MHS Update - Open on Regular Schedule

September 13, 2018

Greetings Montclair Public Schools Parents/Guardians:

As we welcomed our Montclair High School students and staff back today, I would be remiss if I did not share how incredibly positive our staff and students were today. We salute them!  While we are very pleased with the overall positive synergy from staff and students, we fully understand there may still be concerns and questions in the community so please allow me to provide a high level overview of our next steps.

Friday, September 14, 2018

  1. Staff and students will report at their regularly scheduled times.  We will offer zero periods.
  2. Transition time, like today, will continue to be given to students traveling from the Annex building to the Main building and from the Main building to the Annex building.
  3. Students’ schedules with updated room locations are still available in Genesis.
  4. Each teacher received a revised relocation plan should there be an emergency.  These revised plans align with the modified facilities use plan. We will test these plans multiple times in the coming days to ensure we continue to relocate students and staff in a safe and timely manner. We were very fortunate to have our Township’s Fire Inspector present today.
  5. We will continue to assess our learning environments to enhance all opportunities for learning.  We understand that some of the larger learning environments are not ideal; however, we are looking to refine our work each day.

Here are my ongoing commitments to you:

  1. Focus on Safety — I will continue to make critical decisions that promote the safety of our students and staff.  While we conducted an assessment of requisite capital improvement projects 1 ½ years ago, we will conduct a structural analysis of every school within the district. The assessment of the requisite capital improvement projects was presented publicly to the Board of Education in November 2017.  The structural analysis of each school will commence as soon as possible. Equally as important, we will continue to have additional staff to support newly created high traffic areas.  Lastly, before the demolition of the compromised staircase from Friday occurred, we contacted our environmental engineer to conduct an asbestos assessment.  There was no asbestos present in the compromised staircase.  Safety is always the focus.
  1. Ongoing Communication — I will provide a timeline for remediating the staircases in the original Montclair High School building, which was constructed in 1914. While only one staircase is known to be compromised, we elected to close the remaining three staircases in the original Montclair High School building as a necessary safety precaution.  It is our hope to provide additional support structures to the these three original staircases before reopening.  We will not take any chances with our students and staff.   Safety is always the focus.
  1. Status of the Repairs  — Our district architect and Director of Buildings and Grounds will provide an update to the Montclair Board of Education on September 17, 2018 at or around 7:45 PM.  Also, we invited our Fire Inspector to be present.  If you are interested, you may attend the Board Meeting or watch the Board Meeting live on Channel 33.  The meeting video will be posted to our district website within 72 hours of the meeting. Safety is always the focus.

We recognize this experience may be frustrating for some, but please understand we are doing what we know to be right and safe for students and staff.  Thank you in advance for your support. 

Enjoy your evening!

With excellence, equity, social justice and access,
Kendra V. Johnson, J.D., Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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