About Us

Fall Plan

During this pandemic, teachers faced extraordinary challenges. At Nashoba Brooks, the teachers are enthusiastic, innovative, highly skilled and committed. Everyday, I hear stories from my child that reveal the joy, kindness and creativity the teachers bring to the classroom. While I have been inspired by the teachers in previous school years, I admire them even more now.

Nashoba Brooks Parent

Since February 2020, Nashoba Brooks School has been working closely with our partners in public health to provide safe and healthy learning experiences for our students. In March of 2020, we made a quick and highly successful transition to remote learning as mandated by the nationwide safe at home initiative. In the fall of 2020, we reconfigured our schedule, facilities, and infrastructure to provide a hyFlex learning model, through which all students who chose to do so could learn on campus, five days a week for the full year, while providing the flexibility families needed to manage COVID-related absences and allow students to learn from home as needed. As we prepare for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, our hyFlex model will build on our successes thus far, consider the progress made in understanding the virus, and leverage the strength of our partnerships with health and public safety and members of the Nashoba Brooks School community. Our current expectation is that improving public health data will allow us greater flexibility in our programming this fall so that we can:
  • increase the use of specialized spaces;
  • provide team sports for Grades 6-8;
  • offer after-school activity options for all grade levels;
  • provide direct, in-person instruction across disciplines, and
  • preserve the flexible option of remote teaching and learning in COVID-related circumstances. 

Guided by our local and regional partners as well as the perspective and expertise shared through our professional networks, the hyFlex model is designed to provide high quality educational opportunities in a safe and healthy learning environment as well as the flexibility to manage and adjust to developing circumstances. 

The information below is the result of drawing on this collective wisdom to begin another year of outstanding learning and growth in September. We recognize that the public health situation in our state and our nation continues to evolve, and we are prepared to adjust as needed, in accordance with the most current data trends and public health guidance.
 

Our Approach

Nashoba Brooks will launch the new academic year with a hyFlex model beginning in September 2021. This program is designed to welcome students back to campus for a Monday through Friday schedule with a focus on the core academic day and auxiliary programs that are able to work effectively within our current safety protocols. Learning from home in a synchronous program will be provided as needed for students and families for whom absence from campus is directly linked to COVID or related protocols (e.g. illness, close contact, quarantine, etc.). 

Because we are a school serving students in Preschool through Grade 8, the majority of our students are not yet 12 years old, and, as a result, are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. With the safety of all members of the Nashoba Brooks community in mind, we will commit to maintaining multiple layers of risk mitigation initiatives to support the collective health and safety of our community including:
  • Completion of daily mandatory health screenings. 
  • Regular COVID-19 antigen re-entry and surveillance testing for all students and employees.
  • Face coverings and physical distancing while indoors. At this time, face covering will not be required outside. 
  • Utilization of our beautiful 30-acre campus and outdoor classroom settings.
  • De-densifying and maintaining small learning groups to limit the number of close contacts throughout the day. For Middle School students, these groupings may shift periodically throughout the year at designated transition times (following extended breaks in the academic calendar). 
  • Designated learning areas and limited movement for students throughout the day.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
  • Commitment to enhanced training and awareness of hand hygiene and disease prevention protocols.
  • Ventilation and filtration systems and protocols to maintain air quality.
  • Adherence to wayfinding protocols to minimize and manage movement throughout shared spaces.
  • Welcoming only essential visitors to campus.

We will operate with a risk mitigation strategy informed by data from our School, local community, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the CDC, and our advisors in health and safety. We will continue to proceed with caution and are prepared to adjust to less or more stringent restrictions as appropriate.

Shared responsibility

In the current climate, it is essential for the School and our families to work together to achieve and maintain a successful opening. We know our students’ learning experience is enhanced through personal connections and relationships, and our goal is to keep our campus open, healthy, and safe. 

To support this effort, 

Our families will:
  • Follow School guidelines and on-campus protocols.
  • Use the MyMedBot app to complete a daily self-screening.
  • Report any symptoms of, exposure to, or presumed or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 to the School nurse immediately.
  • Cooperate with supportive health protocols (e.g. sunscreen, insect repellent, flu shots, etc.).

The School will:
  • Implement a high quality, flexible instruction model.
  • Encourage all eligible members of the Nashoba Brooks School community to get vaccinated, and to consult their physicians with any individual questions or concerns regarding vaccination. 
  • Require employee health screenings daily.
  • Minimize visitors on campus and limit timing and locations for visitors to ensure appropriate distancing and minimize close contacts for students. 
  • Create low-density classroom spaces to allow for recommended distancing.
  • Limit the need for student transitions and movement around campus.
  • Provide clear traffic patterns in the building and outdoors to strengthen distancing.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect all spaces, and use proper school-wide protocols for hand washing and hygiene.
  • Provide support for the physical and emotional health of students and adults in the community.
  • Manage individual student supplies to minimize shared resources and follow regular cleaning protocols.
  • Manage health screening, COVID-19 antigen testing, reporting, and contact tracing.
  • Employ a schedule that allows students to shift efficiently and successfully from on campus to online learning as circumstances require.

Guiding Principles

Our Core Values
Integrity, collaboration, inclusivity, empathy, and resilience are at the heart of everything we do at Nashoba Brooks. These core values help us to define our work and relationships. They help our students build a perspective on their lives at School and in the world beyond our walls.

A Healthy, Safe Community
It is important for students to feel comfortable and safe at school so that they can be ready to learn. We plan to meet or exceed the Commonwealth’s health and safety guidelines for elementary and middle schools. Social and emotional awareness and well-being are also key components of a healthy community. All of us—children and adults—need to take good care of ourselves so that we can help to take care of each other.

High Quality, Flexible Learning
Our teachers use a creative, collaborative, and student-centered approach to developing our program both on campus and online. Because each of us has differing needs, vulnerabilities, and circumstances, we will adapt as needed to maintain a high degree of student engagement and academic progress.

Shared Responsibility
Parents are an integral part of positive learning outcomes for students, both at home and in school. Our School-parent partnership is essential to creating a safe and healthy learning environment at Nashoba Brooks. The School and our parents both have important roles to play in helping our students to achieve their best. 

Equity and Transparency
In order to open School with confidence, it is important to lead with our core values. They will help us to maintain a climate of collaborative problem-solving, open communication, and trust, in which all members of our community feel supported, valued, and understood.

Multiple Layers to Maintaining a Healthy Campus

Face Coverings

Face coverings are one of the most effective measures individuals can take against the spread of COVID-19, and remain an essential practice for maintaining safety at School. All students and adults will be required to wear face masks indoors on campus. In alignment with guidelines from the CDC, the School recommends a face mask that is comfortable and washable, has multiple layers of protection, fits securely, does not inhibit breathing, and does not have a valve. Please review the CDC mask guidelines.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is another key aspect of risk mitigation. Nashoba Brooks School will maintain appropriate distancing among all persons on campus wherever possible. All classrooms have been measured, and a maximum capacity has been determined following appropriate distancing criteria. The hallways have been marked with one-way directionals, and student movement throughout the building will be limited.

Hand Hygiene

The School has built formal procedures for hand washing and sanitizing into the daily schedule. Posters are placed around the building and in all sink areas and bathrooms with reminders and instructions.

Building Cleaning and Disinfecting

The School has enacted the following measures to ensure that our buildings remain as clean as possible:
  • Restrooms and high touch surfaces like railings, restrooms, and door knobs are cleaned regularly throughout the academic day.
  • Nightly cleaning includes cleaning all hard surfaces including classroom sinks, desks, and chairs.
  • Cleaning kits reside in all classrooms so teachers and students can clean their personal areas regularly throughout the school day.
  • Touchless bottle filler stations replace the use of all touch points on water fountains

Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Systems

Having fresh, clean air circulating throughout the building helps to ensure a healthy learning and working environment. Following the guidance issued by the American Society of Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the CDC, the School has:
  • Upgraded filters in our centralized air systems and portable HEPA air purifiers, where needed, to provide continuous recirculation and improve air quality.
  • Established protocols for classroom window opening,
  • Installed CO2 monitors to monitor fresh air circulation.

In addition to these practices, our curriculum and schedule are designed to encourage outdoor learning and play time to give students as much time outside as possible. If a child suffers from seasonal allergies that may limit outdoor time, parents should contact the School nurse to discuss an appropriate health plan.

Academic program

The Nashoba Brooks academic program is designed with a student-centered approach that is built upon the School’s core values: integrity, collaboration, inclusivity, empathy, and resilience. With an emphasis on the interpersonal relationships between students and their teachers, students are encouraged to take healthy academic risks and develop a greater understanding of the world and their ability to make a positive impact on it. 

Physical distancing, transition management, and limiting an individual’s close contacts over the course of the week are key measures for sustaining a safe community. For these reasons, Nashoba Brooks will maintain small instruction groups throughout the academic day. 

Within each homeroom or class section, students will remain with a consistent group of students and adults. There will be opportunities for grade-level and school-wide connections during virtual events and outdoor activities. In their classroom, students will maintain appropriate distance from one another. In the Middle School, student sectioning may shift following extended breaks in the academic calendar.

HyFlex Program
Our hyFlex program prioritizes the benefits of having students learn on campus daily, and also recognizes that COVID-19 may require a student to learn from home while they or a family member are managing the impact of the virus due to diagnosis, close contact, or quarantine. With 24-hours of notice that a student will need to learn from home due to the impacts of COVID-19, the School will work closely with these individuals to make it possible for them to engage fully in our daily program. Our information services team is also available to give families technological support, as needed.

Nashoba Brooks utilizes Zoom and Swivl cameras to support instruction for remote learners to allow them to engage in class activities from home. Each student will have access to a laptop, Chromebook or iPad, and a personal learning kit with the necessary supplies for the subjects they are taking. These kits will make certain that students have everything they need, whether at School or at home, to complete assignments and fulfill teacher expectations.

Whether in person or remote, a Nashoba Brooks education inspires self-confidence, encourages self-advocacy, and accentuates the individual strengths of our students.

On Campus Instruction
While on campus, students learn in small groups or sections with a dedicated team of teachers. Additional small group and one-on-one support are provided by our talented teachers and specialists. Students engage in simultaneous, direct, and differentiated instruction. Teachers have the flexibility to move among sections to provide direct instruction. Students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine will have minimal classroom transitions during their school day to help reduce the number of close contacts they experience. Older students, who have the benefit of the vaccine, will experience more transitions within their schedule. 

In addition to classroom instruction, students utilize the natural elements of campus to enhance their learning. Where possible, lessons may be delivered outdoors.

Learning From Home 
The Nashoba Brooks School remote learning microsite, NashobaBrooks@Home, aims to build and maintain the connectivity between all members of the community: students, teachers, families, and non-teaching employees when COVID-19 impacts their ability to be present on campus. Our program provides an educational experience that fosters curiosity, supports academic growth, and promotes collaboration. Students communicate with their teachers and classmates through class meetings and instruction, as well as in small groups and individual coaching sessions. Remote students will learn through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
 
Asynchronous instruction
Students engage with class assignments and instruction at their own pace, often completing assignments within a specific timeframe. Asynchronous assignments may be project-based, involve tech-free activities, require interaction with a discussion board (such as Flipgrid), and incorporate video recorded lessons (screencasts).
 
Synchronous instruction
Students engage in real time with peers and teachers, face to face, over a video-conferencing platform (Zoom or Google Meet). Synchronous learning allows for immediate feedback and communication. These sessions are essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships when not in-person.
 
The hyFlex model allows for students to participate in remote learning as needed due to direct impacts of COVID-19. Twenty four hour notice is required to provide teachers time to effectively prepare for and support students who are learning from home due to COVID-19.

School Schedule

Our Lower and Middle School schedules have been designed with our hyFlex model in mind and recognize that we may need to adjust our practice during the academic year in alignment with the local public health indicators and public safety guidelines. Each schedule incorporates recess, snack, lunch, routine hygiene, co-curricular subjects, and embedded opportunities for individualized instruction and support, as well as opportunities for activities after school.
 
 
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Additional Details for the Fall

Before- and After-School Programs

Before- and after-school activities will resume in September. In order to maintain the health and safety of our students, these programs will be offered on a pre-registration basis and enrollment may be capped. The Extended Day Program will be available for Preschool through Grade 3 every day until 5:30 p.m., and Supervised Study will be available for Grades 4 through 8 during the same timeframe. At this time, we will not be able to offer early drop-offs before school begins, unless your child is pre-registered for a before-school club or activity. Further, drop-in services will not be offered after school. For more details on these programs, visit our Before and After School page.

Interscholastic Athletics

We are very pleased to offer after school athletics this fall. Three interscholastic athletic options are offered for students in Grades 6, 7, and 8: soccer, field hockey and cross country. Practices for after school athletics will be held four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The specifics regarding our ability to offer interscholastic competition will be determined in collaboration with our athletics league. If we cannot conduct our traditional interscholastic sports program, as determined by the league, we will pursue intramural options to provide our athletes with practice and competition.

Bus Transportation

At this point in time, Concord transportation is planning to provide morning drop-off and afternoon pickup routes for Nashoba Brooks School students who are Concord residents. Our private bus system with Fenn School serving other local towns will continue to run. Both bus systems will have social distancing protocols in place and require students to wear face coverings.

Lunch

Sodexo dining services will continue to provide individual box lunches and hot lunch options for members of the community. This dedicated and talented team—working closely with the School nurse and with families—will continue to support and accommodate students’ dietary needs and food allergies. Students and teachers will eat lunch in their home classrooms where proper social distancing can be monitored and maintained for safe eating. Grade 8 students will have the option to eat lunch in the courtyard. 

Health Screening

All School employees and students will complete a health screening daily using the MyMedBot mobile application. Completion of this form is required by 8:00 a.m. in order to enter the building. From data obtained through a series of questions, employees and students will learn if they may come to School, or if they should remain at home for further consultation with the School nurse. This will allow us to track the current health status of our community members and to respond efficiently to any signs of illness.

Suspected Case at School

If an individual develops COVID-19 symptoms while at School, the nurse will be contacted and the individual will proceed immediately to our designated assessment area for a clinical evaluation. If the nurse determines that symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, an employee would be required to leave campus, and a student would be picked up by the parent/guardian as soon as possible. Symptomatic students and employees are instructed to consult with their healthcare provider to determine a plan of care, including a medical assessment and COVID-19 test. Students and employees may not return to School until medically cleared by their healthcare provider in consultation with the School nurse.

Isolation, Quarantine and Contact Tracing

If a student or employee receives either a presumed positive or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, they must alert the School nurse immediately and remain isolated at home until they have met the criteria for recovery. All close contacts of the affected individual in the School community will be notified by the School nurse of the need to quarantine at home, and they will transition to online learning for the duration of the quarantine. The individual and their close contacts also may be contacted and tracked by the local department of public health’s contact tracing team. The School nurse will work closely with the affected person, their health care provider, the contact tracers, and the Town of Concord Department of Public Health to monitor the case, and determine when an individual may return to School.

Parent Engagement

We will only be able to welcome visitors to campus on a limited basis (e.g. events by invitation in public areas of the School, School-sponsored and scheduled outdoor events, etc.), while School is in session. School employees will assist with the process of getting students to and from classrooms safely during morning and afternoon transitions. We will continue to support and engage our families through online presentations, Parents’ Association meetings, and teacher conferences when they are able to be hosted in “public” spaces of the School such as the discovery barn, in order to allow participants to gather while maintaining distance from students who are not yet vaccinated. Zoom links will also be provided for parents, guardians, and invited guests to join meetings and events virtually. We look forward to hosting some community events outdoors as guidelines allow.

Travel Policy

With the health and well-being of our community of paramount importance and in order to mitigate exposure risk, we continue to monitor and update School travel guidelines as appropriate.

Financial considerations

Tuition
To demonstrate our commitment to investing in Nashoba Brooks School families in the same way that they invest in our School, the Board of Trustees has approved a tuition decrease of 5% for the 2021-2022 academic year. We thank members of the community for their generous, voluntary support of the Nashoba Brooks Fund, which has helped to defray the impacts of COVID-19 on our operating budget and sustain excellent educational opportunities for our students.

Financial Assistance
The School has worked closely with families financially impacted by the pandemic to determine if they qualify for financial assistance. If a family has questions or are concerned about their ability to pay full tuition, they can reach out to discuss their circumstances with the Director of Finance and Operations. 

School Investment in Health and Safety
The School is committed to meeting or exceeding CDC health and safety guidelines. In order to achieve this goal, we have dedicated funds to:
  • Install air filtration systems to improve School air quality.
  • Increase staffing and resources to support instruction, manage increased health and safety needs, and keep all school spaces clean and sanitized.
  • Create individual supply kits for students to reduce the need for sharing.
  • Upgrade our wireless network and Zoom webinar capacity.
  • Support daily health screenings and regular rapid antigen testing for COVID-19.

Situated on a beautiful 30-acre campus in historic Concord, Massachusetts, Nashoba Brooks School enrolls all genders in Preschool through Grade 3, and students identifying as girls in Grades 4 through 8. Nashoba Brooks is an independent school designed to build community, character, and confidence in its students.
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