Welcome back to the 2021-22 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 will continue to transition back to a normal school day while remaining diligent in the face of the ongoing challenges related to the pandemic. Masks continue to be required while inside the schools. Mask breaks are scheduled for 10 minute intervals for 25% or less of the class. Snack will take place in the lower elementary grades within a 10 minute timeframe. We will continue to notify our school communities when a positive case is reported, and close contacts in relation to any 15 minute or more exposure to a positive individual where social distancing was compromised will be notified as well. Students will be eligible for remote instruction if quarantined if COVID positive or exposed.
Teaching and learning in our district is focused on cultural responsiveness. 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 will welcome representatives from our county DOE office for a state mandated district evaluation process that focuses on several areas. An examination of district operations, instruction & programs, fiscal, personnel and governance will take place according to multiple indicators that measure accountability in each area. A report on our score for QSAC will be included at a spring Board of Education meeting.
Milltown Schools will embark on our third year in our Strategic Plan: Vision 2022. Committees will focus on expanding the arts and literacy programs, fostering student independence both academically and socially, parent involvement activities, life skills and before/after school care. The committees report three times a year on progress toward attaining goals in each domain.
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 August 24, 2017 article A school district takes on fake news –about itself in The Washington Post:
-- 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 PTO, 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