Superintendent’s Update – April 7

Superintendent Conrad’s weekly message for April 7, 2023.

Good Friday and Easter Sunday

Today marks Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. Both of these are important holidays in the Christian faith. Easter celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament of the Bible, this event is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans. For more information about Good Friday and Easter please visit https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-easter

MCAS Disruptions at Lane and JGMS

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I want to extend an apology to those students at JGMS and Lane School that had their MCAS assessments interrupted earlier this week. Some of our students at Lane and JGMS experienced WiFi connection issues while sitting for the MCAS ELA Assessment. This resulted in changes in test locations and test dates. Fourth graders were able to finish their assessment on Thursday while the sixth and seventh graders were able to complete Session One of the assessment. The MCAS schedule will continue next week so that Lane and JGMS students can complete the MCAS ELA prior to our April school vacation. Please note that if your child will be participating in religious activities and cannot take the assessment, that is not a problem, they will be scheduled for the makeup period. We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have created for you or your family.

Pole Capping

On Saturday, April 8, 2023, the Bedford Minuteman Company and the town of Bedford will celebrate the 57th annual Liberty Pole Capping ceremony and parade! The parade will step off from the Town Common at 10:30 and will proceed past Fitch Tavern and continue on to Captain Jonathan Willson Pak for the Pole Capping ceremony. After the Pole Capping ceremony, the parade will continue past the Bedford Free Public Library and end at Bedford High School.

Spring Athletics

The Spring athletics season is off and running as we patiently await some warmer weather. We are hosting sixteen Varsity and Sub Varsity teams, a club team, and three middle school teams. We also have five new coaches this spring: Ashley Martell (Varsity Boys Lacrosse), Brian Rogers (Assistant Varsity Boys Lacrosse), Matt Clarke (JV Boys Lacrosse), TBD (JV Girls Tennis), Kasie Costopulos (JGMS Track), and Cole Mihalinec (JV B Baseball), Andrea Edmunds (JGMS Softball) and Sara MacDonald (JGMS Softball). Our teams will not be practicing today, Friday 4/14 through Monday 4/17. Up-to-date practice schedules can be found on our website or by clicking on the following link BHS Athletic Schedule. If you have any questions please reach out to our Athletic Director Keith Mangan at [email protected]

Assistant Principals Week

This week was National Assistant Principals Week which is celebrated each year in early April. During this week, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the American Federation of School Administrators honor the enormous contributions of assistant principals to student achievement and overall success. Thank you to our five (5) assistant principals Jessica Colby (Davis), Keith Kinney (Lane), Nick Bacigalupi (JGMS), Tom Casey, and Dan Hudder (BHS)!

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.

Massachusetts Students Lead the Nation in AP Scores, Again!

Again this year, Massachusetts had the highest percentage of graduating class scoring three (3) or higher on an Advanced Placement exam. Massachusetts is also among the states with the largest 10-year gains in the percentage of Hispanic/Latinx graduates taking an AP exam during high school. The state also saw a significant increase in the percentage of Black/African American graduates who took an AP exam. Governor Maura Healey was quoted as saying, “I’m proud of the students and educators who worked hard to make sure Massachusetts remains a leader in student participation and success. Our administration is committed to expanding access to AP courses for all students to enhance the opportunities available to them and set them on a path to a successful future.” To read more please refer to the DESE Press Release

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.

History Day Fair Projects

Congratulations to the BHS History Fair Team who competed in the state finals at Winchester High School on Saturday, April 1, 2023. The following students participated Taelyn Albrecht, Emma Purtell, Nik Ryabinkin, Jackie Cutrona, Josie Donnelly, Raaga Vakamalla, Jasleen Kaur & Samantha Nappi, Evan Kelly (Second Place in Individual Documentaries-Qualified for Nationals), Ben Sedran and Emily Zhu (Best Project in Military & Maritime History), Hayden McAllister and Cameron Zhu (Honorable Mention in Group Exhibits & Best Project in Massachusetts History). Congratulations on an amazing job!

Best wishes to Evan Kelly who will compete at the National History Day Fair at the University of Maryland-College Park, June 11-15.

Women in Science

The 20th Annual Women of Science Scholarship Competition wrapped up over the weekend. This year’s theme was “The Prehistoric Earth”. All the events were linked to the theme in some capacity: the pre-build event required teams to create a device that would save a Byronosaurus egg as it falls from a tree; in the mystery build event, team members had to work cooperatively to build a replica of a LEGO Triceratops; the trivia event had teams answering questions about the geologic time scale, abiotic features, flora, and fauna of the prehistoric earth, as well as women paleontologists; and the anything goes category had questions about all aspects of STEM.

This year’s 1st place winner was the A team from Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School. Second place went to Wellesley High School’s B Team; and 3rd & 4th places were earned by Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School’s A & B teams, respectively. Please congratulate the members of our two Bedford teams: Sahana Kumar, Abhigna Reddy, Erika Falco, Heidi Siegler, Caroline Lu, and Julia Ke. They worked very hard and had fun. The team of juniors placed 1st in the Trivia Event.

Many thanks to our sponsors, Sanofi, MilliporeSigma, UMass Lowell, the Bedford Education Association, and the Bedford Public Schools. Without their generous funding and support, we wouldn’t be able to run the competition.

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. We celebrate military-connected children every year during the month of April. 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.

At BHS our military students will be feted with a breakfast, personalized certificates, dandelions (the official flower of the military child), a purple social media frame for picture taking, a Purple Up Day (April 14th), military minutes all month on BHS Live, and a cake at the end of the month.

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

Bedford Holi Celebration

Holi, also known as the festival of colors, is an ancient Hindu tradition. It marks the end of winter and the start of a new season, and new beginnings. It also signifies the triumph of good over evil, and love for family and friends. Holi is celebrated by throwing colored powder (gulal) at each other. Music, dancing, and food are also a big part of the celebration.

The Bedford Holi Celebration will be held on Sunday, April 30, 2023, from 2-4 pm (the rain date is May 7). We encourage families and friends to come out and join us for a fun-filled afternoon that will include playing with colors, live music, face painting, and food for purchase! Tickets are $5/pp (cash only), which includes 2 packs of color. Remember to wear white so you can show off your color!

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 Paving

We’ve received an alert from the Bedford DPW about the schedule for the first paving project of the year. The paving project will take place on South Road from Railroad Avenue to the south of Hartwell Road. The work is tentatively scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 18, 2023. The project involves reclaiming (pulverizing) the existing pavement, grading, and putting down the first (binder) course of asphalt. The project should take about a week to complete. The road will be closed during work days except for emergency vehicles and local traffic. The good news is that the time period is during April School Vacation Week. For more information please go to the DPW Website at https://www.bedfordma.gov/378/Public-Works

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

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