Superintendent’s Update: February 3

Superintendent Conrad’s weekly message for February 3, 2023, including Bitter Cold Temperatures, Budget Update, Black History Month, DEI Statement, Bedford Public Schools School and District ESSA Report Cards, Kindergarten Registration, Parents Diversity Council Upcoming Events, William James College INTERFACE Referral Service Affiliation, The Help Line, BEF Bash, CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars Virtual Trivia Night, District Calendar, Congratulations to Selima Chan, Bedford Safe Campaign, BHS BSU Field Trip To Davis, New College and Career Readiness Platform at BHS, and Superintendent Finalists Announcement.

Bitter Cold Temperatures

For health and safety information about dealing with the extreme bitter cold expected on Friday night into Saturday please navigate to the American Academy of Pediatricians Healthy Cold Weather Safety for Children Website

Budget Update

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On Tuesday, January 24, 2024, the School Committee held a public hearing and final vote on the FY24 budget. The budget will next be presented to the Bedford Finance Committee on Thursday, February 9, 20223 as the School Committee’s FY24 Budget.

Black History Month

Black History Month has begun. It is an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans and a time to recognize the central role African Americans have played in our history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history. For more information please go to History.com Black History Month Information or the Association of the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) website which offers an opportunity to study the themes of identity and ideology through the ASALH’s Black History Themes  website. Each year the themes change to reflect how people of African descent in the United States have viewed themselves, the influence of social movements on racial ideologies, and the aspirations of the black community.

DEI Statement

On Tuesday night the School Committee endorsed the Bedford Public Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission Statement. The statement is the culmination of eighteen months of work by the educational professionals within the district. The statement is intended to guide the work we do to create a sense of belonging for our students, caregivers, faculty, and staff. To read the statement please navigate to Bedford Public School ~ DEI Mission Statement.

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.  

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.

Parent Diversity Council Upcoming Events

The Parents Diversity Council has a subgroup for each school, to plan age-appropriate social and educational events for families. During the pandemic, the subgroups suspended regular meetings, but for the 2022 – 2023 school year, they are reinstating these meetings. This is a great way to learn about the PDC, get to know other families, and help brainstorm meaningful events for school families. There will be a combined DAVIS and LANE joint meeting via ZOOM on February 6, 2023, at 7:30 PM to participate RSVP to [email protected].

William James College INTERFACE Referral Service Affiliation

The Town of Bedford and the Bedford Public Schools maintain 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 on-line 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!

Save the Date for the CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars Virtual Trivia Night

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

The CSF Dollars for Scholars Trivia event will be a virtual event this year and is brought to you by Sporcle Trivia.  The virtual doors will open at 7:30 pm and the trivia game will run from 8:00 until 9:00 pm.  Teams of 6-10 players (maximum of 10 players per team) at a cost of $25 per person are eligible to participate.  Team players do not need to be in the same location, however, each person counts as a player, even if sharing a device.  The maximum attendance is 200 players, so reserve your spot now! Ticket sales will end on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 8:00 AM or when the maximum number of players sign up, whichever comes first.  

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 

District Calendar: 2023-2024

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

Congratulations

Congratulations to BHS Senior Selima Chan who was awarded the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) J-100 Scholarship.  This scholarship is awarded to the top 100 students in AFJROTC across the nation.  The scholarship covers all expenses (tuition, fees, room, and board) at any university in the country that offers Air Force ROTC.  Selima is still deciding on which university to attend in the fall.  She has narrowed down her choices to Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Columbia University and she plans on studying Chemical Engineering. Congratulations to Selima, her family, and our Bedford AFJROTC.

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.

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. 

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].  

Superintendent Finalists Announced

Earlier today a message was sent out to our Bedford Community to update that the Bedford Superintendent Screening Committee has submitted their recommended finalists to the School Committee. The four finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Portia Bonner, Ph.D., Interim Superintendent of Schools, Bozrah Public School District, Bozrah, CT
  • Cliff Chuang, M.Ed., Senior Associate Commissioner, MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Matthew Janger, Ph.D., Principal, Arlington High School
  • June Saba-Maguire, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent, Brockton Public Schools, Brockton, MA

To review the announcement, finalist bios, and community forum and interview schedules, please go to our Superintendent Search website page here

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

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