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As a 12-year resident of Montclair with two children in the school system, I wanted to voice my support for Dr. MacCormack, the Board of Education, and our educational experts.
Just a little background on myself: I’ve been active in the schools for several years, even serving as the School Action Team Chair in the past. In recent years, though, I’ve diminished my participation in the PTA and SAT because of the acrimonious nature that I’ve found often exists. So I’ve chosen to volunteer in the schools instead, often lending a hand wherever needed and even tutoring children in classes and grades other than my own.
In recent weeks, though, I’ve felt a burning desire to speak up for those of us in the community who don’t agree with the vitriol being spewed toward the school board and superintendent. There are two issues, it seems; the common core implementation, and the response of those opposed to it.
We just love this video of Montclair Mt. Hebron Middle School science teacher Mr. Dan Taylor. He used his Halloween spirit to demonstrate a very cool science experiment. We added the music for a creepier effect!
The classic animated Halloween PEANUTS special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will air on Halloween, Thursday, October 31 at 8 pm on the ABC. A Halloween is not complete until we watch this classic.
EDITOR’S UPDATE: Montclair BoE Vice President Shelley Lombard reached out to Barista Kids to offer her personal comment on this MEA Town Hall.
Lombard says she would have found the presentation by Dr. Farrell more meaningful if he had presented data, rather than the Broad conspiracy theory he presented. She added, “I find it very ironic, that many of the same people willing to take education advice from someone who is Professor of Social Work and not education and who has never been a Superintendent, are the same people who complain that Dr. MacCormack, who has a Ph.D in education and has many years of experience and expertise in k-12 education, isn’t certified to be a Superintendent in NJ.”
Dr. Walter C. Farrell, a professor of community management and public practice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was the guest speaker at an October 30 town hall meeting at the Montclair Art Museum sponsored by the Montclair Education Association (MEA) on the subject of education reform. His explanation of nationwide reform typified by the changes in the Montclair school district, spearheaded by Schools Superintendent Penny MacCormack, gave a chilling chronicle of the privatization of public school districts that began with charter schools in urban areas. Dr. Farrell claimed that suburban privatization has become the next logical stop for billionaires and special interests hoping to profit from education. It should be noted that MacCormack has publicly expressing her opposition to a charter school numerous times.
“Mainly, that’s where the money is,” Dr. Farrell said of suburban school districts. “The property values are stable, and they’re unlikely to go under. They’re unlikely to become ‘little Detroits.'”
On the evening of October 24, Montclair’s Nishuane Elementary School held a series of workshops for parents entitled “Parentpalooza night.” There were a range of relevant parenting topics presented by Montclair community members, Nishuane teachers and parents. The discussions were tailored for the parents and caregivers of K-2 grade students but the safety and wellness talks also had application for the entire family. The evening was organized by the Nishuane School Action Team for Partnership. Below is a summary of the speakers, their topics and some nuggets of wisdom they shared with parents. The links provide additional resources and materials they recommended.
LynNell Hancock, the mother of two Montclair High School graduates, grandmother of a Montclair fifth grader, and professor of journalism at Columbia University blogs on Valerie Strauss’ column “The Answer Sheet” about what she feels is the reason for the “clash” between Superintendent of Schools Dr. Penny MacCormack and the community parents/residents opposed to her:
Before you go trick or treating on Halloween this Thursday, head over to Best Friend Photography on Midland Avenue in Montclair and photographer Michael Stahl will capture your little vampires, witches, pumpkins, and zombies. As in the past, the photo sessions is free and they upload your child’s portrait on their Facebook page, but this year, if you bring a small bag of non-perishable groceries for the Montclair Human Needs Food Pantry they will provide you with a high resolution file of your portrait that you can share and print. You will also be entered in a drawing for a free portrait session.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Montclair High Student Coalition has announced that MHS is holding its first Homecoming in recent memory. All of the Homecoming events will be held on Saturday, November 16, including a Tailgate Party, an Alumni Gathering, and a “Sweet Soiree” Dance for current MHS students. The annual Thanksgiving football game against Bloomfield has always served as an unofficial homecoming event that draws alums “home,” but this year the Student Coalition hopes to create a more official way to invite the Montclair community to show their school spirit. MHS Principal James Earle says that this event will be “something to get everyone excited about MHS and let alums know that they can always come back.”