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Back to School 2022

Posted on 08/14/2022







Back to School 2022

Back to School is right around the corner with school starting on Monday, August 29th for students in grades 1st through 12th. Kindergarten begins on Wednesday, September 7th and Preschool starts on Thursday, September 8th. *  Parents with questions regarding uniform requirements at their child’s school or school hours are urged to call their child’s school for further information.


*The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership has reported that three schools will have different start-of-school dates and that the schools are in direct communication with families. Those schools are  Springfield Realization Academy, Springfield Honors Academy and the High School of Commerce.

 


Back-to-School Convocation 2022

Sharif El-Mekki, founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development; 2015 Neubauer Fellow; and 2013 US Department of Education Principal Ambassador, is expected to address approximately 4,000 Springfield Public Schools teachers, principals, administrators, and staff during the annual SPS Convocation Ceremony to be held on Friday, August 26th in the auditorium at the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts School, 339 State Street at 9 a.m. 


Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick said El-Mekki’s work is rooted in the elements that define the Springfield Public Schools Portrait of a Graduate. His role as keynote speaker, Warwick said, is an ideal kick off the 2022 school year, the district’s third year of Portrait of a Graduate work. 

 

 

“We still have much further to go in our commitment to work with community to reimagine how we do school,” said Warwick. “As a national and prolific advocate for public education, Mr. El-Mekki understands the deep dive we must make to create the best outcomes for students.”  


The district has partnered with the community over three years to develop the Portrait of a Graduate, Springfield’s vision of what students need upon graduating high school to be successful in college, career, and life. Now that the Portrait is completed, the district continues working with community to create a strategic plan focused on re-imagining instruction and revising the systems and processes to best support students to realize the vision outlined in the Portrait. The draft strategic plan was released for public review during the summer and remains available for public feedback on the Springfield Public Schools website.


“As we celebrate the start of the 2022-23 school year, we will focus on the success we have to date in planning a new future for our students and also on the hard work as educators and community to achieve our goals,” Warwick said.  


Convocation will include remarks by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and other dignitaries along with a special appearance by SPS Class of 2020 graduate Zyasia Knighton, a recent contestant on the nationally syndicated television program “So You Think You Can Dance.” 


The event will be livestreamed on focusspringfield.com/convocation and on Springfield Cable Channel 15. 



New This Year

Universal Pre-Kindergarten

This year, Springfield Public Schools becomes the first district in the state to provide free, universal full-day preschool for 3- and 4-year-old students. Approximately 2,000 seats for 3- and 4-year-olds have been made available in every elementary school in the district, at Margaret C. Ells Preschool and at the Early Childhood Education Center. There is also a new preschool-only school, Balliet Pre-School is located 111 Seymour Avenue. Pre-kindergarten programming focuses on play that is purposeful and engages students in a variety of ways. Social-emotional learning, along with developing pre-literacy skills, are important focal points.


School-Based Vax Clinics for Required Immunizations; also, for Flu and COVID-19 

Big Y Pharmacy has partnered with Springfield Public Schools to help ensure that students and families are immunized. School-based vaccination clinics will be available for all pre-school students during the beginning of the school year. Available vaccinations will include those required by Massachusetts law along with flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, which are not mandated by law. Additional vaccination clinics are expected to take place during the school year for elementary and secondary levels.   

PACE is Now FACE

In an ongoing effort to best serve families and students, the Parent and Community Engagement Center (PACE) has been divided into two branches - Family and Community Engagement (FACE) and Student Assignment Services (SAS).  Former Brightwood Elementary School Principal Jose Escribano has been appointed Chief of Family and Community Engagement and Lourdes Soto, who previously served as Chief of PACE, now serves as Chief of the Student Assignment Services Center.

The Holding Center is Now the Student Care Center

Located within Rebecca M. Johnson Elementary School, the program formally known as the Holding Center has been renamed the Student Care Center. The center is where students who are required to have a parent or guardian meet them at the bus stop are cared for if the adult is not present to retrieve the child from their bus stop. 

 


New 2022 Principal Assignments

Name

School

Yara DePalma Gonzalez

South End MiddleSchool

Jessica McCloskey

Balliet Pre-School

Danielle Delgado

Brightwood Elementary School



Ways for Parents to Engage with Schools

Join the PTO – Every school has a Parent Teacher Organization, which meets regularly and provides feedback to the school on decisions about the school and meeting student needs. 


Follow Their Student’s Progress – Parents and guardians can see their student’s attendance and grades using the SPS Parent Portal. Parents and guardians can also follow upcoming assignments and deadlines and communicate with teachers using the Schoology app. 


Help Write the SPS Strategic Plan – The input of parents and guardians is welcome as SPS writes a new strategic plan, also known as its Portrait of a Graduate. As mentioned above, a draft copy of the Strategic Plan is available for public comments on the Springfield Public Schools website.




SPS COVID-19 guidance in accordance with CDC. Massachusetts Health Department

& Springfield Health and Human Services 

The following preventative measures apply also to SPS students and staff. Schools will continue to make masks available upon request to students while supplies last.

General Precautions 

  • COVID -19 vaccination is strongly recommended, but not mandated. 
  • There is no requirement for masking in schools. However, masks are required in school health offices.  Anyone who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID-19, will be supported in that choice. 
  • Hand washing/sanitizing will be made available and encouraged in schools.
  • Rapid antigen self-test kits are available in schools to students with parental consent who display symptoms consistent with COVID-19 through October. 

Testing Positive for COVID-19

A student who tests positive, must isolate for at least 5 days. They may return to school after day five if they have no symptoms. If they have symptoms, they may return to school after day five if their symptoms are getting better, and they have not had a fever for 24 hours. Return-to-school precautions include masking through day 10. 


If the student cannot mask, they can only return to school after testing negative on at least day 5. Any student who tested positive may return to school on day 11 with or without a negative test.  


Showing COVID-19 Symptoms 

Students who show COVID-19 symptoms while in school can remain in their school if they are tested immediately onsite, and that test is negative. It will be recommended that the student mask, if possible, until symptoms are fully gone. If symptoms continue after a negative test, the student should re-test within 1 to 2 days of the first test. 


If the symptomatic student cannot be tested immediately, or if they are too ill to remain in school, they will be sent home. The student will be allowed to return to school if they test negative, or if they have not had a fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and their symptoms have cleared up. Students with symptoms may also return to school upon the recommendation of a medical professional. 


Students Who Come in Close Contacts with Someone Who Has COVID-19
Vaccinated and unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested at least on day 5. Quarantine is no longer required. 

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