MTPS Parent & Guardian Welcome & Update August 28, 2020

Hello Marlboro Community,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year! This is truly a year like no other in memory.
Our goal this year is to deliver the very best instructional program possible, revisit and reevaluate our systems to make change for the better, and support our students, staff, and community. The purpose of this communication is to provide you details about our opening including many resources you can examine if you choose.
Please know that more information will come to you from the building principals. They have worked very hard to get our buildings ready for our students and staff.
Please refer any building questions to your building principal as he/she can best meet your needs.
We promise to work tirelessly this year to ensure we deliver the very best education to our students. If at any time you need a question or concern addressed, please contact us following the proper chain of command.

Our District Prides Itself On Our Core Values & Fundamentals

Core Value #1
Core Value #2
Core Value #3
Core Value #4
Our District Fundamentals
We have planned for literally hundreds of hours in order to develop the best systems for our district. We pledge to continue to revise our plans and protocols as necessary to ensure the constant improvement of our district.

MTPS is planning on Opening as Presented for the 2020-2021 School Year.

I can imagine that this question has been asked a lot the last day or so. We have offered the choice to parents/guardians about either hybrid or remote instruction, have planned for hundreds of hours, and we are excited to see our students (both in-person and virtually).

Parent Forum

Please click the button below to watch our parent forum.

Our Schedule

Each building will follow our one-session (half-day) schedule in Phase 1.

Thoughts on Phase 2

I have received some questions about when Phase 2 will begin. I am not placing a date on Phase 2 because I don't even know what Phase 1 will bring. So, we will begin school in September, and I will reflectively look at our school opening, attendance in September, and any issues that may arise.
I will then make a decision upon reflection about our instructional model. My personal feeling is that assigning a date to Phase 2 is not meaningful until we know what the fall will bring.

Attendance for Students

Students will follow the one-session (half-day) schedule every day (M-T-W-R-F). Each day will have live lessons for our students through the Zoom platform.
Our Board of Education committed to purchasing the full version of Zoom and Zoom Webinar for the 2020-2021 School Year.
AA Cohort will be in session Mondays and Tuesdays.
BB Cohort will be in session Thursdays and Fridays.
All students will be home on Wednesdays learning live on the same one-session (half-day) schedule. Wednesdays will also be live instruction. It will NOT simply be posting of content. Students will use Zoom for live lessons on Wednesdays.
This means that our students will receive live instruction from our staff five (5) days per week.
AA Cohort will use Zoom to attend live sessions when they are home; BB Cohort will use Zoom to attend live sessions when they are home. And, all students will attend live sessions from home on Wednesdays.
We designed our system to have more live lessons as per best practices and from parent/guardian input from our survey.

Live Lessons Are Mandatory

Live sessions are mandatory. Students must be present on Zoom to be counted as attending.

Home Learning & Attendance

For hybrid or remote learning when a student is home learning, the students must be on Zoom in order to be marked as present.
MTPS will follow Policy 5200 Attendance for all attendance related concerns. Teachers will make phone contact with parents/guardians when attendance issues are of concern. Attendance Notification (letter) Protocol remains in effect. Attendance Letters will go out as usual.

Something Extra

We recognize the importance of providing as much assistance to our students as possible. To that end, we have created schedules that include an additional hour at both the elementary and middle school levels that will provide instruction and support in the afternoon each day Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday after students are home from the one-session (half-day).
Supplemental instruction periods will begin the week of September 21st for both elementary and middle school students. All students must use Zoom to be present for assigned lessons. Sessions are mandatory as assigned.

Elementary Supplemental Lessons

The general elementary supplemental philosophy will provide extra ELA support on Mondays and Thursdays and extra mathematics support on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Elementary Supplemental Times

Middle Schools Supplemental Lessons

The general middle school supplemental philosophy is a little different simply due to our schedules. Core teachers (Literacy - Written Expression - Math - Science - Social Studies) will schedule weekly afternoon instruction for each class period. Core teachers can also schedule additional supplemental small group meetings.
Middle School Supplementary Instruction will begin at 1:15 and end at 2:15. Specific schedules will be sent by building principals. This supplementary instruction will occur on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Below is a SAMPLE SCHEDULE.

So What Is the Difference Between the First Two Weeks of School and After?

The first two weeks have no extra supplemental instruction in the afternoons. After the first two weeks (Beginning on September 21st, we will have the extra sessions. All information regarding the supplemental instruction will come from your buildings.

Questions That Have Come Up

I'm Concerned About Cleaning.

What is MTPS's General Health and Safety Plan?

What is MTPs's Classroom, Testing, and Therapy Room Plan?

I Have a Transportation Question or Concern. What Should I Do?

You can reach Nancy Walker at nwalker@mtps.org. She is one of the best human beings I have ever met. She will help you.

I'm Concerned About Student Flow, Entry, and Exit in the Buildings.

I Would Like To Know Who Makes Decisions to Close Schools, Classrooms, etc. for COVID-19 Cases.

This is an important one. Here is the process we are mandated to follow. When we are notified of a positive case that was in our school district, we are directed to call the Monmouth County Health Department. They will then discuss each case individually, and a plan will then be devised. MTPS will then execute the plan. (Notifying parents/guardians, closing classrooms, closing wings, closing buildings, etc.)

I Have A Question About Contact Tracing.

Contact tracing will be conducted in conjunction with the Monmouth County Health Department. We will work together for each and every necessary case.

Do You Still Have to Have Physical Education and Recess?

Yes, we must. Our district plan is to have a mix of live physical education and assigned remote activities. Recess will be assigned virtually. (We seriously need to have it.)

What Is The District's Philosophy on Field Trips, Extra-Curricular Activities, and Use of Facilities?

What Academic, Social, and Behavioral Supports will MTPS Have?

What is MTPS's Plan for Staffing?

How Will You Deliver Content This Year? (I am hearing about this Canvas thing.)

Our district has made an investment in Canvas. Canvas is a learning management system. It is a robust system that supports learning, and it is used all over the world.
To explain it in the simplest of terms, it is a platform to hold all of our content. Instruction, Videos, etc. It is more robust than Google Classroom, and it has a feature where parents/guardians could actually see the "To Do List" for each child without a heavy search. There are so many other great things about Canvas; we are scheduling Parent Academies so you will be able to learn more about the platform.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Canvas could not provide our district live access before August 31st. This presented a problem for training our staff, students, and community. So we made the reflective decision to pause on our Canvas implementation until at least the beginning of the second marking period. We believe in training well. The late date of delivery due to the pandemic meant we would not train well.

Ok. So No Canvas to Start. What Now?

MTPS will open in all grade levels using Google Classroom.
Grades 3-8 have been using Google Classroom for years.
We have a plan to train our other grade levels in the platform so that we are uniform until we successfully transition to Canvas.
Please look for a Parent Academy Session on Google Classroom for any parent/guardian who wants a refresher or wants to learn for the first time. Our Supervisor of Instructional Technology, Morgan Gross will send information to the district.

Will You Really Transition from Google Classroom To Canvas This Year?

Yes, we will. But only after we train our administrators, staff, students, and community.

Will the District Have Zoom Protocols and is Zoom Secure?

Yes, we will have district protocols. We will send them to you and also discuss with our students. As far as security, we have taken all necessary precautions as a district to use Zoom safely. Our staff have been trained and will receive more training.

Why Are We On Half-Day Schedules?

Due to Governor Murphy’s tightened restrictions on masks and indoor spaces, MTPS will utilize half-day schedules for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year (Phase 1).

What Will Happen If It Is Hot?

As you may know, most of our buildings do not have air conditioning. We may find it necessary to hold “Remote Only” days due to the excessive heat in September.

Can I Change My Child from Hybrid to Remote?

You sure can. Contact your building principal and they will help you through this process.

Can I Change My Child from Remote to Hybrid?

You sure can. But, this can only happen at the beginning of the next marking period. Please refer any questions to your building principal.

What If I Have A Question on a Wednesday?

Teachers will be teaching their half-day schedules on Wednesdays and will be able to get back to you when they are free. Principals will send you a communication about how to reach them for each and every day of the week. Please look for that communication.

I Have A Special Education Question. What Do I Do?

You can contact your child's teacher, case manager, or Dr. Blair at dblair@mtps.org. We will be happy to help you.

Do You Have a Specific Plan for Special Education Students?

We sure do. Please reach out to your case manager or Dr. Blair at dblair@mtps.org with any questions or concerns.

I Am Driving My Child To School, and I Need to Know about Arrival and Dismissal.

Look for arrival and dismissal procedures from the building level.

I'm Concerned about How MTPS is Monitoring the Bathrooms.

MTPS is using our school aides to help in this process. We know that our students need encouragement, help, and direction in these different times. So we thought outside the box knowing we aren't starting with serving lunches.

Did You Attempt to Cohort Children?

We did. Our goal was to limit movement anywhere we possibly could make it happen.

How Will Food Services Work?

Please look for a separate communication regarding our food services. Please note, under Phase 1, students will not be eating in schools.

When Will Schedules Be Made Available?

Look for Genesis to be open for schedules on or about September 1st.

I'm Hearing That Some Districts Have Gone Fully Remote, Why is MTPS Not Fully Remote?

We followed the guidelines of the NJDOE. This involved so many committees and hundreds of hours of planning. We then held meetings/phone conversations with our staff that were requesting accommodations and engaged in good faith discussions in an interactive process. As per the ADA, MTPS supplied reasonable accommodations to our staff members. We can staff our buildings as of right now.

I'm Hearing Each School Must Have an Isolation Area. is that True?

Sure is. But we don't give out specifics about our buildings for safety and security.

Will You Temperature Check Each Student and Staff Member?

We sure will. Anything 100.4 or greater will be a flag.

I'm Worried About My Child Wearing a Mask All Day.

We are mandated to follow the Governor's guidelines on masks. However, we fully understand your concern. We will make EVERY effort to show love, care, and attention to each and every student. Students that are experiencing discomfort such that their health and safety is impeded will be afforded an opportunity to take a break.

What About Music? My Son or Daughter Loves It.

Music will occur. Look for a communication from the building level. Just like the rest of the world currently, it may look a little different.

I See My Child on Your Online Programs. How Can I Learn More about Them?

I Know You Have Online Programs. Will Time Be Assigned?

We usually don't assign time (aside from Achieve 3000), but this year there will be requirements for our online programs. They can target our students' specific needs. Building principals and teachers will convey our expectations for usage.

Will There Be Signs in the Buildings for Safety?

You bet. Signs will be everywhere.

I Heard that Spanish Will Now Be Provided for Grades 2-5. Will It Be Graded in COVID-19 Circumstances?

Spanish in grades 2-5 will be pass/fail.

I'm Hearing So Much About Ventilation . . .

All MTPS indoor facilities will have adequate ventilation, including operational heating and ventilation systems where appropriate. Recirculated air must have a fresh air component, windows will be opened, if practical, if air conditioning is not provided, and filter(s) for A/C units must be maintained and changed according to manufacturer recommendations. The maintenance staff closely monitor for proper air flow, and for classrooms with HVAC we will continue to replace the air filters once per month or as routinely needed, which is an increase from the manufacturer's specifications. During the Summer and Fall months, MERV 7 rated filters will be used to utilize proper air flow into the classrooms that have air conditioning. In classrooms without air conditioning, we will utilize MERV 13 rated filters. We are unable to utilize MERV 13 rated filters in units that run air conditioning because the MERV 13 rated filters are too restrictive and will freeze the coils. During the winter months, specialized rated MERV 13 filters will be utilized district-wide to combat the COVID 19 virus and stop the spread of infection. Dampers will be adjusted all year round to increase outside air into the building where possible.

Ventilation Summary . . .

We upgraded every filter we could. Some of our units have air conditioning. They can't be upgraded until after air conditioning season, and then they will be upgraded as well. The MERV 13 filters used in air conditioning units will freeze the coils.

I Heard Students Are Not Allowed to Have Snack. How Come?

Eating of any type requires the removal of masks. When in the classroom students are required to keep their masks on as they may be within 6 feet of one another. Of course, any student that requires food for a medical reason will be accommodated.

Will You Revisit or Rethink Any/All Procedures for 2020-2021?

Absolutely. We are unfortunately living in times we truly have not experienced like this before. We will be reflective on everything we do to constantly improve our systems.

What about Back to School Nights, Parent Conferences, etc.?

As of right now, we will be developing plans to hold all events that need to occur virtually. Please look for specific communications from your building principals.

You Mentioned Parent Academies. How Will That Work?

MTPS will use Zoom Webinar to hold Parent Academies for the 2020-2021 School Year (and possibly beyond). Please look for information sent through our district email.

Were There Any Revisions to the Grading System for 20-21?

The only change to the grading system for the 2020-2021 school year includes the removal of common assessment scores from 5% to 0% in the gradebook. This will apply to literacy, written expression, math, and science.
In social studies, the district project-based assessments will still continue to be a part of the gradebook.
Please note that the district will still administer Common Assessments in all usual subject areas and use the data from those assessments to address the specific needs of our students. Common Assessments will still be utilized in the placement process. We simply will not count them in the gradebook. (Exception is social studies)
This will mean that in literacy, written expression, math, and science, the final average will be calculated out of a total of a 95 possible percentage points. Students will be able to achieve 100% in all of these subjects (95/95 = 100%).
These were many of the common questions raised by our community all summer. I hope the information provided helps to answer any of the questions you may have had. I wish you an enjoyable rest of the summer, and I thank you for your incredible support. We have worked so hard to prepare for the fall and arrival of students. Looking forward to seeing our children on September 8th!
Superintendent of MTPS
We Are Marlboro And That Means Something