Superintendent Weekly Update
April 30, 2021
Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,
Welcome back from break! I hope you had a great week off with your families -- resting, getting outside to enjoy the spring weather, and doing whatever it was that makes your heart happy!
This week has been BUSY with our elementary students in back in the buildings and adjusting to their new routines at school. They've done an amazing job and we're so glad to have them learning in our buildings again. We're really excited to welcome MTRS students back on May 3 (details in my update below) and to begin celebrating end of year milestone events. We have so many wonderful things happening in our schools and it's wonderful to feel the buzz of energy on our campuses again.
To keep you connected, here's what's happening . . .
* Return to Learn Update for MTRS
* Bus Routes
* COVID-19 School Planning Task Force Update
* USDA Extends Free Lunch Program
* MTRS Info Night for Elementary Parents (held April 28)
* MTRS Athletics Update
* Walkathon to Raise Funds & Help Offset Medical Costs
* MTRS Student Spotlight
* End of Year Celebrations
* SEPAC Meeting on May 5
* School Spotlights
Return to Learn Updates for MTRS
We are SO excited to welcome MTRS students back to the building for full in-person learning beginning on May 3, ahead of DESE's return date of May 17.
MTRS families should stay tuned to their email for any additional updates from Principal Mendonsa. Her weekly newsletter this week will have a run-down of any final details and schedule information students and families need for their return. Weekly updates are also posted on the school's website www.mtrs.mohawktrailschools.org/news. If you have any last-minute questions, please don't hesitate to contact Principal Mendonsa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 School Planning Task Force Updates
We've seen a slight decrease in state and county COVID-19 cases again this week; however there has once again been a slight bump in our district cases. With the state relaxing several mandates this week, I urge you to continue to do your collective part to help keep our district COVID-19 cases low. Continue to practice the Fab Four! The Fab Four, combined with the mitigating strategies in our schools, helps to keep our students, staff, and community healthy and safe.
With updated guidance from the CDC and Gov. Baker's office, we know you may have questions.
As always, if you have any health/COVID-19-related questions, please don't hesitate to contact our Nurse Leader Donna Weber (email@example.com) or reach out directly to our partners at FRCOG, (413) 774-3167, ext. 153.
While there are changes to state mandates for mask wearing in outdoor environments, our district policies and procedures will remain in place; we are committed to continuing our mitigation strategies this school year. We've come so far and now is not the time to let our guards down. We know the FAB FOUR works; and it's keeping our school community safe! With many students not yet eligible for a vaccine, we will continue to do our part to care for one another and keep us safe--Mask wearing, hand washing, physical distancing, and staying home when unwell will continue to be a priority. Over the summer, we will revisit our policies and procedures in thinking about our fall reopening.
Additionally, on April 19 the state entered Phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, providing all Massachusetts residents aged 16 years and older with the opportunity to be vaccinated (see chart below). This is an exciting time for our communities as we come together to do our part and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Be sure to visit www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine to learn where you can sign-up for the vaccine. In Franklin County, our friends at FRCOG have been working hard to vaccinate residents aged 18+ and informed us that vaccines ARE available and easy to get! Please visit the FRCOG website for additional information: https://frcog.org/covid-vaccine/
IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED, please be sure to read through the updated state guidance to help you navigate social settings safely: www.mass.gov/guidance/guidance-for-people-who-are-fully-vaccinated-against-covid-19
Click here to view the state's updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.
USDA Extends Free Lunch Program
What does this mean?
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted families across the nation in numerous ways, but especially when it comes to food insecurity. In recognizing this hardship, the USDA has extended their free lunch program for ALL students through next school year. Every district student is eligible to participate in the program, no paperwork to fill out or required!
To read the full announcement, visit the USDA press release on their website here: www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2021/04/20/usda-issues-pandemic-flexibilities-schools-and-day-care-facilities
MTRS Hosts Information Night for Elementary Families
If you missed the presentation or are interested in learning more about the transition from elementary to middle school, you can watch the livestream replay on the MTRS Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mohawktrailregional/videos/753277145225616
MTRS Athletics Updates
A quick update from MTRS Athletic Director Greg Vouros: Applications for the Athletics Community Feedback Group closed on Monday. Thank you to all who expressed interest in serving on this group! He will be going through candidate applications this week with the hopes of notifying selected group members early next week and scheduling the first meeting. Stay tuned to your emails for additional details from Mr. Vouros.
Walkathon to Raise Funds & Offset Medical Costs
On Saturday, May 22, the MTRS 9th graders (Class of 2024) will lace-up their sneakers and make their way to the MTRS track for a walkathon to raise money for their class and the Baystate Health Foundation! Recognizing how COVID-19 has financially strained many members of our community, the students wanted to combine their efforts to make an impact not only on their class fundraising efforts, but also to help their neighbors in need. Forty percent of the proceeds of this fundraiser will be donated to the foundation.
These incredible students will be walking to fulfill both those needs--helping them to plan for their future needs to offset costs of annual events while impacting their community in a meaningful way.
Interested in supporting our 9th grade fundraiser? You can learn more and make your pledge here: https://sites.google.com/mtrsd.org/walk4health/homepage
*Note from their class adviser: the pledge form is linked to the site, and checks are made out to MTRS.
Sophia Goodnow Named 2021 Peacemaker Award Recipient
Goodnow was nominated for her community service work and commitment to helping her neighbors in need. Last year, Goodnow served as a MTRS Project 351 ambassador and dedicated much of her service work to helping to alleviate hunger issues in our community through a donation drive to benefit a local food pantry. Additionally, she has been instrumental in organizing the Class of 2024 Walkathon to raise funds for her class and help offset medical costs for those hit hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Sophia's persistence for thinking about others first, and how the world's events impact her neighbors in need, make her a shining example of a Peacemaker," said Carla Potts, MTRSD director of communications. "She's thoughtful, considerate, and puts others before herself. She thinks about the world with a wider lens. She's an exceptional example of the kind, caring, and compassionate students we are honored to have in our school community, but stands out for her commitment to helping to make her community stronger by providing additional resources not readily available."
Goodnow and her fellow award winners will be recognized by the Interfaith Council of Franklin County in a "drive through ceremony" (date yet to be determined) and interviews which will be aired on the organization's YouTube channel.
Congratulations, Sophia on your award and representing our school and district!
Did You Know . . .
Hands-on, innovative, collaborative learning is at the heart of what we do at MTRS--preparing our students for the world after they leave our building. With numerous Advance Placement, interdisciplinary, and exciting course offerings which can be taken at college prep OR honors levels, there's something for everyone!
Check out our newly revised Course Catalog and learn about our programs! A special shout-out and thank you to our MTRS Trailblazer Community Group for helping to provide a critical eye and breathing new life into our traditional course catalog! Community feedback groups play a critical role in the MTRS Trailblazer model--providing us with insight and voice to work happening in our school.
To view our latest course offerings, please CLICK HERE.
Questions about our courses? Interested in learning more about what MTRS has to offer? Contact our student services office at (413) 625-9811! We're excited to share how you can blaze your trail with us!
Click here to learn how our students blaze their trail to graduation at MTRS.
End of Year Celebrations Across the District
Here's a helpful listing of some of our end-of-year events and traditions (more to come as they are scheduled):
Mohawk Trail Regional School Class of 2021 Graduation
Saturday, June 5 at 5 p.m. (Rain date: Sunday, June 6 at 1 p.m.)
* Due to COVID-19 restrictions, event is not open to the public
Sanderson Academy Field Day
Thursday, June 17 (Rain date: Tuesday, June 22)
Sanderson Academy Sixth Grade Graduation
Friday, June 25 at 1 p.m.
SEPAC Meeting on May 5
School Spotlight: Sanderson Academy
Sanderson Academy fourth graders in Jennifer Lagoy's class began an in-depth study of weathering and erosion in their science exploration this week. As part of their work, students were asked to build, demonstrate, and observe the process in action though:
Building a "mountain" (piling up dirt) and sketching a "before" picture; demonstrating years of rain fall by pouring water on top of their mountain; and making observations and sketching an "after" picture.
Students will use their sketches as a model as they move through the unit to help them understand the concepts; and add labels to the drawings to show their understanding of weathering, erosion, and deposition. NICE WORK, 4th Graders!