Back to School – Grade 9

Dear Grade 9 Families:


We are delighted to begin our 2021-2022 school year in just a few weeks!  We look forward to welcoming your child to Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School where our dedicated faculty will work every day to create and deliver dynamic lessons in our career technical and agricultural areas and in our academic classrooms while encouraging your child to grow as a learner and help promote a positive school culture at Essex Tech.  You will soon find out that Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School has an educational faculty and staff who are second to none.


Transitioning into high school is an important yet challenging step for young adolescents and their caregivers.  The administrative team at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School has been meeting throughout the summer to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year and has scheduled two important events to assist families with this transition.


New Parent Orientation – Tuesday, August 24, 2021, 6:00-8:30 pm

The school will be open for parents to sign in from 5:30 pm until 5:55 pm.  This event is for caregivers only.  We anticipate a large number of people will attend, and there is limited seating in the presentation areas; therefore, students are not allowed to attend.  Students will have their own orientation.  Please also note that the New Parent/Guardian Orientation time will not be utilized for school tours or individual family conferences due to the length of the program.  We will also be streaming the presentations for individuals who are not able to attend in person. We will provide a link via email on the 24th.  These presentations will also be available online if you would like to view them at a later date. We will have the school store open and available for Essex Tech gear!


New Student Orientation Day – Thursday, August 26, 2021, 7:45 am-2:30 pm

The staff at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School and student mentors will spend the day preparing your children for this next step in their educational careers.  Bus transportation will be provided to and from school.  Students will be picked up by buses at the regularly scheduled morning time.  Bus schedules are available on our website on the Transportation page.  Please be sure that students arrive at the bus stop ten minutes early.  Students will be dismissed at 2:30 pm  If you choose to pick up your child at this time, please arrange to pick them up in the parking lot by the gymnasium in the back of the building.  This is a fun and active day; students should dress in comfortable, casual clothes, and wear sneakers or walking shoes.  While students are encouraged to bring a bottle of water, lunch will be provided.  Please email by Friday, August 20, 2021, if there are any dietary concerns we need to know beforehand.  During orientation, all students will be photographed and will receive their school ID. In addition, a packet of information and forms, including your child’s schedule, will be given to all students on New Student Orientation Day.


Here is the schedule for the first week of school:

Monday, August 30, 2021:  Teacher Professional Development Day.  No school for students.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021:  First day for all, including Co-op students. This is a half-day with dismissal at 11:00 am.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021: Full day of school. Note start time is 8:45 am.  Bus pick up is 1-hour later that morning.

Thursday, September 2, 2021:  This is a half-day with dismissal at 11:00 am.

Friday, September 3, 2021: This is another half-day with dismissal at 11:00 am.

Monday, September 6, 2021: Labor Day – School will be closed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021:  Rosh Hashanah – School will be closed.


For additional dates and details please view the 2021-2022 School Calendar.


COVID Protocols

As Dr. Riccio explained in her email on Friday, July 30th, the Massachusetts Department of  Elementary and Secondary Education recently released its school reopening guidance. Given that we are a school district that serves grades 9-12, vaccinated students and staff will not be required to wear face coverings while inside school buildings at this time. Face coverings will be, however, required in the school nurse’s office and while on all school busses. Further, if a member of our community prefers to wear a mask, we encourage you to do so. In addition, there are no social-distancing requirements at this time. Essex North Shore will continue the practice of cleaning classroom desks between periods and will work to maintain the good housekeeping and sanitation practices initiated as a result of the pandemic and that worked so well throughout our last school year. Further, we will be introducing rapid testing for our students. More information will follow. As with all things related to the pandemic, these protocols are subject to change pending new information. We appreciate your understanding.


Vaccination Clinic

The vaccination clinic is happening on our campus, Monday, August 16th from 12:00 to 2:00 pm.  The clinic for the second dose will be held on Wednesday, September 8th from 8:30 am to 11:30 am.  The clinic will be held in the Media Center.  Also, vaccinations can be done in a variety of locations, including the Topsfield Fair. While we cannot require vaccinations for students, we are closely following the data related to COVID rates. Use the online link below to sign up.  All of the necessary permissions for vaccinating minor students are embedded in the software.  As long as caregivers sign students up online, caregivers do not need to accompany minors to the clinic. Here is the link:  Curative will accept walk-in staff members and students who are 18 years of age who may not have signed up online prior to the clinic.  Please direct any questions regarding the clinic to Kathleen Holman Director of Human Resources at or Michael Murphy Interim Coordinator of Athletics, Wellness, & Health Services at


Important Information

In an effort to be more sustainable, we are asking that you view information essential to the start of the school year online at by selecting the “Information for Families” tab. The required items that we ask you to review and become familiar with are listed below.  However, we believe you will find other helpful information such as the bell schedule and lunch schedule.

  • School Meals Information Please review the following letter from our Director of Food Services, Ms. Grace Clarke, for important information regarding the school lunch program.
  • Free-and-Reduced-Meals Application (This will also be included in your child’s Orientation folder.)
    If applicable, please complete the application, found in the “Information for Families” tab and return to school as soon as possible. The earlier it is received; the faster it can be processed. 
  • Medication Administration Consent Form and Medication Order-Physician Form
    These forms are also required if your child will take any prescription medications during the school day. These forms are also available at in the “Forms” section.


With regard to school supplies, Essex North Shore does not prepare a supply list. Teachers will provide students with a list of recommended materials and supplies during the first week of classes. In addition, students will receive a Dress for Success document in their Orientation folder that outlines the dress requirements for all career technical and agricultural areas. Please note: students are not allowed to wear hats or hoods in the building.


Chromebook Setup & Distribution  

“Chromebook Nights” at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School will be held on Wednesday, August 18,  Monday, August 23rd, and Wednesday, August 25th between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm or 3:00 – 6:00 pm. During this time, families bringing their own Chromebooks will be assisted in configuring and enrolling their Chromebooks into the Essex Tech management system. Families that are borrowing Chromebooks from the school will fill out a technology loan agreement, pay the technology fee, receive the Chromebook, and receive assistance setting it up. More information about the Chromebook 1-to-1 program can be found on the Technology Department page of the website. 


We want to remind families about our Wednesday start time on September 1st.  School will begin for students at 8:45 am on Wednesdays to allow for staff professional development.  The 8:45 am start time will occur every Wednesday except for our 10:45 am Late-Start Wednesdays (specified on the school calendar) and on MCAS testing days in the spring.  All buses will pick up one hour later on the 8:45 start days and students will be dismissed at our usual time of 2:30 pm.  We will include a note about this in the weekly memos throughout the year to remind you.


We are looking forward to meeting you on August 24th at our New Parent Orientation and welcoming our new students on August 26th at our New Student Orientation.  Enjoy the rest of the summer!




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

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