Letters from the Superintendent

 
Here you can find all the communication, information and scheduled changes
that were shared with our families in the recent days.
 
Jul 27, 2020, 10:08 AM
 
Dear Members of the Milford Community:
 
I am pleased to present to you the District’s DRAFT  Re-opening of Schools Plan. Our 46-member task force has worked diligently over the last month to provide input into the various components, and the District Leadership team spent four very long days last week working through an incredible amount of logistics. This work has enabled us to provide thoughtful and sound recommendations to start the 20-21 School Year. I am extremely proud of the work that has been done under incredible circumstances. 
 
This week offers the opportunity for public feedback on the plan. We have provided a survey link to capture that feedback here.
 
 
The District has also created a new tab on our website to provide you with any and all information that we have up to this point regarding the re-opening of school.
 
We have also scheduled a public forum via Zoom on Wednesday, July 29th, from 6-7 pm. Please join us on the below link. Our District Leadership team will be available to answer any questions, or clarify any aspects of the plan for you that evening. It will also be live-streamed by Granite Town Media. 
 
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Next Monday, August 3rd the Board will review the plan in public. The Board Meeting is scheduled for 7pm and will take place in the High School Cafeteria. There will be a limited number of seats in order to maintain social distancing. However, it will be live-streamed by Granite Town Media. 
 
Thank you in advance for your continued support, flexibility, adaptability, and kindness. What lies ahead of us is unchartered territory. I do not pretend to know everything. But what I do know is that our success is predicated on a whole new level of community collaboration. We need to support our students, families, teachers, and administrators in ways we have never before. We will need to partner with the community in even greater ways than ever before. We are Milford, and together, we can!!!!
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
Jul 20, 2020, 4:56 PM
 
Dear Milford Community:
 
I hope this email finds you all well, and enjoying some restful family time this summer. I want to extend my sincerest thanks to all of you that have responded to our family survey. This information is incredibly helpful to us as we continue our work on planning for the Re-Opening of School. If you have not taken the time to complete the online google form, please take a moment to.
 
 
I am also writing to update you all on our Re-Opening planning progress. I can only imagine how anxious everyone is to begin wrapping their heads about what school might look like in the fall. I do not believe there has been a more complex challenge we have faced in Public Education in our history, than re-opening school in these unprecedented circumstances. Our entire Administrative team appreciates your patience and support as we prepare for a strong start to the 20-21 School Year. 
 
Our Re-Opening of Schools Task Force has been meeting for the past three weeks. The task force consists of 46 individuals including teachers, administrators, staff, community partners, police, fire, and parents. This group has been incredibly helpful in thinking through the realities we are facing, and making recommendations that will inform our comprehensive plan. The Governor just recently released guidelines on July 14th, which has also informed our work.
 
Today, our Administrative team began working through feedback from the task force sub-committees. Our task force is completing our meetings this week. We have also surveyed our staff to get feedback on re-opening, and will be meeting with staff representatives next week. Over the next few days, we will be compiling the draft plan. Our goal is to share that plan publicly next week for a period of public feedback prior to presenting the plan for discussion at the Milford School Board meeting on August 3rd. 
 
There is much to be done in the next two weeks, and we appreciate your understanding as we work through such a daunting task as this. We have an outstanding team of administrators and staff working incredibly hard to ensure a safe and healthy start to school.  Thank you for your ongoing support.
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
July 13, 2020, 7:05 AM                
 
Dear Milford Community:
 
It’s hard to believe it’s almost mid-July of 2020, and we’ve been living a new normal for nearly 5 months. I hope everyone is safe, healthy, and enjoying some quality time with friends and family; especially as things have begun to re-open. 
 
We have been hard at work preparing for the start of a new school year. While we do not know all of what is ahead of us, what we do know is it will be different than years past. Our district staff, and families did an extraordinary job this Spring with Remote-Learning. Now, our work has shifted to opening a new school year in the safest possible way for students, staff, and families. 
 
In order to assist us with our planning, we have developed a questionnaire that we need ALL families to take the time to complete. No answer you give us will be set in stone, and you will have the opportunity following our presentation of our reopening plan, to modify your response. This information will give the Reopening of Schools Task Force, and the School Administration, a sense of how to best prepare for a successful 20-21 School Year. Each family needs to fill out a questionnaire for EACH child that attends school. We appreciate your time, and support during these extraordinary circumstances.
 
Here is the link to the questionnaire:
 
 
Enjoy the beautiful summer weather, and we will be sending updates as we have them throughout the summer. 
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
June 9, 2020, 10:24 AM                
 
Good Morning Milford Community:
 
It has been a whirlwind end of the year since we moved to remote learning in March. Again, I just want to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who supported our Administrators, Educators, and Support Staff. This has truly been a team effort in unchartered territory! As I shared with the graduating class on Friday, as challenging as this has been, many positive things have come from this experience. My hope is that these things will become more and more evident as we move forward as a community.  
 
At this time, we do not know what the 20-21 School Year will bring. As the State of NH slowly re-opens, we continue to seek guidance on how Covid-19 will continue to impact our schools. As such, we have put together a survey for the community to provide us feedback on our remote learning process this past Spring, as well as to seek input on our preparations for school in the Fall. 
 
Please take a few minutes to complete the following survey. This information will inform our Planning Task Force, and action planning this summer. 
 
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
May 24, 2020, 12:02 PM                
 
Dear Milford Community:
 
I hope this note finds you all well as we enter into the last week of the school year. I want to thank all of our educators, administrators, support staff, families, and community for their tremendous work during this time. Remote learning and support was rolled out very quickly, and I can personally say the work that was done far exceeded any expectations I could have had. Thank you all! 
 
The State of New Hampshire Department of Education has created a School Transition, Reopening, and Redesign Taskforce. This group will be looking at how we will begin in September, and providing guidance to local school districts. The DOE is seeking input from teachers, parents, students, and education leaders from across the state. Please take some time to complete the survey linked here and help guide our work moving forward. The survey will close on May 29, 2020 at 8 pm EST.
 
 
Thank you for your continued support during this time. 
 
Best regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
 
May 21, 2020, 10:01 AM                
 
Good Morning Milford Community:
 
After a very thorough process, and receipt of feedback from staff and families, I’m pleased to announce that I will be recommending Ms. Santina Thibedeau to the Board as the Executive Director of Student Support Services for the Milford School District. This position plays a critical leadership role overseeing Special Education, 504, Nurses, Social Workers and Mental Health Counselors, McKinney-Vento, and out of district placements. 
 
Santina joined the Milford School District in August of 2019 in the capacity of Assistant Director of Special Education. During her time with us, Santina has overseen out of District placements, and has implemented new programming district wide.
 
From 2005 to 2019 Santina served as the State of NH Director of Special Education. In that position, Santina was responsible for the supervision and implementation of federal and state laws to ensure a free and appropriate education for all children and youths with disabilities. She was also responsible for overseeing IDEA grants, state and federal data collections, developing and implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and Universal Designs for Learning.
 
Santina has also held positions as a consultant, teacher of emotionally handicapped students, Principal, Clinical Social Worker, Coordinator of the Parent/Youth Mediation Program, Guidance Counselor, and Relief Worker.
 
Santina holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychotherapy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Education, both from Rivier College. Current NH Certifications include: Special Education Administrator, Principal, School Counselor, Teacher of the Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities, General Special Education.
 
In October of 2019, Santina was awarded the NASDSE Award, an award given to an individual on the basis of prolonged service and substantive contribution to NASDSE as well as the field of special education.
 
In October of 2015, she was recognized by the NH Parent Information Center for family engagement work done by the Bureau of Special Education.
 
On a personal level, Santina is a licensed NH Foster Parent, and has volunteered as a Facilitator and Trainer for a Decision-Making Curriculum at The Hillsborough House of Corrections, and has also been a sponsor family for Fresh Air Families for Needy Children in New York.
 
Please join me in welcoming Santina to her new position in the Milford School District. We are excited for her leadership and the positive impact she will bring to students, families, and staff.
 
Best Regards, 
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
May 16, 2020, 10:01 AM                
 
Good Morning Milford Community:
 
I’m writing to share with you that we have identified two finalists for the position of Executive Director of Special Services for the Milford School District. This position plays a critical leadership role overseeing Special Education, 504, Nurses, Social Workers and Mental Health Counselors, McKinney-Vento, and out of district placements. 
 
Similar to our other search processes, we had a committee of diverse stakeholders screen applications and interview candidates. The committee sent their finalists to a smaller committee made up of the Executive Secretary for Special Education, the Elementary Special Education Coordinator, JMS Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and myself. 
 
We are pleased to present to you the following candidates, and invite both the Faculty, Staff, and School Community to join us on Zoom for a meet and greet/Q&A on Tuesday, May 19th from 5-6:45. You can access the forum through the following link:
 
Join Zoom Meeting 
 
Our first candidate, Katherine Barber will join us from 5-5:50 pm. Here is a little information about her, and her background. 
 
Katherine Barber:
 
Katherine is currently the Director of Special Services in Eliot Maine, and has served in that capacity since October 2018. She currently holds a CAGS degree in Educational Leadership from  Plymouth State University, and a M.Ed in  Reading Specialist and Special Education from the College of Saint Joseph in Vermont.  
 
Prior experience includes Associate Program Director at Spurwink Services in Portland Maine, from May 2017 to the present time. From 2011 to 2017 she took a short vacation from the world of education and became the owner/Head coach of CrossFit Reclamation, prior to that she served as the Assistant Principal in the Hampton NH school district, serving 450 students and 70+ staff members from 2008 to 2011, and an Associate Principal as well as a Reading/Literacy Specialist/Reading Recovery/Title 1 Coordinator/Special Educator from 2004-2008 in Tilton NH.
 
Katherine is trained in CPI, SCERTS Model Training, and TCI/CARE Training.  She also holds certifications as a CrossFit Level 1 & 2 Coach, Strong First Kettlebell, CrossFit Kids/Football/Gymnastics/Endurance/Mobility, CrossFit Olympic Lifting, and Spartan SGX Coach.
 
The New Hampshire Certifications she holds are: Special Education Administrator, Principal, Reading and Writing Specialist, Elementary Education, and General Special Education.               
 
Katherine states her expertise lies in nurturing strengths, cultivating the whole child, utilizing forward-thinking and SMART goal setting for building character education, embracing technology and STEAM, and providing the support necessary to help children succeed in surpassing their goals. She states she is ready to make an immediate and positive contribution in Milford.
 
Our second finalist, Santina Thibedeau will join the forum for a meet and greet and Q&A from 6-6:50 pm. Here is a little information about her, and her background. 

Santina Thibedeau:
 
Santina joined the Milford School District in August of 2019 in the capacity of Assistant Director of Special Education. During her time with us, Santina has overseen out of District placements, and has implemented new programming district wide.
 
From 2005 to 2019 Santina served as the State of NH Director of Special Education. In that position, Santina was responsible for the supervision and implementation of federal and state laws to ensure a free and appropriate education for all children and youths with disabilities. She was also responsible for overseeing IDEA grants, state and federal data collections, developing and implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and Universal Designs for Learning.
 
Prior experience includes Educational Consultant at SERESC 2004-2005. Principal at the Brentwood School in Merrimack, NH from 1995-2005, and as a teacher for the emotionally handicapped from 1991-1995 in Merrimack NH.

Santina has also held positions as a Clinical Social Worker, Coordinator of the Parent/Youth Mediation Program, Guidance Counselor, and Relief Worker for Harbor Homes in Nashua, NH.
 
Santina holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychotherapy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Education, both from Rivier College. Current NH Certifications include: Special Education Administrator, Principal, School Counselor, Teacher of the Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities, General Special Education.
 
In October of 2019, Santina was awarded the NASDSE Award, an award given to an individual on the basis of prolonged service and substantive contribution to NASDSE as well as the field of special education.
 
In October of 2015, she was recognized by the NH Parent Information Center for family engagement work done by the Bureau of Special Education.
 
On a personal level, Santina is a licensed NH Foster Parent, and has volunteered as a Facilitator and Trainer for a Decision-Making Curriculum at The Hillsborough House of Corrections, and has also been a sponsor family for Fresh Air Family for Needy Children in New York.
 
Feedback forms will be provided to share your thoughts on both candidates. We look forward to seeing you on the 19th.
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
 
May 14, 2020, 5:36 PM                
 
Good Evening:
 
I am pleased to be able to share with the Milford Community that on Monday evening, I will be forwarding to the School Board my recommendation for the next Principals of Heron Pond Elementary School and Milford Middle School.
 
Heron Pond Elementary School:  After posting the position and reviewing candidates, I am very excited to recommend Mr. Chris Saunders as the next Principal of Heron Pond Elementary School. Chris has served in the capacity of Acting Principal since November of 2019, and has done an outstanding job! We are extremely fortunate to have had such tremendous and seamless leadership at HP this year. 
 
Mr. Saunders is currently finishing up his 18th year in education.  He graduated from UMASS Lowell with a bachelor's degree in music education in 2002.  His first teaching job was in Revere, Massachusetts, where he taught music and instrumental lessons for two years.  After moving back to New Hampshire, he was hired to teach general music at Mastricola Elementary School in Merrimack.  He taught there for ten years and in that time earned his Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Rivier University.  In 2014, he was hired as the Assistant Principal at Heron Pond School in Milford.  While in Milford he has been able to learn about being a school leader alongside some tremendous Administrators.  In that time, he shared with us how much he’s learned about Milford's schools and the community.  His wife is a high school art teacher and they have two incredible sons that keep them in touch with what it is like to be a student today.  He is looking forward to having the opportunity to serve as Principal and continue to move Heron Pond forward.
 
Milford Middle School: We conducted a wide and thorough search for the next leader of Milford Middle School. A search committee forwarded three finalists to a smaller committee made up of the Executive Secretary of MMS, the Principal of JMS, the Secondary Special Education Coordinator, the Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent. This committee forwarded all three candidates to meet with faculty and parents in ZOOM forums this week. After reviewing feedback from those stakeholders, I am pleased to announce that I will be recommending Mr. Bill Demers as the next Principal of MMS. I want to thank everyone who took the time to meet these candidates, ask excellent questions, and offer their feedback to us. 
 
Mr. Demers is currently the Assistant Principal of Mountain View Middle School in Goffstown, NH where he has served since 2018. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Principal in Bedford, NH, held the role of Athletic Director, and started his career as an English Teacher at the Middle Level.
 
In his role as Assistant Principal, he serves as the 504 building coordinator, District CPI trainer, and has assisted the Goffstown School District in their transition to Competency Based Learning, and 1:1 learning. Bill has led Mountainview in their adoption of Restorative Practices, and the implementation of Tiered Systems of Support for both behavior and academics.  
 
Please join me in welcoming both Mr. Saunders and Mr. Demers into their new roles in the Milford School District. 
 
Best Regards,

Dr. Jessica Huizenga

 

 

May 3, 2020, 7:05 PM           
 
 
Dear Milford Community:
 

It is the first week of May, and hard to believe we have been in remote learning for almost two months. On April 13th and 14th we made a significant shift from Blizzard Bags to online learning for our K-5 students. A huge shout out to our Elementary staff for taking on such a significant task, with such a steep learning curve. They have done a fantastic job! I also want to say a special thanks to our Food Service Department for continuing to serve thousands of meals to families each week, and our technology department for all the support they have given to everyone district-wide. We appreciate you all so much. 

Per the orders of Governor Sununu, we are still under a stay-at-home order. Our teachers, staff, students, and families continue to do incredible work to advance learning this school year, and I want to express tremendous thanks to everyone for making this unprecedented situation such a great success. We have much to celebrate amidst a very difficult and challenging time. 

END OF THE YEAR CALENDAR

Remote learning will continue in accordance with our school calendar. The last day of school for students in Pre-K-12th Grade is May 29th.

We want to give students time to finish projects and assignments before the last day of school. It is important that students complete their assignments. We will be working as a district leadership team on a year-end calendar for these assignments, which will be communicated to families via the School Administration. 

Some schools have already provided opportunities for students to pick up personal belongings. To provide students/families closure to the School Year, summer “Send-off” events are planned for Friday, May 29th at the elementary schools. Principals will be providing further communications regarding this moving forward. Please stay tuned! 

CLASS OF 2020

Detailed plans to honor our Class of 2020 graduates and their families, along with final decisions regarding graduation will be announced by the 15th of May.  A celebration that allows for physical distancing is being planned for June 8th; however, we are still hoping to hold a traditional graduation if safely possible this summer.  

No new assignments will be given to our seniors after Friday, May 22nd; however, seniors who still need to finalize their course work are expected to fully engage the following week.

Senior scholarship awards as well as the junior, sophomore, and freshmen awards will be presented through a virtual video presentation; those dates are TBD.  

Milford Middle School Updates:

Plans for virtual celebrations for our 8th Graders as they transition into Milford High School are in the works. We look forward to celebrating this important time for our incoming 9th Grade Class. 

We are in the final phase of the search for the next Milford Middle School Principal. I want to personally thank Mr. DeMarco for his extraordinary leadership. He will be missed! Two finalists will be presented to the community in the coming week, with faculty and community forums planned for the week of May 11th. We hope to have a new Middle School Principal appointed by the end of May. 
 

Transition Meetings and Transition Opportunities 

Each year careful consideration goes into transitioning students successfully between grade levels and schools.  This year, the Student Support team, principals, teachers, and school counselors are also considering the unique challenge of transitioning students back to school from extended remote learning.  Lots of creative discussions and plans are underway with tentative thoughts for late summer step-up days, teacher meet and greets, school visits, and parent information nights. 

With support from building principals, the special services department adds an additional layer to the work being done to support all of our students as they transition. Our special educators and related service providers of those students transitioning to a new school in the fall meet together to share current progress, as well as helpful hints to ensure our students have the best possible start to the new school year.  We have set aside time in mid-May for this collaborative work.

Summer Learning Opportunities and ESY services for Special Education Students

During our Commissioner’s Call last week, we were informed that State guidance will be forthcoming on May 15th. We will communicate more concrete plans following that guidance on topics of summer learning. These topics include: Title I camps, Kindergarten “Blast Off”, Extended School Year (ESY), and other summertime activities. 

Planning for Next School Year

Plans for next school year are underway. K-8 families, we appreciate the input we have received regarding student placement. Principals will continue to communicate regarding scheduling, etc., in the coming weeks.  We have been able to participate on conference calls with the Governor, and the Education Commissioner. Governor Sununu has been very frank about the situation we face, and the reality is that we may not have a vaccine until sometime next summer.  The virus will be circulating in our communities until a vaccine is discovered and distributed.  We all need to plan for a long duration event and a longer economic recovery.  As he has stated over and over, we are in this for the long haul, and it is not going to fade away easily, so we will continue to proactively plan for such events. As such, we will be working diligently as a leadership team, and as a School District to be as forward thinking as possible as we move into the next School Year. State, Local, and Department of Education guidance will be critical to this work. 

In light of these difficult times which have changed nearly every aspect of our daily lives, there is a lot of good that has grown from this. Our teachers and administrators have created inspiring videos showing all of the fantastic learning happening across the district. Our parents and community continue to express their thanks to our teachers and staff which is greatly appreciated. We’re so proud of our district and appreciate the patience, flexibility, and support of everyone. 

Please continue to practice the repeated health and safety recommendations – Stay at home, wash your hands and practice strict social distancing. 

There are many resources available online for your health, safety and mental wellness. Milford School District has a hub of resources related to remote learning, and Social and Emotional Supports information to assist students, families, and teachers. These resources can be found on our website. Additionally, please see our latest Social Worker’s Newsletter attached. 

We hope everyone is safe, healthy, and doing well. We miss our students and staff very much, and appreciate everyone’s support during this time. 

 
Best regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
                                                               See Attached:  SW Newsletter
 
 
 
 
 
Apr 16, 2020, 1:37 PM           
 
 
Good Afternoon Milford Community:
 
I hope this note finds everyone well! It's hard to believe we are coming to the close of another week of remote learning in the Milford School District. My deepest thanks to everyone for all the tremendous work that is being done on a daily basis to serve our students and families. I'm writing with an important update, and to share a new resource we have developed for you. 
 
This afternoon, Governor Sununu will announce that all New Hampshire schools will remain in remote learning for the remainder of the year. He shared that in time, officials will be working to flex certain things to relax restrictions, however we should be prepared to be in this for some time. He encouraged districts to get creative with virtual proms and graduations, so we will continue to think creatively as to how to provide these special opportunities for the Class of 2020.
 
As I shared earlier this week, the School Board voted Monday night to remain in remote learning until the end of the 19-20 School Year, and to continue school through Spring Break. The last day for students will be on May 29th. 
 
Tomorrow, we will take part in a call with the Commissioner and the Department of Education to discuss Summer Programming and ESY services, amongst other important topics. We will continue to share information with you as we receive it. 
 
To continue to support our remote learning plan, we have created a Resource Hub for parents, students, and teachers. The SAU-40 Resource Hub is a compilation of resources that has been created to provide help for Milford teachers and families in supporting our students towards achieving meaningful and engaged learning during this unprecedented time. Please click on the link below, which will take you to this resource.
 
 
We appreciate your continued understanding, flexibility, and support as we navigate this situation together. 

Sincerely,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
 
Apr 14, 2020, 11:06 AM           
 
 

Dear Milford Community:

 

It’s hard to believe we are about a month into our remote learning system. Again, I just want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the students, families, teachers, staff, and our administrative team for all the tremendous work that has been done to ensure that we continue to provide excellent educational services to students during this time. I want to say a special thanks to Bill Cooper and our Maintenance and Custodial staff for the exceptional job they have done in deep cleaning our buildings. Also, a tremendous shout out to our Food Service staff for continuing to prepare and serve thousands of meals each week to our families. 

 

If you haven’t followed our District Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter, please check us out on our handle @WeAreSau40. There are so many wonderful videos, clips, and information that celebrate many incredible moments throughout our learning community, despite this pandemic. 

 

I’m writing with some important updates to share with you regarding the remainder of the School Year. As always, if you have any questions or need of support, please reach out to your child’s Teacher, Case Manager, or Principal. If you have any District level questions, don’t hesitate to contact the SAU. 

 

19-20 School Year

 

Last night, the Milford School Board voted to continue remote learning through Spring Break, and for the remainder of the school year. This means students will not return to the school buildings, and will remain in remote learning until the end of the year. The Board also voted to end the 19-20 school year on Friday, May 29th for all students. This includes Seniors. 

 

We understand that this has been a very difficult way for all of our students to end this school year. This holds true most especially for our Seniors who are missing many moments that are so anticipated, and we empathize. We will continue to brainstorm as a leadership team, creative ways to celebrate and provide opportunities for the Class of 2020 to end their High School years in the best possible way. 

 

20-21 School Year

 

The Milford School Board approved the 20-21 School Year Calendar last evening. Please see the district website later this evening for the final calendar, which will be posted then. Staff will report Aug. 24th – 25th.  The first day for students is Aug. 26th. The last day for students is June 11th. 

 

Student Services Department

 

Last night, the Milford School Board voted to retitle the Director of Special Services to “Executive Director of Student Support Services.” The person will lead, operate, and manage all aspects of the Student Support Services department, including all schools and special programs.  This position requires a systems-level/district leader to effectively integrate several student services and programs. The purpose of this re-titling and 2-year restructuring process is to more clearly define roles, responsibilities, and reporting structures of Student Services. It also formally defines 504, Out of District Placements, Counseling, SEL/Mental Health, Nursing, English Language Learners, and McKinney Vento Homeless as part of Student Support Services. This will also require the retitling of the Assistant Director of Special Services to “Assistant Director of Student Support Services”, and Director of Student Services at MHS to “Director of School Counseling.”

 

Grading and Reporting – Remainder of the 19-20 School Year

 

Elementary School:

 

  • Continued focus on the most essential knowledge and skills during this remote learning time.
  • As required by law, assessment of student learning during this remote period will occur to gather evidence of progress with recognition that students have received varying levels of home support.
  • Ongoing feedback to students and parents regarding progress made and areas for growth.

 

End-of-Year Report Cards - Elementary

 

  • Teachers will provide parents with a narrative that will accompany the end-of-year report card. The narrative will share which concepts and skills were addressed through remote learning as well as individual student progress.
  • Teachers will complete the 3rd trimester report card to the extent possible including focus areas during remote learning.  Any areas that are not addressed, or unable to be assessed will be noted.
 

Middle School:

 

• Continued focus on the most essential knowledge and skills during this remote learning time.

• Assessment of student learning to gather evidence of progress made.

• Ongoing feedback to students and parents regarding progress made and areas for growth.

• Qtr. 3 – Recognizing the end of Q3 was a transitional period from classroom to remote learning, students will only be able to improve the grade they had from previous to the start of remote learning.  Any missing assignments will be marked with an “M” in PowerSchool and ample opportunity will be allowed for student to complete, redo (if desired), and turn-in work. 

• Qtr. 4 – Grading will take place as usual with grace and flexibility granted to students for assignment completion and opportunities to retake assignments without penalty for lateness. 

  • Any Q4 assignment not turned in will be marked “M” for missing in PS until an earned grade is entered.
  • At the end of Q4, an “M” in PowerSchool will be calculated as a minimum score of 55%.

 

High School:

 

  • Continued focus on the most essential knowledge and skills during this remote learning time.
  • Assessment of student learning to gather evidence of progress made toward course expectations.
  • Ongoing feedback to students regarding progress made and areas for growth.
  • FINAL GRADES: Teachers have the utmost flexibility with the gradebook so that the final grade will be the most accurate portrayal of student’s learning for the semester/term, which will be reflected in one final grade on the student transcript.
  • Grace and flexibility will be granted to students for assignment completion without penalty for lateness. Student will have opportunities for rewrites/retakes for earned grade. 
  • Any assignment not completed and turned in will be designated as “missing” in PS, which calculates as a zero in the gradebook until an earned grade is entered. 
  • A “Special Grade Consideration” process has been established to address equity and equal access.
    • At the end of the term, a student/parent or teacher may submit a form requesting special grade consideration. 
    • The form will allow them to explain the special circumstances that led to the grade. 
    • This form will be submitted to the School Counseling Department. 
    • School counselor and/or teacher will present a recommendation to the Review Team. 
    • If the Review Team requires more information, a meeting with the student/parent will be requested. 
    • Possible outcomes may include a pass/fail grade, course marked incomplete with remediation, or remove the course from transcript.
 

Social Distancing

 

A friendly reminder that local, state, and federal authorities continue to promote Social Distancing as a key means to flattening the curve and spread of the corona-virus. Please keep that in mind during your daily activities and those of your students. 

 

We hope you and your families continue to be healthy, safe, and well. I know all of us at SAU 40 miss our students, and our colleagues. We look forward to resuming our regular school operation in August. In the meantime, we will continue to update you with the latest information we have.

 

Have a wonderful day, 

Dr. Jessica Huizenga

 

 

 

 

 
Apr 2, 2020, 4:38 PM     
 
 

Dear Milford Community:

 

It’s hard to believe we have been at remote learning for two and a half weeks now. I hope everyone continues to be safe, healthy, and finding bright moments during this disruption to our daily lives. Personally, I have enjoyed resurrecting my cooking skills, planning family dinners, and having time together that always seemed to take second place to something else. I have also seen first-hand with my own middle schooler the challenges, stressors, and difficulties this pandemic has created. I am in awe of all of our parents, teachers, staff, administrators, and our students for the amazing work they continue to do on a daily basis during this time. 

 

Our remote learning roll-out has been a tremendous success thus far. Last Friday and Monday, we did our second deployment of our Elementary Blizzard Bags. Thank you to all the administrators, staff, and volunteers who made the process so seamless. Thank you to all of the parents who dropped off completed bags from the first week and a half of our remote learning model. A lot of good work and learning was accomplished during that time. I also want to thank all of our families district-wide for supporting your child's learning at home while juggling a million other things.

 

We have received hundreds of responses from our parent survey, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Some highlights were: the majority of students and families seem to have found a working structure and schedule to their day, feedback on district, school, and staff communication was excellent, and the workload for the majority of students has been within the exact range we would expect. We will continue to work through the feedback we have received to improve our remote learning system. I am incredibly proud of our administrative team, our teachers, staff, students, families, and partners. It has been a true team effort. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their feedback and thoughts with us. 

 

There are understandably questions regarding grading, graduation, placements, hiring, services, summer options, and what may lie ahead for the rest of the year. These are just a few examples amongst many other things that we are working through at this time. Our team appreciates the patience, understanding, and flexibility of everyone as we move through this journey together.  

 

Here are some quick updates for you for this week:

 

Food Service

 

Most of the kitchen staff continues to package approximately 1500 meals weekly for our drive-through pickup on Mondays. We have also been delivering food to families with the support of the SHARE program volunteers.  The food service department continues to work through new applications for our food program, and processing them within a day.

 

We are doing all we can to help our families during these challenging times, and SHARE has been a tremendous partner in assisting us. SHARE is now taking grocery lists through their website. If someone needs food, they can go to www.sharenh.org. There is a pop-up on the home page and info on their “NEED HELP” page.

A reminder to all families, you can apply anytime online for Free/Reduced meals.  

 

Please contact Maryann Gallagher for assistance: 

603-673-4201 Ext. 3473

maryanne.gallagher@milfordk12.org

 

WiFi Access

 

In order to provide more equity and access in regards to remote learning, we have opened district internet access - Wifi in the football field area. This is set to turn on at 8:00 am and off at 8:00 pm every day. Students or staff can park by the field, access Wifi, and complete their work. 

 

Virtual Enrichment Offerings via the Boys and Girls Club

 

The Boys and Girls Club is planning to offer to our community a variety of virtual enrichment offerings accessible through the club website www.svbgc.org and Facebook page (Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley). The club has created an activities page where the staff post fun things and some challenges that the kids can do at any point in the day, and they can go on the page and share. We are also doing Zoom lunch chats with the children everyday by age group. If you are interested in any of these programs, or you would like more information, please contact Caitlin Hunter Ross, Director of Operations: Boys & Girls Club Souhegan Valley at chunter@svbgc.org

 

All buildings (if they haven’t already) will be sending home updates to parents on our school-week. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Principals with any questions, and/or support needed for your student, family. We are here to help in any way we can. Again, I just want to give a huge shout out to our teachers and staff. There have been such wonderful things happening across the district such as virtual clubs, evening sing-a-longs, new practices, and videos. We certainly have a lot to celebrate as a community during this challenging time. 

 

Thank you again for all of your support! Be well and stay safe.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Jessica Huizenga

 

 

 

 

Mar 26, 2020, 3:10 PM    
 


Good Afternoon Milford Community:

This afternoon at 3 pm, Governor Sununu held a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update to NH constituents. At that time, it was announced that Remote Learning will continue in New Hampshire until May 4th. 

As I shared earlier this morning, we have already begun planning in anticipation of this decision. Please take a moment to share your feedback with us, as we continue to support this disruption to the normal school year. 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2H22C69

We are so grateful for your support during this unprecedented time, and look forward to continuing to support our students, families, and staff.

Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga

 

 

 

 

 
Mar 26, 2020, 9:41 AM    
 

Dear Milford Community:

 

I hope this email finds everyone happy, safe, and healthy as we continue navigating this “new” normal of remote learning. We are almost a week and a half into this transition, and I just want to echo all the tremendous feedback we’ve received on our roll-out. Our administrative team, teachers, and support staff have done exceptional work as we continue to maintain high quality teaching and learning to our students. As the Vice-President said the other day, New Hampshire is setting the pace on remote learning,” and Milford is a leader in New Hampshire. We are incredibly proud of our community, and thank you for the continued support as we progress in this journey. 

 

Please read this message closely, as it contains important information on next steps in our remote learning roll-out. As you know, the Department of Education and the Governor’s office has designated April 3rd as the date of the re-evaluation of our current status. However, the Commissioner has indicated that we should prepare for the possibility of remote learning being extended further. As a result, our leadership team has been working hard to prepare for that in the event the State of New Hampshire takes that course of action.

 

One major change if this is the case, is that we will be moving to a hybrid-online model for elementary students. This move to a hybrid model would take place April 13th. Elementary School Principals put out a technology survey last week. Please take a moment to complete that if you are a family in need of technology support. 

 

Phase 2 of Remote Learning

 

Friday, March 27th will begin Phase 2 of our remote learning deployment. 

 

Elementary Blizzard Bag deployments will follow the following schedules:

 

         Friday, March 27th, 3pm - 7 pm

 

         Monday, March 30th, 8am - 2:30 pm

 

Principals will provide specifics in their communications regarding the pick-up and drop off process.  Secondary Staff have been provided schedules by their Principals for time to pick up any materials and resources needed for Phase 2. 

 

Many of our staff have participated in Professional Development over these past two weeks on how to enhance online learning, and engage students through Google Classroom, Zoom, and other technology tools. We are so proud of our teachers and staff for the way they have tackled this challenge. They have done an outstanding job!

 

Absences

 

If you child is not feeling well, and will be absent from their remote learning for the day, please call the school and report your child absent. We are following our regular district procedures for absences. 

 

Spring Assessments

 

On Friday, President Trump shared that his administration will waive the federal requirement for standardized testing for students in Kindergarten - 12th grade.  However, we have not received word from the NH Department of Education as to what their stance on this is yet.  As soon as we receive word, we will communicate that to our staff and parents. 

 

Parent Survey

 

As I mentioned in our update last week, we would like to gather some feedback from the community on our remote learning deployment and your experience with remote learning thus far. Please take a moment to complete this very short survey to share with us what has gone well for you, and what areas we can continue to improve upon through this process.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2H22C69

 

Student Survey

 

Milford Middle School and Milford High School will be sending out a student survey on their remote learning experience next week. 

 

Special Education/Services Updates

 

Families of students who are identified by IDEA should be receiving weekly communication from their child’s special education teacher/case manager. Both case managers and related service providers will be providing instruction and support within our remote learning model. Our wellness team, which emcompasses school counselors, social workers, and Licensed Mental Health Counselors are developing strategies to help support families and children as we transition to this remote learning experience.  

 

Food Service 

 

The Food Service team wishes to thank everyone in the Milford Community for their patience and understanding as we navigate this situation together.  We appreciate the wonderful support our staff has received. 

 

Please read the below information carefully, as we’ve made some important changes to our meal distribution process to ensure safe contact between staff and families.  

 

Starting Monday March 30, 2020

 

Five Breakfasts / Five Lunches per child will be available for pick up on Monday between the hours of 8:00AM and 3:00PM.

 

Please remain in your car, someone will be there to greet you.

 

As a reminder, if your income has changed for any reason, please go on the MSD website and fill out an application for Free/Reduced meals. This takes only a few minutes to complete and submit.  Our food service director will contact you once your application has been submitted. This can be done in a matter of an hour from start to finish.  

 

If you have any other questions please contact:

 

Maryanne Gallagher

Food Service Director

Milford School District

603 673-4201 Ext 3473

 

We also want to make families and caregivers aware of another service that is here to support you as we navigate this pandemic. The SHARE program is a wonderful partner and non-profit that can help with food and financial assistance for those who qualify. If this is something you would like more information about, please reach out to SHARE directly. 

 

SHARE Hours

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Generally first and third Wednesdays

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

(Please call ahead to make sure they are open.

Food Pantry and financial assistance are by appointment only).

Call the main office to schedule:

Share Center

1 Columbus Avenue

Milford, NH 03055

Telephone: 603-673-9898

Email: info@sharenh.org

 

Preparations for Next Year

 

In addition to making such a significant shift to remote learning, our leadership team has also begun preparations for next school year. Principals will share in their communications that they will be seeking parent input for student placement for Grades K-8 in the coming week or so. 

 

Thank you for your continued support for the Milford School District. We are incredibly proud of our community, and all that has been accomplished in such a short period of time. 

Sincerely,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga – Superintendent
Mrs. Christi Michaud - Assistant Superintendent

 

 

 

 

 
Mar 24, 2020, 8:20 AM    
 
Dear Milford Community:

I hope everyone is doing well, is healthy and safe. Were you all as excited to wake up to all this March snow as I was? 
 
I'm writing because as of now, we still have a portion of Milford that is without power. This means that a small population of teachers and students will not have access online to their classrooms, or morning videos. Please be patient as we continue to work on remote learning access.
 
Secondary students: For those of you with power, please continue the day as you normally would. If you don't have power now, try to do what you can, and connect with your teacher when you can.
 
Elementary students/families: please continue with your assignments, as you are able. As power gets restored, staff and students can make contact with one another then.
 
We appreciate all the wonderful work everyone is doing to continue teaching and learning across our community. 
 
Thank you,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mar 20, 2020, 10:52 AM    
 

Dear Milford Community:

 

I hope this update finds each one of you healthy and safe. These are certainly very different and challenging times, but I know we are going to get through it together. I have just a few updates for you and some thoughts as we move into week two of our remote learning plans. 

 

First, I want to say that I have heard amazing stories from across the district from staff, from parents, from our administrators on the amazing job everyone is doing to ensure that we are continuing high quality educational services to our students. We have shared how important it is to put in place consistent routines at home. Our schools continue to support this with morning messages, and schedules. A great example is Jacques Memorial School who puts their morning message video each day for children and families. Mr. O’Connell has even had a read aloud for the children. Mr. DeMarco has continued his responsive advisory group via google hangouts. Our staff have created google hangouts to support each other in this learning process.  It has been amazing to witness this transformation. I cannot say enough about our Leadership Team, and our entire staff. Thank You to everyone.

 

We continue to hear reports that there is the possibility we will continue with remote learning beyond April 3rd. As a result, we will need to make some adjustments to ensure both teachers, and students have the access and support to continue to engage in excellent teaching and learning. Parents and Staff will be receiving updates from their schools in the next couple of days with important information as we move into the next phase of this process.  

 

Milford School District Remote Technology Update

 

Attached to this message you will find our Acceptable Use Policy form for the district, as well as our District Policy 2295 which refers to Acceptable Use for Computer, Network, and Internet use. Please review these expectations, and discuss them with your children as we continue developing our online model. 

 

The initial rollout of chromebooks and Google Classroom has gone very well. In the event the time spent remote learning gets extended, we will be making the following changes to help enhance student engagement.

 

On March 30th, the IT department will enable email for all students, including elementary grades.  This will allow easier remote communications as well as streamline more of the Google Classroom features.  Elementary and middle school students will only be able to send or receive email from within the school district. We will provide student email addresses and passwords to parents for any newly created accounts.  Once the new accounts are created, we will be implementing a blended learning model, which includes both technology and printed material, for the elementary grades. We have already begun to offer training to elementary teachers in google classroom, and will continue to prepare for this blended model in the coming week. 

 

We will also expand the use of our Google Classroom environment to include the use of video.  This will allow students and teachers to see each other using webcams.  The webcams will be enabled on Monday, March 23.  It is important to understand that the state has a strict two-party recording law that prohibits teachers, students or parents to record these lessons without consent.  “In New Hampshire, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record communications, whether they're wire, oral or electronic, without the consent of everyone taking part in the conversation.”  

 

To provide users with the best and most reliable experience, we recommend teachers and students primarily use Google Hangouts, Chat or Meet, to communicate. However, we have heard there has been great success with Zoom, and will continue to monitor that further as a good tool to develop our virtual learning model.

 

Special Education/Special Services

 

Over the last few days the members of our special education/special services team have been working diligently to connect with students and families across the district. Students have demonstrated their willingness and excitement in connecting with staff through remote learning. We continue to see the relationships between our staff and our students being stronger than ever. It is great to see students able to access the curriculum utilizing previously taught strategies and assistive technology. 

 

In the next few days the special services administration will be formulating a process for initial and re-evaluations in order to maintain state and federal guidelines. For those parents who have students in the evaluation process, please be looking for correspondence from your child’s case manager and/or district coordinator. Guidance around delivery of special education services continues to be fluid from the State. We will update case managers, related service providers, and families as more information comes to us. 

 

Food Service

 

As of yesterday, we served over 400 meals to families across our community, and packaged at least 1000 meals. I want to thank our Food Service department, and our volunteers that have made this possible. If you are in need of support, please reach out. We want to be able to support you. 

 

Please contact Maryanne Gallagher at:  603 673-4201 or Maryanne.gallagher@milfordk12.org

 

Our Food Service Schedule this coming week will be as follows:

 

Monday 3/23/2020

Two (2) Days’ worth of meals will be distributed in the same manner as previously explained. 

 

Wednesday 3/25/2020

Three (3) Days’ worth of meals will be distributed in the same manner as explained above   

This will be the schedule going forward each week until further notice. In order to keep everyone safe we do ask that you stay in your car.

 

Virtual Enrichment Offerings via the Boys and Girls Club


We continue to encourage families to engage in enrichment activities as part of the daily academic routine. The Boys and Girls Club is planning to offer to our community a variety of virtual enrichment offerings accessible through their website. Some of these fun experiences may include a virtual STEM program, dance, theatre, art programming, online gaming, and much more. We are excited to partner with them to be able to provide such a rich array of offerings to round out our student’s day. If you are interested in any of these programs, visit the Boy’s and Girl’s Club website http://www.svbgc.org. If you would like more information, please contact Caitlin Hunter Ross, Director of Operations: Boys & Girls Club Souhegan Valley at chunter@svbgc.org 603-672-1002 x16

Building and Grounds

 

Our building and grounds team has worked incredibly hard to deep clean and sanitize all of our buildings. By the end of next week, we are on target to complete that task. I want to send a huge thank you to Mr. Bill Cooper, and our entire B&G team for their incredible work.

 

In conclusion, we are grateful to everyone in the Milford community for their tremendous understanding, patience, and flexibility as we are moving through this complete shift in our educational model. We have much to celebrate, and much to continue to learn and improve upon. Here are some thoughts from our leadership team on what they have experienced, and witnessed on this journey from our students and staff.

 

"The resilience and perseverance of both staff and students through this new educational world has been monumental.  The pride I feel in our community of learners is endless." Beth Gibney, Curriculum Coordinator - MMS

 

“Staff has come together as never before.  All working together for the benefit of our students and families. Teachers, Paraprofessionals and Administration working collaboratively in a completely new and non traditional manner.  We are all learning new things and thinking differently for our students.  It has been awesome to watch.” Tony Demarco, Principal - MMS

 

“Whenever there is a task at hand, Heron Pond comes together and gets it done. Our staff took a deep breath, rolled up their sleeves, and dove right in. The teamwork witnessed this past week was beyond extraordinary.  It was  "all hands on deck" no matter the task, role, or person.  It was truly an awesome sight to behold.” -  Meg Peterson, Curriculum Coordinator - HP

 

“As the parents were picking up their Blizzard Bags at Jacques Memorial, the look on their faces were of relief. The parents and staff of Jacques Memorial truly came together to get the job done!” - Tim O’Connell, Principal - JMS

 

“This has been such a new learning for me. I hate not being with kids but they are doing a fantastic job so far and I have to say that our  Project Drive team is the best!!” - Beth SanMartino, Teacher - DRIVE and MMS

 

“Project Drive staff has stepped up and, like the rest of the teachers in the district, has gone above and beyond. They are reaching out to students and ensuring that connections are made on a regular basis. They are trying new and innovative techniques to engage and instruct the students and their creativity is outstanding. The students are engaging with staff and having fun with this new process while admitting they miss their teachers, but asking staff to not pass that along. Smiles” - Hillary Laquerre, Secondary Special Education Coordinator.

 

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play” ~H.E. Luccock..."We can hear the Milford orchestra loud and clear! Well done Milford!!!" - Leslie Brigagliano, Curriculum Coordinator – JMS

 

"At Milford High, the level of teacher and staff camaraderie and collaboration was outstanding.  Teachers came together to share ideas, electronic materials, and their computer expertise.  In a short period of time teachers and related services got their google classrooms ready to go.  The administrators and their support staff kicked into high gear, setting up the cafeteria with the textbooks, supplies, and chromebooks students needed to do their work.  While we will continue daily to work out the details of running a high school in remote learning mode, I am thrilled at the "can-do" spirit shown by all.   I would be remiss if I didn't lend a special shout-out to the custodial department and food service department.  They have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the building and the students. " - Chali Davis, Principal - MHS

 

“The Kitchen Staff stepped-up to make sure all of our students that may be “food compromised” are being fed. I could not be prouder of each and every one of them. So far, the Staff has packaged over 1,000 meals and will continue to produce this amount weekly. Our families have been so appreciative of all that is being done.” - Maryanne Gallagher, Food Service Director

 

Quotes seen around Milford:

 

"I have to admit that when I heard my elementary student was getting a "blizzard bag" I rolled my eyes.  After taking the time to review the material she came home with I am incredibly impressed.  Very thorough and grade level appropriate.  I also appreciate the remote learning for my middle schooler.   What I appreciate the most is the personalized communications that included, "I miss your smiling face."  We are living in extraordinary times and I am grateful that Milford has extraordinary educators." - A Parent

 

By the end of next week, we will be sending out a short remote learning survey to Parents, Staff, and Students to determine what is working, what is not working, and what we need to improve upon to continue high quality delivery of curriculum, and instruction across the district. If you find yourself in need of wrap-around or counseling services, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s counselor, school-social workers, and/or Principals. We are here to assist you in any way we can. If we do not have the answers, we will assist you in finding them. As more information comes to us from the State level, we will communicate those to you. Please stay tuned.

 

Thank you for your continued support for the Milford School District. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Jessica Huizenga

 

 

 

 

 

 
Mar 18, 2020, 8:10 AM          
 
Good Morning Milford Community:
 
We are writing to share with you our food service plan that will be in place during our disrupted school schedule. At this time we have reached out to all families that are currently on meals plans. Some families we have been unable to reach. Messages have been left by either phone or email. Please reach out if you have not been contacted. We want to be able to support you.
 
Please contact Maryanne Gallagher at: 603 673-4201 or maryanne.gallagher@milfordk12.org
 
Thank you to everyone who answered our Food Service Survey. The information you provided has assisted us in getting this process in motion.
 
Our Food Service Schedule will be as follows:
 
Wednesday 3/18/2020
 
Parents may pick up Four (4) meals, Two (2) breakfasts, Two (2) lunches for each child in their family, during the hours of 8am to 3pm. This is for anyone that is on a meal plan.
 
These meals can be picked up at the loading area of the kitchen on the High School campus. The loading area is to the right as you go down the driveway. We would ask that people stay in their cars. Someone will come to you with the meals. We will ask names of students.
 
Monday 3/23/2020
 
Two (2) Days’ worth of meals will be distributed in the same manner as previously explained.
 
Wednesday 3/25/2020
 
Three (3) Days’ worth of meals will be distributed in the same manner as explained above
 
This will be the schedule going forward each week until further notice. In order to keep everyone safe we do ask that you stay in your car.
 
Thank you for your continued support and flexibility. Please don't hestitate to reach out with any questions.
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
      
 
 
Mar 17, 2020, 3:15 PM                 
 

Dear Milford Community:

 

This message is meant to provide updates and helpful tips as we move towards our roll-out of remote learning tomorrow. By this time, you should have received messages from your child(ren’s) schools with important information regarding this transition.  Schedules for deployment were sent out to families last night, and will take place this evening and tomorrow. We will continue to share updates as we have them. 

 

After visiting all schools across the district, we can't tell you how impressed we have been with the TEAMWORK, collaboration, innovation, preparation, and thought by our staff to prepare for this. Everyone has rallied to ensure that we are able to continue high quality services and support to our students and families. Yesterday and today have been excellent days of preparation. All district staff have been provided with expectations for schedules, and communication with families throughout the duration of this disruption. 

 

Our expectations have been exceeded with the planning, new learning, and readiness of our district to launch to remote classrooms tomorrow. We are well ahead of many districts, and it truly is due to the leadership and dedication of our staff. Everyone, at every level of our organization has been absolutely extraordinary.  A HUGE thank you goes out to ALL of our staff  in the Milford School District for their tremendous efforts as well as to several parent and community volunteers who have provided support as well. 

 

Remote Learning Launch begins Wednesday, March 18th!!

Blizzard Bags, technology, textbooks, and supplies will be distributed across the district tonight, while many online classrooms have already been launched by our secondary teachers. We have one small shift in our schedule tomorrow as we will be closing access to our school buildings to all but essential staff. Office hours remain the same for buildings at this time: 8 am - 3 pm. Remote learning will remain on schedule.

 

Access to Counselors 

Please do not hesitate to contact your student's school counselor if you become concerned about any emotional issues your child may be exhibiting, or any challenges they are having with remote learning. 

 

High School Counselors:

A - E - Kiersta Stallman - kiersta.stallman@milfordk12.org

F - L - Liz Kulikowski - liz.kulikowski@milfordk12.org

M - Ss - Melissa Minery (Long-term sub for Jenn Duval)- melissa.minery@milfordk12.org

St - Z - Paul Christensen - paul.christensen@milfordk12.org

High School Social Worker - Heather Fortin - heather.fortin@milfordk12.org

 

MMS:

Guidance: Wendy Vaupel – wendy.vaupel@milfordk12.org

Guidance: Emily MacDonald – emily.macdonald@milfordk12.org

Social Worker:  Erin Richardson – erin.richardson@milfordk12.org

 

Heron Pond:

Guidance: Sherry Houle – sherry.houle@milfordk12.org

Guidance: Christine Garner – Christine.garner@milfordk12.org

Social Worker: Stephanie Bielik – Stephanie.bielik@milfordk12.org

 

JMS:

Guidance: Sue Burns – sue.burns@milfordk12.org

Social Worker: Tracy Holland – tracy.holland@milfordk12.org

 

Bales:

Licensed Mental Health Counselor: Lisa Girouard-lisa.girouard@milfordk12.org

 

Special Education

Due to the limited access of staff to our buildings, we will no longer be inviting students to receive their related services at our school sites, as was previously planned.  We will continue to provide remote learning opportunities, and instructional supports for those students. Our special education teachers and related service providers will be in regular contact with you and your child.  If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to those staff members, or the Director of Special Education, Mr. Mike Hatfield at mike.hatfield@milfordk12.org Our special services education administrative team is also available  to assist with any questions you may have. 

 

Technology Support 

If your student experiences technical challenges with their online learning during this time, please contact your child’s teacher. We have set up a help-desk for the staff to ensure they have access to online support throughout this remote learning process. Our technology team is prepared and ready to ensure their success. 

 

Virtual Enrichment Offerings via the Boys and Girls Club

The Boys and Girls Club is planning to offer to our community a variety of virtual enrichment offerings accessible through their website. Some of these fun experiences may include a virtual STEM program, dance, theatre, art programming, online gaming, and much more. We are excited to partner with them to be able to provide such a rich array of offerings to round out our student’s day. If you are interested in any of these programs, visit the Boy’s and Girl’s Club website http://www.svbgc.org. If you would like more information, please contact Caitlin Hunter Ross, Director of Operations: Boys & Girls Club Souhegan Valley at chunter@svbgc.org

603-672-1002 x16

 

Food Service

We are continuing to work on our plan for food services for our families. More information will be forthcoming. If you haven’t taken our food service survey, please visit our website @ www.milfordk12.org to do so, and let us know how we can best support you during this time. For more information or to share your needs with us, please contact Maryanne Gallagher @ Maryanne.Gallagher@milfordk12.org We will also be partnering with SHARE and the Boys and Girls Club to assist us in providing food and pick-up locations for families. Social Workers will also be a great asset to families in need of these community resources as well. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your school social worker, or school counselor for information and support.  

 

Tips for Parents

Several of you have found yourselves in a position of working from home, caring for children, and even possibly other adults throughout an entire day; all while trying to  support your child through new remote learning experiences. We understand that while this may be an opportunity for families to spend enjoyable time together, there may also be frustration and challenges ahead.  Please consider a few tips below that may assist during this period of time.

  • Create a daily schedule  - a predictable daily schedule may provide all family members with a sense of routine and comfort. Our staff have worked to help provide you with support and sample schedules. 
  • Plan breaks - physical and brain breaks are an important aspect of staying healthy and self-regulated, especially during uncertain times. 
  • Engage in fun family activities such as family walks and movies, cooking, arts & crafts.

 

Talking to Your Child about COVID-19

Social media, TV and radio news coverage, overhearing adult conversations, as well as disruptions in regular routines can heighten anxiety, cause confusion, and stress for children and adults.  It’s important to sit down with your children and help to address feelings of discomfort during this time and in the days ahead.  Discussions including ways that germs are spread, proper handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and use of hand sanitizer are helpful.  Be a good role model, invite questions, and provide lots of encouragement to your child.  There are several excellent resources available to assist parents and guardians with discussions. Please see the Blackboard message attachment and the resource links below.

 

http://theconversation.com/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-coronavirus-133576

 

https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

 

https://www.brainpop.com/health/diseasesinjuriesandconditions/coronavirus/

 

We appreciate your understanding and patience as we navigate these new waters together.  Even for us, there are many questions that remain unanswered, however, the more we learn through this process, the better we become. If there are any concerns that you may have that have not been addressed, please reach out directly to the appropriate staff member.  Thank You for your support during these unique times. 

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Jessica Huizenga, Superintendent

Christi Michaud, Assistant Superintendent

 

 
 
Mar 15, 2020, 7:22 PM     

Dear Milford Community:

This message is to communicate the plan to move to remote learning in the Milford School District. As ordered by Governor Sununu this afternoon, students will not return to school, and remote learning will be launched from March 16th until April 3rd. As stated by Commissioner Edelblut today, this will be re-evaluated by April 3rd. We ask for your patience, understanding and flexibility as we navigate this uncharted situation as a community. 

This past Thursday, the State Board of Education passed an emergency rule giving schools greater flexibility to move to remote instruction. This emergency rule outlines the expectation for remote learning, which can take place in a variety of forms, from online to traditional paper/pencil activities. According to this emergency rule, “A school district may conduct instruction remotely.  The district shall create a plan that shall include procedures for participation by all students.  Academic work shall be equivalent in effort and rigor to typical classroom work.  There shall be an assessment of all student work for the day.” 

Starting Monday, March 16th through April 3rd, we will be moving to a standard school day for all staff. Those hours will be 8:00am - 2:30pm. On March 16th and March 17th staff will be involved in preparation and training for remote instruction deployment. 

By tomorrow night, March 16th, families will receive an informational email from their child’s Principal. This email will communicate specific details about remote learning plans/expectations, the deployment of Blizzard Bags, and/or information about online learning for Middle and High School students. Students will also receive a schedule to retrieve necessary materials from the school buildings.

**Only the parent or listed emergency contact will be able to pick up their child’s Blizzard Bag at the time of deployment.

**Medication pick up for parents - Parents should contact the school nurse to arrange a time Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to pick up their child’s medication. 

Wednesday, March 18th will be the first official day of remote learning for all students in the Milford School District. This first day of remote learning will be “supported.” Staff will deploy remotely from the schools to ensure they have the technology and administrative support on our first day of online/remote learning. District staff will be available to support teachers in supporting students to successfully access their remote learning plans. Parents are encouraged to follow daily routines with their students. Sample daily schedules will be provided to assist with this. 

Starting on Wednesday, March 18th, parents and students can expect staff to be available via email/online during those hours to support their respective remote learning plans. SAU and school building office hours will be from 8:00am - 3:00pm. 

Technology Support and Chromebook Distribution

The Milford School District Technology department will be distributing loaner Chromebooks to pre-approved families for students in need to participate in digital distance learning. 

The Chromebooks will be available for pickup at the Middle School and High School buildings during the times designated for the pickup of materials necessary during this time (hard copies of lessons, textbooks,etc.).  A responsible parent or guardian will be required to sign a release form. 

The Technology department will be available for ongoing technical support during regular school hours.

The devices are only available for use during the current crisis and must be returned in good condition when schools return to normal operation.  

Technology Resources for Parents 

Parent’s guide to Google classroom:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWkPCi6noCI 

Google Classroom Tutorial for Students and Parents:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgqtCi7hdo 

Special Education and Related Services: Special Education teachers, Related Service Providers, and School Counselors will assist teachers in reviewing remote learning plans, planning and preparing for appropriate accommodations and/or modifications per student IEPs and 504s, and planning for students who will require support or assistance while learning remotely (ie: daily check-ins, etc).   

Special education service delivery will be considered under the following options:

  1. Can the 504’ accommodations,  IEP service or Specially Designed Instruction be delivered remotely? 
  2. If we cannot deliver services remotely, we will bring those students into the building and deliver those services in small group or individual sessions.  
  3. If the risk is too high, then we will consider compensatory services, and or look to ESY options. 

Food Services

We understand that food services may be of concern to families during this time. We are currently developing communications to families that outline the sign-up process, offerings, distribution plans/options that will continue our federally funded school lunch program. If you would like to take part in this, or would like more information please contact Maryanne Gallagher @ Maryanne.Gallagher@milfordk12.org  We will also be partnering with SHARE as a resource for food for families. Social Workers will be a great asset to families in need of these community resources, please reach out to your school social worker, or school Principal if you are in need of assistance. 

Access to Buildings

As a leadership team, we have broken down closures/staff expectations into four levels depending on the circumstances. Monday- Wednesday of this week we will be at a level one. From Thursday, March 19th through April 3rd, we will be operating at Level Two.

  • NORMAL: Regular School Day Schedules
  • LEVEL ONE - School Closed for Students Only - March 16th - March 18th.
  • LEVEL TWO: Essential Staff Only - March 19th - April 3rd (**this could be subject to change depending on guidance from local and state officials).
  • LEVEL THREE:  Buildings Empty with Exception of Buildings and Grounds. 
  • LEVEL FOUR:  Buildings empty (outside cleaning services are enlisted). 

 

Beginning Monday, March 23rd, all buildings with exception of the High School and JMS will be closed to non-essential staff, with exception of those days that buildings will be opened to replenish remote learning options (these dates will be communicated to parents and staff by the Building Principals). Milford High School will be utilized as the central hub of the district for Food Distribution. Special Education related services will be provided at either Jacques Memorial or Milford High School. Families whose students can be provided related services onsite, will be contacted by their child’s case managers. 

We understand there are many questions that remain unanswered, however, more detailed communication will be coming from your building principals over the next 24 hours. If there are any concerns you may have that are not addressed by your building principal, please reach out directly to them. We want to thank you for your support during these unique times. 

Sincerely,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga

 

 

 

 
Mar 15, 2020, 12:35 PM    
 
Dear Milford Community:
 
I was able to take part in a conference call with the the Commissioner of Education at noon today. He shared with us that the Governor will be making an announcement that will impact our schools in a joint press conference at 1 pm today. Our leadership team has been working diligently all weekend to prepare for the possibility of moving to remote learning.
 
Buildings will be open today from 12-3 for staff to provide them the opportunity to come in and begin preparations. I will have a formal email, with more detailed plans to you early this evening. However, I would strongly recommend beginning preparations for long term child care if they are needed.
 
Thank you again for your support, patience, flexibility, and understanding during this time.
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
 
Mar 12, 2020, 4:52 PM       
 
Dear Parents & Community Members:
 
Our number one priority is the health, well-being, and safety of our students and staff. The purpose of this email is to provide clear communication and our current plans to address the ever-changing nature of this novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We have been closely following state and federal recommendations, and today we participated in a call with the State Department of Education, and other Superintendents from New Hampshire.
 
As the number of reported cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, we are diligently working to accelerate our proactive planning efforts to address the possibility of either short term and/or long-term school closure. There are no known cases impacting the Milford School District at this time, and I want to reassure you that we are simply taking proactive measures to ensure our success in the event of a school closure. Diligent planning will allow us to ensure the continuity of our educational services to students.
 
Please read carefully the below information regarding next steps to proactively prepare in the event we need to close.
 
In the event of a school closing, faculty and staff will need time to plan and prepare for remote learning options through Google Classroom at MMS and MHS, and Blizzard Bags at the elementary grades. As a result, school will be closed on Monday, March 16th to allow our faculty to receive technology training, and to provide time for preparing remote learning plans for our students. A thorough cleaning of our schools will be conducted as well. We hope this early notification will provide time for families make necessary arrangements for child-care, as we take the time to be proactive to ensure that if we have to close our schools, our students will have access to educational programming.
 
Should the district implement an emergency school closure as permitted by ED 306.18, you will be notified and the remote learning plan for your student will be given. Each school will be providing detailed information about access to remote learning plans. If you do not have access to a device, or a reliable internet connection for your secondary student and would like assistance, please contact our Director of Technology at Jerry.Stajduhar@milfordk12.org.
 
Additionally, we want to make you aware of the following:
 
    • We have restricted access to our schools by outside organizations, and limited large group gatherings (over 75 people) involving the public in our schools until further notice. We will address future after-school activities, athletics, field trips, and events on a case-by-case basis as they draw near. We are continuing with regular NHIAA, and school-sponsored athletic events for our students at this time.​​
 
    • Maintenance and custodial staff have been trained in effective cleaning procedures and are implementing those within all of our school buildings daily.
 
    • If you are a student or a parent of a student with a specific concern about COVID-19, please contact your principal or school nurse to discuss your concerns.
 
Our team will continue to stay in contact with DHHS, the Department of Education, as well as community leaders. I will continue to keep you informed as conditions change.
 
As always, if you have any specific concerns or input, please contact your child’s principal or school nurse. I am always available at as well at huizenga@milfordk12.org

Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and support as we navigate this situation together.
 
Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mar 6, 2020, 2:23 PM         

 

Dear Milford Community:

I’m writing to give you a brief update on the Corona-Virus. The CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) continue to update their recommendations for people returning from traveling to countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. Following their recommendation, along with recommendations from the State Department of Education, we ask that any member of the Milford School Community, students, faculty, and staff, who have traveled to countries identified by the CDC as warning level 3 to stay home for 14 days. As of now, those countries include China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. 

The State Department of Education has also asked us for an inventory of all field trips out of state, and out of the country. We are in the process of compiling that list now. There may be the need to cancel upcoming trips depending on recommendations from both state and federal authorities. Please know we will continue to keep you updated as more information comes to us. Additionally, in the spirit of being proactive, we will be sending out a secondary staff survey to assess our ability to conduct online learning in the event we were to have to cancel school. The probability of this is very small, however, the information regardless will be helpful to assess our capacity and bandwidth in regards to online learning. 

District-Wide we are working to keep our schools as clean as possible. Our custodial staff has been directed to disinfect all surfaces each day, especially desks, doorknobs, handrails, and other high traffic areas.  We have also provided disinfecting wipes to the classrooms. We again remind everyone to follow the recommended hygiene practices as outlined by the CDC and the New Hampshire Department of Health.

We thank the entire community for its flexibility and continued attention to this situation.  Be assured that we will continue to update you with any changes. Thank you again for your support and cooperation. 

Best Regards,
Dr. Jessica Huizenga

 

 

 

Mar 1, 2020, 6:10 PM       

 

Dear Milford Community:

 

Welcome back from February vacation! I hope it was a time to rest, and to have some fun time with family and friends. 

 

As you know, there has been increasing concern globally regarding the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or COVID-19.  While there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire, we are going to be proactive in taking appropriate steps to prepare ourselves in the event of an issue. 

 

Tomorrow morning, Mr. Cooper and myself will be meeting with Town Officials to coordinate a collaborative plan in the event the virus impacts our community. 

 

As of today, in the US, there are only slightly over 70 cases confirmed. At the same time, the risk for the influenza virus is very high. It is important to note that residents are much more likely to become sick with a cold or the flu than to be exposed to COVID-19. Some have asked, “What are common symptoms of COVID-19 and how is it prevented or treated?”

 

According to our latest COVID-19 update from the State Department of Education, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms typically include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent infection with this virus, and there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended once infected. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. 

 

As with seasonal flu and strep infections, there are general precautions we can all take to remain as healthy as possible.

 

    • Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
    • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. You can also cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.​
    • Avoid sharing drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, dishes, towels, water bottles, or other items. Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water after use.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick whenever possible.
    • Stay home from school and work until the sick individual has been fever free for at least 24 hours off any fever reducing medication, or signs of a fever (i.e., chills, feeling warm, flushed appearance), respiratory symptoms are improving, and they are feeling better.  
    • Practice other good health habits: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. 
    • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.  
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces within your home. 

 

It is important to keep children home from school when they are ill. If your child has any of the following symptoms please keep them home from school: temperature greater than 100.4, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, any rash not yet diagnosed by a physician, red or pink itchy eye, and/or drainage from eye, and any contagious illness such as strep throat or flu. Please report your child’s absence to the school office. 

 

We want to let you know that we are following our regular protocols for respiratory illnesses and we are working closely with town and state officials. The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) has provided guidance for school districts that we are following carefully.

 

In addition, you can expect the following actions from our school system in the short-term:

 

    • We will be instructing our school nurses to remain vigilant at sending students home who present with respiratory issues or a fever;
    • We will be focusing our custodial efforts on cleaning commonly used surfaces (such as desks, door handles, etc.) on a daily basis;
    • We are in constant coordination with local, State, and Federal agencies, as needed; and,
    • We will continue communication with you about any local developments or changes to our protocols. 
 

For the most up to date information about this situation, you can visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

The World Health Organization’s website at:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019, or 

 

The NH DHHS website at https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/2019-ncov.htm

 

While this is a public health concern, the CDC continues to report that the immediate risk to the general public remains low at this time. Yet, in today’s connected world, the potential for infectious disease is always of concern. 

 

The Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is an evolving situation that we are following closely and will continue to update you as information is shared with us. Please rest assured that we are monitoring student health concerns. 

 

According to the health department, people who have returned from mainland China are being monitored by public health authorities and must stay home for 14 days after their travel. People who have returned from other locations with travel notices for COVID-19 may continue to attend work and school. Travelers that develop symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, or shortness of breath), should: 

 

    • Take their temperature with a thermometer.
    • Stay home and avoid close contact with other people.
    • Seek health advice by phone from either a healthcare provider or the NH Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496 (after-hours: 603-271-5300).
    • Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell the provider or office about recent travel and symptoms.
    • Practice strict respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene including covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • If available, wear a surgical mask when traveling outside of the home (e.g. to a doctor’s office) 

 

Two resources that may be helpful in talking to children about COVID-19 are listed below: 

 

We remain deeply committed to student and staff wellness. We will continue to monitor the situation, and prepare with state and local officials. Additionally, we will share new information with you as it comes to us. If you have any questions, please contact your school nurse, building principal, or myself at: jessica.huizenga@milfordk12.org

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Jessica Huizenga - Superintendent of Schools