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MPS Home ➤ District ➤ Superintendent ➤ Newsletters ➤ Fall 2015

Fall 2015

From the Desk of the Superintendent

Volume 1, Issue 1

Fall 2015

Dear Montclair Community:

This is the first edition of a seasonal Superintendent’s newsletter designed to give you insight into happenings around the schools, special events, and most importantly how we are working toward building student learning and performance. I hope you find this valuable and informative.

We have been busy since before school began working on strengthening cultural awareness, revisiting curriculum, enhancing technology, and improving facilities. See more details in the column to the right.

My hope is that if you have children in the schools, you will get to know more about what the District does to support your children’s learning and performance. And I am hopeful that residents will gain insight about our schools as well. In a district our size, I can be most effective by spending time in the schools, meeting with administrators and staff, reviewing programs, and seeing students in their learning environment. I am confident that my office staff can direct you to the appropriate administrator for your concerns when I am not in the office. This will allow me to be actively involved in programming, increasing my time with the staff that ultimately will impact student learning and performance, and have an opportunity for firsthand review of all operations.

We are taking steps to address the persistent Learning Gap, and we have faith in a staff that prides itself on keeping programs relevant, the curriculum current, and providing interventions so that all children can be successful learners. It is an honor to educate your children, and I look forward to our continuing work this 2015-2016 school year.

Ron Bolandi
Interim Superintendent

Cultural Awareness

During our September convocation the entire staff was treated to a presentation by Mr. Lawrence Hamm, noted civil rights activist, humanitarian, and lecturer. He helped establish the People’s Organization for Progress, an independent, grass roots, political association that is active in the northern New Jersey area. As chairman, Mr. Hamm has consistently worked toward building unity among community organizations. To build on his message, the District has contracted with The People’s Institute to expose staff/community to Undoing Racism in a December workshop.

Revisiting Curriculum

Some of the priorities in curriculum have been enhancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education, and we are grateful for the generosity of Josh Weston in supporting our expanding 3D printer use. Pinpointing academic needs and targeting successful interventions for K-5 literacy and math have been ongoing. As the Board of Education adopted a two-year technology plan, we are expanding our efforts to customize digital resources for families and students.

Improving Facilities

When Montclair High School Class of 1965 alumnus and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Joe Walsh returned to his roots to speak to students and perform at a benefit concert in honor of MHS’s 100th anniversary, Montclair High School became the recipient of more than a $250,000 donation to build a state-of-the-art Media Center. The Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence along with MHS staff coordinated this huge effort, and we are grateful to all involved with this once-in-a-lifetime event.

We continue to upgrade our buildings and have recently removed an underground oil tank at Glenfield Middle School, installed ground floor heating and ventilation and repaired a playground at Watchung Elementary, renovated and installed drainage at the fields for Bradford Elementary, and installed a district-wide video surveillance access control and alarm system.

New Site

We have a NEW LOOK! Please let us know what you think of our new website.

District Announces Launch of TV33
Not everyone can come out to a Board Meeting. So, the District has launched TV33, a FIOS channel, which will be dedicated to BOE news and District events. All Board Meetings will be televised live and streamed on the internet. The educational playlist is expanding soon to include sports and school tours. Check back on our website for updates and announcements.

Superintendent releases 20 District Initiatives to address the Learning Gap

  •  Develop tutorial program in each building with after-school busing provided at certain buildings

  • Train staff in cultural awareness and unconscious racism

  • Work with clergy groups to develop tutorial programs in our most needed areas

  • Work with community partners on coordinating and developing programs for our most needy students

  • Offer families/caregivers, who are unable to attend meetings during the week, an opportunity to meet with school counselors during Sunday faith gatherings

  • Develop a welcoming atmosphere in all buildings for all visitors

  • Review K-5 data to develop a universal literacy and math program with staff/parent input

  • Partner with Montclair State University to assist us in our tutorial and staff development programs

  • Contract with The People’s Institute to expose school/community members to “Undoing Racism” on Dec. 15 and 16

  • Develop a standardized discipline code in middle and high school to address student suspensions

  • Develop a Guidance Handbook for parents to navigate our curricular offerings

  • Review our current Algebra placement and course offerings in middle and high school

  • Reorganize our Title funds from staff salary allocations to program allocations

  • Develop a minority staff recruitment program

  • Review the current registration process to assure that our District has a diverse balance

  • Review current magnet system to make sure it is supporting academic programs and not driving them

  • Work with the Montclair Education Association’s leadership to jointly develop a Professional Development program

  • Assure that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is in every building in the District regardless of the building’s magnet philosophy

  • Review assignment and placement of students in advanced classes

  • Review personnel schedules in all buildings to maximize student learning and performance

Updated: 2/19/2017