Bishop Guertin Updates

Updates from Bishop Guertin

8/25 - COVID Protocol Update

Reminder on our COVID protocol:

It is very important that students continue to stay home when experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, etc. It is our hope that this practice will also help us to minimize traditional respiratory viruses such as cold and flu.

Those who are diagnosed with COVID should stay home (1) for at least 5 days from the day of the positive test and (2) until fever has resolved for 24 hours without medication, along with improvement of symptoms. Return to Play protocols remain in place if you are a student athlete diagnosed with COVID.

8/10 - Welcome Back

Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year! Once again, this Bishop Guertin Updates page will be utilized for updates and information for parents. Please see below for a friendly version of the back-to-school letter.

Dear Parent, We hope that you have enjoyed your summer. With the school year approaching quickly, this letter conveys a variety of Back-to-School information. This is a lengthy communication and there are many details to be aware of. Thank you for taking some time to review the information below. A phone-friendly version of this letter is available on the Bishop Guertin Updates Page.
KEY DATES AND TIMES
  • Monday, August 22 - 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM - Freshman Orientation. Students should bring learning device (laptop) to school for technology orientation. No books are needed. Lunch provided. Full dress code, including oxfords (with ties for gentlemen), is required. Drop off at Gym. Students may bring books after the orientation program to store in lockers.

  • Monday, August 22 - 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Transfer Orientation. Br. Euclid Beaumont Center - 2nd Floor. Enter front of school and meet in Lobby. Bring computers/learning devices. Casual dress.

  • Monday, August 22 - 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM - Senior Kickoff Dinner. All seniors attend. Casual dress. Dinner provided.

  • Tuesday, August 23 - First Day of School for all Classes. Normal dress code (polo shirts are permitted except for photographs - see below).

  • Wednesday, September 14 - 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM - Back-to-School Night. On this evening, parents will follow the schedules of their students, meet teachers, and experience the Bishop Guertin environment firsthand. (Details to follow in a separate email.)

Please refer to our 2022-2023 Calendar-at-a-Glance for details regarding other key dates during the year.

SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHS Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will take their school photographs during the first meeting of their Academic Period on Tuesday, 8/23 (Periods A-F) or Wednesday, 8/24 (Periods G-H). Students are required to wear oxfords (including ties for gentlemen) for school photographs. Students may bring uniform polo shirts to wear for the remainder of the day. During their Academic Period, students will be permitted to change into or out of their oxfords for school photographs. Seniors take school photographs outside of school and do not need their oxfords. DAILY SCHEDULE Our daily schedule is unchanged from last year. Please refer to the printable daily schedule. The letter designation of each day will be published on MyBG. EARLY RELEASE - STUDY HALL We will continue to allow students to be dismissed by parents when they have an academic period (study hall) during the last period of the day. Students who have received parental permission may report to academic period and check out with the teacher. It is expected that students who are dismissed early will leave campus directly and are not to congregate around the school (in locker rooms, the gymnasium, cafeteria, etc.). If a student stays in school, the student must remain in study hall. You will see a survey in MyBG to give your permission for your son/daughter to check out of end-of-day academic period.
BISHOP GUERTIN UPDATES PAGE
We will continue utilizing a website to convey current information about the school. Parents are encouraged to check the Bishop Guertin Updates Page on a regular basis.
COVID NOTES We are truly hopeful that this year will be impact-free. It is very important that students continue to stay home when experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, etc. It is our hope that this practice will also help us to minimize traditional respiratory viruses such as cold and flu. Those who are diagnosed with COVID should stay home (1) for at least 5 days from the date of the first positive test, and (2) until fever has resolved for 24 hours without medication, along with improvement of symptoms. Vaccination is strongly encouraged, but will not be mandated at Bishop Guertin unless there is a legal mandate in the future. We will not be collecting information about vaccination this fall. There are new (more traditional) vaccine options that may address some concerns that existed about the initial three vaccines. We urge all families to speak with your medical provider about vaccination and about the appropriate timing of vaccination updates. DRESS CODE Please consult the school's dress code (p. 25 of the student handbook) when shopping for school. Parents and students are reminded that shoes should be leather or suede dress shoes that do not have a "sneaker" sole or style. There is often confusion about fabric shoes, especially Sperry shoes or similar styles that are not made of leather. Thank you for your help in reminding your child of the shoe dress code. "BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE" RECOMMENDATIONS All students are expected to bring an electronic personal learning device to school each day. Rather than adopting a single technology platform (eg. iPad, laptop), Bishop Guertin encourages each student to bring the “personal learning device” that best meets his/her individual needs. We urge students to select a technology device that includes a keyboard to facilitate academic work. If you are looking to buy or replace a device, be sure to check our Dell or Apple stores, which have been set up to offer discounts and a variety of price points. Also, students may log in to Microsoft Office 365 to download and use Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Onenote, etc.). We will continue our policy of permitting the use of phones and other devices in the first floor common spaces (academic locker rooms and cafeteria) but ask students to leave their phones in their lockers during academic classes. Unless a student is asked to use a phone by a teacher, phones should not be in use during class time and may be confiscated if seen in use for non-academic purposes.
SUMMER READING Students should be attentive to their summer reading. They will be assessed and graded at the start of school. Summer reading information may be found online.
PICK UP / DROP OFF / TRAFFIC FLOW
Students being dropped off in the morning will enter by the gym and/or field house entrances at the end of the loop in the front of the school. Students should not be dropped off at the Main Lobby or on the first half of the loop. Pickup and drop-off should also not be conducted in the back parking lot immediately before or after school. It is critical that we keep Lund Road clear of queued traffic waiting to enter the loop. Parents should not park at the side of Lund Road by the tennis courts, as this area blocks the visibility of students exiting the parking lot and creates a dangerous situation with oncoming traffic. If you find yourself waiting at the side of Lund Road, that is an indication that you should consider arriving earlier or later. As a way of reducing traffic flow between 2:30 and 3:00, we remind all parents of the value of a later pick-up time, which allows students to become involved in clubs and activities, socialize with peers, or seek assistance from teachers. Picking your student up at 3:15, rather than at the bell, will save you time spent waiting, reduce congestion on campus, and help your son/daughter to integrate into the school community. Similarly, the school is open early in the morning and many students value the opportunities afforded by arriving early. STUDENT DRIVERS - SAFETY Students driving to school will park in designated spots and enter through the cafeteria or locker rooms. Last year, we received concerns from our neighbors and the police about student (and adult) drivers in the vicinity of the school. We experienced a number of "near miss" accidents on side streets around school. As most parents are happy to be out of the taxi business after 16 years and likely want to avoid a return to that role due to your child's loss of privileges, we ask for your help in reinforcing the following:
  • As a condition of their parking pass, student drivers are expected to drive courteously and safely in the vicinity of the school. As our juniors and seniors know, parking on campus is limited and always at a premium. It is also a privilege. Parking spots of unsafe student drivers may be reassigned to students on the waiting list for parking who are willing to drive safely. Parking fees will not be refunded.

  • Irresponsible driving around the school has emerged as a serious and dangerous situation. Students who are driving to school have been reminded that a single incident of reckless driving in the vicinity of the school (observed by school staff or reported by neighbors or the police) is likely to result in the revocation of parking privileges.

  • Students who do not have passes and park off campus are also subject to the same expectations as representatives of Bishop Guertin and may be subject to the future loss of eligibility for parking privileges or other consequences.

  • Students are expected to avoid aggressive or obnoxious driving behaviors in the neighborhood - burnouts, revving engines, horn, blasting music, etc. - as these violate Nashua's noise ordinances and disrupt our neighbors.

  • This year, in a new rule, students parking at Bishop Guertin may not use Fairlane Avenue, Forest Park Drive, Knollwood Drive, or Alder Drive at any time when arriving to and leaving from school. Students should enter and exit exclusively via Lund Road and Almont Street and avoid the side streets.

SUBSTANCE FREE PLEDGE

We would like to remind you about (1) the Substance Free Pledge and (2) the Drug and Alcohol Policy (p. 20 of the student handbook) to which you and your student have agreed at enrollment. At Bishop Guertin, "vaping," the use of electronic vaporizing devices, is a violation of the Substance Free Pledge and school policies around the use of substances. The use of marijuana/THC products is a violation even if they are used in a locality that has legalized them. We encourage your family to review the policies to which you have agreed and to discuss your family's expectations around the use of substances. Clear research demonstrates the susceptibility of young people to addiction based on early use. We now know that teenage "experimentation" is not as harmless as was thought in the past; many lifelong addictions start during the teenage years. Modern vaporizer "delivery devices" for THC and nicotine expose students to a much higher concentration of these drugs than traditional cigarettes. The concentrations are being found to have significant developmental impacts on young people. We ask for your support in promoting the health and well-being of your son or daughter by setting clear boundaries in support of our school policies. SOCIAL MEDIA Another issue that requires your support is social media. Increasingly, we are seeing that social media is the culprit behind issues of mental health, anxiety, sleep deficits, bullying, and academic difficulty. Dr. Tim Elmore has authored a short e-book summarizing social media's challenges. [For those who are interested, authors Dr. Jean Twenge and Dr. Jonathon Haidt have produced these "live" Google documents that reflect a research-based discussion of adolescent mental health and social media's impact on it.] At Bishop Guertin, experience shows that social media is at the root of the vast majority of unkind behavior and bullying. This year, we are focusing on "digital citizenship" and encouraging students to consider the footprint they are creating online. We have established a new Digital Citizenship Policy (p. 21 of the student handbook) that formulates the circumstances under which Bishop Guertin will become involved in social media situations. However, as much of social media usage occurs during time away from school, we need your assistance. Per Dr. Elmore's book, we encourage you to have a conversation with your son/daughter about social media, its appropriate use, and your family's expectations. SCHOOL SAFETY AND MENTAL HEALTH Following the tragic events of the spring and summer, there is a renewed interest in school safety, both at the state and federal level and at Bishop Guertin. Over the summer, we have reviewed our safety procedures in light of "lessons learned" from recent tragedies, engaged with law enforcement representatives, and instituted safety upgrades here at school. This ongoing process to maximize safety is an extremely high priority for us as the physical safety and sanctuary of our school is essential to everything we do, and to the trust that you place in us. We are confident that our local public safety agencies place a high priority on school safety and are well-prepared to respond quickly and appropriately to any situation that occurs at school. We know that mental health is closely-linked to incidents of school violence, and so we are also prioritizing this area. Early in the year, we will be conducting a school-wide assessment that will involve all students and staff. This assessment is built on a research framework into "high-performing schools" like Bishop Guertin. We hope and expect that this initiative will provide us with actionable strategies for further improving our school environment. At any time, our school counselors may be used as a source of recommendations and referrals if your student needs mental health support or assistance. In the meantime, I emphasize that, while we are always looking to protect the school facility, many incidents of school violence come from within a school community. The single best defense against violent incidents is an awareness of those who may be struggling in our community. Our mission of ensuring that every student is known, valued, and treasured is the most essential protection that we offer. Every community member - including parents and students - plays a significant role. Please help us to ensure that no student struggles alone - if you see or hear something that doesn't seem right to you, do not hesitate to reach out confidentially to a school counselor, administrator, or any adult at school. Please reinforce the importance of this attentiveness to your son or daughter. With your help, we hope to intervene in a supportive way prior to an incident where a student might harm self or others. There is much to discuss on this topic. Further details about school safety, mental health, and emergency planning will be shared in a future in-depth email dedicated to that topic. GOAL SETTING The beginning of the school year is an excellent opportunity for students to reflect upon their goals for the year. It is often helpful for students to consider questions such as these:
  • What are my academic goals for the coming year?

  • What are my longer-term goals (college, career, etc.), and how can I advance towards these goals?

  • What are the important priorities for my time? What should I spend more time doing? What are time-wasting activities that I should avoid?

  • What qualities do I seek in my friends, and which of my friends help me to be a better person? Which of my friends detract from my goals?

  • What are some new activities that I can pursue, or some existing talents that I can develop?

  • What are the boundaries that I can decide now so that I don't slip into bad decisions later (eg. work habits, sleep, social media, gaming, substances, relationships, etc.)?

We hope that you will encourage this discussion at home as we start the school year. In particular, creating and posting written goals makes it more likely that the goals will be achieved. August always represents a blank slate, and is a good opportunity to set broad goals for the upcoming year.

PARTNERSHIP AND COMMUNICATION
As we embark on the new school year, I close with my usual comment about partnership, which is more essential than ever.
Our partnership starts with respectful and constructive communication to the appropriate individuals. For your convenience, please reference our "key contact" list (p. 36 of our student handbook) to guide you if you need to reach out. Generally, the individual listed with each topic will be the best person to resolve the matter and is empowered to make any decisions that are necessary, or can connect you with the best resource(s) as needed.
When problems arise, we recommend that the student be guided to resolve most situations. Self-advocacy skills are critical in preparation for college and life. However, if you sense that a matter may be beyond your son or daughter's ability to resolve on his/her own, do not hesitate to speak with your child's teacher, coach, or school counselor before a concern grows into a larger issue. When significant challenges arise, we all share the same high hopes for your child, and "we must work together." (- Br. John Louis Collignon, early BG principal, )
Thank you for your attention to all of the above information, and most importantly, for the trust that you have placed in us. We are honored to collaborate with you towards the formation of your daughters and sons and look forward to an outstanding 2022-2023 school year!
Sincerely, on behalf of the Bishop Guertin Faculty, Staff, and Administration,
Jason StrnistePrincipal