Superintendent’s Update: February 10

February 10, 2023

Superintendent Conrad’s weekly message for February 10, 2023, including hateful graffiti at BHS, National School Counselor Week, Choral Vertical Concert, Congratulations to Bedford Alum Natalie Lewis, Black History Month Event, BSU Field Trip, CSF Bedford Dollars for Scholars Trivia Night, Budget Update, Special Education, Town Meeting Survey, Kindergarten Registration, William James College INTERFACE Referral Service Affiliation, Helpline, BEF Black and White Birthday Bash!, District Calendar, Bedford Safe Campaign, Naviance, ESSA Report Card, Feb Vacation week, and Remote Superintendent Search Forums.

Hello Bedford School Community,

Monday

It is with deep disappointment that I share with all of you that on Monday at the end of the school day there was hateful graffiti found at Bedford High School. The high school administrators were immediately made aware of the situation and in conjunction with the Bedford Police Department began an investigation. The high school administration is working diligently to find the perpetrator(s), provide safe spaces for those adversely affected, and provide information to the school community when appropriate.

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We take incidents of hate extremely seriously as they do not represent the values of our schools or our communities. Acts of bias and hate are counter to our core values and mission of providing safe and inclusive schools for all students and staff. While policies guide our response to these incidents, the incidents themselves provide opportunities to reinforce our commitment to belonging, diversity, and tolerance. Our administrative team, guidance counselors, teachers, and staff continue to be available to support our entire school community.

National School Counselor Week February 6-10, 2023

National School Counseling Week 2023 (#NSCW23), was celebrated this week from February 6th through the 10th in order to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February.

Choral Vertical Concert

On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, from 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm The Bedford Public Schools is proud to present our Grades Five through 12 Choral Concert at the Bedford High School Auditorium. The concert will feature the fifth-grade chorus, the two JGMS choirs, six BHS vocal groups, and an all-grades choir. Mark your calendars for the Orchestral Vertical Concert on March 21, 2023, and the Band Vertical Concert on March 23, 2023. Thank you to POMS (Parents of Music Students) for their support of these events.

Congratulations

To BHS Alum Natalie Lewis, BHS Class of 2017, who won first prize in the Houston Grand Opera Concert of Arias. After graduating from BHS Natalie studied classical voice at The University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is now in her final year of graduate school at Juilliard where she is studying opera. 

The Houston Grand Opera Concert of Arias is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious competitions for young opera singers. You can watch her performances HERE Natalies performances are at 1:10:29 and 1:32:43. Congratulations Natalie and her BHS teachers!

Black History Month Event

Please join the Bedford METCO program and the Parents Diversity Council for a celebration of Black History Month on Thursday, February 16, 2023, from 5:30 pm until 8:00 pm in the Bedford High School Cafeteria and Auditorium. The event will feature soul food, a spoken word performance by Dr. Jamele Adams, and STEP performances by our BHS Team and Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities. This event is open to all.

High School Black Student Union takes Field Trip to Davis Elementary School

In the spirit of Black History Month, the Bedford High School Black Student Union visited Davis Elementary School to celebrate Mardi Gras. Through the exploration of storytelling, music, and mask-making; the students built community and embraced cultural identity development. Moreover, the underclassmen learned the importance of mentoring and leadership within their buildings. The students and counselors (Paula Francis-Springer, Hermance Septembre, and Samantha Thyne) also enjoyed some sweet treats. 

CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars Virtual Trivia Night TONIGHT

Registration is still open for the Citizens’ Scholarship Foundation of Bedford Dollars for Scholars Virtual Trivia Night to be Tonight Friday, February 10, 2023, from 7:30-9:00 pm.

Prizes will be awarded and all proceeds go to support scholarships for Bedford High School graduates.  Team Captains please register your team HERE, or visit the CSP of Bedford website at http://www.bedfordma.dollarsforscholars.org 

Budget Update

On Thursday, February 9, 2023, the School Committee’s FY24 Budget was presented to the Bedford Finance Committee. The Finance Committee will now consider our request before deciding whether or not to endorse the School Committee Budget or request reconsiderations.

Special Education

Our Special Education Director Marianne Vines recently published the next installment of the  Director’s Update which can be viewed at The Director’s Late-Winter 2023 Update.  The update is full of excellent information about our Special Education Department and Programs. 

Bedford Town Meeting Survey

The office of the Town Manager is inviting all residents of Bedford to complete a survey to provide feedback about their experience with Town Meetings in Bedford. As the Select Board considers potential changes to how Town Meeting is conducted in Bedford, resident feedback is valued. This anonymous, unscientific survey is designed to take about five minutes to Complete. 

All of the questions are optional. The survey will be open for responses until April 3, 2023. For anyone who would prefer to fill out a paper copy, that option is available in the Town Manager’s Office during business hours. Click HERE to complete the survey. 

For more information about Bedford’s Town Meeting, please go to Bedford Town Meeting

Kindergarten Registration

Registration is now open for children age-eligible for Kindergarten for the 2023-2024 school year. To register please navigate to the 2023 – 2024 Lt. Eleazer Davis Kindergarten Registration Form

Please fill the Form out completely for each child. In addition to this form, you will need to submit an electronic copy of each child’s Birth Certificate, Evidence of Residency, Evidence of Occupancy, Evidence of Identification, and your child’s most recent Physical and Immunizations.  Instructions on submitting these electronic documents are listed at the end of the form. Please submit all the required information to begin the registration process.  If the Davis School staff has any questions they will reach out to you via email. Once your registration form has been reviewed and your documents confirmed, Davis School will send you a confirmation email that your child is being registered for Kindergarten at Davis school. Information Night and Kindergarten Screening dates will be sent in the future.

William James College INTERFACE Referral Service Affiliation

The Town of Bedford and the Bedford Public Schools maintains an affiliation with the William James College INTERFACE Referral Service, an outpatient mental health resource and referral Helpline, open Monday through Friday, 9 am-5 pm, that is available to Bedford residents and students of Bedford Public Schools. The Helpline can be reached at 888-244-6843 for resource information and/or outpatient mental health provider referrals from a trained resource and referral counselor. 

The Helpline assists callers by gathering information about their or their minor child’s mental health concerns in order to match the caller to referrals for outpatient mental health professionals who best meet their needs based on insurance or fee requirements, special requests, location needs, and general availability. INTERFACE Resource and Referral Counselors may at times re-direct callers to other resources in lieu of their service, or in addition to their service, based on their needs (for example, for callers presenting in crisis or with a need for a higher level of care). Additional information about INTERFACE can be found here – https://www.bedfordma.gov/209/INTERFACE-Referral-Service.

For more information on Social and Mental Health Services offered to Bedford residents, please navigate to Bedford Youth and Family Services Website.

The MA Behavioral Health Help Line (BHHL) Launches

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health launched the new Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line  on January 3, 2023. The Help Line is available 24/7 to provide assistance across the state and in more than 200 languages to help anyone in need of mental health services connect with a provider. For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing contact MassRelay at 711 to be connected to The Help Line. The BHHL is free and available to all Massachusetts residents.

BEF Black and White Birthday Bash!

Tickets are on sale now for the Bedford Education Foundation’s Black and White Birthday Bash! The event will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2023, from 7:00 until 11:00 pm at the Café Escadrille in Burlington. Tickets are $50 each online through Wednesday, March 1st. After that, they will only be available at the door for $60. This year, the BEF is once again offering a special sponsorship, for individuals and families only, who would like to offer additional support. With a donation of $250, you can become a “Birthday Benefactor”. This sponsorship includes two tickets to the event, recognition at the Bash, as well as entry into a special raffle just for Birthday Benefactors. The links for both options are at https://bedfordeducation.org/.

We hope you will join the BEF for this very special event celebrating 15 years of the BEF! Since 2008, the BEF has funded $312,000 for grants at all four Bedford schools. A mission that could not be accomplished without your support. So, come celebrate with the BEF and enjoy an evening of fun, music, dancing, an amazing silent auction, and more, all for a wonderful cause! Any questions, please email the BEF at [email protected]. See you there!

District Calendar: 2023-2024

The 2023-2024 District Calendar was re-approved by the School Committee on January 17, 2023 meeting. You may view the calendar on our website here.

Bedford Safe Campaign

On January 24th, the School Committee voted to endorse the Bedford Safe Campaign. The campaign is a joint effort of The Bedford Board of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Bedford Police Department to promote gun violence prevention through a comprehensive campaign to protect our children, youth, and families from gun violence, injury, and death in homes. The grant will allow the Bedford Safe Campaign to host a Community Forum on March 1, 2023, at Bedford High School on Gun Violence in America and how community-driven approaches to this local and national crisis are important. The forum will  feature the Directors of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Gun Violence Prevention as they discuss awareness and educational programming including tips on safety. They will also discuss secure gun storage and keeping kids safe in their and other homes. The grant also provides a FREE Gun Safety Kit (lock and safety instructions), and an Unwanted Gun Buyback Program. These features of the program are currently available and will be in the future. The Bedford Enhanced Unwanted Gun Buyback Program will be launched in June 2023.

Please save the date for the March 1st event and visit the Bedford Safe Campaign Website at www.bedfordma.gov/BedfordSafe for more information.

Upcoming Changes to the College Career and Life Readiness Platform at BHS

It is our pleasure to announce that beginning with the Class of 2024 we will be partnering with Naviance. Naviance is a comprehensive K-12 college and career readiness packet that helps districts, schools, students, and families to reach their goals by developing critical skills for college, career, and life. The Naviance platform will replace SCOIR for the Class of 204 and beyond. The Class of 2023 will continue to use the SCOIR platform. So what is Naviance? It is a comprehensive website that you and your student can use to make plans about colleges and careers. Naviance Student is linked with Naviance, a service that we use in our office to track and analyze data about college and career plans, so it provides up-to-date information that’s specific to our school. Why are we making a switch to Naviance? Since October 2022 the 6-12 Counseling Team has been reviewing College, Career, and Life Readiness (CCLR) platforms as a way to improve our programming for students in these areas in a comprehensive way. After comparing our current platform, SCOIR, to other comparable programs available it was decided to reintroduce Naviance Student at the high school level with the goal of creating a direct link to our middle school programming. Naviance offers online self-paced experiences as well as a data-driven curriculum for students in grades 6-12 to develop the life skills necessary after high school, Eight scientifically researched self-discovery assessments, a CCLR curriculum that is Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) aligned grades 6-12, and the ability for students to search, track, and register for work-based learning opportunities.

Our BHS Junior Class students will be introduced to relevant aspects of the platform by their counselor in Junior Seminar sessions between now and February 7, 2023. The Class of 2024 parents/caregivers will be introduced to Naviance as part of our Junior Caregiver webinar on February 15, 2023. A parent/caregiver help session will also be scheduled for later in March.

Grade-level parent/caregiver information and help sessions will be offered between the second week of February and mid-April. We are excited to make this transition so that our students will be better served during their post-secondary planning process. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our Director of Counseling Lester Eggleston at [email protected].  

Bedford Public Schools School and District ESSA Report Cards are HERE 

I am pleased to distribute this year’s Every Student Succeeds Act annual district and school report cards to all of our Bedford families. Our report cards include assessment and accountability data, teacher qualifications, and other information related to district and school performance. Our report card data highlights our strengths as well as our challenges in meeting the needs of all students. For more information please visit ESSA Report Cards type in Bedford or an individual school in the search bar and explore the information.  

February Vacation Week

Just a reminder that this year our February School Vacation Week is Monday, February 20, 2023, through Friday, February 24, 2023. 

Superintendent Search Remote Community Forums

There will be a remote Bedford Community Forum on Monday, February 13th for those who were unable to attend the in-person community forums earlier this week. To view the schedule and access the Zoom link, please click here. You may view the recording of the four finalist interviews with the School Committee on Bedford TV’s YouTube Channel.

As always, thank you for your patience, your participation, and your continued commitment to our schools.

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