October 29, 2021
Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,
As we flip the calendar next week to November and look back on the school year so far, I want to commend our entire school community for their flexibility as we consistently bat whatever curveballs are thrown our way. If there's one thing we've learned throughout this pandemic, we're resilient to changes and quickly adapting.
You'll see in my update this week, we had to make a few shifts and adjustments this week at both Colrain Central and Mohawk Trail Regional School in response to heating upgrades. I appreciate the community support and the hard work by our entire staff to keep us moving along.
Here's what's happening this week!
* COVID-19 updates: mask mandates and vaccines
* Colrain Central & MTRS heating upgrades
* MTRS principal search narrowed down to two finalists
* Heath students will attend Colrain Central starting in 2022-23 school year
* MTRS offers digital arts
* School Spotlights: Colrain Central, Sanderson Academy
* Community Corner
COVID-19 updates: COVID-19 vaccines for kids and mask mandate extension
This week the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) independent advisory council voted to recommend COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11; which was followed by FDA approval on Friday, Oct. 29. This is an exciting step forward in our battle to eradicate COVID-19 as the FDA extends the emergency order for vaccine rollout to children.
In anticipation of the next phase of vaccine rollouts for children, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and local health agencies like FRCOG are gearing up for the vaccine approval and availability and currently are scheduling area vaccine clinics.
According to MTRSD COVID-19 Nurse Donna Weber, DPH has tentatively scheduled a vaccine bus clinic (VaxBus) which would be slated to roll-in to our area by the end of November. The DPH VaxBus will be at Hawlemont Regional School on Nov. 30 and Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School on Dec. 2; both clinics would be held from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Additionally, our partners at FRCOG are also looking to host vaccine and booster clinics. We will share this information with you as soon as we know more. In all cases, pre-registration will be required. STAY TUNED for additional information; links for sign-ups; and more in the upcoming week! If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to Nurse Weber at email@example.com.
Another friendly reminder, that POOL TESTING is available for all students, staff, and volunteers, but is required for athletics, extracurriculars, and before- and after-school programs. ALL information can be found on the district’s COVID-19 Information page at www.mtrsd.org/covid-19-information OR by clicking on the “Helpful Links” drop-down from any of the school websites. If you have any questions surrounding the process, procedure, or need additional information, please reach out to Nurse Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org or Superintendent Sheryl Stanton at email@example.com.
If you have not yet signed-up, but still need or want to - it's easy!
TO SIGN UP ONLINE: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district
Select: Consent Now → Mohawk Trail → (select your school)
For staff, coaches, or anyone over 18 years of age, please select “Sign consent form for yourself.”
For caregivers who need to give consent for their child/ren, please select “Sign consent form for a minor.”
If you are unable to complete the online sign-up/consent, please contact Donna Weber for a paper copy to complete.
Additionally this week, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced an extension of the school mask mandate, which was set to expire this month, through Jan. 15. As a reminder, in the Mohawk Trail Regional School District, our school committee voted to require masks for students, staff, and visitors while indoors for this school year.
Remember - using all of the mitigation strategies and tools together helps to keep our communities healthy and safe. As we quickly approach the colder weather season and spend more time indoors, we can't let our guard down! PRACTICE the FAB FIVE: Trust the Facts and Get the Vax; wear your mask; wash your hands; practice physical distancing; and stay home when you are feeling unwell.
Please click here to read the NPR article: timeline for kids COVID vaccine.
Click here to visit the district's COVID-19 information page and data dashboard.
Colrain Central & MTRS heating upgrades
This week we had to make some difficult shifts and decisions at both Colrain Central School and Mohawk Trail Regional School in response to planned upgrades to our heating systems via our capital improvement projects which experienced a few delays.
Work at Colrain Central began last week and experienced a minor set-back when a part for the boiler didn't arrive on time. With the colder than anticipated temperatures expected for this week, causing classroom temperatures to plummet, we knew we could not safely welcome students and staff into the building until the repairs were complete. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of the Colrain Community Church, we were able to shift our students and staff to their building on Monday and Tuesday, resulting in no missed school days. We were back in our classrooms on Wednesday with one of the boiler repairs completed. According to our Director of Facilities Robin Pease, excavating work is still needed and will be completed once the rain lets up and the ground is drier.
The heating system at Mohawk Trail Regional School has been undergoing a complete system overhaul since July 1 as part of the district’s capital improvement projects. The 147,000 square-foot building needed a complete gutting and rewiring of its building management system (BMS); flushing of old antifreeze; repairing over 40 classroom, hallway, and office space valves; and refilling the entire system before re-firing the boilers. The system was back up and online Thursday morning as anticipated, but Pease said work continues this week as they make any necessary adjustments to the system and balance the building temperatures.
While most of the testing and repair services are typically conducted during the summer, the contractor has been backlogged with projects due to the high demand for services during the pandemic. As we have seen across numerous industries (food services, trucking/delivery, HVAC), contractors are scheduled out-straight and are experiencing delays. And while we did have to close MTRS for two days due to the colder than predicted temperatures, we are grateful this work was done swiftly. We were able to safely get our students and staff back in the building Thursday morning as planned. The two missed days at MTRS will be added to the end of the school year ONLY for Mohawk Trail Regional School (the elementary schools will not be impacted).
We will continue to keep you updated about our capital project work and any potential impacts to our learning environments in the months ahead.
MTRS principal search narrowed down to two finalists
We have completed the second round of interviews and focus groups in our MTRS principal search. Thank you to the initial search committee for their time and willingness to participate in the first round of interviews. Thanks to our students and DLT members for participating this week in our second round! I was so impressed with our students! They were AMAZING and asked such thoughtful questions. They also gave great feedback as we enter our next and final stage of the process.
I am very pleased to announce our two finalists:
Chris Buckland, current principal of Smith Academy in Hatfield, Massachusetts; and
Mike Henault, current Reed Middle School principal in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
We are very excited for you to meet these two finalists as we continue our work in finding the next educational leader of MTRS!
Next week, we will conduct our final parent focus groups and teacher meet and greet sessions. If you are a caregiver of an MTRS student and can participate on Thursday, Nov. 4 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., please contact Karen Totman at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will conduct our caregiver focus group in-person and virtually, practicing all our COVID-19 protocols for those who are able to participate in-person.
Heath students will attend Colrain Central starting in 2022-23 school year
On Oct. 26, the Mohawk Trail Regional School District school committee voted unanimously at their last meeting to welcome Heath students to Colrain Central School beginning in the 2022-23 academic year. It was determined that between the two closest MTRSD elementary schools (Buckland-Shelburne and Colrain Central School), Colrain Central was best positioned to accept Heath students.
Starting in September 2022, Heath students who currently attend Hawlemont Regional School may enroll at Colrain Central or will have the option to "choice" to Hawlemont (but must provide their own transportation as a choice student). Heath students who attend Colrain Central will be provided with transportation. If you have any questions, please contact Superintendent Stanton at email@example.com.
MTRS offers digital arts
You can check out a sampling of our digital arts student work on Instagram @mtrs_digital!
Digital Photography Class
Student talent at MTRS . . .
Be sure to check out the MTEA Scarecrow Contest display this weekend!
School Spotlight: Colrain Central pollinator work featured in the Greenfield Recorder
Earlier this week our incredible Colrain Central students and their pollinator project work was included in the Greenfield Recorder! In case you missed it, you can read all about it here: https://www.recorder.com/HG-Pollinators-NolumbekaProject-43162904
We are so proud of our students and the important and meaningful work they do for our community and world! Great work, Colrain Central, in helping to make this world a better place!
School Spotlight: Sanderson Academy
Community Corner & District Events
This link will bring you to the literacy night flyer.
Parents' Night Out - Grades K-6
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
PARENTS - you need a night out and your children need a fun-filled night IN with us at MTRS! We’re bringing back a crowd favorite and hosting a Parent’s Night Out Movie Night for students in Grades K-6 on Friday, Dec. 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mohawk Trail Regional School.
5:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. Games in the MTRS gym
6:15 p.m. - 8 p.m. Snacks & Movie time in the MTRS auditorium
Caregivers head out for a night of fun and food and support our movie night sponsor (details to come!) while your child is at the movie!
NEEDED! Elementary Cross-Country Ski Club Instructor
This position is a one-year, grant funded position and will remain open until it is filled.
To apply, or for more information, please contact: Alia Woofenden, Liaison for Community Engagement and Enrichment Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SEPAC is a self-governing body (creates its own by-laws and operational procedures) and is open to all parents of children with disabilities and other interested parties. All are welcome.