Weekly District Update 10/23/21

Weekly District Update 10/23/21
Posted on 10/23/2021
NPS Engage District News - Weekly Message - Natick Public Schools - Parent Academy Logo - www.natickps.org
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Non-Discrimination Statement:
Natick Public Schools does not discriminate in employment nor in its educational programs, services and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, age, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, physical and intellectual differences, immigration status, homeless status, or any other basis prohibited by law.

Federal and State Legislation Addressing Discrimination in Educational Institutions
You will find links to the contacts for each of the following statutes below.
Oct 23, 2021
District Calendar
  • Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
  • National Bullying Prevention. Month
  • National School Principal Month
Please also refer to your school calendar for school-based activities & information.
School Committee
Next Meeting:
Email the School Committee with questions, concerns or comments
Superintendent Memo
Dear Natick Families,
The Ribbon Cutting/ Grand Opening of the Kennedy Middle School
It is so fitting and right that we stand ready to officially open the state of the art STEM-centered Kennedy Middle School. It's been a sunny reminder of our dreams during this gray pandemic time period. This building was, after all, designed to inspire children to want to engage in the interdisciplinary wondrous and life changing nature of science. And this past year has underscored just how important the scientists and our profile of a graduate's creative problem-solving mission is in order to keep our world healthy and safe.
So, too, it is fitting as a symbol of the importance of schools as hubs of th the larger community--as healers as inspiration and as institutions that serve as a lifeline to support our community through the pandemic and will serve our community as it heals and recovers.
The buildings communal spaces--with murals displaying courageous and inspirational thinkers, creators, scientists and leaders seek to inspire our students and engage our families, and community members in support of our young people.
Today's opening is also special because of the simultaneous naming of our planetarium for long-time, now-retired Natick Educator, Edward Jameson. Mr. Jameson inspired generations of young people to explore the heavens and be interested in science. This blend of the best of traditional Natick and the newest, research-based technology and cutting-edge curriculum led by our new principal, 25-year STEM educator Jodie Cohen, means the best possible chance for Natick middle schoolers to be on the cutting edge of STEM careers and the creative interdisciplinary nature of the this generation's future careers.
Our promise to our students is this:
The Natick Public Schools will cherish our children, nurture relationships and connectedness, and provide nothing less than graduate with the skills to lead the futures they choose.
Buildings are not the education, but a strong facility and district facility portfolio that moves the whole district forward means safe, state of the art learning spaces mean that our other financial resources can staff can operate and provide learning and resources directly aimed at students.
As a long time middle school teacher, vice principal and principal, this facility represents to me, the best of MS education: teaming, agency, inclusion, equity, project based learning and an array of wellness, technology and artistic options and venues to allow children to sample learning experiences that will inform their future studies and careers--but most importantly, will inspire their passions.
Thank you, Natick Community for this investment for our students.
Pictured left to right:
Julie McDonough (Chair, Natick School Committee), Stephen Meyler (Chair, KMS Building Committee), Dr. Anna Nolin (Superintendent, Natick Schools), Jack McCarthy (Executive Director, MSBA), Rep. David Linsky (MA Hour Representatives), Sen. Becca Rausch with her kiddo! (MA Senate)
Honoree, Mr. Ed Jameson, shares his gratitude and sentiments as he speaks to the ceremony guests on October 23.
Plaque outside the KMS Planetarium (reads):
Edward Jameson Planetarium

“Astronomy compels the souls to look upward
and leads us from this world to another” -Plato 

This planetarium is dedicated to long-time science educator and NHS planetarium director, Edward Jameson, a man who inspired, mentored and trained thousands of students to become star-gazers, scientists, and leaders. He motivated generations of Natick students to reach for the stars, name them, and be guided by them.
Facilities, Space and Capital Planning Discussions
The School Committee will be taking up issues of class sizes and offerings at NHS, space planning for NHS, preschool, and facilities planning for Johnson and Memorial Schools in their next three meetings. Here is the slide deck of information that will be covered. 
I advise reading the in depth report on Facilities, Space and Capital Planning, or, if you have less time, this Executive Summary. Discussions will occur on 10/18, 11/1, 11/15 at a minimum. 
Also, see two opportunities for community discussion with the committee and school administration posted below.
Can't make a meeting? Your voice can still be heard!
Share your ideas with the larger community through our Community Thoughtexchange
School Committee
Next Meeting:
Email the School Committee with questions, concerns or comments
schoolcommittee@natickps.org. See our website portal documenting our work in space and facilities planning below.
Community-wide Forum
Monday, October 25 @ 7PM
Join the meeting via Computer or Phone App:
Meeting ID: 813 9491 6525
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Find your local number:
Johnson Family Forum
Wednesday, October 27 @ 7PM
Join the meeting via Computer or Phone App:
Meeting ID: 821 2832 2821
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Find your local number:
Celebrating Veterans Day in our Schools
In the coming weeks, we will be celebrating our veterans by reprising our Veteran Reading Day, which is one way we celebrate our veterans in our schools.
This year, in partnership with the Natick Community Services Department and Veteran Services Director and the Natick Army Labs, veterans will be visiting kindergarten classes on November 5, to read to students. To ensure that this event is safe for all, we have implemented COVID safety protocols. All veterans participating in reading day are fully vaccinated and will be fully masked while around students.
See below for links to your school newsletters and additional community notices/updates.
Have a great weekend,
Not seeing the School Newsletters or Community Updates section?
At the bottom of this email, click on "View Entire Message" to see the full Engage newsletter.
10/22/21 UPDATE
Weekly COVID Case Update
Please see below for the weekly COVID case updates. Click on the image to enlarge.
Chart Terminology:
CC's = Close Contacts
CC does not mean that these students are in quarantine. Depending on the circumstances, masking and vaccination status, location. As a reminder, direct contact from school nurses and principals occur if a person is a close contact.  We share the close contact information and remind everyone that vaccination helps to avoid needing to quarantine should a close contact occur.
The following close contacts are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols:
  • Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts: Individuals who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols. 
  • Classroom close contacts: An individual who is exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the classroom while both individuals were masked, so long as the individuals were spaced at least 3 feet apart, is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.  
  • Bus close contacts: Individuals on buses must be masked according to federal requirements. As such, individuals who are masked on buses when windows are open are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.  
  • Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days: An individual who has been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and then becomes a close contact of someone with COVID-19 is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols if:  
  • The exposure occurred within 90 days of the onset of their own illness AND
  • The exposed individual is recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms.
10/22/21 UPDATE
Pooled Testing (grades PreK-6)
Weekly Update:
This week we had one (1) infected pool K-6 (at Memorial), which resulted in the active cases for the school noted in the chart above.
Testing Schedule:
  • Mondays: Wilson, Lilja (including PreSchool) and BenHem
  • Tuesdays: Kennedy, Brown, and Johnson
  • Wednesdays: Memorial (including PreSchool) and Natick PreSchool at NHS
Routine COVID Safety Checks, or pooled testing, will begin on Monday, September 27 for students in PreK through grade 6. (View this kid-friendly video to see how samples are collected.)
A staff member will come to the classroom door. Students who have consent will blow their nose, sanitize their hands and then go out into the hallway. Students will be provided with a swab, which looks like a Q-Tip. Students will be instructed to swab both nostrils by placing the swab slightly into one nostril and rub it in a circle 4 times and then repeat with the other nostril. The swab will then be placed into a tube with other swabs. This is the pool. Students will then return to class. 
If a pool comes back positive, parents will be notified and the students will then be tested with the BinaxNow rapid test. This will allow us to identify the positive case. If the pool comes back negative, no further testing or notification will occur.  
If your child has tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days, please complete the form linked below, as we do not have updated information from the Board of Health. If students have been positive in the past 90 days participate in pooled testing, this will result in a positive pool. We need to ensure that these students are not tested within the 90 day period. This information will remain confidential.
DAILY COVID Symptom Screening (Checklist)
Students and staff who are SICK should STAY HOME.
Please monitor for symptoms each morning before school by reviewing the COVID Symptom Checklist (link).
COVID Procedures
Included in this link are all the COVID Return to School Processes and Protocols (link) you need to know about our return to school. If you and your child are eligible to be vaccinated, please do so. It is the most important step to helping our community. Our three-part testing program, which allows students to avoid unnecessary quarantine and allows us to begin routine, weekly pooled COVID testing as we did last year, will begin as soon as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides us the resources (tests and person power) to execute the program.
PLEASE NOTE: Our school nurses are here to serve students and their medical needs. Please do not call school seeking advice if you or your family are sick or quarantined, traveling or testing. If our nurses contact you, it will be about contact tracing within school and outcomes of our testing programs in school.
Our school nurses are NOT contact tracers or advisors for the Natick Department of Public Health like they were last year. If your child is a close contact and eligible for any symptom or test and stay testing you will be notified directly. All other calls should go to your Dr. or department of public health relative to your community based COVID cases.  
COVID Information Website
We have updated our COVID information website to include all the relevant information that we share in this weekly email. We encourage you to save the NPS COVID information page (link) and visit often. (The direct link is: www.natickps.org/covid.)
The links below are updated every week and also available on your school website!
Upcoming Events
Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Available
The Department is pleased to be able to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions again this year. The training helps teachers, other school staff, parents, and others who interact with youth to recognize and support students ages 6-18 who may be experiencing mental health or substance use challenges and if needed, to refer them to mental health services.
the intended audience is individuals without mental health training who work or interact with young people.
Please visit DESE’s YMHFA page for more information, including available session dates and times and how to register. Sessions are currently scheduled for dates starting Friday, October 29 and continuing through January.
A Place to Turn
A Place to Turn is now open Wednesdays in the afternoon from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM. In addition, they have continued to operate throughout the pandemic and have been serving our clients outside. They serve the MetroWest area, offering dry goods, dairy, meats, and fresh produce that come all around from gardens, farms, purchases, and individual donations. They also now provided clients with personal care products and diapers.
Please bring in a utility bill as proof of address for service.
Nothing About Us Without Us: The Disability Rights Movement
November 3 @ 7:00 p.m.
Celebrated activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins will discuss the extraordinary efforts that led to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and her role in that history-making event. We invite educators, students, and community members to learn this important history of disability rights and how to be more involved.
ASL interpretation will be provided at this event.
How to Have Difficult Conversations (with Kindness)
November 16 @ 7:00 p.m.
Though conflict is part of life, many of us struggle with how to communicate during challenging situations. In this program, Roxy Manning, PhD, psychologist and expert in Nonviolent Communication, will offer strategies to address conflict (and stand up for ourselves and others) with a compassionate approach.
ASL interpretation will be provided at this event.

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