Dear Rutherford School Community,
Each year as the school year ends, it brings time for celebration and reflection. This year is no different. We celebrate the accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff. We honor our graduates and wish the High School seniors well as they move on to higher education, employment, or the military. We say farewell and thank the teachers and staff who are retiring or leaving the District. We assess the highs and the lows of the year and establish goals to build on successes and address any deficiencies.
In reality, we all know that this year was different. The last three months have made terms we never used in education commonplace – distance learning, virtual programs, Zoom conferences, and social distancing. We tried to maintain normalcy— Virtual Art Shows, YouTube concerts, and Virtual Award Ceremonies. We succeeded more often than not because of the “One Rutherford” spirit. Board members, administrators, supervisors, teachers, all staff, parents, students and the entire community worked together to “flatten the curve“ while continuing to educate the whole child. I thank you all for your cooperation, patience, and efforts.
With the buildings being student free, the construction projects at the K Center, Lincoln, Union and the High School have begun. The facility plan approved in the referendum is off to a good start. We will be posting updates and significant events on the onerutherford.com website. Be on the lookout for a borough-wide newsletter that will be mailed on June 19th for information about the facilities projects and the schools.
The question we are all asking is, What will September bring? Will the buildings be reopened? Will distance learning continue? Will there be a hybrid plan in place?
While we await direction from Governor Murphy and the Department of Education, we have been planning to be ready for whatever direction we receive.
- I am serving on a county level reopening committee.
- Mr. Frazier, the District’s Athletic Director, is chairing the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Task Force on Covid-19.
- The administrative and supervisory team has studied the reopening plans put forth by California, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Maryland, and five international schools in Europe and Asia. They have also reviewed the position paper on reopening put forth by the New Jersey School Boards Association.
- Mr. Morano and Dr. Velechko are chairing a committee of administrators and supervisors that has been meeting since the middle of May to review and develop plans for the fall. This committee will now be expanded to include sixty additional staff members—teachers, supervisors, administrators, nurses, counselors, child study team members, bus drivers, secretaries, maintenance workers, custodians, and Board of Education members. As we move closer to September we will be reaching out for parent and community involvement.
- The large committee will be broken into sub-committees that will also be divided into smaller groups. Subcommittees will include: Health and Safety; Facilities and Transportation; Teaching and Learning; Social and Emotional Learning; Athletics and Cocurricular Activities; and Community Outreach.
Parents and students will be informed of the progress of the plans as they are developed.
Until we get directives from Trenton, we will not have definite answers, but the District will be ready to comply with any directive to provide the best education for our students in a safe environment.
Thank you for all of your support this year. The community came together in the fall to pass the referendum and in the spring to get through the health emergency. We will stay together and be ready for the 2020-2021 school year.
Congratulations to our graduates and their families. To all, have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer!
Superintendent of Schools