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HSD Updates 10.16.2020
HSD Updates 10.16.2020
Jim Chasse
Friday, October 16, 2020

I hope that you are all doing well.  Here are some updates from the HSD central office.

-Hybrid Schedule. The Reopening Hermon Schools Committee met this week to discuss successes and challenges of a new hybrid schedule.  One common theme is that WE WANT THEM ALL BACK IN SCHOOL EVERY DAY!  

In brief, some of our successes include: 

•Attendance rates are very high! 
•Behavior Issues are very low! 
•Academic digression (per NWEA) is not as high as anticipated 
•Special education is attending 3-4 days per week where possible
•Monday common planning time and professional development have been very valuable
•Daily, smaller ratios have allowed for more individual student academic attention 
•Just seeing students in person again brings with it wonderful energy
•HHS 3 courses per day has allowed for greater academic depth                                                                      

HHS Students are about to receive 1:1 MacBooks                                                                                                    

 •USDA has extended free lunch for the remainder of the year                                                                                   •Y Academy is now state approved and ready to begin in November                                                              •CRF Childcare grant will help staff and economic disadvantaged                                                                    •Staff and Community Childcare Grant via Maine DOE                                                                                            •Some families electing Homeschooling are working with HSD for academic materials and other assistance.  We continue to approve all remote learning only requests.  If you want this or want to return to school, please contact that school's main office.                                                                                   •HMS Remote Synchronous Classroom login is working quite well

Challenges

•Buildings have more energy when there are more students 
•Masks can get frustrating 
•Staff are more isolated Tues-Friday
•Some remote only students are not fully engaged
•Curriculum pacing 
•Community student involvement for things like  job shadowing, events, athletic fans, things that enhance a school community...

•Family schedules with hybrid schedule, home support and childcare challenges.                     

Next Steps:

Continue to follow state CDC/DOE recommendations with hopes that we can gain more access days over time. 

The committee discussed concepts for increasing student days as time progresses.

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-Family Travel.  A reminder to all of our families to follow state CDC guidelines if you are traveling in and out of Maine during school breaks.  

-Technology.  We had a small glitch with a piece of software used to distribute applications to all of our new laptops but this has been corrected and deployment is underway.  A special thanks to our tech team and the HHS library staff for all of your help!  Students and families will be require to agree to our Acceptable Use Policy and Laptop Care Rules in order to receive a laptop.  

-Athletics.  So nice to watch Hermon athletics on WHOU!  Of course, it would be better with a 100 fans and hopefully we get back to that soon.  A special thanks to their crew and Dale Duff who has covered most of our games.  It is always nice to win and there is a good deal of that going on in Hermon.  Praises to Mr. Sinclair for SO MANY adjustments to allow for a competitive experience for our students.  

-Winter Sports.  The MPA/DOE/DHHS are meeting in the next week to discuss this topic.

-COVID.  While we have yet to deal with positive cases in HSD, there have been positive cases in our region and other school systems.  We will use a 2-day reset should there be positive cases in our school system.  This will allow us the time to work with the CDC and use extra caution until we are cleared to resume classes.

-Nurses.  A huge THANK YOU to our nurses who have been extra diligent for our students.  The HSD has opted into a state pilot for rapid testing equipment and we will keep you posted as to what that means.  

-Our Schools.  Kudos to our employees!  Students are engaged, following the new rules, active in athletics, and being social.  It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination but we have great people in the HSD.  Essential People! 

-Remote Only.  Families that are remote only and are ready to return to school, please contact your school's office asap for planning purposes. 

-Childcare Grant.  Those of you that have applied for the Hermon Childcare grant for essential workers or economic qualifiers, we have received your applications and will be getting back to you as to next steps. 

-The Y-Academy.  The Bangor Y has received state clearance to operate out of Morgan Hill Event Center for 50 hybrid learners.  Details and sign up will begin next week for a November start date.  The program is designed first for K-2 and second for grades 3-4.  Stay tuned. 

-FOOD SERVICE.  The USDA has extended the free meal program through the remainder of the school year.   

-SNOW DAYS.  As the season begins to creep closer many have asked about not counting snow days due to our ability to work remotely.  As of the governor's emergency orders, we would not have to currently make up any snow days.  We could all use a snow day once in awhile !

-UTC Teacher Award. Amanda Peterson, the Business Leadership Instructor at United Technologies Center (UTC) in Bangor has been named the 2020 Maine Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year by the Maine Administrators of Career and Technical Education (MACTE).  Hermon Congratulates Mrs. Peterson! 

-PARENTS.  Thank you to our school parent advisory groups and the PTA for your feedback and continued support.  You can find each school's Facebook page and or visit their website for updated information.  Continue to work with your child(ren)'s teachers and school leaders as we approach the end of the quarter and move towards Thanksgiving.

Have a great weekend.  Go Hawks!

Here is a video for you from one of our staff members.

KINDNESS COMES BACK TO YOU!