https://forms.gle/UBFXJqH3caTNMbyz5. You can also find the survey link on our new In-Person Learning web page.

Our administrators, faculty, and staff are hard at work getting everything ready to welcome our students back to a friendly and safe environment and we look forward to seeing our students back with us in April!

The School Committee voted on a change to the school calendar for next week in order to give our PreK - Grade 4 teachers time to prepare their classrooms. Students in grades PreK-4 will be released from online learning at 11:55 on Thursday, April 1st, and Friday, April 2nd. There will be no online classes or lessons to complete so teachers can come to school and get their classrooms ready for students. All PreK and Kindergarten students will only have a half day on the first two days of school, April 5th and 6th. Students in grades 1-4 will have full days on those days.

The Greenfield School Committee appreciates the time and effort being made to prepare for a return to in-person learning. As all our efforts are focused on this issue, there will be no subcommittee meetings until after the next full meeting of the School Committee on April 14, 2021. At that time, we will address the schedule of subcommittees for the remainder of the spring.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


March 22, 2021

Dear GPS Community,

On Thursday, March 18th, the Greenfield School Committee approved a plan for reopening our schools. Following the Commissioner of Education’s plan to begin the process in April, we will be welcoming our Academy of Early Learning, Discovery at Four Corners, Federal Street, and Newton Street Schools students back on Monday, April 5th. Greenfield Middle and Greenfield High Schools will be welcoming their students back on Wednesday, April 28th. You can find the details as we have them to date by clicking this link. These dates required that we apply for a waiver from the Commissioner to allow our fifth grade students to return to school with our middle school students. That waiver was granted on March 18, 2021.

On Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday at noon, the Greenfield Public Schools will host virtual public forums to answer questions and address concerns related to the reopening of schools. In an effort to make these forums as efficient and productive as possible, please submit your questions in advance. Our moderator will read questions aloud and school administration will answer the questions.

Click on this link to submit your question: https://forms.gle/p4M8tdwuoLnDn9jB9 [GPS is no longer accepting questions]

You may register for one of these webinar forums by clicking the link below:

[The zoom link is no longer active.]

Once you have registered for the webinar, you will receive an email confirmation with instructions for logging into the session. If you are unable to attend, the webinars will be recorded and shared later.

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools


We are continuing with planning for a return to in-person learning for our elementary students in grades PK-5 on April 5, 2021. Our In-Person Learning (IPL) Command System is addressing needs for physical distancing within the guidelines provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

On March 10, 2021, the Greenfield School Committee adopted a Face Coverings policy that addresses the requirements for mask wearing in schools during in-person learning. You can find a copy of that policy by clicking this link. This policy, as amended by the DESE Commissioner of Education, includes all staff and students in grades PK and up.

Our families should also have received information about our upcoming pooled testing program, along with links to grant permission for that testing. If you have any questions about this COVID-19 testing program or did not receive the email with the information, please be sure to contact your school nurse.

I want to thank all of our families for sharing your initial thoughts with us regarding in-person learning during our recent survey. I realize that it was difficult to complete without more details of what in-person learning will look like. More information will be forthcoming soon about those details and we will follow up with another survey soon that will ask you for more information about your plans. Keep an eye out for email notifications from our Student Messenger system. If you have not received notifications about these updates, please be sure to check your information in PowerSchool or call your child’s school to ensure that we have your correct email address listed.

As we work our way to reopening our schools to in-person learning, we want to remind everyone that it will take everyone’s collaboration to ensure that our schools will be healthy and safe environments for teaching and learning. You will soon be seeing signs up around our school buildings reminding everyone to be sure we are practicing “The GPS Daily Four.” Now is a great time to start practicing these healthy habits!

Sincerely,

Dr. Judith Houle, Interim Superintendent of Schools