Message from the Superintendent's Office
Dear School Community, While this week felt like we were back in summer, we are actually fast approaching the end of the first quarter. We deeply appreciate the efforts from all staff to consistently provide high-quality learning experiences for our students. We are also fortunate to work in such a supportive community. We’d like to call district-wide attention to the leadership of our students as well. As an example, with the recent hostile Tik Tok challenges getting publicity, PHS students from our Wellness Committee and Marketing class have developed positive counter challenges for students. Their theme for October is “Thank a Teacher.” We would encourage you all to do the same for Portsmouth teachers and support staff. Have a great weekend.
Stephen Zadravec George Shea
Superintendent Assistant Superintendent
The PHS Outing Club took 14 students on a camping and white water rafting adventure last weekend on the Kennebec River in Maine. On Saturday, students went swimming( brrrrr), played football and manhunt, went star gazing, and ate s'mores around the campfire. On Sunday we geared up in wetsuits and helmets and rode the waves of the Kennebec. We finished off the trip with a hearty meal from the grill, prepared by our rafting guides. We can't wait to go again! (Maybe in June....).
Fall crafting outside Little Harbour
To promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month PHS Health Science and Culinary students teamed up to make a slew of pink ribbon cookies with breast cancer information factoids.
Welcome news at PHS
Our mailing address is: Portsmouth School District 1 Junkins Avenue, Suite 402 Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-431-5080
Message from the Superintendent's Office
Stakeholder Survey for ARP ESSER
The Portsmouth School Department will be receiving funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. Financial resources set aside in that Plan specifically for education will be distributed through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (also referred to as ARP ESSER). The purpose of the relief funds is to help districts and schools to safely reopen and sustain safe operations. Priorities to be addressed include the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students, with particular focus on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A requirement of the funding is that each school district set aside 20% of the allocation to address learning loss of students. Other allowable uses of the funds include school facility repairs and improvements (especially related to reducing virus transmission and exposure), supplies to sanitize and clean learning spaces, and educational technology. The NH Department of Education has established a guiding expectation that proposed spending of ESSER funds should address "how will this PREVENT, PREPARE for, and/or RESPOND to COVID-19?" The US Department of Education has provided this ARP ESSER III Fact Sheet to explain in greater detail the terms and conditions that guide the allowable uses of these federal funds. https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/03/FINAL_ARP-ESSER-FACT-SHEET.pdf The Portsmouth School Department values the input of its stakeholders. We are asking for your feedback through this survey so that the priorities of our school community are better understood as we develop proposals for use of the ARP ESSER funds. Thank you for taking a few minutes to share your thoughts about the use of this one-time funding. ARP ESSER Stakeholder Survey Please submit your feedback by October 8, 2021. Thank you!
Forensic Scientists at PHS
Look for a District Newsletter on the first and third Friday of each month with periodic updates as needed.
From the Nursing Department
Recently, there have been some questions about how the Portsmouth School Nurses are managing the return to school after illness. As most of you may know, students and staff are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result to return to school after any new illness. You also may know that there are 2 kinds of tests for COVID-19: a rapid antigen test that gives results in about 15 minutes and a PCR test (which often takes days to produce results). Guidance from the State Department of Public Health permits rapid test results for the purpose of returning to school and the Portsmouth School Nurses have been accepting them. However, some local providers are also routinely sending out a PCR test to confirm the rapid test results. In these cases we require a provider's note saying the student may return to school while those results are pending . This has also been recommended by our district physician. We suggest that you have a discussion with your student's test provider to find out what test or tests will be administered and what that provider will recommend for the return to school. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work to respect the clinical judgment and guidance of our community health providers AND limit the amount of lost in-person learning time for our students.
New Franklin Therapy dog Utah mugs for the camera.
Sweethearts and Heros
Mr. Incredible dazzled Dondero students today with a powerful anti-bullying message.
Our mailing address is: Portsmouth School District 1 Junkins Avenue, Suite 402 Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-431-5080
Dear School Community, As we close in on the end of September we want to thank all parents, staff, and students for a great start to the year. The beautiful weather has helped facilitate some quality outdoor time during school and it is wonderful to see students back in a normal and consistent schedule. We also want to thank all those who filled out the interest for the Equity Council. We sent this out last week, but will repeat the information below for anyone who would still like to express interest. All those who fill this form out will receive a follow-up email by early next week about the selection process. We seek a diverse group of stakeholders for this council, and plan for the council to be made up of the following: Four Students Four Staff Two Administrators Three Parents Two Community Members Equity Council We are excited to announce the creation of a district-wide Equity Council. This group will play a pivotal role in helping us deepen our work with diversity, equity, and inclusion. One guidepost in this work is our Equity and Excellence in Education policy . This council will not only help oversee actions in alignment with this policy, it will also have input into the metrics by which we measure success in our equity work. We are looking for participation on this council to reflect all corners of our community. To that end, we are putting out a brief survey here to see how many people would be interested in joining this council. We will follow up with those interested about the process for selection on the council next week. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach out to us. Sincerely, Stephen Zadravec George Shea Superintendent Assistant Superintendent
Message from the Superintendent's Office Dear School Community, Thanks to all who filled out our quick “pulse check” survey last week. The results are below. We were happy to see very few significant issues in students transitioning back into school. We thank all of our staff for helping make that transition as smooth as possible for students! If you do have concerns for your child, as always feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher, school counselor, or principal. Equity Council We are excited to announce the creation of a district-wide Equity Council. This group will play a pivotal role in helping us deepen our work with diversity, equity, and inclusion. One guidepost in this work is our Equity and Excellence in Education policy . This council will not only help oversee actions in alignment with this policy, it will also have input into the metrics by which we measure success in our equity work. We are looking for participation on this council to reflect all corners of our community. To that end, we are putting out a brief survey here to see how many people would be interested in joining this council. We will follow up with those interested about the process for selection on the council next week. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach out to us. Sincerely, Stephen Zadravec George Shea Superintendent Assistant Superintendent On Tuesday night the School Board welcomed new teachers and new student representative Nick Dahlen. English class al fresco at PHS. An appreciation for the classics at Dondero. Our mailing address is: Portsmouth School District 1 Junkins Avenue, Suite 402 Portsmouth, NH 03801 603-431-5080 https://www.cityofportsmouth.com/school
The Portsmouth School Board is in process of assembling the Search Committee for the Portsmouth School Department (SAU52) Superintendent position. Although spots are limited, interested parents are encouraged to click the link https://forms.gle/XVS1jSmwNH5mqY9m8 read through the requirements, time commitment and submit the form by Thursday, September 16, 2021. Questions can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org REQUIREMENTS -Be a resident in good standing in Portsmouth. -Understand the role and responsibilities of the SAU52 superintendent position. -Agree to fulfill the total commitment of service on the search committee -Harbor no competing interest(s) with potential candidates or otherwise. -Understand that serving on the Search committee automatically disqualifies you from applying for the Portsmouth School Department Superintendent position during the 2021-2022 school year. -Maintain meeting confidentiality. Due to the applicant's privacy, confidentiality will be essential during the search process which will include both public & non-public meetings. All meeting dates and minutes will be publicly posted. Additionally, updates will be given during public school board meetings TIME COMMITMENT -Attend 2- (3)hr training meetings (total of up to 6 hours) -Training will take place in the 1st two meetings. Each meeting will be scheduled for up to 3hrs in length and are tentatively planned to be held within school hours at the end of September & beginning of October. -Attend additional bi-weekly meetings (approx. 1.5hrs long). In order to prevent continuous interruption to school days, these meetings are tentatively being planned for after school hours. Ideally, we’d like to establish a set meeting day and time based upon committee majority. -Attend Screening & Finalists Candidate interviews (1-3 hours in length each) -Serve for the duration of September 2021 - February 2022
Dear Parents and Guardians, It has been exciting and refreshing to welcome our full complement of students back to school this week to kick the school year into full gear. The brief survey below is intended to give us a “pulse check” on how the first couple of weeks have gone for students and their families. Your feedback will help us continue to build the support strategies necessary for a successful school year. Please fill out and as always feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments, or concerns. How’s it Going So Far Survey? Sincerely, Steve Zadravec, Superintendent George Shea, Assistant Superintendent Save a Life Tour The International Save a Life Tour visited Portsmouth High School Friday. This is a comprehensive high impact safe driving awareness program intended to spread information about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving while teaching safe driving practices. Along with the video presentation, juniors and seniors had a chance to participate in simulations for the effect of impaired and distracted driving. Have you accepted our invitation yet? Features include an app with notifications for mobile users, two-way translation, and user preference settings for when they receive non-emergency information. ParentSquare Overview Video for Parents Welcome Kindergarten! We feel more complete now that the Class of 2034 is in the house. Emergency Broadband Benefit The Federal Communications Commission has launched a temporary program to help families and households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application. You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit , or by calling 833-511-0311.
Dear Elementary Families, We have been working with ConvenientMD on the implementation of the state-supported Safer at School Screening Program (SASS). This program will provide parents the option of having their child tested for COVID on a rotating weekly basis at school. This test is NOT the test that goes far up the nostril. More details of the program can be found on the attached flyer. Below is an anonymous survey to gauge the level of interest in the program. It is not a consent form to have your child participate. We will use data from this survey to work out the last of the logistics and target implementation of this program around mid-September. Prior to implementation a formal consent form will be sent to all parents and at that time you would make a final decision on whether or not you want your child to participate. Please fill the survey out by Tuesday, August 31st. Safer at School Screening Survey
Dear Portsmouth Schools Community, We are asking for your help to prevent COVID-19 from impacting our school community. COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, sneezes or sings. As a school community we ask for your support to take the following precautions to prevent the spread of the disease: 1. Send your child with a clean, multi-layered mask each day. 2. Know the symptoms of the COVID-19: Fever/chills (measured 100.4F) Cough Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Sore throat Runny nose or nasal congestion Muscle or body aches Fatigue Headache New loss of taste or smell Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea 3. Monitor for symptoms and risk factors EVERY DAY. Currently, we are not asking families to send in electronic health screenings. Please contact your school nurse and do not send your child to school if they have: Any new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 (listed above); this includes even mild symptoms EVEN IF THEY ARE FULLY VACCINATED. Shared a household with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days.* Household Contact: any individual who lives and sleeps in the same indoor shared space as another person diagnosed with COVID-19 (either a temporary or permanent living arrangement), leading to close contact and potential repeated exposure to the person with COVID-19. This includes situations where there may be temporary but prolonged exposure such as occurs as sleep-over events, shared camp cabins, vacation rentals, etc International or cruise ship travel in the last 10 days. More information on travel quarantine can be found HERE .* *You do not have to stay home (quarantine) for 10 days if you provide documentation of either of the following: You are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 You have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days If your child has new or unexplained symptoms, they must stay home and may return to school when ALL of the following conditions have been met: The school receives a negative COVID-19 test result with an FDA-approved COVID-19 test, administered by a medical professional (this can be sent in with your child on their first day back to school or via email.) We are not accepting home-based testing at this time. Your child has not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medication. Your child’s other symptoms have improved for 24 hours (please remember that managing even slight coughs, runny noses & sneezing is much more challenging when wearing a cloth face covering at school). ~Please keep in mind, if your child was dismissed from school with symptoms, they may not come to school the following day. If you decide not to have your child tested for COVID-19, they must isolate for 10-days from the date symptoms started before they can return to school for in-person learning. Thank you for your support and partnership to keep our school community healthy this year! Sincerely, Portsmouth School District Nurses
Student Transportation for 2021-2022 There are some changes this year to regular home-to-school bussing, so families should be sure to review the School Bus Routes and confirm student plans for the start of school. The starting times of our schools will remain staggered like they were last year (Elementary starting earlier and Middle/High later) which means there will be more buses to serve the Elementary schools. Those buses will then run a second route to serve the Middle and High schools. As a result, there should be more space for students and less chance for crowding. Everyone on the bus will be required to wear a mask this year and cleaning protocols will remain in practice. Updates for Student Transportation 2021-2022 School Year • Students, drivers, and monitors will need to wear masks at all times on the bus. • Bus routes will be subject to change to reflect the needs of student ridership. • Comprehensive cleaning and sanitizing of all surfaces on the bus will be done at the end of each morning and afternoon cycle of route transportation. • Weather permitting, windows will remain open throughout the bus ride to provide fresh air flow.