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Friday Notes

5/22/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

Please take the time to read this week’s “Friday Notes” for some important information as we close out the 2019/20 school year.

Distance Learning & School Closure Survey:

Bennington Public Schools, in collaboration with Educational Service Unit #3, is gathering feedback from students, their families, and staff members regarding the successes and challenges of distance learning due to the COVID-19 school closures. We request that you take this approximately 10-minute survey to help us understand your needs and concerns so we can best serve you in the fall and beyond. Parents should provide a response, then students in grades 4-12 are also encouraged to complete the survey. Thank you in advance for your participation! Survey will close at the end of the day on May 26, 2020. Bennington Survey Link: https://hanover-research.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dmMlJm74wB7fcm9?District=Bennington

Summer Learning Opportunities:

The Google Classrooms used during the distance learning will be open until the end of June if your students would like to continue to complete some of the activities they skipped. Assignments should not be turned in as the classrooms will not be monitored and assignments will not be graded.

Symbaloo is a website to organize links to other websites. The Middle School and High School teachers have built a Symbaloo site filled with links to learning opportunities. Check the school website for the link to find a variety of learning opportunities. A little practice over the summer in any subject area can go a long way to reducing learning atrophy.

Bennington Public Schools has provided a Summer Bridge to Learning program bag to each student in grades K-8. Bennington’s teachers have designed fun learning activities focused on Nebraska and Bennington learning standards for students. These summer activities will help to keep students learning throughout the summer, to bridge students from one grade to the next, and to keep learning skills sharp. The kits contain a variety of materials including word cards, math cards, fiction and non-fiction books, and about 30 activities. These kits were distributed when you picked up student materials the week of May 18th.

Summer School:

We will be offering summer school through online credit recovery for high school students who need to make up a course. Counselors and administration from the high school will contact students and families of students who need to retake a course.

We are offering a blended model of summer school for elementary students. This will provide two days of in-person classes alternating with 2 days of live online instruction each week. We are offering this opportunity to students who had enrolled for summer school earlier in March. We will alternate grades on different days to keep our numbers small enough to safely meet CDC guidelines. Eligible families were contacted by the Summer School Director earlier this week. Classes begin June 1st, 2020.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

School Calendar 2020 - 2021:

By now, you may have read many different scenarios to the start of the school year in August of 2020. First and foremost, Bennington Public Schools' plan is to start the school year with students coming to our facilities on Wednesday, August 12th. Obviously, conditions must be different than the current environment and we will need permission from government and health officials to allow students to return to our facilities. The district understands many in the health profession are working extremely hard to create a safe environment so we can lessen current restrictions. We applaud their efforts and thank them for looking out for everyone's welfare. We will work with many officials over the course of the next few months to create a safe return to school plan. We will provide appropriate guidance in a timely manner to any changes in our educational plans if conditions do not allow us to return to school in a normal fashion.

District Facility Restriction:

By now you have heard of some lessening of restrictions by the State of Nebraska. Many of the restrictions are still in place until the end of May. We are working with BAL officials to allow the use of our outside facilities for youth baseball and softball starting on June 1st. Please use good social distancing practices and refrain from using school facilities until June 1st.

High school athletes and families will be contacted by coaches and school administrators as plans for strength and conditioning workouts and sport specific workouts will begin on June 1st. We are working with the NSAA and health officials to follow all guidelines to slowly begin athletic activities in a healthy and safe environment for our coaches and athletes.

Community Food Assistance Program:

The Bennington Food Pantry has moved to St. John's Church located at 322 N Molley Street in Bennington. All Bennington residents are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Bennington Community Food Assistance program. All you need to do is fill out the application form found on the Bennington Chamber of Commerce website: https://www.benningtoncoc.org/community. This is a confidential process and we are here to help you ease the burden in this challenging time.

In Summary:

We made it! Yes, we made progress; although slow at times, but we did make progress. Lessons learned over the last two months will be used to better ourselves in the future. As for the future, we will take time this summer to plan for many different scenarios this fall. Although we do not know what August will be like in terms of COVID-19 and restrictions, we do know we have many professionals ready and willing to provide an education to help students grow and be successful. We will keep you informed as new developments happen and we plan for your students next school year.

Thank you for working with us these past few months to help move students forward.

The next “Friday Notes” will be sent on June 5th.

Take Care!

 

 

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

Please take the time to read this week’s “Friday Notes” for some important information as we close out the 2019/20 school year.

Distance Learning & School Closure Survey:

Bennington Public Schools, in collaboration with Educational Service Unit #3, is gathering feedback from students, their families, and staff members regarding the successes and challenges of distance learning due to the COVID-19 school closures. We request that you take this approximately 10-minute survey to help us understand your needs and concerns so we can best serve you in the fall and beyond. Parents should provide a response, then students in grades 4-12 are also encouraged to complete the survey. Thank you in advance for your participation! Survey will close at the end of the day on May 26, 2020. Bennington Survey Link: https://hanover-research.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dmMlJm74wB7fcm9?District=Bennington

Summer Learning Opportunities:

The Google Classrooms used during the distance learning will be open until the end of June if your students would like to continue to complete some of the activities they skipped. Assignments should not be turned in as the classrooms will not be monitored and assignments will not be graded.

Symbaloo is a website to organize links to other websites. The Middle School and High School teachers have built a Symbaloo site filled with links to learning opportunities. Check the school website for the link to find a variety of learning opportunities. A little practice over the summer in any subject area can go a long way to reducing learning atrophy.

Bennington Public Schools has provided a Summer Bridge to Learning program bag to each student in grades K-8. Bennington’s teachers have designed fun learning activities focused on Nebraska and Bennington learning standards for students. These summer activities will help to keep students learning throughout the summer, to bridge students from one grade to the next, and to keep learning skills sharp. The kits contain a variety of materials including word cards, math cards, fiction and non-fiction books, and about 30 activities. These kits were distributed when you picked up student materials the week of May 18th.

Summer School:

We will be offering summer school through online credit recovery for high school students who need to make up a course. Counselors and administration from the high school will contact students and families of students who need to retake a course.

We are offering a blended model of summer school for elementary students. This will provide two days of in-person classes alternating with 2 days of live online instruction each week. We are offering this opportunity to students who had enrolled for summer school earlier in March. We will alternate grades on different days to keep our numbers small enough to safely meet CDC guidelines. Eligible families were contacted by the Summer School Director earlier this week. Classes begin June 1st, 2020.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

School Calendar 2020 - 2021:

By now, you may have read many different scenarios to the start of the school year in August of 2020. First and foremost, Bennington Public Schools' plan is to start the school year with students coming to our facilities on Wednesday, August 12th. Obviously, conditions must be different than the current environment and we will need permission from government and health officials to allow students to return to our facilities. The district understands many in the health profession are working extremely hard to create a safe environment so we can lessen current restrictions. We applaud their efforts and thank them for looking out for everyone's welfare. We will work with many officials over the course of the next few months to create a safe return to school plan. We will provide appropriate guidance in a timely manner to any changes in our educational plans if conditions do not allow us to return to school in a normal fashion.

District Facility Restriction:

By now you have heard of some lessening of restrictions by the State of Nebraska. Many of the restrictions are still in place until the end of May. We are working with BAL officials to allow the use of our outside facilities for youth baseball and softball starting on June 1st. Please use good social distancing practices and refrain from using school facilities until June 1st.

High school athletes and families will be contacted by coaches and school administrators as plans for strength and conditioning workouts and sport specific workouts will begin on June 1st. We are working with the NSAA and health officials to follow all guidelines to slowly begin athletic activities in a healthy and safe environment for our coaches and athletes.

Community Food Assistance Program:

The Bennington Food Pantry has moved to St. John's Church located at 322 N Molley Street in Bennington. All Bennington residents are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Bennington Community Food Assistance program. All you need to do is fill out the application form found on the Bennington Chamber of Commerce website: https://www.benningtoncoc.org/community. This is a confidential process and we are here to help you ease the burden in this challenging time.

In Summary:

We made it! Yes, we made progress; although slow at times, but we did make progress. Lessons learned over the last two months will be used to better ourselves in the future. As for the future, we will take time this summer to plan for many different scenarios this fall. Although we do not know what August will be like in terms of COVID-19 and restrictions, we do know we have many professionals ready and willing to provide an education to help students grow and be successful. We will keep you informed as new developments happen and we plan for your students next school year.

Thank you for working with us these past few months to help move students forward.

The next “Friday Notes” will be sent on June 5th.

Take Care!

5/15/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

Please take the time to read this week’s “Friday Notes” for some important information as we close out the 2019/20 school year.

Distance Learning & School Closure Survey:

Bennington Public Schools, in collaboration with Educational Service Unit #3, is gathering feedback from students, their families, and staff members regarding the successes and challenges of distance learning due to the COVID-19 school closures. We request that you take this approximately 10-minute survey to help us understand your needs and concerns so we can best serve you in the fall and beyond. Parents should provide a response, then students in grades 4-12 are also encouraged to complete the survey. Thank you in advance for your participation!

Bennington Survey Link: https://hanover-research.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dmMlJm74wB7fcm9?District=Bennington

Instruction:

The Board of Education and administration have set the last day of instruction for Friday, May 15, 2020. Yes, today is the last day of instruction and learning for many. We want to remind students and families that the last week on the school calendar, May 18th through 22nd, will be used by teachers to assist identified students to complete missing assignments or to receive additional instruction if students need to retake an assessment to successfully complete the year. Teachers, counselors and administrators have been contacting families of students who need support and encouragement to complete school work in a timely manner to ensure children are prepared for the transition into next year. We strongly encourage all students and families to work with school officials to finish out the school year on a positive note.

We will also use the week of May 18th through the 22nd as a time to collect and disseminate school supplies and personal items. Please check messages from building principals for details about picking up and dropping off school materials.

The Google Classrooms will be open until the end of June if your students would like to continue to complete some of the activities they skipped. Assignments should not be turned in as the classrooms will not be monitored and assignments will not be graded.

Summer Bridge Work:

Bennington Public Schools will be providing a Summer Bridge to Learning program to each student in grades K-8. Bennington’s teachers have designed fun learning activities focused on Nebraska and Bennington learning standards for students. These summer activities will help to keep students learning throughout the summer, to bridge students from one grade to the next, and to keep learning skills from atrophy. The kits will contain a variety of materials including word cards, math cards, fiction and non-fiction books, and about 30 activities. These kits will be ready for distribution when you pick up student materials the week of May 18th.

Summer School:

We will be offering summer school through online credit recovery for high school students who need to make up a course. Counselors and administration from the high school will contact students and families of students who need to retake a course.

We are offering a blended model of summer school for elementary students. This will provide two days of in-person classes alternating with 2 days of live online instruction each week. We are offering this opportunity to students who had enrolled for summer school earlier in March. We will alternate grades on different days to keep our numbers small enough to safely meet CDC guidelines. Eligible families were contacted by the Summer School Director earlier this week.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

School Calendar 2020 - 2021:

By now, you may have read many different scenarios to the start of the school year in August of 2020. First and foremost, Bennington Public Schools' plan is to start the school year with students coming to our facilities on Wednesday, August 12th. Obviously, conditions must be different than the current environment and we will need permission from government and health officials to allow students to return to our facilities. The district understands many in the health profession are working extremely hard to create a safe environment so we can lessen current restrictions. We applaud their efforts and thank them for looking out for everyone's welfare. We will work with many officials over the course of the next few months to create a safe return to school plan. We will provide appropriate guidance in a timely manner to any changes in our educational plans if conditions do not allow us to return to school in a normal fashion. 

District Facility Restriction:

All Bennington Public Schools’ buildings and campuses are closed to public use. This means no gathering of any size is allowed on any school facility until further notice. Please do not use playgrounds or fields for recreational usage as this has been deemed unhealthy at this time by government and health officials. We are working with BAL officials to allow the use of our outside facilities for youth baseball and softball starting on June 1st.

Community Food Assistance Program:

The Bennington Food Pantry will be moving to St. John's Church next week due to the reconstruction of 156th and Bennington Road. All Bennington residents are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Bennington Community Food Assistance program. All you need to do is fill out the application form found on the Bennington Chamber of Commerce website: https://www.benningtoncoc.org/community. This is a confidential process and we are here to help you ease the burden in this challenging time.

In Appreciation:

The last week of school is traditionally packed with both fun moments and very touching memories for students, teachers, and administrators. We have survived this new environment over the past eight weeks and are missing those celebrations and farewells. We are very proud of students and their families who have done their best during this time and the teachers, counselors, administrators, and other staff who have instructed and supported them through this new and different learning environment. We want to let you know how much we value and appreciate the families that make up our school district and the staff members who serve them. We do not have answers to many of the questions out there about what comes next, but know that we are dedicated to providing an education to help students grow and be successful. We will keep you informed as new developments happen and we plan for your students’ next school year. 

Thank you for choosing to be part of the Bennington Public Schools.

Take Care!

5/8/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

We would like to take this opportunity to pass along some important reminders about the last two weeks of school in this week’s “Friday Notes”.

Instruction:

The Board of Education and administration have set the last day of instruction for Friday, May 15, 2020. We want to remind students and families that the last week on the school calendar, May 18th through 22nd, will be used by teachers to assist identified students to complete missing assignments or to receive additional instruction if students need to retake an assessment to successfully complete the year. We will also use the week of May 18th through the 22nd as a time to collect and disseminate school supplies and personal items.

We want to stress to all students and families that academic achievement is and has always been important to our community. The district has communicated out to students and families our grading policy related to distance learning. Teachers, counselors, and administrators have been contacting families of students who need support and encouragement to complete schoolwork in a timely manner to ensure children are prepared for the transition into next year. We strongly encourage all students and families to work with school officials to finish out the school year on a positive note.

Summer Bridge and Summer School:

Bennington Public Schools will be providing a Summer Bridge to Learning program to each student in grades K-8. Bennington’s teachers have designed fun learning activities focused on Nebraska and Bennington learning standards for students. These summer activities will help to keep students learning throughout the summer, to bridge students from one grade to the next, and to keep learning skills from atrophy. The kits will contain a variety of materials including word cards, math cards, fiction and non-fiction books, and about 30 activities. These kits will be ready for distribution when you pick up your student materials the week of May 18th.

We will be offering summer school through online credit recovery for high school students who need to make up a course. We are investigating the possibility of offering in-person summer school for elementary students. We may not be able to provide for as many students as originally planned in order to safely meet CDC guidelines, but we will be reaching out to families who had accepted summer school invitations earlier this semester. We will provide more information as plans are developed.

Meals for Students:

We continue to serve meals to all BPS students using the current schedule that is in place at Bennington and Heritage Elementary schools through the last day of remote/distance learning for students on May 15th. A family may contact the District Office to inquire about applications for Free and/or Reduced lunch meal participation if they have recently lost income or employment.

All Bennington residents are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Bennington Community Food Assistance program. All you need to do is fill out the application form found here: https://www.benningtoncoc.org/community. This is a confidential process and we are here to help you ease the burden in this challenging time.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

Again, we would like to thank all parents and guardians. With no training, you have been asked to be an educator along with still being parents. Thank you! Educating children is a team effort and distance learning has highlighted that as never before.

Take Care!

5/1/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

We would like to take this opportunity to pass along some important reminders about the last two to three weeks of school in this week’s “Friday Notes”.

Instruction:

The Board of Education and administration have set the last day of instruction for Friday, May 15, 2020. We want to remind students and families that the last week on the school calendar, May 18th through 22nd, will be used by teachers to assist identified students to complete missing assignments or to receive additional instruction if students need to retake an assessment to successfully complete the year. We will also use the week of May 18th through the 22nd as a time to collect and disseminate school supplies and personal items.

We want to stress to all students and families that academic achievement is and has always been important to our community. Therefore, we want students to work hard over these last two weeks to complete all assignments and projects on or before May 15th.

Summer Bridge Work and Activities:

Bennington Public Schools will be providing a Summer Bridge to Learning program to each student in grades K-8. Bennington’s teachers have designed fun learning activities focused on Nebraska and Bennington learning standards for students. These summer activities will help to keep students learning throughout the summer, to bridge students from one grade to the next, and to keep learning skills from atrophy. The kits will contain a variety of materials including word cards, math cards, fiction and non-fiction books, and about 30 activities. These kits will be ready for distribution when you pick up student materials the week of May 18th.

We understand the Governor and Health Officials have issued new guidance on social distancing for the state. We are working with local and state officials to determine what the school district can provide in a safe manner with regards to summer programming. We will provide more information on summer programs as appropriate plans are developed. 

Meals for Students:

We continue to serve meals to all BPS students using the current schedule that is in place at Bennington and Heritage Elementary schools through the last day of remote/distance learning for students on May 15th. A family may contact the District Office to inquire about applications for Free and/or Reduced lunch meal participation if they have recently lost income or employment.

All Bennington residents are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Bennington Community Food Assistance program. All you need to do is fill out the application form found here: https://www.benningtoncoc.org/community. This is a confidential process and we are here to help you ease the burden in this challenging time.

District Facility Restriction:

All Bennington Public Schools’ buildings and campuses are closed to public use. We understand the weather is warming and health officials are loosening some restrictions, but not for school facilities. Please do not use playgrounds or fields for recreational usage as this has been deemed unhealthy at this time by government and health officials. We understand some of our facilities cannot be locked down or secured; therefore, we are asking for your support and voluntary compliance with this request. Law enforcement and school officials will be monitoring all facilities and will enforce this measure if necessary.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

Hero is a term that is often thrown around loosely. One can define hero as they want. Mr. Rogers was quoted as saying: “anyone who does anything to help a child in his/her life is a hero to me.” Every teacher hired since 2004 has been asked a series of similar questions in Bennington’s interview process. One question is: who would you like to be like? Many teaching candidates answer with a story about a parent or a teacher. Yes, teachers and parents are the people most remembered and who children want to be like as they move into adulthood for many apparent and important reasons. This has never been truer than during the past six weeks.

We would like to thank several heroes who have stepped up to serve our students during this time of school closures and distance learning. We are very thankful to teachers, support staff and administrators for their quick response in transitioning from onsite classroom instruction to distance learning. We have seen some imaginative and innovative lessons delivered to students in the past six weeks that will serve us well in the future. Their work and creativity have helped students and families continue learning while staying safely at home during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Just as important, and in reality, more so, we want to thank all of parents and guardians for helping the school district with instruction. We have heard many stories of the sacrifices that parents and guardians have made to work from home, or work long hours, then put in extra time to help students with school work. Your patience and understanding have been a tremendous help in ensuring our students are making progress toward a better tomorrow. Thank you for your continuous support and contributions in making our school district a great place to learn and grow.

Take care, and may your May Day basket be filled with rainbows and smiles.

4/24/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

This week’s “Friday Notes” will be brief and is comprised of many reminders related to COVID-19 restrictions and requests, meals program, distance learning, and the end of the year procedures.

Instruction:

The Board of Education and administration have set the last day of instruction for Friday, May 15, 2020. We want to remind students and families that the last week on the school calendar, May 18th through 22nd, will be used by teachers to assist identified students in complete missing assignments or to receive additional instruction if students needed to retake an assessment to successfully complete the year. Administrators and counselors have, or will, be contacting these identified students and families to schedule special educational sessions to offer extended learning opportunities or help finish coursework for the second semester.

By now, all of you should have received communication on the district’s grading procedures for distance learning. We hope to communicate more information on the last week of school with regards to the distribution and collection of school supplies and summer activities next week.

School Accounts:

If transportation invoices were paid in full for 2019-20, refunds have been issued through My School Bucks to the original method of payment. Please check your account for this activity.

Lunch account balances will roll over to the 20-21 school year. If you have a senior who is graduating, any remaining balance will be transferred to a younger sibling, or if no other siblings enrolled, the balance will be refunded in May.

Meals for Students:

We continue to serve meals to all BPS students using the current schedule that is in place at Bennington and Heritage Elementary schools through the last day of remote/distance learning for students on May 15th. A family may contact the District Office to inquire about applications for Free and/or Reduced lunch meal participation if they have recently lost income or employment.

All Bennington residents are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Bennington Community Food Assistance program. All you need to do is fill out the application form found here: https://www.benningtoncoc.org/community. This is a confidential process and we are here to help you ease the burden in this challenging time.

District Facility Restriction:

All Bennington Public Schools’ buildings and campuses are closed to public use. This means no gathering of any size is allowed on any school facility until further notice. Please do not use playgrounds or fields for recreational usage as this has been deemed unhealthy at this time by government and health officials. We understand some of our facilities cannot be locked down or secured. Therefore, we are asking for your support and voluntary compliance with this request. Law enforcement and school officials will be monitoring all facilities and will enforce this measure if necessary.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

In summary, all Bennington Public Schools’ (BPS) employees truly care about each of the students and their families in this community. If you need support with lessons, teachers are available and monitoring email to lend a hand. School counselors and our partners at Arbor Family Counseling are there to support you navigating this unusual situation, contact your school for more information. The school meals program and community pantry have been set up to help families in need. Principals are available to handle questions or concerns through email or telephone. The Technology Department (tech@bennps.org) is ready to support you with online learning. Please know the entire BPS team is ready to support your students’ learning. As always, take the advice of the health experts and practice good hygiene and social distancing.

Take Care!

4/17/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

This week’s “Friday Notes” will provide students and families information about the last full day of instruction, grading practices related to the distance learning program, the district’s meals program, summer events and some logistics regarding the collection and distribution of student supplies.

Last Day of Full Instruction:

The Board of Education and administration have set the last day of instruction for Friday, May 15, 2020. There are several factors that have led us to this decision.

  • Key concepts will be completed based on our year-long scope and sequence documents in reading and math for elementary students.
  • Middle and High School teachers spend the last few days of a semester reviewing before final exams, or working on final projects and presentations. This will not be the norm this year; therefore, teachers will be covering a majority, if not all, key concepts for each course on or before May 15th.
  • The elimination of school activities, athletics, class picnics, field trips, and awards days have allowed teachers to focus on presenting coursework standards.
  • As the annual course maps are created, “short” weeks are planned as review or focused on assessments. We are also eliminating days for NSCAS assessments, MAP assessments, and End-of-Year Benchmark assessments.

The last week on the school calendar, May 18th through 22nd, would be used by teachers to assist identified students to help them complete missing assignments or to receive additional instruction if students needed to retake an assessment to successfully complete the year. Administrators and counselors will be contacting these identified students and families to schedule special educational sessions to offer extended learning opportunities or help finish coursework for the second semester.

Grading:

Grading is an important part of measuring progress toward instructional goals. Students and families have been working diligently to complete learning activities provided by students’ teachers and this work deserves to be honored with feedback and valued with a score if possible. Elementary students will receive a progress report in May with comments about the student’s work and progress this fourth quarter. Middle and high school students have been earning grades on work they have been completing during distance learning and can see current grades through the portal. Teachers and administration are working on the final plan for these middle and high school grades, as how we report progress may have future impact for high school students. Please watch for more information from building principals.

End of Year Collection and Distribution:

The end of the school year will look very different than we have ever experienced before. We are definitely missing all of the spring activities, field trips, sports, and transition activities for our students moving into kindergarten, middle school, and high school. There are many things students still have at school to pick up, and library books, textbooks, and Chromebooks, to return to school. The Directed Health Measure from the Governor and health experts tells us we must plan this exchange of materials carefully, so please look for a detailed plan from the building principals on how this will be scheduled next week.

Summer Activities:

We are hopeful that some summer activities will be able to take place, but with the current health situation, nothing will look the same as before. Please know coaches, sponsors, and teachers all would prefer to have students with them and planning for everything from summer school to sports camps, but we have a greater need to protect our students and their families. We are in regular contact with health officials to make the best decisions possible. Please watch for later announcements for the most current information.

Meals for Students:

We continue to serve meals to all BPS students using the current schedule that is in place at Bennington and Heritage Elementary schools through the last day of remote/distance learning for students on May 15th. 

The district is asking those students not receiving Free or Reduced lunch to pay a discounted rate for their meals of $2.00. The cost of this packaged meal is normally $4.05 for elementary students and $4.50 for high school students. Funds will be deducted from the student's hot lunch account at school. No cash transactions will be collected. All funds must be transferred electronically. A family may contact the District Office to inquire about applications for Free and/or Reduced lunch meal participation if they have recently lost income or employment.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

Foundation Survey:

The Bennington Public Schools Foundation invites you to take a short survey to be used for strategic planning purposes for the coming school year.  Whether you know a lot or very little about the Foundation, your insight will help them determine how to better serve our community. Complete the survey at: https://forms.gle/RJwscvenvRvszy6KA

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Building principals will be communicating with each family in their respective facilities next Wednesday. This communication will outline grading procedures and end of the year distribution and collection of student and school supplies procedures specific for their respective buildings.

We want to close by sharing how grateful we are to each and every one of you as we have navigated this challenging situation together. Let us not forget to both act with caution and be careful with our own health. Let’s also remember to be gentle with one another. We will continue to have challenges in front of us, and I know we can meet these challenges. As always, take the advice of the health experts and practice good hygiene and social distancing.

Take Care!

4/10/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

We want to reach out to you this week to notify students and families of some changes to the food program, share more about our distance learning program and to let you know we will be disseminating information about the last day for students learning and collection and distribution of student supplies.

As you know, we are in the middle of Spring Break: April 9th – 13th. We will resume our food program and start remote/distance learning on Tuesday, April 14th. Administrators have been meeting and collecting input from students, staff and families to finalize plans for several events or programs related to school. As we are all aware of by now, any plans we have in place may be changed with the next press conference if health officials make decisions that may better protect all of us.

Below are some important points we want to share with you today:

Meals for Students:

Unless the health department tells the district to stop, or we are placed on a statewide lockdown, we plan to continue to provide meals to all BPS students using the current schedule that is in place at Bennington and Heritage Elementary schools through the last day of remote/distance learning for students in May. The district will start the meal program back up on Tuesday, April 14th. Free and/or Reduced lunch meal participants will receive a free packaged breakfast and lunch every day.

The district will be asking those students not receiving Free or Reduced lunch to pay a discounted rate for their meals. The district has decided to offer the same packaged breakfast and lunch for a discounted rate of $2.00. The cost of this packaged meal is normally $4.05 for elementary students and $4.50 for high school students. Funds will be deducted from the student's hot lunch account at school. No cash transactions will be collected. All funds must be transferred electronically. A family may contact the District Office to inquire about applications for Free and/or Reduced lunch meal participation if they have recently lost income or employment.

Distance Learning:

Distance learning continues through weekly posted lessons and assignments. Teachers are available through email or google meetings to assist students with assignments and answer questions daily. Grades are being posted for work completed by Middle and High School students each week. Elementary students are asked to complete and submit at least two identified reading and math assignments each week. Elementary students have a variety of other lessons and activities that may be completed beyond these minimal expectations.

Progress reports will be posted from the High School later in April to let you know where a student’s grade is in each course. Elementary teachers will provide some progress reporting based on completion of assignments and student progress seen later in April. Middle School students do not typically receive progress reports during a Hexter, but teachers are updating student grades and reaching out through email to students and parents about progress regularly. We will have more information forthcoming about calculations of grades for the fourth quarter next week.

Events:

Last week we shared with you some of our thoughts about events like kindergarten roundup, graduation, grade level transitions, summer school and summer camps. Please be patient with us as we finalize these plans in the next week to ten days. We are planning to host some of these events virtually and postpone others. Some many have to be canceled at the advice of health officials. We will have more on these events next Friday.

Safe2Help Hotline:

If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 402-390-2118. This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life-threatening situation, always call 911.

We will continue to work out details as we move through this and will follow up with you through email over the next week to 10 days. We do not want to overwhelm you with communication, and our goal is to share as much as possible with you to keep everyone on the same page.

We continue to be amazed at the work families are doing to partner with teachers and students to continue educating children during these times. Your support does not go unnoticed!  As always, take the advice of the health experts and practice good hygiene and social distancing.

Take Care!

4/3/2020

To All Families of Bennington Public Schools:

Governor Ricketts issued an order Wednesday night requiring Nebraska schools to operate without students in buildings through May 31, 2020. This will prevent us from physically come back together this school year. Therefore, Bennington Public Schools will remain closed with our distance learning format to continue for the remainder of the school year.

Assignments will continue to count. Our heavy emphasis is on learning, staying academically and socially engaged, and reviewing key concepts.  We want to continue to focus on learning as opposed to grading. We continue to emphasis the fact that although children are not being educated in a school facility, we are preparing students for the next phase of education.

Bennington has a tradition of academic success. Our Teaching and Learning Team is evaluating how to scaffold additional learning opportunities during the summer and at the beginning of the next school year to support possible learning gaps for students.

While we were optimistic that we would be reunited with our students this school year, we have also been preparing for this scenario. The Board of Education and the administrative team continue to meet to finalize plans for the end of the school year which we have been discussing since closures began. 

The district is continuing to work through ‘end of school year’ procedures:

  • Meals for Students: Unless the health department tells the district to stop, or we are placed on a statewide lockdown, we plan to continue to provide FREE meals to all BPS students using the current schedule that is in place at Bennington and Heritage Elementary schools through April 8th (start of spring break). The district will start the meal program back up on Tuesday, April 14th, and ask those students not receiving Free or Reduce lunch to pay a discounted rate for their meals.
  • Technology Turn-in: We are not sure yet what our technology collection process will look like. We will share details from our Technology Department as soon as those plans are finalized. We have over 1,400 Chromebooks in the hands of all middle and high school students as well as over 400 devices out to elementary families at this time.
  • Lockers, / Library Books / Instruments / Uniform / PE Clothes: We are discussing how to handle the return of instrument rentals, textbooks, library books, uniforms, school supplies, etc. These discussions also include how we can clean out lockers and classrooms, and make sure all families and staff get anything left in our buildings. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
  • Safe2Help Hotline: If you have concerns about safety, bullying, depression, suicide, substance abuse, relationship issues, or anything else that could threaten someone’s physical or emotional well-being, please call the Safe2Help Hotline at 531-299-SAFE (7233). This hotline connects callers with trained Boys Town National Hotline counselors who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Callers are not required to give their names. Please remember, if you or someone else is facing a life threatening situation, always call 911.

Closing our schools for the rest of the year also impacts several high-priority events:

Spring Activities/Sports: The spring activities season has officially been cancelled by NSAA. 

  • Middle and High School Transitions: The 5th grade Information Nights for incoming 6th graders and their families will be rescheduled before school starts in the fall. We want all soon-to-be 6th graders to feel welcome and confident about moving to a new educational environment and will keep you updated on these important dates as soon as we know more. The same will be true of 8th grade students moving across the street to the high school.
  • Kindergarten Round-Up and Incoming Parent Meetings: We are preparing to have a combination of parent virtual meetings this spring with some possible gatherings over the summer as we are excited to welcome these new learners. The Elementary Principals will be providing more information on this in the next few weeks.
  • Graduation, scheduled for May 17, is being formally postponed. We continue to work on possible graduation plans (including virtual graduation ceremonies) for the Class of 2020. We will have some alternate dates in the months of June and July set up if large group gatherings are permitted by then. Again, please stay tuned for details. 
  • Summer School and Camps: At this point, we are not sure what our summer is going to look like regarding summer school, camps, etc. We hope as we move into May and receive further guidance from state leaders and health officials, we can plan for June and beyond. We will communicate plans with you as they become final.

We will continue to work out details as we move through this and will follow up with you through email over the next 10-20 days. We do not want to overwhelm you with communication, and our goal is to share as much as possible with you to keep everyone on the same page.

REMINDER — we will observe Spring Break April 9th – 13th with no school assignments. 

Thank you for your support, engagement, and patience – we are all in this together. Take the advice of the health experts and practice good hygiene and social distancing. As stated before, the more we all work to stop the spread of this dangerous disease, the quicker we can come back together.

Take Care!

3/27/2020

We feel it is important to send out a weekly message to update you on important information related to school events. We will continue these “Friday Notes” until we feel it is no longer necessary.

The first and most frequently asked questions are related to the school calendar. You have probably read many different, and sometimes conflicting, reports about when, or if, school will open back up after April 30, 2020. Conflicting information may come from the national news reports or from state to state on how everyone is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know the Governor of Nebraska has followed the advice of state and local health department leaders to recommend the closing of schools, selective businesses and large gatherings in the metro area until April 30, 2020. This prompted Bennington Public Schools to move to closing school facilities and begin educating students using our distance learning plan. We also said we would reevaluate our situation the second week of April or if new information or orders were released. To date, no official proclamation or order has been issued to change this date. Thus, we will continue our plan to deliver education to student remotely.

We would like to stress our message that school is not over. We continue to educate students using a different methodology. We emphasis the fact that although children are not being educated in a school facility, we are preparing students for the next phase of education.

Earlier we believed shortening our spring break would be beneficial to students and families, but as we hear from you, we have decided to return to our scheduled spring break. This means there will be no lessons provided or teachers available on Thursday, April 9th, Friday, April 10th, and Monday, April 13th. Teachers, students, and parents will be ready for a break after three weeks of instruction.

In order to check up on how our distance learning plan is going from the family perspective, we invite you to complete this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DistanceLearn03-20. The purpose is to gather input on how the distance learning plan is working. We will use this information to advise us on areas for improvement.

Bennington Public Schools (BPS) cares about each of our students and their families. If you need support with lessons, teachers are available and monitoring email to lend a hand. School counselors and our partners at Arbor Family Counseling are there to support you navigating this unusual situation, contact your school for more information. The Grab and Go meals will continue through this upcoming week. Principals are available to handle questions or concerns through email or telephone. The Technology Department (tech@bennps.org) is ready to support you with online learning. Please know the entire BPS team is ready to support your students’ learning.

Although it may be hard to think this way, but we can be thankful for a number of things. As teachers and administrators, we are thankful for the support families have given the school district as we implemented our distance learning plan. We are thankful for students that are engaged and are working to prepare for the next phase of their educational journey. As administrators, we are very appreciative of the classroom teachers, specialists, counselors and support staff that have embraced our learning plan. These educators have adapted to our new reality and developed lessons with new learning tools to help students continue with education. Support staff have jumped in to learn new tasks and help as they can. And to you the community, thank you many times over. We are very appreciative of your support and kindness. Whether it be donations to the food pantry, checking in on neighbors or assuring others that the COVID-19 pandemic will be over at some point and we will be better for our experiences.

Again, we want you to take care of yourself and your family. Take the advice of the health experts and practice good hygiene and social distancing. As stated before, the more we all work to stop the spread of this dangerous disease, the quicker we can come back together.

Take Care!







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Notice of Non-Discrimination Bennington Public Schools
 
Students, their families and potential employees of the Bennington Public Schools are hereby notified that the Bennington Public School District does not discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, religion, veteran status, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition, or other protected status in employment, career or technical programs and activities as set forth in compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations. Any persons having inquiries concerning Bennington Public Schools compliance with Title II, Title IV, Title VI, Title IX, ADA and/or Section 504 may contact:

Dr. Terry L. Haack, Superintendent · 11620 North 156th Street · Bennington, NE · Phone: (402) ­ 238­-3044
Email: thaack@bennps.org
 
Bennington Elementary · 11620 North 156th Street · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2690
Bennington High School · 16610 Bennington Road · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2447
Bennington Middle School · 11201 N. 168th Street ·PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-3082
Anchor Pointe Elementary · 17007 HWS Cleveland Boulevard · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2166
Pine Creek Elementary · 7801 N HWS Cleveland Blvd. · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2372
Heritage Elementary · 9950 Rosewater Parkway · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-2095
District Office · 11620 North 156th Street · PO Box 309 · 402­-238­-3044