Dear Monty Tech Community,
With the Thanksgiving holiday in our rearview mirror, Monty Tech is rolling into December with the extended holiday break just a few weeks away and the end of our first semester just a few weeks afterwards. Still, between now and then, there are many important events and a lot of classwork and instruction that will occur. However, before I review those efforts, I want to quickly review our ongoing efforts to maintain a safe and effective learning environment.
As I regularly share in our weekly updates, our fortunes with regards to our community’s success with fighting COVID continues to ebb and flow on a weekly basis. However, overall, we have to be pleased with our success. While we have experienced case counts that are certainly not to our liking, to date we have not approached levels that endanger our ability to maintain consistent and proper instruction. Of course, that status is only possible due to the efforts of each individual family and faculty/staff member. I am thankful for the fact that so many families are following essential requests including keeping students home when they are exhibiting symptoms or awaiting the results of a COVID test. This helps reduce positive cases in the building that then lead to contact tracing. Further, we have appreciated the ongoing communication between families and our school nurses to share information about potential cases or if there is a member of your household who has been diagnosed as positive. As we enter the winter season and experience more and more indoor gatherings, we urge you to continue with this communication by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling ext. 5219.
I further want to remind all families about our DESE-required school protocols. Fortunately, when we have had to resort to contact tracing, we are finding that many students and staff members are vaccinated so they do not have to potentially quarantine. However, if you are unvaccinated and are identified as a close contact, you will need to quarantine unless you opt to participate in our Test and Stay program. We have had great success with this effort throughout the fall as dozens of students were able to remain in school simply by participating in a 15 minute nose swab test first-thing in the morning for seven days as administered by our school nurses. However, this great opportunity to avoid having to quarantine does require parent consent. If you have not already submitted a consent form for your student, you can do so electronically using the following link - https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma. Finally, as always, we encourage all members of the Monty Tech community to get vaccinated if you have not already, or to get a booster shot if you have only received your original vaccination.
Related to these efforts, we have experienced a wonderful return to in-person gatherings for many of our annual school events including our Honor Roll Dinners, Powder-Puff game and Homecoming Dance, and we hope that this trend continues through the winter. Of course, everyone is reminded that proper mask wearing remains a requirement for all of these indoor events per state and local ordinances. Those events include:
SkillsUSA Competitions – Beginning with the first week in December, all 21 vocational programs will be holding their hands-on local SkillsUSA Competitions. The results of these competitions will determine who will represent Monty Tech at the District Competitions in March. Besides the specific vocational skills competitions, the various Leadership Competitions including Prepared Speech, Promotional Bulletin Board and Community Action Board will be held on December 16th and 22nd. Interested Students should sign-up using the Google form that they received in their school email.
Quarter 2 Progress Reports – Marks for Quarter 2 Progress Reports closed on Friday, December 3rd. The actual reports will then be distributed to students on Friday, December 10th. If students do not bring their progress report home, parents can reach out to the Main Office at ext. 5202 in order to get a copy.
Holiday Spirit Week – Following the annual success of our Homecoming Spirit Week in October, the Student Council has announced a new event this year – a Holiday Spirit Week! As usual, we have theme days throughout the week for students to dress up and have fun. Of course, they all have holiday themes including –
- Dec. 13 - Monday - Ugly Sweater Day – (Holiday Movie Watch – 3:00pm – title TBD)
- Dec. 14 - Tuesday - Summer in December
- Dec. 15 - Wednesday - Holiday Hats & Headbands Day
- Dec. 16 - Thursday - Holiday Socks Day
- Dec. 17 - Friday (½ day) - Pajama Day
Professional Development Day and Senior Yearbook Write-ups – On Friday, December 17th, students will be dismissed at 11:00am so that the faculty and staff may participate in professional development training. During that morning, Seniors will be called to a meeting in the café where they will work with Mrs. Sullivan to complete their Senior Yearbook write-ups. This is another new event that we will hold in an effort to ensure that all students are a part of the final draft of the Yearbook.
Early Dismissal & SkillsUSA Local Award Ceremony – On Dec. 23rd, the last school day before break, all students will be dismissed at 11:00am. As we usually suggest on the days before break, if you plan to dismiss your child early, then please send them to school with a dismissal note for the Deans’ Office so we can complete all the paperwork early. Also, beginning around 9:45am, Monty Tech will hold our annual Local SkillsUSA Award Ceremony. Unfortunately, this is only attended by students and staff and is not open to parents and community members.
Holiday Break – There will be no classes during the Holiday Break from Dec. 24th – Jan. 2nd. The building will be closed completely on Dec. 24th and Dec. 31st for the federal holidays. However, the Main Office will be open from 8:00am-3:00pm from Dec. 27th – Dec. 30th.
Winter VIP Session – The Winter VIP Session will begin on Jan. 6th and continue on the following Thursdays until Feb. 3rd. This session is primarily for 7th and 8th grade students from Barre, Hubbardston, Harvard, Holden, Lunenburg, Princeton, Sterling, & Winchendon. Please contact our Dean of Admissions, Chrissy Leamy, at ext. 5231 if you are interested.
Martin Luther King Day – School will be closed in recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday, January 17th.
Freshmen Shop Selection – On January 21st, Freshmen Exploratory will come to an end and all freshmen will receive their Shop Selection Forms. Students will identify, in order, their top six shop preferences. The process must be completed over the weekend and submitted during homeroom on Monday, January 24th with shop assignments being announced on January 28th.
End of Quarter 2/Semester 1 - The final day of Quarter 2 and Semester 1 will be on January 21st. Semester 2 half-year courses, as well as Freshmen shops, will begin on Monday, January 24th. Quarter 2 report cards will be issued on January 28th.
MCAS Biology Make-up Exams – On February 2nd & 3rd, Students who have previously taken, but did not earn a passing score on the MCAS Biology Exam will sit for the MCAS Biology Retest on these two days. Please note, students will have been already contacted by Mrs. Robertson, our Assessment Coordinator, if they are expected to participate in this exam.
Spring Sports Sign-ups – During the week of February 7th, a Google form for spring sports registration will be posted on the school’s website - www.montyech.net.
Winter Program Advisory Meeting – On February 9th, Monty Tech will host its winter Program Advisory meeting with a snow date scheduled for February 10th. Invitation reminders will be sent out to all program advisory members in late January.
Winter Break - The Winter Vacation week will occur during the week of Feb. 19-27th with no classes throughout the week. In addition, the school will be fully closed on Presidents’ Day, the 21st.
Finally, to wrap up this winter update, all families should be aware that, as of this writing, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is requiring all schools to make up any potential snow days at the end of the school year. Remote Learning days are currently not an option. Please be assured that if there are any changes to this policy that we will clarify this with all families.
For now, I hope that everyone enjoys a restful and safe holiday season and that we all experience a mild winter.
Tom Browne, Principal