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December 7, 2018

To the members of our Abby Kelley Foster Community;


Thank you for your patience and understanding as we dealt with a City related sewer issue at the Elementary School on Thursday, December 6th . The Elementary School has re-opened after a thorough sanitation of our basement area and following the approval of City and State officials. These officials have been with us onsite and in constant contact over the past 36 hours and counting. Our Maintenance staff’s quick response to the immediate issue in the early morning hours of Thursday, December 6th minimized much of the effects of what was, a clogged city sewer line.

As it became clear we could re-open the Elementary School on Friday, December 7th a follow-up notification was sent to families in the afternoon of Thursday, December 6th. This morning it was brought to my attention many of our families did not receive the update sent at approximately 4:00 p.m. Thursday, via the school’s One Call Now system.


In our efforts to update and maintain our OneCall Now system distribution lists have been renamed and reorganized. We have determined an incomplete list was used to send the update message on Thursday, December 6th. For this error, I offer my sincerest apologies for any confusion and uncertainty caused.


As a corrective measure and to ensure our distribution lists are complete as we intend them to be; Abby Kelley will send a test message on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, at 12:15 p.m. If you do not receive this message or you hear of a member of the Abby Kelley community who did not receive that message, please email me directly at bhaas@akfcs.org , so I may immediately address this gap in our communications system. We will continue our practice of posting on the School’s Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as the School’s Web site whenever a matter arises and we need to communicate with you.


To the matter of the days Abby Kelley has been unexpectedly closed/dismissed in the past months. Each year we build into our Academic Calendar, five additional snow days. The State has a 180-day requirement; we build into our calendar 185 school days.


To review our closure dates and for what schools:

  • Thursday, October 18th –Elementary and Middle School were dismissed after a half day (which counted toward our 180-day requirement)
  • Tuesday, November 13 th –Elementary and Middle School closed
  • Friday, November 16 th – Abby Kelley closed
  • Thursday, December 6 th - Elementary School closed

Of those additional five days we built into our Academic Calendar; the High School has used 1 day, the Middle School has used 2 days and the Elementary School has used 3 days. We are within those five pre-scheduled days, which makes our 2018 – 2019 Academic Calendar in-line with State requirements. I will continue to update families if and when we exceed those pre-scheduled five-days throughout the winter months. It should be noted, that if we were to not use any more days of those five pre-scheduled days, this will not change the anticipated last day of school. Again, I thank you for your patience throughout the last 36 hours and throughout these last few months.


Brian Haas
Executive Director
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School

Executive Director Update - October 11, 2018 (53.73 KB)
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Executive Director Update - October 11, 2018
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Letter to Families 2018

August 21, 2018

Dear Families and Students,

Welcome to the 2018 - 2019 school year! We are all excited to start another year at Abby Kelley Foster Charter School. You may notice our website looks slightly different, as we have been working with our website design company to make our website ADA compliant. It may appear to be streamlined as we have moved to make the site completely accessible. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact our IT Director, Mr. John Calabresi at jcalabresi@akfcs.org.


Administrators have worked this summer to complete hiring of new staff for this school year. Last
week I visited each of the classrooms to see the progress the custodians/ facilities department made this summer, including working with a variety of companies to make sure the buildings and grounds are clean and ready for students. In addition, our IT department continues to expand the number of chromebooks we have available for student use in each of the buildings.

I look forward to seeing you at many of our school events this year. Please check our school website for upcoming events such as home varsity football games, plays, musical concerts, celebrations of student work, and this is just the beginning. There are many opportunities to come and celebrate our students’ successes!


We are ready to welcome our 4th and 8th grade students as they transition with a half day on
Wednesday, August 22, 2018. Students in grades 1 - 12 should report to school on Thursday, August
23, 2018. Let the year begin!


Sincerely,

Brian Haas
Executive Director
Abby Kelley Foster Charter School

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Environmental Update - August 15, 2018

As we mentioned in at our Parent Information Forum, Wednesday, August 15, 2018, we are posting the link to the Massachusetts DEP website that contains public and updated environmental information about Abby Kelley Foster Charter School.

https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/portal#!/wastesite/2-0020565

Respectfully,

Brian Haas

Executive Director


Heidi Paluk

Board of Trustees, Chair

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Environmental Update - August 2, 2018

August 2, 2018

As you know, we have been working with environmental consultants under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct additional air quality testing at the high school.

Yesterday, the DEP confirmed for us that the latest round of testing came back negative for elevated levels of Trichloroethylene (TCE). This is good news, obviously, and it tells us that we have been taking the right steps, under DEP’s direction, to mitigate the exposure detected in the original test results.

But we are not done. We want to be 100% sure there are no remaining or ongoing issues in any of our school buildings before the students and staff return later this month.

As a precautionary measure, we will continue to work with our consultants and the DEP to conduct further testing in the high school, middle school and elementary school buildings to identify any potential issues and immediately address them. We will keep you informed as we receive further results.

I want to reemphasize that the DEP has consistently stated that the slightly elevated levels detected in the original testing did not pose a health hazard to students or staff. Their guidelines are what drives remediation and further testing, so you can be assured the DEP has found no cause for concern to the health of the students or staff.

We understand you may still have concerns and questions. We have scheduled a parent meeting for August 15 at 7:00 pm at the high school. We hope you can attend.

We have been working around the clock on this issue since we were first informed in July of the elevated levels. It has been our highest priority this summer. Since our original email on July 3, we have been anxious to share additional information, but we needed to have information to share. This type of environmental testing takes time and we were awaiting results from the DEP.

In case you missed the email we sent out Tuesday, July 31, we are reposting it below and we are also posting updates on our website (https://www.akfcs.org/) and the Official Facebook page of Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School. (https://www.facebook.com/Abby-Kelley-Foster-Charter-Public-School-177121133085195/)

It continues to be our priority to keep you informed and we will provide updates throughout the process.

We look forward to starting the new school year the week of August 20!

Respectfully,

Brian Haas

Executive Director


Heidi Paluk

Board of Trustees, Chair

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Environmental Update - July 31, 2018

July 31, 2018 AKF Update: 

In early July, Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School received notice from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that air quality sampling in our high school building detected slightly elevated levels of Trichloroethylene (TCE) in non-classroom storage, loading dock space and one classroom.

The testing was conducted as part of an environmental review after Saint Gobain Abrasives, Inc. detected a petroleum-related release on their property, which abuts the high school property. In consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Public Health (DPH), the City of Worcester’s Inspectional services, and an independent environmental consultant, AKFCS took numerous steps to address the issue, and we are waiting on the results of the latest round of testing.

The DEP assured us from the beginning that none of the readings posed a threat to the health and safety of our students or staff, and that all activities, including summer programming and annual summer maintenance work within the building, could continue.

Out of an abundance of caution, however, the AKFCS administration and Board decided to undertake a thorough review of the high school building. In addition, although no evidence surfaced regarding issues with the elementary and middle school buildings, we also conducted testing in those facilities.

To conduct these tests and identify any issues, the school hired an independent Licensed Site Professional (LSP), which sends its sealed testing equipment to an independent lab, which then reports all results to the DEP.

The administration and the Board were aggressive in addressing any issues brought to our attention, no matter how small.

We want to assure parents that the school’s water supply was in no way impacted as a result of this incident. The school's water is supplied through the City of Worcester's water system, which is tested regularly by the city, and has not been impacted. The school also tests the water inside the building as required by the state.

We took these proactive steps as a precaution to ensure the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff, and parents. We will continue to work with the DEP, DPH and the City of Worcester to ensure the air throughout the building meets all quality standards and we will continue to keep the community informed as we get closer to the start of the new school year. We will also be holding a parent forum on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 7PM in the high school.

We look forward to starting the new school year at the end of August!

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Respectfully, 

Brian Haas - Executive Director

Heidi Paluk - Board of Trustee, Chair

Photograph of Mr. Brian Haas
Mr. Brian Haas
Executive Director

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