Welcome Back to the New School Year 2021-2022
August 16, 2021
Dear Westbrook Families,
The start of the new school year is just a few weeks away. Our staff eagerly await the first day of school on Monday, August 30th when we will welcome back our students in grades PK-12. We have an exciting year ahead. We will continue to focus on high quality, student-centered learning experiences and embedded social and emotional learning practices in all three schools. At the secondary level, we also have new courses in grades 7-12 that were created in response to student and family interest in developing programming in animation, robotics, and computer science. This new school year, we will also offer additional Advanced Placement courses and we will formally launch college and career pathways.
In the coming months, we will engage in community conversations about what we value and should prioritize as essential 21st-century skills and attributes for all Westbrook students PK-12. There are many skills to choose from as we determine together what is most important for our students, including but not limited to: critical and creative problem solving; collaboration; global mindset; empathy; financial literacy; communication; innovation; creativity; critical thinking; adaptability; flexible thinking; perseverance; growth mindset; citizenship; technology; self-direction; leadership; and resilience. Your experiences, perspectives, and voices are an essential part of this process to truly create the Westbrook Portrait of a Graduate that will reflect our community values and beliefs about education for the children of Westbrook now and in the future. The Portrait of a Graduate is often referred to as the north star for a school community. The Westbrook Portrait of a Graduate will guide our way beyond a focus on standardized test scores and Common Core Standards by prioritizing our focus areas and leveraging the highest quality instructional practices in all classrooms for all students. The Westbrook Portrait of a Graduate will guide our work for years to come PK-12 as it relates to teaching and learning; social and emotional learning and wellness; equity and access; blended learning and technology innovation; and college and career readiness. We look forward to partnering with our families to make this a meaningful and genuine reflection of our community’s commitment to all students.
As the start of the 2021-2022 school year nears, my family is also preparing for the transition from summer days to action-packed school days, after school activities, and sports. My oldest begins 11th grade and my youngest is a rising 6th grader. As a family, we enjoyed the beautiful New England summer days outdoors reconnecting with cousins and close friends. As we prepare to return to full, in-person learning for the new school year, my own children have many questions about what it will look like and what to expect. They are excited about meeting their new teachers, taking new courses, and seeing their friends again on a more regular basis. They also wonder how school will operate this year and if it will feel more normal than it has over the last two school years. I know that you have many of those same questions in your own homes. While I cannot predict with certainty what the coming months will look like, we are working closely with the Westbrook Health Director, Zachary Faiella, and the Connecticut River Area Health District to plan and will continue to do so to ensure the health and safety of our school community. We will be flexible and responsive to any changes in health metrics. We have a full schedule of classes and courses planned for our students, including after school activities and a full sports season at both the middle and high schools. In addition, we have a comprehensive support plan and resources for any student who needs additional academic, social and emotional support during the school day or after school. We are ready and excited to welcome back our students for the new school year!
For the start of the new school year, the following mitigation strategies will be in place:
COVID-19 Mitigation Measures
The following COVID-19 mitigation protocols are in place for the start of the new school year:
- All students, staff, and visitors will be required to wear a mask inside all school buildings and on school transportation. We will continue to provide as much time outside as possible and to schedule mask breaks throughout the day.
- Families are encouraged to transport their children to school, if possible, to reduce the number of students on individual buses. Bus seats will be assigned to promote social distancing and to assist in contact tracing situations to minimize the number of students required to quarantine.
- Social distancing will be maximized whenever possible; classroom desks will be set up at least 3 feet apart per CDC and CT DPH recommendations.
- Daily cleaning procedures will continue to follow CDC and CT DPH recommendations.
- Frequent hand washing will be encouraged.
- In the event of a confirmed positive case, unvaccinated students and staff identified as close contacts will be required to quarantine per CT DPH guidance. Asymptomatic vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine under current guidance.
In-Person Instruction and Remote Learning
All students are expected to return to In-Person Instruction for the new school year. Although remote learning is not an option for the new school year, we will continue to support our students who may need to temporarily quarantine due to COVID-19. This support plan will be developed and individualized to best support the academic, social, and emotional needs of each student. This plan will be developed in collaboration with the school principal, parents and/or guardians, classroom teachers, and other support staff, as needed.
The health and safety of our students, families, and staff will always be the highest priority. If conditions change, as it relates to COVID-19, we will continue to work closely with the Westbrook Health Director, Zachary Faiella, and the Connecticut River Area Health District, to guide any changes in protocols or school operations to keep our school community safe.
We are excited and eager to welcome back our students PK-12 to the new school year. We look forward to sharing their school experiences with you throughout the year and working with you to create the highest quality educational experiences and opportunities for all of our students.
Enjoy the gorgeous New England summer days ahead. We look forward to seeing all of our students in two weeks!
Your partner in education in service to the students and families of Westbrook,
Kristina J. Martineau, Ed.D.
Westbrook Superintendent of Schools