Welcome Back to School for 21-22!

Welcome Back to School for 21-22!
Posted on 08/27/2021
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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.


Aug 27, 2021
Welcome Back to School!
We have shined the buildings, hired staff, trained, trained more and readied to welcome your children back into our schools. We could not be more excited!
A Note on Social Emotional Health, Social Skills and Your Child's Return to School
It's been a weird summer--from the weather to the COVID changes, it's not as tough or uncertain as last year, but it's still been challenging. As a mother, leader and teacher, I have hear story after story of how weird it's been. Camps calling to let us know that kids really struggled to detach from cell phones and at home time, parents and camp directors saying kids struggled with the social scene of camp and traditional summer activities. They craved their phones, worried over social interactions and, at times, did not have the social resilience and stamina to interact socially in ways they traditionally have. Adults and kids alike have struggled with the "return" -- brains used to getting lots of erratic "hits" from social media and tech, show anger, impatience and lack of attention in other settings.  Many of our staff indicate it is still hard to concentrate and organize.  
It's all normal given the trauma and brain habits we have all been in over the past 18+ months.  
I share this because social anxiety and what I call the "Sunday night scaries" may come to you and your children--worry over getting back into school triggering sleeplessness, worry, stomach aches or other pains, and, this, too, is all normal.  
I will be guiding our staff to ease back into school. We will not be rushing into academics in the early days, rather, retraining on routines, executive functioning (organization and planning), goal setting, detoxing from technology, and teaching social skill to support classroom collaboration. Support and training in these areas will give staff and students control over their emotions and their days/planning. Planning and routines create structure and structure and feeling in charge of your goals is the antidote to the feelings of helplessness the COVID pandemic has brought to many of us.  
The beginning of school may mean your child keeps it all together at school and then collapses in a puddle of emotion, anger or exhaustion at the end of each day until stamina returns. It's normal. Starting the school year is like starting a new job and it's stressful and filled with new stimuli. You, as parents, may also feel exhausted --and dread (ah, making lunches again!) and just trying to navigate all the continuing COVID logistics. It's normal.  
What to do?  
  • Let them rest at home. Talk to them and insist on time without technology to restore the social balance--the dinner table or snack table is a great way to do this.  
  • Drive them places. They often talk when this happens.
  • Limit night technology use: they will sleep better!
  • Send them for walks or play outside.  
  • Do reading, movies or coloring together.
  • Share how you're doing, too, in age appropriate ways. Kids need to hear adults to whom they are connected processing challenging times.  
  • Assume everyone is doing their best.
I wanted you to know your school assumes that too. We are all coming back together to set a new normal in play. We aim to create an environment that every child and family feel they belong and can be their true selves, fully expressed in our school community. It will take time for us to feel that warm community "feel" again. It's also normal. But we will do it because as a community we can do hard things together and remain connected and vibrant. 
Welcome Back, NPS! We've missed you!
Back to School COVID safety Forums and Resources
Our Return to School Handbook is here. This is a live, evolving document that will continue to evolve as the local and state guidance boards give additional mandates or advisories. We held two community forums this week to answer questions and those video recorded sessions are here:
The slides we shared, including key information on COVID testing for students, a protocol for calling your child in sick and getting ready for school are included HERE.
PowerSchool Forms
Parents and Guardians, the important beginning of the year forms are in Powerschool and it is. your homework to get them done ASAP. Doing so ensures accurate communication and safety for you children-in the form of contacts, pick up info, medical info and more. Please do not delay.
COVID 3-part Testing Program and Power School Consent Form
Most importantly, if you want to minimize the time your child is out of school and help us with our COVID reduction work, please sign the consent forms in PowerSchool for your child to participate in our three-part testing program for COVID provided free of charge through the state. 
The Natick Board of Health has indicated that pooled routine COVID testing may be mandated for anyone playing sports or doing extra curricular activities at all levels in our schools. Do the consents now and minimize delays and infections. Pooled testing is good for reducing infections should our numbers rise in the future. It helps us control the spread.
School Absence Lines
Use the numbers below to report your student absences.
  • Natick Preschool: 508-647-6583
  • Bennett-Hemenway: 508-647-6581
  • Brown: 508-647-6661
  • Johnson: 508-647-6681
  • Lilja: 508-647-6570 (press option 1)
  • Memorial: 508-647-6591
  • Kennedy: 508-647-6651
  • Wilson: 508-647-6671
  • Natick High: 508-647-6601
A Special Note to Memorial Families:
About Interim Principal Robin Welch
As you may recall, Principal Robin Welch picture below, has worked for us before--he was Lilja's interim principal two years ago. A Memorial parent reached out to me and said, "Hey Anna, can you address a concern Memorial parents have in an upcoming message? " So here I am addressing it. 
The concern: Why does Mr. Welch move around and not stay in Natick? If we like him, why not keep him? 
The answer: Mr. Welch retired after 27 years as a MA educator many years ago. In MA, people are not allowed to go back to work in schools and obtain full salaries if they are also collecting their pension. The system does not want retired people taking up the roles meant for those up and coming in the profession. However, when late changes occur, as did in our Lilja and Memorial interim principalships and we did not have the time or the timing (hard to find a solid principal in summer before school starts) to get a permanent position for Memorial, districts often cultivate relationships with leaders they trust to assist the district. Mr. Welch is that trusted leader for me and his familiarity with our team and the community helps to create a more seamless experience for the Memorial community. He's already had a full career but comes back and helps us in a pinch so that the children of Natick can have a steady, warm and safe experience in the hands of an experienced professional. He aspires to go back to his life as a retired gardener, musician (bass/singer) and fellow Harley rider, but he's helping us out again! Hope this helps to clarify.
We Still Have Open Positions!
There is a hiring shortage in almost every industry, and our principals have done well, but we are still interviewing for:
  • 7 cafeteria staffers (in Kitchen through Aramark)
  • 3 bus drivers ( for Connolly Bus)
  • Substitute Teachers
  • 1 Permanent Building Substitute
  • 4 interventionists (2 math and 2 English at middle school)
  • Paraprofessionals (assistant teachers)
  • Main Lobby Supervisor at NHS
  • Cafeteria Monitors at All Elementary Schools (three hours a day)
  • Reading Tutors
  • Behavior Technicians
Know anyone? Have them apply at https://natickps.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

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