January 3, 2024

Good Afternoon JMS families,
Happy New Year!  I hope this message finds you and your family in good health and high spirits as we embark on a brand new year filled with endless possibilities and exciting opportunities!
The start of the new year brings a sense of renewal and a chance to set new goals.  As we step into the new year, I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting updates and important information with you. 
Drinking Water Concerns:  As part of an ongoing effort related to NH House Bill 1421, which requires all schools and child care facilities to test for lead in drinking water, you should have recently received an email sharing the test results from our school.  Lead is a toxic substance that has a range of adverse health effects if inhaled or swallowed. Because lead is tasteless, odorless and colorless in drinking water, testing is the only way to learn if lead is present.  In New Hampshire lead is rarely found in drinking water sources.   It typically enters drinking water due to the wearing away of piping, faucets, fixtures and other plumbing materials.
Jacques Memorial School completed the third round of testing of all water outlets this summer on August 3rd, 2023. It is important to sample each faucet or water fountain that is used for drinking or food prep because test results can vary between locations.  All schools in the Milford School District  have engaged in several rounds of water sample and  testing beginning in December of 2018 and again in September of 2022. 
The latest round of testing conducted this summer yielded results at several locations within the building where lead was found at or above 5 parts per billion. All sample results for JMS can be found at the NH Department of Environmental Services, gettheleadoutnh.org.  
Upon receiving these results our first step was to remove access to these drinking water outlets until the problem can be corrected.  We have indicated with signage, locations that have samples that tested above 5 ppb. Students still have access to safe drinking water.  In 2021, two new refrigerated water fountain and water bottle filling stations were installed in each hallway. Testing indicated that these two locations are below the 5 ppb and include a EPA filtration system that is checked and maintained regularly.  Students and staff use and will continue to use these locations to access drinking water.  
We will continue to develop a remediation plan based on the latest round of testing.  This remediation plan can include permanently converting the outlets to hand-wash only stations and instruct individuals to drink only from designated nearby outlet(s),  fixture replacement or plumbing updates, installing a filtered water bottle filling station, retrofitting the existing unit with a filter certified to remove lead, or permanently remove the outlet from service.
Winter Weather Reminders:  Don’t be fooled by the mild weather we have had in December.  Winter will hit and we go out for recess in the cold and snowy weather. Students should come to school prepared to go outdoors; generally only a temperature of 15 degrees or lower keeps us inside.  Again, we would like to remind parents to help your children make appropriate choices for school attire. Layers, hats, gloves and warm coats are essential for daily outdoor recess. Students need to be dressed “Head to Toe” to play in the snow, which includes snow pants and waterproof boots.  Weather can change drastically throughout the day.  Make sure your child is prepared. 
In addition, please remember to label all clothing with your child’s name and encourage your child to visit the lost and found if they have misplaced any winter attire. All children will participate in outdoor recess activities unless excused by a note from a physician.
Toys at School: Please do not allow your child to bring favorite toys, playing/trading cards, electronic games/equipment or expensive jewelry to school.  Toys and playing cards are frequently a distraction and are difficult to monitor.  We cannot be responsible for keeping these items safe and at times these items get lost, stolen, or broken. “Show and Tell” items with the approval of the classroom teacher are an exception.
Bales Renovation Project Presentation: Milford School Board members and Milford school District administrators will be providing a presentation to the public scheduled for Thursday, January 25th @ 6:00 pm (Location TBD).  Below are some of the educational benefits and highlights of the project.  
  • Preschool (MEEE) program will be re-integrated into the Jacques building. The MEEE program has been housed in JMS since 1998.  In 2020, Preschool was relocated to Heron Pond as a temporary solution due to space constraints. Jacques Memorial School programming is more aligned and appropriate for early childhood students.
  • The renovation project will allow for at least three classroom spaces to become available at JMS. With the Bales Renovation project the MEEE students will not need to transition to a new building at the conclusion of their preschool program.  They will become more familiar with the JMS building and staff. 
  • Early intervention services for MEEE students can be delivered more efficiently.
  • With the Bales Renovation project JMS students would reap the benefit of a more flexible instructional program.  Physical education classes and Unified Arts schedule would not be dictated by the use of the Multipurpose room for student lunches. Schedule would allow for more consistent  core instructional time in the morning.
  • Student and staff traffic through the multipurpose room would not disrupt physical education instruction.
  • The space Project Drive is using will be abated for asbestos, creating a healthier space for all occupants.
  • SAU can be moved into Bales, Project Drive staff and students can be moved into the high school building, allowing students to more readily access high school programs and services. If Project Drive is in the high school building, we will not need to transport students back and forth between the buildings throughout the day, saving $70,000 each year.
  • Project Drive staff will also have more immediate support from high school administration, school counseling, and nursing services for them and their students.
  • The cost of the renovation is $4,000,000 and have a estimated tax impact of $.26 per thousand or approximately $78 a year for a home valued at $300,000.   This tax impact would decrease after the second or highest year. These estimates are based on a 10 year bond at 3.75%.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions regarding the Bales Renovation Project or mark your calendars and make an effort to attend the presentation on January 25th. 
Please find attached to this email a copy of the January Lunch Menu. Please note that there will be a change in the menu served tomorrow 1/4/24. The kitchen will be serving Fish Sticks, WG Roll, Cucumbers w/ Ranch Dressing and Orange slices.
Let’s make 2024 a year of collaboration, growth and achievement!  Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year!
Tim O’Connell
JMS Principal
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