The 2021-2022 school year marks my 8th and final year as Superintendent-Director of Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School. While I do look forward to stepping away from a 30+ year career in education and embarking on new adventures, I do so with very mixed emotions. I can not help but be reflective - grateful for the experience to be a part of this tremendous educational community and forever impressed by the all we have accomplished.
Monty Tech remains one of the finest schools I have known. Each day, our students demonstrate a commitment to an multi-faceted approach to learning - one that connects lessons with real-world application, one that is more than lectures and presentations, and one that celebrates student creativity and ingenuity. This is a commitment that is not right for every student, but for the 1,400+ students currently enrolled at Monty Tech - this is their journey. Their high school experience, we know, will look and feel so different than high school experiences in comprehensive schools. Our students build, wire, and plumb homes, prepare and serve meals in our on-site restaurant, work with the elderly and infirmed, repair and replace degrading walkways in local communities, work alongside doctors to care for sick and injured pets in our veterinary clinic, and so much more. I have seen improvements in almost every shop in my tenure here, which is a testament to the skilled instructors who advocate for program improvements and work with our grant writer to make that happen. These instructors only want what is best for their students - their work is remarkable - and their "classrooms" are designed to replicate industry standards.
Academically, we challenge students of all capabilities. With programs ranging from academic support services to dual enrollment courses, every student is met exactly where they are at- and pushed to go even further. Our academic teachers strive to present lessons to all students that are engaging, related to their vocational program, and will effectively prepare them for the future they choose for themsleves - college, career, or both!
The 2021-2022 school year still reflects remnants of the COVID pandemic. Ongoing safety and health precautions are evident in the halls. Students wear masks and take periodic mask breaks. Handwashing stations are ever-present, and ongoing testing and tracing efforts remain a priority. But we have returned to full-time, in-person learning. This is the model we know and trust here at Monty Tech. There is no better way to deliver lessons in vocational trades than by doing so in-person, guided by talented instructors, using the most current technology in our state-of-the-art facilities.
As the year progresses, I am hopeful that our "old normal" returns - so we can see the faces of our students, faculty and staff. Until then, we wish all students and families continued good health and peace.
Forever grateful for my Monty Tech experience,
Sheila M. Harrity, Ed.D.