School Bus

Superintendent Brian Forget Nominated to Special Commission

Triton Superintendent, Brian Forget was recently nominated by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr as his designee on the Special Commission on Improving Efficiencies in Student Transportation. Established in the fiscal year 2019 budget process, the Special Commission is tasked with making recommendations on how school districts can improve and implement efficiencies in regards to various student transportation issues.

“I appreciate Senator Tarr’s confidence in selecting me, as he is a strong proponent of the Triton Schools and has a clear understanding of the challenges in a regional school district,” said Forget. “I am excited for this opportunity to further educate those outside the regional structure on the many challenges educational finance structures in Massachusetts create for regional schools across the state.”

From a recent, official press release, Senator Adam Hinds, who is the co-chair of the Special Commission said, “The method and formulas by which our public school districts are funded are flawed, and this impacts the budgets of all our schools.”

School transportation was a hot-button issue during the 2018/19 Fiscal Year budget process.  According to MA General Law Chapter 71; Section 16C, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is legally required to fully reimburse regional school districts for transportation costs, subject to appropriation. In recent years, Massachusetts has reduced their funding for these costs, leaving local taxpayers to pick up the tab.  The debate was further fueled after State Auditor Suzanne Bump released her 2017 report, “Supporting Student and Community Success; Updating the Structure and Finance of Massachusetts Regional School Districts” which states that the act of fulfilling its promise to fund 100% of transportation costs would have a massive impact on the budgets of all regional school districts and their contributing towns. In a letter to Governor Baker, Ms. Bump writes, “As a Commonwealth, we must prioritize the public education of our children. Fully funding the Commonwealth’s obligation to these institutions is important not only to incentivize school districts to regionalize, but also to allow the school districts to effectively engage in long-term planning and budgeting so they can meet this most important of responsibilities.”

The commission is scheduled to file its report and recommendations with the clerks of the Senate and the House of Representatives by December 1, 2019.

SES Breakfast Program

Great Success at SES with the Bumble-Bee Breakfast Cart Express!

~ Great Success at SES with the Bumble-Bee Breakfast Cart Express!  Breakfast participation has nearly tripled over last year!  All SES students enjoy hot breakfast in the cafe or a grab-n-go meal at the cart at No-Cost!  Fuel up with breakfast and have an Energized Day! ~

French Exchange Students Visit Triton

Twenty four students from the Lycee Saint Francois d’Assise in La Roche Sur Yon, a city in the Vendee Department of the Loire Valley, France will be visiting Triton from October 12th to the 27th with the School’s Director of International Relations Sean Morris, and English Teacher Annabelle Fouquet-Audige.

Twenty two Triton families ( 2 families with twins! ) and two Triton teachers will be hosting the students while they are here. While in Massachusetts, the students will hike in the White Mountain National Forest, visit the Triton Communities, visit Harvard and M.I.T. , walk the Freedom trail, be given a tour of the State House by State Reps Brad Hill and James Kelcourse, visit Lexington and Concord, visit Salem, and finally go on a Duck Tour and visit the Prudential skywalk.

Each of the visiting French students and teachers will open their homes in Vendee to Triton students and teachers from April 12th to the 27th, 2019.

French Students Holding Flag

Holding Hands

Foster Parenting Information Night

Foster Parenting Information Session: October 20, 10:30 am at the Salisbury Public Library. Please see the flyer for more information.
Salisbury Public Library

SES Free Breakfast Program

SES_breakfast_promotion

Welcome Back – Important Information from Superintendent Forget

Good Afternoon,

I trust that this email finds you all enjoying the final weeks of August. The routine of fall is closing in on us quickly, but the weather still feels like we are in the height of summer! In the midst of the harried pace of the world we live in, we strive to be a place where students can come to find safety, to build confidence in themselves, and be supported to ensure they develop socially, emotionally, and academically to their fullest capabilities. We are focused on being a place where we live out by example the statement that All Means All, bringing out the best in every one of our students each day. With that focus in mind, we are excited to welcome our students and families back as we begin another year together!

There is a great deal of information in this message, and my hope is that while the message is very long, it is helpful to have these important updates in a single message rather than multiple. As always, the summers are busy times as we close one year and prepare for the next, and these are all important updates on district wide efforts that I’d like to make you aware of. More information will be provided by the school(s) your child attends as they return to our halls next Tuesday, September 4th.


Raptor Visitor Management:

As a measure taken over the summer to improve our schools’ security, all offices are now equipped with a system called “Raptor Visitor Management”. This system provides a significant improvement in the tracking of all visitors who are coming into our schools. The implementation of this system will require some work on your part the first time you come to visit the school, and I’m respectfully asking for your patience and cooperation in the spirit of safety. The first time you come to visit the school you will need to provide an official, government issued photo ID. This ID will be scanned, and your photo and identifying information will be automatically entered into our system. Each subsequent time you enter, we will verify it is you by the photo in the system, and will produce an ID sticker with your picture, name and your destination within the building along with the date and time, and we’ll have a web based log of everyone currently in the building. We have included alerts for any known issues in the system, and all visitors are instantly SORI (sex offender registry) checked each time they check in before the badge is printed.

Again, I’ll ask for your patience and that you plan a couple of extra minutes the first time you are coming in as a visitor this year. Please remember that you will need to come with a valid photo ID. To confirm, this is the new process when you are coming into the school, beyond the main entry and office where you previously signed a book and got a visitor badge. If you are dropping off a child, or even coming into the office to drop something off you will not need to sign into the school as a visitor. However, once you are in the system, all subsequent visits will be very quick and easy. Thank you for your cooperation.


Surveillance Cameras:

Over the summer, surveillance cameras were installed on all school campuses except for Pine Grove, as these are being installed in phases with the renovation project. You will notice signs noting this change on main entrances as you return next week. These cameras record video footage only, and not sound. You will notice these cameras and signage noting that we use video surveillance at the main entrances, as cameras are now installed in all high traffic locations around the schools, such as cafeterias, main hallways, and entrances and exit doors. We have programmed cameras to be constantly recording from an hour before school, until an hour after school, and then triggered by motion beyond those times, 24 hours per day. Office staff are also able to view live feeds of these high profile areas as well. As we look to continually improve the safety and security of our schools, I am confident these cameras will improve our ability to monitor any activity that would provide a disruption to learning, or a threat to the safety of our students and staff.


ALICE:

You may have likely heard by now of the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) protocol. While our planning for emergencies is very thorough, we are improving our protocol for an active shooter situation. As I notified you last year, we worked with our police departments to create a unified protocol that we have worked through, but ultimately decided that moving to the formal ALICE model is best as it has become the respected industry standard. We are currently in the process of certifying our own ALICE Certified Trainers along with members of each of the Newbury, Rowley, and Salisbury Police Departments. Once all of our faculty and staff are trained, we will begin to roll out school wide drills, starting cautiously and slowly to ensure our efforts prepare students for all possible scenarios without creating an unnecessarily heightened sense of fear. More information will be provided before even simple drills begin, but I wanted you to be aware of our progress. I anticipate being able to start school wide drills by mid fall.


Homework Guidelines:

The final Homework Guidelines can be found here. As you know from updates last year, these guidelines are the result of extensive work and discussion by a group of students, teachers, parents, and administrators over the course of last year. My sincere appreciation to everyone involved in the process. There was great, and often energetic debate, and in the end I believe these guidelines reflect the general beliefs of those who participated as a member of the group or through public feedback. As such, you can expect that these guidelines are followed for the homework assigned to your child(ren). This includes all aspects of the guidelines as documented, as well as expectations that may not be explicitly stated, but may conflict with the belief statement as included. Consistency in our homework practice was a key element of the discussions that yielded this document. If there are concerns about this document as a whole, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. If there is a specific question or discussion in regards to your child’s experience, please contact your child’s teacher or building principal.


School Year Calendar:

Please find an updated calendar for the school year here. The only change from the calendar approved last spring is that the Committee has formally documented the Jewish Holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah on the school calendar. These will be regular school days, but documented on our calendar for the purpose of confirming that we will refrain from assigning homework, having tests, or other expectations outside the school day for all students on these nights in September.


Results of Attitudes and Behavior “40 Assets” Survey:

Last November, 2017, all students in grades 6 through 12 had the opportunity to voluntarily and anonymously participate in a survey conducted by the Essex County Asset Builder Network (ECAB Network), a partnership of the communities of Amesbury, Georgetown, Newbury, Rowley, Salisbury and Newburyport, committed to using a positive youth development approach to providing supports and opportunities which help youth grow into successful, healthy adults. This survey, developed by the Search Institute to measure these 40 Developmental Assets, has been conducted by the Search Institute for over 25 years nationwide, and they have developed a framework of 40 “building blocks of healthy development” that can help guide adults and youth in creating better communities on behalf of young people.

The survey is a tool for the community to be able to gauge student strengths and needs. Once the data was collected, youth were the first to see the results and some of the young people went on to create a presentation that was given to community members this past spring. Some highlights from the data include that a majority of our students feel supported by their family (83%), have positive peer influences (77%), are motivated to achieve in school (78%), and have a positive view of their future (74%).  The executive summary with results can be found here. Looking at our results overall, and those in our local communities, the results mirror those of our youth nationwide. This survey gave us a global picture of the Assets our youth possess, and those areas that we as a community can focus our energies on to improve their overall success.

This is not a school effort alone. The purpose of the ECAB Network is to work collaboratively with our local communities to build upon those Assets our students have, and to develop the other areas showing a need. We don’t have all the answers at the current time, but we want to continue to grow these supports both in and out of school so our young people have the most opportunities to be successful. Building supports doesn’t just happen in the schools, and this is a chance for us to expand our impact and find new ways to support our youth. If you are interested in learning more or becoming involved, please contact, Tina Los, Regional Project Coordinator for the Essex County Asset Builder Network at 978-992-1671 or tlos@ecabnetwork.org as she will be working with our District Wellness Committee on generating new ways to support our students.

This is a lot of information! If you have questions about anything contained above, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I wish you all a relaxing final few days of summer. Stay cool!

Regards,
Brian

Fun in the Fall 5K & Fun Run

Join the Triton Education Foundation on September 29th for the Fun in the Fall 5K & Fun Run! The race includes a race day tee shirt for pre-registered runners, fully stocked aid stations and after the race enjoy a nice cider donut, apples or apple cider. All proceeds will benefit the students of Triton Regional School District.

Budget

FY19 Budget Update – Final Budget Approved

Good Afternoon,

This will be the last of my messages updating you on this incredibly long budget process this spring! The Rowley Town Meeting passed the budget last night, giving us our 2nd of 3 towns to approve our budget, and therefore making the May 16th budget final. That is obviously good news in that we have a spending plan, and the state will not need to step in to set an interim budget. However, I wanted to make sure that everyone is clear in regards to the changes that this approved budget requires. Unfortunately, we continue on a trend of decreasing services rather than restoring, and this financial challenge looks to continue in the coming years. As we close this very difficult budget year we are already looking to next year and how we might improve the process and overall outcomes.

The School Committee approved budgets three (3) times this year. The first Tentative Budget on February 14th included a roughly $3M increase over the current year, followed by a March 14th Final Budget that decreased that spending by approximately $750K. The March 14th budget reflected an increase over the current year of about $2.25M. It was this budget that went to Town Meetings and the ballot box, and ultimately wasn’t passed by our member towns. On May 16, 2018 the School Committee approved a further amended FY19 Budget that brought total assessments to our member towns down an additional $665K, and a total increase in spending over the current year of $1.79M. It is this budget that was approved last night.

Below is a listing of changes from existing spending this year assumed in this final budget.

  • The cost of doing business, including all changes to personnel contracts, benefits, utilities, contracted services, supplies, and materials, including savings and efficiencies where possible
  • Addition of improvements for student safety, including better access control logging for visitors, and the addition of school site video monitoring at all schools
  • Addition of one (1.0) Special Education Teacher at Pine Grove School
  • Addition of one (1.0) Special Education Teacher at Salisbury Elementary
  • Significant increases to the tuitions for Out of District Special Education placements
  • Reduction of the District Data Specialist (Technology Staff) from 1.0 to 0.5
  • Reduction of the District Payroll Clerk from 1.0 to 0.5
  • Reduction of 1.0 Middle School Foreign Language Teacher
  • Reduction of 2.6 High School Classroom Teachers
  • Reduction of 1.0 High School Reading Specialist
  • Reduction of 1.0 Classroom Teacher at NES
  • Reduction of 14.0 Instructional Assistants
  • Reduction of 2.0 Custodians (1 half time reduced at each of 4 sites)

Certainly, we never want to find ourselves in this situation where we are reducing services and offerings rather than maintaining or increasing them. However, as we reviewed the required reduction in spending and the various ways we could account for the required reductions, we believe these changes will be the least impacting on student learning overall. While there will indeed be impacts felt, I am confident that we will continue to offer a top tier, high quality learning experience for our students. We have busy all spring, and will continue through the summer, to minimize the overall impact of these reductions.

If you have any questions about this process, or the changes it required, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Respectfully,
Brian

Vaping

Support Needed for Bill on Vaping

Many see vaping as a safe alternative to smoking.  After all, you’re not inhaling tobacco smoke, right? But the aerosol, which is often mistaken for water vapor, actually contains fine particles of varying amounts of toxic chemicals which, like cigarettes, have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.

Much like cigarettes before them, big tobacco companies are marketing e-cigarettes and vaping products to our kids.  Not only are they usually sweet tasting, but they are cheap and easy to get.

Now, thanks to the House of Representatives, Bill H.4486 is with the Senate, to be voted on soon.  This bill essentially amends the current law, which contains restrictions and regulations for tobacco products, to include vaping pens, e-cigarettes and all related paraphernalia.  For the safety of our children, it is critical that this bill passes.

We urge parents and community members to contact their legislators to encourage their support of the bill.  In the Triton District, those legislators are:

Representative Bradford Hill: Brad.Hill@mahouse.gov; 617.722.2100
Representative James Kelcourse: James.Kelcourse@mahouse.gov; 617.722.2130
Representative Leonard Mirra: Leonard.Mirra@mahouse.gov; 617.722.2488
Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives: Kathlreen.OConnorIvevs@masenate.gov; 617.722.1604
Senator Bruce Tarr: Bruce.Tarr@masenate.gov; 617.722.1600