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Massachusetts State Police make special visit to Mattapoisett’s Old Rochester Regional High School

“On Thursday, September 30, 2021 Trooper Matthew Holden from the Troop D Community Action Team, Troop D Community Liaison Trooper Jessie Barbosa and Troop H Community Liaison Trooper Aaron Richardson, met at Old Rochester Regional High School in Mattapoisett to spend the afternoon with the Life Skills classroom.

Trooper Barbosa coordinated with the State Police Air Wing, Mattapoisett PD, and the comfort dog sections from both Middlesex DA’s office’s and Babson College. This was a special day for the students of the Life Skills classrooms of both the high school and middle school levels.

Troopers handed out MSP t-shirts, medals and campaign covers to the students, and fielded numerous questions that the students had prepared. The highlight of the afternoon was a visit from Air 3 and the flight crew, Trooper’s Malm and Dinjian.”

All photos by the Massachusetts State Police:




UMass Law student receives scholarship from Hispanic New Bedford Police Officers

A UMass Law student has received a scholarship from the “Hispanic Police Officers of New Bedford” organization.

Judith Patricia Cruz Caballero, JD candidate, 22, a native of Bolivia, was named the second recipient to have ever received the 5-year scholarship which is presented to Hispanic UMass Law students who are also residents of Bristol County and have demonstrated a financial need. Nineteen New Bedford police officers donated.

“Being in law enforcement and members of the Hispanic community, we know firsthand the value of having strong legal representation in the criminal justice system,” said Sgt.

Samuel Ortega of the New Bedford Police Department who also serves as the police department’s outreach coordinator.

Caballero plans to become an attorney focusing on either criminal or immigration law following graduation. She is currently the vice president for UMass Law’s “Latinx American Law Student Association.” In addition, she continues to serve the community and develop her legal skills as an intern for the MA Department of Children and Families in Boston.

Caballero is also an intake member for the “Telephone to Access Justice Center for the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid”, which is the second-largest legal aid provider in the country, and the largest provider in Texas. Of her work for these organizations, Caballero stated that it has allowed her to help community members who have a difficult time obtaining access to justice.

“As an intake worker, I help low-income individuals by guiding them through the process of obtaining legal aid through TRLA or by providing other resources that can help them obtain legal guidance,” she said.

“The scholarship is important to me because of the current economic situation of my family due to Covid,” added Cruz Caballero. “As a Latina law student, it’s motivational to know that other Hispanics are committed to protecting our community and enforcing our laws. The more we support diversity in our institutions, the better off our society will be in the future.”

In addition to supporting law students financially, the New Bedford Police Department offers mentoring and networking opportunities to scholarship recipients throughout the many agencies that comprise the criminal justice system.

“I am grateful to the officers for their service to our community and contributions to my education. I hope that, moving forward, I will make them proud,” Cruz Caballero added.

For further information on the “Hispanic Police Officers of New Bedford” organization, please contact; Samuel.ortega@newbedfordpd.com.

Credit: Debra Hazian for original story appearing on the UMass Law website: https://www.umassd.edu/law/features/hispanic-police-officers-of-new-bedford-scholarship.html.


UMass Law photo.




Massachusetts Schools Report 1,230 COVID-19 Cases Over Three Days

Katie Lannan
State House News Service

School districts reported more than 1,200 student cases of COVID-19 and 190 cases among staff members this week, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said in its first case report of the new school year. The department said the 1,230 student cases represent 0.13 percent of the estimated 920,000 students enrolled in K-12 schools. The 190 cases among around 140,000 staff members work out to a similar percentage, 0.14 percent.

After a 2019-2020 school year marked by periods of remote instruction, districts across Massachusetts are now back to full-time in-person learning. Teachers and students age 12 and up are able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but there’s still no clear timeline on when younger kids will be eligible for vaccines. Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley has mandated universal mask-wearing in schools until at least Oct. 1. Springfield reported the most student cases, with 70, followed by Wachusett’s 40. Of the 400 districts, 160 reported no COVID-19 cases in students. Boston, Worcester and Springfield logged the highest number of staff cases, with eight each.

This week’s total 1,420 school cases represent cases reported to DESE from Monday through Wednesday this week, and the department said future reports will cover a weekly time frame of Thursday through Wednesday.

In its final report from last school year, the department tallied 53 student cases and five staff cases the week of June 10 through June 16. The department said it expects to report pooled testing results from schools “in the coming weeks,” and that more than 2,200 public and private Massachusetts schools, more than twice last year’s number, are participating in the state’s COVID-19 testing programs, “either rapid testing, pooled testing, test and stay, or a combination of all three.”




New Bedford Public Schools to offer in-school COVID testing

New Bedford Public Schools is implementing in-school symptomatic testing for COVID-19 on a voluntary basis for students and staff. In a letter sent September 15 to NBPS parents and guardians, Wanda Nunes, NBPS Supervisor of School Nurses, detailed the testing option, which requires completion of a parental consent form. Describing the program as “an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Ms. Nunes noted the ease of the new rapid antigen test. “It is a quick, nasal swab collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests of the past, it is not uncomfortable and easy for students to do themselves.”

Tests will be administered conditionally under two categories: “Test and Stay” and “Symptomatic Testing.”

Test and Stay: Students and staff who are deemed close contacts due to exposure to a COVID positive individual while in school will have the opportunity to be tested using a rapid antigen test and remain in school with a negative result. The close contact will be tested for the next 5 to 7 days to ensure they remain negative. During this time, students will come to school via their normal mode of transportation (bus, walk, drop-off, drive, etc.). A parent will not need to remain at the school until the test result; they will be called to pick up their child in the event of a positive result.

Symptomatic Testing: Students and staff who present with mild COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, will have the opportunity to be tested using a rapid antigen test and remain in school with a negative result.

Karen Treadup, NBPS Deputy Superintendent stated, “This in-school testing option will help us to decrease the amount of lost learning time by students due to quarantining. This school year, the state has directed a full return to in-person learning, so it is critical to do everything possible to enable students to be at school. This program will greatly reduce the need to quarantine and miss school.”

Parental consent forms are online at www.newbedfordschools.org and available in different languages.

If a student does not have consent, they cannot be tested and would be required to follow the DESE/DPH COVID protocols for symptomatic individuals.

Symptomatic Testing is used when a student shows symptoms of COVID-19 during school. Students should not come to school if they feel sick while at home.

Ms. Nunes added “Although vaccinated students are much less likely to spread or contract the virus, we must create an inclusive environment for vaccinated and unvaccinated students and encourage all students to participate in this program.”




Brockton School Teacher Surprised with Random Act of Kindness

Denise Gurley, a 4th Grade teacher at Gilmore Elementary School in Brockton posted about a recent experience at a Dollar Tree in a local community group. After seeing her post we reached out and asked her if it was OK to share it with our readers. This is what she posted and she also sent along some additional information:

“Thursday night, I went to the Dollar Tree around the corner from our house on Winthrop street to restock my prize box for my classroom. I frequent this Dollar Tree and people are always able to tell that I’m a teacher by my purchases lol, and most of the cashiers know me on a first name basis!

“When I got the register, I started putting the 75+ items I had gotten for prizes onto the conveyor belt, and the cashier told me that earlier in the day there was a customer in the store talking about me. I was confused, and she said that the woman described me as the “young brunette teacher always buying stuff for her students”. I giggled and didn’t think much of it. Then the cashier said that the woman purchased a $25 gift card and asked the cashier to hold it for me for the next time I came in.”

“I WAS FLOORED! I thought she was joking! The two ladies behind me in line, who I had apologized to multiple times for having so many items and that they got stuck behind me, were so kind and sweet in saying how much I deserved the gift card! Love the decent people out there that keep my belief strong that the world isn’t all bad. 💗 Thank you SO much to that generous customer, you are incredible. 🤗💗”
– – – – –
In our follow up conversation Denise made the following statement, which we are including in full.

“Let me preface that my school/district does provide teachers with supplies. Buying things for my kids is something I enjoy because it makes them happy and feel special. So buying prizes for our prize box is something I really love to do because they work hard to earn incentives and their hard work makes my job easier and enjoyable! This is my 11th year teaching, and I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on my classroom and my students, but I choose to because it makes them happy and makes me happy. My biggest addiction is buying books lol I have over 2,000 books in my classroom library that I’ve built over the last ten years haha. But I don’t regret a single cent spent!” “I am so incredibly grateful for the kindness shown to me by a complete stranger, it really gives me hope.”
– – – – –
We’ll simply say this; great job Denise, thank you for all that you do, and we know lots of other dedicated teachers who are following in your footsteps! Here is a photo of Mrs. Gurley’s classroom.




HELP WANTED: PACE, Inc. is hiring for a Head Start Lead Teacher, Head Start Teacher, and Head Start Children’s Services Manager

PACE Head Start and Early Head Start provides family-centered child development programming for over 264 income-eligible families with children from birth to age 5 living in the Greater New Bedford area.

The program is at no cost to families who qualify. Part and full-day center-based services are available Monday through Friday part-year and year-round.

MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of PACE Head Start is to provide a family-centered child development program for eligible children in the Greater New Bedford area. Families are empowered through a range of services which include:

• an early education experience that builds upon a child’s strengths and engages parents as partners
• child care options that address the diverse needs of families
• meaningful parent involvement opportunities
• advocacy to overcome obstacles and improve quality of life
• collaborations with community agencies

Services are provided in an environment that promotes respect, fosters inclusion, and celebrates diversity among children, families, and staff.

__________________________________________________________________________

LEAD TEACHER

SALARY:  $19.84 – $22.64 per hour, 30 – 40 hours per week, 39 – 52 weeks per year

BA degree in Early Childhood Education or related field, EEC Lead Teacher qualified for pre-school aged children and knowledgeable of EEC regulations. Driver’s license required. Must be able to pass a background record check.
Primary responsibility for supervising the teacher, planning and managing the daily activities of the classroom, communicating cooperatively with parents, teaching staff, and component managers concerning program operations and services to children and families.

Must be able to physically to bend, stoop, lift, and carry items weighing up to approximately 75 lbs. Must also have the ability to climb stairs, stand and walk continuously throughout the work day. Must meet state and federal mandates pertaining to credentials and professional development.

Low cost Health Insurance, Dental, Vision Plan and no cost Life Insurance are available. Excellent compensation for vacation time, personal time, sick time and paid holidays.

P.A.C.E. is an AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Deadline to apply:  5:00 p.m., Thursday, September 9, 2021

_________________________________________________________________________

TEACHER

SALARY:  $13.66 – $14.96 per hr., 30 – 40 hrs. per week, 39 – 52 wks. per yr.

CDA credential or AA degree preferred in Early Childhood Education or related field, EEC Teacher qualified for pre-school aged children, and knowledgeable of EEC regulations. Driver’s license required. Must be able to pass a background record check.
The Teacher will have secondary responsibility for planning and managing the daily activities of the classroom, communicate cooperatively with parents, teaching staff, and managers concerning program operations and the needs of individual children and families.

Must be physically able to bend, stoop, lift, and carry items weighing up to approximately 75 lbs. Must also have the ability to climb stairs, stand and walk continuously throughout the work day. Must meet state and federal mandates pertaining to credentials and professional development.

Low cost Health Insurance, Dental, Vision Plan, and no cost Life Insurance are available. Excellent compensation for vacation time, personal time, sick time, and paid holidays.

P.A.C.E. is an AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Deadline to apply:  5:00 p.m., Thursday, September 9, 2021

_________________________________________________________________________

CHILDREN’S SERVICES MANAGER

SALARY: $27.53 – $31.38 per hour, 35 – 40 hours per week, depending on funding, 48 – 52 weeks per year

Candidate must meet qualifications for Director I and II as stated in EEC guidelines. BS or BA in Early Childhood Education or related field required. Must be physically able to safely supervise pre-school children, including but not limited to: lifting a child up to 40 lbs., pushing/pulling up to 75 lbs., climbing stairs and participating in field trips and neighborhood walks. Minimum of three (3) years’ experience in a pre-school program and one (1) year of supervisory experience required. Must be able to pass a background record check.

The responsibilities for this position are all-encompassing, and vary dependent upon deadlines and priorities. Oversight of the Education Department, working in conjunction with the Director and the Education Coordinator from the other site, guide priorities. The Children’s Services Manager will also collaborate regularly with other managers, as well as, network with other professionals in the community. Professionalism, supervisory skills, flexibility, and strong writing skills are necessary to succeed in this position. This role includes the responsibility of managing a site and ensuring daily operations run effectively within that location. Occasional travel for workshops and meetings, availability for evening meetings.

Low cost Health Insurance, Dental, Vision Plan and no cost Life Insurance are available. Excellent compensation for vacation time, personal time, sick time and paid holidays.

P.A.C.E. is an AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Deadline to apply:  5:00 p.m., Friday, September 17, 2021 

_________________________________________________________________________

Must e-mail a cover letter with your mailing address, title of position, and resume/application to: hrjobapplications@paceinfo.org or mail the same information to:

P.A.C.E., Inc.
P.O. Box 5-626
New Bedford, MA 02742
Attn: Director of Human Resources




New Bedford Public Schools deploy new tech tools districtwide

Comprehensive upgrades represent over $1.2 million in learning support technology.

New Bedford Public Schools students will soon be returning to classes and when they arrive, an array of new technology will be waiting to assist them. Thanks to a districtwide upgrade of devices and networks, representing an investment of over $1.2 million, students and teachers will be newly equipped to support learning and teaching while also providing improved student support systems.

Robert P. Tetreault, NBPS Chief Technology Officer notes this latest I.T. upgrade is comprehensive in scope. “Our entire Technology Services team will be installing, calibrating and loading applications onto this brand-new equipment, which includes 1,200 Chromebooks and 900 laptops. In addition, 1,500 broadband hotspots are being provided for students to have Internet access on an as-needed basis through the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) that we applied for to cover a large portion of these costs.”

In thanking the Technology Services staff, Superintendent Thomas Anderson stated, “Providing all students with the most effective tools available to help improve learning is a NBPS top priority – that is, to increase student achievement in all areas. These I.T. improvements will enhance student support services and burnish communication contacts with their teachers. This is a component of equity in education; every student must have what they need to grow academically and to thrive socially and emotionally.”

Funding, in part, comes from the ECF, which is made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries support student learning, as well as through a combination of local and state funds.

Andrew O’Leary, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations, notes, “New Bedford Public Schools has been able to maintain a level of hardware and network I.T. infrastructure investment of over $2 million per year. Providing one to one technology for all students and staff is no longer a future goal, it is now the default expectation. This is a huge undertaking that NBPS Technology Services is implementing. It is far more than just device distribution; it requires the network infrastructure, and assuring reliable, safe, well-maintained platforms for learning and communication.”

The new 1,200 Lenovo 300E and 500E Chromebooks will augment the district’s existing inventory of 2,300 new units being distributed to Ashley, Brooks, Congdon, Pacheco, Lincoln, and Rodman Schools, of which were funded through ESSER, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, part of the national CARES Act of 2020.

“We are leveraging all available funding sources to replace old devices with brand-new units along when two dozen spare units per school. That way, no student will experience a delay if their unit malfunctions or breakage occurs; we’ll have them back up and running,” said Tetreault. Selected for ease of access and optimal performance, each unit has a “touchscreen so even a small child can use it. Similar to an iPad, students can touch the screen with their finger or use a small stylus pen that comes attached to each one,” he added.

Over the summer, district-issued laptops for staff were serviced and upgraded with the latest operating systems and security settings.

At the three middle schools (Keith, Normandin and Roosevelt) I.T. has installed 65-inch TouchView interactive flat panels, representing an investment of approximately $250,000 per school and made possible by separate funding. Teachers will use the state-of-the-art LCD Electronic Whiteboards in their classrooms and will be receiving I.T. coordinated training to maximize the full capability of the new teaching technology.

Tetreault concluded, “At New Bedford High School, as part of our process of sustainability of technology, our incoming freshmen are getting all new laptops and those units will be their assigned laptops for the duration of their high school years.




Massachusett’s Gov Baker announces federal grant for apprenticeships, promotes job-training investments

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a $4 million federal grant from the US Department of Labor to expand Massachusetts’ apprenticeship programs, with a focus on connecting women, people of color, and individuals with disabilities with these training and employment opportunities. The Administration also highlighted its $240 million proposal to provide additional funding to apprenticeships and other job-training programs as part of its $2.9 billion plan to invest a portion of Massachusetts’ federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act into urgent priorities. With federal pandemic-era enhanced unemployment benefits slated to expire for over 300,000 workers the first week of September, the Administration urged action on these workforce investments and also highlighted an upcoming free, statewide virtual Job Fair that will be held August 16-20 at mass.gov/JobFair.

Governor Charlie Baker and Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta made the announcements at a visit to Cengage that highlighted the company’s successful apprenticeship programs, run in partnership with Apprenti. The new federal grant awarded to Massachusetts will connect an additional 500 individuals to employment through apprenticeship opportunities over the next 4 years, with a focus on high-demand fields like health care, clean energy, IT, and advanced manufacturing. These fields were also identified in the Administration’s recently-published Future of Work Report as areas of growth for Massachusetts over the next decade, with upwards of 300,000-400,000 workers potentially needing to transition to different occupations or occupational categories. These economic changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the importance of the Administration’s $240 million plan to scale up proven job-training programs like apprenticeships.

“Our Administration has long seen the value of apprenticeships, launching a program several years ago to expand this model in the technology space, and this new federal grant is an affirmation of Massachusetts’ approach to promoting access to these training and employment opportunities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through our plan to invest $240 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act into apprenticeships and other proven job-training programs, we’re proposing to do even more to connect workers with high-demand fields and good-paying jobs.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic changed the Commonwealth’s economic landscape, and our recently-published Future of Work Report concluded that upwards of 300,000 to 400,000 workers may need to transition to new occupations or occupational categories over the next decade, and apprenticeships are one of the tools we can use to facilitate those transitions,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “That’s why we’re proposing $240 million to scale up these proven job-training models using funds from the American Rescue Plan, which would also enable us to connect unemployed workers with job opportunities with federal pandemic-era unemployment benefits expiring in September.”

“The $4 million grant from the US Department of Labor will enable partners like Apprenti and Cengage to access additional training funds for apprenticeship programs in the tech sector,” said Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “Increased training opportunities for high-demand jobs like software developers, Cybersecurity analysts, and IT Business Analysts are essential to provide workers with transformational opportunities in the tech industry. The Administration’s proposal of a $240 million workforce investment will help 52,000 unemployed and underemployed workers through our existing programs, which will provide real and lasting consequences in creating a more equitable and resilient economy.”

The new federal grant from the US Department of Labor will help Massachusetts expand Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities for occupations in-demand by employers in health care, hospitality, education, clean energy, IT and advanced manufacturing. It will especially target populations that the pandemic has hit the hardest like women, working moms, people of color, youth, and individuals with a disability. With $4 million over 4 years, this grant will connect 500 individuals to employment through apprenticeship opportunities. The Administration has prioritized expanding apprenticeships for the past several years, launching a partnership with Apprenti in 2018 to expand this model in the technology sector.

With federal enhanced unemployment benefits set to expire the week of September 4, the Administration is also immediately working to connect unemployed workers with open job opportunities. The Administration’s statewide virtual Job Fair is scheduled for August 16-20, and the Commonwealth recently launched a promotional campaign to encourage people to attend the job fair. The campaign is running on TV and digital platforms, and the Department of Unemployment Assistance is also reaching out to current claimants via email.

The job fair is free for both employers and job-seekers, and the Commonwealth is partnering with employer organizations including AIM, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, the Providers’ Council, and a number of regional employer associations. Learn more about the Job Fair at mass.gov/JobFair.




Dartmouth’s Bishop Stang appoints new assistant principal of academics

Bishop Stang High School and President/Principal Peter Shaughnessy are excited to announce that, after a thorough search process lead by school leadership and the Catholic Schools Office, Mr. Dan Dias has been appointed as the Assistant Principal of Academics.

Upon his appointment, Mr. Dias noted, “I am both humbled and honored to accept the position of Assistant Principal of Academics at Bishop Stang High School. When I arrived at Bishop Stang in August of 2013, I did not realize it at the time, but my life would be forever changed. I have had the privilege of working alongside an incredibly talented and dedicated faculty and staff, while serving my God in my ministry to many remarkable students and families. I look forward to this new challenge with eagerness and joy as I hope to more broadly impact students’ Bishop Stang experience.”

Regarding the appointment of Mr. Dias, President/Principal, Peter Shaughnessy, commented, “As many within our school community know well, Mr. Dias has emerged as a true leader among our faculty and staff. He is very well respected among students, parents and colleagues and has done phenomenal work as a school counselor. As Director of Student Services, Mr. Dias established the dual enrollment College Gateway Program and led efforts in the areas of cultural competency and mental health wellness. I look forward to working with Mr. Dias in this key leadership role to advance the mission of Bishop Stang High School.”

Mr. Dias has been a school counselor at Bishop Stang since 2013 and Director of Student Services since 2018. He has also served the school as a classroom teacher and the head freshman football coach. Mr. Dias, who hails from Marion and attended Tabor Academy, earned his bachelor degree in Sociology from Bates College and his master degree in Education Psychology from Springfield College. Mr. Dias has certifications in School Counseling, School Adjustment Counseling and possesses a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Educational Leadership. He and his wife, Nicole, live in Marion with their son, Luke.




New Bedford’s “Our Sisters’ School” shines in international STEM competition

A team of student inventors from Our Sisters’ School (OSS) was chosen as a “Grand School Winner” (one of three) and winner of the “Inventor Spirit Award” in the 2021 Great Passport to STEM Challenge, organized by Greenlight for Girls and the U.S. Embassy in Belgium.

The Challenge is a cross-cultural program that encourages girls from different backgrounds in the U.S. and Belgium to use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to solve an innovative design challenge. The OSS team worked for several months to create A.S.A.P., a robot that helps humans on the autism spectrum and ultimately creates a more equitable and inclusive learning environment. The team of 11 girls, in grades six and seven, designed the robot to include noise cancelling headphones, a friendly face that changes in response to the user, a heart monitor that alerts an educator that the user needs an intervention, and many other thoughtfully designed features. The OSS team also created a video that was viewed by the competition’s international judges and participants.

In response to being chosen as a winning team, OSS sixth-grader, Attyanna, said, “It was a big surprise because there were other schools and they also had really good ideas.” The judges praised the OSS team’s efforts, noting, “You clearly identified a problem and a gap in school systems and went about trying to fill that gap. This was done with ingenuity.”

The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program at OSS has been growing steadily in recent years and is introducing students to skills and opportunities on par with those gained in college and graduate school. The curriculum is integrated with the School’s other learning programs and encourages connection with vital community partners and supporters, including UMass Dartmouth and Tech Teachers Travel. OSS, which serves economically disadvantaged girls in grades five through eight from Greater New Bedford, is using STEAM to inspire creativity, confidence, and interdisciplinary learning. You can learn more about the School at https://www.oursistersschool.org/. OSS is currently accepting applications for fifth-graders for the fall.


Our Sister’s School photo.

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