Dear Families, Caregivers and Staff,
Last week I mentioned a few spirit-lifting activities around the district. Here’s one from Bradford to enjoy, Valentine’s Day messages to senior citizens from our young learners. In another good deed, Buzz Aldrin Student Council members wrote letters to first responders in the community thanking them for their service. Also spreading kindness second grader Jayla Pitts organized Project Love to help homeless women in and around our area. Read more about our students and their positivity on our website and remember to follow us on Twitter @montclairschls for good news and updates.
Our high school students have had the opportunity to participate in the Adopt a Survivor Program, created by Holocaust survivor, Irving Roth. The program, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, pairs a survivor with students. Our students, from Social Studies teacher Shana Stein’s classes, virtually met with Otto Salamon, who shared his story. After reading his book, students created websites to memorialize Salamon’s experience for future generations.
This week I want to express how grateful I am to all of our families who have been supporting others in need. Whether it’s snow related or another setback, friends and neighbors have pitched in to help fellow families, making sure those struggling had assistance, food or much needed supplies. You have displayed such caring and generosity during these challenging times.
Please see some district updates below:
Update on Delayed In-Person Instruction
At the present time, there are no new developments to report. The district and the MEA continue to engage in mediated discussions.
Pupil Services Update
Extended School Year will be increased from four to six weeks giving students 33% more instructional time. We are eager to use this time to aid in addressing any regression that took place during the pandemic.
We are also happy to announce that a new cohort of teachers will be trained in the Orton Gillingham approach to reading instruction. Currently we have 12 teachers trained, and our goal is to add another 12 by September.
The Special Education audit is underway. The consultant has met with Board members and parents and beginning March 1 will be meeting virtually with district personnel and conducting various focus groups.
NEW: Food Service
Montclair Public Schools participate in the USDA Child Nutrition Program and benefits have been approved through June 2021 so that every student can receive a free meal seven days per week regardless of their free or reduced meal status. See flyer for details.
Registration for the 2021-22 school year began on February 15. For more information on the registration process and documents required to register, please visit our website. All registration events will remain virtual for the 2021-22 school year.
Ms. Briony Carr-Clemente will be taking the helm as Edgemont School’s principal on April 20. She is eager to join Edgemont’s vibrant community and is committed to weaving academics, social emotional factors, and equity together for a rich, inclusive learning environment. Mr. Mike Chiles will remain as Interim Principal.
The Technology Department is asking all families who are using personal devices to utilize their Google Chrome Browser when participating in virtual learning. Our district has invested in many online tools and various applications that work best with the Chrome browser. Please call our Technology Support Line, 301-259-1510, should you require any assistance. Lastly, please contact your child’s building administrator if you are in need of a device.
Reminder: A Message from the Montclair Scholarship Fund
The Montclair Scholarship Fund (MSF) awards scholarships to MHS college-bound seniors with financial need. After dreaming big for four years, students find themselves priced out of the higher education opportunities they have worked so hard to achieve. The MSF expects to receive an increased number of applications for scholarships in the wake of the economic strife of the pandemic. If you are able, your contribution to the fund would be incredibly valuable as it helps to fund a need-based scholarship for our most vulnerable and deserving students. Donations may be made online at www.montclairscholarshipfund. org. No amount is too small.
Quarter Century Club Recognition
At the February 17 Board of Education meeting, the district paid tribute to its dedicated teachers and educational professionals who have served for 25 years. We applaud these staff members on achieving this milestone and are thankful for their commitment to Montclair Public Schools.
|Renee Arnold, Hillside
Bronwyn Beesley, Northeast
Susan Bleecker, Watchung
Cheryl Cottle, Buzz Aldrin
Rae D’Allegro, Nishuane
Sandra Egan, Buzz Aldrin
Colleen Frank, Northeast
|Tawonnia Granderson, Renaissance
Helen Kuryllo, Montclair High School
Alfreda Mayer-Massop, Northeast
Dione Olson, Watchung
Drury Thorp, Watchung
Patricia Vargas, Bradford
Monique Wade, Central Office
Free Food and Music Event
Toni’s Kitchen, Parents who Rock and Montclair Mutual Aid have organized a free food bag and winter coat giveaway along with live music this Sunday, February 21, at Glenfield Park for the Montclair community. See flyer with details in English/Spanish.
Reminder: If you or a family member needs to be tested for COVID-19, the YMCA is offering free COVID testing at its Park St. facility.
Stay safe and warm!
Dr. Jonathan Ponds