Message from the Superintendent

Dear Montclair Public Schools Parents/Guardians,

Please allow this communication to serve as an update regarding the following topics:

MHS Fall Event

The MHS Fall Event is scheduled for Tuesday, October 16, 2018.  All parents/guardians should report to the auditorium at 6:00PM.  The general session will include an update regarding facilities, after school activities and attendance.  At the general session, a schedule regarding the content related sessions will be shared.  Parents/guardians will travel via grade to each of the content related sessions.  The content sessions are:  (a) Guidance, (b) STEM, (c) Humanities/World Language, and (d) Physical Education/Health.  A flyer was sent to all MHS families last week, and it is attached again to this communication.  Classroom teachers will not be available to answer questions related to specific classes and/or students.  Parents/guardians should email teachers if they have specific questions. Equally as important, course expectations were emailed to all parents/guardians previously.  And, course syllabi are available on the MHS website.  

As a reminder, the 2018 MHS Back-to-School Night was canceled.  Regrettably, we cannot overturn this decision.  Please remember we are down 31 classrooms, and we did not want to ask teachers to travel from room to room to meet parents/guardians in the areas where the classes are held. Furthermore, there is a limited amount of time for this event (parents/guardians would likely have difficulty navigating the building).  For your consideration, we wanted to provide this additional information so you are aware of the “why” behind the “what.” 

Attendance

In the last week, I have received questions regarding attendance for students. Please understand that our change in practice is not due to anything within our control or because we wish to make new rules. Our new practice is simply to ensure we are following the state regulations regarding student attendance.  Due to chronic absenteeism in the district, we are under a state attendance improvement plan, and we must adhere to the state attendance law.

For your consideration, an absence is when students are not present and engaged in scheduled, board-sanctioned, educational activities in the building or at an approved external site with the teacher or teachers to which they are enrolled. Students must be in the building or in an approved external activity for four hours to be considered present.

To read further on this attendance guidance, you may refer to the NJDOE document.

Being regulated by the state, we must adhere to the law and only report students' absences within very specific codes; namely,

  • Present,
  • Absent,
  • Excused for Religious Observance, or
  • Take your Child to Work Day.

As you see, a student’s illness or a student’s appointment with a doctor is an absence, and it is unexcused.  I hope this communication helps with your questions, and if you would like to understand further, please reach out to your child’s principal.

MHS Facilities Update

A facilities update will be provided at the Board Meeting tonight.  There is much inaccurate information in the field.  Parents/guardians are encouraged to refrain from entertaining any information regarding facilities, unless it comes from the Interim Principal or the Superintendent.  

Community Conversation

Please see the flyer.  All are welcome to attend.

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