Superintendent’s Update – April 14

Superintendent Conrad’s weekly message for April 14, 2023.

April School Vacation

Remember that April School vacation is the week of April 17, 2023, through Friday, April 21, 2023. April School Vacation as always includes Patriots Day on Monday, April 17, 2023. Patriots Day commemorates the events of April 19, 1775, in Boston, Lexington, Lincoln, Arlington, Bedford, and Concord. Events include a Patriots Day Parade in Boston plus dozens of major re-enactments of the first day of the American Revolution.

Thousands of members of local Minutemen companies, militias, and historical societies participate in the re-enactments in and around Boston Including at the Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord’s Old North Bridge, Lexington’s Battle Green, and other historic sites in the Boston area. For more information about events in our area please navigate to Discover Boston Guide – Patriots Day 

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Orthodox Easter Sunday, April 16, 2023

Happy Easter to all of our community members who will celebrate Orthodox Easter on Sunday. Orthodox Easter falls on Sunday, April 16, 2023, due to the Orthodox faith’s use of the Julian Calendar. For more information about the traditions of Orthodox Easter please go to https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/48067272

Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day

At sundown on Monday, April 17, 2023, through nightfall on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, is Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day. It is a day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany. It is particularly important that we take time to reflect on these atrocities, especially at this moment in our history. According to the Anti-Defamation League and the FBI hate crimes and anti-Semitic hate crimes are at an all-time high. As a school district, we stand against hate of any kind and encourage community members to engage with one another in positive and meaningful conversations. To learn more about Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day navigate to US Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Month of the Military Child

April is the Month of the Military Child and we are proud to recognize our military families and students recognize their resilience. At BHS this morning our military students were feted with breakfast, personalized certificates, dandelions (the official flower of the military child), and a purple social media frame for picture taking. Today is Purple Up Day!

This morning we were also honored to host Military Children’s Compact Commissioner (MIC3) Clarke Orzalli.  Commissioner Orzalli presented us with Governor Healey’s Proclamation for the Month of the Military Child. 

Each year at this time we celebrate our military-connected children. It is an opportunity to celebrate our military students for their selflessness and sacrifice as they serve our country as part of a military family. The Month of the Military Child has been celebrated since it was established in 1986 by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. For more information please navigate to DODEA Month of the Military Child. 

Autism Awareness Month

April is World Autism Month, beginning with United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on Sunday, April 2, 2023. Throughout the month, advocates focus on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, in order to foster worldwide support and create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential. For more information please navigate to World Autism Awareness Month

Arab American Heritage Month

April is Arab American Heritage Month which Celebrates the rich and diverse culture and contributions of the diverse population of Arab Americans. National Arab American Heritage Month has been observed during the month of April since 2017. For more information please navigate to Arab American History Month

Congratulations at BHS

Congratulations to BHS senior Danielle DiGangi who was awarded this year’s Marion Bryan Citizenship Award! The award is sponsored by the Bedford Minuteman Company and was presented as part of Saturday’s liberty pole-capping ceremonies on Saturday, April 8, 2023. Danielle has volunteered for a wide range of groups in town including Relay for Life, Special Olympics, Best Buddies, Meals on Wheels, youth soccer, and the VA Hospital in Bedford. Danielle also sewed nearly 1,000 masks and donated early in the pandemic. The award is named for Marion Bryan who died in December 2021. Ms. Bryan served as a substitute teacher in the Bedford schools for more than 40 years, retiring at age 93. 

Congratulations to our Lane School 5th Graders

On Thursday and Friday of this week Lane School hosted the annual 5th Grade Talent and Variety Show at the Lane School. Thank you to all of our student performers for sharing your talents with all of us! It was a wonderful show! I admire your perseverance, tenacity, and fortitude. Thank you to the student emcees, community organizers, stage crew, decorations committee, custodians, teachers, office staff, administrators, and parent volunteers who made it all possible! 

Bedford Youth and Family Services Presents

The Bedford Youth and Family Services Department is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a virtual program on Monday, April 24th from 6:30–7:30 PM. Minding Your Mind with Jon Mattleman will present on the topic Let’s Talk About the “A” Word (Anxiety), a program providing a framework to understand and navigate student anxiety, stress, and worries, and how to be a support. 

To register, use this LINK, or go to the Youth and Family Services Website if you have questions please call 781-275-7727 or e-mail [email protected] 

Armenian Genocide Awareness Day

Monday, April 24, 2023, is Armenian Genocide Awareness Day. Each year on this day we reflect on the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide. The genocide began on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities. In all one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination. This remembrance and remembrances like it remind us to remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms. For more information on these events please navigate to  Armenian_Genocide_Remembrance_Day

Bedford High School Poetry Slam

The Annual BHS Poetry Poetry Slam will take place on Thursday, April 27th from 6:30-8:30 pm in the LGI at Bedford High School. Jamele Adams will be joining us again as MC and guest poet. Students, staff, alums, and friends of BHS are all welcome! We will have activities and an open mic for all who want to share! Admission is free.

Special Education

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

MassHealth Alert

Please be aware that beginning on April 1, 2023, MassHealth will begin Phase 2 of the MassHealth Redetermination process. This process will include renewing all 2.3M members over the following 12 months. This will generally be the first-time members are at risk of losing their coverage since February 2020. In preparation for this effort, MassHealth has increased staffing significantly to handle a greater volume of calls and applications, improved its systems to automatically renew as many members’ coverage as possible, and is working in close collaboration with health plans, providers, and other stakeholders. Even with this preparation, they understand that this may be difficult for members. MassHealth has shared the Phase 2 Redeterminations Outreach Toolkit for you and your partners to help educate members and make sure they are prepared and know how to complete their renewal. This toolkit includes key messages as well as downloadable flyers, posters, and other materials in 9 languages.  This toolkit also includes materials for specific populations, such as children and families, members experiencing homelessness, or members with disabilities. They are also sharing the MassHealth Renewal Help Guide, a new resource for individuals who interact with members. 

METCO Tours of Nubian Square

Please join METCO HQ Staff and our high school-age METCO students as they help you to uncover the past and present of Boston’s historic Nubian Square in Roxbury. This unique 90-minute walking tour highlights the research students have done into the artistry, activism, and achievement in the backyard of METCO’s new Headquarters. The FREE experience culminates with a guided tour of HQ’s new exhibit on the history of educational activism in Boston—including the origin of METCO itself! This opportunity is made possible by the generosity of the Boston Bridges Initiative. The Nubian Square tours also include a delicious ethnic food meal! Sign up here

Bedford School Committee at METCO

On Tuesday, April 11, 2023, the Bedford School Committee met at METCO HQ for its annual meeting in the newly renovated METCO HQ. The meeting included a regular school committee agenda, a wonderful meal from a local restaurant, and a walk down memory lane as the committee examined original copies of the Bedford Citizen Newspaper outlining the history of the METCO program in Bedford. Thank you to METCO President and CEO Milly Arbaje-Thomas and her staff for their hospitality. Thank you to Akil Mondesir and Mike Rosenberg for sharing the original newspapers with us and to Mr. Mondesir for providing us with a wonderful meal.

Sad News

We were made aware that Kathleen Gallant passed away over the weekend. Ms. Gallant was a graduate of Bedford High School (Class of 1968) and a teacher in Bedford for nearly forty years. Services are private but donations can be made in Kathleen’s memory to The Jimmy Fund or Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress. We send our deepest condolences to her family.

Town Manager Search Screening Committee

Applications are now being accepted for the Town Manager Search Screening Committee. The Select Board anticipates appointing a committee consisting of two Select Board Members and five at-large representatives. The committee will work in collaboration with an executive search firm that will be overseeing the search for a new Bedford Town Manager. The committee, in partnership with the executive search firm, will meet frequently over the next several months to set criteria for the ideal Town Manager candidate, participate in community outreach, conduct initial interviews with candidates, and recommend finalists for public interviews with the Select Board. If you would like to be considered for the Screening Committee please fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire Form and return it to the Town Manager’s Office or email it to [email protected]. The application Deadline is Monday, May 1, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. The Select Board anticipates appointing members of the Town Manager Search Screening Committee on Monday, May 22, 2023. Please contact the Town Manager’s Office, the Select Board, or the Volunteer Coordinating Committee for questions or more information. 

Dollars for Scholars Fundraiser

The Citizens Scholarship of Bedford is proud to announce the 58th Annual Dollars for Scholars Fundraising Campaign. The campaign is now underway. Bedford High students have recently prepared the Mail-a-thon letters. The letters have recently been mailed to Bedford neighbors in hopes that we will all support the Mail-a-thon as we have in the past. Please continue your wonderful support to help make this year’s scholarships for the Class of 2023 the largest awards yet. In May 2022, CSF of Bedford Dollars for Scholars awarded almost $165,000 to graduating seniors. Thank you to everyone at CSF of Bedford for all that they do to support our students! For additional information, please see their website, bedfordma.dollarsforscholars.org

Spring and Summer Paving

We’ve received an alert from the Bedford DPW about the schedule for the paving projects this year. The paving project on South Road from Railroad Avenue to the south of Hartwell Road has been delayed until summer. For more information please go to the DPW Website at https://www.bedfordma.gov/378/Public-Works

PDC Evening with Boyah Farah

The Parents Diversity Council is proud to sponsor an evening with Boyah Farah, the author of America Made Me a Black Man, on Thursday, May 4, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. at the BHS LGI. America Made Me a Black Man, is a memoir published in the fall of 2022. Mr. Farah is a Somalian refugee, who resettled in the U.S. in the 90s. He lived with his mother and siblings here in Bedford, MA, upon arrival in the U.S., then across the greater Boston area for nearly 20 years before moving back to Somalia. He attended Bedford High School for several years and has fond memories of his time in Bedford that he will share with us. 

He also will talk about his childhood in Somalia and his experiences with racism in the U.S. Please join us to welcome Mr. Farah back to Bedford! Copies of his book are available from the PDC either before or at the event for $10.  To RSVP or request a copy of the book, fill out this form.

Waste Sorting at JGMS

I’m pleased to share that in May, John Glenn Middle School will be the first school in our district to roll out a waste sorting station for students in the cafeteria. Waste sorting separates Liquids, Compostable, and Recyclables from Trash. This program will allow us to reduce what ultimately goes to incineration as “trash”.  Having been part of a waste sorting program previously I’m confident we will have success here in Bedford! This will allow us to comply with the Massachusetts State Waste Bans, reduce the amount of waste we produce, and protect the environment our students will inherit. More information will be available soon! 

The Last Day of the School Year

On Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at the School Committee meeting the last day of school for the school year was set as Wednesday, June 21, 2023. This assumes no more school cancellations due to weather. Please note that the calendar includes the celebration of Juneteenth on Monday, June 19, 2023. All Bedford Public School buildings and offices will be closed in observance of the holiday. Juneteenth is a new state and federal holiday. For more information about Juneteenth please visit the Mass.Gov Juneteenth Website

April Vacation

As we leave for April School Vacation I wanted to share this poem Today with you. I was struck by the beauty and warmth that Mr. Collins creates envisioning a perfect spring day. I hope you are able to enjoy a week of such days this vacation.

Today By Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
Well, today is just that kind of day.

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

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