I would like to start again by thanking you for including us on the BOE agenda. My name is Tessie Thomas and I am the President of the Montclair Council of PTAs (PTAC), an elected body that represents and supports the whole community. Just before coming here, I logged on to watch the BOE meeting and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could see the names of other attendees. Thank you for making that happen.
There is a lot going on in general and with the PTAs in each school. Too often this podium is the forum to raise issues and highlight what is going wrong – and rightly so – so that they can be heard and addressed. The comments and conversations are sometimes difficult. Given that our last update was 12 days back, I would like to do something different today. I would like to focus on all that is going right, acknowledge the hard work and effort that so many folks are putting into this – it is after all Thanksgiving!
I would like to first thank the Board members. You are volunteers. You are not paid for this work – you volunteer, you show up, you make the time, you review so many issues, read so many documents, and you sometimes get subjected to some harsh statements. Yet – you keep at it and you do this to make our district a better district. You do this for the good of our children and community. You do it even when it is thankless. So, I would like to thank each of you on behalf of PTAC – Ms. Jannah, Ms. Church, Ms. Weller Demming, Mr. Davis, Ms. Hopkins, Mr. Scherzer, and Ms. Silverstein – Thank you!
We have been through a lot over the last year and a half and we are here doing our work. I have personally seen the number of hours each of the Central Office folks is putting in – the white van seems to never go home and Ms. DeRosa – I am convinced never sleeps! Thank you to all the folks in the Central Office.
The administration, teachers and staff in all the schools switched to online school with a moment’s notice when this pandemic hit and switched back to in-person when the students needed to be back in the buildings. The MEA is proactively supporting district wide efforts that are aimed at making this an even stronger education district. Thank you to the administration, the teachers, the staff, and the MEA.
Finally, thank you to all the dedicated and involved parents of the PTA and of the myriad of other organizations in the district. Every school PTA is working hard doing all kinds of drives – be it food, coats, or toys to support families in need during the holiday season. You constantly remind us that we live in a great community and the recent past has brought out the best in us. We have shown that despite all the challenges – we can do it.
As we go into the Thanksgiving break, please remind the children about Reflections. This is a great time to reflect and express their thoughts on how they will change the world through their work in Writing, Photography and Visual Arts. It is a great opportunity to perhaps win a State or National award.