BOE Meeting Headlines
News and Views from the June 1, 2020 BOE Meeting
Presentation - Millburn 3D Mask Project
Dr. Burton presented regarding the Millburn Mask Project that created face shields using school district 3D printers and other equipment for local hospitals and frontline workers. Middle School teachers, Ms. Zsuzsanna Michael and Rich Serra, and High School teachers, Dave Farrell and Hilton Seibert, students, alumni and the Education Foundation.
Dr. Burton thanked the teachers, alumni, students, Dr. Miron, Dr. Keenan and Mr. Connolly who assisted with this project. Dr. Burton acknowledged the Education Foundation for funding the supplies and assisting with outreach for distribution.
Moment of Silence
I would like to start my report with sharing my condolences to the Kloza family. It is with much sadness that we report that one of our former PK para professionals, Mary Kloza has lost her battle with cancer. Mary passed away yesterday surrounded by her family at home. She leaves behind a husband and 3 children. I would like to ask for a moment of silence in her memory.
Peaceful Show of Support
Today, local, national or international tragedies happen so frequently that they can feel almost commonplace. When a hate crime, mass shooting, act of terrorism or other terrible event occurs, one of the questions many people ask is, how should we explain this to the children? And how might we respond? How we have these conversations and how we act when these terrible circumstances happen, can teach our children about how to build a better community for the future.
We know that students can quickly become aware of these impactful events in their community and in the world, and need opportunities to process their feelings and share their fears in sensitive and age-appropriate ways. We can also afford them the opportunity to take action as many did yesterday in their peaceful show of support for George Floyd. For all of the members of Millburn community who took part to express their feelings, condolences and views, they took a bold step in bringing our community together. Their efforts are in sync with the work of the district to build greater cultural diversity and global awareness of our staff, our students and our families. Their message and actions yesterday sent the message in support of all black families and that such acts of hate have no place anywhere on our planet.
Wrapping up the Year
We are currently scheduling time for MS and HS students to gather their belongings from their lockers. The administrators are in the process of putting the protocols and schedules together in preparation for students at each grade level to retrieve their lockers. We ask that you carefully read through and follow the CDC guidelines for students to wear masks, gloves and to bring a bag for collecting everything from their lockers. As an additional look ahead, we will have the plans in the coming weeks for the return of books at the MS and HS as well.
Planning for the Fall
Regarding the possibility of returning to school in the fall, we are currently working with a planning guide that provides key considerations and questions to be addressed for possible scenarios for how students and staff may return in the fall. These scenarios address no, some or all students returning to the school as well as how virtual learning continues as well. We will follow the CDC guidelines and develop our plans in conjunction with our local Health Department. As we receive guidance from the state, which we anticipate mid-June, we will have more answers to the many questions we have at this point. This guidance will help formulate our plans for health and safety, school schedules, logistics, transportation, etc. that we will then be sharing with our families and school community. During the coming weeks and throughout the summer months, we plan to keep active lines of communication with families on the plans for the fall. Health and safety of our students and staff are our first priority and will therefore guide all of our decisions making efforts.
Today a few administrators and I had the chance to attend a live meet with school district administrators from across the globe who have returned to school. The goal of the meeting was to share insights of how they planned and have safely returned back to school. They shared a wealth of insights on all of the logistics that they used in their planning, health and safety and communications. Along the lines of gathering a much information and data to inform our decision-making process, I have volunteered to be part of the Leadership and planning Committee as part of a Working Group with the Commissioner’s Office. The goals of this committee will focus on restart and recovery planning, including sharing research-based, comprehensive restart and recovery planning templates, self-assessment tools, and creating opportunities for expert input to ensure that decisions about reopening and recovery are guided by public health experts. Leveraging existing networks, resources and best practices will be critical to connect and empower educators to solve problems collaboratively.
MMS & MHS Ceremonies
We know that everyone, especially the families of seniors, are all anxiously awaiting our decisions regarding graduation. As of last week, Governor Murphy issued new guidance for high school and middle school graduations. It is important to note that these current guidelines still are limited to 25 total people in attendance. This number includes graduates, family members, and staff. As time moves on, we do anticipate a possible loosening of these restrictions on the number of people who can gather. Governor Livingston is planning for an in-person graduation ceremony that includes maximums of 25, 50, and 100 people, as well as our normal full capacity ceremony. The current guidelines also have strict protocols for PPE, social distancing, temperature checking and other restrictions. Given the likelihood that these guidelines will change multiple times over the next month we are trying to be as proactive as we can in our contingency planning. Hopefully, as we move closer to the actual event we will have greater clarity and will communicate a final plan accordingly.
We want to plan for the most celebratory in-person graduation possible given the situation and parameters we have to work within. Know that our first priority is the health and safety of our students, families, and staff. We have planning happening behind the scenes that will take address an event that will honor this milestone in our students’ lives while also meeting all health and safety protocols and requirements. Currently the HS virtual ceremony is scheduled for June 24th at 11:00 a.m.
At the Middle School , we have decided to proceed with the planned virtual ceremony on June 22nd. Mr. Connolly will be sharing the details as we approach the date as it stands, we are looking at an 11 am launch.
In another first during these unusual times, we want to thank our principals and school administrators for finding innovative ways to provide students and families with the transition activities that take place during the spring to introduce students moving up to their new schools. For example, the high school held virtual club fairs for 8th grade students last week that connected these incoming students with clubs and activities, and the student leaders of these organizations. These Google meets were well attended and a successful way to continue these traditions.
The Dream – Issue #2
The High School Black Student Union has published their second issue of their online magazine, The Dream. It is especially timely, and I encourage everyone to read it.
As introduced by the editors, “The Dream Vol. II has a multitude of poetry, prose, articles, and artwork for your viewing pleasure. The BSU has continued to work incredibly hard through these troubled, uncertain times, and this second issue of our ‘zine is a testament to that work. We’re not letting a pandemic hinder us. The dream lives on, through times of peace and strife.”
You can find it on the Millburn High School website under About Us, and also in the News section of the district site. We thank these students for continuing their work to give voice to these important conversations.
Real Short Hills Donation
I’d like to acknowledge one additional donation on the agenda this evening, which is in the amount of $2,040.17 donated by Melanie Rosenbaum of Real Short Hills. These funds are to be used by the Special Education staff to attend the Autism NJ and Transition conferences. Many thanks to Melanie for her generosity!
Assistant Superintendent's Report
Assistant Superintendent, Kate Diskin reported on:
Millburn Film Fest
Thank you to the Millburn Film Fest Committee for adapting to these times with the virtual 9th Annual Film Fest. While we missed the excitement of the Red Carpet, watching the premiere of these student films in our own “screening rooms” was still a “moving” experience.
Congratulations to the top three winners, Jacob Updyke, a Millburn High School junior, won first place for his animated film AYE O, while Nemma Kalra, an MHS sophomore, won second place for her narrative Life After Death. They received gift certificates to the New York Film Academy. Rachel Solomon, an MHS junior, earned third place for her film Lucidity.
If you missed it, you can watch all of these films, and the honorable mentions, on the Millburn Film Fest’s YouTube Channel, at www.millburnfilmfest.com. While you are there, consider a donation to the Millburn Education Foundation so they can continue to support our student filmmakers, and our school district in so many ways.
Krueger Rhodes & Foxy Awards
Congratulations to Millburn High School English teacher and Department Chair Jessica Siegel, the recipient of the Film Fest’s annual Krueger-Rhodes Award which recognizes a member of the Millburn community who has worked to advance the arts. As highlighted by the committee: Ms. Siegel’s “contributions to the school’s cheerleading and theater programs have made a lasting impact on countless students.“ We couldn’t agree more!
The Limelight Players Fall drama, “She Kills Monsters,” produced by Ms. Siegel, was just honored with a Foxy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Combat during the Montclair State University’s Theatre Night Awards, dedicated to honoring excellence in both middle and high school plays.
They were nominated for 4 additional awards:
Outstanding Achievement in Period/Fantasy Costume Design,
Outstanding Achievement in new Media/Special Effects,
Outstanding Achievement in Educational Impact and Community Outreach (Director Paul Weinstein)
And Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama for (Charlie Baker)
Congratulations to all!
Highlighting Helping Hands
We continue to be so impressed with the multiple charitable and community activities being undertaken by our students. This week we are highlighting a student project that is using Math for Philanthropy: Seniors in Mr. Breslow’s Math Analysis class have spent time this year analyzing philanthropic organizations, researching non-profits, contacting some, analyzing their tax forms, fundraising, and sending off checks to two of them (after a number of rounds of voting by the students).
As a "final project," in light of the desire to support organizations that are, supporting Covid-19 relief efforts locally, across the country, and around the world, students have pinpointed 10 organizations that they would like to raise funding for. They are not asking for donations, but they have created an Instagram page that outlines the 10 organizations, and simply asks that anyone donating to any of them, go to the Instagram page, and reply with the organization name and the amount they donated.
Their goal is to raise $5,164.16 for these organizations. (There is a complicated math analysis reason for that number!)
You can find out more on their Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mhs_math_analysis_2020/
This link has also been added to our list of many student efforts going on to support those in need during this pandemic. That can be found under Virtual Learning tab on the district page.
Thanks for your support.
Business Administrator's Report
- The business office has been working on closing out the year and gearing up for next year.
- From the financial perspective, on tonight’s agenda is resolution M.3.a, an annual resolution authorizing the Business Administrator to pay bills at the close of the fiscal year on June 30th and for two bill lists in July, necessary because of bills to be paid as the new year opens as well as the regular monthly bill list. These additional check runs, coupled with the alternate Board meeting schedule in the summer, necessitates the authorization so we can pay our bills on time and subsequently have the Finance committee and then the full board approve them.
- There are multiple resolutions related to grant applications as the district allocations become available including the 2020-21 Elementary and Secondary Act funds, an application for funds related to the CARES Act or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, and a School Security grant application that will support the costs associated with security upgrades to assure compliance with Alyssa’s Law.
- Scheduled work to renovate the Hartshorn Media Center should begin soon. Resolution M.3.d allows us to sell, donate, or dispose of books and furniture no longer needed by the District, as well as office furniture being replaced as many school offices are receiving facelifts as part of the security vestibule projects.
- And finally, thank you to Melanie Rosenbaum for her continued work to support Autism Awareness and her donation through the Short Hills House Tour. And a thank you to the continued partnership with the Millburn Education Foundation who helped support teachers with “emergency grants” as they transitioned to virtual learning and also helped to support the face shield production project described in tonight’s presentation.
Comments & Questions
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Join Us for the Next BOE Meeting - Monday, June 15, 2020
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