Superintendent Weekly Update

May 28, 2021

Dear Mohawk Trail & Hawlemont Families,

As we head into the final weeks of school and we count down to GRADUATION for the Class of 2021, I can't help but share my excitement for their future. This class managed to make the best out of a truly weird senior year. Remote learning. Pandemics. Navigating physical distancing and masks. "You're on mute..." All things that weren't part of their vocabulary just a short time ago and now they've mastered.


I hope you'll join us in celebrating the Class of 2021 by checking out their senior shout-outs on the school's Facebook and Instagram pages (@mohawktrailregional). See how our students blazed their trail to graduation and where their adventures will take them next.


One thing is certain--the future is so bright for these incredible students. We're so proud of them and all that they've accomplished. To all the caregivers who have helped these students throughout their academic journey--THANK YOU! Thank you for your time, your care, and your commitment to helping our students succeed. You play an important role in why Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont are GREAT places to learn and grow.



* Update to Mask Mandate Policy

* Explorers Summer Program

* End of Year Events

* Walkathon Raises Over $2,000 to Benefit Class of '24 and Baystate Foundation

* Global Perspectives at MTRS

* MTRS Students Work With Amherst College to Understand Wildlife Activity

* Class of 2021 Senior SHOUT-OUTS

* School Spotlights

Update to Mask Mandate Policy

On Tuesday, May 25 the Mohawk Trail Regional School District School Committee voted to approve changes to our mask policy that align to DESE guidance, effective Thursday, May 27.


Effective Tuesday, June 1 the same updated mask policy will apply to the Hawlemont Regional School.


Please do not hesitate to reach out to your building principal or superintendent’s office if you have any questions or concerns. I am incredibly thankful to our entire community for their

thoughtfulness as we move through the next phase of the pandemic and our commitment to creating a culture of caring for each other through this challenging time.


Approved Proposals:


For ELEMENTARY students / families:

Masks will continue to be worn while in our buildings and when on our grounds for the few remaining weeks of our school year, but can be removed during recess. Students at recess are in very small cohorts for a brief amount of time. Students unmasked at recess would not be considered “close contact.” With no current COVID-19 vaccine available for this population, they remain our most vulnerable. Mask breaks, outdoor learning whenever possible, and physical distancing remain a priority.


For MIDDLE / HIGH SCHOOL students / families:

Masks will continue to be worn while in our buildings and outside when moving throughout our school grounds; mask breaks will continue throughout the day. For example, when students are headed outside, masks are on. When they arrive at their destination outside, masks can be removed when maintaining physical distancing.


UPDATE to mask mandate for our student athletes:

Masks will continue to be worn when students are on the benches / sidelines and transitioning

from the bench to the field. However, masks can be pulled down while actively playing in a position where physical distancing is possible (ex: outfield in baseball/softball).


Visitors:

All visitors must continue to wear a mask when walking on school grounds (to / from parking lots/fields/ courts/track etc.). Physical distancing should be maintained.


Additional Information:

As a reminder, the state mask mandate has NOT been lifted for those individuals who have not yet been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Big picture

District Summer Explorers Program

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted students across the nation this past year. With students spending last spring and a good portion of this school year in remote and hybrid models, we know many students felt disconnected and struggled with social-emotional connections. As a result, the state made funding available and mandated districts specifically provide summer educational and enrichment opportunities to help re-establish these social-emotional connections and strengthen their educational foundations. These programs, while incredibly fun and interactive, are educational programs and differ significantly from summer camp offerings.


Our Explorers Program builds a bridge between academic school years and is aimed at true educational experiences through hands-on learning and outdoor exploration, while meeting students’ academic and social needs. They are not intended to compete with area summer camps, but aim to fill gaps for our district students. We surveyed families to determine their needs for this summer and built our programming based on those results.


Due to requirements for meeting the academic and social needs of our district students, and limited grant funding, space is limited for these free programs.


Stay tuned to our website, www.mtrsd.org/Explorers-Program and Facebook page @MTRSDExplorers, for program details and registration information in the upcoming week from our Summer Program Coordinator Alia Woofenden. We anticipate registration will open on Friday, June 4.


If you have any questions about our program or would like to learn more, please reach out to Alia (aka Mrs. Woof) at awoofenden@mtrsd.org.

End of Year Events

Mohawk Trail Regional School

Saturday, June 5: Graduation, 5 p.m. (rain date June 6, 1 p.m.)


Buckland-Shelburne Elementary

Saturday, June 26: 6th Grade Graduation Parade (tentative)


Colrain Central School

Monday, June 14: Field Day (rain date June 21)

Thursday, June 17: 3rd & 4th Grade Play

Sunday, June 27: 6th grade graduation (rain date June 28)


Sanderson Academy

Thursday, June 17: Field Day (rain date of June 22)

Friday, June 25: 6th Grade Graduation (1 p.m.)

Walkathon Raises Over $2,000 to Benefit Class of '24 and Baystate Foundation

CONGRATULATIONS to the MTRS Class of 2024 on their successful Walkathon fundraiser held on Saturday, May 22! As a result of their hard work, the class successfully raised $3,675 (with 60% of the proceeds to the Class of 2024, 40% to the Baystate Foundation to assist low income families in Franklin County offset the cost of their hospital bills).


Despite the heat, students walked (on average) approximately 4-8 miles each, with the honor for most miles walked awarded to Will VanVleet for his 10 mile day! According to Class Advisor Tesia Elani, it's not too late to support the cause! Checks will still be accepted this week and can be mailed to: MTRS, 26 Ashfield Rd. Shelburne Falls, MA 01370 ATTN: 9th grade walkathon


"Our community has shown itself to be incredibly generous and eager to help those who may need assistance right now," said Elani.


A big THANK YOU to Mo's Fudge Factory, Asma's Kitchen, and Big Y for their support and donations for this event!

students outside on lawn; some standing, some kneeling wearing masks; ready to walk!

Photo credit: MTRS parent Jennifer Pease

Global Perspectives at MTRS

MTRS students in Catherine Glennon and Rachel Hoogstraten's Global Perspectives class (a junior/senior interdisciplinary elective course), recently studied the refugee experience. Bringing real experiences, views, and voices to the classroom, Glennon hosted a virtual class visit with Rebecca Steinberg from Jewish Family Services (located in Springfield) last week. According to Hoogstraten, Steinberg shared her personal experiences with the class; answered questions about how refugees have contributed to our communities here in Western Massachusetts; and suggested ways in which students can get involved and help new American families.

Google Meet screenshot of students and guest speaker looking at camera and waving

MTRS Students Work With Amherst College to Understand Wildlife Activity

Students in Nicole Rhodes' Field Biology class recently headed to the MTRS trails to collect and analyze data to better understand black bear range and habitat needs. The class has partnered with Amherst College Biology majors to track wildlife activity throughout Massachusetts. We can't wait to learn more about their work and findings!

It's SENIOR SHOUT-OUT time!

#BlazeYourTrailatMTRS

MTRS Blaze Your Trail black and white logo

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We're proud of our students and our schools and hope YOU are too!

School Spotlight: Buckland-Shelburne Elementary

BSE Kindergarteners gave a happy send-off to their class butterflies on Wednesday, May 26. Over the past several weeks, students completed a unit about the life cycle of butterflies -- learning about their habitats, what they eat, how they transform from caterpillar to butterflies, and so many other wonderful fun-facts!


It was a beautiful sunny day to send the butterflies off into the world. Many took a quick break in the BSE flower garden before flying on to their next destination. GREAT job, Kindergarteners on your successful butterfly project!

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