Superintendent Weekly Update

April 2, 2021

Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,

Happy APRIL!


We are excited and ready to welcome ALL of our returning elementary students to our physical classrooms on Monday! We know there may be some nerves; some excitement; and lots of mixed feelings and we are here to support your child/ren through this transition. Be sure to reach out to your building's principal if you have any questions or concerns. We're here to help!


Here's what's happening this week!


* Sen. Adam Hinds presents Rural School Aid

* Return to Learn Updates

* MTRS Virtual Town Hall

* COVID-19 School Planning Task Force Update

* School Committee Meeting, April 14

* MTRS Class of 2023 Fundraiser - GEAR UP!

* Blaze Your Trail at MTRS

* School Spotlight: Colrain Central School

* We're HIRING!

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Sen. Adam Hinds Presents Rural School Aid to MTRSD

On Monday, March 29, Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield) visited his alma mater at Mohawk Trail Regional School to present this year's rural school aid funding to the Mohawk Trail Regional School District in the amount of $192,644.


Sen. Hinds has been a vocal advocate of supporting our rural schools and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the region to secure this funding.


"Zip-codes should not determine the quality of a child’s education,” said Hinds. “Our rural schools deserve the funding that is critical to their ongoing success and the necessary attention from state leaders.”


We can't thank Sen. Adam Hinds enough for his continued support and advocacy for rural schools. As a Mohawk Trail Regional School alum, Sen. Hinds deeply understands the struggles that our rural schools and towns face. Each year our taxpayers take on more of the heavy lift in supporting our schools; and while we still have a long way to go with leveling the playing field for rural schools, this additional funding is a step in the right direction.


The Rural School Aid grant program helps school districts with low population densities and lower-than-average incomes address fiscal challenges and take steps to improve efficiency. Administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Rural School Aid is a source of funding separate from Chapter 70 aid and is intended to supplement the FY20 operating budgets of eligible school districts.


In order to qualify for Rural School Aid, DESE must determine that a school district meets two requirements: (I) The “rural factor” – student density per square mile of a school district; and (II) Ability to pay – the average per capital income of a school district.


Hinds also called for appointments to the Rural Schools Commission, established by the Student Opportunity Act, which he chairs to move forward. To date only four out of 19 Commissioners have been appointed. The Commission aims to make rural school aid permanent.


To learn more or to thank Sen. Hinds for his continued support, visit his official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SenatorAdamHinds

Sen. Hinds presents Rural School Aid funding to MTRSD

HRSD & MTRSD Return to Learn Updates

This week in the Hawlemont Regional School District we welcomed hybrid students to our classrooms! This intermediate step helped our students adjust to new routines and processes in the physical classroom and as we prepare for full in-person return to school. As a reminder at Hawlemont, PLEASE remember these important adjustments:


* Follow the new traffic pattern for pick-up and drop-off

* Take note and plan for the change in arrival and dismissal times


And remember, it's incredibly important to follow the FAB FOUR to help keep our students and staff healthy and safe as we return to in-person learning - Wear your mask; wash your hands; practice physical distancing; and stay home when you are unwell.


On Monday, we will welcome ALL MTRSD and Hawlemont elementary aged students back to our physical classrooms. We're really excited for this next step in the Return to Learn process and can't wait to see them!


As we plan for an in-person return at Mohawk Trail Regional School, please SAVE THE DATE for an upcoming Virtual Town Hall to be held on Thursday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. *see details below.


As a reminder, we do not have a date set for the full in-person return of MTRS students (grades 7-12); however, planning continues for this next phase including scheduling and union negotiations. As we move through these next stages, we will continue to keep you updated as we learn more! One thing is for sure, we are very excited for the energy our students bring to our hallways and can't wait for their full return!

SAVE THE DATE - MTRS Virtual Town Hall, April 8 at 6:30 PM

As part of the next steps for our Return to Learn full in-person return for grades 7-12, the Mohawk Trail Regional School will host a Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. via Facebook LIVE from the school's page (www.facebook.com/mohawktrailregional) and simulcasting on the district's Vimeo channel (www.vimeo.com/mtrsd).


Families - please stay tuned to your email for an advance question survey so we can answer all your questions as we continue planning for this next phase!

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COVID-19 School Planning Task Force Update

In reviewing the state, local, and district numbers this week, we're seeing an upward trend across the board in COVID-19 cases; the first uptick in cases since this fall.


Numbers in our region and district still remain low, an indicator of our community's commitment to the FAB FOUR and helping to keep us healthy and safe. However, as warmer weather and April break quickly approach, the team asks you to not let your guard down. As we transition students back into the physical classrooms, this is not the time to become lax on our practices. Our mitigation strategies in the classroom will help to keep our students and staff safe, but the continued commitment by everyone (refraining from travel; staying home when sick; wearing masks; etc.) will provide those additional layers of protection.


STAFF VACCINATION UPDATE: District Nurse Leader Donna Weber continues to work with our community partners at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and FRCOG to arrange for our district staff's second-dose COVID-19 vaccine clinic. We anticipate the next staff clinic will be held around April 12 (28-days from the first dose).


If you have any COVID-19-related questions, please don't hesitate to contact Donna (dweber@mtrsd.org) or reach out directly to our partners at FRCOG, (413) 774-3167, ext. 153.

Our FAB FOUR Keeps Our Communities Healthy & Safe!

1. Wear your mask

2. Wash your hands

3. Practice physical distancing

4. Stay home when you are unwell!

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DID YOU KNOW . . .

Mohawk Trail Regional School offers a variety of innovative, collaborative, hands-on classes where students can blaze their trail to graduation?


From blended courses like Artglish (art & English), Bioethics science and English), Popular Music and Culture (history and music)--to anatomy and physiology, calculus, computer science, personal finance, sociology, world languages and SO MUCH MORE! MTRS is proud to offer honors options in every class, 11 Advance Placement courses, as well as internship and field work opportunities. Students receive a variety of supports to help them throughout their time at MTRS through their daily advisories; access to our student services office; and connect with peers through a robust athletic and activities offering.


If you're an elementary-aged parent wondering how MTRS can help YOUR student become a trailblazer, contact the MTRS Student Services office (413) 625-9811 or visit our website www.mtrs.mohawktrailschools.org to learn more about our programming.

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MTRS Class of 2023 Fundraiser - GEAR UP!

Calling all MTRS families, community members, alumni, and future trailblazers -- the MTRS Class of 2023 will be hosting an MTRS gear FUNDRAISER to benefit their class! Hosted through Fan Cloth, you'll be able to choose from a variety of MTRS gear! Hoodies, t-shirts, joggers, windbreakers, blankets, cups... you can show your support of MTRS from HEAD to TOE!


Great opportunity to show your support for the class AND show off your Mohawk Trail pride! Elementary families (we're looking at YOU 6th grade caregivers!) -- MTRS gear makes for a great gift for the 6th grader headed to our school next year! ALUMNI -- replace that old, worn out t-shirt with some new swag!


STAY TUNED to the MTRS Facebook page next week when the online gear shop goes LIVE! You'll be able to order easily from the comfort of your home and have your merch shipped right to your door!

#BlazeYourTrailatMTRS

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Calling All Sports Fans!

While there are still COVID-19 restrictions in place for spectators on the fields, you can still get your sports fix and cheer on your favorite student athletes! FOLLOW the official MTRS Athletics Instagram & Twitter pages @mtrsathletics to catch video clips, pics, updates, and more!

School Spotlight: Colrain Central School

Recognizing school routines have changed a bit since the last time some of our students were physically in the building, our friends at CCS put together this helpful video to help ease the transition for students. While this video is geared for CCS students, across the district you can expect to see similar accommodations in your buildings. Be sure to check with your building principal for any specific questions you might have as we gear-up for our fully in-person Return to Learn!
NEW Routines at Colrain Central School

Our District is HIRING!

We have a variety of employment opportunities currently open throughout our district. Come join our team! Positions available at MTRS (baseball coaches, middle school math teacher, groundskeeper/custodian), Buckland-Shelburne Elementary, and Hawlemont! To view current openings and/or to apply, visit the district website: www.mtrsd.org/Job-Postings

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