Welcome back to the 2022-23 school year! I know we are well rested and ready for another year of exciting and engaging educational experiences rooted in rigorous academic preparation and instructional practice. Our administration and teachers remain focused on the social and emotional growth of our students, and continue to embed activities that foster a positive school culture.
This year we start off September with a long-awaited return to normal operations. We will continue to remain focused on the well-being of our students and staff, with precautionary health protocols remaining in place. But, the significant interruptions in scheduling and daily procedures are behind us.
Teaching and learning in our district is focused on cultural responsiveness. As a culturally responsive school we offer a learning environment where every student's cultures, languages, and life experiences are acknowledged, validated, and celebrated. We will be conducting a cultural diversity audit involving various aspects of the district. The intent of this audit is to gauge our ability within our schools and community to learn from and relate respectfully with people of one's own culture as well as those from other cultures. More information will be shared in order to participate in the survey and focus groups, and results will be released later in the fall.
Teachers are participating in a professional development series facilitated by a range of experts from across the state to explore authentic engagement among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Our PTO has partnered with us to feature a keynote speaker at the October general membership meeting to provide more information to our parents on this topic.
This school year we have expanded our teaching staff in our fine arts department, special education and intervention. A new full time music teacher allows for the addition of chorus at Parkview School and a more comprehensive band program. Other new positions will provide reading specialist and basic skills support services.
Milltown Schools will embark on developing a new Strategic Plan: Vision 2025. The plan will include goals related to the following areas: Academic Excellence, School & Community, Health & Wellness and Environmental Awareness. All staff, parents, and community members are welcome to participate in the committees that will carry on the tasks associated with the action plans throughout the three years. Our kick-off meeting will be on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 7PM in the JK gym.
As part of our strategic plan, we are working very hard to maintain transparent communication with all stakeholders. Please subscribe to our district Facebook and Twitter feeds, and visit our district and school websites often for information related to our school community. If you are uncomfortable with something you hear about your child’s school or daily interactions, consider the following recommendations made in The Washington Post article A school district takes on fake news –about itself:
- Call the school and identify yourself, so that a productive two-way communication may be established.
- Go first to the source of your concern, such as your child’s teacher before contacting the principal. Our teachers are very responsive and will do their best to address the issue first-hand.
- Avoid expressing unsubstantiated or misrepresented information in a public forum.
- Use appropriate committees and other key communicators, such as the PTA, to raise questions about a rumor and other information that was not received directly from the schools.
- Take your child’s reporting of information with a healthy dose of skepticism, as kids often perceive things differently than adults.
A child’s belief in their teachers and their academic career is grounded in the attitudes that their parents communicate about their local school and education in general. It is important to allow the administration to partner with you in resolving issues, and recognize that we are all focused on the best educational experience for your child.
A strong partnership between home and school is what makes our district so strong. Our students are fortunate to attend school in a town where there is strong parental and community investment in their achievement, which allows us to provide a high quality education for all our Milltown students. I look forward to a purposeful, joyful, and extraordinary year!
Yours in education,
Dr. Stephanie Brown