New teachers and staff were welcomed at the George Inness Annex atrium on September 2.
The beginning of a new school year means a surge of energy — for staff, parents and, of course, students. All over the district, classrooms are now in session by day, and Back-to-School Nights, Board of Education meetings and other events are taking place in the evenings. But even before the first yellow school bus pulled into the streets on September 4, the district was already in high gear.
In late August, Superintendent Alvarez, Central Office administrators and building Principals and Assistant Principals convened for a 4-day retreat to discuss strategy and goals for the coming year. The following week, on August 26, a New Staff Breakfast was held at Montclair High School’s George Inness Annex atrium to welcome new teachers and other staff members.
On September 2, Superintendent Alvarez welcomed more than 600 new and returning staff to the annual Staff Convocation at the Montclair High auditorium. The mood was high as he wished all teachers and staff members a safe, productive and enjoyable year to come. (See related article, this site.)
A somewhat smaller number of new staff will join the district this year than in the recent past — approximately 48 in all. Eight administrators will take on new positions and several new directions are emerging district-wide, including the fall launch of the China Initiative.
On September 4, Superintendent Alvarez visited each of the district’s schools accompanied by new Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried and the President of the Montclair Board of Education, John Carlton.
That evening, newly appointed MHS Assistant Principal Francine Bonczkowski and the staff of the 9th Grade Academy and main building welcomed parents of incoming students in the auditorium.
“You should all be happy your children are attending the 9th Grade Academy. We are here to watch over them – that’s our job,” Ms. Bonczkowski told the assembled audience of about two hundred.
Throughout the district, ice cream socials at the elementary schools, welcome events (like the annual Freshman Orientation) and Back-to-School Nights all took place or are soon to come, to help staff, students and parents get the year off to a good start. The first public meeting of the Board of Education was held on Monday, September 8.
“We had an excellent first day of school, with no incidents reported,” Superintendent Alvarez announced at that meeting. “The buildings were clean and in good repair, the students were in high spirits, and everybody looked rested after their summer and ready to begin a new year.”
Notes For a
Once again this year, the district’s top three teaching and learning goals are: infusing technology into the curriculum at all grade levels; narrowing achievement gaps by improving academic performance for all students; and addressing the disproportionate number of African American males in Special Education.
The newly renovated Furlong Field House at Montclair High School is nearly ready for unveiling. A dedication ceremony is planned for October 25.
The newly-created Office of School Community Relations has been created in the Board of Education building at 22 Valley Road, headed by former Nishuane Principal Felice Harrison. A Communications Committee consisting of three Board of Education members has also been formed.
At the Washington Street site of the soon-to-be-erected new school, an informal groundbreaking ceremony took place on September 11, with the construction phase to follow shortly. (See related article, this site.)
Public meetings of the Board of Education will now take place at the George Inness Annex at 141 Park Street beginning with the meeting of November 3 (at 7:30 p.m., as formerly) and will be videotaped by local cable television Channel 34.
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