Superintendent's Update - 4/21/2020

Superintendent's Update - 4/21/2020
Posted on 04/21/2020
Superintendent's Update - 4/21/2020

April 21, 2020

Dear Medway families, 

I hope that this communication finds you well.  Earlier today, Governor Baker held a press conference where he extended school closures for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  As a result, the Medway Public Schools will continue with remote learning for the remainder of this school year. While this news is not surprising, we recognize that the finality of this decision comes with a great deal of emotions.  We all have come to understand the fragile state that we are in during this pandemic. Even so, the potential for an end of year return to school provided hope and anticipation to many of us, most especially our Class of 2020 who are looking forward to closing one monumental chapter of their lives, and beginning another.  Please know that these mixed emotions are acknowledged and shared and that we will continue to work hard to find ways to celebrate time honored traditions, even if in a manner that is anything but traditional.   

We recognize that this continued closure is challenging for students and families on many levels.   We will continue to ensure that our remote learning plans are supportive of connection, wellness, and continued learning.  Our educators throughout the district are working hard to collaboratively develop student learning plans that deepen learning and, where appropriate, provide access to new content and skill acquisition.   Additionally, we want our families in need of additional resources to access these. Please see below for important information on how families can access food and/or technology support during the closure.  There are also additional updates below.

 

Be well, 

 

Armand Pires, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Food Access

In order to ensure that students’ nutritional needs continue to be satisfied during this period of school closure, we are continuing to offer families the opportunity to have access to school meals and food to prepare meals at home.  As a Medway family, you have the opportunity to access meals in three different ways:

 

Breakfast and lunch pick-up:  A “grab and go” breakfast and lunch will be available for pick-up, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, outside of the Medway Middle School main entrance from 7:00-9:00 a.m.  On Monday and Wednesday, students will be offered two days worth of meals (two breakfast and two lunches) and on Friday students will be offered three days worth of meals.  Each meal will include an entree, side of fruit and/or vegetable, and milk. Parents and guardians are able to pull-up to the Medway Middle School front entrance and pick up their meals without having to leave their vehicle.  

 

Weekly food pick-up: A week’s worth of food can be picked up at the Medway Village Church Food Pantry on Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:00 a.m. or by scheduling an appointment time with the Food Pantry Director.  Food offerings will include “family size” portions of meal ingredients and kid-friendly single-serve meals.  

 

Breakfast and lunch pick-up and weekly food pick-up:  Medway families are more than welcome to participate in both of the above options in order to access daily prepared meals and larger sized ingredients each week.  

 

To register for one or both food pick-up options please click here.  

 

Technology Access

The technology department has been able to provide over 325 devices to Medway students to help support the district’s curriculum goals. Families can request a device through an online portal and pick-up Tuesday and Thursday between 9:00am and 12:00 pm. Special circumstances are also being accommodated, such as delivery to students that can not make it to the school and extended pick-up hours for working parents.  Parents can use this form to request a device. If you have any questions please email us at support@medwayschools.org.

 

School Closure and Remote Learning Updates

Master Plan

As you know, we published the Medway Public Schools Remote Learning Plan.  The depth and breadth of this plan were intentional as we built a resource for the long term closure.  We will be seeking feedback on the first phase of remote learning from our faculty, staff, and community at the end of our second week via a survey.  Please also find information posted to our central school closure website: Medway Public Schools School Closure Site.  

 

Student Data Privacy and Security While Video Conferencing:

As we work remotely and utilize free online tools like Zoom to work with our students, colleagues, and families, we have recognized and have paid great attention to advisors connected with hackers infiltrating video conferencing systems and presenting inappropriate content. We have implemented the Zoom security features listed here, https://zoom.us/security, to better secure our meeting events and have listed our domain as educational with Zoom. This listing adds further security and data privacy to anyone accessing the resource with a medwayschools.org account.

 

To further increase security for our student data, we have joined the TEC Collaborative’s Student Data Privacy Group.  This group has negotiated Student Data Privacy agreements with many cloud based software vendors, including Zoom, to ensure our student data is as secure as possible.  

 

We continue to monitor and adjust practices in response to questions or raised concerns.

 

Virtual IEP Annual Reviews 

As you are aware, the pandemic and subsequent school closures have impacted all areas of special education, with the Team development of a student’s IEP, being a critical area of need. In an effort to provide continuity of meetings during these extraordinary times, all current Special Education students and their Parents/Guardians/Caregivers, who have not yet had their Annual IEP meeting and are not in the middle of a reevaluation cycle, will have the opportunity to have those meetings conducted virtually.  This will occur prior to the end of the school year, and will be held virtually through the Zoom platform during this school closure period.  

This is optional.  We understand and respect that some caregivers will want to delay meetings until the opportunity for in person Team meetings occurs when schools are back in session.  These meetings will not affect a student’s IEP status in any way, as the state has indicated that all IEPS, whose end date has passed, will be continued until such a time that the Team may convene. 

Behavioral Supports for Parents

In these unprecedented times, we started to offer parents of students with intensive behavioral needs access to online parent support via live streaming.  We are aware that some students struggle with the disruption in routine caused by the extended school closure in ways that can be different and unexpected from their prior behaviors, and place stress on the family environment.

We have contracted with the Applied Behavior Institute (ABI) to provide online, live streaming for parents on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4pm.  Three families signed up this week, and we have another three families who have agreed to have their information provided to ABI, allowing their service to begin next week.  Families are identified based upon the needs of their students, and their concerns expressed during staff family check ins.

DESE:  Family Letter and Resource Toolbox

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has asked that districts send out a Family Letter and Resource Toolbox to all families of students who receive special education services in public schools, including students in out-of-district placements.  That letter may be found here, and the Resource Toolbox may be found here.

MCAS Cancelled

We were notified that all Spring MCAS tests will be cancelled for this year.  The full notification can be found here. 

 

EpiPen Information

Attached please find a letter to inform you about a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statement. The statement is regarding potential issues with the use of EpiPen® 0.3 mg, EpiPen Jr® 0.15 mg Auto-Injectors and the authorized generic versions. The identified issues could delay or prevent emergency treatment when needed. 

 

Mental Health Wrap-Around Services Grant

Medway Schools was recently awarded a $50,400 grant by the Greater Milford Community Health Network to partner with Family Continuity in order to provide mental health wrap-around services to Medway students.  The grant will support the hiring of two clinicians by Family Continuity who will provide mental health services for Medway students, such as in-home therapy, intensive care coordination, and therapeutic mentoring.  These services will be available to Medway students beginning in September 2020.  

 

Medway Public Schools In the News

Medway Schools launch new student virtual registration

Medway Public Schools Supporting Families in Need with Daily Meals During School Closures

 

Upcoming Events

April 21-24, 2020

Continuation of Remote Learning, April Vacation Cancelled

May 7, 2020

School Committee Meeting, Presentation Room, Medway Middle School, 7:00 p.m.


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