August 23, 2020
Hello East Granby Community!
For those who don’t know me, my name is Melissa (Missy) Bavaro-Grande and I am beginning my fifteenth year as an educator in this dynamic town. I was hired in 2006 as East Granby High School Principal and then transitioned in 2012 to assume the principalship of East Granby Middle School. I served in the capacity of Acting Superintendent from May 2019 through June, 2020, and began as Superintendent on July 1, 2020.
Even in challenging times, the East Granby Community is fortunate on many fronts. Our district has a passionate, cutting edge and caring teaching staff inclusive of paraprofessionals, teachers, student support services, and interventionists. We have dedicated nurses and knowledgeable secretaries. We are also supported by hard-working custodians who take pride in the way the building looks and operates. Additionally, the committed administrative team consists of Karen Gogel, Director of Student Support Services; Marjorie Light, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development; Tony DeMelo, EGHS Principal; Tim Phelan, EGMS Principal; Marsie Luckenbach, R. Dudley Seymour School Principal; and Bob McGrath, Carl Allgrove School Principal. We start this year without our friend and colleague, Maylah Uhlinger, who recently retired and will hopefully be able to travel soon to many beautiful and relaxing destinations. We are grateful for the years that Maylah served as the proud principal of Carl Allgrove School and especially for “staying on” through the summer to help us plan for a reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our classrooms and routines will look different, and staff will be wearing masks upon arrival, but your children will be rejoining a caring and kind environment. Many aspects of this pandemic are out of our control, but we will take control of what we can and continue to provide an excellent education and prepare students for a successful future and an appreciation for the world around them. The many successes of our school district have been made possible with the ongoing support of our community and collaborative working relationships with town officials. We have demonstrated time and time again that we are stronger together.
I continue to ask for your patience and understanding. I am well aware that any one decision made over the course of the past six months might have been very favorable for one family and disappointing for another. Our decisions have been and will continue to be made under the guidance of the Farmington Valley Health District. I truly wish I knew the “magic answer” that would please everyone. One change is very impactful to a school; we are opening with more changes and modifications than not. We can not have a practice session or a dry run. We don’t expect it to run perfectly; we will adjust as needed. I also know that you are anxious for teacher assignments. Please know that our numbers, family decisions, and
cohorts are still evolving. We are doing our best to accommodate families for childcare purposes and it can cause a domino effect in regards to balancing cohorts at the elementary level; we do not want to have one cohort of four and another of fourteen.
I have attached/included a variety of resources that you should be aware of and familiarize yourself with:
Daily Self-Check Protocol: please follow this daily before sending your child(ren) to school
Self-Quarantine Protocol: Available on COVID-19 Info Page
Self-Isolation Protocol: Available on COVID-19 Info Page
Return to School Form: Many pediatricians in the area will have this form, but you might want to bring a copy just in case yours does not have this one available.
Cohort Calendar: Please print for your reference
Travel Advisory: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/travel
Mask Guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html#:~:text=Masks%20with%20one%2Dway%20valves,an%20exhalation%20valve%20or%20vent. (please note that masks with a vent or valve are NOT permitted) The Department of Public Health is expected to send out a detailed mask guidance document in the near future. Unfortunately, this has not been received yet. There is controversy over the “neck gaiters” a mask that is worn around the neck and pulled up over the mouth and nose. For the time being, until we receive the guidance from DPH, please send your child into school with a cloth or surgical mask. We will have masks available at school for any student who forgets one or requires a new one during the day. I have watched and participated in many webinars throughout the summer and if there has been one consistent point, it is the wearing of masks to stop the virus spread. All students will be required to wear a mask on the bus and in school. If you do have a medical note for a mask exemption, please be sure that your child’s principal has that note as soon as possible. We will need to pass the names to the bus company and your child’s teachers. We might require a follow up conversation with your child’s doctor regarding any mask exemption note.
Water: Water fountains will be inaccessible. Please have your child bring a water bottle to school to drink from for the day. We will have extra bottles of water in each building.
Return to School Survey: If you have not filled out the survey, please email your child’s principal. It is imperative we know who to expect in school and who is opting for distance learning.
Temporary positions: We are still looking to hire temporary positions for bus monitors, paraprofessionals, and custodial support. We will provide training, no experience needed. Please contact Lisa Kline at the Board of Education office with questions or apply on the EGPS website. firstname.lastname@example.org
Flexible staffing requirements for substitutes without a BA/BS degree: Minimum Requirements: • At least 18 years old • High school diploma or equivalent • Experience with school-age children Authorized to serve no more than 40 days in the same assignment.
Join our team and apply at: https://www.eastgranby.k12.ct.us/learningcommunity/employment/
Enjoy the last week of summer vacation. Wishing you continued health.
July 29, 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians and EGPS Staff,
Good Afternoon! You may have watched the Governor’s press conference Monday afternoon (7/27/2020) and heard about some changes to the school reopening guidelines. Yesterday, I spent approximately five hours in meetings making sense of the information that was shared; specifically, that districts have “flexibility” over the model they will open with for the ‘20-’21 school year. This is an absolute change from the directive that we have been working under for the past month: opening on a full schedule, five days a week in-person learning for all students. Each district is also required to have three learning plans for the fall: full in-person, hybrid (less percentage of students in the building), and full distance learning. It was clear that moving to any plan, other than full in-person, would occur should public health data require it. We were told through a letter from the Commissioner of Education that additional communication regarding the most appropriate model could be anticipated during the month of August.
What does all this mean for our reopening plans? That is a great question. In a meeting with Hartford area superintendents, it was agreed that there are concerns moving to local control for reopening decision making. There will be no alignment with neighboring districts regarding in-person, hybrid, or distance learning. It is hard to justify or explain why districts within the same region and experiencing the same health metrics are opening under different models, especially if the model is supposed to be driven by that very same health data. It has been stated that a hybrid model for high school would be “approved”, but K-8 should be full in-person. Splitting the model within one district carries its own set of challenges and questions. Every business and function across Connecticut continues to be guided using consistent expectations that are scaffolded by state leaders with guidance from experts for health and safety; this is the phasing in system we all know about. Yet, school leaders are somehow expected to decide without that same guidance and direction. Thankfully, we do have the Farmington Health District by our side. There are several meetings planned across the state in the coming days to discuss this recent change and how districts will respond to their communities.
EGPS staff continues to forge ahead every day working to align our practices and protocols with health and safety requirements. We will also be providing more detail to our three learning models. The fact remains that some specifics of the opt-in remote learning from home model will not be complete until we know who we are planning for. This is very consistent with other districts. EGPS remains committed to providing access to educational opportunities to all of its students, regardless of the model of instruction. There will be a combination of synchronous (occurring at the same time) and asynchronous learning. From the State’s reopening document, “This voluntary family choice is not intended to be the same as the opportunities provided when classes are cancelled for a broader population, should public health data require it.” Our remote option has enhancements over the spring, but will present some limitations, as well as expectations.
- The remote learning program will not result in matching instructional hours, 1:1 with an in-person learning model;
- Some courses at the MS and HS level may not be available through remote learning;
- There will be an expectation for parents to support student attendance and engagement during remote learning;
- In accordance with CSDE guidance, the Board reserves the right to limit extracurricular activities to students attending school in-person who have not have opted into remote learning programming;
- As stated by the CSDE, the remote learning programming is temporary, and it may not be available for the full year;
- Should public health data support a changed approach and/or additional guidance is provided by the Connecticut State Department of Education, EGPS will adjust the learning model options accordingly.
At this point, it makes sense to wait and issue the next survey after we know which model (in-person, hybrid or distance learning) will be implemented.
The FAQ document will be posted on our website www.eastgranby.k12.ct.us (COVID-19 Informational and Resource link) by the end of today. We have responded to the questions and will continue to add to the document. Thank you for your thoughtful inquiries. Questions pertaining to school reopening can be sent to email@example.com.
As always, THANK YOU for your continued patience and support.
July 28, 2020
Please use the following link to view East Granby Public School's Reopening Plan that was submitted to the CSDE on July 24, 2020. This plan continues to evolve as guidances are provided or changed.
Superintendent of Schools
July 17, 2020
Dear East Granby Families and Staff,
I hope this communication finds you well and enjoying hot summer days and peaceful evenings. On Monday night, July 20, 2020, the East Granby Public School Administrative Team will present the Return to School Plan 2020. Please understand that the plan will continue to evolve as we receive additional guidance and protocols from the Governor, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD). The Return to School Plan is not "done", but many hours have been dedicated to the various components and we are required to submit our document to the State Department of Education by Friday, July 24th.
We have received great input from families, staff, and community members ~ thank you all!
The survey recently sent to families about return to school intentions provides us with good preliminary data. We had just over 82% of families respond, so thank you! The data shows that of those who replied, 60.5% responded "yes" to in-person learning, 10.5% responded "no" to in-person learning, and 28.9% are currently "unsure". We will determine a date that all families will need to decide"yes" or "no" so that we can appropriately plan for arrangements in school and for distance learning. Hopefully after the presentation Monday night, there will
be more clarity to many of the questions and concerns raised and that possibly led to a response of "unsure".
The survey results also show that 65% of respondents can transport their child(ren). Understanding that both transportation and the choice of in-person learning can shift as family preferences change, this is still very helpful starting information.
I would like to address a few items that came up multiple times in the survey responses and through other communications. There were repeated comments that we should start school with a hybrid model and that masks should not be required. Although I appreciate and respect individual views, both of those decisions are not up to our discretion. We are directed by the Connecticut State Department of Education to open school five days a week for all students and, except for medical reasons, masks are a requirement to attend school in person. Monday night, we will share more information about health and safety protocols such as social distancing, cohorts, and enhanced cleaning measures.
Representatives from FVHD will discuss protocols and expectations related to isolation, quarantining, and return to school. Every situation is multilayered and we will continue to work closely with our FVHD partners, following their guidance. We greatly appreciate their time and willingness to always answer our questions, regardless of the day or time.
Finally, as a district we are required to submit to the CSDE, three models of learning: full in person, hybrid, and distance learning. As you are aware, parents can choose for their child to "opt in" for distance learning rather than come into the school building. Distance Learning as an "opt in" will look very different than if we were all home and engaged in distance learning as a district. We will not be completely sure what distance learning will look like as an "opt in" until we know exactly which students (grade and/or courses) we are planning for. I understand this may not a favorable response and I apologize for that but please remember that all of our staff will be in school teaching for the full day and the makeup of classes, both in person and through distance learning, could possibly change from day to day as families shift their preferences from distance learning to in school and vice versa. The logistics are extremely complex. Once we know who exactly will not be returning in person, we will be all hands on deck and as creative as
possible with our resources.
Above all, let's be sure to keep perspective. We continue to live through stressful times and the impact is different for everyone. There are a lot of decisions being made and we will most likely never all agree to what is "best". In my opinion, what is best is that we get through this pandemic and are healthy as individuals, as families, and as a community. If we are not able to do that, then none of this will be important. Our goal right now is to open schools in a safe manner, following the health guidance of the FVHD and the CDC, and provide the best education and emotional support to our students as we possibly can. I assure you that your children have remained on the minds of all of us who work in the schools.
We have received phenomenal support from our staff, families, East Granby officials and Board members, town departments, first responders, and various other community members as we worked through planning sessions. The kind words and messages of confidence help to keep us going and serve as a reminder of our wonderful community.
July 10, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you are well and are looking forward to the weekend. I shared in my previous letter that we would be reaching out to you through a survey about your intentions regarding school reopening this fall. This is information that all school districts in Connecticut are collecting to help plan for their reopening and have been required to do so by Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut State Department of Education. The survey is very short and we ask that you complete it by noon on Wednesday, July 15th. We understand there are still many unanswered questions and we are working hard to resolve them and define the plan details through ongoing subcommittee meetings. The data obtained through this survey is a snapshot at this time to assist in our planning. I want to assure you that our plans for reopening will comply with the Governor and the CSDE’s guidelines for safely reopening Connecticut’s schools. In addition, any answers you provide are non-binding in any way.
We ask that you be as honest as you can given the information we have provided and we understand that circumstances or your level of comfort may change causing you to reconsider your plans.
Finally, we are asking you to complete a survey for each of your children identifying them by first and last name, school and grade. Survey link: https://forms.gle/zSp2MzNrbs4cukSx9
That information is strictly for our use to help us allocate our resources where they will be most appropriate and will not be shared in our response to the Governor and the CSDE.
Thank you always for your support and flexibility.
July 7, 2020
Dear East Granby Families,
I hope you are well and finding time for some rest and relaxation during these first weeks of summer.
Last week I shared that Governor Lamont and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) have asked Connecticut school districts to prepare a plan for all students to return to school five days a week for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. While there are a number of requirements that will take time to resolve, I wanted to share and highlight some details so that you may have a better understanding of what school is beginning to look like for next fall. The following are key areas defined by the CSDE and Department of Public Health to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Similar to this past spring, guidance and requirements continue to be fluid. If you are interested in reviewing the full 50 page document of the CSDE’s plan for school reopening, Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together, the link is here:
The CSDE’s plan requires schools to “maximize social distancing between student workstations, achieving six feet when feasible, when determining the classroom layout.” By reconfiguring classrooms at Carl Allgrove Elementary School and R. D. Seymour Elementary School, we will accommodate our current class sizes maximizing social distancing between desks to the greatest extent possible. Elementary students will remain with their classroom cohort throughout the day with multiple outdoor breaks and recesses, weather permitting.
Middle school students will remain with the same cohort throughout the day to the greatest extent possible. East Granby Middle School will maintain class size and work to reconfigure some teaching areas to maximize social distancing.
Given the range of courses, mixed grade classes, and graduation requirements, the high school will not be able to achieve strict cohorts. East Granby High School is currently working on a schedule and building usage plan that will maximize social distancing for students.
Hallway traffic will be managed to minimize student volume in all of our schools. Transitions will be staggered to reduce the numbers of students in hallways during passing times and specials/unified arts teachers will travel to classrooms, when feasible. Elementary students will have a single special for two weeks before rotating to a different special to limit the amount of exposure between students and staff. Lunches at all levels will be consumed in classrooms or in an area that allows for cohort sitting and social distancing.
Health and Safety Protocols
We continue to communicate with the Farmington Valley Health Department to ensure we have the most up to date information regarding COVID-19. The CSDE plan expects “All students and staff to wear a protective face covering or face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth when inside the school building, allowing for certain exceptions.” Those exceptions will be addressed on an individual basis and are subject to student privacy; the reason someone is not wearing a mask will not be shared with anyone else.
We will require frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer. EGPS has purchased hand sanitizer stations that will be mounted throughout all school facilities. Plexiglas shields will be installed in public access areas and other high priority rooms, where social distancing might not be possible.
Additionally, protocols and guidelines will be developed for limiting the use of school facilities and visitations from nonessential volunteers and guests.
In accordance with the CSDE plan, all East Granby schools will create a containment plan to monitor students and staff for signs of COVID-19 symptoms and designate an isolation room to accommodate students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 until a parent or guardian arrives. This area falls under the Health & Safety subcommittee and will have guidance from the Farmington Valley Health District.
Enhanced Cleaning/Disinfecting Protocols
We are currently working with the town of East Granby to increase our ability to acquire appropriate disinfection cleaning products and equipment. Our school custodians have created a cleaning regimen in alignment with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention best practice for disinfecting and mitigating COVID-19 spread, including cleaning bathrooms and high contact surfaces multiple times per day.
All students are entitled to daily transportation to and from school. With that said, transportation has presented one of the most challenging concerns in planning for a safe
return to school. Students will be required to wear face masks at all times while on the bus. Students will be required to sit in the furthest open seat to the rear of the bus regardless of grade level, and siblings should sit together. There will absolutely be no changing of seats unless directed by the bus driver, or perhaps another adult on the bus.
We are encouraging parents, who are willing and able to do so, to commit to driving their children to and from school. This commitment can be rescinded at any time; we will just ask for a one week notice to make bus stop arrangements. A survey is forthcoming asking who will volunteer and commit to driving their children to school. Once we have this information, the bus company will plan their routes.
All school districts are required to offer parents the option to continue with distance learning should they feel it is in the best interest of their child to remain at home due to COVID-19. We are reviewing our distance learning model based on our experience this spring and will evaluate and incorporate the growing research and number of resources now available. This area falls under the Curriculum/Instruction/Technology subcommittee. More specific guidance from the Connecticut State Department of Education is expected.
Finally, in accordance with the CSDE plan, we will be reaching out to parents in the coming days with a survey to not only ask about transportation, but also your intentions regarding sending your children back to school, or opting for them to remain with distance learning. This is critical as our school district needs to report “best estimate” to the CSDE before July 17th.
The descriptions above are just a few of the required areas that the administration and subcommittees have been and will continue to work towards. We are expected to have our plan to the Connecticut State Department of Education before July 24th.
Developing the East Granby Reopening Plan is a massive undertaking with many areas not very well defined. I talk regularly with a variety of Superintendent groups and CSDE representatives. The Administrative team is in constant conversations with each other, as well as with professional colleagues in other districts. We participate on numerous webinars and conference calls each week, and remain connected with community support members. We will be working, with what seems around the clock, to respond to all the required areas of the reopening document. As I shared in my last communication, regardless of the plan details and input from stakeholders, there will understandably be parents/guardians who will not feel the plan is acceptable and can opt for continued distance learning.
The Administrative team is also planning for a hybrid model of learning and for enhanced distance learning, should public health trends cause us to shift.
I sincerely hope you and yours are well.
Superintendent of Schools
June 29, 2020
Dear East Granby Families and Colleagues,
I certainly hope the first couple of summer break weeks have been relaxing for you! On Thursday, June 25th, Governor Lamont and Commissioner of Education Cardona shared statewide school reopening guidelines. We have been directed to plan a reopening for all students to return with in-person classes every day. To achieve this, enhancements for health and safety protocols will include: frequent hand washing and cleaning, wearing of masks, and maximizing social distances. Our first day of school for students is scheduled for Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
Additionally, we will be required to plan for a hybrid model consisting of both in-person and virtual learning, and also enhance our distance learning plan. Any changes from full in-person school to either a hybrid or complete distance learning model will be determined by the health department, and dependent on virus transmission trends. Decisions will be made in collaboration with the Farmington Valley Health District and in alignment with the Governor's guidelines, recommendations, and executive orders.
The East Granby Public School District will continue to meet with subcommittees to plan for the many details and the many more unanswered questions that will eventually become our "plan". Any guidance provided to date is subject to change. School administrators have been asked and I will respectfully pass this along to all of you; please remain flexible and patient. I also appreciate your support as we work through this very challenging task.
As a school community, there is no doubt we will be split on what is "best", and for every person who is happy to be returning, there is another person who is not pleased. All reasons, thoughts and concerns are valid. We are not "back to normal". We are charged with developing a plan for full in-person learning five days a week that follows requirements and recommendations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
At this point, we are going to expand representation on subcommittees to include parents/guardians and staff. We would like to invite 4-6 parents/guardians and another 4-6 staff to become active members of each of the subcommittees. If you are interested in serving on a subcommittee, please contact one of the co-chairpersons noted below. Because not everyone will be able to serve on a subcommittee, we welcome you to email the co-chairs with a question or suggestion. In your email, please put "Reopening" in the subject line.
Reopening Chair: Mr. Bob McGrath firstname.lastname@example.org
Health / Safety
Ms. Karen Gogel email@example.com
Mr. Tony DeMelo firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilities / Transportation / Schedules
Tim Phelan email@example.com
Marsie Luckenbach firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum / Instruction / Technology
Marjorie Light email@example.com
Maylah Uhlinger firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are links to the Reopening Slides and the Executive Summary shared by the Connecticut State Department of Education. If you are not able to link directly to the documents, copy and paste into your browser.
and the Administrative Team
May 6, 2020
Hello East Granby Families and Staff:
This morning, Governor Lamont issued a press release stating that in-person classes at all K-12 Public Schools will remain canceled for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year. Schools will continue with distance learning plans. Governor Lamont will soon sign an executive order regarding this announcement. While this is probably not a surprise for most, it is the official decision. The complete press release is available at https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2020/05-2020/Governor-Lamont-Announces-Classes-at-Schools-Will-Remain-Canceled-for-the-Rest-of-the-Academic-Year.
East Granby is fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive social services department. Below is some helpful information regarding available resources for community members and opportunities for neighbors to help neighbors through donations.
East Granby Social Services has temporarily suspended in-person visits and appointments as a protective measure to residents and staff. All services, applications, screenings and referrals are being continued by phone and through email. For more information please contact Elise Cosker, Director of Social Services, at (860) 413-3328 or email@example.com
Back to School Backpack Program – Social Services will be offering its Back to School program to children in town who are in need of backpacks and supplies for the start of the school year in September. This year, we are requesting Target and Staples gift cards to help families purchase supplies instead of backpacks and supplies being collected. If you are interested in helping support this program with gift cards or monetary donations, please contact Social Services at (860) 413-3328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency Assistance Fund – The East Granby Emergency Assistance Fund is available to those income eligible residents who are in need of emergency financial assistance with fuel, housing, medical, electric and other critical needs. The fund is supported solely through donations and gifts from the community and 100% of the funds raised are given back to qualifying residents who are facing financial hardship. Donations can be made to the East Granby Emergency Assistance Fund and mailed to East Granby Social Services, P.O. Box 1858, East Granby, CT 06026.
Energy Assistance – The application deadline for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program has been extended until June 1st (the previous deadline was May 1st). This program is designed to help lower income households offset the winter heating costs incurred after September 1st. Please remember that proof of income from the previous four weeks is required for the application. The income guidelines for the program are $36,171 for a household of one, $47,300 for a household of two, $58,430 for a household of three, $69,559 for a household of four, $80,688 for a household of five and $91,818 for a household of six.
Food Pantry – The Friend to Friend Food Pantry was established to supplement the weekly grocery needs of residents who have been identified by East Granby Social Services as needing assistance. The pantry is still operating and is distributing food to registered participants weekly via curb side pick-up every Friday from 9:00-11:00 am. Deliveries can be scheduled for those participants who are homebound. If you are in need of food, please call Social Services (860) 413-3328 or email email@example.com. To donate please call (860) 651-1659 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food donations may be dropped off at bins outside the East Granby Community/Senior Center and the East Granby Congregational Church, and inside the East Granby Post Office and Geissler’s Supermarket in Granby. If you wish to donate money or local grocery store gift cards you can either mail to Friend to Friend Food Pantry, P.O. Box 631, East Granby, CT 06026 or email email@example.com.
Renter’s Rebate – The Elderly/Totally Disabled Renters rebate program is open until October 1, 2019 for seniors age 65 and over (or under 65 and on permanent long term disability receiving Social Security benefits) that rented in 2019 and have a total income less than $37,000 for a single person and less than $45,100 per married couple. There is no asset restriction. Please call Social Services for more information.
My very best to all. Stay Safe!
April 11, 2020
Hello East Granby Families, Staff, and Community Members,
I hope this message finds you and your family healthy. It is hard to believe that it has been four weeks since our school district closed due to the COVID-19 virus.
Last Thursday, Governor Lamont announced that CT schools will stay closed through May 20, 2020. As a school community, we remain committed in working with you to provide the best distance learning experience to the greatest extent possible. We value your feedback and input and hope you are feeling heard and understood. The professional staff will continue to expand on instructional delivery methods, recognizing that keeping students engaged through online learning for an extended time brings many challenges. Teachers have been exploring new ways to enhance and enrich distance learning. To support this growth, teachers will have a day of professional learning on Wednesday, April 29th. This will be a school day for students and specifics of the day will be communicated by your child’s principal as the day nears.
The East Granby administration is currently reviewing additional best practices for online learning and will share those once the document is complete. It is important to remember that all teaching and learning through our distance learning plan constitutes a school day and that all expectations set forth through the Student Handbooks and Board of Education Policies remain in effect. We have received great input from parents /guardians, teachers, and students and are constantly reviewing and modifying practices. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to teachers and administration for support.
The Connecticut State Dept. of Education recommends the following ways to address issues of student privacy in regards to online learning platforms:
• Parents/Guardians are asked to provide a quiet space with reasonable adult supervision, as needed. Parents/Guardians should not be participating unless the session is designed for the student and parent/guardian;
• To respect the privacy rights of all students, parents/guardians and students will refrain from recording any online class session, unless there has been a previous conversation with administration;
• Each user/student can prevent their picture from being broadcasted to the entire group, students may choose to participate with voice only.
In addition to guidelines for distance learning, each district is also charged with determining how students will be graded and tracked for attendance moving forward. Those conversations are in the preliminary stages for the majority of districts across the state. The goal is to recognize achievements, yet find a way to assign “grading” in an equitable manner, knowing there are a variety of home situations impacting student involvement and achievement. At the high school level, the administration has already started to meet with seniors about several topics. We know how important senior year milestones are and the students’ feelings of disappointment and sadness are valid. We are striving to be creative with celebrations.
Next week is our April vacation (April 13 – 17) and we hope you enjoy your family and take a much needed break from screens.
The next few days and weeks will bring about many feelings as we navigate, for the first time ever for many, Passover, Easter, and Ramadan without family and friends. I understand this hardship as my own mom will have dinner alone for the first time in her life on Easter Sunday. Thankfully, her five children live close by and we will take turns dropping off food and waving hello. We plan to have an online “Zoom” gathering later in the evening. Hopefully you also find ways to connect with your loved ones.
We are so fortunate in East Granby to live and work in a community that looks out for each other and steps up, when needed. Please be sure to check on your friends and neighbors; these are challenging times ~ together, we are stronger.
Please let your child/ children know that their teachers, support staff, and administrators miss them! Thank you again for your continued partnership, flexibility and understanding.
Missy Bavaro-Grande and the East Granby Administrative Team
March 31, 2020
I hope this communication finds you well and adjusting to new routines. For most of us, that means balancing the demands of work and family. This is not an easy task in the best of circumstances and made more difficult amid the general culture of anxiety and uncertainty.
Our partnership with you is now more important than ever! During this period of time we remain dedicated to providing educational supports, to the greatest extent possible, for your child. Over this past week, I hope you have had the opportunity to communicate directly with your child’s teachers and service providers. Their strong work ethic and commitment to our students is unwavering. We are sensitive to the extraordinary stress families are experiencing and will do our very best to accommodate your needs. While every family’s situation is different, we are committed to providing the IEP services and 504 accommodations for every student to the best of our ability. To be successful, ongoing communication between parents with general and special education personnel is critical.
Your child’s team has been thoughtful about how content will be be introduced and reinforced. Our paraprofessionals have participated in Google Classroom training and may also be utilized to support your child’s learning. Finally, similar to our typical service delivery, there may be circumstances where your child is grouped with general education and special education students or just with students on IEPs. If this is to occur, you may be hearing from your child’s case manager about this topic in the days ahead. As always, if your child is having difficulty with classroom content, please reach out to their general education and special education teachers for clarification of assignments and accommodations. They are collaborating with each other to determine the most effective ways to provide your child access to distance learning.
Normally, at this time we would be convening an Annual Review PPT or 504 meeting for your child. However, under guidance from Federal and State Departments of Education, we have shifted our energy and focus to setting up services and reaching out to our families. As our current situation continues to evolve, this may change, but for now we will continue to focus on the wellbeing and safety of our community and the engagement of students in educational opportunities. Please be assured that any plans for your child’s instruction will not be limited by the absence of a PPT. Should your child meet an objective on their current IEP, their learning targets will progress as determined by their team, for which you are an important member. If an IEP “lapses” during school closure, your child will continue to receive the services that were outlined in the most recent IEP. Annual reviews and new IEPs will be created when PPTs are resumed.
As school closure is prolonged, our physical and mental reserves may be taxed. Our support staff have been thoughtful about resources made available to East Granby families. Please check our district website for supports or reach out to our school psychologist, social worker, school counselors and BCBAs. They are ready and willing to help.
Please continue to reach out to me if you have additional questions or concerns. We are here to work with you and for your child.
Wishing you all good health,
Director of Student Support Services
March 27, 2020
Hello East Granby Families,
I hope this message finds you well. It has been a very busy week and I know you are tired.
Let me start by saying thank you for your efforts on the home front. We recognize that there is a LOT going on and families are constantly juggling responsibilities. As a school district, we have realized that implementing a distance learning plan for a week or two is much different than one expected to carry through long term. Please know that we are listening to your feedback and adjusting accordingly. What is just right for schoolwork in one household may be too much in another and too little for still others. We also recognize that this can change from day to day even within one household. Please keep talking with your child’s teacher and administration; we will work with you to match your needs and help find a balance. We also understand that your children are missing their teachers; the feeling is mutual! We will strive to find ways to keep students connected as a school community.
There is a link on the EGPS website, COVID-19 Information & Resources, that we continually populate: https://www.eastgranby.k12.ct.us/parents/covid-19/. Whenever appropriate, I will post quick updates on the district Twitter feed. This is located on the district home page and is public so you do not need a Twitter account to read the “tweets”.
April Vacation (4/10 - 4/17): Spring break will remain April 13th -17th; Good Friday will be observed on Friday, April 10th.
Additional Google Classroom support: East Granby parent, Len Beman, is a Google certified Super Administrator with over 12 years of experience with Google Classroom. He has volunteered to be an additional support for parents. Email is the best way to contact Len. Email address ~ firstname.lastname@example.org Subject line ~ Google Classroom Message ~ It would be helpful to be as specific as possible with your question or concern. Please also include a phone number and best time to be reached. Len will walk you through a solution over the phone or set up a virtual meeting. Thank you, Len!
Updates from the Governor and from the Connecticut State Department of Education: Governor Lamont has cancelled classes through April 20, 2020 (which is actually a Monday). On March 20, 2020, the Connecticut State Department of Education was granted a federal waiver to suspend assessments for the current school year. This includes The Smarter Balanced Assessment and Next Generation Science Standards Assessment. Communication regarding SAT and AP testing will be communicated through the high school administration and school counselors.
Enjoy some screen downtime over the weekend. Stay well and stay home!
Missy Bavaro-Grande and the East Granby Administrative Team
March 22, 2020
Greetings East Granby families, faculty, staff, and community members:
Tomorrow, Monday March 23rd, our school district has prepared - in a matter of days - to embark on a new and challenging venture: to educate all of our students remotely, regardless of their age, ability, or family situation. Teachers will do this without the ability to speak face to face with students, something we thrive on.
This was not a choice; and the only alternative is no continuance of education, something other areas across our country have been forced to accept. Our country is in a crisis like we have never experienced, and we are staying home for the protection of the greater good. The education world is adapting to this situation to the best extent possible, and East Granby Public School faculty and staff will carry out this charge with the utmost professionalism, care, compassion, and love for our students ~ your children. We recognize some of you will be juggling a multitude of responsibilities while at home, while still others will be working outside of the house and finding a way to support the learning at home. We understand these realities.
East Granby’s distance learning plan is very good, and will continue to improve as we go through implementation. I ask for patience and flexibility. We are waiting for guidance from the State Department of Education for further attendance guidelines. For the present time, attendance will be tracked through a daily contact or assignment completion, depending on the student’s age and circumstance.
For our younger students, who will need the greatest support from someone in the household, a combination of technology and non-technology based activities will be provided. The administrative team is extremely proud of the dedication and commitment of the entire East Granby Public School staff. Over the past week, teachers have been working diligently on creating lessons, activities, and assignments, which will continue going forward. Paraprofessionals will collaborate on lessons, support specialists will consult with families, counselors will provide resources and social and emotional guidance, secretaries and business staff will keep our operations running, and our amazing custodial staff will continue to clean every area of each building. Additionally, our Information Technology team has been a vital component in preparing our school devices for home use, providing professional development for online platform use, troubleshooting challenges, and researching anything we have asked of them.
As a district, our goal was to communicate important information as the COVID-19 situation rapidly evolved. We also did not want to overwhelm you. There is a link on our East Granby Public School webpage, COVID-19 Information and Resources https://www.eastgranby.k12.ct.us/parents/covid-19/. It is our hope that this will make finding communication and information easier by having it located in one place. We will continue to communicate with you, seek feedback, and strive for improvements.
While right now we may be seeing light-hearted videos, memes, and jokes about homeschooling and social-distancing, the frightening reality is that next week, or the week after that, any of our families could be experiencing the impact of COVID-19 first hand. These are not going to be typical or average days. Our staff members are also home caring for children and family members, while executing educational plans. Again, I ask for patience and flexibility for our teachers. Please let the administration know if your family is experiencing circumstances impacting your child's attention to the educational tasks.
Administrators and teachers are here to support you. Keep the communication open and understand we are truly in this together. There are no two days that will look alike, and the African proverb, “It takes a village” has never been more real. The school district is greatly appreciative of the support from the Board of Education, First Selectman’s Office, and Department of Public Works, who will assist with resources and personnel in any way needed. We are also grateful for the work of the Friend to Friend Food Pantry and the guidance of the Farmington Valley Health District. The many calls and emails of support from parents and guardians is a lift to our spirits. As a district, we will be confronted with many challenges; we will shift and prioritize as needed. The best outcome will be a healthy and cohesive community on the flip side of this pandemic.
Have patience with yourself and with your child’s/children’s teachers. Keep watch over your family and neighbors. Support our friends and community members who will be on the front line as we stay home. We are stronger together. I know I speak on behalf of the entire faculty and staff in saying we look forward to the day to be back in school, greeting your children at the door.
My best to you. Stay Well!
March 21, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians:
We hope this letter finds you and your family well. The uncertainty of the changing world and the disruption of our daily lives is stressful, and we understand our friends and neighbors in East Granby and Hartford are worried. Our neighbors will work to support one another, as in the past. While we move toward implementing an online distance learning plan, please know the teachers, staff, and administration have been working diligently on incorporating a variety of experiences for your child's education. We will go live with the plan this coming Monday, March, 23, 2020.
For parents and guardians of K - 5 students, classroom assignments are posted in the Google Classroom platform designed for parents. In order to access these new grade-level sites, you need to create a free Gmail address (directions located on the COVID-19 Information page at eastgranby.k12.ct.us). You will be able to communicate with teachers and the principals at both Carl Allgrove Elementary and R.D. Seymour Elementary within the platform, through email, and using Google Meet, a video communication tool. Teachers will be online during the school day to assist. You will find their classroom hours in the first post on the classroom page. You will receive an email with the specific code to join the grade-level class prior to Monday.
For parents and guardians of 6 - 12 students, your students will continue moving forward in their regular Google Classroom as they have been doing in the past. These classrooms are for the students only, adults should not join with a student code. Teachers and principals will communicate with you regarding school work if a student fails to turn in assignments. Grades will be posted in PlusPortals.
All students across the district will have assignments and activities daily, which are graded. For further information, please see our Parent Overview, also located at the COVID-19 Information page. Help for Google Classroom K-5 is at the bottom of the document. Attendance, as explained in the linked document, is recorded via completed assignments. For more detailed information, the twelve-page plan is also available on the COVID-19 Information page. These documents will help answer many questions you may have about implementation.
In the beginning stages of online learning next week, there will surely be technical difficulties and frustrations. We know it may take a little while to work through this new, and perhaps unfamiliar, territory. The faculty and staff, along with school administrators, want to support our students and their families as we work together. Patience is key in the coming weeks.
An email with help on using Google Meet will be sent later next week, so as not to overload you. Also, please remind our East Granby students that our internet agreement is applicable when using the school's WiFi and Chromebooks. We will send further communication on the safety embedded into our systems in the future. We will be in touch frequently and set up opportunities for virtual discussions.
As we work together to support one another, let's become learners together while lifting one another up during this crisis. Stay safe, EGPS family.
Marjorie G. Light
Director of Curriculum and Professional Development
March 18, 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers,
We hope this message finds you well despite the disrupted schedules we all are experiencing. We understand that there may be unique challenges for students with disabilities and this may be an especially unsettling time. During these unprecedented times, the East Granby Public Schools Student Support Services Department leans on our collaborative partnership more than ever. In following consultation and guidance from both state and federal agencies, we will be working to provide opportunities for continuity of education. Our department has been working closely to ensure that all our students are provided to the greatest extent possible high quality opportunities for engagement. Our goal is to work with students and families in the learning process, while providing some consistency and personalized connections.
Our special education and related service personnel will be supporting distance learning for students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 Plans as feasible within a distance learning model. In the coming days, special education teachers will be reaching out to you with greater specificity about what the continued educational opportunities will look like for your child. The plan will provide individualized activities to address IEP goals and objectives along with individualized strategies for implementing those plans. Your child’s special education team will be working with general education colleagues to help promote your child’s access to remote learning. Grade level and course activities/assignments will be modified and/or accommodated. Special education and related service areas will be addressed through planned activities, consultations and digital support as feasible. This will look different for each grade level and for each student.
Thank you for your continued communication, patience, support and understanding during this unprecedented time. Together, our collective efforts will support your child’s educational needs to the greatest extent possible.
Best regards and stay well,
March 17, 2020
Good Afternoon Families!
The only thing consistent during these last few weeks has been change, rapid change, at that! Last night, Superintendents received guidance from Commissioner Cardona, State Department of Education, shifting the focus from supplemental learning to continuity of educational opportunities. This is based on most recent CDC guidance, which suggests there may be long-term school closures.
You will receive additional information later this week regarding our interim (distant) learning plan. This plan is targeted to begin the week of Monday, March 23, 2020. Barring any circumstance that would require a different decision, the graduation date will remain June 17th; April 13th-17th will remain non-school days.
Teachers have spent a large amount of time growing their knowledge of Google Classroom so they can support and educate your children to the best of their ability, given the current situation. The plan is not perfect. We are a profession that thrives and excels with face to face contact, so this is a new experience for many and will improve through use and practice. Please be patient as we navigate this together.
Polls were sent to all students last week requesting information about home devices and internet accessibility. Please contact your child's principal if there is a concern over an available device or internet availability in your home.
Parent conferences during the first week in April have been postponed. Administrators will be working remotely, as much as possible, but checking email and voicemail on a regular basis.
Observe the social distancing and remain positive! I am thinking of you all.
Acting Superintendent of Schools
For questions, comments, or concerns relative to Coronavirus, please send emails to: email@example.com
“America was not built on fear.
America was built on courage,
on imagination and an unbeatable
determination to do the job at hand.”
President Harry S. Truman