A monthly recap from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Evans
This past year presented so many unique challenges, and I cannot express enough—in words—how thankful I am for the patience and efforts of our parents, community members, students, and staff. Our collective flexibility and determination propelled us through this storm. Though we are all looking ahead for a pandemic-free school year, we have also developed the skills needed to respond to any crisis.
I also want to thank so many of you who have welcomed and supported my transition this year. I am looking forward to many years of partnering with you in the future.
Our schools and staff continue to make plans for the 2021–22 year with very little updated guidance from state agencies on how to do so. While the New York State Department of Health updated its in-person instruction guidance on June 7, we—like many of you—are awaiting answers on:
- Will schools need to continue to offer remote instruction?
- Will social distancing remain in schools and, if so, at what distance?
- Will face coverings still be required in schools?
At the moment, our administrators are planning as if the June 7 NYSDOH guidance will remain in effect in September 2021, in hopes that the pandemic will continue to decline, and less-restrictive guidance will be published.
We are also preparing for a complete schedule of in-person instruction in 2021–22: i.e., every student in school, every day, with full in-person schedules.
Please check our website (www.monticelloschools.net) for updates, or contact your child’s school for more information.
Capital Project and St. John Street School
At the time of this blog, the tentative completion date for the renovations at Monticello High School will be December 2021. Work has slowed due to structural issues found in the exterior walls on the Breakey Avenue side of the school, and the customization of the panels that are to be installed on all sides of the renovated wing. This customization requires coordination among multiple parties (e.g, the architects, construction managers, contractors, and manufacturers). The panels will take 19 weeks for manufacture and delivery once the final measurements are determined.
As a result of this work, over 30 classrooms will be closed in Monticello High School. This, along with additional classes needed for credit recovery—due to lost learning this past year—has caused us to relocate HS classes in Robert J. Kaiser Middle School. The knock-on effect will result in the 6th grade being temporarily placed in St. John Street School. This will be for at least the first half of 2021–22, with a determination to return (or not) to RJK later in fall 2021. (Sixth grade will return, for sure, to RJK MS in 2022–23.)
RJK MS and district staff are working hard to develop this transition and schedule. RJK MS administration has been holding information sessions for next year’s 6th grade students and families. For more information, please visit RJK’s website.
No individual’s race or identity should be a predictive factor on how they are to be treated by others.
Our society has had increased dialogue on systemic racism and implicit bias. The Monticello Central School District is committed to becoming an “antiracist district,” while instilling an “ethic of equity.”
Over the past year, Monticello parents, community members, and staff members formed an equity work group that explored strategies to help the district’s efforts in fulfilling these goals. Bank Street College facilitated these discussions. It will present an “Equity Snapshot” of the district at the June 24 Board of Education meeting. This “snapshot” will detail the next steps to guide this work in 2021–22, with supporting evidence on its recommendations.
Looking back…and looking ahead
As this most unusual school year comes to an end, let’s take a look back through the eyes of our students:
On the subject of looking ahead, I wish all of our retirees the best in their next endeavors and, on behalf of the Monticello Central School District, thank them for their years of service.
Congratulations to all of our 2021 graduates! You’ve earned it, and good luck!
The first day for students will be September 8, 2021.
Have a great summer!