Superintendent's Blog

  • Update 5-29-2020

    Posted by James Albro on 5/29/2020 10:00:00 AM

    To our Wallington Community:  I hope you are all as well as can be as we close out our 10th week of virtual learning.  To say that the entire experience has been interesting would be a gross understatement to be sure!  However, I can't help but marvel at how far we have come in such a short period of time.  When I look back at the weeks prior to the closure I am reminiscent of different time that - although not that long ago - really seems like a long time ago.  In looking back at that time I realize again that virtual learning was not even allowed to be considered a day of instruction (according to the Department of Education) prior to March 2020.  My how much that alone has changed for all of us.  We have teachers teaching in ways they really never did before.  We have students learning differently, and taking on so much more to access their own learning than they ever needed to previously.  We have administrators who have essentially had to reinvent everything they would normally do to run our schools and our district efficiently.  Finally, we have parents who have perhaps taken on more than anyone else as they have shifted their role as a parent who supports their child in their education, to a parent who is directly engaged in the education of their own child.  I can say without any fear of contradiction that without our parents taking such an active role in their child's education, absolutely none of this would have been possible.

    Allow me to share some updates at this time:

    Graduations:  Oh boy, there has been so much talk about this over the past two weeks.  Certainly, these events are extremely important to our graduates and their families, as they mark transitions and milestones in a child's educational career.  Unfortunately, the information out of Trenton has been contradicting and incomplete at best.  So as it stands now:

    • Graduation ceremonies may be held virtually at any time
    • Modified "in person" graduations may only be held for middle/high school students
    • Any "in person" graduation ceremony may only be held AFTER July 5th (but not on July 7 as it is the primary election day)
    • If districts hold "in person" ceremonies they are restricted to whatever the Governor's maximum number of participants at a public assembly is at the time (right now the number is 25 participants which includes graduates, staff, and parents)
    • Districts may have multiple ceremonies if need be to accommodate all graduates.
    • NO graduations may take place indoors (so nobody can move inside in case of rain)
    • Drive By or "Wave Parades" are allowed at any time, but people can only remain in cars.

    Here in Wallington we are planning to hold virtual ceremonies for all graduation classes (K, 6, 8, and 12).  In addition, various parent groups (PTA, HSO) are helping to organize different drive throughs on the graduation days for the different grade levels.  (PTA and HSO have also purchased lawn signs for the graduates as well).  We are planning an "in person" ceremony for our grade 12 graduates on July 8, 2020.  There are several different plans to accomplish this, as we don't know yet what the maximum number of participants allowed will be at that time.  However, the plans include:  Possible multiple ceremonies with smaller sets of students and parents, having only students and a live stream to parents and the public, a modified "graduation walk" where students can receive their diploma, and a hybrid virtual and "in person" ceremony.  As we receive more information we expect our plans to become more definitive; however, we are using July 8 as our target date for our seniors regardless.  Our goal and our sincere effort is to honor our students as best we can while following all of the guidelines that are set forth in the Governor's executive orders.  Everyone can expect to receive more communication from principals in the next days and weeks.

    End of Year Pick Up/Drop Off:  Students at all grade levels have property of the school in their possession, and at the schools we have personal property belonging to students as well.  In a normal year, we would simply take care of collecting and dropping off all property over the last several days of the school year, but this is obviously not a normal year!  Principals have been communicating with families about the pick up and drop off procedures for their buildings.  You will note that the dates and procedures differ by building and grade level, and this is due to the need to be socially distanced etc.  Please know that if for some reason you cannot come to school at your assigned time, we will make other arrangements to receive school property and to return students' personal property.  Please communicate with the building principal if you need alternate arrangements and we will all figure out what we need to do.  Above all, we all need to remain safe.

    Next Year:  We are all working now on getting ourselves ready for next year, and the many changes this would entail.  I expect that beginning in the month of June I will be able to start sharing information with the public about the many changes that are likely to be taking place when schools open in September.  For your information, the State has not put out any guidelines on the opening of schools yet - although I see that the CDC and other health organizations have begun to release recommendations.  Rest assured that we will be obliged to follow all health and safety guidelines mandated, and that I will need to communicate all of this to our families as well.  There will undoubtedly be numerous communicatons sent out over the summer months through our website, our school messenger (phone and email) system, and our Facebook page.  Since procedures etc will change for schools and for parents, we will need to have a lot of communication with each other so that we can all ensure our collective safety together.  If the cooperation we have received from our families these last ten weeks is any indication, we will have the smoothest possible transition to in person learning whenever the governor allows that.  

    Until our next communication, I hope you all remain well.  Please reach out with any questions you may have.

    Comments (-1)
  • On Thursday evening, March 5th, the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) provided new guidance regarding requirements for public health-related school closure, stating:

     

    "In the event a board of education is provided a written directive by either the NJDOH or the health officer of the jurisdiction to institute a public health-related closure, the board of education may utilize home instruction to provide instructional services to enrolled students. Any day in which students impacted by a public health-related closure have access to home instruction services provided consistent with the guidance in this memo will count as a day in which the board of education has provided public school facilities toward its compliance with the 180-day requirement in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-9."

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