Hi, my name is Tessie Thomas and as President of the Montclair PTA Council, I am speaking today on behalf of PTAC 2021-22. I would like to reintroduce PTAC by sharing some of our collective thoughts and focus for this year. The elected officers of PTAC are – Brian Fleischer and Reggie Valentine our 2 Vice Presidents, Diane Tehranian our Treasurer, and Courtney Redfern our Secretary. I feel like I just introduced our band…but our team does feel like a band that is producing music together! I also want to highlight that as elected officers of PTAC, we represent the whole district and every school.
PTAC’s mission is to support our children’s education and advocate for them. We bring parent leaders together to work on issues that cut across all schools – issues of common interest. We are in constant touch with the leaders and meet regularly. We also have periodic meetings with the Superintendent, and all the other organizations in Montclair public education like MEA, SEPAC, MFEE, etc. Most of the PTAC members are also involved in multiple district initiatives – like reopening committees, DEI committee, etc.
PTAC 2021-22 will be different – we are focused on fewer things and determined to achieve concrete deliverables. Over the summer we defined 6 focus areas, 3 of which I will share today as examples of the center of gravity for PTAC this year.
- Diversity of faces and diversity of voices – diversity will be woven in our fabric, in everything we do
- Connecting with all – I think it is a time for our community to heal together – we have gone through a lot and we will connect with all – even when we disagree
- Proactive not reactive – We are going to be more productive by being focused on a few things and avoiding reacting to every district happening
Given our bias for action this year – we plan to use these themes to drive our actions. We have also reorganized our committee structure to be more effective and responsive. We now have 4 Special Committees and 7 Standing Committees. A call for volunteers went out last week and the response has been great.
Turning our attention to the last few weeks –
PTAs were ready for school reopening, planning the welcoming events for students and staff when Hurricane Ida struck! As everyone realized the extent of the destruction, families reached out to PTA Presidents offering help. Thank you, Mr. Kelly, for the shoutout to PTAC but all 11 PTAs jumped in and brought food for the cleanup crew…. it’s the least we could do. We worked together as a team, everyone stepped up to help the newly formed MHS PTA. Food was provided for the cleanup crew at Bradford, Hillside and MHS. PTAs shared dollars, ordered meals and even delivered them to the school.
On the first day of school, the pre-pandemic tradition continued and PTAs at every school held welcoming events and celebrated the return to in-person schooling. PTAs have worked hard over the summer planning and now launching the After School Enrichment programs.
This year you will see us working closely with MEA, SEPAC, MFEE, NAACP, AAPI, and other important organizations on some critical initiatives. You can find more details on our website – @MontclairPTA.org and on our Facebook page at Montclair PTA Council.