Superintendent Weekly Update

April 16, 2021

Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,

We've made it, friends! It's hard to believe we're finally at the April break and though it's spring, it's certainly looking (and FEELING) a little more wintery today. Never a dull day in New England!

It's been another incredibly busy week throughout our district--elementary students engaged with their learning and settling nicely into their routines. With our Return to Learn plans outlined for MTRS students and an expected return date now scheduled (see below for all the details), the energy and buzz of school in the district feels exciting... and our new normal is feeling good!

A reminder to our families as we head into this break... don't give up on the FAB FOUR. Now more than ever, our communities are counting on you. And in order to keep our schools operating safely in these trying times, we all have to do our part.

Here's what's happening this week . . .

* Return to Learn Update for MTRS

* District Literacy Survey for Caregivers

* COVID-19 School Planning Task Force Update

* School Committee Vote for MTRS Spring Sports

* MTRS Athletics Update

* Get Your Gear & Support Our Students!

* MTRS Walkathon

* MTRS Graduation

* School Spotlights

Return to Learn Updates for MTRS

The MTRSD school committee voted on April 14 to approve the MTRS Return to Learn full in-person plans as presented, with the anticipated return date scheduled for May 3.

We are really excited to welcome all of our MTRS students back into the physical building and are counting the days until their return! Just this week, DESE released their full in-person return date for high schools for May 17. We are happy to be ahead of their deadline and want to extend our appreciation to everyone for working collaboratively and creatively to make our return successful.

MTRS FAMILIES - please be sure to stay tuned to Principal Mendonsa's weekly updates for information about schedules and other information you'll need as we move through this next phase.

Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Literacy Planning Survey for Caregivers

The Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont Regional School System is planning to rework our approach to literacy in grades PK-8 so that our programs, teaching approach, and support for students are consistent in all schools and are based on research about how children learn to read.

We would like the input of caregivers to support this process. Please complete these questions based on your child's experiences* in the Mohawk Trail-Hawlemont System.

The survey is open through Friday April 23 (closes at 5 p.m.)

*This is a great time to talk with your child (or children) about their experiences in English Language Arts/Literacy at school! If you are unsure how to answer a question, please ask them for their input.

To complete the survey, visit:

COVID-19 School Planning Task Force & District Updates

A sincere thank you to our District Nurse Leader Donna Weber, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, and Franklin Regional Council of Governments for arranging our staff COVID-19 second dose vaccination clinic at Mohawk Trail Regional School on Monday, April 12. Thanks to their tireless work, we had the opportunity to have our entire staff vaccinated. We are grateful to our community partners for helping to provide this access right here in Franklin County.

As a result of the second clinic, we anticipated the potential for staff reactions to the vaccine and monitored the situation throughout the afternoon and evening. As of 6 p.m. Monday night, we were positioned to open with our amazing, if not small, substitute pool. However at approximately 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, there were more staff absent than we could find substitute coverage for in our buildings, which made opening schools impossible under COVID-19 protocols and as a result, school was canceled across the Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont Regional School districts.

Substitute shortages are a concern across many districts (even pre-COVID-19), not just ours; especially when something like this comes up. Over the past year, we've struggled to find substitutes and fill some vacant positions within the district. We welcome those who have an interest in working in our schools to fill out an application and be part of our extended school team! To learn more about all the current openings across our districts, visit


We've seen a slight decrease in state and county COVID-19 cases this week and again, as we head into the April break I urge you to PLEASE continuing practicing the Fab Four. Our collective efforts to practice the Fab Four, combined with the mitigating strategies in our schools, will continue to help to keep our students, staff, and community healthy and safe.

As a reminder, the Governor updated the travel advisory guidelines on March 22 for all visitors and returning residents. You can find that updated information here:

As always, if you have any health/COVID-19-related questions, please don't hesitate to contact our Nurse Leader Donna Weber ( or reach out directly to our partners at FRCOG, (413) 774-3167, ext. 153.

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Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Advisory

Link to travel information for visitors and residents entering Massachusetts. Updated information March 22, 2021.

Franklin County Regional Vaccine Clinic No Waste Standby List

An important message from our friends at FRCOG for our community (SPREAD THE WORD):

"The Weekly Vaccine Standby List will be used to call individuals for doses left at the end of ongoing vaccine clinics. We sometimes have 5-10 extra doses of the vaccine when we finish the day. Once we open a vial, we must use every dose within hours. We have never wasted these "extra" doses and this list will continue to help us with that effort.

This week we are running clinics at Berkshire East in Charlemont on Saturday, April 17 from 9am-3pm. NOTE THAT THE PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED CLINIC FOR APRIL 16 HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER.

This list is for the clinic ON APRIL 17 ONLY. The list will be deleted at the end of our clinic on Saturday, April 17. If you still need a vaccine next week, you can sign up for the standby list again. The list for next week will become active sometime on Tuesday April 20th."

How Do You Keep Our Communities Healthy & Safe? FAB FOUR - Of Course!

Remember to wear your mask; wash your hands; practice physical distancing; and stay home when you are unwell!

MTRSD School Committee Vote for MTRS Spring Sports

I'm excited to share with you the MTRSD school committee voted to approve the following spring sports at Mohawk Trail Regional School:

  • Varsity & Middle School Baseball
  • Varsity & Middle School Softball
  • Boys & Girls Track (Grades 7-12)
  • Girls Varsity Tennis (Grades 7-12)

MTRS Athletic Director Greg Vouros is awaiting further clarification/details from MIAA, PVIAC, FCAD regarding wrestling.

Please stay tuned to AD Vouros' new weekly MTRS ATHLETICS newsletter (released on Mondays) for the most up-to-date information and updates and the MTRS Student & Family Newsletter (released on Fridays).

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MTRS Athletics Updates

On Monday, MTRS Athletic Director Greg Vouros launched a weekly athletics newsletter to keep our students, families, and fans connected to MTRS sports and updates! If you haven't checked it out, be sure to head over to his Smore and see what's happening.

ELEMENTARY FAMILIES - we hope you'll head over to the Athletics website each Monday to view the latest edition and learn more about the variety of athletics programs available at Mohawk Trail Regional School! If you have an elementary-aged student interested in learning more about the opportunities available when they join us for middle school, let us know! Contact AD Vouros or Principal Mendonsa to learn how your child/ren can blaze their trail with us at MTRS!

DID YOU KNOW . . . You can GEAR-UP, show-off your MTRS pride, AND help support our students?

The MTRS Class of 2023 is hosting a GEAR-UP fundraiser to help offset costs for their class events. Now through April 27 you can get your MTRS swag by visiting their official MTRS Merch Site on FanCloth. SHARE THIS INFO with your friends, family, neighbors, alumni... and anyone who wants to proudly show their school spirit! For our elementary families, there are some youth sizes also available--so you can grab some gear for your future trailblazers before they join us in the fall (or years to come!).

**Flyer below created by our incredible MTRS Class of 2023 students Emery, Paige, and Rylee* Click the flyer and get directed to the site!

MTRS Walkathon Slated for May 22

Community members - our students need YOUR support! On May 22, the MTRS 9th graders 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.

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.

While the event is a month away, they've already started their fundraising efforts and are currently collecting pledges. They've created a website-- --so head there to learn more and make a pledge today! *Note from their class adviser: the pledge form is linked to the site, and checks are made out to MTRS.

MTRS Graduation

Please remember to SAVE THE DATE - graduation for the MTRS Class of 2021 is slated for Saturday, June 5 (RAIN DATE is Sunday, June 6) at the Mohawk Trail Regional School. Stay tuned as we share more information (and guidance/guidelines) for end of year celebrations. We're really excited to celebrate this class!


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School Spotlight: Buckland-Shelburne Elementary

Mr. David Conlon's 6th grade class was hard at work last week cleaning-up the BSE courtyard. Students raked the old leaves and acorns; cleaned out flower beds; planted bulbs and wildflower seeds.

"We removed seven wheelbarrows and two large trash cans worth of yard waste," said Conlon. "It was a really great team building project."

GREAT job, 6th grade! The space looks wonderful and ready for Spring!

*To see the full gallery of photos, head over to the school's Facebook page!

School Spotlight: Sanderson Academy

It's a Vacation VOCAB Challenge! GAME ON, Sanderson!

Sanderson Sixth Grade Teacher Krissy Schreiber created a fun challenge for students to tackle while they're away on break (complete with a chance to win some fun stuff)!

Activity bags include a menu of activities and vocabulary words for each grade--kindergarten through sixth grade. Along with written directions for each activity, students/families can use the QR code which links to a video demonstration of each game. As students complete an activity, they fill out their cover sheet, and then return it to their teachers after the break.

What a fun, engaging, and exciting way to keep your children learning during the week!

Learn more about Mrs. Schreiber's vocabulary challenge in this video below!

Vocabulary Challenge Introduction
Sander the Moose

Sander, the Sanderson Moose

Our District is HIRING!

We have a variety of employment opportunities currently open throughout our district. JOIN OUR TEAM! To view current openings and/or to apply, visit the district website:

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