MTRSD S'Updates

SUMMER 2021

Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,

Happy SUMMER! I hope that you're having a wonderful break and have an opportunity to do whatever it is that brings you JOY! The weeks are flying by and before we know it, the buzz and energy of back to school season will be upon us. We're excited for the 2021-22 year and having our students and staff back in our buildings learning and growing! As a reminder, our weekly updates are on a summer hiatus, but we'll be back with weekly updates at the start of the school year.


While things have been relatively quiet around our buildings without our students, we have a lot happening this summer. A shout-out to our incredible facilities and custodial staff who work all summer long to get our buildings prepped for the school year ahead (queue the floor waxing, painting, re-arranging...)! We're excited to welcome students back on September 1, but in the meantime, here's what's happening:


* COVID-19 updates and fall guidance

* MTRSD strategic planning update

* Explorers Program in full swing

* Homeschool policy/procedure survey for homeschool families

* Athletics updates

* MTRS welcome and registration days (August)

* Celebrating our district retirees

* Community Corner: West County Soccer

COVID-19 updates and fall guidance

Governor Baker and DESE’s announcement at the end of July regarding fall guidance for schools is timely given the current uptick we’re seeing in COVID-19 cases across the country and the Commonwealth. We know first-hand that mitigation strategies work. Here in Franklin County, and especially in our district, we were fortunate to see low COVID-19 cases even during the height of the pandemic thanks to the diligent efforts of our students, staff, and entire community to follow the FAB FOUR--wearing masks; washing hands; maintaining physical distancing; and staying home when unwell.


We will be reviewing the updated guidance and resuming our COVID-19 School Planning Task Force on Thursday, Aug. 12 as we review our current COVID-19 policies and procedures and plan for the new school year. Please be on the look out for future updates regarding school opening details relative to COVID-19 in the near future via our newsletters, websites (including the district's COVID-19 information page), and email.

MTRSD strategic planning update

Strategic planning is still underway and on schedule to be completed by the start of the new school year. Staff, student, parent, and school committee stakeholder groups have given preliminary feedback to the "big bucket" priorities we've identified (Fill our parking lots/Build community and prioritize relationships; Innovate and reimagine learning; Invest in our shared future/Create sustainability; Foster an inclusive community of learners/Honor the student experience and expand awareness within our community).


We plan to meet next with the town administrators, rounding-out our initial stakeholder feedback meetings. This critical feedback is used to help create the final draft which is scheduled to be presented to the school committee this month. With one more round of stakeholder feedback groups to review the final draft, we are on target for completion by September.

Stay tuned for additional feedback group information. If you have any questions or comments about the strategic plan or the process to date, please reach out to my office at any time - sstanton@mtrsd.org.

Explorers Program in full swing

Our district's summer Explorers have been BUSY over the past few weeks! Students are learning and exploring the area; learning new skills; and making friendships and memories to last a lifetime in our Explorers Program.



Our Grades K-2 Explorers were treated to a performance by Trevor the Games Man; went on a nature walk and participated in hand drumming with Aimee Gelinas from Tamarack Hollow; watched a storytelling performance and learned dance with Narieka Rose; and so much more!


In addition to many of the activities our Grades K-2 students enjoy, students in the Grades 3-6 program visit the Ashfield lake twice per week to learn boating, fishing, and swimming skills (a shout-out to Adventure East and the Ashfield Lake for all their help and support this summer!); have spent time exploring the MTRS woods and trails to examine worms and completed a "sensory tour."


Middle school students also learned a variety of fun hands-on activities this summer. They've visited the Bridge of Flowers and trolley museum; painted with local artist Bob Masla; learned theater improv with Narieka Rose; and built picnic tables with Eagle Scouts. A big THANK YOU to the incredible folks at Baked in Shelburne Falls for donating their time and expertise to our middle school students as they showcased kitchen science and the nuances of baking (complete with a variety of cookie experiments we surely did NOT let go to waste -- YUM!).


And our MTRS students had an opportunity to take a business ethics course with Attorney and Professor Jennifer Merton at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Our students not only worked hard and learned so much from their experience, but they represented our school, and district, proudly-earning them kudos from the UMass summer program coordinator.


According to Explorers Program Coordinator Alia Woofenden, in the UMass course, MTRS students learned about business law and ethical frameworks. As part of their work, students were required to apply what they learned to an actual business case study--finding a solution that was "ethical, legal, and financially viable." As part of their work and the culminating project for the class, they created a Powerpoint which they presented to a panel of judges and took top honors in the competition.


Our community partners have been instrumental in helping us to connect our students with the world around them -- sharing their skills and knowledge. We're grateful for these amazing connections and experiences for our students. As we head into the last week of our Explorers Program this week, we want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has donated their time, energy, and resources to helping to make the kick-off to our first summer Explorers Program a great one!


Don't forget to follow the Explorers Program Facebook page to see all of their adventures and get a glimpse of their day: www.facebook.com/MTRSDExplorers

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Homeschool policy/procedure survey for homeschool families

The school committee's policy subcommittee has been working on updates to the district's homeschool policies and procedures. In listening to the constituent concerns, the school committee is seeking feedback from homeschool families regarding the suggested policy and procedure changes.


The feedback form was emailed to homeschool families at the end of July. If you are a homeschool family who has not yet had an opportunity to complete the survey, or did not receive the email, please find the link below. This brief survey will help to provide the school committee's policy subcommittee and full school committee with critical feedback from those whom these changes will affect. Please share this link with any homeschool families in our district who may not be connected to our social media accounts.

Link to MTRSD Homeschool Family Feedback Form

If you have any questions, please contact Suzanne Crawford, MTRSD Policy Subcommittee Chair, at scrawford@mtrsd.org. Thank you in advance for your time and feedback!

Athletics updates

Fall registration for MTRS athletics is still OPEN! Visit this link to our FamilyID portal to sign-up today! Registering is EASY -- If you've never used the site before, you'll need to create a log-in for first-time use. If you need any help or have questions along the way, don't hesitate to reach out to Athletic Director Greg Vouros for more information at gvouros@mtrsd.org)!


Our Fall sports offerings include:


  • Cross Country
  • Field Hockey
  • Varsity Football (Co-Op Program)
  • Middle School Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball


The MTRS Athletics Community Feedback Group met in July and discussed athletic facilities priorities. The group is conducting a needs assessment and looking at making smaller, more immediate improvements to improve playing surfaces and bolster the athletics experience. According to MTRS Athletic Director Greg Vouros, the group decided to initially focus on these smaller, short-term, attainable tasks. In the next few months, the group will conduct a facilities walk-through and create a comprehensive athletic upgrade list. Once this list has been created, the group will then solicit feedback from the wider school community. In the interim, AD Vouros said plans are currently in place to update the MTRS athletic fields over the next several months.


In addition to the facilities assessment, the stakeholder group has created a student-athlete survey to be utilized at the end of each sports season. This important student survey will help students share critical feedback on their experiences and share ideas. The survey has not yet been finalized, but the group hopes to have it completed for the fall season.


We're excited to kick-off the 2021-22 sports season! If you have any questions, would like additional information about MTRS athletics, or need help with signing-up for a fall sport please reach out to AD Vouros at gvouros@mtrsd.org.

MTRS welcome and registration days Wednesday, August 25 from 7AM to 10AM and Thursday August 26 from 3:30PM to 7PM. image of MTRS logo over blue background with laptop icon and pencil and paper icon

MTRS welcome & registration days slated for August

MTRS families - MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Mohawk Trail Regional School will host welcome and registration days on:



Wednesday, August 25 from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

AND

Thursday, August 26 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Chromebook distribution for Grades 8-12; get help with / ask questions about our Aspen portal; obtain copies of your schedule or touch base with student support services; update your contact information and/or medical paperwork; learn about our sports offerings and chat with our athletic director; and MORE! New to MTRS? Stop by for building tours and learn your way around our campus!


We're excited to see our students and families! Please join us as we kick-off the start to the 2021-22 academic year!


Questions? Need additional information? Please contact Taffy Ruggeri at truggeri@mtrsd.org.


**NOTE: As of right now, we’re planning on an in-person open house and will be adhering to any COVID-19 policies and procedures for the new school year, which are currently under review. We’re hoping and planning for in-person events, but with COVID-19 this may shift.**

#BlazeYourTrailatMTRS

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Celebrating our district retirees

We are truly fortunate to have such an incredible, dedicated staff in our district. So many of our staff have maintained employment milestones well over the 25+ year mark with us! It goes without saying, we are excited for their next steps into retirement, but we sure will miss them!


ADVENTURE AWAITS!
A very happy retirement and best wishes for the joy in the years ahead to:


Walt Dufresne - October 2021

Kate Dwyer - September 2021

Sandra Field - September 2021

Virginia Gary - Retired October 2020

Luann Lord - July 2021

Karen Pedersen - June 2021

Roxanne Shearer - June 2021

Valerie Shippee - August 2021

Community Corner: West County SOCCER!

West County Soccer is BACK and registration is now open for children ages 4-11!

Practices are held twice per week with games on Sunday mornings at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School. ALL are welcome! Questions? Need more information? You can visit the West County Soccer website here: https://clubs.bluesombrero.com/westcounty or email Tina Miller at tmstevenson09@gmail.com

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We're proud of our students and our schools and hope YOU are too!

Thanks for all you do to make Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont School Districts GREAT places to learn and grow!