Superintendent’s Update ~ October 7

Superintendent Conrad’s weekly message for October 7, 2022, focuses on Indigenous People’s Day; an Indigenous People’s Day event about Lacrosse; Road Work Updates; National Bullying Prevention Month; Digital Inclusion Week, COVID-19; Impact Aid Forms; Hispanic Heritage Month; JGMS Open House, Special Ed Director’s update, MCAS, and Davis Fall Festival. 

Indigenous People’s Day
Monday, October 10, 2022, is Indigenous People’s Day in Bedford and all of the Bedford Public Schools will be closed. This will be the second year that Bedford will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. The citizens of Bedford voted to change the day from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day at Town Meeting in 2021. Here is an article reminder of the vote: Voters Support Renaming October Holiday. Bedford is now one of about 25 Massachusetts communities to change the holiday.

Bedford is located on the traditional lands of the Massachusetts Tribe. The holiday allows us to pay our respects to the Massachusetts tribe and to their Penacook and Nipmuc neighbors. Their stewardship of this land is still visible today.  Many people who live and work in Bedford are of Indigenous descent. Indigenous People’s Day is an opportunity for each of us to honor their many contributions to our community and our country. Celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in our schools is an important opportunity for us to ensure that our curriculum provides both mirrors, where students can see themselves, and windows, where they can learn about people whose experiences are different than their own.

Indigenous Peoples Day Event
Bedford Youth Lacrosse, Bedford Embraces Diversity, and the Parents Diversity Council invite you to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day with a family-friendly program honoring the oldest sport on Turtle Island (North America). Zed Williams (Seneca), the 2020 MVP of the Premier Lacrosse League, and Sakoneseriiosta Brent J. Maracle (Mohawk), who played for the Haudenosaunee Nationals from 1989-1995, will share their perspectives on the physical, cultural, and spiritual significance of lacrosse to Indigenous communities. This event will also feature educational booths and activities, and lacrosse demonstrations. This event is free and open to all.

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Road Work Update
We have been informed by the Bedford DPW that on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 South Road will be closed between 175 South Road and Summer Street for roadway paving. Access will be limited to emergency services vehicles, school buses, and local traffic. All other traffic between Hartwell Road and Wiggins Avenue will be detoured. Please note that in case of inclement weather paving will instead occur on Thursday, October 13, 2022. The work is expected to be completed in a single day.

National Bullying Prevention Month
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. A time to focus on bullying prevention and to raise awareness about the effects of bullying. During this month, many groups across the country will release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of bullying. For more information go to National Bullying Prevention Month Information

Each of our schools takes a unique approach to bullying prevention. At the Davis School, we utilize Responsive Classroom to build classroom communities that teach communication and social problem-solving skills. We also share stories that help children determine when something is hurtful, unfair, and/or unsafe and how to take action to help the person or themselves. At the Lane School, we work with students so that they can understand, identify, and prevent bullying by understanding what bullying is or is not, the impact of bullying, the role of bystanders/upstanders, and how administrators handle reports of bullying. At JGMS we expect everyone to show Empathy and Acceptance every day and everywhere in our school.  These values make up the E and A in HEART and are the core of our conversation when we work to prevent and address bullying. The entire acronym stands for Honor, Empathy, Acceptance, Responsibility, and Tenacity. At BHS we utilize our advisory curriculum to build strong relationships that help students understand that we are all in this together and that bullying has no place in our school.  Through all of these efforts, we aspire to create a safe, respectful, and inclusive learning environment where all students can realize their growth as a learner.

Digital Inclusion Week
The week of October third through seventh was National Digital Inclusion Week. This gives us the opportunity to highlight efforts to increase student access to technology. In Massachusetts, advocates and partners are promoting the Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers eligible households a $30 monthly discount for internet services and a $100 discount off certain devices. To learn more about the Affordable Connectivity Program, please email Josh Eichen, program manager for partnerships, at the Massachusetts Broadband Institute at [email protected].

The Bedford Public School nursing staff is able to provide COVID-19 symptomatic testing at school. This testing service is optional and consent is required prior to testing. See the link below to sign up for your student.  The school nurses will administer rapid antigen testing using Abbott BinaxNOW or iHealth tests on-site at each school health office.
2022-2023 Student Consent Form for Symptomatic COVID-19 Testing at School 
This service is for students who develop symptoms while already at school.  Please continue to screen your children each day before school and refer to the COVID-19 symptoms checklist on the BPS website.   If your child has mild symptoms of illness, please test them at home with a rapid home antigen test before sending them to school.

We encourage all families to keep a supply of COVID-19 home rapid antigen tests on hand.  Home test kits are available from the following town offices during normal business hours:  Health Department, Council on Aging, Town Manager’s Office, or the Bedford Free Public Library. Students may attend school with mild symptoms as long as they are testing negative on an antigen test before coming to school.
Many families signed up for iHealth home tests last Spring and may still have them left over.  The expiration date for this product has been extended.  You can check the expiration dates with the lot # using this link: iHealth Expiration Date Extension
We encourage everyone to get vaccinated with the most recent booster.

For the latest information on COVID-19 cases within the school district please navigate to the Bedford COVID-19 Dashboard

2022 Impact Aid Survey Is Open
The 2022 Impact Aid Survey opened on October 3, 2022, and will remain open until October 31, 2022, we are asking parents, guardians, and caregivers to complete the annual Military Impact Aid Survey. Completing this survey allows us to meet the requirements of Public Law 874. Under the provisions of Public Law 874, The Bedford Public Schools must conduct an annual Military Impact Aid Survey. The Town of Bedford receives a substantial sum of money under this provision, which lowers the cost of education for ALL taxpayers.

Parents/Guardians/Caregivers received a unique email with a survey link for each student. It is very important that all surveys are completed and electronically signed for each student, as reimbursement is made for all eligible students on a per-pupil basis.  This year the survey is fully electronic with e-signature – The district is using DocuSign for the survey. This survey is repeated annually.

If you have any questions, please contact the Business Office of the Bedford Public Schools at (781) 275-7708. We thank you very much for your assistance with this important annual survey.

Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities in the United States. The event, which spans from September 15 to October 15, commemorates how those communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large. For more information on this topic please go to History Channel Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month

Open House Dates
JGMS will host our final open house of the season on Thursday, October 13, 2022. Please check the JGMS website for more details.

Director’s Update
Interested in what is happening within the special education department in the Bedford Public Schools? Well, you are in luck! Our Director of Special Education Marianne Vines has just published her second Director’s Updates newsletter of the school year. The newsletter includes information about her visit to the Rotary Club of Bedford, the Special Olympics commendation received by BHS, SEPAC News, a review of the work the department did with Lynn Lyons, and a whole lot more. Check it out at Director’s Update V1 Number 2.

On Thursday, September 29, 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Education released the results of the MCAS assessments from last spring. We have begun to dig into the data and will have more information for everyone soon. To read the press release please navigate to DESE MCAS Press Release 9 29 2022

Save the Date
The Davis School will be holding its annual Fall Festival to celebrate the start of the year on Saturday, October 22, 2022, from 11 am until 1 pm. Davis School families are invited to join us for music, a petting zoo, fire trucks, a bounce house, a balloon artist, ice cream, and more! This event is for Davis School families only, please RSVP on the link sent out by Davis School (in the Davis Scribbles and flyer).

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