Weekly Email from ENSATS 7/24/2020

Good Evening Caregivers and Students!

We will be starting up our weekly emails to keep you informed of the building reopening. Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jeffrey Riley, has been updating us throughout the building shutdown whenever new information becomes available. At this time, we are able to provide you with the following:

 

  1. ENSATS will submit our DRAFT School Reopening Plan to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) on July 31, 2020.
  2. ENSATS will share this plan with our entire school community upon submission to MA DESE.
  3. To complete the MA DESE submission, ENSATS will include three options: Full In-School, Hybrid, and Remote learning models.
  4. ENSATS will submit these plans with final recommendations for approval to our District School Committee on August 13, 2020.
  5. ENSATS School Committee will give final approval of whichever plan we will initiate for the opening of school.

 

At this time, we are hoping to open with a hybrid learning model, and we will propose two of them. We believe it is essential that we remain mission-focused based on the fact that students come to ENSATS to receive a first-class vocational and agricultural education. While we all did a great job with remote learning out of necessity throughout the pandemic this past school year, we strongly believe that live learning is critical for career and workforce development. Further, we all know after our full remote experience last year that human contact with a trusted adult is fundamental for student growth and development. These two hybrid models will be reviewed in-depth and be dependent upon appropriate transportation accommodations and state guidance. We will continue to follow all recommendations from Governor Baker and Commissioner Riley and will await the local decision of our District School Committee.

 

To date, we have sent four surveys to families and staff:

  1. Technology Survey
  2. End-of-School-Year survey related to remote learning
  3. Transportation Survey (families only)
  4. School Reopening Survey

 

These surveys were intended to be brief and ask questions that were relevant to our reopening plan. The responses helped guide our five action teams and will continue to guide us as we move into August and make final plans for our school reopening.

 

DESE Fall Reopening Transportation Guidance

DESE Fall Reopening Facilities and Operations Guidance

Reopening Massachusetts Schools Video

 

To date, we have applied for and, in some cases, received grant funding for reopening. We will continue to seek competitive funding for COVID-19 related expenses:

  1. Technology Grant ($120K, pending)
  2. Academic Support Grant ($36K, received)
  3. PPE Grant ($119K, received)
  4. Reopening Grant, ($269K, pending)
  5. FEMA Grant ($55K, pending)

 

These grants will help us prepare the district for personal protective equipment, sanitation stations, classroom spaces, additional desks, acrylic shields for high traffic office suites, Chromebooks, internet hotspots, and academic support to help bring students who may need further assistance beyond the school day.

 

We will be hosting a presentation on August 4th at 5pm via Zoom. This is limited to 500 attendees and we will determine additional time slots, if needed. There will be a chat only section for questions. Please note, we will answer all questions we are able to. However, this is a fluid situation and we appreciate your understanding that some aspects are still under development and unknown. The link for this session will be sent in next week’s email.

 

We recognize and understand that these are challenging times for students, families, and staff. Please be assured that we take the goal of reopening Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School seriously and have been working continuously to seek new guidance and recommendations while keeping the best interests of our learning community in mind. As always, we are excited to start the new school year and with that in mind, we will continue to update you weekly.  Please feel free to reach out to us with questions.

 

Sincerely,

Heidi T. Riccio, Ed.D., Superintendent-Director
Shannon Donnelly, M.A.T., Principal
Thomas O’Toole, Ed.D., Asst. Superintendent