We're headed into our third month of the 2018-19 school year! By now, you've set the destination (GOAL-SETTING) and have marked your starting point on the map (AWARENESS). Now, it's time to focus on the journey: how will you GET those GOALS?

If we are to reach our District bold goals of an 87% graduation rate and 65% of our students in grades K-8 on level for math competency and reading level proficiency by 2020, we need to maximize every moment that we have with our kiddos. Any disruption to students' schedules can impact their academic performance, whether that disruption is due to their own absence, their teacher's absence, or an emergency closure.

Flex Day Schedule

As we enter November, we enter the season of unpredictable Catskill winter weather. While the safety of our students and our staff is ALWAYS the number one factor in guiding our decision to close or delay, it is ALWAYS in the District's best interest for school to be in session, assuming it is safe. Why?

  • Student attendance has a direct impact on academic success.
  • For some of our students, school is a refuge where there is warmth, food and support that they may not have at home.
  • There is less disruption to school calendar, enabling our families and staff to arrange childcare and/or plan vacations/family events on school holidays in advance.
  • It is important to stay within the allotted emergency closure days to preserve our state aid.

In order to receive the full amount of state aid that a district is entitled to, it must provide 180 instructional days (including up to four superintendent conference days) AND must also provide 990 instructional hours for students in grades 7-12 and 900 instructional hours for students in grades K-6, across the entire school year. Delayed openings, early dismissals/half-day schedules, and school closures all impact these tallies.

Districts that fall below the 180 days and 990/900 instructional hours threshold are penalized with a reduction in state aid. Recess, lunch and time in between classes do not count towards instructional hours.

For example:

In the past, if there was a three-hour delay on Dec. 1, 2 and 3, NYSED would count all three of those days towards the 180 minimum.

Now, if there is a three-hour delay on Dec. 1, 2 and 3, NYSED would still count all three of those days towards the 180 minimum, but the district would only receive credit for the actual amount of hours of instructional time towards the 900/990 minimum.

However, NYSED does waive the hours requirement on days where there are up to two-hour delays. In other words, one and two-hour delays count as full instructional days, with the maximum number of instructional hours accounted for, despite those delays.

If you have lived through even one winter in Monticello, you know how often winter weather compels us to delay school until the sun has melted the ice on the roads at our highest elevations. In many cases, two hours isn't a sufficient amount of time for the roads to be safe for students and staff to travel.

We created the "flex day" schedule as an opportunity to keep our students and staff safe, preserve our instructional time and preserve state aid. On a flex day schedule, school opening is delayed, but so is dismissal. Because on a flex day classes are in schedule for the same amount of time as on a two-hour delay schedule, we can report them as such.

The flex day schedule helps us with the monumental task of balancing student and staff physical safety in inclement weather with our goals of ensuring academic success and minimum attendance requirements for state aid calculations.

Why are we telling you all of this?

Last year, we had only expected to use the flex day schedule in emergency situations. As a result, there were several instances in the beginning of the season where a flex day schedule would have been a safe option for our staff and students. When we were hit with extended winter weather well into the spring, we had already used our allotted emergency closure days, causing major shifts to our schedule and nearly jeopardizing our full amount of state aid. This year, we intend to use the flex day option on any day when it seems appropriate to do so.

Yes, unexpected changes to our schedules can be frustrating, but remember, you ALL matter to us! We have had a couple of difficult winters, but we hope that this early, upfront, direct communication will help all of us plan for these difficult days, despite the recent severity of the weather. Our flex day schedules and information can be found on the website.

Attendance Matters! Strive for less than 5!

Attendance matters! We need to be HERE if we expect our students to learn and our students need to be here if they are to learn!

We SET our GOAL: we strive for less than 5 absences, which equates to less than a 3% absentee rate.

We make sure to stay AWARE of where our rates are.

Our October staff rates are as follows:

Cooke: 3%

KLR: 3.7%

MHS: 3.8%

RJK: 4.39%

Chase: 5%

Our October student rates are as follows:

Chase: 5.3%

RJK: 5.7%

KLR: 6.1%

MHS: 7.6%

Cooke: 8.7%

Now, it's time to GET those GOALS! How will you help our students and colleagues strive for less than five?

Hey staff! Did you receive a test emergency broadcast on Tuesday, Oct. 30?

On Oct. 30, the District sent out a test SchoolMessenger broadcast to all of our staff members to ensure that we are able to effectively reach all staff in the case of an emergency. We use SchoolMessenger to communicate all weather-related school closings, delays, or early dismissals, as well as general district news, so it is critical that all of our staff receive these notifications.

Did you receive the test alert?

If you did, great! Your notifications are working!

If you did, but you would have preferred to receive them via a different channel (ex. if you received a text, but wanted a phone call), please refer to the email from Rhonda Jeter sent on Oct. 29 with instructions on how to change your preferences in SchoolMessenger.

If you are a current staff member and did not receive an alert, please email Rhonda at RJeter@k12mcsd.net with your name, building, and primary phone number so that she can troubleshoot.

A big congratulations to our inaugural Monti Staff Color Wars champions, the Monticello High School team!

Enjoy your trophy! What a great conference day we had! I hope you all enjoyed the opportunity to take care of YOU! Thanks to all of the facilitators, the model schools team, the special programs team and all of you for coming out and bringing your game to the table. Multiple people have sent emails, cards and other messages of "thanks" praising the day. It's been so refreshing to see the seeds of positivity that this event planted beginning to sprout. You all ROCK!

November Spotlights

Our November Spotlight features Monticello team members who are GOAL-GETTERS! These fine folks, as described by their leadership team, don't get stuck dreaming about a better tomorrow - they go out and make it happen. You are all an inspiration!

Sue Bahrenburg, Monticello High School

"Goal-getting is not about passively setting a goal and then seeing how it plays out. Goal-getting is about setting a goal, even one that you might not know how to accomplish, and then being demanding of yourself to accomplish it. Sue Bahrenburg of our Academy of Finance knows a lot about setting audacious, even scary, goals and then working diligently to accomplish them both personally and professionally.

On a personal level, Sue earned her first Spartan Trifecta this year conquering three of the toughest courses at each distance. The Sprint course is 3-5 miles with 20+ obstacles, the Super course is 8-10 miles with 25+ obstacles, and the Beast course is 12-14 miles with 30+ obstacles. She accomplished these distances in the mountains of Tuxedo, NY; Palmerton, PA; and Killington, VT respectively.

Professionally, Sue pushes herself and her students to take on new challenges. Sue has been a leader in increasing student participation in school-wide activities. As the Director of the Academy of Finance, Sue has included students in the Advisory Board meetings, curriculum planning sessions, and internship programming where they participate meaningfully to improve themselves and the Academy. Sue also leads our high school internship program where students are matched with areas of interest to contribute to the school community while learning important skills through targeted reading discussions and on the job experience. In addition, Sue presented at the National Academy Foundation (NAF) conference this past summer to a national audience of educators.

All the areas of personal and professional growth and accomplishment mentioned began because she asked questions about how life could be better not only for herself but more so for others. Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle there is no progress.” We are thankful for the courageous struggle that Sue consistently endures to ensure progress through her commitment to goal-getting," - MHS Leadership Team

Warrior Kids, Special Programs

"Warrior Kids are Healthier Kids!! The Catskill Regional Medical Center's Warrior Kids Program focuses on "5,2,1, Almost None." In other words, 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of screen time , 1 hour of physical activity and almost no sugary beverages on a daily basis.

This program, in conjunction with the American Heart Association, Ayo Fitness and Cornell Cooperative Extension, is designed to inspire children to develop lifelong healthy habits through education, fitness and fun! The program provides great strategies and tools to get our health and wellness goals in the county. The program has graduated hundreds of Monticello students who participate in Boys and Girls Club and EMPIRE Kids," - Special Programs Leadership Team

Stacey Cornelius and Tracy Orlan, Robert J. Kaiser Middle School

"Math Department Instructional Lead Stacey Cornelius (left) and ELA Department Instructional Lead Tracy Orlan (right) are goal-getters! Stacey and Tracy have worked with our Curriculum Director, Linda Oehler- Marx, to lead their respective departments with data analysis activities to raise their level of awareness so that they can support the District's goals of 65% student proficiency and 30% approaching proficiency in math, reading and writing. As the curricular leaders, they continually attend conferences and bring best practices back to share with department members to address needs identified from their data analysis," - RJK Leadership Team

Tamara Coney, Emma C. Chase Elementary School

"Mrs. Coney is the physical education teacher at Emma C. Chase Elementary School. Mrs. Coney is a natural “goal getter”. Mrs. Coney builds a solid foundation of trust and integrity--in fact, Mrs. Coney’s instructional theme with the students this year is “integrity and self-control”.

When Mrs. Coney embarks on an initiative she makes a commitment and holds herself accountable for the step-by-step completion of tasks leading to the goal. Some examples of Mrs. Coney’s goal getting include the annual “Jump Rope for Heart” challenge, the NYSAHPERD video competition, Catskill County Regional grants, and the Fuel-Up to Play-60 initiative, for which Chase has been a “Touchdown School” five out of the past six years.

Over the past five years Mrs. Coney has brought thousands of dollars of equipment into the district and motivated students to be healthier at the same time. Mrs. Coney demonstrates excellence in goal getting; and I highly recommend seeking suggestions from Mrs. Coney about how you may “get” your goals," - Chase Leadership Team

Amanda Connor and Sarah Mootz

Amanda Connor and Sarah Mootz came back from the Model Schools convention galvanized to improve the culture at KLR. The "Game Changers" committee, Amanda and Sarah's team, has been hard at work rebranding KLR by creating a KLR facebook page and coming up with creating ways to inform our parents where to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the MCSD website. The team also has redesigned our open house and planned an amazing Halloween parade in partnership with the SC Government Center and SC Sheriff's Department," KLR Leadership Team

Kenneth Montemurro, Pupil Personnel Services

"Kenneth Montemurro is our very skilled Social Worker at George L. Cooke Elementary School. Ken sets bold goals for himself and his students. Beyond setting bold goals, Ken establishes a realistic plan to reach the goals he sets for himself and our students along with their families. Ken takes pride in his goals as a social worker and views his role to be a transformative process where his work has a positive impact on the lives of our children.

As a member of the crisis team, Ken spends much of his time helping children with emotional and behavioral issues. Ken has a wide variety of functions and responsibilities in Cooke Elementary. Some of Ken’s roles include providing individual and group counseling, intervening during crises, case management, student advocacy, and building supports for students beyond the school day. Ken is a consummate professional and expert who students and faculty can rely on to help to provide support to complex issues," - PPS Leadership Team

Rosanne Green, George L. Cooke Elementary School

"Mrs. Green is a Teaching Assistant that exemplifies flexibility. Mrs. Green’s schedule is flexed so she can assist with the afternoon bussing and assures that each student is delivered home safely every day. She knows every student and makes sure that they are well cared for.

Mrs. Green volunteers to help with the Box Top program which helps bring needed items to our students. As a Teaching Assistant, Mrs. Green works with the Kindergarten classes and is an additional support in our fully-attended Phys. Ed. Classes. No matter what the learning space, Mrs. Green is there to support the students and the faculty of Cooke Elementary. Mrs. Green is thoughtful and understands how the Elementary School experience is for everyone. We are thankful for her commitment and willingness to help in any way she can," - Cooke Leadership Team

November Model Schools Message

by: Sarah Mootz, KLR SEW Facilitator

It goes without saying that goal getting takes a great deal of commitment. After we set goals and develop a clear understanding of where we’ve been, and where we’re going, the “getting” part of the process must begin.

Multiple sessions at Model Schools emphasized tricks and tips to stay the course and here are my biggest take-always...

  • Find a time to say your goals out loud every day. Saying and hearing the words helps you stay connected to what you’ve established as a goal, and is a strong reminder of what you expect of yourself!
  • Visualize yourself having success. This not only helps you see the finish line, it also helps you see yourself in the best light along the way.
  • Surround yourself with the most positive and honest people you can find. Yes, that’s right, positive and honest. You might be thinking that person doesn’t exist, but if you look, you’ll find them. They’re the people who celebrate your daily successes, let you know if you’re being a slacker, pick you up when you’re at your lowest, and if an issue arises they’re part of your solution. You have to make an honest effort to remove the negativity if you want to see maximum potential and growth! (Added bonus: when negative people are surrounded by more and more positivity, it starts to change their mindset!)
  • You must understand that you WILL fall on your face along the way. Stop, breathe, and say your goals out loud, again. Treat this as an opportunity to refocus. Mistakes do not equal failures. Mistakes are expected and they often bring about the most growth!
  • Lastly, you must keep moving...forward! Do not give up and do not stop trying. Push yourself every day and know every step is a little “get” of your ultimate goal!


Nov. 7 - Voter Registration Day/Last Day to Register for Classroom 2020 Bond Referendum

Nov. 12 - Veterans Day (no school)

Nov. 14 - Classroom 2020 Bond Vote

Nov. 21 -23 - Thanksgiving Recess

There are so many reasons why #MonticelloRocks! Be on the lookout as the school year progresses for students, staff, volunteers and any other community members who make Monticello rock. Send a photo of this person in action, and 2-3 sentences explaining why he or she rocks to communications@k12mcsd.net and we'll spread the word! Follow @WhyMontiRocks on Twitter to see all the reasons why we rock!

The Keeper's Secret: Second Edition

Catch up on what the students of the My Brother's Keeper program have been up to and where they're headed next in the second edition of the monthly newsletter, The Keeper's Secret.

Be Well! Happy November!

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.