Good evening. 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.
We have a lot going on and the PTAs have been working doubly hard continuing the ongoing programs in schools, while supporting the Community Investment Bond Referendum. Every school PTA supported their respective Back to School Nights and made it special for all. I would like to share some of the work that PTAs are doing at different schools –
- Bradford – organized a successful Movie Night, launched the running club and after school enrichment program, and will have their 3rd annual Costume and Winter Wear Swap during the Pancake Breakfast this month.
- CHBullock– organized the Back to School picnic and family socials, provided lunch for teachers on training day and organized a kindness committee to welcome students on the first day of school.
- Edgemont – celebrated latinX heritage month with an outdoor movie, a bilingual singer/songwriter performance and dance, kicked off their after-school enrichment program, celebrated Indigenous People’s Day, and will have their fall festival and harvest day.
- Hillside – had the new Parent Orientation, bike/walk to school day, Coat Drive, Carwash, and are getting ready for the Boogie Bash.
- Nishuane – hosted the family picnic, sold spirit wear, are currently hosting the book fair, and organizing the Principal’s Tea.
- Northeast – hosted a new families’ orientation, an ice cream social, a car wash, and their annual film on the field.
- Watchung – organized Indoor Recess Boxes for STEAM, Movement and Games to keep kids active indoors, organized “Week of Respect”, walk/roll to school, Garden Club’s fall cleanup, and meeting Montclair First Responders.
- Buzz Aldrin – held a Wine & Whiskey fundraiser, kicked off their after-school enrichment program to supplement after school clubs like model UN.
- Glenfield – for the first time in recent memory launched their after-school program, and are getting ready for their Black & Orange dance.
- Renaissance – held a Land Acknowledgement Ceremony, had a bake sale to support robotics, and will have their harvest fair.
- MHS – is bringing Homecoming back to MHS with an all-school dance. They are also organizing an Alumni walk before the last home game against Columbia.
So the PTAs are keeping very busy enriching the school community experience.
Switching over to the Community Investment Bond referendum. PTAC, along with the volunteers, has also been doing the heavy lifting to support the Community Investment Bond referendum. Our initial work focused on organizing all the information related to it so that every voter can choose to become well informed. This was followed by getting the word out and engaging with the community. We remain convinced that when we provide Montclair complete information on the bonds, Montclair will do the right thing. So here is a quick list of all that we are doing –
- Dedicated a page on the PTAC Website with comprehensive information on the referendum – – what, why, why now, how, and tax impacts. This includes a tax calculator.
- Launched a video series of Montclair citizens with Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill’s video. In these videos, community members share their perspectives on the Community Investment Bond Referendum. There is a new one coming out tonight.
- Designed, produced, and distributed lawn signs which you might have seen around. When you order one on our website, it magically appears on your lawn at no cost!
- Created one pagers that summarize it all for distribution at different town events, train stations, etc.
- Created posters that you might have seen at the retail businesses in town
- Organized Coffee Klatches in all wards – there are three this week.
- Volunteered at different events like the Farmer’s market.
Independent of PTAC, there is a GoFundMe page setup to cover the expenses being incurred in our efforts to support the passage of the referendum. In case you would like to donate, the GoFundMe page is under the banner “Invest In Montclair”.
Candidly, we have been overwhelmed with the positive support we are getting from the town – across the board. So many have stepped up to express their opinions through letters to editors and OpEds.
Our goal remains to stay engaged and see to it that we provide support and guidance to this effort. We are doing this for our town and to provide our children and teachers a safe and healthy place of learning. This is for our town’s future – one where Montclair will have a school system that is in keeping with Montclair’s standards. This referendum is consequential and will determine how we keep Montclair vibrant well into the future.