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Milltown Public Schools

Dear Parents/Guardians,

June is upon us and we have been working on plans to wrap-up the year for both students and staff. Students will be able to “visit” their classroom one last time to bring closure to the school year by participating in a virtual goodbye lesson with their homeroom teacher that will be live from their Parkview or Joyce Kilmer classroom during the last week of school. The date and time of the lesson will be communicated by your child’s teacher. During June 15th, 16th and 17th, our Virtual Schoolhouse will be closed with the exception of the library. Teachers will post links and directions for accessing DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) activities in the virtual library, and use the rest of the time that week to organize their classrooms for the summer. Aside from checking DEAR activities, there will be very limited direct communication from teachers these last few days. So, all year-end business with your child’s teachers should be conducted by June 12th. We look forward to the pictures and videos on our Homeroom app of students enjoying the library books that Miss Klinger has selected for them.

As part of our positive school climate and culture programs, one of the foundational elements that embody our school environment is the characteristic of respect. Our students are taught that respect is extended in many ways, including a respect for diversity. In order to address the current national events occurring in relation to diversity, we have compiled a collection of age appropriate resources to help you address the topic of racism with your child. We have made a concerted effort this year to include a wide variety of books that reflect diversity in our summer reading lists, which are linked below. Our June Student Support Corner Newsletter, also linked below, includes a variety of resources compiled by our counselors to assist with facilitating these discussions at home. It is our goal to instill that a variety in culture is meant to be cherished and appreciated, not judged and feared, to ultimately foster a wider appreciation of our human differences, break the cycle of bias, and change the narrative by building a sense of hope for our children.

Parkview summer reading
JK summer reading grades 4-6 and JK summer reading grades 6-8
Student Support Corner June Newsletter

As this remarkably unusual school year comes to a close, our thoughts naturally lean toward questions of what teaching and learning will look like in the fall. Although several parameters related to the opening of school in September ultimately remain outside of local control, we have taken steps to move forward with our own in-district planning to the best degree possible at the moment. In the absence of guidance from the NJ Department of Education to date, I have reviewed reentry plans from other states, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, as well as other countries who have returned to in-person learning. I have met with other county Superintendents and contributed to a regional reentry proposal for submission to the state. Our administrative team met with our safety and security consultant and started to review 8 focus areas associated with reentry planning, including facilities, health, mental health, instruction, IT, personnel, nutrition and transportation. Action steps have already been taken in some of these areas. The Spotswood Superintendent and I are meeting regularly toward more unified decision-making across our two districts in this regard. Our district leadership team, which includes administrators, teachers, and Board of Education members will be meeting next week to discuss possible progressive reentry phases and scenarios of on-site instruction as it relates directly to Parkview and Joyce Kilmer Schools.

Our guiding principle in reentry planning will be to promote and protect the physical and mental health of our students and staff. All protocols will continue to be aligned with the Governor’s executive orders, recommendations from the CDC, and will adhere to anticipated guidance from the NJDOE. I will keep you updated throughout the summer as information is released to the districts and as more concrete plans are developed for the fall.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your patience and understanding as we finalized our 8th grade promotion, 3rd grade fly-up, and Kindergarten step-up celebrations. Our adjusted celebrations, which were recently communicated to these grade levels, are based on the Governor’s executive orders in conjunction with the NJDOE’s guidance. I would like to thank Police Chief Knelle for his approval and support in allowing us to move forward in what will be a different, but memorable fashion for these important school events. Needless to say, regardless of the grade level your child completed, I am certain we will all agree 2019-2020 will remain an unforgettable school year for us all.

Be well.
Dr. Stephanie Brown