Superintendent’s Blog – 01/31/2018

Survey Results, Start Time, and the Flu

I want to start with a HUGE thank-you, there were over 600 respondents to the calendar survey.  This information will be essential for the development of our 2018-2019 school calendar.  The results were interesting, of the 600 respondents more than 66%  wanted to start the year before the Labor Day weekend.  Additionally, when asked about Thanksgiving almost 75% wanted to have students attend school on the Monday and Tuesday of that week. While respondents are clearly thinking about the February vacation, at this time the split is still very close to 50-50.  This is contrary to April vacation, which respondents did not want to see change.  Many of the comments related to the calendar were about available child care, particularly during the last two weeks in August, but also during vacations and holidays.  Next steps for calendar development include; the administrative team, as well as the calendar committee, reviewing the data to develop a calendar that best meets the needs of the communities and the schools, setting up a meeting with Jaffrey-Rindge to develop the final calendar, and having the calendar approved by the School Board.

Included in the comments were also a variety of comments about the start time of school.  This is an ongoing concern, particularly at the middle school and high-school level.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that adolescents get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep a night, still other recommendations are as high as 9-12 hours a night. In a 2014 article the AAP asserts that the start time of school should be examined as one way to alleviate the problems of adolescents not getting enough sleep.  Our obstacle is how to make this work in our present transportation paradigm. A recent examination of bus routes to create a single tier system (all students come to school at the same time) created a need for an additional 40 buses.  Therefore, I am asking you to help me gather information about how you feel about the start times, from all stakeholders.  Please take a few minutes to fill out information by clicking here.  I appreciate the time you take to respond so that we can better meet the needs of our students.

Finally, it is cold and flu season, and as that season presses on I am sure that you would like to know  about District procedures for prevention.  We just began daily review of attendance at the District level.  Each building reports in how many students are out, how many staff are out, how many report flu-like symptoms, and how many confirmed cases of the flu a building has.  Additionally, the facilities staff in each building sanitize door knobs, handles, and other frequently used surfaces down twice daily with a recommended disinfectant that eliminates a multitude of bacterial, viral, and fungal germs.  Finally, this Saturday a team of facilities staff will begin doing a thorough disinfecting of buildings, wiping down all surfaces and making sure that everything is disinfected.  With all of these precautions and preventive measures we still need your help, if your student has a fever please be sure he or she is fever free for 24 hours before they return to school.  Your help with this will go a long way in keeping our students and staff healthy and happy!

A final reminder that Deliberative Session is Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 beginning at 6 PM at CVHS Gym. (Snow date Thursday, February 8th, 2018 beginning at CVHS Gym.)  You can find more information related to the District Budget and the 2018 Warrant here.