Back to School ~ School is back in session! Opening Day Convocation was August 28th for all staff, and we welcomed students back for the 2017-2018 school year on Wednesday, August 30th. A special thank you to the students, staff, administrators, and School Committee members, who performed, spoke and participated in the opening day activities. The maintenance and custodial staff worked incredibly hard to get the buildings and grounds ready for the return of faculty and students, and they were recognized by the faculty for the amazing work they accomplished. We also shared our theme for this year and new logo, SBRSD CARES, designed by our administrative team and Ms. Kari Giordano. Every staff member and student in the District received a folder including the new logo, and we have challenged ourselves to demonstrate each and every day what it means to say SBRSD CARES! The genuine excitement and positive energy was contagious, and our goal was to capture the spirit of this day and carry it with us throughout the school year!
School Committee Meeting Date October 2017~ On the agenda is a request to revisit the October 19th meeting date as Mt. Everett has asked to host the World Education Alliance Rhythm and Rhyme Gala from Sunday, October 15th thru Friday, October 20th, 2017. The final performance is scheduled to be on October 19th at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington in the evening which is the same date as the October School Committee meeting.
Proposal for Senior Citizen Residency ~ I have received a proposal from Ms. Giordano to consider a senior citizen residency this fall as part of the music program. The proposal encourages any senior citizen who knows how to read music, plays at level, and owns their own instrument to apply. The applicant would agree to rehearse with the students during the scheduled time slot, and would perform with the students in the holiday concerts.
Communication ~ The focus to enhance and improve communication continues –
Visioning Project ~ I have received a proposed schedule from Dr. Gagliarducci to help us plan the next steps in the project - the dates for consideration are as follows:
week of 9/11- early evenings (12,13,14 week of 9/25- early evenings (25,26) week of 10/9- early evenings (10,11,12) week of 11/2- early evenings (2,3,4,) week of 11/13 early evenings (13,14,15) Saturdays- in October- (7,14)
It will be important to decide on the makeup of the visioning committee and to extend the invitations to those who may want to be a part of the process. This work is so important as the vision will serve as our “north star” guiding our goal setting and planning for the work ahead.
Goal Setting ~ I would like to propose we continue to build on the work we began at our School Committee Retreat Day, and suggest that we solidify a set of norms for how we work as a committee. Also, we have processed the common themes from the exit ticket questions which can help us start the discussion and formulation of the School Committee goals for 2017 – 2018 school year. I am proposing another 3 hour session to accomplish this work in the next few weeks.
Transportation ~ There were many changes in the delivery of our transportation services including the number of bus companies used, the number of vehicles available to us in the fleet, the routes, the locations and times of the stops, etc. We did our best to work closely with Massini Bus Company, to stay within the contract, to ensure our policies were enforced, to share information when we had it and we knew it was accurate, and to be mindful of student’s safety and ride time on a vehicle. Thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding during this transition. For the most part, the buses and routes have been running smoothly and students and families have made adjustments to help this be a success. The Activity Bus is running and starting to gain student use as a process for this new opportunity is being developed and tested with student safety as the first priority. We expect to modify the process in place as administrators become more comfortable with the feedback and the plans put in place to help this initiative run smoothly!
August 15, 2017
On July 1, 2017, I had the honor and privilege of becoming the new Superintendent of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District. SBRSD has a rich history of academic excellence, personalized learning opportunities, and a tremendous amount of family and community support. It is my hope to not only continue these traditions, but to collaboratively build on them.
It is my core belief that all students must have the best educational opportunities available, to prepare them for life’s challenges and rewards that extend well beyond the classroom walls. How we educate today is far different from that of years ago – or even five years ago. Increased academic rigor, modern technology, global competition, whole child centered curriculum, and personalization are some of the things shaping teaching and learning today. I have always found that challenges such as these are really opportunities to transform our students’ educational work into inspiring and relevant lifelong experiences.
This spring, I was able to spend time in the District on numerous occasions. I met with staff, students, parents and town officials, which reinforced my belief that I chose a great school district and supportive communities to become a member of. I look forward to establishing strong and collegial relationships, so that together we can provide all students of Southern Berkshire access to incredible learning environments.
It is essential that parents and community members be well informed of the successes and challenges of SBRSD. One of my goals is to improve communication throughout the District using many different methods to ensure the needs of all are met, and all stakeholders feel informed. The District website will be updated and provide an area for the Superintendent’s message as well as a way to get in touch with administrators.
Other important news is that the bus routes are in the final development stage, and will be made available to our families by mid-August which is the anticipated date they are ready for publication annually. We will post them in the newspaper, and on the District website. We ask for your patience during the first few weeks of school as we transition to one bus company, work through the new routes and times, and our students – especially our newest riders – get used to this new experience! Also, the newly instituted activity bus running from New Marlborough Central School will begin the first day of school, and will deliver students from NMC to the main campus after school and continue on to Great Barrington with some additional stops to be named.
I am pleased to share that we are planning to establish some after school activity programming that will allow our families to know their children will be cared for in their own school District until they can get home from work. SBRSD has a unique opportunity of having one building that can serve as the hub of the community with programming for all ages extending well after the school day has ended. We are hoping to have some pilot programs in place by October 1st. Stay tuned!
In closing, I am excited to meet all your children, and to hear their thoughts and ideas while learning what they are passionate about so that SBRSD can provide the best education possible for their future. I look forward to seeing and talking with you in the schools and communities. Enjoy the remaining weeks of the summer!
Beth L. Regulbuto, M.Ed., SFO Superintendent of Schools