By Mark Reynolds
Marlboro School Superintendent Michael Brooks opened last week’s school board meeting with message of appreciation by showing a slide of district teachers and students hard at work in various classrooms.
“I want to really reiterate what this board feels and what this Superintendent and this administration feels about the incredible staff that we have in Marlboro; our monitors, aides, food service people, our cleaners, groundskeepers, our maintenance folks, our clerical and tech staff, teaching assistants and teachers, our administrators; you are all doing wonderful work, our families are doing such tremendous work supporting their children and are children are working so hard.”
Brooks said it takes everyone working together, “to make this operation work as smoothly as it is. There’s a little bit of luck in us getting things right but there’s an awful lot of hard work in us getting things right...We appreciate all of the things that everyone is doing. So keep doing it, keep working hard; we’ve got much greener pastures ahead. We’ll get through the next few months and get into a fantastic spring and summer and really be set up for a launch pad of success for September. It’s all worth it because we’re doing it for our kids and that’s what matters most.”
Brooks indicated that the 2009 curriculum maps will be updated from on the district’s website but what is being taught now is current.
“There’s not one of those maps that shouldn’t be perfect. We heavily invest in supporting our curriculum development and training and we have to make sure that we clean up that process; making sure we stay on top of the maps but also posting the maps,” he said. “It’s not something that can be done overnight because we want to do it right, but we definitely have some areas that we have to work on.”
Mike Bakatsias, Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Personnel, said he is pleased with the status of classroom technology and the district has completed their replacement of more than 80 computers.
“All teachers and all staff have an updated computer and those who have requested it have dual monitors [and] they have cameras that work,” he said. “Our Smart Board fleet is operational with only one or two issues that will be taken care of tomorrow to finalize those setups. So we are in a very good place for classroom technologies.”
Bakatsias received word that the Chromebooks that were on order will be delivered and in the hands of students late in the week of December 7 – 11. He said the timing of the delivery will allow students to work on the new devices and ask any questions prior to the winter recess.
Bakatsias said the district’s online environment has been enhanced after some input from Google that has allowed for improvement and stability in that platform. He said Classlink has been fine-tuned, “to be a single sign on and a resource for students and teachers.”
Bakatsias said the capital improvement project Vision 2020 is ongoing, “and we’re inching closer toward wiring the Middle School.” He said the district has received reimbursement for the first phase of the Smarter School initiative that will lead to a fine tuning of the 2nd phase in the new year.
Rosanne Mele, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Personnel, said the district continues to do contact tracing due to Covid-19 and noted a ‘slight tick’ at the end of last week concerning isolations as well as positives in the area.
“We continue to be thankful and grateful to the parents who are calling to let us know about their situation so we can isolate the student as well as the faculty and staff, who have been reporting their particular issues,” Mele said.
Mele said budget planning for the 2021-22 school year has already begun. Documents with preliminary numbers will soon be distributed to the school principals to allow them consideration for next year.
Mele said after reviewing the district’s transportation needs with a consultant, “we’ll be asking or current contract for an extension as we did this year; it was in our best financial interest to do that instead of going to bid at this point.”
Mele said at the next board meeting she will bring forward information for their consideration on state mandated salary increases to $12.50/hr in six areas: Classroom/Computer Paraprofessional Substitutes, Clerical Substitutes, Food Service Workers Substitutes, Lunchroom/ Recess Paraprofessional Substitutes, One-on-One Paraprofessional Substitutes and Teaching Assistants Substitutes.
Superintendent Brooks said currently the Marlboro School district has not been mandated by the state to move to all remote learning but plans are in place for Covid-19 testing if that becomes necessary. The district returned to their regular hybrid program for grades 1-12 on Tuesday, December 8 and kindergarten began their full, four day in-person instruction also on December 8.